Echo Upstairs just released its 2nd single “Clouds”. Ana Zumpano used to play the drums at Lava Divers and, one day, she was invited to substitute Early Morning Sky’s drummer for one gig. During rehearsals, they decided to play a Lava Divers song where Ana played the guitar. That sparked a desire in her to front a band.
Gilbert Spaceh, used to play guitar for Early Morning Sky but left the band in 2018. He immediately called Ana and together with Mauro Terra (drummer at Early Morning Sky) and Bigu Medina (Oruã), they started putting their musical ideas into songs.
Their first opportunity to record together was a version of Dinosaur Jr’s “Not the Same” for a Brazilian tribute organized by The Blog That Celebrates Itself.
That put the band in a fast pace, with several compositions being arranged collectively, they started plans to record an EP with 4 songs. “We already have recorded bass and drums and then the COVID pandemic came”. It was only months later that “Green Quartz”, their first single, came ou,t in July/2020 as a digital single and music video.
Recording at home, at distance, everything was at a slow pace. So, only in the middle of November/2020, “Clouds”, their second single was released, again in digital single and music video.
“Clouds” gathered good appraisal from different publications all around the world:
Clouds evokes the same feeling you had when you listened to My Bloody Valentine for the first time. It’s the same out of body experience, as you gently saunter through the dreamy soundscape, returning down to earth once your time with them is up. Clouds is an astonishingly composed track that sticks with you like no other.
Overcast tones and soft vocals, overall, Clouds perfectly captures the quintessential sound of shoegaze and it’s the kind you can never go wrong about.
You will quite literally feel like you are floating on top of a cloud as you listen. If you are a fan of 90’s shoegaze and modern ambient dream pop acts like Men I Trust and, dare I say it, my own artist Graywave then you are going to love this song.
Echo Upstairs stand out with their poetic songwriting, mystic melodies and dynamic instrumentation. Pioneers of the sound A.R. Kane would love this band, and a show with them together would be brilliant.
…and it comes with a visually hazy video which coincides with the music’s ethereal dreampop fragility.
The band’s aesthetic references point to the past, Lush, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, without forgetting the younger crowd – Crystal Canyon, Fever Dream, Trementina, Pinkyshinnyultrablast, Revrevrev – who abuses the effects, and the volume and loud-quiet-loud as the heroes of the past taught.
After a long silent period, Dublin-shoegaze duo Submotile released a new single. “Segregation” is the first song of a desired new EP that may come out later in 2020.
Michael and Daniela released their debut album “Ghosts Fade on Skylines” in 2019. The digital version was released by the band while a limited edition in digipack CD was released by midsummer madness. Fews copies are still available.
In the latest months, they have move houses and now, in a bigger place, with a spare room to serve as their home studio, they are back recording.
Lyrics were written by Daniela, who is also working in current researches to find a vaccine against COVID-19. “Segregation” talks about the polarization of ideas and how we are getting apart from each other. Speaking to Michael, Submotile’s guitarist, he revealed astonishment about the recent news that there are people protesting against the restrictions due to the second wave of Covid-19. It feels absurd that some people believe that the pandemics are a hoax while his wife is work on a vaccine against it.
And there’s a music video, produced by Michael:
Diving into pandemic, confinement becomes unbearable. “ ‘suni’ came in a time of crisis. I was tired of trying to record a good guitar sound in my room. So, I stopped idealizing and focused on composing, looking for good melodies and harmonies. And that’s how ‘suni’ came about. I knew it would be a single when I sent it to Luiz (aliendawg.) and he liked it “, explains Adriano Caiado, from Moon Pics .
And it was not only Luiz who liked it. Several blogs praised the new single.
Austin Town Hall : ” he’s crafting these ethereal pop pieces, these otherworldly musical entities that sweep you away as a listener ”
Destroy / Exist : “ ‘flwr’ is a direct piece lavish with alluring wistfulness and plain lyricism, delivered in an utterly emotional way, and sounding utterly spacious to the point of abstraction “.
Start Track : “ I have shared Moon Pics before. This new track is really nice. I am so into it “.
American Pancake: “The fluid fwr besides sonically shimmering like moonlight on the surface of a lake feels like distant lingering memories”.
