News updates for High Violets

High Violets at Whisperin and Hollerin

I know this album’s title is a bit like Michael Monroe’s recent release Horns and Haloes but trust me it sounds nothing like that one. Instead of high octane rock and roll this proffers downbeat, shoegazing dream pop from Portland Oregon.

The album opens with How I Love, a nicely enveloping song with cool repeating guitar parts and vocals reminiscent of Jenny Homer. Dum Dum is almost like Stevie Nicks if she’d tried to go shoegaze and doesn’t quite pull it off. It’s not bad but I find the chorus rather annoying.

Long Last Night has a slightly annoying snare drum that taps out the beat throughout as the guitars go off a bit and Kaitlyn Ni Donovan’s vocals stretch higher and higher and sound lonelier and lonelier as they do.

Break A Heart sounds like it ought to be a country heartbreak song rather than a dream pop one. It’s OK but I have to say I have heard far better break up songs. It’s due for release almost at the same time as this album. Bells is okay and kind of keeps with the impression I get of this album being what used to be described as a one away record.

Heroes and Halos has some good reverb-y guitars and high Lush-style vocals but has nothing to make it more memorable and it kind of needs to be. Thankfully, Longitude has an insistent bass to anchor things to and keep me more interested as that sneaking suspicion that the songwriters really want to be making country music raises its head again. Indeed, this would sound far better as a country song than the dreamy shoegazer it is here.

Strangely, Ease On is about the best thing on the album and it’s the first song with male vocals. Consequently, it sounds much more like Downy Mildew crossed with Slowdive and it’s a really cool song and one of the only ones to really soar on this album. Ease On opens like a Magic Hour outtake and is a great opening that sort of dissipates as the vocals come in and go all dreamy on us. I really like this track musically.

Hearts In Our Throats is a very slow almost acoustic number to finish with as if they are ready to put us all to sleep. A calm conclusion to a not quite there one away album.


High Violets at Tiny Mix Tapes

Dang, it feels like it’s been a minute since we last heard the huge, thumbing, reverb tailed-pulse of Portland, Oregon foursome The High Violets blissfully beating inside our own woozy temples. But, come to think of it, I guess most disorientingly huge and reverb-y stained-glass cathedrals weren’t built in a day, and neither is a disorientingly huge and reverb-y stained-glass High Violets record. After all, when your band specializes in making something often referred to as “dreampop,” you probably just can’t rush the huge, gooshy goodness.

And in any case, the wait for all-things-goosh is about to come to an end, because the group is about to release their first new album since 2010 (and fifth album overall). The 10-track affair, entitled Heroes and Halos, finds the four veteran gazers-of-shoe picking up pretty much where they last left off—using all that good goosh they had built-up to conjure up a “delirious mix of Lush and Slowdive,” in their delirious efforts to erect yet another “cathedral of color, a stadium of sound.”

The thick ass noise drops, in both thick-ass (dare I say, “gooshy”?) vinyl and airy-ass (um, “booshy?) digital versions, and both come at us courtesy of Saint Marie Records on April 1. But luckily for your goosh-crazed self, you don’t have to wait until then to snag a swirly taste of the EZ CHEEZ, because TMT has the exclusive premiere of the title track, “Heroes and Halos,” streaming right down below! Goosh, FTW!

And while you’re listening, you can also pre-order the album from Saint Marie… if you’re not too carried away on the River of Goosh that’s about to be coming your way when you hit play.


High Violets at Four Culture

Fourculture are delighted to bring you an exclusive premiere of the third single from The High Violetsnew album, Heroes and Halos.  And even better news, it’s the best one yet.

“How I Love (Everything About You)” keeps to that dreampop and shoegaze sound which is at the heart of what they do with reverb at the perfect level from the opening snares to the assured vocal of Kaitlyn Ni Donovan.

Synths and guitars communicate with siren-like hooks and naturally it  has a 90s, 4AD edge but later on in the song there is a poppier feel in keeping with the likes of Blonde Redhead.

The song has a sweet title but despite the sweet sounds it is never twee and at under 3 minutes it’s just the right length to be moreish.  The perfect song to open their forthcoming album (out 1 April).


High Violets at Big Takeover

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High Violets at Here Comes the Flood

There is such a thing as mainstream shoegaze dreampop. Portland, OR quartetThe High Violets have all the trappings of an alternative favorite plus the pop sensibilites to lure the punters who live outside the circles of music geeks. Some of them might even think they are listening to Madonna – after she took some serious singing lessons and worked up the nerve to be backed by a real band.

