Today marks a little bit of post-show depression for me, as I just wrapped up the concert weekend that I look forward to most here in Michigan each year, Kalama-Shoegazer. I have been attending this event for the past few years, and it’s not only a collection of some of the best Shoegaze and Dreampop in the county; it’s a family reunion of sorts for those of us who can make it to the Midwest destination and are a part of the overall Shoegaze Community. This year, several people from all over the county were there, including members of DFKM were in attendance. It was an amazing night.
One of the staples of this annual showcase is the Milwaukee band, Brief Candles. I have had the pleasure of seeing them perform every time I have attended Kalama-Shoegazer. They were stellar as always and have a new release out as of last month, “Retreater”. Brief Candles offer fuzzy, catchy ear worm hooked songs that have a huge indie rock sound, and while they absolutely fit the genre of Shoegaze and Dreampop; I would compare them more to bands that don’t generally get placed in that category; such as Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. The don’t ever spent too much time in one specific place, lending your ears to a treat that often crosses over into other territories you may not be expecting.
“Retreater”, which arrives four years after the bands last EP release, “Newhouse” and this album offers a bit of everything. The opening track; “A way Around” offers fuzzed out garage rock style guitar, with a hint of synthesizer and a driving drum beat that later in the track gets layered with the vocals and a floating guitar melody.
“Tiramisu” is my favorite track on the album and has a bit of Slowdive’s “Go Get It” feel to it at certain moments, while remaining nothing at all like it. It has a dark, sludge fuzz that somehow stays completely balanced and rooted in the song. This track honestly has everything that I want from something labled “Shoegaze”. It’s dreamy. It’s loud. The lyrical melody is catchy and paired perfectly with the harmonic guitar tones sitting just on top of that fuzz, just before even more layers of sounds are added. It really is just damn near perfect, go listen to it.
“Alarm Fatigue” was previously released for the DKFM compilation “Alternative Facts”, which supported Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. The track shimmers and jangles with all its might and offers both a call to action and some hope that we can make changes for the future, though that process can be difficult.
Other sources that have reviewed the material may have described certain aspects of this release better than I could, stating that the track “Appearances” sounds like “Yo La Tengo underwater”; and make various other references to the easily distinguishable nods that the band references to post-punk heard throughout the album (milwaukeerecord.com)
In closing, this release has something for everyone. Head over to BandCamp, buy and download a copy, and play that sucker loud. You’ll be glad you did.