We All Want Someone to Shout For: “flwr” is a blissful sonic journey that takes your hand and guides you along with its dreamy soundscapes, into a peaceful and tranquil status that you will never want to leave“.
“suni / flwr” (lowercase) is Moon Pics’ 6th single, released in late July 2020, when almost 6 months into pandemic were dragging through our days with no signs of a close end.
According to Adriano, “flwr” was also writeen in a chase for better melodies and harmonies. “ I don’t remember recording it. I usually pick up my phone and record when I’m inspired. Then, I don’t look at it for days. When I went back to my files, I liked ‘flwr’ “.
Although composed using the same principle, “flwr” feels like the opposite of “suni”: one is slow, saturated; the other is fast, with a lot of distortion. Yin-yang, what goes round, comes round.
In the middle of the pandemic, according to Adriano, “ ‘suni’ is about not wanting to feel anything, and ‘flwr’ is about wanting to feel everything that exists at the same time. ‘flwr’ reminds me of ‘Pygmalion’ from Slowdive and ‘Disintegration Loops’ by Basinski while ‘suni’ would be more like Jesus and Mary Chain and Radio Dept “.
“flwr” has a video made by Xavier Braun:
“Stillness” has 5 songs and, despite its title, was not composed during the pandemic. Mário explains: “These songs had already been written before the third album and a more acoustic, folk language. Régis Damasceno (Mr. Spaceman ) and I had the idea of setting up a project with Andre Travassos from Moons to write folk songs. With the pandemic, the idea was folded… In isolation, Régis started working on his new album as Mr. Spaceman and asked me to write some lyrics. That motivated me to work on what is my folk EP”.
Released as digital-only, Brazilian blog Floga-se wrote: “ … start from the end. ‘Until She Comes’, with its delicious ukelele (by Regis Damasceno) is worth the whole EP. (… ) ‘(read the full text here ). And concluded that “Quinderé proposes calmness, stillness, silence, tranquillity. And it is successful in essence “.
This makes perfect sense if we hear from Mário himself the reasons for releasing these songs now: “Despite not being composed now, I feel that the songs connect very well with what we are experiencing. They could have been written in this painful period. Personally, I lost one of my best friends to cancer and, more recently, our dog passed away. However, I didn’t want the album to have that sad aura, the broken lily on the cover may represent this duality “.
It can be heard and downloaded on Bandcamp.
Or if you prefer, listen to your favourite streaming:
Rio de Janeiro’s Electric Lo Fi Seresta has released it’s new album titled “Songs From The Hypnagogic Cave”. Brazilian blog The Blog That Celebrates Itself reviewed it this way:
In this sleep / sonorous dream, a predominance of a grey and smoky aura directs the listener, obviously, as Electric Lo Fi Seresta’s dream-pop goes beyond, far beyond, the simple cuteness of his contemporaries: echoes of languid post-punk works, such as “Harmony” by The Wake, “In Silence” by Fra Lippo Lippi, serves as creative fuel, combined with the beauty and melodic exuberance of low aesthetic, which resembles the Dunedin scene (…)
The album was released in digital format only and a music video for the track “Kissing Bats Like the Drones” was released in the same way, check it out:
Pedro Montenegro is a Brazilian living in London, where he produces BarKino, a radio program for Soho Radio.
Last Monday’s, 30th of March, he aired an interview and some exclusive songs from Gustavo Seabra’s (Pelvs’ guitarist) new Portuguese-sung project VELHA.
VELHA’s (Portuguese for OLD LADY) album has no release date announced yet and it’s being recorded, re-recorded and mixed for the last 10 years (!!!). Both Gustavo and André Saddy (Pelvs and VELHA’s keyboardist) talked about the immense delays, Alicia Key’s influence and why Pelvs only sings in English. The interview is all English-spoken and includes some exclusive live tracks.
In the same episode of Barkino, you can listen to a 25-minute long mix of midsummer madness’ bands.
British blog Film and TV Now reviewed the documentary “Guitar Days – An Unlikely Story of Brazilian Music”. Here’s what they said:
The documentary chronicles the attempts by a core group of local bands like The Cigarettes, Mickey Junkies and The Pin-Ups to play their songs in English as opposed to their native Portuguese, who realized that their own language would look at odds with the energy and spirit that the sound behind the vocal would provide.
