Cosmic Waves’ self-titled debut EP commands attention from the start. Lisbet Randefelt’s distinctive, incantatory vocal presence presides easily over the Copenhagen, Denmark quartet’s combination of punk, shoegaze, and psychedelia. Mia Skjold Tvede Henriksen on bass and Lasse Schiøtt on drums undergird a generally spare, open sound with their tightly-focused, muscular figurations. Guitar contributions from Lisbet and Martin Herskind thread angular single- and dual-note patterns through a spaciousness sometimes broken by lightning-bolt blasts of intense chord work that lend a touch of doom metal atmosphere. The resulting whole leans heavily into post-punk territory while also creating a psychedelic mood worthy of the band name.
The Cosmic Waves EP actualizes a lot of impact for four tracks that play out in under thirteen minutes. We’re delighted to present an interview featuring contributions from all four band members. The project’s very first video, for the song “Sun Doom”, was released on the 1st, allowing us to include it here as well; find it below just after Lisbet’s comments about it.
How and when was the band formed? Mia: Martin, Lisbet and Lasse met at a pre-party for an A Place To Bury Strangers concert and bonded straight away over a common love for sixties rock'n'roll, eighties shoegaze and post-punk. They needed a bassist and asked me. I had played several instruments before, but never the bass. I took on the challenge and joined the band on a winter night in 2016. We rehearsed at our Cold War bunker rehearsal space for a few months and came back to the surface in spring 2017 to record our EP.
Can you tell us what the band has been working on? Lisbet: Our first music video, for our song Sun Doom, has just been released. It is a collaboration with the fashion company The Insomnia Project from Lisbon, Portugal. We’re confident that peole will find it intriguing and exciting.
Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense? Martin: We are part of the Danish music collective Dansk Beton, which revolves around a Cold War bunker from the 1960s, which also houses bands like Techne, Revulva, Mimic Octopus and Søvn. As we are a very new band, it is difficult to say if we already belong to a certain scene. Our music is definitely shaped by shoegaze, post-punk and psych. But I do find it very difficult and limiting to be put into a certain box.
Easthampton, MA is home to Lloyd Cole (whom I
love) and a great shoegaze 5 piece called Kindling.
Hush is their second
album, and it finds the band branching out a bit into more subtle textures and
instrumentation (sitar and mellotron) than their earlier work. The band started
in 2014 as the recording project of Stephen Pierce and Gretchen Williams, and
it has evolved into an active, full-fledged group with a full length and
multiple EPs under their belt. The band worked with engineer Justin
Pizzoferrato to track the album and Josh Bonati for mastering, and this
teamwork produced the sonic gem that dropped this fall. This is all well and
good, but in a crowded field of ‘gaze bands, it’s hard to stand out. However,
Kindling manages this with a series of good to great songs on this release.
“For Olive” is a solid opener with an ear bleeding sonic assault married to
some sweet vocals way in the backdrop. It’s a technique that works well for the
band, and reminds me a bit of Smashing Pumpkins. “Destroy Yrself” is even
grander, mastered loud with the hammer jammed down. Definitely a standout track
in this collection!
“Pantone Blue” dials it back a bit in the opening
sequence, but you are quickly pummeled by cascades of furious guitar. They use
this ebb and flow approach to good success on this track. “Everywhere” has an
entrancing hook at its heart, and while initially it took a little time to lure
me in, once it hit, it got me hook, line, and sinker.
“Wait” is heavy duty gaze, thick waves of guitar
and pounding percussion, while “Rain” meanders into lovely dream pop territory.
“Wherever” amps up the punkish energy to 11, and a bit of Corganesque guitar
wafts in. The remaining tunes work their magic, leaving me with ringing ears
and a smile on my face. Recommended for all shoegaze fans who like it loud!
Few releases of the past year were met with such a
conflicting cocktail of jubilation and heartbreak as Somewhere
Nice, Someday, the latest and final album from Brooklyn-based guitar
manglers Infinity Girl, following 2015’s excellentHarm. The
band—comprised of Nolan Eley (guitar, vocals), Kyle Oppenheimer (guitar, vocals),
Mitchell Stewart (bass) and Sebastian Modak (drums)—announced before the drop
that the latest collection would be their last. Somewhere, recorded before the
band decided to retire, delivers as the greatest example of what the group have
excelled at over their lifespan in a fitting final statement.
Opening drum-less strummer “The Comfort of What I
Had” sets the overall mood. While a pensive and regretful introspection colors
the entire track, the repetition of the chord changes and Eley’s diaphanous vocals
find a thorny beauty even in the song’s most bummer moments.
Second track and single “But I’m Slow” brings in
the rest of the band for a downcast singalong featuring the layering and
upfront detail that characterized Harm. While many shoegaze and dream-pop bands
have mastered studio craft, Eley and company always seem able to take it one
step further. On “Slow” the range of frequencies in the fuzz pedals are so full
and immediate that their textures seem tangible beyond the speakers. The album
lends itself well to hi-fi listening, with a level of subtle detail that
repeatedly impresses and rewards.
Infinity Girl imbue their compositions with many
little dynamic shifts in a way that lends complexity and freshness even to
basic song structures. Check out, for instance, the slow upward wave of volume
at the twenty-second mark that precedes the final downstroke into the first
verse of “Slow”. Eley’s declarations of exhaustion in the chorus are sung with
such hushed breathlessness that they can be heard as foreshadowings of the
band’s end, which came about because the project had become too demanding to
leave enough space for the rest of the musicians’ lives.
Quicker numbers like “Don’t Believe, “Derail Me”
and “Redder” show the band’s roots with frenetic, punky blasts of noise
inspired by Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Boston’s mighty
Swirlies. These songs contrast well with the more experimental and explorative
pieces on the album, anchoring the band to the DIY, house show tradition from
which they arose.
“The Color of Wine” brings in a surprising dash of
twee acoustic guitar picking before blooming into yet another swooning pop
tune. “Anything” takes the misty weightlessness of Infinity Girl’s more
ethereal pieces to its most lilting, airless expression.
“Millgate”, penned by Oppenheimer and Modak, hints
at a possible future direction the band might have taken, where heavily treated
guitar brushes against a relatively relaxed post-rock groove, the project’s
characteristic distortion absent. At times the song’s twinkling, crack-of-dawn
atmosphere recalls Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk.
Closer “The Winner Always Talks” brings in a dash
of celebratory piano to mingle with bleak mantras and noise breakdowns. The
final wind ups of guitar and crashing drums create an expectation of one final
lap for the gang, but of course it can’t be that simple, as the track is then
cut off by an ending too abrupt to permit any real sense of closure.
Somewhere Nice, Someday so fully solidifies
Infinity Girl’s unique, twisting and contradictory character that one can only
be thankful for it even as a last release. The band have clearly not just
“thrown in the towel", but loudly and confidently ended on their highest