Dreamgirl, Lowertown, Toledo at Trans Pecos

Minty Boi Presents

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Toledo, lowertown

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915 Wyckoff Ave

Ridgewood, NY

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A family of friends lost in a dream.

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“Dreamgirl drifted into 2018 with a brand-new album. The five-piece group — which spent 2017 touring the region and opening for acts like K.Flay and Tennis — dropped its debut full-length on the first of the year. While its earlier material underscores Lacey Hopkins’ hypnotic crooning to gorgeous effect (refer to “Teenage Blue,” a 2015 tune that gained more than 1 million Spotify streams), the new album joins that with chic synth-pop. It’s tender but pulsating, somnolent but direct. “Dreamgirl” is available on Bandcamp and other digital platforms.”

- 90.9 The Bridge, New Music For A New Year (Jan 11, 2018)

“Dreamgirl blindsided 2018 with the release of their first full length album on New Year’s Day following a couple single releases and the brilliantly titled “Illuminaughty” EP in 2015. The Midwest band’s take on dreampop is as west coast as anything made there. The focus on textures and clean production on the album make it fit perfectly with any preconceptions of their sound.

On the opening track “Forever Between Us (Pt. 1)” you’ll have a microcosm of what this album represents. The bouncy guitars seem to fight rhythms as it creates them and the coated keyboards make a gentle atmosphere for the songs to live in. On “Mythos” you’ll find the band engaging in some clever wordplay with the great chorus of “Don’t think if I call you back right now, it doesn’t mean I’m not hanging up on you.” The song’s playfulness is infectious and pushes it to be a standout here. On “Bollywood” vocalist Austin Marks gives Hopkins a break all while bunking any monotony the album might have. Hopkins’ high pitched vocal style fits the album’s mood perfectly with her smooth delivery and Marks’ singing compliments it nicely. The duo double teams the track “Just Friends” with it’s waterbed rythm, Hopkins builds some tension with her vocal part just as the chorus by Marks slowly releases it.

This west coast pop sound is very modern and fresh sounding here and this record is playful and polished in all the right spots, this album proves a great followup to their strong debut EP.”

- Vocals On Top, 250 word album review: Dreamgirl – Dreamgirl (Jan 11, 2018)

“With a sound inspired by 80s synthpop, surf and dreampop, Dreamgirl rings in the new year with their self-titled debut album, an affirmation of the potential shown on their previous two EPs. Led by singer Lacey Hopkins, the band's music is the product of a true collaboration between the members. We are lucky to bring you an interview with Hopkins about their debut album, songwriting process and what inspires them about music in Kansas City.

Introduce the band and describe your music for new listeners.

Dreamgirl is Skylar Smith, Sam Stephan, Ian Dobyns, Austin Marks and Lacey Hopkins. We are from Kansas City, MO.

Our music is dreamy synth rock & roll; landlocked surf rock / dreampop / indie, female-fronted, with fun vocal harmonies. We've been compared to Tennis, TOPS, Shannon & the Clams and Cyndi Lauper.

How did Dreamgirl come together?

Recently, we put out our self-titled debut LP. It includes both unheard tracks and songs that have been around for a few years. I think it's special in that it is the embodiment of our evolution. We went through a couple lineup changes during recording (which all in all took a year and a half - while laborious, it was definitely a labor of love). Some of these songs were written when we were three or four years younger, and I think those tracks sound like extensions of our EP, Illuminaughty. Then some songs are the products of our current outfit, which is the version of the band that people hear live at shows. Since we'd been playing some of these songs since the band's genesis, one of the main motivations of the album was to simply get them out so we could, in a way, move on and focus on finishing and releasing the stuff we've been writing.

Talk about your new album. How long have you been writing for it? In what ways did the band challenge itself with this record?

