bedroom pop

PICKLE DARLING - "Bigness"

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Pickle Darling - “Bigness”

(Z Tapes)

Musician and producer Lukas Mayo returns with another release under his Pickle Darling moniker. Each of these ten tracks is a unique and tightly produced blend of electronic pop, and intimate singer-songwriter musings. These songs sound like they were written on guitar first and elevated with all the electronic goodness. There’s an earthiness and down-to-earth feel behind all the bright rhythms and beats.

A good example is the track Rinse Spin Cycle / Nicolas Cage. This six-minute track exudes the warm, buzzing energy, clean lines, and personal writing that exemplifies everything we love about Pickle Darling. “What if no one likes my music?” sings Pickle Darling. Not a problem, Lukas. We really dig this.

Standout tracks include: Soft Cars, an intimate ballad that begins with good guitar textures, and slowly introduces bass and drums to fill out the track, as the lyrics meander through a story in a string very casual, conversational lines, and Greta, which is built on a warm synth line and some curiously tune bent vocals.

Bigness represents to me a movement from the lo-fi beginnings of bedroom pop to a much more polished sound that still retains the innocence and personal connection that made bedroom pop so popular to begin with, and is a logical successor to the previous Pickle Darling album, which hit a lot of the same marks. This album is a realization of more, further, and higher.

https://pickledarling.bandcamp.com/album/bigness

Gray Lee

[Album of the Month] BENJAMIN SHAW - "Megadead"

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Benjamin Shaw - "Megadead"

(Audio Antihero)

"Ive' got things to talk about/ I've got hell to pay" - Benjamin Shaw

Megadead may be the name  of the latest release from lo-fi indie pop artist Benjamin Shaw, but don't let the morbid name fool you. There is a lot of vulnerable, depressing shoegaze to behold here, but there is also a lot of light and hope. This is certainly one of those occasions where the cover art perfectly fits the content. Sure, there's a skeleton - but look at all that glorious daylight streaming through the window!

The production of this album blends found sounds, field recordings, and carefully executed lo-fi, indie pop songwriting to create a varied listening experience propelled by interest and sustained by detail. Much of the release feels instrumental and ambient, a sound collage of answering machine tapes, and clips of old radio broadcasts, synth compositions, and occasional inward-looking, lonely lyrics delivered by Shaw.  

Benjamin Shaw is a poignant songwriter, who favors a straight-forward exploration of personal feelings over storytelling, or metaphorical meanderings. I have recently decribed his past works as "depression rock," which was said partly in jest - but it actually fits those works pretty well. In this release, however, we see Benjamin flexing his artistic muscle, with heartfelt writings that address homesickness, boredom, weariness, loneliness and a variety of other very human feelings, all with a lightly morose and sometimes humorous air. 

Overall the subtleties and depth of Megadead superseded my expectations of what it was going to be, and I recommend you take a listen when you get a chance. It's definitely Benjamin Shaw's best release to date.  

Gray Lee

https://bnjmnshw.bandcamp.com/album/megadead