Peel Dream Magazine represents the musical pursuits of New York-based musician Joe Stevens, a multi-instrumentalist and home recordist whose hazy Stereolab-indebted indie pop first went public via his 2018 debut, Modern Meta Physic, and then he brought in a full band to help on 2020's Agitprop Alterna.
The Peel referenced in the project's name is legendary BBC DJ and tastemaker John Peel, whose ethos as a champion of creativity Stevens cites as an influence on his own approach. Written and recorded in his New York apartment in 2017, Peel Dream's debut album, Modern Meta Physic, is rooted in late-'80s and early-'90s indie pop, dream pop, and college rock replete with hypnotic, fuzzed-out organs and distant hushed vocal melodies. After signing with Slumberland Records, Stevens expanded his operation to a full band ahead of the album's October 2018 release. The membership of the live band rotated frequently and when it came time to work on new music, Stevens employed this shifting cast of characters in the process. One standby was his friend multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich (of Delta Spirit), who worked closely with Stevens as other musicians like vocalist Jo-Anne Hyun and drummer Brian Alvarez dropped in to lay down tracks, too. The result was music that had a looser, more live-sounding feel and featured era-specific male-female vocal harmonies. Late 2019's Up and Up EP was the debut of Peel Dream's new sound, then their second album, Agitprop Alterna, followed in April 2020. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi