you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

31 May 2011

Shoegaze Quote: Stephen Lawrie of the Telescopes has fun with a reporter.

There are multiple amazing moments in this interview, so let's just hit the highlights, shall we? Warning: Stephen Lawrie is deadpan hilarious, so prepare yourself. I'm glad he was far less tongue-in-cheek when WTSH interviewed him (read that here!)! Great guy, all around. I true legend.

I'd go so far as to say that he may be the coolest dude ever.

Read the following amusing tidbits from an interview Stephen did in August 1993 with: Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet.

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T.JONES: "I read in NME once that someone stole your cymbals during a show. Is this true? If so, what happened?"
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “I read in NME I was arrested for possession of liquorice.”

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T.JONES: “Favorite food?”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Magic cake.”

T.JONES: “What is magic cake?”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Cake with magic in it.”

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T.JONES: “Word association. I am going to say a name of an artist or group and you say the first thing that pops in your mind. So, if I said, 'Velvet Underground', you may say 'Heroin' or 'Banana'. Okay?"
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Ok.”
T.JONES: “Stereolab."
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Chemistry sets.”
T.JONES: “Spiritualized.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Godspell.”
T.JONES: “My Bloody Valentine.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Sunny Sunday Smile.”
T.JONES: “The Orb.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Headlight shows.”
T.JONES: “Felt.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Crayons.”
T.JONES: “Close Lobsters.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “White 12" I bought when I was about 17 or 15 years old.”
T.JONES: “Momus.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Humus.”
T.JONES: “Jesus And Mary Chain."
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Strawberry jam.”
T.JONES: “Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Gillette.”
T.JONES: “The Jasmine Minks.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “The Pink Panther.”
T.JONES: “Severed Heads.”
STEPHEN LAWRIE: “Seven.”

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Mini VJ Set: Amber Crain, co-creator of WTSH and shoegaze radio DJ, chooses her top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Now realizing how hard this little musical exercise actually is (only FIVE tracks?!), I feel slightly bad that Danny and I asked everyone to do this! However, it does make one think very very hard about these choices, which is important, I think. Sure, we can all have a shoegaze soup of random awesomeness sloshing about in the back of our brains, but in my world, taking the ingredients out of the soup to see how they function in your memory, and as part of something much larger, is an exercise worth doing. With mine, I'm picking tracks that, when I first heard them, stopped me in my tracks and forced me to alter or update what my own personal definition of shoegaze was. So, in no particular order:

Cocteau Twins - The Spangle Maker



By the time I heard this song, I'd already heard Garlands and the track "Ice Pulse". "Ice Pulse" got me interested in the band (I was super into synths that year) and Garlands (which I adored) made me realize there is a LOT more to this band than I'd previously thought. I mean, to me, Garlands is a straight up goth record. That didn't really fit into my "Ice Pulse" definition of the Cocteau Twins, so I knew I was onto something. The very first Cocteau Twins record I ever bought on my own was The Spanglemaker 12". I had no idea what to expect. By 10 seconds in, I knew I was holding gold. I love the lyrics to this song - they're so visual and kind of ambiguous; they made my imagination run wild. And at 1:00 minute in, the first chorus, I nearly lost my mind. It was the singular most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. And at 3:38, when the song released the remainder of it's full power, well, there are no words. I'm still not altogether sure who or what a spangle maker is, but I'm always looking for my spangle maker.

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The Jesus and Mary Chain - Something's Wrong



When you grow up in a small southern town and you aren't listening to Top 40, you're automatically ostracized as a weirdo. At 15, I went ahead and embraced that; something in my gut told me that if I could endure being a weirdo for just a little longer, I'd go on to meet other people like me, somewhere far away. The JAMC have so many important songs to me, but this may have been the very first track of theirs that I latched on to, during those solitary times. The song is so full of longing, confusion, loneliness and brokenhearted obsession, and it continues to ring true over and over again, more deeply every time. Later on in my twenties, perhaps my darkest days of all, I spent whole YEARS listening to this song every single day, multiple times, obsessing over it and someone I'd lost. "Cracked up years behind me, cracked up years ahead are all I see" resonated with me so fucking much. This song can make me cry.

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Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch With My Mind



Incidentally, I heard this song around the time I started losing touch with my own mind, which was perfect. I had discovered drugs and was essentially re-defining my entire existence when this came along. Suddenly, shoegaze had another facet for me - fucking swagger, attitude, and psychedelia. This version of the song is particularly crazed - it has the power to make humans do very bad things. Depending on your definition of "bad", I suppose. Play this song in my presence, and I'll still probably do almost anything. Makes me feel all right.

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The Telescopes - Sadness Pale



This was when I realized that shoegaze could be absolutely, gloriously sinister - in the best way possible. I adore almost everything this band has ever released, and if we're talking early tunes, I have a story for every single track. But I'm singling "Sadness Pale" out because it probably had the most effect on me (just BARELY edging ahead of "The Perfect Needle") the first time I heard it. Straight up noise and venom, and S. Lawrie's vocals on this are un-fucking-believable. The lyrics are mind-blowing too, all of them, but I had (have) a particular penchant for: "Are you floating in the madness as you step outside your mind? You can have your celebrations, no one cares until you die..."