Their new album Heroes And Halos is their first since Cinéma (2010). Lead guitarist Clint Sargent once again delivers a wealth of layered licks and flowing chord sequences. Singer Kaitlyn ni Donovan doesn’t need to raise her voice. If more volume is needed double tracking and echo can do the trick.

Shoegaze is a genre with a tendency to look inwards, but The High Violets aren’t afraid to discard the limitations and incorporate bit of pieces of chamber pop, indie rock and even radio-friendly girl-meets-boy songs. Recommended if you like Tindersticks, Dead Leaf Echo and the Cocteau Twins.


High Violets / deardarkhead at Impose

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High Violets at Bloodbuzzed

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, this unbeatable named band formed in 1998, from the ashes of the Bella Low breakup. Initially the trio of founder members Clint Sargent, Luke Strahota and Violet Bianca Grace, the line-up changed dramatically with Grace leaving very soon, while the remaining duo recruited Allen Davis of Echoplex and the amazing voice of Kaitlyn ni Donovan, self-releasing their first EP ‘Dream Away‘ in 1999. In 2002 came out their mini-album ’44 Down‘, followed by ‘Invitation’, another self-released EP, in 2005 and their debut album ‘To Where You Are‘ a year later on Reverb Records. After a remixes album in 2007, the High Violets delivered ‘Cinéma‘, sophomore LP in 2010, out via Comet Rock Records, probably their most celebrated release to date. Now, after another line-up change (Davis left, being replaced by Colin Sheridan) they are back with ‘Heroes and Halos’, scheduled for early April through Saint Marie Records. A record you shouldn’t miss by any chance: a haunting collection of dreampop/shoegaze tunes recalling beloved ones like Slowdive, The Sundays or Soft Science, leaded by the magnetic vocals of Kaitlyn, the layered guitars and lush arrangements. Gorgeous sounds enveloped in haze.


High Violets at This Is Book’s Music

or a bit of dreamy pop/rock, check out the delicate-but-strong Heroes And Halos (Saint Marie) by The High Violets. The album is evenly paced with things going from quite strong to very smooth, nicely pulled by vocalist Kaitlyn ni Donovan, who reminds me a bit of some of those artists from the early to mid-90’s who take you on with how they sound but what keeps you wanting to hear more is what she says. “Long Last Night” is the kind of song you may imagine playing outside with the sun setting as you endure the changes in the temperature, wondering if what is giving you chicken skin the chills or how much you find these songs feel as if they come from your personal diaries.Heroes And Halos is the kind of album that deserves more than just casual music that may be used for a television commercial, this has merit.


High Violets at Pop! Stereo

Five albums in and The High Violets kind of have the whole post-gazing dream pop thing down pat.  They know their way around ethereality and could sculpt a noise pop song in their sleep.  They know how to take their influences and make them their own.  These guys are good and their latest album Heroes and Halos does anything but disappoint.

While they often get compared to Slowdive, I really think of The High Violets as Saint Etienne lost in a shoegazing haze.  Vocalist Kaitlyn at times sounds so much like Sarah from Etienne you’d swear she was trapped in Foxbase Alpha.   This isn’t a bad thing in any way, shape or form and in fact, it’s all a bit endearing if you ask me.  While vocally the album has a slightly twee edge about it musically, Heroes & Halos is a blissed out beautiful trip through sheets of shimmering guitar noise.  The songs are wispy, willowy and as light as breeze.  It’s all really rather gorgeous stuff and the band create an aural aesthetic that as heavenly as the album’s name implies.   There’s so little to fault here because The High Violets know how to do this with their eyes closed and they don’t it really, really well.


Heroes & Halos is the latest album in The High Violets career that exceeds expectations.  In a world littered with post-gazing pop bands The High Violets have staked their claim as leaders of the new school and with Heroes & Halos it’s easy to see why; dreampop has never sounded so heavenly as it does here.  Perfection personified.


