There was this crazy little era, not so long ago but very far away, where an indie band could sneak their way into self-promoting and funding their own music without a giant label backing them; a time when self-representation was king, when believing in your art - no matter how untraditional - could result in mass-loads of views and listens; a time without Spotifyesque ruling, without a stew of blogs that helped make or break an artist. This was a bizarre time when one site mattered for getting discovered. And to make matters that much better, it was fully open to those indies. A one-page giant discovery, a place where nearly everyone went to find out about new bands. The era of tastemakers and music marketing for everyone.
A Shoreline Dream, a band which found themselves on numerous sampler CD’s within the very pages of the now-vintage print edition of Paste, took that aforementioned route. They found their way deep within the ears of a hugely mainstream music player after spending countless tear-filled and soundscape-discovering recording sessions as the newly formed project was just beginning to materialize. With nearly a decade of music-making together before that (as a mostly goth outfit), A Shoreline Dream was the project they all truly needed to break out of their shells and take the music world by storm, all on their own…
It was a magical time: the band was on the road, doing all the stuff a major label band would do, playing live on the radio for morning shows, spinning constantly through the speakers in Urban Outfitters, forging alliances with other artists of whom they themselves were fans. This newly categorized “nu-gaze” band was hitting it hard, busting ass to slowly creep up one stair at a time - not really caring that the staircase was two miles long, piled with the rotting corpses of musicians who had fallen to their deaths - as they were carelessly pushed right back down after reaching the top. Sure, their laundry list of personal accomplishments were met; they were in Vice, Filter Magazine, and for some strange reason, even in a fashion video for Rosie-Huntington Whitely for GQ.
It all seemed totally impossible. Mostly because it was. This band playing a music genre barely cared about in its heyday was riding a wave of fearless and ridiculous rockstardom. It felt right, but was it? Did they lose their soul? Were they just being duped? As time and innovations started changing the landscape of independent music and the realities of the money it takes to survive, the struggle became real. But what made A Shoreline Dream shine brightest at this time of big change, was their metamorphosis: their sound, their vibe, the energy behind it all. Experimentation was still taking place. Fear was not an option; money was not a driving force. And the last eight years of their 13-year career have proven that more than anything.
After a few key shows that blew the shoegazing socks off of everyone (such as the San Francisco outing with legends Chapterhouse), and musical and emotional support from legends in the industry such as Mark Kramer, Ulrich Schnauss and Rocket Girl Records, A Shoreline Dream exploded. Not in a good way either. With numerous band member changes in the rhythm section, and mounting pressure to follow-up big after some important shows at SXSW, a complete band collapse took place - this coming right after the release of their now ironically titled album Losing Them All To This Time. However, what could have easily become the complete end to ASD sprouted something new. Two of the three original founding members, Ryan Policky and Erik Jeffries, set course to continue producing music regardless of any shortcomings. With drummers and bassists coming and going, they kept the music alive with songs that not only resonated the core ideals of what they loved playing, but also found themselves stumbling upon music that expanded the world of “nu-gaze.”
A Shoreline Dream continued on, and now out of seemingly nowhere they have reunited with one of the key members from their beginnings: Gabriel Ratliff, the percussionist who helped form the original sound. A Shoreline Dream has been resurrected, recollecting those early years with a mature, fine-tuned explosion of sound that originally gave them a connection to the shoegaze era of the past.
With an enormous wall of sound pummeling the listener from the first seconds of the featured single entitled “waitout,” it is apparent that they have rekindled the early years when Gabriel, Erik and Ryan jammed out with their pallette of delay and reverb pedals for hours in the original Barnum-based studio. Ryan, who has been the primary mixer and producer throughout the years put it best, “What makes this new era of ASD so great is that we no longer have to spend much time at all finding the vibe we are seeking. We literally got together three times before we hit record during a session and found ourselves drooling over the natural progression of what was coming out of us. Though we’ll always experiment and spend countless hours fine tuning, the core of what we’re writing now is so much more alive and immense than it ever was on previous recordings, yet completely in the same vein of who we’ve developed ourselves to be.” However, what makes this a progression of what ASD has blasted out in the past is that the refined production style, coupled with the stylistic influences from working with legends such as Ulrich Schnuass, has given the track clarity and expansiveness similar to their later tunes on the rare and sought after 333 EP’s Ryan and Erik churned out back in 2012.
“Lyrically the song is a somewhat political view of what seems to be happening all around us, in the fact that so many of us are waiting around for something that may never come.” Ryan explains. “It’s a strange time in history, where it’s almost as if media and the politicians governing the world are our primary focus. We sit around and wait for them to make decisions for us. We need a news report to tell us what to do next, instead of just cutting it all off and making decisions for ourselves. We’re somewhat all in an information prison and we’re having a difficult time breaking free. I’m a firm believer that considering how short our lives truly are, that we need to stop this cycle immediately. We need to step out of that cell and do what we want to do. Waiting for someone to help make that happen is like sitting in death row.”
As we ponder those statements, let’s all jump in our cars and blast this powerful new track from A Shoreline Dream, heading into summer with more ASD surprises in store for us.