The Merkin Dream
Gig Seeker Pro

The Merkin Dream

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"The Merkin Dream - Cottage EP - Tokion Magazine"

Right in time for the lonely cold of winters' viscous bite, The Merkin Dream come out of the snowy exterior and into the crackling warm fire of our hearts. Mixing atmospheric electronics with enough post-rock elbow room for the band to reveal beautiful sounds that melt on your tongue like snowflakes, they construct somber pop poems that make it easier for us to go to bed alone while thinking about someone else's sleeping bag. - Tokion Magazine


"The Merkin Dream - Cottage EP - (in french)"

8 sur 10
Pour la première fois en trois ans, la formation originaire de San Francisco The Merkin Dream nous fait grâce d’un court signe de vie on ne peut plus apprécié avec un nouveau disque EP. Il faut croire qu’il s’en est passé des choses depuis le temps au sein du trio puisque cette période de gestation semble avoir été des plus prolifiques pour ces derniers qui succède à un premier album, qui connut un succès somme toute mitigé, avec un renouveau des plus réjouissants. L’espace des quelques vingt-trois minutes et des cinq nouvelles pièces offertes sur Cottage, The Merkin Dream propose une série de compositions tout aussi planantes que la plupart des pièces de leur album éponyme, sous une forme désormais beaucoup plus pop.

Sur leur premier disque, le groupe s’aventurait avant toute chose dans le paysage d’une musique électronique froide tout en parvenant à plusieurs égards à aligner une intimité similaire à celle de leurs nouvelles compositions, demeurant néanmoins à une certaine distance de son auditoire. C’est d’ailleurs cette forme un peu plus personnel et surtout palpable qui détonne au départ. Cottage prend en ce sens rapidement les attraits d’un mélange pop électro-acoustique enivrant et fort bien agencé qui s’éloigne considérablement de leur essai antérieur sans pour autant être totalement déstabilisant pour ceux déjà initiés. Le groupe propose ici une nouvelle formule relayant l’électronique de The Merkin Dream en arrière-plan au profit de l’acoustique et de quelques guitares électriques venant livrer leurs textures voluptueuses, rappelant les mêmes élans que l’on retrouvait à l’occasion sur le dernier Epic 45, particulièrement sur la première pièce de Cottage, Nothing to Be Gained Here.

Par contre, la surprise de taille que nous a préparé le groupe est qu’il nous amène face à un album complètement accompagné de supports vocaux, que l’on retrouvait à l’occasion sur The Merkin Dream, mais qui était tout de même un album mojoritairement formé de pièces instrumentales. Il s’y installe donc un mélange de voix confidentes rappelant celles du premier album de Barzin dans une structure par contre beaucoup plus pop que folk. Cottage mélange en ce sens assez habilement voix masculine et féminine, assurée par la participation d’Olivia Kim, un peu comme Barzin avait su le faire sur son excellent album éponyme. Initiative qui fait ressortir d’ailleurs probablement les compositions les plus réussies de cette courte visite avec A True Story et Art Students.

Livré avec finesse et également plus de nuances que sur leur premier disque, qui offrait tout de même sa part d’excellents moments, ce nouveau EP de The Merkin Dream témoigne d’une superbe évolution de la part d’un groupe qui a décidé d’en faire un peu moins d’un point de vue expérimental, mais qui n’a pas tenter non plus d’avancer n’importe comment. Choix extrêmement judicieux alors que les nouvelles avenues musicales visitées par le trio lui vont à ravir. The Merkin Dream nous amène tranquillement vers leur nouvel univers pop rêveur somptueusement mijoté et de manière beaucoup plus intime par la même occasion, affichant par surcroit une force d’écriture et d’interprétation vocale jusque là insoupçonnée. Vivement un deuxième album!


- Jean-François Vandeuren, 22 Février 2005 - www.funkimusik.com


"The Merkin Dream - (The Merkin Dream) - Exclaim!"

By I. Khider
November 13, 2001

Down-tempo trip-hoppy chilliance from producers Kai-Wai Hsu and Brian Volk-Zimmerman. This album has a little bit of Aphex Twin Ambient Works Vol. 1 accents blended with lounge-y acid jazz styling along with Marumari-like quirkiness, making this a good, unobtrusive album to leave on while studying, working or cleaning the house. The coolest and most unexpected track on this CD is "Does My Hard Drive Turn You On?," an old Moog-style love ballad expressed via robotic vocals that uses computer parts as sexual metaphors. "Does My Hard..." is dedicated to all cyber geeks throughout the world. The Merkin Dream is chill-out music with some substance and wit to it. - Exclaim!


"The Merkin Dream - (The Merkin Dream) - KEXP"

A beautiful full-length from this band formerly known as simply "Merkin." Emotional trip hop and ambient soundscapes that border on pop but not quite. This is close to perfect on a quiet, cloudy day. - John Richards - KEXP 90.3 FM


"review of most recent Monteal show"

