Archive for the 'Shoegaze' Category

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Crystallized

Melody’s Echo Chamber is the project of Frenchwoman Melody Prochet. She was in a band called My Bee’s Garden, which opened for Tame Impala somewhere along the line. She got together with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, who helped her rework her own sound and produced her first album. The first four tracks on the album are really the winners, and this is my favorite of the bunch.

I hear a lot of different things going on here. Stereolab/Ivy are obvious comps because of her French accent, and of course it’s easy to say that this is Tame Impala with a female singer, but I don’t think that’s all that accurate or fair (admittedly, the bass line here kind of seems lifted from Tame Impala’s Runway Houses City Clouds). There’s a bit of Krauty/Motorik feel in parts of the album, and there’s sort of a 60’s pastiche that’s reminiscent of Broadcast, though I realize it’s not all that surprising that an act that gets compared to Stereolab would also get compared to Broadcast. There’s also a bit a shoegaze feel to much of the album, and quite frankly I don’t know that I’d associate Broadcast with shoegaze, but your mileage may vary. Anyway, I think this was probably one of my favorite songs of 2012.

No Age-C’mon Stimmung

This is a very Zombie Rotten Mac song. Can’t link so I will e-mail him about it. The simple directness of this, along with the driving hookiness, that it isn’t too trebly, that it comes across as an amazing song by some random high school band, or maybe the opening band on a 5 band bill that you have no expectations for are what make me love it the best. Many people do have a lot of expectations for the new No Age, and these guys definitely have it, or at least I think they do, and I am not trying to belittle them with how this post comes across. This is a song that has a lot of stylistic antecedents, but comes across as completely fresh and effectless. Super good.

Crocodiles – Sleep Forever

I was pretty excited to learn that these guys are opening for Japandroids a week from tomorrow, as I already have a ticket for that show, and I love when the opener turns out to be a band I like more than the headliner (not that I don’t like Japandroids). I’ve seen Crocodiles a couple times and their live shows are pretty good. Brandon Welchez seems like a good guy as well. We chatted over a couple beers the last time they played Schuba’s.

Crocodiles fall into the current genre of bands that basically devoured every Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, etc. album from the ’80s and ’90s. Despite taking their name from what is probably Echo and the Bunnymen’s second best album, their sound is pretty unmistakably shoegaze, but with pretty straightforward melodies, and tracks that don’t make you wait too long for the payoff. This song is the title track to their second album. They released their third, Endless Flowers, last year and a fourth is reportedly on the way in the next couple months.

Their first album, Summer of Hate, ends with a song that could have come right off a number of different Spacemen 3 collections. It actually sounds quite a bit like Take Me To the Other Side (probably my favorite Spacemen 3 song). I actually find that kind of great, since I once saw Brandon’s wife’s old band, the unfortunately named Grand Ole Party, open for Spiritualized. He’s married to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls, so she’s found a little more success since then.

Love Don’t Care-Lab Partners

Kind of a first BRMC album vibe, with some chimey Coldplay “Yellow” stuff and maybe from an angle you would get a feel for some other songs too. I don’t care, nor does love. A good tune, and maybe you haven’t heard it yet.

A Selection of Fuzzed Out Retro

I have an incredibly soft spot in my heart for the retro “girl group” sound. The spiral through time of this sound as it gets more and more derivative reminds me of One Hundred Years of Solitude and how things are slightly different but kind of the same.

I don’t know who first pushed the fuzzed out 60s retro sound, but I think that Suicide’s first album had the feel and sound and warping that must have influenced the giants coming next.


The Jesus and Mary Chain-Just Like Honey

But of course we are most in love with the next wave, that mix the above aesthetic with the Ramones speed and pop, but the fuzz and scuzz of above. Later Primitives recordings went the cleaner, shinier route.

The Primitives-Stop Killing Me

Hugely on the music snob radar now that their particular blueprint is being used for mechanized girl group indie fuzz pop destruction, Blac Tambourine really establishes perfection here. Untouchable.

Black Tambourine-Through Aggi Off the Bridge

Here is a forgotten track from cleaner retro proprietors, Adventures in Stereo.

