parodies by nacrowe
ive been on a huge SHOEGAZE kick as of late. been reading the new memoir by LUSH front-woman MIKI BERENYI (review to come shortly) which got me down the rabbit-hole reinvestigating bands like RIDE, SWIRLIES, PALE SAINTS and CHAPTERHOUSE in addition to newer bands like ASOBI SEKSU, NO JOY, THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART and DIIV. ive pretty much been listening nonstop since my senior year of high school to SLOWDIVE, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, THE CATHERINE WHEEL and LUSH. that year was when i largely jumped into the EXPERIMENTAL waters of 80s POST PUNK and early 90s SHOEGAZE and largely havent looked back since.
there is something innately SEDUCTIVE about being washed over and smothered in repeating seasick waves of delayed distorted reverb. its a romantically HYPNOTIC guitar tone that is very much both ETHEREAL and MANTRA-LIKE as it envelopes and passes over your senses. ive always found the sound to be incredible dream-like and even NOSTALGIC as it makes you consider past EMOTIONAL states both good and bad that the sound has evoked. when employed poorly it sounds like nonsensical unstructured mush, but when conceived and composed intelligently in a great song it is something to be marveled at. it feels almost ALCHEMICAL in nature.
examples of such include "WHEN THE SUN HITS" by SLOWDIVE, "WHEN YOU SLEEP" by MY BLOODY VALENTINE, "SWEETNESS AND LIGHT" by LUSH and even the more recent by "HARE TAROT LIES" by NO JOY. definitely encourage anyone interested to seek out those specific tracks. lightning in a bottle in my opinion.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC dedicated to SHOEGAZE bands past and present. enjoy!
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
their catalogue speaks for itself.
the BRITISH indie label CREATION RECORDS during its run had some massively seminal and influential bands, everyone from PRIMAL SCREAM, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, TEENAGE FANCLUB, RIDE, SLOWDIVE and THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN to SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, THE HOUSE OF LOVE, SWERVEDRIVER, SUGAR, SAINT ETIENNE and, of course, OASIS. culturally the label is very much synonymous with the two BRITISH INDIE ROCK exports of the period, SHOEGAZE and BRITPOP. and while all of those bands get their spot in the documentary UPSIDE DOWN: THE CREATION RECORDS STORY (DOCUMENT FILMS, 2010), the focus is on its founder all around INDIE ROCK pied piper, ALAN MCGEE.
the label is very much created in the image of MCGEE, who was a SCOTTISH punk who made his way down to LONDON with his band subsequently decided to put out music by his friends. and that tribal bond was basically the defining ethos of CREATION RECORDS throughout its run. in the film MCGEE even attests to the fact that he signed interesting, creative people and not bands. needless to say, thats an odd tactic but definitely describes the innovative people he brought into the fold including KEVIN SHIELDS, BOBBY GILLESPIE, GRUFF RHYS and NOEL GALLAGHER.
what i found interesting is how the story of CREATION RECORDS mirrors that of other artistic-minded labels in their peer group, many that came out of the existing POST PUNK scene of the previous generation like FACTORY RECORDS. these INDIE ROCK labels were seemingly fronts for producing great art rather than being a functioning business with longterm economic targets and vertically integrated efficiencies. CREATION RECORDS pre-OASIS was in a constant state of owing money to recording studios, printing presses and the like and was under constant threat of being eaten up by a major. its ironic that the period that saw the label at its mid-1990s cultural zenith, the period around OASIS' second record WHAT'S THE STORY (MORNING GLORY)?, also marked their fall into eventually being consolidated and sold to SONY. MCGEE during the entire OASIS period had hit a wall with his drug use and saw him through a long recovery which meant his non-presence at the label allowed for the implementation of structural changes which in turn weakened his hand. this led to the label being swallowed up by a major, who of course had no idea what to do with its idiosyncratic and eccentric catalogue.
but the fact that the label ended in 1999 doesnt reduce its impact. its arguable that the label nurtured the BRITISH INDIE ROCK scene post-SMITHS throughout the late 80s and 90s and laid the groundwork for what would be the last great global rock phenomenon in OASIS. once that genie is out of the bottle its arguable that their legacy was cemented and where do you go from there?
i dont know.
but growing up overseas this label's catalogue was essentially synonymous with my young adulthood, especially MY BLOODY VALENTINE and SLOWDIVE. i love the guy just for giving world those two bands. definitely check out this documentary if you have any interest in music history or ALTERNATIVE ROCK and INDIE ROCK bands from the 1980s and 1990s including SHOEGAZE and BRITPOP. thoroughly enjoyable and required viewing.
art by nacrowe
tonight's episode of DEER GOD RADIO at 8PM on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC is SHOEGAZE with all it's ringing, droned-out, reverb-heavy, fuzzed-to-all-hell glory.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.