Peel Dream Magazine

Agent: Mahmood Shaikh

“a soundtrack of tropicaliá, motorik, and library music” — pitchfork 

“one of the more true inheritors of the mantle of stereolab to emerge in some time” — aquarium drunkard

“[agitprop alterna is] an album that intends to challenge norms of rock music, while acknowledging those that came before — kexp

“hooky, harmonic rock that seems to glow softly” — exclaim!

“shoegaze and classic velvet underground-style zone-outs and krautrock-indebted art-pop all colliding” — stereogum

“fuzz bliss” — viking’s choice, npr

“an intoxicating wave” — paste


Rose Main Reading Room, the fourth full length by Peel Dream Magazine, is a lush, inviting headphones record; the kind of album made to accompany city bus rides and rainy-day solo trips to accidental destinations. The band, whose name nods to the BBC Radio 1 legend John Peel — arbiter of all things underground, quality, and (it must be said) “cool” — has since its inception been a genre-hopping experiment, jumping from motorik krautrock to shoegaze and space age pop, and their newest work is a perfect starting point for the uninitiated, beckoning toward a newfound romance and nostalgia with their catchiest collection of songs to date. 

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Set to the backdrop of New York City and its towering landmarks — The American Museum of Natural History, Grand Central Station, and the like — songwriter Joseph Stevens weaves personal stories into the wider fabric of the natural world, touching on themes of instinct, animality, and evolution. On tracks such as “Central Park West” and “Migratory Patterns,” Stevens and his principal contributors, vocalist Olivia Babuka Black and multi-instrumentalist Ian Gibbs, evoke a woodland sound palette juxtaposed against drones and various electronics, like on side one closer “Gems and Minerals.” 

Pre-release singles “Wish You Well” and “Lie In the Gutter” conjure the driving feel of the band’s earlier output, which often draws comparisons to Stereolab and Yo La Tengo, while songs like “Dawn” revel in arpeggiating woodwinds and mallets, recalling the wide-eyed contemporary classical of Steve Reich and Sufjan Stevens. Rose Main Reading Room also touches on Y2K indie pop nostalgia by incorporating breakbeats and acoustic guitar-driven ear candy, as heard on tracks like “Counting Sheep” and “Four Leaf Clover”. 

Across its fifteen songs, Rose Main Reading Room ultimately proposes a world of marvels and compelling complexity: “Oblast” cheekily prods at mutually assured destruction; “Ocean Life” explores the infiniteness within ourselves; while “R.I.P. (Running in Place)” unpacks an all too familiar stagnation. It’s all part of, and crucial to, Rose Main Reading Room’s transportive power, ever reaching for the wonder and magic of the world we live in.

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