Whaler Jr. finds uplifting soundscapes the land of Dreams - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Philly multi-instrumentalist Brendan McHale has returned this week to Whaler Jr., his psych-tinged indie pop undertaking with Christian Turzo, his bandmate in local rock outfit RFA.

Released on Bandcamp today, the Dreams album — Whaler Jr.’s third — is a mix of instrumental and vocal cuts that channel radiant energy in an uplifting, unfussy manner. “This album was recorded entirely at Castle Crank (our apartment in Fairmount, Philadelphia, PA) using a few microphones we found and mixed through an iphone,” McHale writes on Bandcamp. “We had a lot of fun so I hope this music can take you to a happy place!”

“I Don’t Know” opens the set on a Kurt Vile-esque number with a choppy chord progression, a bright melody, and an aloof, deadpan vocal delivery. It’s cool and calming, and leaps directly into “Sunday Strut,” which dabbles in Cheers Elephant-esque effervescence as imagination collides with reality: “Woke up from a dream / it was a good dream, too, we were going places.” Turzo’s drums sprint, McHale sings of the weight of the world, and maintains a hopeful attitude in spite of it.

“Buggin'” drifts in light instrumental tones, “Hide Away” dials it down to an acoustic folk ballad, and in general the latest from Whaler Jr. finds McHale and Turzo trying on a variety of sounds and styles that might be brought back to their main band down the road. Stay tuned and listen below.

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