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With all the actual, real MY BLOODY VALENTINE news, it nearly escaped me that a number of Japanese bands have banded together for a track-by-track tribute album entitled YELLOW LOVELESS.
You can find it here.
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DC DREAMPOP FROM KITCHEN NOISE
My buddy John sent me this earlier today… if you like the dreampop sort of sound, check out Kitchen Noise, based here in the Washington DC area. Good stuff!
Source: SoundCloud / Kitchen Noise
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In preparation for tonight’s SWERVEDRIVER show here in DC, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it is to describe their music to friends. The default explanation is “they got lumped in with the shoegazers and were on Creation records in the early ’90s, but really evolved from there… ” and then I sort of trail off. Not really helpful.
The term “shoegazer” is assumed to have evolved from the practice of staring down at one’s guitar pedals while using them to create a wall of distortion and noise with one’s instruments. The problem is that the term itself is a bit twee and quaint…and doesn’t sufficiently detail the rush and the sheer pummeling of the waves of sound that wash over you from such music. In concert or otherwise.
Calling such powerful music “shoegaze” is as twee as calling it “pedalpusher.” Think about that word - gazing at one’s shoes has nothing to do with the music. My Bloody Valentine refers to the climax of their show as the “holocaust” - that should give you an idea of the force of the sound about to hit you. A far more forceful word is needed for this genre… if it even is a genre.
I’ve liked a lot of bands that have been linked to this description, only to find that the word is simply inadequate. In her book Manic Pop Thrill, Rachel Felder used the word miasma to describe such bands… but that word is a little too close to melisma, which is that ear-splitting trilling up and down the scales that female pop singers tend to do these days.
This I guess goes back to the old saying about writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Sometimes the words we use to describe genres of music aren’t as well thought-out as they could be. I don’t have a good alternative word in mind, though… and let’s not even stare down the loaded barrel of the word “alternative” being used to describe music.
I’m not even sure what to make of this… a mashup of The Beatles’ Anna (Go To Him) with Leave Them All Behind by RIDE. The Beatles + shoegaze? An intriguing combo.
Mmm mmm him.
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audio above: “This River Never Will Run Dry” by Moose from their “Sonny Of Sam” EP collection
Once upon a time I was in New York City to see a show. On our way to the matinee I caught the marquee at Roseland (around the corner from Letterman’s Ed Sullivan Theater): COCTEAU TWINS. Whoa! That night! A band I’d loved, but never seen was in NYC the same night as me. Tried to buy tickets at Tower Records that day, but they were off sale, since it was the day of the show. Tower assured me the show was not sold out, no problem getting a ticket from the Roseland box office.
No tickets left by the time I got there. Torture. Nobody even selling extras outside. Also on the bill: LUNA, who were familiar to me, but then another more mysterious band was listed. MOOSE.
Eventually I found a copy of ….XYZ and fell hard for their music. Mostly lumped in with the shoegazers, some of their work does have that dreampop quality to it. Especially that wash of guitars that seems endemic to the bands labeled as “shoegaze.” Cranberry Dolores O’Riordan makes a guest appearance on this 1992 disc on the song “Soon Is Never Enough.”
The Cherry Red label in the UK is reissuing their debut lp, …XYZ along with bonus tracks consisting of the early EPs that were compiled into the Sonny Of Sam EP itself. This reissue is a huge bargain for fans of this style of music - a great LP, then bonus tracks from a disc that’s been very hard to find for ages. Moose never had a big following the US, although they did open for the Cocteaus on that Four-Calendar Cafe tour back around 1993-‘94. The CT tour eventually came to Pittsburgh, my hometown at the time, and hearing Liz Fraser’s voice in person was referred to by In Pittsburgh as akin to “shaking hands with an angel.” Sadly, Moose were not on the bill. They deserve to be heard, their records are great. Enjoy this sample, and seek out their tunes.