Witching Waves / High Violets / Great Lakes / Eureka California / deardarkhead at Babysue

We’ve always felt there’s been a void in the world of music since The Fastbacks released their unbelievable string of knockout albums in the 1980s and 1990s. There was something particularly appealing about the band’s genuinely delivered loud fuzz pop injected with sinfully addictive hooks. This is the first time in a long time that a band has given us the same general feeling we get when listening to The Fastbacks…and that band is London, England’s Witching Waves. Like most artists on the always entertaining Happy Happy Birthday To Me label, these folks have a nice raw rockin’ sound that has very little in common with present day processed Cheese Whiz. The songs on Crystal Cafe are presented using only the most basic essential ingredients: drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. And that’s all you really need, of course, because it’s the songs that matter most. These eleven tracks have a slight bubblegummy sound that we particularly love, but most folks probably won’t notice this because of the volume and intensity. Witching Waves is the trio comprised of Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard. We sure hope these folks get the reaction they deserve from this album. In a world of calm and dullness, bands like Witching Waves are keeping the spark alive. Groovy buzzsaw cuts include “Twister,” “Red Light Loop,” “The Threat,” and “Receiver.” Totally cool stuff. Top pick.


Soaring, lush, beautiful, modern dreamy pop played with style. Heroes and Halos is yet another resounding success for the folks in The High Violets. This is the fifth full-length release from this Portland, Oregon quartet. In some ways the tracks on this album remind us of Ivy but with more of an atmospheric overall slant. The High Violets areClint Sargent (lead guitar, vocals), Kaitlyn Donovan (vocals, guitar), Luke Strahota (drums, percussion), and Colin Sheridan (bass guitar). These folks make music that can best be described as pop, but it’s not the kind of predictable dribble that you might normally associate with the word. While these tracks are hummable and accessible, they are also creative and strikingly intelligent. We love the understated elements. Instead of pushing or forcing, these folks just let the music flow from their veins. And it is this natural flow that makes these tracks sound so wonderfully smooth and slightly surreal. Ten perceptive compositions here including “How I Love,” “Break A Heart,” “Bells,” and “Hearts In Our Throats.” Recommended. Top pick.


Hard to believe the group Great Lakes has been around since 1996. But yup, the band has now been around for two decades…and they’re showing no signs of letting up. Originally based in Athens, Georgia, the players are now based in Brooklyn, New York. But even though the geographic location has changed, the sound remains remarkably similar and familiar. The band is driven by the songwriting skills of Ben Crum, a fellow who writes tunes that can pretty much be appreciated by anyone. Crum comes across sounding mighty relaxed and comfortable on Wild Vision, presenting smooth organic tracks that blend elements from folk, pop, and Americana. In addition to Crum the band also includes Kevin Shea on drums, David Lerner on bass, Joe McGinty on keyboards, Phillip Sterk on pedal steel, Heather McIntosh on cello, and Suzanne Nienaber on vocals (the same basic lineup that played on the 2010 release Ways of Escape). Cool, melodic, reflective…if you like the sound of real people playing real music, there’s an excellent possibility you’ll totally dig this stuff. Nine solid tracks including “Swim the River,” “Wild Again,” “I Stay, You Go,” and “Blood On My Tooth.”


Real true gritty loud rock isn’t dead…it’s just hibernating beneath the surface while most folks prefer to drink diluted gunk from a baby bottle. Eureka California is one of the brave bands out there playing music that’s just too raw and real for the masses. These folks have hit another home run with Versus. If you love the sound of guitar bands from the late 1980s right on through the 1990s when everyone seemed to be turning up and turning on, there’s a very good chance you’ll totally dig the sound of these tracks. This is the band’s third full-length release but the first to be recorded in a real recording studio. Thankfully none of the band’s edge has been salvaged in the process. Eureka California is the duo of Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler. Like most of their new releases, the folks at Happy Happy Birthday To Me have released this on a beautifully designed 12″ vinyl LP, complete with a handy dandy download card. Cool rhythms…groovy guitars in overdrive…and lyrics sung with appropriate abandon…what’s not to love here? Ten gripping cuts including “Another Song About TV,” “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City,” “Caffeine,” and “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac.” Wildly neat. Love it. Top pick.


The guys in DearDarkHead have been making music since 1988, so we’re kinda embarrassed to admit that we’ve never heard ’em until now. Don’t expect anything retro-1980s here, because retro-1980s these guys are not. This album features instrumentals that combine elements from hard rock and underground shoegazer drone. The band’s music once featured vocals but now that both of the previous vocalists are no longer with the band they are (at least temporarily) an all-instrumental band. Considering this fact, you may be very surprised at how powerful these songs are. The band is now comprised of Kevin Harrington on guitar, Robert Weiss on drums, and Kevin McCauleyon bass. For a three piece band these guys have a great big sound. This is a short album that clocks in at just over twenty-five minutes. But in that amount of time, these guys make it perfectly clear they’re in it for the long run. Groovy, compelling, and hypnotic.