FOLK MAGIK PRESENTS
Winter is the songwriting alias of Los Angeles based musician Samira Winter. Before coming of age as a musician in the Boston indie-rockscene during the early 2010s, Samira spent her formative years growing up in Curitiba, Brazil, where her mother filled their home with the gentle melodies of MPB (música popular brasileira), and her father introduced her to the distorted sounds of American punk. In the years since, her collaborations have ranged from the new-age dub of Pachyman to the jazzy pop of Mild High Club, constantly expanding her musical rolodex with new ideas, and building out her already singular sonic language.
Peel Dream Magazine is the musical vehicle for NYC’s Joe Stevens, who launched the band in 2018 with the critically acclaimed album “Modern Meta Physic.” With it Stevens created a mysterious, liminal tribute to the hazy end of ’90s dream-pop — a masterful mix of first-class songwriting precision and train-window sonic impressionism that duly found its place on numerous “Best of 2018” lists.
After 18 months of writing and live shows with a shifting cast of band members, Peel Dream are back with “Agitprop Alterna,” an album that pushes the group’s dreamy, motorik sound to a deeply melodic and beautifully discordant place. This sophomore LP pays homage to the fuzzy, mod-ish pop of acts like My Bloody Valentine and early Stereolab, but it’s also indebted to stateside bands like Yo La Tengo and Rocketship that were cut from a similar cloth. It’s part Chickfactor, part Space Age Bachelor Pad; a shambolic, drone-heavy brand of minimalism, filtered through a cross-section of classic indie pop.
Where the creation of “Modern Meta Physic” was a solitary pursuit, “Agitprop Alterna” found Stevens channeling the collaborative spirit of the band’s ever-rotating live incarnation in the studio. The album is ultimately defined by the tension of difference: between itself and its predecessor; intertwined male-female vocals; the music’s languid dreaminess and concrete sonic immediacy.
Deeply rooted in the Brechtian ideas of art as a tool to spur action, “Agitprop Alterna” intensifies the connection between the existential and the interpretive first explored on “Modern Meta Physic,” giving the listener space to find their own meaning in shimmering guitars, fuzzed-out synths, and humming organ drones. It is a rejection of manipulation in all its forms and a buzzsaw against complacency — soft-focus pop whose clear-cut message is that you get to decide the message. It’s a rare trick to agitate without being obvious: perhaps that makes “Agitprop Alterna” the most Peel Dream Magazine-like statement yet.