recently i came across the SHOEGAZE band NOTHING out of PHILADELPHIA. they've been around for more than a decade and have a slew of releases out on the nearby RELAPSE RECORDS, which is generally known for their roster and back catalogue of EXTREME METAL acts. its an INTERESTING dichotomy given that SHOEGAZE is more of a sonically HAZY and AMORPHOUS genre that is less AGGRESSIVE than it is INTROSPECTIVE. NOTHING has a sound that seems to split the difference between THE CATHERINE WHEEL and the more EXPANSIVE moments of the DEFTONES. it really is an INTOXICATING sound that seems to blend a knack for ARTFUL AMBIGUITY and traditional song composition. plus their videos are pretty visually BRUTAL a la label-mates PIG DESTROYER or FULL OF HELL.
definitely a band worth checking out.
i was first introduced to the ETHEREAL EXPANSIVENESS that is the decidedly INTROSPECTIVE music of revered BRITISH SHOEGAZE band SLOWDIVE my senior year of high school when i discovered TRANSGRESSIVE NEW QUEER CINEMA GREGG ARAKI-directed films like NOWHERE (FINE LINE, 1997) and THE DOOM GENERATION (TRIMARK, 1995) of which the group's music is prominently featured. those 90s CULT films showcased characterizations of teenagers trapped outside of society in EXTREME situations and their BULLETPROOF soundtracks included PROMINENT INDUSTRIAL, SHOEGAZE and ALTERNATIVE BANDS acts ranging from SKINNY PUPPY, FRONT 242, COIL, NINE INCH NAILS, MINISTRY, ELASTICA, PORNO FOR PYROS, LUSH, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, APHEX TWIN and RIDE to LOVE AND ROCKETS, PIZZICATO FIVE, 311, MASSIVE ATTACK, THE CATHERINE WHEEL and SUEDE among many others.
all this to say that the specific context from which i first appreciated the work of SLOWDIVE was a highly charged one in which the music was utilized to engender and describe a CRUSHING sense of ALIENATION and DISENCHANTMENT with AMERICAN culture writ large. such is the power of cinema that it can transform the meaning of all other vehicles of ARTISTIC EXPRESSION (PHOTOGRAPHY / CINEMATOGRAPHY, SET DESIGN, SET DESIGN, COSTUME DESIGN, ACTING, SPECIAL EFFECTS, etc.) that contribute to such, with music being no different. but when you separate SLOWDIVE from that specific use case by a particularly IDIOSYNCRATIC film director, what i hear is not a band attempting to describe a feeling of OVERPOWERING DISLOCATION from the outside world, but rather a unit attempting to aurally represent the SUBLIME. thats how i took it at least when first listening to spellbindingly TRANSCENDENT SOUVLAKI (CREATION, 1993) tracks "DAGGER," "40 DAYS," "HERE SHE COMES," "ALISON" and especially "SOUVLAKI SPACE STATION" and "WHEN THE SUN HITS." there is just the sense with these MERCURIAL, reverb-drenched AMBIENT tracks of a deep emotion springing forth into being from the recesses of one's consciousness, as if as a listening you are taking joint part in this PROFOUND CONNECTION. and that is kind of my point. when i listen to SLOWDIVE, not unlike similar groups in JOY DIVISION, BAUHAUS or MY BLOODY VALENTINE, i dont feel isolated from my COMMUNITY, but part of a greater SHARED HUMANITY. their music to me (some of it created during SIGNIFICANT interpersonal strife including unrequited love) is the aural equivalent of attempting to establish a CONNECTION. an interconnection with what is up for debate, but it feels like there is a sense of deep INTENTION to something emotionally resonate outside of oneself. being a part of a COMMUNITY.
the music of SLOWDIVE, even the more recent reunion material, is some of the most emotionally POWERFUL music i have ever come across and definitely feel it should be appreciated by a bigger audience, well outside of SHOEGAZE or CREATION RECORDS aficionados. the radio show i did on them was a gesture, however small, at such.
photo & text by nacrowe
the title kind of says it all. when the ALTERNATIVE ROCK band GARBAGE came out with their second album VERSION 2.0 (ALMO, 1998), it very much felt like the more STREAMLINED, UPGRADED version of their SEMINAL debut nearly three years earlier. the band is less a group a musicians and more a VERITABLE BRAINTRUST. drummer BUTCH VIG and bassist STEVE MARKER were the cofounders of SMART STUDIOS in WISCONSIN with a list of clients that included L7, NIRVANA, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS and KILLDOZER among many others. VIG and guitarist DOUG ERIKSON were former bandmates in the NEW WAVE band SPOONER, respectively. effectively VIG, MARKER, ERIKSON and singer SHIRLEY MANSON (ANGELFISH) were all TALENTED and ACCOMPLISHED SONGWRITERS to boot, so VERSION 2.0 is essentially the band at their most COHESIVE and commercially POTENT point in their career. arguably.
