Dream pop: a subdivision of alternative rock that explores texture and mood. This is a brief and insufficient summation of a genre that has so much more to offer you. Explore its rich depths: many of the best bands from the eighties to the present have been working within its realms. Listener, do you like guitars that make cerebral sounds? Do you like your vocals to sound impassioned, yet barely audible? Are you the introspective type? If you’ve made it this far, then the coming four bands might just change your life.
Jack Tatum started Wild Nothing from his Blacksburg, Virginia dorm room in 2009. His first release under the moniker, a breathless cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’, was a gift for a girlfriend. I bet this is more romantic than anything you’ve done for your significant other. Wild Nothing aren’t a small-time concern anymore. The Brooklyn record label Captured Tracks has released the band’s entire output; as a starting point, check the LPs Gemini and Nocturne.
My Bloody Valentine
People might argue that My Bloody Valentine are part of ‘shoegaze’. I’ve never liked the term, apparently coined because bands involved in the movement would gaze at their shoes. Kinda shitty, right? My Bloody Valentine contain the hallmarks of dream pop. Kevin Shields is a guitar magician, teasing out thrilling, lush, and unexpected noise. Male and female vocals blur into a sexy, androgynous mess. Some days, their 1991 masterpiece, Loveless, is my favourite ever record.
Beach House, like the other bands I’ve ‘introduced’ here, have soundtracked large portions of my teenage years. You should fall in love and break up to Beach House. 2010’s Teen Dream and 2012’s Bloom are both immaculate collections of songs. Victoria Legrand allows her French-inflected croon to sail above Alex Scally’s cascading guitar lines. ‘Lazuli’ is my jam, especially the part when, at the climax, Legrand wails ‘LIKE NO OTHER YOU CAN’T BE REPLACED’. Devastating.
Harvard-educated trio Galaxie 500’s songs all sound the same. I mean this in a good way, though! More interested in mood and texture than anything else, their records are great to put on if you fancy a spot of navel gazing. The guitars are heavily layered, the lyrics are hard to decipher. Their best song is a cover of New Order’s immortal ‘Ceremony’. 1991’s ‘On Fire’ is the classic; you should listen to this ASAP.