Category Archives: dream pop

Lia Marie Johnson

Meet Lia Marie Johnson who hails from Wahiawa, Hawaii although she currently resides in Los Angeles. Lia Marie is a very talented singer / songwriter and also apparently very well-known on You Tube. She has acted in numerous film and television shows.
I have to acknowledge my friend Shahin who pointed me in the right direction towards this talented young lady.

But last year she got serious about the music biz, and was subsequently signed by Capitol Records.
Based on her first two singles for them “DNA” and “Cold Heart Killer” this young lady is going places. She is simply amazing.

Don’t take my word for it, let’s take a little tour of her music catalog.

This is Lia Marie’s latest single, the video dropped about a month ago,
Wow! This is one heck of a song, so deep and quite a story. With tremendous vocals from Lia Marie. I think I’m in love again. Yeah, you don’t need him anymore.
Cold Heart Killer

Lyric video directed by Sarah Bahbah and produced by Possy Agency.
DOP: Stefan Weinberger
Post Production: Victor Pakpour

This was the first song I heard by Lia Marie Johnson and I was suitably blown away. Such a beautiful song about a dark subject. Obviously I’m not alone in digging it, currently has more than 8.5 millions views. The more I hear it the more in love with it I am.
DNA

Official video directed by Gabriel Younes and produced by Anthem Films and Elliot Sisson
(C) 2016 Awesomeness Music Partners, LLC

This was from a couple of years back, a cover of the Ellie Goulding classic. I truly believe I prefer Lia Marie’s version, and I have long been a fan of the Ellie Goulding version.
Love Me Like You Do

Keys: Jen Hirsh
Directed and Edited by: Eric Guerrero

Still back a couple of years was this early pop gem from Lia Marie Johnson when she was still a teenager.
A well crafted young pop tune, surprised it didn’t crack the charts.
Moment Like You

Gonna close today with a live version of one of the songs featured at the beginning of this post.
Live, this is even more powerful in its stripped down simplicity. Brilliant.
DNA

Video directed by Possum Hill and produced by Thermonuclear
(C) 2016 Awesomeness Music Partners, LLC

Brenda Xu

model: Brenda Xu, MUAH: Kat St. John

Wow, what a treat I have for you on this quiet Sunday afternoon. Meet a very talented singer / songwriter who hails from the Seattle area in the great North West.

We’ll let her fill you in with her mini bio:
Ambient/folk artist, Brenda Xu (pronounced “shoo”) has been building a steady following since her arrival on the Seattle music scene a few years ago. The momentum she created with the release of her last album “For The Winter” in 2014 has led to two successful western U.S. tours and a recent feature in the MTV show “Awkward.” Compared to artists such as Cat Power, Daughter, and Aimee Mann, her sound has been described as “treading the delicate line between washed-out ambient tones and carefully crafted acoustic arrangements.” Her new album “Overflow” builds on the unique sonic landscape that she created on her last album with more complex song structures and musical arrangements. As a DIY artist, she has successfully funded two Kickstarter campaigns to release her albums and music videos. She plans to tour the U.S. and Europe this year to reach a growing audience in new regions.

That said, every song I have heard by her is a mini masterpiece. All great songs by a great singer.

So are you ready for a wander round her song book?

First up what a beautiful understated song this is. I love the simplicity of its opening verses, but the orchestra provides some complexity. And then of course there is the awesome tone of Brenda Xu and her beautiful voice. A pretty cool video too.
Lovely Storm

“Lovely Storm” written & performed by Brenda Xu
from the album “Overflow” (release date 2/24/17)
live performance shots & editing by Rob Edmondson
time-lapse shots by Krists Veide

? Brighton Lacey Photography

I always enjoy these Sofar performances, they always seem to capture the artist perfectly. This one is no exception a beautiful performance by Brenda Xu @ Sofar San Francisco.
Another great song.
Light of the moon

Filmed by: Stef Sequeira
Manuel Garcia
Elizabeth Barelli
Edited by: Elizabeth Barelli
Audio by: Scott McDowell

 

OK, let’s change it up a little bit and hear Brenda on a cover, and of course being from Seattle it has to be Nirvana or Jimi Hendrix. This is a terrific performance at TBASA’s Lo-Fi All Stars #76.
Smells Like Teen Spirit

