While they wouldn’t claim YouTube’s algorithm as lord and savior, Soft Blue Shimmer aren’t opposed to the mysterious ways of online connections. The LA-based dream pop band are quick to riff on their love for the ever-viral subgenre of city pop and jazz pianist Ryo Fukui, both discovered via the Recommended Video sidebar—but such cyber rabbit holes are also how they found a local scene, connected with their dream producer, and signed with a label they’ve never been in the same room with. “We have a lot of online buds,” guitarist Charles Crowley notes pithily.
Originally playing under the name Yume, Crowley, guitarist Martin Gonzalez and drummer Kenzo Cardenas began to feel an undeniable pull towards a more “dreamy, queer, and noisy” identity around the time singer Meredith Ramond joined. After a brief hiatus, Soft Blue Shimmer emerged with a built-in local scene with bands like Ridgeway and Drowsy. Still, the newly minted band had to travel a thousand miles outside of LA to find a mentor in producer and Gleemer frontman Corey Coffman.
“Kenzo and I got into Gleemer around the same time period and became huge fans,” Gonzalez recalls. “And when Martin gets very excited about something, I get real excited about it,” Crowley adds. “We demoed specifically for [Coffman].”
After messaging Coffman and spending a couple weeks in his Loveland, CO studio, their initial demos were “ripped the fuck apart.” With equal parts Coffman’s guidance, Ramond’s increased involvement learning bass for the band, and the natural cohesion that happens being stuck in a wintry Coloradan studio to credit, Soft Blue Shimmer turned out a masterclass in towering dream pop across Nothing Happens Here’s five tracks. Where opener “Dream Beam Supreme” perfectly soundtracks the urban ennui implicit in the EP’s title, highlights “Shinji” and “Chamoy” are anchored by the kinds of maximalist hooks seldom seen in shoegaze since Asobi Seksu and Infinity Girl hung up their respective guitars.
Fittingly, Nothing arrives through Infinity Girl’s former label Disposable America, which the band found after obsessively Googling and cold-messaging labels on the East Coast. Still, Crowley swears their social networking abilities aren’t indicative of Soft Blue Shimmer’s headspace on Nothing.
“When I look at Nothing Happens Here, all the songs give off a theme of stagnation, whether that’s in your personal life, emotional health, mental health, or relationships,” he adds. “[The songs] all kinda point to this point where things become static or you’re waiting for something to happen.”
Nothing Happens Here is out on cassette and digitally this Friday, but you can stream the whole EP below.