Dream pop and shoegaze have always been close bedfellows. And on the debut album from The Stargazer Lilies, We Are The Dreamers, this connection is made palpably known. Coming across as a slightly more subdued Elizabeth Fraser-fronted version of My Bloody Valentine, the band finds singer/bassist Kim Field and multi-instrumentalist John Cep (along with Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow and live drummers EJ DeCoske and Johnny Lancia) creating swirling soundscapes of reverbed percussion and hazy distortion-drenched guitar riffs, with Field’s airy vocals holding everything together. Combining a knack for memorable and slightly sugary melodies with a head full of drone and gauzy distortion, The Stargazer Lilies — with We Are The Dreamers (out October 22nd via Graveface Records) — have constructed an oddly comforting, though at times melancholy, homage to their influences and formative musical tendencies.
Recently, we spoke with John Cep and Kim Field about a few of the records which helped to shape the sound of their debut as The Stargazer Lilies. After hearing the record, it should come as no surprise that they’ve chosen such a wide range of records to discuss. The smooth — though partially submerged melodies — at play on We Are The Dreamers seem to be a bit of an update on the classic harmonies from singer Astrud Gilberto, whose The Astrud Gilberto Album they use as starting pointing in their discussion. Also mentioned are records by Stereolab, who they point to as harbingers of a positive and uplifting musical future, and Black Mother Super Rainbow, whose psychedelic sounds can be heard splashed across their own music. They end by talking abut the recent release, To The Happy Few, by 90’s alterna-rock/shoegaze band Medicine and the architecturally significant studio where it was recorded. Check out their full list below in the latest installment of our On Deck series.
John: I think we should start our 5 album journey at the beginning when Kim and I first met.
Kim: John was the one who introduced me to the world of Bossa Nova. We spent a lot of time just hanging out listening to Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, Jobim etc. Astrud Gilberto quickly became one of my all time favorite singers. Her understated sincerity is perfect to me. Of course she was teamed up with some of the greatest song writers and musicians of all time and was so lucky to have come to the U.S. from Brazil right at the time that international travel was really coming in to vogue. She just had everything going for her. She’s a real icon.
John: It’s a gorgeous fall day here at our Pocono pad as I pull out Dots and Loops on vinyl and it sounds as fresh as the first time I heard it. This more than any other album brought me back to the present after living in the past for so many years. It’s an album to me which perpetually feels like the future… full of hope optimism and brilliant instrumentation and song arrangements.
Kim: I remember we bought this album in L.A. and then listened to it while driving out to Palm Springs for the first time. The combination was pretty magical. Sometimes when I feel like I come up with a good melody I think it’s because I’ve spent so much time listening to Stereolab.
Kim: My mind melted when I discovered Broadcast. I had the fortune of being able to pen pal with Trish for a time while I was setting up a tour for Soundpool after our friend Dougee Dimensional of the Gentle People sent me her contact. She was incredibly kind to me. She was helping me with ideas of where we could play. She invited us for tea and scones. She would watch our videos and tell me how much she loved certain things… my dresses… the songs or how things looked. I felt like she and I could have been really good friends. Sadly we had to cancel the plans for that tour after our drummer had a freak accident and wasn’t able to fly. I’ve always been sad about not getting to meet her in person. I really wanted to give her a hug and say hi the last time we saw them play but I was feeling too shy that night.
John: The first time I heard Dandelion Gum, I thought it was so mind blowing that I did something I never do, I immediately sent the band a cd of Kim and my band at the time, Soundpool. A year and a half later Soundpool opened for BMSR and we’ve been friends ever since. The album literally changed my life, it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s definitely up there with the all time greatest psychedelic albums ever recorded.
John: I had known about Medicine and always really dug their 60’s psych infused melodic wall of noise. But I discovered Brad Laner, the genius behind Medicine while obsessing over mid-century modern architecture in southern California. Brad, you see, lives in an architecturally significant Eichler home in a historically designated neighborhood. And this is where Medicine’s psychedelic masterpiece To The Happy Few was recorded. It’s a truly brilliant album which aptly reflects the forward thinking environment in which it was created. In a year of long awaited and widely anticipated comebacks, this album may be the best one of all.
The debut album from The Stargazer Lilies, We Are The Dreamers, is out October 22th via Graveface Records.