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Ceremony - Clouds



This is my only pick that isn't "classic shoegaze" - yet, anyway. I guess I heard this track in 2007, possibly late 2006? Pretty sure it was released in 2005? Things are blurring. At any rate, this song is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I love Ceremony. I love everything they've done. But there is something about this one that just gets me in a way I can't even explain. Something about the soaring sounds, the vocal delivery, the melody, I don't know. The first time I heard this song, I felt like I'd heard the one song that was absolutely created for me. Obviously, it wasn't, but I just felt that close to it. I would live inside this song forever, if I could. This is a modern day "Plainsong" for me. It taps into THAT place. This song can also make me cry. "Come on, we're running out of time..."

Mini VJ Set: Michael Branch, of Starblood, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

For me, shoegaze, or dreampop or whatever tag used was about obliteration, a loss of self and structure, a disappearance of the player and the band and a freefall into bliss. J.G. Ballard has a short story where a character develops a process of slowly dissolving into his surroundings – the best of this music evokes the same sort of feelings for me.



AR Kane – Up




Oceanic rock – a music where borders of the self dissolve; laws of gravity are suspended - a rediscovery of lost innocence and peace – hypnotic, narcotic – a freefall into unconsciousness – these are all things AR Kane call to mind… Their songs are spellbinding, shimmering – soundtracks to dream imagery – sounds without origin and seemingly without end – tap into our sense of another hidden world beneath reality – something glimpsed out of the corner of your eye – like stars that can only be viewed peripherally. They are about the immobility of rapture – beauty as narcotic…


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My Bloody Valentine – Slow




"Slow" sounds as though their desires have put them in peril – ravished to the point of debility – the vampire as sexual allegory – the rush of blood away from the head - excess brings on pallor, sex makes you ill. Like most of these bands their music is removed from strong riffs and power chords – dyslexic surges, swathes, precipices and detonations. The noises seem origin-less. A song with most of its weight removed – just the remnants remaining – in some ways a song with its back broken. Their music deals with the loss of autonomy – a succumbing to desire, a slide into oblivion…


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Talk Talk – The Rainbow




A paradise lost – a lament – a wish to conjure the ‘spirit of eden’ again in a world ‘turned upside down’... This music is permeated with melancholy and awe – empty soundscapes – veils of sound. Again you have a sense of boundaries dissolving – an escape to a place or world outside of language…


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Cocteau Twins – Eggs and Their Shells



Lullabies taking us back to the original love – the love of mother and child – these are imagined songs that come before language or grammar… There is often a sense of poignancy – an ache and feeling of loss in their songs – the loss of the (pre-birth) memory of maternal haven where there was no gap between desire and fulfillment? A time prior to the actual reality of need and wants…


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Loop – Arc Lite



A mind can be overwhelmed by too much information or emptied by focusing on too little – sensory overload vs. sensory deprivation – both ways can take you to a place outside of linear thought and language. Loop’s work is based on repetition – completely immersing the listener in the moment – a road to oblivion – a loss of memory - blindness to the future. Their sound takes us to Nowhere – a place out of time – a utopia.

29 May 2011

Shoegaze Quote: Sonic Boom makes a snide remark. Again.


Taken from the interview Andrew Stevens did with Sonic Boom (Peter Kember) for 3 am Interview.




Andrew: So would you rule out ever working with him [Jason Pierce] ever again? I'm sure that's some people's wet dream, like The Stone Roses reforming!

Sonic Boom: I could, is all I can say. I doubt he would care to. He doesn't necessarily like to reflect on it perhaps? It really wouldn't bother me. I played for Yo La Tengo for a week and put up with Ira Kaplan, so anything is possible...

Shoegaze Quote: J Mascis admits to being a Cosby sweater enthusiast.

Taken from an interview done by Zac of Caught in the Crossfire (2005)

Knitted with love from Mum (above).


Zac: Is it true that your Mum actually knit you a Deep Wound cardigan/jumper?

Mascis: Yep, she did. In fact my wife wears that now!

Zac: Lou Barlow has had some pretty bad sweaters along the way as well, huh? Would he beat you in a bad sweater wardrobe competition?

Mascis: Yeah, most definitely. He is a huge sweater guy.

Mini VJ Set: The Sunshine Factory choose their top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

The Sunshine Factory are straight up great folks - and they, too, have been with us from the very very beginning. We appreciate and love those guys so much! The whole band chipped in on this one, so Robert picked 2, Ian picked 2, and Sally picked one. Fun! (Fuck, I did not mean to rhyme.) ANYWAY, surely you've heard their music by now?! If you answered "no" then you know what to do. Stat.


Robert

Aphrodite's Child: The Four Horseman



A group that probably influenced bands as diverse as Queen and Beck. A fantastic drummer on a song with incredible dynamics. Note: The Keyboard player wrote the music for Chariots of fire (Vangelis).

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This Mortal Coil (Cocteau Twins): Song of the Siren.



Just love this song. The poetry is incredible and of course Liz Fraziers voice........No need to say anymore.

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Ian

I'm sending tracks that are near and dear to me from my childhood. Hope you enjoy!

Halcyon on+on by Orbital



I fell in love with this when I heard it on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack when I was a kid. Kirsty Hawkshaw has just about the most awesome airy vocals I've ever heard. This song always puts me In that beautiful melancholy mood.

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Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers



My mother was very into The Chemical Brothers when we were living in Florida around '97. I remember driving to siesta key and listening to this on cassette. Great times.

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Sally

I think I'm feelin a little Joy Division at the moment.


Rejected 100,000 Compilation Cover Art.


Even though the cover title is true, we opted not to use this classy piece of art. Alas.

Shoegaze Quote: Neil Halstead sums up the path of music obsession.

Neil Halstead: The first time I ever heard The Jesus and Mary Chain it was fucking great. And then you read a review and they mention The Velvet Underground, so you go "fuck," like there's this little trail [laughs]. It's brilliant.

Taken from the Brooklyn Vegan interview (2008).

WE HIT 100,000!! and Video: Slowdive. When The Sun Hits.

You knew this song would be coming at some point! Sometime during the night we hit and surpassed 100,000 page views! We think that calls for our namesake jam. CRANK IT UP.


Mini VJ Set: Matt Etherton of Presents for Sally chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Matt Etherton has been an absolute joy the minute he and Presents for Sally came into our lives, full of vast musical knowledge and kindness. And he's quite a character (I know he's had me laughing my ass off on many occasions), not to mention he and his band are absolutely and uniquely talented. To me, they have a sound all their own. Thanks for everything, Matt, and if anyone out there hasn't checked out Presents for Sally yet, you oughta get on top of that. Not literally. Listen to them.

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I didn't want to be to predictable with this, I mean "Morningrise" by Slowdive and various other Ride and MBV songs are timeless, but these are all way too underrated:

The Charlottes - Liar



I remember seeing this on a late night tv programme called "Transmission" and I loved it. It wasn't until a few years later that I got the album Things Come Apart but there's not a bad track on it and it's extremely underrated.

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Low - Words



An amazing song by an amazing band...it doesn't matter what people call them...I have heard shoegaze/slowcore/post rock mentioned but i hope people see them the same as they do presents for sally..just a fucking great band that does their own thing, how they want to, regardless of pigeonholes or whatever is suppose to be cool at the time. The vocal harmony in the chorus is just perfect too...

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Boo Radleys - Does this hurt?



Probably my favourite song by them, I remember seeing this as a kid on TV on the indie chart on a Saturday morning and it just moved me...the guitars that come in on about 2 1/2 minutes just blow me away still...it's perfect and one of those songs I wish I had written. Up there with "The Finest Kiss" as the Boo's finest few minutes.

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Shop Assistants - Safety Net



I love this song loads, it's when indie meant indie! The whole C86 era had some great bands who just made loud noisy pop songs...early Primitives, Talulah Gosh, The Flatmates...it must have been great to be going out and seeing these bands live. I love the video as well...awkward shy indieness...fuck, I never knew I was so pretentious haha...

I urge everyone to go and buy a copy of the Will Anything Happen LP...or if your skint just watch "All Day Long" and "I Don't Wanna be Friends With You" on youtube.

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Moose - Jack



Moose again never seem to get the recognition they deserve, they meant a lot to me as I was growing up...especially the fact that Russel and Kevin, along with Miki and Chris from Lush and Simon from Cocteau Twins, recorded a song that came out on a flexi for Tottenham Hotspur football club...We beat our rivals Arsenal (known for cheating, being bad losers and generally pricks) in the FA Cup semi final and it was awesome and we went on to win the cup...I think Russel said he felt more proud doing that than anything for Moose...I always said if we reached the champions league final this year we'd do something similar. We never got to the final but it's something we will do in the future...I'll make sure of it!!!

28 May 2011

Mini VJ Set: Jonathan Allen of Music for Headphones chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Jonathan Allen, you are awesome. What more can we say? We've had Life.In.Mono on repeat for months. Please never stop being awesome.

Chapterhouse - "Pearl"



The production on this track is absolutely mind blowing. Regrettably I didn't get into Chapterhouse until a few years ago, but I am constantly amazed by the sheer beauty of their music. This song is like pure aural ecstasy. I love laying back and letting it wash all over me. I also really dig that the drum loop in the breakdown is the same as the Banshees' "Kiss Them for Me."

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My Bloody Valentine - "You Made Me Realize"



Probably not my favorite MBV track on record, but how it evolved and is used live has been a huge influence on MFH. This track is brutal, unrelenting noise. It reminds the shoegaze genre that you don't have to be pretty. It hints back at the some of the more immediate roots - Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3.

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Spiritualized - "Medication"



This song literally changed my life. The first time I heard it was laying on a bed in a London hotel room with headphones on. I can not conceive of how my life as a musician would have played out with out Pure Phase. The production is sublime and adventurous. The lyrics are honest and frail. This is the peak of psychedelic madness for J. Spaceman, and it's perfection.

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Galaxie 500 - "4th of July"



Not shoegaze, but I can think of nothing more dreamy than Galaxie 500. Like J. Spaceman, Dean's words feel so real, so vital, and so easy to relate to. He writes songs for no one but himself, but ends up describing how everyone feels.... sometimes at least.

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The December Sound - "Kill Me Before I Kill You"



Regardless that these guys are my friends, when Zach released this track I was instantly excited about the genre again. I had become bored with the derivative nature of early 2000's bands by the time I moved to the East Coast from Portland, but this song made me wake up and start paying attention again. The programming is sublime and the intensity is unreal.


Rejected 100,000 Compilation Cover Art.


Amber thinks Mark E. Smith is a good spokesman for shoegaze.
She is alone in that.

Mini VJ Set: Screen Vinyl Image chooses their top 5 most influential shoegaze songs.

Screen Vinyl Image have been with us from the very beginning - some of our first interviews, reviews, and special features have been with them. They also create and release some of the best music we've heard...well, ever. They are really fucking good, people. But Jake and Kim are also bad ass as human beings in general - such kind and generous people. We love you SVI! And yes, of COURSE they will be on the 100,000 compilation!! It's not a party without SVI.

