This excellent project is composed of the father / daughter duo of Dean Garcia and Rose Berlin. Dean is best know for his work as half of the band Curve, also a band of similar style born in the 90's. He brings his talents to the world together with Rose's soft and beautiful vocals for an excellent and very broad mix of styles and genres. Formed in 2006, they've already released a number of great albums and various EPs, many of which have gained some great coverage locally and around the world. With much of their music in the ethereal, shoegaze and alternative genres, they have become a welcome addition to the pages and airwaves of Gothic Paradise for us and our listeners.
The Art of Pop - Review
Putting aside the guitars and reverb for a while, Dean Garcia creates a pulsating electronic soundscape as a backdrop to Rose's soft vocals on this latest album. This new collection of tracks includes some previously released tracks we've captured under a temporary name of BOFC and also released under the Push EP. The music is mostly dance-friendly with a catchy beat and coupled with various synths and electronic loops that will keep the body moving. There is some nice diversity in the music as well as will be noted in more detail below. With a collection of fourteen pieces, most are great new classics that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Right from the start we're greeted with this moving and catchy rhythm and pumping electronics on "Burn it Down". As Rose's soft, ethereal vocals drift over the various soundwaves, the listener is held captive throughout the album as one great piece after another comes through the speakers. While there is a great variety on this album, with the heavy electronics it's great to listen to this on a nice stereo with great speakers for a full and rich sound. The mix of electronics provide a nice range and dynamics as the backdrop across each piece whether it be a pounding club-friendly track or something a little more laid back for chilling a bit. While most fans will be used to the infusion of guitars and reverb with Rose's angelic vocals, it might seem a bit strange at first to think about, yet they're no stranger to these styles and overall it really clicks and comes together nicely across these tracks.
As I've listened to this album over and over again more than a dozen times along with selections we've been including on our radio shows, most of the entire album is really great. There are some definite favorites that I enjoy most based on personal taste, opinion and style, and others that I would have just excluded overall. "Burn it Down" as previously mentioned is a great way to kick off the album and sets the stage for much of what's to come. Other tracks come later with much of the same dance-friendly beat and club style from techno and trace genres including "Fall Apart For Love" as a definite favorite along these styles. "Hear Me Now" is another stellar piece with a little more laid-back tempo, it's a great mix with Rose's vocals and a perfect mix of electronics and moving beat. There are several pieces on the album with this mid-tempo rhythm combined with very catchy hooks from the vocals and lyrics to the moving beat. "Ray of Sun" is appropriately named for it's cheery moods while maintaining this mid-tempo rhythm over the layered electronics. "Die Alone" comes later as another great piece that stands out on it's own with this mix of synths and catchy lyrics and vocals. Moving from reverb and noise created by guitars on previous albums to this heavy mix of experimental percussion and electronics on "One For The Little One" is a nice move and one that fans of the newer fad of dub-step might enjoy. This more experimental style is prominent on a few tracks including some that are more on the down-tempo side including "Right Mind" and later on "Lights and Stars" that is a definite favorite with it's slower, yet still powerful mood. And we can't close our list of favorites without mentioning the finale to the album with "Push". More detail about the track can be found with the review of the EP below, but suffice it to say that this was a great addition and perfect way to close the album.
There are other selections not mentioned above on the album. While not all are necesarily bad, they don't seem to mix well with the album and I also discourage the inclusion of vulgar language in music which unfortunately appears on a couple of pieces here. The remixes are also mainly just bonus material that some people in the various electronica and related genres might enjoy. Overall this is a great album with those few, rare exceptions and so I can stand behind it as a great recommendation for fans to pick up.
Sirens and Satellites - Review
It has been a great pleasure to continue to follow this talented duo with their new releases. All bands progress differently, some drastically change their style over time while others release the same exact stuff album after album. With this band they manage to build on the solid foundation of various rock, ethereal and shoegazer styles for each new work. Sometimes injecting electronica while others just bringing on the onslaught of guitar reverb always lead by Rose's mesmerizing vocals. This new album showcases their latest mix of talents and creativity for a stunning new masterpiece featuring no less than fifteen(!) tracks for a great, full body of music.
It seems this father / daughter mix is really working for these two and they've really found their forte on this album. Right from the start we're swept away with the powerful ethereal shoegaze piece "Fallen Stars". The mix of ambient background synths (or immensely reverbed guitars) with grinding bass and more guitars as well as the powerful, mid-tempo percussion provide a stunning backdrop to the siren-like vocals. This leads into the immensely popular, techno/electronica, dance-friendly piece "Delusional Waste". This stunning selection shows the diversity of this group and their myriad of guest musicians as the sweep quickly from guitar-driven shoegaze to this moving, club-friendly, fun piece. From the tracks first launch before the album was released it has received great praise from many people and our listeners have loved it, launching it quickly into our top 10.
