“With hazy guitars and silky vocals, ‘In A Box’ is the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day driving down a winding road.”
– Indie88“Channel their hometown’s long tradition of jangly psych, from The Byrds to Rain Parade and beyond”
– Brooklyn Vegan
“Seemingly indebted to Summer of Love era psych rock and 70s AM rock, the song is centered around shimmering, delay and reverb-drenched guitars, [with] Brandon Graham’s plaintive falsetto and expansive song structure that starts out a bit brooding and gets increasingly hopeful as the song moves towards its conclusion.”
– The Joy of Violent Movement
“Like their music made of wistful vocals and layers of lush instrumentation, the track and video for ‘In A Box’ has many layers to unpack upon repeat watches and listens.”
– Ghost Cult
“A jittery post-punk song at heart, ‘Post TV’ careens forward before finding sweet release in a blissful, by now classic Dream Phases chorus.”
“’Helen Highway’ is a replay-inducing success from Dream Phases, touting a satisfyingly hypnotic psych-rock production.”
– Obscure Sound
Today, L.A. neo-psych group Dream Phases share “In a Box,” the final single off their forthcoming sophomore album, New Distractions(due November 10 via Nomad Eel Records/Lunar Ruins). The single comes alongside an accompanying music video, premiered via Brooklyn Vegan.
On the track, the band said:
“‘In a Box’ was the first song written for New Distractions, in fact we played this song on our 2019 European tour. The song is about overcoming writers block, and searching for the inspiration to do just that. The chorus progressively get more hopeful as the joy of writing something new is felt. The accompanying music video was made by Matthew Lingo and Styles Wolff Baker and visualizes the journey through the sub conscious mind, searching for inspiration.”
Like many people, the members of Dream Phases found themselves looking inward during the year of quarantine. “Don’t Forget Love,” a song both driving and tender, is the account of a failed romance. As the song winds to a close, Brandon lays it all out: “Just don’t forget, I’m too sincere to give you less than all of my love and care.” Inspired by the smoldering strut of Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison, Don’t Forget Love is Dream Phases at their most unguarded.
Upcoming album New Distractions, due November 10th, represents a new era for Dream Phases. It’s the moment when an already exciting band takes a step into the unknown. Where So Long, Yesterday found the Los Angeles trio perfecting their psychedelic folk rock, New Distractions explodes that sound, picking up the pieces to make different shapes. Recorded during quarantine, but expansive and far-reaching as ever, it represents is a new peak for Dream Phases, and an exciting harbinger of things to come. What started as a solo project for lead singer Brandon Graham has now become a fully collaborative affair, with multi-instrumentalist Keveen Baudouin anddrummer Shane Graham claiming songwriting credits for the first time.
“In the past I would make a fully fleshed out demo recording and then show the guys that,” says Brandon. “With this one I mostly just wrote the skeleton of the song, like the lyrics, vocal, guitar and sometimes keys and then sent that. We talked about structure, rhythm, and other elements that brought the songs to life.”
New Distractions was largely written and composed during lockdown, with the band members working the songs through email and regular Zoom meetings. This situation paradoxically allowed for more creative freedom between the band members, as they traded songs back and forth and built them up from the ground, together. The album is, at heart, the record of a band exalting in complete creative freedom, a group with a curatorial eye toward their influences and an adventurous approach to the rock & roll canon. Dream Phases mastered their sound long ago. New Distractions is what happens when you push further on toward that unexplored horizon.
Dream Phases with play an album release show with Communicant and Sam Small at The Goldfish in Los Angeles on December 4. Tickets are available now.
You can keep your dreams under wraps or unleash them into the world. For the three musicians who comprise Dream Phases, holding back their musical visions has not been an option. Conceived in the private recesses of their L.A. home base, the trio has expanded outwards by drawing upon the rich sonic heritage of West Coast pop/rock and skillfully reimagining it for the 21st Century. But beyond its finely wrought sound and texture, there’s an intensely personal quality to the work they create together. The dreams they explore transcend mere craft and calculation.
Emerging from the City of Angels’ neo-psychedelic rock scene in 2017, Dream Phases reflects California’s natural splendor and adventuresome inner spirit in its music. The earthy-yet-exalted sounds of the Byrds, the Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – as well as latter-day artists like the Rain Parade, Elliott Smith and Autolux – figure into the band’s family tree. While this lineage is worth noting, what comes through in the band’s latest work is an individual approach that translates the experiences of its members into something undeniably compelling. First track to last, you can hear this vitality in New Distractions, Dream Phases’ sophomore album.
“I think there’s a lot more self-reflection in these songs,” says lead singer/multi-instrumentalist Brandon Graham. “They were written during the covid lockdown, and there was so much happening in the world that you really had to look at yourself in the mirror and ask where you stood on a range of issues. Several of the songs deal with growing older and taking care of yourself both mentally and physically, as well as learning to not take things for granted.” Matters of the heart gained a new emphasis: “In my previous bands, I rarely if ever wrote about relationships, but it seems like every other song on this album is about them. I guess I’m trying to be more direct now.”
Dream Phases’ initial flowering was as a solo project by Brandon. After gaining a wealth of experience working with such notable L.A.-area combos as Blank Tapes, the Relationship, Levitation Room and Nacosta, he decided to fully develop the songwriting side of his talents on his own. What began as a homebrewed project quickly turned into a collaborative stew as brother Shane and compadre Keveen helped him develop his compositions into a full-blown sound. The newly launched band’s 2017 debut EPMaybe Tomorrowwas quickly followed by So Long, Yesterday, a full-length release awash with shimmering tunes and hallucinatory imagery. “By the end, you’re left disoriented, not sure if you’re still dreaming,” wrote Shindig! reviewer Scott Croly about the album. “But once it’s seeped into your subconscious, you won’t want to wake up.”
Replicating the dreamy vibes of the band’s studio work live was a challenging task. Dream Phases passed the test with raw energy and a sense of commitment on stage, often backed up with light shows and other visual effects. A stirring SXSW performance in 2017 followed by two European tours proved the band’s mettle in front of enraptured audiences. “Our albums are very thought-out, but our live show is more primal and exciting in a different way,” says Brandon. “We never wanted to be a band that sounds exactly like it does on record.”
As with artists as diverse as the Kinks, Sparks and Oasis, the sibling bond shared by Brandon and Shane lies at the heart of Dream Phases. “There is a special synergy between us that wouldn’t be there if we weren’t brothers,” Shane says. “We share many of the same influences, but we also have some different ones as well that help make the band unique. We don’t always see eye-to-eye creatively, but then we work it out and end up with something we are both excited about.”
A band in constant creative evolution, Dream Phases draws strength from clashing colors and insight from the fusion of minds. With all its attention to detail, the band still seeks moments of transcendent surprise. “Fall down a rabbit hole/There you will finally find yourself,” Brandon sings in “Post TV.” Whatever wonderland they may arrive in, the band’s journey will be fascinating to follow. – Barry Alfonso
New Distractions – TRACKLISTING
01. Begin Again
02. New Distractions
03. Don’t Forget Love
04. Temple of Sin
05. In a Box
06. Color Me Blue
07. Post TV
08. Blink Twice
09. Aphelion Moon
10. Lady and the Moon
12. Fall Awake