******

in no particular order at all:

jesus & mary chain: april skies



it would be nearly impossible to list a fave mary chain record, but darklands has always been close to the turntable and this track is just brilliant.

******

cocteau twins: blue bell knoll



JAMC and the Twins were prob my (jake) main reasons for picking up a guitar (and pedals of course) and while i could list a ton of fave twin's songs, this song and record was the first one i ever heard by them and it was life-changing.

******

slowdive: primal



souvlaki was the first slowdive i ever heard and immediately fell in love with their sound, but it was just for a day that's atmospheres and isolations that really stuck. this track, in terms of gaze, is unlike anything else anyone ever did. while mbv took the noise approach w/ realise, this reminds me more of some of the earlier krautrock bands who took sounds to create emotions and blast them out at ungodly levels.

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the cure: 2Late



best cure track ever written, and it's a damn b-side. i had the cassette single and wore it out immediately.

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my bloody valentine: sueisfine



isn't anything is def a more fave of svi than loveless. we both discovered them on this record and it's always been a top go-to over the rest of their catalog. this track just kills.

Shoegaze Quote: William Reid decides to be old and ugly.

Taken from the "Smile, The Jesus And Mary Chain Love You" interview done by Brantley Bardin in December 1994.


BB:
After Psychocandy, some people thought the Jesus and Mary Chain was supposed to overdose, never make another record, and basically die young and beautiful. Here you are ten years later.

William Reid: Yeah, apparently we'll live to be old and ugly.

Mini VJ Set: Rob Turner, WTSH Contributor Extraordinaire, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze songs.

In November 1983, I had spent about 2 hours searching my favorite Record store, I pick up an album wrapped in yellow transparent cellophane, the artist unknown to me, the cover art was beautiful, I flipped the album over and read a note:

Dear Listener,

Thank you for lending us your ears, this is just a short note to tell you what, when and why.

What? The Bass and the Voices belong to Mark, the Guitars to Reg and Dave, the Drums to John. The noise belongs to everybody.

When? When Tony Skinkis takes the photos and drives the van, thank you; when Alastair plays the keyboards, thank you; When James Lipton gives us a guiding hand, thank you; when Spin and Steve of ARC Electronics (Southampton) work hard looking after our live sound, thank you; when Colin Richardson engineers miracles from a dying studio, thank you, when friends are friends at home or abroad, may Silvio's never close, thank you; and when Ken utters the immortal words "What is the script with this bridge?" - thank you.

Why?
Why Not.

We are the Chameleons and this is our first L.P., perhaps we will make another. Who knows? Not me!

Mark Burgess,
5 o'clock in the Morning, Nottinghill Gate, London.

P.S. Reg did the front cover, good isn't it!



The Chameleons - Up the Down Escalator (Script of a Bridge)
1983



Really was the band that started me down the path, to searching for other bands with the chiming, swirling guitar... it just did not have a genre yet.

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The Rain Parade - This Can't Be Today (Emergency Third Rail Power Trip)
1983



1983 - another band that grabbed me that year (yes more Neo-Psychedelic, but had hints of Dream pop).

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Loop - 16 Dreams (16 Dreams EP)
1986



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A.R. Kane. So Far Away (When You're Sad 12")
1986



The band A.R. Kane is the one that really concreted the dream pop genre, even though I still feel they were and still are incredibly underrated.

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The Kitchens of Distinction - Prize (single)
1988



KoD was and still is one of the bands that gave me the same feeling of discovery and was totally blown away by as the Chameleons. Between Patrick Fitzgerald's wonderful voice/genius lyrics and Julian Swale's just mind blowing guitar work!!!

Mini VJ Set: Kurt Feldman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and The Ice Choir chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

We can't think of a single band that Kurt Feldman has been involved with that we don't love immensely. Thus, we can only assume that he is a wizard or some sort of magical being. We're probably right. At any rate, he is a great musician and an incredibly nice chap; we adore him. His new project, The Ice Choir, is a must hear. You can hear some of the tracks on the band's bandcamp page - and Kurt has donated a track by The Ice Choir for the compilation, so, let the rejoicing begin. (squee!)

5) Catherine Wheel - "The Nude"




Whenever I hear this song, the vocal line from the chorus gets stuck in my head for days, which is kind of annoying, but it's also a great song, so I deal with it. Also, how did they get the guitars to sound so ballsy on this record?


4) Blueboy - "Imipramine"



All the time I was in Depreciation Guild I tried to write a song as melodic and memorable as this one. Didn't even come close.


3) Pale Saints - "Babymaker"



This is probably a pretty obvious song to put on a list of best shoegaze songs. I'm cool with that. This song is just so hazy and carefree. Ian Masters also has one of my favorite voices in the history of pop music.


2) The Breeders - "No Aloha"



I've been obsessed with this song since I bought last splash in 3rd grade (1993) and the magic and breathy creepiness of this song has never worn off. This will always be one of my favorite tracks off one of my favorite albums of all time.


1) Cocteau Twins - "Those Eyes, That Mouth"



I will die to this song.


Rejected 100,000 Compilation Cover Art.


The concept seemed kinda funny, but when complete, just seemed sad. Sorry, Robot - REJECT PILE.

Mini VJ Set: Dean Bromley, Captain Videogaze at Air Atlantic Underground Radio, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Dean Bromley is our very own Mancunian! But aside from that, he is also one of the most knowledgable shoegazers we've ever met. He has seen tons of the classic gaze acts live and at the top of their game, which is amazing (and we aren't jealous AT ALL...), because he's full of stories. As Captain Videogaze over at the fabulous Air Atlantic Underground Radio, he functions as their resident videogazer (go check it out!), which sounds so fun, and that's where our favorite Jaguar (Bytes!) hangs out too! Danny and I were just saying yesterday that we loved that guy - and we do. We love that guy. :) Thanks for everything, Dean! You are truly an asset to the musical community...and the world at large!