There's no true formula or process in the way we write. It's usually been that one of us will come with an idea, a skeleton of a song, and everyone else will write to it. Suggestions are made, we feel it out and then voila! Sometimes songs happen by accident - "Forever Between Us Pt II" is one of those. It was a little ditty that we kind of jokingly played at practice as a reprise of another song, then titled "Forever Between Us." We played it at a show for kicks and it killed so we decided to fine-tune it and make it a "real" song. "Mythos" too - Skylar, former member Zach Sauls and I were hanging out in the living room jamming on toy keyboards and we thought, "hey, this is actually pretty cool!" As for who brings what to the table: I think it's worth mentioning that each one of us has come up with an idea that has turned into a song.

What inspires you the most about music in Kansas City?

So many things are inspiring about music in Kansas City. The amount of talent is flooring, there are so many great local artists doing wonderful things right now. (Definitely check out Toughies, Momma's Boy, Drugs & Attics, BLKFLNL, High Westhus, and Rachel Mallin & The Wild Type). Not only is there high quality in high quantity, everyone - artists, fans, local media outlets, venues, radio stations - is generally supportive and helpful of one another. There's camaraderie in this awesome thing that we all love to do and that's so special. People are coming out to shows, they're streaming music and listening to the radio, they're buying shirts and records. Also, it doesn't hurt that Kansas City gets great touring acts. I feel like there's an opportunity every night to see a really cool band or artist.”

- Johnson County Library, Listen Local: Dreamgirl (Jan 5, 2018)

“Happy New Year to us. Kansas City-native dream pop band – appropriately named Dreamgirl – just dropped their self titled first full length. A follow up to 2015’s Illuminaughty EP, this self titled effort puts forward a stronger step and really lets you know that the quintet has hit their stride.

Dripping with deep, atmospheric reverb, the nearly half hour album kicks right into gear with their first track, “Forever Between Us (Pt 1)” – a mood setter for the length of the nine songs. Found throughout the album are poppy guitar that reminds you of warmer weather sets the tone. Peppy drums and punchy bass riffs through every track. Subtle, yet prominent synth whirs in and out. Vocalist Lacey Hopkins lays out her heart via distinct, charming vocal melodies – sometimes accompanied by Austin Marks, sometimes not.

Songs like “Mythos” and “Just Friends” pull on the heartstrings and solidify Dreamgirl as an unbelievably catchy pop act. Other songs like “Silverado” and “Bad Bizness” add a crooner-like quality to the soundscape, adding a unique element to their quasi-modern sound. Needless to say every song on this album has the strength to stand alone.

Dreamgirl takes you for one of the most relaxing joyrides you’ve been on in a while. At least it did for me. Recommended to listen to with sunlight on your face and wind in your hair, cold weather or warm weather – this is a season-less listen.

Dreamgirl was self produced by the band. Sam Stephan engineered the record with co-engineer Ian Dobyns. The album was mastered by David Gaumé at Forest Sounds, North Hollywood, CA. Catch Dreamgirl next in KC on January 19th at the Riot Room with Rachel Mallin & The Wild Type and Momma’s Boy.”

- PlaylistPlay, Album Review: Dreamgirl, 'Dreamgirl' (Jan 4, 2018)

“One year has made all the difference for the members in the rock band Dreamgirl.

In early 2016, the possibility of Dreamgirl performing on a giant stage like The Midland in Kansas City seemed like a dream, mainly because its members didn’t know if the band would last another month.

“We thought we were going to break up a year ago. We like ‘This might be done,’” lead singer Lacey Hopkins says.

The band stuck together and gained an unexpected international following, leading to an opening spot at 96.5 The Buzz’s Afentra’s VD Party with headliners K.Flay, LOLO and Paper Route at 8 p.m. on Feb. 10 at The Midland Theater, 1228 Main St., in Kansas City, Missouri.

Without a doubt, it’s the biggest concert the band has been a part of.

“I think it was really surprising (to get asked to perform). We like ‘What? OK. Of course we’ll do that.’ So yeah, man. We’re playing The Midland,” Hopkins says laughing. “I’ve never been there, so I looked up a picture of it and there are tiers of seating.”

