Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Caterpillar’ / ‘Superego’

After taking listeners on an audible odyssey with their ethereal extended play, 2018’s Round Dreams – and following last year’s singles, ‘Bloom’ and ‘Indigo’ – Ontario four-piece Talking Violet have returned with ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’; two solid tracks of dreamy distortion and angsty lyricism which secure the band’s place as alt-rock scientists of dream-pop.

Self-described as “the loudest sleepy band you’ve ever heard”, Talking Violet have wasted no time pushing the boundaries of alternative rock with a cacophony of sonically sound elements; slowing down only to gaze at their guitar pedals. In their laboratory/studio, the Canadian quartet have cultivated their sound, crafting shimmering soundscapes that transcend genre.

First, guitarist Jay Turnbull provides lead vocals on the anxiety-driven ‘Caterpillar’, a hopeful song of self-discovery, and an ode to those of us that feel unsure of ourselves and the journey ahead: “It describes going through a time in my life where I was dealing with intense daily anxiety and felt unsure of how I was going to achieve the goals I set for myself.” From Jay’s strummed guitar melodies to the hazily picked shoe-gaze tones of guitarist Jill Goyeau, ‘Caterpillar’ is seething with emotion; further elevated by bassist Nate Blackton and Jill’s vocal harmonisation.

Next, Talking Violet tackle unhealthy friendships with ‘Superego’; a brooding performance from Jay, who reflects upon his own hesitation to end a close friendship, and accept that it was time to move forward. Jay’s haunting lyrics (“So if you stop and ask why I’m not around / Hope it doesn’t take long to figure it out”) are juxtaposed against a fuzzy soft/loud/soft dynamic reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, building to a crescendo of distorted guitars, pulsating basslines, and Jeremie Brousseau’s crashing percussion.

Through the experimental use of guitar effects, Talking Violet have developed a dense, atmospheric sound that captures the feeling of dreams. So, grab your dream-pop mixtape, add ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’ to the tracklist, close your eyes, and press play.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Kamryn Cusumano

PLAYLIST: August 2020

Whether you’ve miraculously managed to organise a holiday this summer, or you’re playing it safe and staying put post-lockdown, let our August playlist transport you somewhere you’d rather be for a short while. It’s filled with some dream-pop gems, shadowy electronics and the usual dose of indie & punk guitar tunes. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Circe – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe’s latest single is inspired by one of my favourite books, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” (Kate Crudgington)

Kynsy – ‘Cold Blue Light’
Mari & I were equally as excited about Kynsy when we first heard her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’. Based in Dublin, Kynsy takes down bullies and naysayers on this track with her sardonic lyrics and glitchy beats. (KC)

Talking Violet – ‘Indigo’
The new single from Canadian band Talking Violet, and their first in two years, ‘Indigo’ offers an ethereal dreamscape oozing a shimmering haze and immersive shoegaze-tinged hooks. Flowing with the Cocteau Twins-esque vocals of front woman Jill Goyeau, and swooping other-worldly melodies, it’s an utter sonic delight. (Mari Lane)

Babeheaven – ‘Cassette Beat’
This dreamy new offering from West-London duo Babeheaven is lifted from their debut album, Home For Now, which is set for release on 6th November via AWAL. Of this track, vocalist Nancy Anderson explains: “I wanted to write a song about creation. Whenever we create we subsequently end up destroying something in a huge way or a small way. But there is always light behind the dark even when you can’t see it yet. It’s also a comment on media, how we ingest it at an unhealthy rate. I didn’t want it to be too negative so I wrote the chorus as a relief from the darkness of the verses.” Dreamy stuff, looking forward to hearing the full album. (KC)

Evil House Party – ‘Wicked’
Released via Third Coming Records, I’m a bit obsessed with Evil House Party’s debut single. ‘Wicked’ is a “modern murderous ballad, fleshed out in a bittersweet revenge pop anthem.” Very Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque. (KC)