1) Ride - Seagull



I will never forgive NME magazine for only giving this album 6 out of 10 in their reviews. It is still the only album I have ever awarded the perfect 10 to. This is far and away my favourite song ever.

******

2) Primal Scream - Shoot Speed Kill Light



The last ever song on the last ever Creation Records album release. What Kevin Shields brought to this album (check out Accelerator) was the collision of two worlds, a head on crash at 140 mph, the solar system disappearing up its own arse...and we all survive.

******

3) My Bloody Valentine - Soon



Many say that the ultimate indie/dance crossover track was Stone Roses - "I am the Resurrection". What absolute bollocks. This track comes casually strolling along to "I am the Resurrection", chews it up, gargles on it, and lobs it back out onto the pavement at great speed.


******

4) The Boo Radleys - Kaleidoscope



First proper shoegaze gig I went to see was the Boo Radleys at the time of Ichabod and I - only 30 people there, they opened with a much more raw version of this, but this was the track which defined the road to "Shoegazeland" that I am still hiking a lift on.


******

5) The Dandy Warhols - Hard on for Jesus



I loved the Dandy's early stuff - this song has everything. Guitar which hangs around your legs like a dog in heat, keyboards which go off into orbit and back again....

27 May 2011

Mini VJ Set: Tristan Swan of Love Culture chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Love Culture is a damn great band. Plain and simple. I was able to see perform them live a few weeks ago, and it was stunning. These guys have recently released two exceptional EPs, so if you haven't heard them yet, go over to their bandcamp page and listen. Utterly great stuff. Tristan Swan: When The Sun Hits salutes you! You, my friend, are awesome.




1. Slowdive - 40 Days: Initially, I wanted to add "Souvlaki Space Station," because it's such an epic, sweeping song. But "40 Days" strikes a much more personal note with me. It reminds me of the end of summer, and I find that the line: "If I saw something new, I guess wouldn't worry, If I saw something new I guess I wouldn't care," has stayed with me in a deeper way than most lyrics I can think of.

******



2. My Bloody Valentine - Sometimes: The song has such a lovely, hopelessly tired feel to it. It's what I imagine would be playing at my wake. Give in, close your eyes and slip away.

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3. Medicine - Aruca: Medicine has so many good songs but this was one of the first I heard by them a long time ago and it hasn't worn out. It's so scathingly badass and unashamedly loud. The way that the gathering noise in the beginning leads into that pretty refrain gets me every time. Plus, I was in love with Beth Thompson when I first saw The Crow so I had to have Medicine on this list.

******



4. Chapterhouse - Mesmerise: It was a tossup between this and "Pearl," but this one is, again, more personal to me. I am obsessed with the summer, living in the summer, and songs about the summer. Not sure if this song was written about the summer, but the memories I have of listening to this song as August slipped away and feeling so happy, bittersweet and desperate all at the same time pretty much encapsulates who I am as a person. I also absolutely love the music video.

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5. A Place to Bury Strangers - Ocean: Can I use a recent band? Is that ok? ; ) This song defines powerful. I defy anyone to find a better lead-up to such a devastating ending that this song brings. This song shakes the walls of what I knew to be "loud." Listening to it is like feeling you're driving 100 mph at night down a desert highway with a doomed lover next to you and the darkness is swallowing up everything behind you.

Mini VJ Set: David Goffan, gear afficianado at Rockland Music Center, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

David Goffan kicks ass on multiple levels. He is an amazing musician (fun fact: David was one of the original members of A Place to Bury Strangers), a total gear head, the owner of Rockland Music Center in New Jersey, an occasional contributor to this very blog, a masterful Photoshop Wizard of Hilarity, and he can also eat an impressive number of Twizzlers (second only to me, obviously). It's always fun to get an invitation into David's mind, because it's totally weird and awesome up in there. When The Sun Hits loves you, David. Thank you for allowing us a peek into ye olde cranium!
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#5 Yes - "Heart of the Sunrise"

When I was growing up, the vast majority of the music that filled my house was Prog, considering my father was a keyboardist in a fairly prominent prog band in Argentina. I guess you could say this was the first song I ever heard that challenged my conceptions as to what "music" was. To this day, Steve Howe is my absolute favorite guitarist, and a huuuuuuuuuge influence on me as a player.

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#4) Secret Shine - "Temporal"

This is one of the first "shoegaze" tunes I ever heard! We had this little record store across the way from my high school. We were just a bunch of little punk rocker kids, however a few of us had an ear for things outside of just punk rock. This is one of the bands the guy behind the counter made us listen to. This is one of those tracks that helped broaden my musical vocabulary; however, I didn't realize at the time just how much of a turning point that day was.

******



#3 Cocteau Twins - "Blind Dumb Deaf"

I will fully admit to "discovering" The Cocteau Twins faaaaar later than I'd like to admit. I had to have been around 24, and already had been listening to shoegaze for what seemed forever, and then by some random twist of fate (which I honestly do not remember), I landed on this song and was completely and utterly blown away. I remember literally spending the next day attempting to recreate it at work. It was a funny scene! I had a drum machine going half way across my store, I had looped the bass on the other side of my store, and I was playing the guitar part on top of it. To this day, this song is just so special to me. Oddly enough, it's not my favorite Cocteau Twins tune, but it's the one that started it all for me with them. Needless to say, every shoegaze musician can go on about how much they love this band, and how big an impact they had on us all. I am no different!

