Neon Indian, Dntel, Panda Bear, Slowdive
Who doesn’t love a good back story? After getting fired from his day job, Dexter Tortoriello grabbed his girlfriend Megan Messina and shuffled off to Hawaii to live off the land for a few precious months. Thanks to a few ocean breezes, some warm surf and a solar-powered laptop, the duo was able to emerge with the guts of an album filled with summery sounds and electro-ambient-pop good vibes—the perfect antidote to winter’s doldrums.
There are a lot of artists peddling dreamy, atmospheric electronic sounds these days—some, like How To Dress Well and Neon Indian, can be found on Houses’ own label, Lefse Records. So Houses isn’t reinventing the wheel, but that’s not the point of its debut record. All Night is a sonic postcard from a three-month excursion out of the bleary, dreary, landlocked continental US and into the paradisal warm embrace of the Aloha State.
With some sweet vocal assists from Messina, Tortoriello constructs the type of dream pop that rears up above the harsh fray from time to time. Think of the late-eighties, early-nineties shoegaze fuzz of bands like Slowdive melded with more contemporary acts like Four Tet: ethereal songs rife with synth washes, impressionistic vocals, programmed percussion and looped samples.
Tortoriello has spoken about past battles with crack and heroin addiction while playing in metal and noise bands back in his teenage years, as well as his ensuing stints in rehab and halfway houses. All Night sounds like a release from all that noise and chaos and pain—kind of like an extended respite on a tropical island.