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It is the opening track and lead single from the band’s second album, Nevermind (1991), released on DGC Records. Written by Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl (lyrics by Cobain, music by Nirvana) and produced by Butch Vig, the song uses a verse-chorus form where the main four-chord riff is used during the intro and chorus to create an alternating loud and quiet dynamic.
[Wikipedia]

 

This is the final track for today, another wonderful live performance, this time @ NILEShcs. A tremendous song about a trumpet, but in lieu of a trumpet they have a flugelhorn. Don’t worry about it just enjoy it.
Trumpet Song

Trumpet Song * Yun-En Liu on violin and Tyler Nugent on flugelhorn

? Sharon Hannah

OK, so I lied again. Couldn’t leave you thirsty, so check out this great new album from Brenda Xu.

Overflow

released March 7, 2017

vocals, acoustic guitar: Brenda Xu
drums: Ben Kent
bass, electric & acoustic guitar: Timothy Van Buren
violin: Yun-En Liu
viola: Andrew Van Kempen
cello: Colin Isler
trombone: Don Farwell

all songs written by Brenda Xu ©
produced by Don Farwell & Brenda Xu
recorded at Earwig Studio in Seattle, WA
mastered by Levi Seitz at Blackbelt Mastering

cover artwork by Jacquie Gouvea

 

Cats of Transnistria

? Eetu Maaranen

We all know what a cat is, but what is a Transnistria?
Transnistria: Transnistria (also called Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria) is a breakaway state located mostly on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine. It is internationally recognised as part of the Republic of Moldova but whose de facto independence is maintained with the assistance of Russian forces.

Allegedly there are no cats in Transnistria.

So we have Cats of Transnistria who are a slow and deep duo from Helsinki, Finland.
Cats of Transnistria are Tuomas Alatalo and Henna Emilia Hietamäki.

So let’s get to hear this awesome music.

First up this deliciously dark piece, amazing guitar work and the beautiful voice of Henna
It has a great video of beach scenes through the ages, not too sure much of it is from San Francisco though. Some of the surfing stuff could be from Mavericks on a quiet day. Some of the older stuff could have been from the Sutro Baths.
San Francisco

Unofficial music video from “a fan”.
We own no rights.

? Silja-Riikka Seppälä

Next up a live Sofar performance from Helsinki. Sofar do such a great job producing these videos all around the world. The performance is just as good as their recordings are, proving them to be real artists. Oh and her voice, her voice.
Let It Happen This Way

Filmed by: Arto Marttinen, Susan Heikkinen & Henri Hämäläinen
Edited by: Eero Lehtinen
Audio by: Simo Pitkänen

? Sofia Okkonen

Another beautiful blend of dream pop vocals and fuzzy, psyched guitar and of course the keyboards. This tune is hypnotically brilliant, it engages you from the very beginning right up to the final notes. If only all music could be this inclusive.
The Departure

The video, directed by friend and photographer​ Sofia Okkonen, slowly unwinds through shadows and smoke to reveal a fine band performance full of emotion and mood, reflecting The Departure’s dream state structure and sense of longing. Hypnotic and at times surreal, The Departure’s 7 plus minutes is something to get lost in.

? Niclas Mäkelä

I’m not sure what this one is about, but then you can all read the lyrics? text? the same as every one else. But seriously, this is another gem of dark decadent mood pop. Just enjoy it.
Haastattelussa

Cats of Transnistria esiintyy Stupido-klubilla 13.5. Illan muut esiintyjät ovat Cyan Kicks ja For Tomorrow.

We are going to finish up with this 10 minute masterpiece, it’s slow but beautiful. It’s worthwhile taking the time to kick back and enjoy this awesome piece.
Cats Of Transnistria’s recently released debut album Divine, has been warmly received, with many commenting on the album’s atmosphere, beauty and dark charisma. The centre piece of the album is the 10 minute-plus trance-invoking Displacement: repetition, slow build with noisy release – Cats of Transnistria tell us that Displacement is “a song of wanting to be anywhere else than here and of the enormous joy one feels when finding a way out'”
Displacement

First camera: Dimitriy Zhuravlev
Second Camera: Polina Sarancha
Editor: Alina Sarancha
Cargo Collective / Panika Derevya
The video was shot in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

? Niclas Mäkelä