******



#2 Slowdive - "Brighter"

Well, well, well! Anyone who knows me knows about my absolute and utter level of obsession with Slowdive, however it wasn't always that way! The first time I had heard Slowdive was once again from the recommendation of my local record store guy. I'll never forget my first listening of Just for a Day which was, and I quote, "What is this synthy goth garbage?" I remember bringing this record back to the shop, chastising my buddy behind the counter until he said "Man, those aren't keyboards! They're guitars!" I'll fully admit that in the beginning, I listened to them out of morbid curiosity. I wanted to know how they managed to get those sounds out of my beloved guitar. As some of you know (honestly, it's something I keep secret), I went on to start a band called A Place to Bury Strangers years later. You can blame Slowdive for this. This is the band that inspired me to REALLY start changing how I played the guitar, and to this day remains the single thing I judge my own music against.

******

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, NUMBER ONE!!!



#1 Mogwai - "Mogwai Fear Satan"

Oh, Mogwai...I'll never, ever forget how I discovered you. We used to all head to this one Tower Records, partially because they would get some decent imports every now and again, and partially because we all were totally in love with one of the girls who worked there - haha. Anyhow, one day I decided to go check what imports they had gotten when I wandered upon a curious CD. It was by some random band called Mogwai, about which I vividly remember thinking, "What a neat name for a band, I'll buy this!" Back then I had this bizarre habit of ALWAYS starting a new record from the last track, which as we all know was "Mogwai Fear Satan" I eagerly ran to my car to give it a listen, and I will never forget having to pull over once the song punches you in the face out of sheer amazement. I cannot express just how influential Mogwai has been to me as a musician. To me, that song just absolutely defines the pinnacle of all the genres I adore so much. It's shoegazey, it's heavy, it's almost a piece of classical music! To me, it's just pure and utter genius.

Rejected 100,000 Compilation Cover Art.


Putting together the 100,000 celebratory compilation meant making some album art. Awesome, that actually means we attempt that for a bit, then just try to make each other laugh. Usually, friends get involved, hilarity ensues, and we end up with a slew of reject jpegs we should be ashamed of - and MAYBE an actual one we can use.

We made a "real" cover, and then Amber (of course) freaks and decides it's the WORST THING EVER, and sends it off to pal, David Goffan, to confirm that it sucks. This was the response. It speaks for itself.

Mini VJ Set: Danny Lackey, blog co-creator, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

I was going to do a more academic/historical list, but after much debate and conversation with knowledgeable friends I decide to make it my personal experience with shoegaze. Here goes!

1) JAMC, Darklands, "Happy When It Rains" 1987.



I found this album at a library record sale. I was 15 and had just started playing guitar in a punk band (of course we were called Requiem! lol!) I still have the record. I still listen to it often. This song says it all for me.

2) Ultra Vivid Scene, Ultra Vivid Scene,"Mercy Seat" 1988.



I saw this for the 1st time on 120 minutes. It was accompanied by this great interview as well. Without hesitation, I recorded over the previous weeks show (VHS, of course) to get this song! Yep, that's how we shoegeezers did it back in the day. That show was like church for a lot of us. Anyway, I was blown away by Kurt Ralske's interview and this song - I had a mancrush....Um, yeah, I did. I grew my hair like his and duct taped my Guyatone Jazzmaster like his. Total dork fanboy...I am still!

3) Ride, Smile EP,"Drive Blind" 1990.



This was a sent as a promo to the record store I was working in. Sherman (my manager and music taste mentor gave it to my gf!!!!) She later gave it to me. I was blooooooown away! Ride...yep.

4) Bloody Valentine,Tremolo EP,"Swallow" 1991.



Had been reading about them in the press for a few years,but hadn't paid much attention.Uh,say whaaaaat? Holy Angels in Heaven! The 1st time I heard this...it was like hearing Hendrix for the 1st time. Stopped dead in my tracks. Time stopped and the air went out of the room. Yeah,it was that big for me. I was done; hero worship had begun.

5) Catherine Wheel, Ferment, "Black Metallic" 1992.



What can I say? Another second hand store purchase. I had tried in vain to order this at Record Bar (Where I worked- a corporate store with a punk rock heart!Small towns...) It was karma to find this tape (stop smirkin', Perry Pelonero) I- wore - this - out. OUT! I took it everywhere. Played it for everybody. Drove people insane with it. You know, I still listen to this album at least once a week. Genius. It still gives me goosebumps. That's what it's all about.

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Of course there are many, many other bands like Pale Saints (a discount bin find!!!) Lush (greatness), Slowdive (oh man, Slowdive), Lovesliescrushing (another really important band),The Cure (huge, huge), Swervedriver (Raise, yes!) Adorable (were a revelation!) and the mighty Cocteau Twins that profoundly affected my sensibilities as a musician. These 5 were just the 1st for me, that's all.

Here's to 100,000 more hits! From the bottom of my heart thank you for supporting the music of the scene that celebrates itself! Viva shoegaze, dream pop and WTSH!~Danny the shoegeezer.