It’s fitting that the band feels so strong as it prepares to perform at the event hosted by Aftentra, The Buzz’s morning show host. In April 2016, the group performed on the morning show, “Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz,” and feelings about the group’s endurance weren’t positive.

“It was a really weird time for the band,” bassist Sam Stephan says.

While it retained members Hopkins, Stephan, Skylar Smith and Austin Marks, the band was in the process of losing keyboardist and designer Zach Sauls (who later returned to the group) and drummer Bryce Shoemaker.

As the band discovered, situations have a way of unfolding as they were meant to happen. While the band was working out its problems, it found its new drummer, Ian Dobyns, in another band it was sharing a bill with in Kansas City.

As the pieces came together, the band’s fanbase expanded. Its languid ballad “Teenage Blue” caught on with listeners and blew up on Spotify and YouTube, amassing about 210,000 listens on the former and 60,000 on the latter. Not bad for a band that recorded its latest EP, 2015’s “Illuminaughty,” in Marks’ house on basically no budget.

“Somebody uploaded our entire EP on YouTube, we didn’t do it. So I messaged this guy and it turned out to be this 21-year-old kid from France,” Hopkins says.

The problem with the success of a song like “Teenage Blue” — the band doesn’t play it live and has no plans to start, due to the song’s demands on Hopkins’ vocals.

“I’m so self-conscious about that song because it’s really big. People like that one, they know the words and they know what it’s supposed to sound like on the recording, and I can’t promise it would sound that way,” Hopkins says. “I feel bad because everyone loves that song and we don’t play it.”

Along with that, Dreamgirl’s sound has moved away from its fluid dream rock. Stephan described the new material as “poppier” and “groovier.”

“There’s still a sweetness to all of our music. There’s a lot more synth in this one. I think you can definitely tell it’s the second group of songs that we did,” Hopkins says. “I love it. I’m so excited to show it to everybody.”

While the band says it still loves the songs from EPs like “Sensually Yours” and “Illuminaughty,” those are snapshots of the group from several years ago. Compared to that time, they’re all people with full-time jobs and new responsibilities.

“You can tell Dreamgirl has had a lineup change because ... those songs on ‘Illuminaughty’ were written three years ago. So we’re three years older,” Hopkins says.

The band’s first full-length album, expected this year, will take the tried-and-true approach of being recorded in a house, with Stephan at the helm as producer.

“Some of it’s stuff we’ve played in our set, but a lot of it’s new. I’d say over half is stuff that I think where we’re trying to go,” Hopkins says.

There’s no shortage of material for the band, as its members are continually writing, even as they’ve nailed down songs for the album.

“We’re writing more music than we’re putting out there. So it’s like trying to get a big chunk of it out so we can start putting the songs that we’re writing that will come out after this album into our set,” Hopkins says.

In the meantime, the band will be busy living out its dreams, performing with groups the members have admired, like Tennis (April 6 at the Riot Room in Kansas City) and Chad Valley (Feb. 11 at The Drop in Springfield, Missouri.)

“We’re getting a lot of opportunities that are pretty surreal and are unexpected to us and are shocking,” Hopkins says. “It’s still a huge thing when it’s like ‘Yeah, we’re playing with Tennis’ or ‘Yeah, we’re playing at The Midland.’ It’s nuts. We didn’t ever think about that.””