Fans of the American and British indie music scene will certainly be keen to check this documentary out, with a stirring soundtrack of contributions from the key players who created this very vibrant scene amidst great political and social challenges.
Check the full review here.
You can watch the documentary when you buy the compilation we have put out with bands that appear on the movie.
Latin American Twee is a page on Facebook publishing news about DIY indie-pop bands. They recently published a list of Best LPs and EPs from 2010 to 2019.
In the albums list, 4 out of 30 were released by midsummer madness: “The Waste Land” by The Cigarettes, “End of Decade” by Electric Lo Fi Seresta, “Sky High” by Fish Magic and “Monotone” by Churrus (foto). Lists were published on the 17th of January, 2020, if you want to check.
Follow the page for interesting news on the subject.
When we started publishing midsummer madness as a fanzine back in the early 90s, Big Takeover was a dream to pursue. This Nort-American fanzine turned into one of the best and most comprehensive music magazines still being published.
So, it’s with great joy that we share the interview that Big Takeover staff did with Irish-Italian shoegazer duo Submotile. Their debut album “Ghosts Fade in Skylines” was described as “a mesmerizing sonic weave of dream gaze and soft drones” by Elizabeth Klisiewicz.
Michael and Daniela gave an interview that originally appeared as a Short Take in Issue 85 of The Big Takeover. In the interview, we learn that Human League and Duran Duran were the duo’s first records, and that Michael was “converted” to good music by his sister, who took him to see Sonic Youth in Dublin in 1991 (and that the opening act was a band called Nirvana).
It’s hard to explain to someone who is not from Brazil the importance of Pin Ups. Especially if you weren’t into what now would be called “indie music” in the 90s, in Brazil.
Pin Ups was one of the first Brazilian bands to turn up the volume of the guitars, sing in English (well, not really the first; for more on that, watch “Guitar Days” doc, link below) and turn its back on Brazilian Music.
Simply put, they were the first Brazilian “indies”.
Pin Ups’ first album was released in 1989 by a Brazilian label called Stiletto that was also putting out licensed titles from 4AD and Creation. “Time Will Burn” was the first record from an underground generation and its importance recently has been recognized in two documentaries: “Time Will Burn” (here and here, Portuguese only) and “Guitar Days – An Unlikely Story of Brazilian Music” (trailer here; soundtrack here, and you can rent and watch full doc, with English subtitles here). Unfortunately, one of the docs has not been translated yet, but “Guitar Days” tells the story of this generation very carefully.
Always with Zé Antônio and Alê Briganti in their formation, Pin Ups have released 6 albums from 1989 to 2009. In 2016, midsummer madness re-released the band’s full discography in digital format and a very special vinyl edition of 2007′s “Lee Marvin” album.
The occasion was that Pin Ups played at the end of 2015 what was supposed to be their last gig. The gig sold out and what we saw on stage was the same energy from earlier days but performed even better. From that pseudo-goodbye on, Pin Ups was back: full discography re-released and back to the studio to record a new album.
Recording started in 2018 with Adriano Cintra (former CSS, Madrid, Thee Butchers’ Orchestra) joining Pin Ups as guitar-player and co-producer, along with guitarist Zé Antônio.
“Long Time No See” has Pedro Pelotas (from Brazilian 60s’ Cachorro Grande) playing keyboards in “Mexican Tale”, Jim Wilbur (from US Superchunk on guitars in “Mexican Tale”), former Pin Ups’ guitarist Eliane Testone (now living in London) in “Portraits of Lust” and “Little Magic”, Victor José and Elisa Oieno (from Brazilin psych-folk Antiprisma) in “Ballad for Samuel & Tobias” and “Gone Tomorrow”, and finally Amanda Butler (from Brazilian noisesters Skydown) in “You Can Have Anything You Want” and “Mexican Tale”.
Pin Ups 2019 is:
Zé Antônio – guitars
Alê Briganti – vocals, bass
Flávio Cavichioli – drums
Adriano Cintra – guitars