Category Archives: +++ shoegaze

Stars of Track and Field

Especially the first record. Sadly, this Portland, Oregon band broke up a few years ago. Make no mistake— their first record “Centuries Before Love And War” could not be more perfect. Here it is (Spotify playlist).

SOTAF, we miss you.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/2hKEidTjY0WqOMsek07Jnj

spotify:album:2hKEidTjY0WqOMsek07Jnj

 

 

Seldom Family

Take a listen.

Youtube playlist of ten videos/songs:

 

7-song album from Spotify:

 

75-minute instrumental ambient record, inspired by the first Dogme95 film, Festen, from 1998:

 

 

Engineers

I know hardly anything about this band. Probably the most underrated band, ever. Currently, they have 5,800 listeners on Spotify. That really isn’t much. Seven albums under their belt. Do not sleep on ANY of them.

 

 

 

Sea Oleena

seaoleena

My good friend Kira got me into Sea Oleena, during the brutal winter. Funny story behind this discovery—

One night, instead of driving home from work (when it was 12 degrees), I decided to leave my car there and just walk home (it’s about a 23-minute walk, in nice weather). I made sure I was completely bundled up… and had good headphones to keep my ears warm. So, I threw Sea Oleena’s “Shallow” album on my iphone and proceeded to walk home.

It was fucking BRUTAL. Brutal. 12 degrees, even walking for 5 minutes, is fucking painful.

I was slipping all over the ice on the sidewalks of the neighborhoods between my house and my work. All the while, this album was playing.

It was the only saving grace, that night. Even completely bundled up, I was in pain. I had a scarf on my face, layer after layer… and I was thinking (halfway through), “why the HELL would someone decide to do this?” But, I did. Possibly to test my survival skills, which are zero.

Anyway… it was this song, the second song on the album… that helped me get through the walk. I was like “my god, this is perfection.”

And it is. And SHE is. She being Charlotte Oleena (C. Oleena)…. creative name, in Sea Oleena, right? I love it.

Perfection.

Wye Oak

wye-oak-low-3f

Just goddamn BRILLIANT. I’ve been a huge fan for years. Fucking brilliant. Can’t believe I haven’t written about them yet. My favorite record by them is “The Knot”, from 2009.

If you like those two songs, delve into their entire discography. You will not be disappointed. Some bands just knock it out of the park with every. fucking. song. That’s Wye Oak.

No Joy

nojoy

No Joy combines all the best of 90s noise/shoegaze and pretty hooks a-la Jesus and Mary Chain or the best pop songs. Melodic and dissonant perfection. Not that I give a shit (or ever have), but Pitchfork Media also shows them love, by giving their “Wait for Pleasure” album (my favorite), an 8.0. And we all know that if Pitchfork likes it, it must be good, right? Not always true, but in the case of No Joy…. yes.

The Innocence Mission (repost)

innocence

There are beautiful-sounding bands, and there are bands that I cannot simply live without. The Innocence Mission belongs to the latter category.

Formed in the early 80s in Lancaster, PA by husband and wife Don and Karen Peris, The Innocence Mission’s music is folk-oriented, with lush guitar layers (acoustic and clean electric) and lovely string arrangements, vocal harmonies, and gentle, sweeping melodies.

I can’t really describe their music at all, because it’s something you have to hear and feel… and sometimes there just aren’t enough words.

Here are some of my favorite Innocence Mission songs… spanning their entire career in reverse chronological order:


a song from their 2007 album “We Walked In Song”


two perfect songs (in one video) from their 1999 album “Birds of My Neighborhood”


the opening track on 1995’s “Glow”, as featured in the 1996 film “Dream For An Insomniac”


their biggest hit, as featured in the 1995 film “Empire Records”


from their second record, Umbrella (1991), and featured in the brilliant 2012 film “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower”


this song above, “Notebook”, contains some of my all-time favorite lyrics.
“He’s painting houses… he’s painting houses for a while. Then home to his canvas, coming to life.”

www.theinnocencemission.com

Antenne

It is glaringly obvious that I listen to music that basically no one likes, or understands. Case in point, Antenne (from Denmark). Several members are also from the band Amstrong (that’s AM, not Arm), a band I will write about in the future (Antenne has released the same amount of full-length albums, as Amstrong). Although I love both bands, I love Antenne’s simplicity and minimalist/quieter approach. They are completely depressing, ambient, and music to slash your wrists by (this is a good thing).

 

Here’s the first song I ever heard by them… and following, is a YouTube playlist of their songs.

 

 

http://antenne.bandcamp.com – I have NO IDEA if this is their official bandcamp, as their albums are $1,000 each. I don’t think they’ll be selling many copies, if this is true…

 

Luke Pigott

Yep, I’m going there…..

My good friend and roommate Luke Pigott (pronounced pie’-gitt) makes some beautiful instrumental music. At this very moment, he’s recording a bassline to his song “Goodbye”, on my left-handed bass.

Luke makes music very similar to The Album Leaf, Tristeza, Explosions in the Sky, and Papa M (David Pajo of Slint). But he also has a sound that’s uniquely his own… and it’s very pretty, epic, and textured. As much as I love the music of the Album Leaf, I think Luke is as good as, if not better than Jimmy Lavalle (some post-rock fans may think I’m crazy for saying that, but I dunno… I often listen to his stuff more these days).

Luke usually makes his songs completely live and/or improvised with loop pedals, and his songs are often inspired by sad events in his life… if anyone’s music truly feels sad or heavy/emotional, it’s Luke’s. Even without lyrics, it just oozes genuine feeling.  I’d like to think the music I make oozes genuine feeling, but in a different way. Anyway…. I love Luke’s stuff…. it’s great shit, and I am proud to call him a friend. He’s coming out with an album around spring 2014. I played drums on a couple songs on the record, including “Goodbye”.

 

Celestial

I know NOTHING about this band. Just stumbled upon the album “Crystal Heights.” Celestial is the name of several different bands worldwide, but the one I’m writing about here is Andreas Hagman of Sweden, who writes all the music and works with different female vocalists. The music is shoegaze/dreampop/twee and it is LOVELY.

Start with the song “Crystal Heights”… and wait for that glorious chorus hook with the harmony… “change it all, change it all tonight”

 

Then check this one out:

 

Mmmmm (sigh).

I dedicate “Crystal Heights” to my lovely Hungarian friend Hanna, who reads this blog regularly.