the band's SOUND was always a mix of ALTERNATIVE ROCK with seamlessly integrated SAMPLED ELEMENTS most famously associated with HIP HOP PRODUCTION. in fact, after the release of NIRVANA's NEVERMIND (DGC, 1991), VIG was asked to make single REMIXES for upcoming releases by major artists, and brought along his friends MARKER and ERIKSON in for these sonic experiments, which effectively laid the foundation of GARBAGE. in addition to ALTERNATIVE ROCK, their UNIQUE futuristic sound recounts the best aspects of TRIP HOP, SHOEGAZE, NEW WAVE, DANCE MUSIC and DREAM POP. UPTEMPO tracks like "WHEN I GROW UP," "I THINK I'M PARANOID," "SPECIAL," "TEMPTATION WAITS" and especially "PUSH IT" sounded like nothing on the radio at the time and really had no antecedent in the ROCK N ROLL genre. years later LINKIN PARK would likewise take similar elements, albeit with a NARROWER and more HARD ROCK PRESENTATION, to absolute global domination. i'd credit both GARBAGE and LINKIN PARK for the current growing trend towards a GENRE-LESS variant of POP MUSIC in the entertainment industry. i'd argue it started with MANSON and company.
more DELICATE, ETHEREAL and DOWNTEMPO tracks like "THE TRICK IS TO KEEP BREATHING," and "YOU LOOK SO FINE" were written in the tradition of previous tracks like "MILK" off of GARBAGE (ALMO, 1995). when i hear these tracks what shines through is the VERSATILITY and FORCE OF PERSONALITY that is SHIRLEY MANSON. as much as the band is the summation of its parts with its INCREDIBLE PRODUCTION and SONGWRITING prowess, in MANSON you have effectively a FORCE MULTIPLIER of generational proportions. ive said this before in a previous write-up about their STELLAR debut (review linked HERE), i believe she is one of the most UNDERRATED SINGERS of her era. on paper the band's SOUND and PRESENTATION appears CONTRIVED, TECHNICAL and something only NAVEL-GAZING musos might be interested in, but MANSON brings it all back down to street level. her PERSONALITY and PRESENTATION confronts the listener and gives the band an edge. and for me, that is the real MAGIC of the band. and never is that more apparent then on VERSION 2.0.
required listening in my opinion. definitely worth checking out.
recently ive been totally entranced by the INTOXICATING sound of the GUADALAJARA-based three-piece INDIE ROCK / SHOEGAZE band NORWAYY, who have a intimately DELICATE yet emotionally POWERFUL sound that lingers long after the song ends in the best tradition of SLOWDIVE, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, BROADCAST, LUSH and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. i just cant get over how dynamic their sound is, from HAZY fragile verses to these commanding, VIBRANT widescreen choruses.
can't rant about them any more profusely. NORWAYY is definitely worth checking out.
there are just too many TRANSFORMATIVE bands that have been on the iconic BRITISH label 4AD RECORDS. acts like BAUHAUS, SCOTT WALKER, PIXIES, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, LUSH and COCTEAU TWINS, not to mention STEREOLAB, CAMERA OBSCURA, THE BREEDERS, THIEVERY CORPORATION or more recent acts like GRIMES, DEERHUNTER, ST. VINCENT, TUNE-YARDS, ZOMBY, MARK LANEGAN (RIP), PURITY RING and TWIN SHADOW. for the past 4+ decades, it just feels like every successive generation of EXCEPTIONAL musicians with an EXPERIMENTAL and INNOVATIVE edge somehow find themselves on this amazing label.
as someone who is interested in music and constantly jaded by the seeming triviality and copycat nature of new material (even personally experienced the internal pressures and incentive structures of such as a former co-owner of a recording studio), it is A GIFT to have a resource like 4AD available to seek out new acts that are pushing the boundary. whether i am ready for such or not is a different matter, but i love and appreciate the opportunity to be confronted with THE FUTURE by a curation i inherently trust. and that best describes my relationship with 4AD as a listener and music consumer: TRUST.
and there are other labels i similarly TRUST as well, namely FAT POSSUM, DOMINO, MUTE, WARP and MATADOR, but first among equals has always been 4AD. im always looking forward to what NEW SOUNDS theyve found and unleashed on the world.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired about two and half years just before the pandemic. the 4AD RECORDS playlist showcases a whole host of ECLECTIC music from throughout their CELEBRATED catalogue. enjoy!
im really digging the PUNCHY GARAGE ROCK sound of LONDON-based INDIE ROCK outfit GHOST CAR. their sound at times ranges from the TWEE and POWER POP and of the spectrum of MINIMALIST ROCK AND ROLL to full on SHOEGAZE with LUSH textures and waves of distortion. the constant is a penchant for strong hooks and MEMORABLE melodies
im curious to hear what they come up with moving forward. GHOST CAR is definitely worth checking out.
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating SHOEGAZE pioneers SLOWDIVE!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
photo & text by nacrowe
throughout her recent memoir FINGERS CROSSED: HOW MUSIC SAVED ME FROM SUCCESS (NINE EIGHT PUBLISHING, 2022), LUSH front-woman and co-songwriter MIKI BERENYI presents a HARROWING personal narrative that frames her career as a CELEBRATED SHOEGAZE icon as one of survival. by definition, the BRITISH SHOEGAZE movement was dreamed up by a cadre of SUPPORTIVE, like-minded musicians that created HAZY, INTROSPECTIVE aural landscapes that seemingly washed over their audience into a mantra-like state of ecstasy. at least that is how i feel when revisiting noteworthy bands from period like SLOWDIVE, CATHERINE WHEEL and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. with LUSH and BERENYI in particular i was just startled by the deep well of TRAUMA, ANXIETY and SUFFERING that rooted her identity and was exorcised through their music. i had always considered their music as DELICATE, EPHEMERAL and optimistically BOUYANT.
without diving deep into the details, BERENYI had a DIFFICULT childhood mired by the psychological and physical traumas of DIVORCE, growing up BIRACIAL (HUNGARIAN/JAPANESE) to non-native parents in ENGLAND and repeated SEXUAL ABUSE at the hand of her grandmother. that whole section of the book is amongst the most BRUTAL and TRAGIC i have come across in any memoir by a musician. it reminded me of a book i read over a decade ago called NIGHT FALLS FAST: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE (VINTAGE, 2000) by KAY REDFIELD JAMISON of JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY which at the heart of it was about trauma. long story short, for those that experience childhood sexual trauma longterm effects include asexuality as well as chronic PROMISCUITY. both are about the need for physical CONTROL and COMFORT. this phenomena was explored pretty explicitly in the GREGG ARAKI's film MYSTERIOUS SKIN (DESPERATE PICTURES, 2004). so it came as no surprise that BERENYI throughout he years of fame was caught in that cycle. she had been effectively abandoned by her parents who parked her in private schools while they pursued their careers elsewhere.
what i found so intriguing about FINGERS CROSSED was her ability given such trauma to endure a career as a public entertainer with all the slings and arrows that come with it. especially as a female musician during a musical era (BRITPOP) in ENGLAND that lionized LAD CULTURE and MISOGYNY as a lazy past time akin to football. i dont know how navigating those waters and the messages by sent about her status werent internalized and calcified into a negative self image. i just get the sense that BERENYI has an intestinal fortitude beyond us normal mortal beings. especially as she got older with the gender DOUBLE-STANDARDS at play, the whole charade feels downright MASOCHISTIC in nature.
i did appreciate her description of the INTERNAL dynamics between her bandmates, especially the CONTENTIOUS creative interplay with gifted songwriter EMMA ANDERSON, and the relationship of the band with the greater SHOEGAZE and 4AD RECORDS scene, but to me the central gambit of this memoir was BERENYI's struggle to secure LOVE, AFFECTION, CONNECTION and a sense of FAMILY, however IMPERFECT. LUSH obviously seemed to be one attempt at such. its nice to know that she found such in her CHILDREN and a STABLE relationship with a SUPPORTIVE partner. fingers crossed.
this was one of the better written memoirs ive come across in recent years and wholeheartedly recommend it even if you are not interested in SHOEGAZE, INDIE ROCK, BRITPOP or ALTERNATIVE ROCK. its a startlingly COMPELLING story about SURVIVAL in the face of UNSPEAKABLE TRAUMA.
its always cool to learn about the INSPIRATION for ART. longtime BRITISH music periodical NME on their youtube channel has for several years had an ongoing video series called SONG STORIES in which they have celebrated musicians explain the initial spark and CREATIVE PROCESS that brought about notable tracks. past participants include JOHNNY MARR (THE SMITHS), PETER HOOK (JOY DIVISION), DAVE GROHL (FOO FIGHTERS), TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB, BRETT ANDERSON (SUEDE), PHOENIX, OLI SYKES (BRING ME THE HORIZON), IAN MCCULLOCH (ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN), JOEY SANTIAGO & DAVID LOVERING (THE PIXIES), JIMMY EAT WORLD, GAVIN ROSSDALE (BUSH), ROYAL BLOOD, BOBBY GILLESPIE (PRIMAL SCREAM) and COURTNEY BARNETT among many others.
while i understand that MUSIC, LITERATURE and ART all have unique narratives that brought about their CREATION, the SOLIPSISTIC truth of the matter is that their longevity is how such became intertwined in the countless personal narratives of individuals the world over. for me music is the ultimate time transportation vehicle as i can listen to a STRANGLERS song and immediately be back in my parents old dilapidated HONDA ACCORD being driven to a weekend soccer match in the early 1990s. the POWER OF MUSIC is not in the CREATOR but in the LISTENER, who effectively completes the circuit.
although as a fan of art i still love getting to know how songs were constructed and what value they imparted or exorcised on the part of the SONGWRITER. endlessly INTRIGUING. NME's SONG STORIES is definitely worth further investigation. highly recommended.
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!
im an absolute sucker for melodic BRITISH INDIE ROCK bands with jangly guitars a la JOHNNY MARR, GRAHAM COXON, BERNARD BUTLER and the like. LONDON outfit SWIMMING TAPES feel to me like a lo-fi hybrid of the POETIC VULNERABILITY and SONIC DISSONANCE of SHOEGAZE icons SLOWDIVE with the MELODIC SOPHISTICATION and POP SENSIBILITIES of TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB.
it all makes for an intriguing juxtaposition that makes SWIMMING TAPES well worth checking out.
been really digging the IMPRESSIONSTIC and ABSTRACT sonic textures and aural landscapes of SOUND OF CERES and its predecessor band CANDY CLAWS recently. i cant remember how i came across them, but i am now fully aware of the level of intricately layered compositional prowess and musicianship of members KAREN and RYAN HOVER. definitely aspects of SHOEGAZE and AMBIENT MUSIC but with an otherworldly presence that creates a totally unique HAUNTING vibe. definitely worth checking out.
join us TONIGHT at 6PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC with a playlist celebrating the notoriously perfectionist ENGLISH record producer GIL NORTON!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already, make sure and download the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
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.
its always cool to see products utilized in context, and the ongoing EARTHQUAKER SESSION live performance series showcases mostly upcoming talent sweating it out in intimate venues with what are presumably EARTHQUAKER DEVICES pedals, though such are not explicitly shown (so who knows?). documenting bands for product promotion is nothing new, but where this series really elevates above the competition is the shear breadth and depth of acts involved, running the gamut from SHOEGAZE, R&B, SLUDGE METAL, FUNK and delicate INDIE ROCK to COUNTRY, CLASSICAL MUSIC and even experimental AMBIENT / PROGRESSIVE instrumentals. there are also non-traditional gear setups (including a violin rig) which is alway cool to see. it is also exquisitely professionally shot and the sound recording is mixed incredibly well (which is not always the case with similar series).
past participants include BORIS, SPOTLIGHTS, COVET, TIME CAT, RELAXER (featuring EARTHQUAKER DEVICES founder JAMIE STILLMAN), CHELSEA WOLFE, SUDAN ARCHIVES, MARCUS ALAN WARD and SAFE WORDS among many others. definitely worth checking out, irrespective of its company tie-in.
the doomed DARKWAVE atmospherics and POST PUNK angularity of PORTLAND-based SOFT KILL gets me right my sweet spot. i am a total sucker for bands that mix pop hooks with a healthy dose of SHOEGAZE-esque guitar layering and an ominous palpable sense of dread. obvious similar bands include DRAB MAJESTY, COLD CAVE and, of course, JOY DIVISION.
i am keeping an eye on this band and they are most definitely worth checking out.
as ive mentioned before at length, i am a unabashedly a huge sucker for anything SHOEGAZE adjacent. just thinking about SLOWDIVE makes me emotional. i absolutely adore the hazy textures, lilting single-note guitar melodies and just the pure swathing indulgence of reverb and delay that come with that immense layered sound.
and VANCOUVER INDIE ROCK band YOUNG PRISMS hits that sweet spot. can't recommend them enough. they are very much worth checking out.
i first came across SLOWDIVE while watching GREGG ARAKI films like THE DOOM GENERATION (DESPERATE PICTURES, 1995) and NOWHERE (DESPERATE PICTURES, 1997). their sound had this ethereal atmospheric quality with soaring waves of looped feedback winding and unwinding itself around a floating female/male singing tandem mixed way back in the mix. it was the perfect audio bed for films about largely centered around reckless young adults and their ever-evolving identities, attitudes and emotions that seemed to swell and dissipate. that was pretty much when i got interested in SLOWDIVE.
the documentary SOUVLAKI (PITCHFORK, 2015) is an oral history of the seminal SHOEGAZE band as described by members NEIL HALSTEAD, RACHEL GOSWELL, SIMON SCOTT, NICK CHAPlIN and CHRISTIAN SAVILL, as well as CREATION RECORDS founder ALLEN MCGEE, producer CHRIS HUFFORD and mixer/engineer ED BULLER. it reveals the process behind the development behind their transcendent SOUVLAKI (CREATION, 1993) album and how the recently dissolved romantic relationship between HALSTEAD and GOSWELL informed the record. pretty standard fair for music documentaries.
what resonated with me was how they describe the scene at the time, pre-GRUNGE and BRITPOP, when bands like THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, SPACEMEN 3, COCTEAU TWINS and MY BLOODY VALENTINE were playing small gigs in rural ENGLAND. when the sound was still underground. the band itself was made of the decidedly INDIE HALSTEAD, who grew up in a household where music other than CLASSICAL was verboten, and two local GOTHS in GOSWELL and CHAPLIN; all agree on THE SMITHS. knowing that i can definitely hear a POST PUNK thread in their sound from GOTH ROCK bands like BAUHAUS (i.e. DANIEL ASH), JOY DIVISION, BERLIN-era DAVID BOWIE and SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES. they all used sound and looped effects to make deeply evocative music that resonated on both on an emotional and visceral level.
the documentary, like others in the PITCHFORK CLASSIC series, has the band members elaborate on standout tracks like "40 DAYS," "WHEN THE LIGHT HITS," "SOUVLAKI SPACE STATION," "DAGGER," and "ALISON." it also showcased BRIAN ENO's ability to serve as a catalyst for soundscapes that formed the basis for other songs as well. in ENO there is a figure that is purely interested in the creation of interesting sounds, period. he served as a catalyst during writing sessions with HALSTEAD, who hilariously and fortunately didn't know much about him at the time, and left. ENO's production techniques are fodder for another entry, so i wont go into that here, but needless to say his unconventional approaches and deep penchant for sonic experimentation is all over SOUVLAKI. it marks a new direction for the band which fascinatingly was influenced by DUB REGGAE and new AMBIENT acts at the time like APHEX TWIN. its all in there, you can definitely hear it.
in recent years the band has reformed and even released the stellar SLOWDIVE (DEAD OCEANS, 2017), but the SOUVLAKI record should not be missed by anyone. requisite listening for anyone interested in SHOEGAZE, INDIE ROCK, ALTERNATIVE ROCK or even AMBIENT or ORCHESTRAL music. really just great music for anyone moved by emotionally affecting sounds in general. at least it gets me every time, right back to being a teenager living in KUWAIT, an oppressive country with little freedom or ability for self-expression or creativity.
NOTE: also, the post-SLOWDIVE band MOJAVE 3 is also worth your time, although they are a completely different vibe altogether.
anything SHOEGAZE or DREAM POP, especially when it is well-constructed and executed, hits me right in the sweet spot. whether it is LUSH, NO JOY, SLOWDIVE, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, MY BLOODY VALENTINE or BEACH HOUSE, i enjoy discovering bands that make ethereal, impressionistic, guitar-based music that use feedback as a means of washing over and smothering you to blissful oblivion. that is a sonic experience i am always game for.
i cam across TORONTO's TALLIES recently and i could not be more taken by their intoxicating jangly yet echo-and-reverb-drenched sound. and then there is that voice. guitarist and vocalist SARAH COGAN is someone to look out for in the future.
great promising young band well worth checking out.
MONTREAL outfit NO JOY is the emblematic of the emotive depths available within the restless, waves of feed-backed sonic bliss within the genre of SHOEGAZE. listening to them makes me relive my introduction to MY BLOODY VALENTINE and SLOWDIVE all over again.
definitely check them out.