Mini VJ Set: Preston Maddox, of Bloody Knives and Killredrocket Records owner, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Preston Maddox, Distilled:

A member of Austin's bad ass psychedelic/noise/shoegaze trio, Bloody Knives. Owner of record label Killredrocket Records. Hardworking. Kind. Fucking HI-LAR-IOUS. And talented as fuck. We adore Preston and the Bloody Knives! If you frequent our blog at all, you already know this. And if you've heard their music or met them in real life (or both!), then you know why we adore them. They are creating some of the most interesting music being made right now, hands down, and Killredrocket Records is releasing music by some seriously talented artists. And did we mention how cool those guys are? Because those guys are cool. Thank you Preston, for being The Awesome. Everyone, we insist that you check out the bandcamp pages of Bloody Knives and Killredrocket Records. You will find gold, and it will be totally free, and you will wonder how you got so lucky.




Catherine Wheel “Future Boy”

I first heard this song driving with my friend Jon in his red Nissan pickup truck on a Sunday night. We were leaving Deep Ellum, Dallas Tx after playing a pretty crappy show with my high school band at the now-defunct club The Rock. Our eclectic punk rock band opened up for some terrible hair metal band from NYC, it sucked. Jon put this on and the buildup in the beginning zoned me out, and then when the vocals kick in the song goes to a whole other level. It builds up but never blows up, a lot of stuff on Adam and Eve does that. The textural noise was awesome to me, I could hear all the layers of guitars and noise piled on top of each other, I tried to chase down each winding noise, it was unexplainable to me and awesome. This was the first time I had ever heard shoegaze.
******



My Bloody Valentine “Blown a Wish”

I heard Loveless five years earlier and didn’t like it. When I heard it the second time, it was the only thing I could listen to. This record changed my entire approach to music. I came from a technical rock, metal and jazz background. I learned music theory and practiced scales. When I heard MBV, I started smoking lots of weed and buying lots of pedals. I got made fun of for listening to them, so I had to do it in secret. This is my favorite song of theirs. Belinda Butcher is such an incredible singer. Her voice sounds both so sweet and sad, and her melodies are so easy to follow, and so simple. The sweeping guitar and arpeggiator sounds follow along this winding Beatles style arrangement, and when the ooooo’s come in at the end, with the extra sounds, it's pure sonic genius. And the most interesting thing is that Kevin Shields did it by being exact with his sounds, instead of piling up layers of sounds, which is what most people thought. Probably the most atmospheric heavy song I have ever heard without distorted sounding guitars.

******



The Cure “Plainsong”

I have loved the Cure since I was younger, but this year and this album are still my favorite. I had been told that Disintegration was their best album, but I had not heard it yet. I knew the hits, but not the record itself. So, one day, strung out from all kinds of stuff, I decided that I was gonna go on a mission buy the record. My car broke down on the way to the record store, and it was raining. It was gonna be a long walk. So I smoked a couple cigarettes and made my way to the store to get the record. I bought the record and walked to my crappy apartment to listen to it. I thought I was gonna listen to the whole thing, but I ended up listening to “Plainsong” over and over. The song is so majestic and anthemic, sounds coming from everywhere. And then the lyrics….I think Robert Smith sets a lyrical and melodic standard, he is just so good. “Sometimes you make me feel like I living at the edge of the world” - what a perfect way to express that moment. Simon Gallup bridged the gap between melodic bass playing and rhythmic bass playing, and had a huge influence on my playing later on. My friends came home and asked what the deal was, I told them the story, and one of my friends said: “Dude, you walked in the rain to get Disintegration? You must be really depressed!!”

******



Curve “Perish”

There was a period of time for about 6 months when two friends and I basically just walked into the void, living in as much excess as we could. During this time we listened to three records on repeat, Sparta/Wiretap Scars, Massive Attack/100th Window, and Curve’s Gift album. “Perish” was the first Curve song I ever heard, and it is still my favorite. The arrangement of this song is deceptively simple, there is a ton going on, and lots of changes, very little repetition, but it sounds simple. I remember 1st hearing it, with all the noises at the beginning, all the space and the atmosphere, then the drums kick in and demand your attention, and bass takes you along, and then the guitars get massive, everything stops, and then Toni Halliday. Her singing is so honest, I think it’s the most important quality for a singer; it’s what people relate to, everyone can spot a faker. She has the ability to write and sing something so directly that it sticks with you (there’s a ghost, in my house, I realize it’s you). Her swinging and swaying rhythms locked in with the huge beats and the melodic bass. I think my constant use of the word “ghost” in songs can be traced back to this.

******



The Jesus and Mary Chain “Never Understand”


I used to hate the JAMC. I never understood why so many of my favorite artists and friends liked them so much. I first heard them in high school and then forgot about them for years. We were on our way home from the last Joy Bus tour, which was pretty miserable, and I wanted to get new music for the drive. I walked to a record store in Cleveland called Bent Crayon (http://bentcrayon.com/) and bought Psychocandy. I listened to it once and thought: “hmm, well, that was alright.” I didn’t listen to it again until we got back from tour. Then I played it for about a month solid, gradually liking it more and more. The vibe of their band became so obvious, essential, universal; I couldn’t believe I missed it. This is the song that sticks with me off this record. The 60’s pop references, the massive feedback, simple bass, simple beat, and awesome vocal hooks. The vocal hooks were what really drew me in with this band, he just leads you along with this nice melody which pulls all the bass and noise together. “Never Understand Me Yeah, Uh huh, Uh Huh”, I would hear it and start singing along. All the sudden I caught myself singing along to the whole record. I'm glad I missed them the first time around, I think picking up on their music later on gave me a lot of needed inspiration, and kept me from being bitter and jaded towards music, which happens to a lot of musicians over time. It's nice to discover something classic like this, it reminds you what it's like to really love music, it brings you right back to that time before you heard 10000000 different bands.