Adventures in Stereo-Running

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Now we have the new new retro retro wave. As the world should know, I love The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This particular selection is not fuzzed out, but organ plus beat plus chimey is straight down the road of what we are discussing today. I note that many of the songs on their self-titled are fuzzier.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart-The Tenure Itch

This next one is all over the web. Amanda had it at Pandagon, and Tbogg has it as his “gone fishing” video* *no comment? It is so good that I can’t fault its extremely derivative third or fourth wave nature, but I feel odd about the meta nostalgia for the first and second waves of nostalgia. What I enjoy is that certain pop songs that were once revolutionary, once invented, become timeless. Instead of being the new innovation on the block, they’ve become like selling vinyl to the kids, kind of like Coelacanth ear candy, living fossils.

Dum Dum Girls-Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout

Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent-The Besnard Lakes

30% late period Catherine Wheel + 30% Low + 2% Toto + 4% Alan Parsons Project + 34% magical sauce = Besnard Lakes.

Here are the opening two tracks of the very, very listenable new album. Apparently they just blew the doors off of SXSW. Figures. I was probably falling asleep to a rerun of NCIS or eating a tater tot. Sad.

I am deeply in love with this album, but it just so happens that I know this feeling will end so I am going with the flow and will play it into the ground until it does.

Gone Forever-Raveonettes

Denmark’s Raveonettes hit their fave influences again on their latest In and Out of Control (Jesus and Mary Chain, Stereolab, girl group sound) but what do I care, that is a recipe for my heart’s desire. I think this is the wormiest track in its “this is the end” refrain for getting into your head. A very listenable album, with many tracks much more retro than this, but they all work because it is clear the bad are having such a good time doing what they do.

I Can’t Stand It-Telepathe

1:02 in hits like a girl group My Bloody Valentine crossover. Maybe a little more Slowdive-y. Can’t say I love the album, but this song is so wonderful. We loved this track when it brightened our day in the P-Fork top 100 tracks of 2008, but the album showed up on eMusic and I loved it all over again.

Little Kids-Deerhunter

Deerhunter has at least one track on every release that worms its way immediately into my grey matter. Usually relating to some sort of repeated, advancing refrain. Some noisy bits with a chimey, insistent trudge throught the indie snow. This is from their latest, Microcastle, out just this week. I got it at eMusic, who I am convinced keeps moving up the date of my downloads evaporating each month. I think the album is decent, but this is the track that stood out to me.

I only put it under “shoegaze” because I think the feeling is of that genre if not the aesthetic.

Destroy Everything You Touch-Ladytron

I know we just did a Ladytron, but this song has been on my mind lately. I’ve just gotten their new one, Velocifero, but haven’t had a chance to listen. This is from their top-to-bottom super solid Witching Hour. The album strikes one as “pretty good” on first listen, but it is just so listenable it has to get a knock up a level.

Dead Sound-The Raveonettes

The Raveonnettes with their wall of sound-shoegaze-Jesus and Mary Chain-girl group aesthetic seem right up my alley, but I’ve never had room in my life for them. This being said, I like their latest Lust Lust Lust, and find that this song goes from OK to really good when the twinkly bits come up a couple of minutes in.

Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun – M83

Cuz your lyin on this hillside at the end of the movie and it’s like the last green hillside around because the nanobots excaped from Glenn Reynold’s sinuses and made stuff all infected and melty y’know but then you like saved the Earth cuz yur all in tune with like Gaia force or somethin and you like speeded up evolution of numatoads and dopypods to combat the nanoboogers and even a few humans survived includin you (cuz the ending where you sacrificed yourself by throwing yourself into the tide of nanogoo like totally bummed the focus group) and now there’s like all these helicopter shots of you lyin on this hill with the all chorus-y music goin real loud.

You know — like that.

Weapon of Choice-B.R.M.C.

I didn’t realize these guys had a new one coming out. First two albums were driving fuzzy droney attacks, a la Jesus and Mary Chain+Love and Rockets via a Dandy Warhols psych wall of sound. Last one was a stripped down affair that I kind of skipped. This one is supposedly more straight forward and plugged in. This song is OK, but for some reason I am a little bit excited for the album. I assume Seitz will give us a report.

Stomach Worm-Stereolab

From Peng, a Stereolab album designed for me as it is Neu!-y and not loungey. Any and all Stereolab comments directed to King of All Things Stereolab, Norbizness.