As the album moves along we drift across the various styles mentioned above, quickly back into the guitar-driven styles of "Zombie" and "Hold You Up" to be thrown back into the electronica realm of "High On It". With so many tracks, there is definitely plenty of material for listeners to choose from and enjoy, either as an album as a whole or picking and choosing through favorites as seems to be the trend in today's digital age. For me, I really enjoy the feel of the dynamic, yet cohesive nature of the entire album with a couple of small exceptions. Yet at the same time several favorite tracks do stand out including the above mentioned introductory duo of tracks. Choosing songs to air on the radio show has been a tough choice with so many great pieces to choose from. A few noteworthy definitely include the downtempo piece "Tweet Fields At Night" as the album starts to wind down. As usual, the mix of guitars and ethereal vocals hold the listener entranced throughout the entire track. "You're Cold" and "Free Fall" both bring another onslaught of dynamic guitar showcasing more intensity on the latter and setting up the album for the perfect finale "Found". This final piece is nothing short of breathtaking with it's soft, ambient moods accented by Rose's equally soft and beautiful vocals. The somber moods permeate this piece, creating a soft, sad and gentle finish to an excellent album.
In summary, this is a great album with tons of tracks to choose from and enjoy, showcasing the band's dynamic qualities and talents. As they continue to release more music like this, they are quickly becoming a classic favorite in our library. Enjoy!
Push EP - Review
While this project has remained active over the years, we haven't picked up all of their releases, however it's with great pleasure that we were presented with excellent four track EP. Dean Garcia continues to work with his daughter Rose Berlin for this excellent short EP. Combining electronica ambient with indie shoegazer across these tracks, it's a nice little gem for any collection.
For me, the reason for picking up and the highlight of this entire EP is the title track. It comes accompanied with a dreamy video that can easily be found and enjoyed on Youtube. The music is catchy and dreamy at the same time. The pulsating electronics dominate this track putting aside the overall shoegazer style for the most part, yet the atmospheric vocals keep it well inline with the overall moods you would expect from an ethereal shoezage project. A mid-tempo yet steady, solid beat keeps it moving, making it a nice addition to the dance clubs for a break from 130 bpm material for a while. The combination of all of the above really make this a stellar track and a nice addition to our collection and radio shows.
Also included is an electronica-based remix in the form of the "Lady Barcelona Remix" by Slade Templeton. This remix puts on the heavier beats and an emphasis on the electronica while the vocals take a backseat for the most part. Interesting, but I think the listener has to really enjoy the style, not really my kind of music. "Talk Him Down" is an extra piece that keeps the vocals alive, but really delves into the ambient soundscapes with the vocals being mostly unintelligible. Taking it even a step further into the ambient dreamworld is the final piece "Escape From Earth". This instrumental piece slowly moves along with a euphoric, hypnotic element as layer upon layer of synth builds and flows as the underlying pulse of the song beats slowly on.
For me the EP is well worth it just for the title track, however the extras are nice and depending on your overall taste in music, there are some interesting additions here for sure.
3-D - Review
Dean Garcia is no stranger to the shoegazer music with layers of guitars with his work with Curve and recently with The Secret Meeting. Now he has joined forces with Rose Berlin and Joey Levinson for this new project that takes ethereal and shoegazer back to their roots and to new heights. This album can be found in mp3 format all over and released on physical cd with Noiseplus Music in North America. It comes with thirteen spellbinding tracks that will hold the listener captivated.
From the second I heard the first two tracks on this album I was sold on their sound. All the elements of ethereal shoegazer are present here, while many will hearken back to Curve's style, more recently, references can be made to the Projekt Records roster of ethereal shoegazer bands. We start off with lilting keys and then layer upon layer of guitars building up as a driving background for Rose's dreamy vocals on "For All Time". This piece stands out dramatically as a hypnotic masterpiece and drifts perfectly right into "Shine On Down" which is beautiful and uplifting in it's style as well.
As the album drifts along in a sort of ethereal bliss (it's too beautiful and goth-oriented to be labeled anything psychadelic), we're treated to more pieces with this core of driving, layer upon layer of guitars, a solid bass, a moving beat and lilting vocals. Though it's not all ethereal beauty, there a number of harsh effects that appear along the way that should really please the guitar-buffs that love the myriad of effects that come out so well on this album in the shoegaze style. Even the previously mentioned "Shine On Down" has countless layers and effects that alone may just sound like a screeching guitar, but when mixed with a dozen of these effects it comes together in a dreamy onslaught of sound. But the full force of the edgy guitar riffs start to come out a little more later in the album with "Find It All" as it builds up to a sort of climax, though it starts out fairly strong from the beginning with a really heavy bass along with several layered guitar effects. But it really comes out heavy with a hard edge on "Another Day" where the guitars are grinding and hard, though the female vocals still lend a smoothing feeling to it all.
Though nothing else on the album stands out quite as beautiful as the first pair of tracks, the entire album is great with it's harder edge on the ethereal shoegazer style. As I select tracks for my club and ethereal radio shows, it was hard to pick through these pieces, because many are dreamy in their nature, but with the harder edge and driving beats, they sort of edge their way out of the ambient, etheral styles and into the club mix, luckily most goths love to dance to anything along these lines, but we'll stick to promoting them on the radio waves. Listeners should love some of the hypnotic pieces that start to come out again towards the end of the album like "Better That Way" that drifts back into the ethereal realm a bit and we wind up the album much the way we started with a remix of "Shine On Down" which is a nice alternate version for some good variety and a great way to finalize the album. Once again, we highly recommend this work for any fan of the layered shoegazer music and especially with the nice female vocals to soften the edge and bring out the beauty in the music a bit more.