- St. Joe Live, Dreamgirl to Play V-Day Concert at The Midland (Feb 9, 2017)

“I haven’t heard of the St. Joseph band Dreamgirl before Rexfest, but one listen to “Acid Wash Ocean” had me addicted. The band is reminiscent of Tennis, Vacationer, Cat Power, and basically all of my favorite clean indie pop bands. Their songs build their tension as they layer sound over sound, but never does Dreamgirl become melodramatic. One part under-the-current sexuality and one part surrealist nightscape, the band writes hooks that will stay in your head long after the record has stopped spinning. - See more at: http://millsrecordcompany.com/rexfest-approaches#sthash.O9Gcohzd.dpuf”

- Brian Clifton, Rexfest Approaches (Jun 22, 2015)

“For fans of: Cyndi Lauper, early 10,000 Maniacs and Best Coast What a year it has been for Dreamgirl, the six-piece rock band comprised of members of Eyelit and Lets Talk. Sidelined after lead singer Lacey Hopkins recovered from a bike accident, the group reunited in early 2014 with the idea of simply making music, playing it live and hoping people like it. By summer 2014, when the group released its two-track EP, “Sensually Yours,” it became apparent people were really digging it — from the catchy hooks to the band’s playful chemistry and loosey-goosey live show. Hopkins says it was worth the wait. “You can tell all of us are writers, and I’ve stuck with these guys for a really long time because we just have a special way of writing songs,” she said in a previous interview. With a new song, the (no pun intended) dreamy “Stranger Feelings” released this week, good things continue to happen for the band.”

- Andrew Gaug, A New Tradition: Music at the Mansion (Dec 09, 2014)

“St. Joe Live Presents: Dreamgirl will be the next featured act in the St. Joe Live Presents concert series. The local six-piece band will perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at the News-Press studio, 825 Edmond St. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Comprised of members from local groups Eyelit and Lets Talk, Dreamgirl boasts a unique sound that draws on ’80s pop in the vein of Cyndi Lauper and 10,000 Maniacs as much as it does modern alternative music by the likes of Beach House and Best Coast. Dreamgirl’s catchy surf pop should get audience members of all ages to start tapping their toes. No reservations are required for this concert. For more information, visit the "St. Joe Live Presents: Dreamgirl" event page on Facebook.”

- Shea Conner, Top 5: Entertainment best bets (Aug 28, 2014)

“The maddening thing of the appropriately dreamy rock debut EP from Dreamgirl is it’s only two tracks. Operating on the George Costanza model of leaving the audience wanting more, the seemingly ’70s and ’80s female-driven rock gives the audience that feeling of great promise in those two songs on “Sensually Yours.” For a band that seemed to have come out of nowhere, lead by singer Lacey Hopkins and assembled from parts of bands like Lets Talk and Eyelit, the band comes out as confident as any veteran act. Sounding like a mixture of early 10,000 Maniacs and Cyndi Lauper, Hopkins croons seductively on the beach jam “High Dive” with its loopy guitar riff punctuating her vocals. It may be a bit repetitive, but it fits the song’s breezy atmosphere so well, you won’t even notice. Whether it’s intentional or not, Hopkins references Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” on “Sweet Thang” and it fits. With keyboards setting the mode, the love song..”

- Andrew Gaug, Dreamgirl, Sensually Yours (Aug 15, 2014)

“While there's an abundance of great music in St. Joseph, one facet that seems to be lacking is the female-fronted rock group. Dream Girl answers that calling with the help of members of Eyelit and former St. Joseph band Lets Talk to form a sound unlike any that exists in the local scene. Consisting of Lets Talk’s Lacey Hopkins, Zach Sauls, Skylar Smith and Bryce Shoemaker and Eyelit’s Austin Marks and Sam Stephen, the six create a swirl of ‘60s-inspired psychadelic and surf rock. “You can tell all of us are writers, and I’ve stuck with these guys for a really long time because we just have a special way of writing songs,” she says. The band performs an acoustic performance at 2 p.m. at Cafe Pony Espresso and an electric set at 5 p.m. June 7 at The Lucky Tiger. Until recently, the band performed with hopes of releasing an EP in 2013. Then things got sidelined after Hopkins needed reconstructive surgery on her shoulder after getting into a bike accident...”

- Andrew Gaug, This Is: Dream Girl (Jun 06, 2014)

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Toledo, lowertown

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915 Wyckoff Ave

Ridgewood, NY

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