Winter Gardens – ‘Tapestry’
The latest single from Brighton band Winter Gardens, ‘Tapestry’ oozes a euphoric ethereal haze as twinkling, shoegaze-inspired hooks whir alongside the soaring vocals of front person Ananda. Flowing with a rich anthemic emotion, it’s an utterly captivating slice of other worldly dream-punk. Tapestry, the debut EP from Winter Gardens, is set for release on 25th September. (ML)

Arlo Parks – ‘Creep’
Having already fallen head over heels with the utterly spellbinding sounds of Arlo Parks from hearing singles ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Eugene’ getting plenty of airplay on BBC 6Music, discovering that she’d covered Radiohead’s seminal ‘Creep’ did indeed feel so very special… With a delicate emotion-strewn splendour, Parks adds her own unique majestic grace to the original. A stripped back, and truly captivating, rendition that will tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (ML)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Between Your Teeth’ 
A tentative rumination on the struggle to communicate your true feelings when in a relationship, Ailbhe Reddy’s latest single blends soft vocals with atmospheric guitars to help overcome feelings of frustration and sadness. ‘Between Your Teeth’ is lifted from her debut album Personal History, which is set for release on 2nd October via Friends of the Family. (KC)

New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’
I love it when my feminist literature & new music worlds collide! Belfast-based New Pagans’ latest single ‘Yellow Room’ is inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper, written by American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The band have penned the track to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. They’re challenging and updating the narrative around women’s mental health, and they’ve crafted a catchy, energetic post-punk tune in the process. (KC)

Belako – ‘Truth’
The latest single from Spanish faves Belako, ‘Truth’ reflects on the reality of romance often being weaponized and used to exploit us. With  its scuzzy racing riffs and the raw, swooning vocals of front person Cristina Lizarraga, it offers a snappy blast of post-punk energy. Plastic Drama, the upcoming album from Belako, is out 28th August via BMG. (ML)

Screaming Toenail – ‘IOU’
Oozing a seething energy as a whirring tension builds with jangling hooks, Screaming Toenail’s ‘IOU’ asserts that we are worth so much more than our wages, and that we don’t owe our bosses, landlords, or this racist government, anything. Propelled by an impassioned cathartic rage and swirling magnetism, its raw, angst-driven power immerses the listener in its striking, empowering message. As front person Jacob repeats the refrain “I owe you nothing” with a fierce intensity, you’re left – fists-clenched – ready to come together in solidarity and rise up against the forces seeking to oppress us. ‘I.O.U’ is taken from Screaming Toenail’s immense new album, Growth, which is out now via Hell Hath No Fury Records. Buy now on Bandcamp. I tried to word just how important a collection it is in this full review. (ML)

Mothercanyouhearme – ‘Knowing You’
The latest single from London duo Rosie Krause and Georgia Mancey – aka Mothercanyouhearme – ‘Knowing You’ oozes an uplifting jangly scuzz and catchy sunny hooks. With a subtle gritty angst, it’s a perfect slice of emo-tinged indie-pop with shades of faves Diet Cig or Partner. ‘Knowing You’ is taken from Mothercanyouhearme’s upcoming new EP People². It’s a completely DIY release, produced by Rosie and with all artwork by Georgia, with an accompanying handmade zine wonderfully entitled ‘Maga Can You Zine Me’ – celebrating a number of female creatives and raising awareness to create safe spaces for queer identifying women and allies within music. (ML)

KIN – ‘L.O.V.E’
The new single from London trio Kin, ‘L.O.V.E’ is inspired by the euphoric feeling of being at the ‘Great British Festival’, that we’ve all been missing so much this summer. With shades of the driving majesty of Warpaint, its sun-strewn hooks and rippling energy make for an instantly catchy and soothingly cathartic listen. A truly uplifting alt-pop anthem. (ML)

Tiger Mimic – ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’
The new single from Tiger Mimic, ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’ is an energy-fuelled slice of alt-rock. With shades of early Arctic Monkeys, the soaring power of front woman Jess’ vocals are juxtaposed with psychedelic hooks and a whirring drive, building to an eerie climax. An instantly catchy offering, it offers a glimmer of hope in these strange times, promising that “the whole world will start over in the spring”. (ML) 

