Cat’s Eyes is the new project of The Horrors‘ singer Faris Badwan and his girlfriend Rachel Zeffira. That I’m not really a fan of his band’s music (bar “Sea Within A Sea”) and the alarmingly witchhouse-like name and artwork made me rather cautious. It unexpectedly turned out to be one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. Musically, it’s ’60s-minded dream pop with psychedelic and orchestral flourishes, as well as touches of girl-group pop and bossa-nova. There are ethereal, gauzy vocals drenched in reverb, but not without a charming pop sensibility, and a sense of nostalgia and familiarity in the songs. In short, it’s a brilliant dream pop record. The album is cohesive, while also very diverse, like a collage of the music era they’re paying tribute to. Listening to it reminds me of when Alex Turner made his Scott Walker record with The Last Shadow Puppets, which I actually prefer to his Arctic Monkeys’ stuff. Both are clearly a labour of love, too good to be only one-off vanity projects. Cat’s Eyes’ debut album is a truly exquisite delight, and I expect it to be a real sleeper hit this year. Gotta love it when a release like this just came out of nowhere and took you by surprise.
Get a track called “Not A Friend” for free below, and stream the lovely ballad “Love You Anyway” (which sounds like a lost Carpenters track). The new single, “Face In The Crowd”, is pure Phil-Spector-esque goodness. Or just try the whole album, it’s a wonderful half hour.
Cat’s Eyes – Love You Anyway
Rather out of the blue, Seattle-based dream-pop/shoegaze band Trespassers William just released a collection of rarities, consisting of unreleased covers, remixes, and alternate takes, on Bandcamp. It’s one for the loyal fans, but not to be missed is their much-coveted (well, for me) cover of The Innocence Mission’s “Tomorrow On The Runway”. It was recorded for a tribute compilation that was eventually shelved, and remained unreleased until now. Both Karen Peris and Anna-Lynne Williams are two favorite vocalists of mine, and the original is the sort of unbearably beautiful folk song that, for lack of a better expression, can make grown men cry. So the idea of Trespassers William covering this particular song is just too good to be true.
The band had also recorded their version of Muppets tune “The Rainbow Connection” as a sweet little lullaby. Stream/free download below.
London-based band Still Corners is quickly becoming one of my favorite new acts, and for all the right reasons, too. The band combines ethereal vocals on reverb with ’60s pop sensibilities to create hazy, haunting dream-pop of the highest order. “Endless Summer” sounds like the Twin Peaks soundtrack married to the pounding “Be My Baby” beats. The b-side to their new 7″ single “Don’t Fall In Love”, “I Wish”, is an all-too-fleeting, beautiful acoustic track, with a gorgeous retro-looking video. Their music would sound perfect in late summer, but perhaps it’s still not too late to enjoy it in the cold sunshine. I’m really impressed with their output so far, hopefully, a full-length album will be on the horizon soon. Watch the video for “I Wish”, and sample 2 songs after the jump.