Shoegaze and metal sound like a musical oxymoron, but somehow Philadelphia collective bottomshelf merge the two together to make something jaw-droppingly brilliant.
The band have termed their atmospheric, melodic yet heavy sound as “dreamo,” which we also love. And we got a taste for it with their debut EP Bright Days in May.
The EP’s opening track Cyst, which we played on our most recent GigRadio podcast episode, opens up with light echoey guitars with Lexi’s mellow vocals over the top in a dreamy opening. But the dream is abruptly ended with an almighty wall of noise led by Lexi’s screams and heavier screams from her co-vocalist. Heavier guitars with looping light licks continue as the screams persist relentlessly before dropping back into Light’s light vocals and a big atmospheric ending. Check it out in the video below:
The rest of the EP – which build on the theme with Shinsplints, Clot, Blister and Callous – continues the band’s intriguing ability to fuse the light and mystical with the downright dark and terrifying. A good example of this is Shinsplints, which goes from twinkling guitars into a barrage of heavy guitars and echoey vocals then scary screams.
While Blister starts out with really cool guitar chords and a meandering lick in a big atmospheric opening. It intensifies with wild screams and driving drums, then Lexi’s engaging vocals jump in over big guitar chords. It eventually drops into a light, melodic section of flickering guitars that gradually builds up to a heavy ending. Check it out here:
We love what we’ve heard from bottomshelf so far but the band are aiming even higher in 2020. We had a chat with Alex from the band to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are bottomshelf?
Alex: “bottomshelf was started when Aaron approached the rest of the members with the idea of starting a band, not knowing what direction to take. After getting a feel for the group of people we had. We ended up writing an EP that became very special to us and we wanted to see where this could take us. It’s an ongoing exploration of where the six of us can grow and explore the music we play.”
GR: You just released Cyst. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
Alex: “Cyst was written early on in the band when we were trying to find our sound and figuring ourselves out.”
GR: And you’re releasing your first full length later this year – what should we be expecting from that?
Alex: “An expansion and continuation of what we did with the Bright Days EP. I feel like with the new stuff we are writing, we all have an idea of what we are capable of and we want to push ourselves further and make something really special.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
Alex: “Heavy music with a dreamy melodic spin.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
Alex: “Our singer Lexi had never written music or lyrics before joining the band so the process was a new experience, something fun and cathartic for her. She also had just gone through a breakup, so as cliche as it is, a lot of the lyrics were a reflection on herself and her former partner.
“Instrumentally, we are striving to really experiment with ways to be heavy with a dreamier essence.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
Alex: “Fear Before The March of Flames, Deafheaven, Slowdive, This Will Destroy You, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Oathbreaker, As Cities Burn, My Bloody Valentine.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
GR: “We are currently working on our first full length which we are really excited for. We’ll have show announcements and more stuff coming soon that we are really excited to unveil to you.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
Alex: “We just appreciate the opportunity for you guys to hear our music and thank you for listening.”