If it seems like A Shoreline Dream has been rather quiet lately, it's because it has. But there's a very good reason for that: The outfit has been hard at work finishing up a brand-new album, Losing Them All to This Time, which is slated for release on September 19 -- five years to the day from when the band's debut, Avoiding the Consequences, was first released. And that's not the only coincidental timing associated with this record.
On the very day the band finished the new album -- its fifth release in as many years -- Ryan Policky paid off the original loan he took out to finance Consequences. If you've been following the band since the beginning, you might remember reading about how Policky staked the band by leveraging his house's equity and then creating his own imprint, Latenight Weeknight.
"I thought, why don't I just take a loan out," he rationalized at the time, "instead of just going to try to get a label that I'm going to have to pay back anyway?"
With that loan, the band pressed 2,000 copies of its album -- more than half of which was earmarked specifically for promo -- and arranged for some key promotional placement with magazines such as Filter and Paste, things a traditional label would presumably have brokered. Turned out to be a wise investment.
"Obviously the music needs to be good -- that's a given," Policky points out. "But how much money and how much time you can put behind stuff will definitely translate into success, whether it's financial or just having more fans or whatever it is. I think what we did has translated into a lot more fans than if we just would have sat around waiting for a label for somebody to sign us. We're selling consistently on iTunes and eMusic and all these digital sources. It's not like we've had any lulls.
"We've also gotten a lot of contacts," he adds. "It's been building and building."
Indeed. The exposure, combined with positive notices in publications like Wired, has led to some interesting and prominent -- albeit odd -- placements and licensing opportunities, such as the recent inclusion of "Neverchanger" on an iPod app devoted for a feature on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the U.K. version of GQ magazine.
Evidently, when developers were developing the video for the app, they used one of A Shoreline Dream songs as bed music. It fit so well, apparently, the developers reached out directly to Policky for permission to use the track in the clip's final version (below). Born shoes likewise also recently used the act's music in a promotional video that the company posted on its site.
"There's been all these contacts that we've been getting that are just building and building and building," notes Policky. "Creative directors are finding out about us, and I don't think we would have gotten any of this if we didn't do all the work that we did, getting our music on those samplers."
Speaking of samplers, Policky has graciously provided us with a track from the new album, which we're now sharing with you (with Policky's blessing, of course). "Dreamsong" is the first single from the new eleven-track album, which also features another Ulrich Schnauss collaboration and the group's take on Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." And while "Dreamsong" offers a vivid glimpse of what's in store, evidently we're barely seeing the tip of the iceberg.
"It's got this unique vibe to it. It goes through different genres of music, but they all seem to seamlessly work together," Policky reveals. Evidently, there's some Middle Eastern flair to some of the songs, as well as some ambient electronic sounds and even some borderline thrash. "It's like ambient thrash or something. That's one of the instrumental ones on there. It's the fastest I've played a guitar part since playing death metal back in my high school days."
"At first I was like, 'I don't know how this is going to come out,' all these songs together," Policky admits. "'Is this going to be complete mayhem, or is it all going to work?' And it just works, I don't know. Somehow it came together and seems to fly. I think it's because we still kind of put all those ambient layers of layered guitar overtones and just like droning sounding stuff all the stuff that's going on, even in the Middle Eastern sounding track. It still kind of has our flair."
Losing Them All to This Time is A Shoreline Dream's first recording with bassist Adam Edwards, who replaced founding bassist Enoc Torraca. "He's amazing," Policky says of Edwards, marveling at his formidable bass skills. "His playing on this is just outstanding. It's the bass lines I've heard in any of the stuff I've worked on. Yeah, he kicks ass. It's like borderline progressive."
As labored-over as the album has been -- it's been a year-and-a-half in the making, according to Policky -- many of the tracks were recorded in just a few takes. "Obviously the production took forever," he says, "but the initial recordings that we have, like that first song 'Dreamsong,' was done on the second time that we played it together. And the end song is the same way. We just kind of, like, let it all come out the way it would naturally come out."
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Sounds pretty good from what we've heard so far. Listen for yourself below.