Many audiophiles find that they have particular quirks about the way they listen to music, and I am no exception. I happen to be extremely seasonal with regards to the music I listen to. When the summer comes I find myself listening almost exclusively to jam bands, jazz, soul, funk, R&B, and upbeat light-hearted rock. As the temperature decreases I find greater appeal in indie rock, punk, electronic and ambient music, and the sadder side of folk. We are beginning to approach the fall, and indie rock is starting to creep it’s way back into my listening consciousness. Just this morning I was sent the new Shimmering Stars record, Bedrooms of the Nation, which has temporarily pushed back my primary intake of happy tunes with distortion and lo-fi production.
Bedrooms of the Nation is an interesting balance of rock and punk, and of lo-fi and precise production. It maintains the melodic nature and layering of indie rock with delicate harmonies, but most of the album is covered with a distorted roughness that is strongly reminiscent of punk. The production is extensive and detailed, making heavy use of effects to create atmosphere, but the stacked vocals and messy guitar have a way of blurring things into a solid lo-fi mass.
The album certainly has a strong flow to it. There is a consistency in the instrumental tones and melodies used, which make the album feel like a cohesive unit. The only downside to this approach is that the listener needs to be in the right zone in order to listen all the way through. That doesn’t mean that the entire album sounds the same, since there are critical differences between tracks, it only means that there is a singular overall tone that governs Bedrooms of the Nation. There is more than enough going on in this album to keep you engaged, and since I have only had the chance to listen through the record a handful of times, there are still many subtleties that are eluding me. I always consider that element to be critical in making an album great.
This second LP from Shimmering Stars was just released today, so give it a try! This compact 35-minute journey is well worth the time.