Despicable Zee – ‘We Won’t Stop’ (Tiiva Remix)
I’ve been listening to the Tiiva remix of Despicable Zee’s ‘We Won’t Stop’ since it was released at the beginning of August. Taken from her collaborative EP Atigheh Reimagined, Tiivah’s treatment of ‘We Won’t Stop’ fuses smooth, breathy vocals together with dense yet ambient beats. (KC)

MJ Guider – ‘Lit Negative’
Based in New Orleans, MJ Guider (aka Melissa Guion) blends elements of shoegaze, gothic pop and industrial sounds to create her hypnotic music. On her upcoming album Sour Cherry Bell, she explores power dynamics, musing about the notion of “lost and found, corporeal and cerebral, harnessed and exploited, of one and many, in this reality and the next.” (KC)

Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Indigo’

Ontario four-piece Talking Violet have only released a couple of tracks so far in their career, with both taken from 2018 EP Round Dreams, but that has been enough for them to lodge firmly in our minds here at GIHE as purveyors of the dreamiest of dream pop sounds. For new single, ‘Indigo’, their first release for two years, the band have shown they’re not afraid to lean into the ethereal.

What’s most immediate on first listen is quite how much lead singer Jill Goyeau’s vocals are reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser: those stretched-out vowel sounds, weaving in and around the strummed guitar melodies of the song’s verses, before forming part of the swooping chorus are indicative of someone perfectly attuned to their craft. And what of that chorus; shoe-gaze guitars that creep in on the bridge suddenly and sonically drench the listener, as the rhythm section starts to flurry. Simultaneously controlled, impressionistic and emotional, it speaks to artists who perfectly grasp their chosen genre.  

The dreamy nature of the song is emphasised by Lourdes Lasala’s accompanying video, showing the band almost as a kind of Simpsons-esque family unit, all trying to squeeze on to the same couch, intercut with Jill, alone, singing the lyrics, or close-ups on the fish tank. It’s evocative of the escapism of youth, the closed in nature of the domestic milieu and, appropriately for the song’s title, it’s very purple. Given the band’s name, maybe there’s a theme there. With two more singles and an album promised for the rest of the year, it’ll be fascinating to see where on the rainbow Talking Violet turn up next.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Photo Credit: Lourdes R. Lasala

Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Sparjammer 67’

Sonically, shoegaze demands a delicate balance between sweet-natured, often murmured vocals, blazonic romantic lyrics and the swoop, whine and crunch of multiple guitar lines. Those elements are found to great effect in the music of Canadian band Talking Violet, and their latest track ‘Sparjammer 67’.

Formed in Windsor, Ontario in 2016, the group were initially a duo of Jill Goyeau and Jay Turnbull, with bassist/vocalist Nate Blackton and drummer McKenzie Burrows joining last year to fully round out the band’s sound. The lead to TV’s first single ‘Aspen’ last January and their debut EP Round Dreams in February. ‘Sparjammer 67’, also taken from the EP, sees the band go full visual in a video whose hazy purple lighting effects certainly live up to their colourful name.

Of all the tracks on Round Dreams, ‘Sparjammer 67′ is probably the closest to dream pop. Jill’s vocals are most reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser, with Jay’s up-stroked guitar chords giving the tune an opening shimmer.

Soon after, that shoegazey contrast pops up with McKenzie’s pounding drum flurries coming to the fore, announcing a gentle shift into a chorus. The guitars start to croon a little longer, Jill’s vocals get more warped and distorted and there’s just time for a five second stop before the song’s final thirty seconds sees her ask “What’s it like to feel alive?” and its guitar notes fade into the purple ether.

In a recent interview about ‘Sparjammer 67’, the band have said they want the song “to feel like a glimpse of light after an era of darkness”. And, with its bright shimmers and shiny hums, Talking Violet have created an ethereal, joyous track – but one that’s so thick and warm you can almost bathe in it. The band say the song’s lyrics are “largely inspired by… good friends and the way life can feel so easy with special people”. It’s appropriate, then, that Talking Violet are here to make your nights a little bit brighter.

Round Dreams, the latest EP from Talking Violet, is out now.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego