Archive for the ‘shoegaze’ tag
Happy Families, a collaboration between Lawrence Chandler (formerly one half of New York experimentalist duo Bowery Electric) and visual artist Lucia Rivero, bring us brutal and unforgiving mono distortion over the kind of cheap drum loop every computer came with in 2004. The vocals seem to surround the noise while still remaining buried beneath it. It’s beautiful, lo-fi shoegaze, straight up, but sounds kind of timeless—it could totally have come out in the 90s or it could be out on a 7-inch on July 15th via Sonic Cathedral…
From the opening of this track, you think you’ve got Cheatahs pegged, they’re another fuzzy shoegaze revival band, then the rest of the group comes in, you immediately peg them as smooth and expansive dream poppers, and then the vocals come in and throw you off again. The beautiful harmonies float through strange chord changes, sounding a bit like prog-rockers, King’s X. And before you have a chance to really take in what you’ve heard, the song is over. Give it a couple listens… Apparently this is not even the final version of the song, their soundcloud says it is “an early version of a brand new song taken from our forthcoming debut album, which will be released by Wichita Recordings later this year.” Well, look forward to that.
“Swoon” starts with a maelstrom of digital dissonance. What at first sounds like a careless upload of a terrible quality mp3 you realize is made up of finely crafted overdrive, chorus and tons of reverb. It takes awhile for the vocals to come in but that makes their entrance all the more pleasing. Whirr, formerly known as Whirl, have been touring extensively since last year’s full length, Pipe Dreams. This cut, considerably darker than anything they’ve previously done, is from their upcoming EP, Around, out on Graveface July 9th.
If there’s one person, other than Kevin Shields, whose name might be synonymous with shoegaze, it is Scott Cortez. He’s been creating ambient and textural guitar music since the 80s with tons of bands that include Astrobrite and Lovesliescrushing. On this latest Lovesliescrushing release, the duo, comprised of Scott Cortez and Melissa Arpin-Duimstra, explore warm ambient guitar drone with far-off vocals soaked in reverb. It is from their upcoming release, Ghost Colored Halo out on May 21.
Swedish shoegazers, Divehoney, sound as well educated in american 90s alt/grunge as they do in its British counterparts. They’ve got shoegaze fuzz and delicate vocals with grunge melodies and chords. It is this refreshing blend that helps them stand apart from any of their dreamy contemporaries. It is starkly engaging and hauntingly beautiful.
Montreal’s No Joy are back with “Hare Tarot Lies,” a lighter, brighter take on Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd’s signature lush, mellow sounds. The glistening, echoing new track is taken from the shoegazers’ upcoming sophomore LP, Wait to Pleasure, out on April 23. Shoegazers, rejoice!
Weekend was probably the most convincing force to come out of San Francisco’s recent shoegaze revival, with “Mirror”, the first single from their upcoming album, Jinx, however, the band ends up sounding more closely related to post/punk bands of the early 80s. They’ve borrowed their delay and chorus from The Cure while incorporating some of the intensity and distortion of Joy Division yet the track avoids being labeled ‘derivative’ due to the way it all comes together. Interrupted by sharp attacks from the drums and shoegaze breakdowns the murky mix is navigated by Shaun Durkan’s nearly transparent vocals fighting constantly to reassure themselves through the unexpected twists and turns of the song’s form.
If you– like many– loved Beach Fossil’s 2010 self-titled debut, then I’m sorry, but you’re out of luck. The Brooklyn quartet have seemingly abandoned their dream pop roots in favor of a punchier, punkier sound on new sophomore LP Clash the Truth. Unassuming opening track “Clash the Truth” acts as a blue print for Beach Fossils’ new approach, which represents a darker, more cynical viewpoint. “DREAM. REBEL. TRUST. YOUTH. FREE. LIFE. CLASH. TRUTH,” frontman Dustin Payseur chants aggressively, like a mantra, until the track comes crashing to a dramatic halt. Intense, moody, confusing stuff, indeed.
The fourteen tracks on Clash the Truth dodge in-and-out of mellow, steady beats, quick guitars, and unexpected moments of quiet. The cinematic “Modern Holiday” puts the listener at peaceful ease before, well, taking off into “Taking Off.” The song is a poppy, alt-rock ballad that tells a dreamy tale of uncertainty. “Am I excited, or am I just confused?” Payseur asks. The question never really finds its answer. “Shallow” is a grunge-inflected display of fierce, quick drumming, and the riff– oh man, that riff!– on sign-of-the-times single “Generational Synthetic” is enough to get any post-punk geek’s panties in a bunch. It’s the album’s standout track, by a long shot.
However, there’s nothing all that revolutionary happening on Clash the Truth. “Burn You Down” is pleasant, classic post-punk with a sweet, melodic edge. Shoegaze-y “Careless” features a free, easy feeling of intimacy, while the equally dreamy “Sleep Apnea” is a sleepy, lazy lullaby that doesn’t quite live up to the terror of its name.
In a lot of ways, Clash the Truth is reminiscent of English post-post-punk band Bloc Party, back in their early days. Then again, in 2005, Bloc Party’s assertive, dynamic debut really changed the indie rock game. Here, Beach Fossils aren’t changing much of anything, besides their own minds. Still, Clash the Truth is an enjoyable romp through familiar territory.