I can’t tell you how much this album has meant to me through the Covid-19 pandemic. Mellow and present, dreamy and sad it has everything you need. Stare into the Void is a quarantine anthem.
Favorite track: Stare into the Void.
Founded by New York City-based musician Joe Stevens in 2017, Peel Dream Magazine released their debut album, Modern Meta Physic, on the much loved and venerable American independent label Slumberland Records the following year, 2018.
Driven by a DIY aesthetic and initially very much a ‘home recording project’, their debut recalled the likes of Yo La Tengo and Unrest and harkened back to the early 1990s, when The Velvet Underground resurged as an inspiration to a new set of bands wielding synthesizers and off-set guitars.
Having only played their debut show in January 2018 the Up and Up EP, and forthcoming second album, reflects Peel Dream Magazine’s gestation beyond the bedroom delivering something more dynamic than Modern Meta Physic reflecting their new status as a 4-piece band. Recorded in part at a studio on the northern tip of Greenpoint near Queens, the tracks feature vocals from sometimes-band-member, collaborator, and friend Jo-Anne Hyun.
While channelling some of the droney, kraut-y repetitiveness of their debut album, the tracks however hide less behind a hazy veneer possessing a hitherto to unheard sense of immediacy which draw easy comparison with the likes of Stereolab or Broadcast.
Talking about the inspiration for the EP, Stevens said:
"Thematically, these songs are plucked from a big batch of material that deals with the ethics of popular music. I wanted to talk about the current popular music scene through the eyes of Bertolt Brecht, who warned that audiences become susceptible to mind-control when they take popular art at face value. The entire EP is like a little Brechtian play. Up and Up is literally about feeling manipulated by the theatre of crap art. It's about second-guessing the highs and lows you're told to feel. Our heartstrings can be pulled by anyone who really knows what they're doing, and its not a very nice feeling when you suspect that you're being taken advantage of. Oppressive political regimes ban free-thinking art because they don't want citizens to flex their brain muscles and question the status quo. In the song, I'm inserting myself between Brecht and his nemesis, Aristotle. I want to stand up for audiences everywhere, myself included."
Details of Peel Dream Magazines second album will be announced shortly.