******
Their interviews are classic too:



They are very observant and self aware (Jim Reid accidentally predicts 90’s pop music trends around 7:20), and sometimes, so hateful (watch William Reid give him the finger around 3:50, or him talking about bands around 8:11).


When The Sun Hits is 100,000 Page Views Old!

Hello, gazers! As of (checks watch) RIGHT NOW, When The Sun Hits is officially celebrating its 100,000th page view! That is a TON of gazing at this blog, and naturally, we love gazing. Festivities will run through the entire weekend, not just today, so get those eyes off your shoes. It's going to be a blast, and we have so much for everyone to read and listen to; there will be free music (and an entire free compilation that SERIOUSLY kicks ass), hilarious jpegs, random commentary, announcements, anecdotes, interviews, bad jokes, and general overly excited behavior. Think of this as a party on the internet. Mingle. Comment. Yell stuff at us. Call us on the phone at 3am. Drink some alcoholic beverages. And have a fucking good time. We love you, all of you. Keep gazing, and we'll see you at 200,000, guys. You know it.

Love,
Amber & Danny

25 May 2011

The Blog Hits Its 100,000th Page View: Festivities Begin on Friday!

Danny and I honestly never thought that our little blog, When The Sun Hits, would ever have as many awesome readers as it does today. It all began because we both love the music and feel it's important to support it; we just weren't expecting so many awesome musicians, gear heads, label owners, and gazers to agree with us! We certainly never thought we'd have anything CLOSE to 100,000 page views EVER, so achieving that in less than a year is kind of blowing our minds a bit! We appreciate all of you so much. You guys rock.

But blah blah, you want to hear about the festivities, right?!

We have some AWESOME stuff coming up. Last I checked, we were at 97, 881 page views, so we will certainly meet or exceed that by this Friday (May 27th), which works perfectly, since festivities are slated to begin this Friday and run all through the weekend!

One of the fun things we have for you is QUITE a long list of musicians, label owners, gear heads, hardcore gazers, and suchlike who will each post their 5 most influential shoegaze/dream pop tracks (with a video) and explain their reasoning behind their choice. Essentially, we'll have these people mini djing/vjing all weekend long, and from what I've seen so far, this will be a REALLY entertaining and interesting feature. We hope you'll think so as well!

Another thing we're doing is making a free to download compilation to commemorate the occasion. We have some bad ass musicians who've all kindly donated tracks for this (some even wrote special tracks FOR the occasion or are giving us unreleased demos to use!) and it's going to truly kick ass. It will likely be released through bandcamp, so stay tuned this weekend and get your free comp!

We'll also be releasing a lot of content in general, as well as announcing some of the future plans we are about to launch for the blog - big ones! We are expanding and growing, but we will save those details for the celebration! Keep your gaze off the feet and on the blog this weekend! The 100,000th page view celebration is going to be The Awesome.

Cheers,
Amber & Danny


Top 5 Records of the Week.

Welcome to another installment of When The Sun Hits' weekly obsessions. We have lots of exciting things coming up, including some special content to celebrate hitting 100,000 page views (almost there!) - really awesome exclusives, free downloads, mini vj sets from a variety of people, and a special announcement about the future of the blog. More on that later today!!

For the uninformed, our weekly Top 5 Records lists include older and classic LPs and EPs for you to revisit, as well as brand new releases, so that you can keep your finger on the pulse of new artists and still rock out to classics. It's a great way to give old and new bands exposure, plus we just like making lists, because we are music nerds like that.

We've archived all of the previous weeks for your browsing enjoyment, which you can find in the right side bar, if you're curious about such things.



*Amber's Top Five Records of the Week*


1. Craft Spells. Idol Labor. Captured Tracks. (2011)












2. Slowness. Hopeless but Otherwise EP. Self-released. (2011)












3. Love Culture. Drag EP. Self-released. (2011)












4. OMD. Dazzle Ships. Virgin. (1983)












5. The Julies. Lovelife. Flying Tart. (1995)













OMD. The Romance of the Telescope.


*Danny's Top Five Records of the Week*


1. The Cure. Disintegration. Elektra. (1989)












2. Revolver. Cold Water Flat. Caroline Records. (1993)












3. Gliss. Devotion Implosion. Cordless Recordings. (2009)












4. The Chameleons. Script of the Bridge. Statik. (1982)












5. Nick Drake. Pink Moon. Island. (1972)













The Cure. Plainsong.

22 May 2011

Mogwai and Their Fucking Brilliant Song Titles: A Retrospective.

Since WTSH just published a review of Mogwai's new LP, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (read it HERE), I can't help but reminisce about the years of hilarity the band has provided for me via their song titles. Perhaps only the Flaming Lips can compete with them on this. Below you will find my favorites. Cheers! Amber.


Radar Maker.
Mogwai Fear Satan.
I am Not Batman.
Stupid Prick Gets Chased by the Police & Loses Slut Girlfriend.
Punk Rock/Puff Daddy/Anti-Christ.
Superheroes of BMX.
Dial: Revenge.
Robot Chant.
Hunted by a Freak.
Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep.
Stop Coming to My House.
Glasgow Mega Snake.
I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead.
The Sun Smells Too Loud.
I Love You, I'm Going To Blow Up Your School.
Thank You, Space Expert.
You're Lionel Richie.
How to be a Werewolf.
Wake Up & Go Berserk.
I Do Have Weapons.