Let’s go to some comments:

This early disk hasn’t held up that well, but it retains a special place in my heart. When it came out Stereolab was like a more accessible or pop version of My Bloody Valentine – very stripped down in comparison to later efforts. Or something like that. Some excellent songs on here – Orgiastic, Stomach Worm, Surrealchemist. Some excellent lyrics too. Overlooked and underappreciated.

Chumpwagons like this make me thank the SKY FAIRY that I was born with my own abilities to realize how ridiculous other people can be when it comes to Stereolab. Although the songs they do mention ARE super awesome, so how can an album not hold up well but be overlooked and underappreciated? How can you make less sense than Three Bulls!? A for effort.

Some of the longer songs outstay their welcome (like “Stomach Worm”). Not bad for a debut overall.

Cheats at solitaire.

The entire album is brilliant. Some people may find the odd song boring, but only in the same way that they would find V.U.’s Sister Ray boring, who cares about opinions like that? You little shits!


Blues From A Gun-The Jesus and Mary Chain

Yes Automatic was maligned, perhaps it was too uniform, perhaps too well-oiled. But none of that matters now because when people like to make noise these day it’s some wierd Mogwai/Sigur Ros space hybrid with exploding asteroids and icebergs calving from glaciers. Yawn. How ’bout four minutes of grinderoo and insincere blow offs of finely sculpted Robert Smith mop-tops. Perfect soundtrack for your demolition derby video starring disaffected 80s revivalist hipster teen.


Obscure Shoegaze-esque English band’s second radio track in America, following “Sunshine Smile.” Kept on the tip of my tongue for 13 or so years until Last FM pooped it out earlier this year. A pleasant song, perhaps it is nostalgia more than anything else. They kind of bring Catherine Wheel to mind.

Primitive Painters-FELT

So what’shername (Liz Fraser, it just came to me) from Cocteau Twins sings on this classic from Felt, who are kind of sitting smack dab in a nexus of Chameleons, Television, The Smiths and other like-minded alt-chimery guitar studwagons. And this song is awesome. BUT what AOR staple does it recall in the deep down recesses of your brains? I won’t give you any hints. Save the year: 1987. Trust me, Felt oughta sue.

Primitive Painters-Felt

No Radio-Dirty on Purpose

From their very enjoyable Hallelujah, we have the New York darlings Dirty on Purpose. I’m not going to play the game of what this song reminds me of, OK, I will- Yo La Tengo plus Canadian popsters Sloan (their first shoegazey album), but that’s OK because these kids aren’t just aping the sound, they’re playing their songs and making a great album. Also check out their EP from last year Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow, and my fave “All New Friends.” On other songs they seem to be similary influenced as The Secret Machines.

Strawberries-Asobi Seksu

Uh. Er. Hum. Tuning Fork:

“Break out this record and listen to the track “New Years” (track 3 for you internet piracy folks). Then, listen to the song “99 Luftballons” by Nena and imagine M83 covering the song with a guest appearance by the singer from the Concretes. Then, listen to the rest of Citrus and find yourself wondering why you never thought to make a Garage Band mash-up of the Cocteau Twins vs. The Smiths vs. Joy Division (surely they’d post it on Puritan Blister). Yeah, that would sound pretty cool. There’s a guy at Columbia that came up with a program that could make an infinite number of songs out of one uploaded audio track by dividing it up according to it’s own time/tempo elements and randomly rearranging it. Looks like this band only had to run the program 12 times with 12 pre-pitchfork-approved tracks. The point on influences is not lost. They’re great. They’re unavoidable. But, ultimately, a band with so many of them worn on so many sleeves is simply not worth more than a handful of listens.”

Well, I’m still on the first bunch of listens and it sounds awesome to me. The writer does coin a phrase, though. Nice review. Now shut it.

Big City-Spacemen 3

In the near future, all the Spacemen 3 fans will come to this humble web log and decry this song as vastly infereior to several other Spacement 3 or Spiritualized (Mr. J. Spaceman’s better known now band, well basically him and whomever he employs. I still like this one. It’s not really a song, just a drony collection of some synthesizers and stuff. There is something about it. Something very dated, but still good. Just a little nugget of history. From their final album I beleive, Recurring.

Big City-Spacemen 3