The Merkin Dream started off the show. The synthetic bass stabilised the calm, frenetic melodies of the band’s Godspeed-like build up. However, unlike the latter, the build-up was for a lead and two backups, and the vocals seemed to be used purely as a tool to guide the instrumental melodies.
The Brooklyn-based band, which made a recent debut with the newly-formed Banana Apple Records, tends to use subdued vocals, which seem to be there mostly for tonality. With three vocalists, the group alternates lead for specific songs.
The show was put together by Under The Snow, a Montreal music festival that took place from March 3rd to 6th.
For the majority of their set, the five-piece outfit clashed with nothing but the sound of change being dropped to see them. Casa, having a legal capacity of 80, was without a doubt over the limit, as the room was very packed.
What defined the Merkin Dream best throughout the show was that they refused to let their songs be pigeon-holed into any specific genre. Pretentious-sounding experimental rock gave way to a more indie feel, before switching to a free-flowing, jam-band feel, which transformed into a more rock-oriented emo-styled Postal Service sensation. All of this while maintaining the musical cohesion of the same band that had originally stepped onstage.
It’s kind of twisted how the show’s greatest flaw was at the hands of the audience, who were a bit too talkative. This could have been, in part, due to the performance, which seemed to cater to big fans of The Merkin Dream’s style, but maybe wasn’t enough to hold the attention of the average concertgoers in the overcrowded room.
The band had jumped into their set a little too quickly and didn’t give us a chance to love the people in the band before we were exposed to their unique brand of alternative-everything music. A large part of their set was enhanced by their keyboardist, who definitely helped pull many of the songs together.
Their last song took their set to its climax, with a loud but light sound that transformed into a distortion-backed rock phantasm – which eventually caused one of the guitarists to break his D-string in the ruckus.

- www.wetlabel.com


"The Merkin Dream - (The Merkin Dream) - AMG"

by Matt Borghi


The Merkin Dream have been compared time and again to the French band Air, but that's been quite a silly comparison, as the two sound nothing alike. There is one song on their debut, self-titled The Merkin Dream, that uses a strange vocal effect made popular by Zapp and Roger, Snoop Dogg, Air, and Daft Punk called the vocoder, but that's just about the only similarity. The Merkin Dream, on their debut, have tried to create an interesting recording that blends certain machine-like elements of electronic music, while at the same time retaining some of the organic and more lifelike elements of indie music, à la Sonic Youth or the Pixies. Overall, the Merkin Dream have achieved this. This is a fine recording that seems to breathe with new life. There are parts of this disc that are comparable to some of Moby's work as well, but for the most part the Merkin Dream have created an strong and crafty disc that seems to even have a bit of a dub feel. The Merkin Dream's debut recording is consistent, bold, and a good work overall. - All Music Guide


"The Merkin Dream - (The Merkin Dream) - Mixer Magazine"

7/10
Brooklyn fine Arts duo Kaiwei Hsu and Brian Volk-Zimmerman may just bring back the fine art of ambient if they keep making records like "The Merkin Dream." Fusing programmed sounds and uber-studio techniques with a quiet, organic jam feel, the pair marry an almost shoegazer sensibility(lots of cushy atmospheres here) with a seismic lope that would make the Orb jealous. This is a cuddle-tech gem of an album, cynics and the too-serious be damned. "Swell" swirls and fills the room before it thumps to life with a thudding 4/4 kick that is as awesome as it is awe-strking, while :14 Barnes Dub Explosion" has a goofy charm that makes you want to call your mom and tell her you love her, even if the track does go on about two minutes too long. The Merkin Dream's music may be the sonic equivalent of a Calgon bath, but we're taken away just as much as Hsu and Volk-Zimmerman. Tune in, turn on, bliss out. - Hobey Echlin - Mixer Magazine


"The Merkin Dream - Cottage EP"

Immediately drawn to the sleeve of this CD I am. A woodland mountain scene with crimbo lights, a view I'd like from my wooden cabin in Alaska. If I had one. Isolationist moi? This is wistful acoustic pop & shimmering indie from a 3 piece with difficult names. 5 tracks under the heading 'Cottage' Taking a blatant cue from Radiohead on the opener without being whingy tossers from Exeter. So yeah, a REALLY good Radiohead soundalike, sad in a different way. Gets folkier later in a Kings Of Convenience type of way. Even bits of Cranebuilders in there on Trck 2. Yup. good stuff! - Norman Records, UK


Discography

NEW MERKIN DREAM FULL LENGTH COMING SOON!!!
Releases
1. "The Merkin Dream" - Shadow Records, 2001
2. "Cottage EP"- Banana Apple Records, 2004
Compilations
1. "Kapital Electro" - Universal (France) 2002
2. "Je l'ai fait pour toi" - Where Are My Records (Canada) 2004
Other
1. Song from debut album featured on the CBS show CSI, 2002
2. 3 unreleased songs featured in the short film, "Closer" by Gi Young Rhee
Radio
KEXP 90.3 Univ. of Wash, KCRW 89.9 Los Angeles, KFAI 90.3 Minneapolis, KZSU 90.1 Stanford Univ., CISM 89.3 Montreal, WBAR 87.9 Barnard College, KDVS 90.3 UC DAVIS, WBRS 100.1 Brandeis Univ., WGTB 92.3 Georgetown, KGNU Boulder, WPKN 89.5 Bridgeport, KUCI 88.9 Irvine, WCWM 90.7 William & Mary, CFBU St. Catherines, ON, UCLA Radio and others.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Merkin Dream make simple pop sings that combine elements of Indie rock and Electronica. While you can hear moments of Radiohead, Yo La Tengo, The Postal Service, and even Neil Young, not one of these influences does the band wear on its sleeve.
Started in 2001, then made up of just Brian and Kaiwei, The Merkin Dream released a debut album of mostly electronic music for Shadow Records later that year. That album has sold close to 4000 copies to date and placed a song on the hit TV show, CSI.
Now recording music with their own label, Banana Apple Records, The Merkin Dream have added four members, released the EP "Cottage" in 2004 and played shows from NYC to Montreal.
While retaining bits and pieces of the electronic elements of their debut, the sound of the band has evolved over time into their own brand of indie rock, complete with driving synths and slide guitars. Their current sound was hinted at on the Cottage EP, but is fully realized at a live show and on their forthcoming full length album due out this winter.