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‘Shoegazi’ tribute gives Fugazi the shoegazer treatment
06.23.2016
12:56 pm
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There’s a label based out of Sao Paolo called (with great self-awareness) The Blog That Celebrates Itself Records, which is (of course) an offshoot of The Blog That Celebrates Itself. This name of the operation derives from a sardonic comment made by Melody Maker’s Steve Sutherland in 1990 to describe the incestuous group of bands that was playing the Thames Valley around that time, including Chapterhouse, Lush, Moose, and Stereolab. The phrase “The Scene That Celebrates Itself” has since been taken to refer to the self-admiring shoegaze movement tout court

TBTCI has a knack for releasing compilations—they’ve recently released tribute comps honoring Sonic Youth, Ride, the Boo Radleys, the Pale Saints, Echo and the Bunnymen, and the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, among many others.

But now the label has released something truly special, a tribute album about a band that isn’t exactly in that early 1990s U.K. wheelhouse and isn’t known for tons of pedal effects on their guitar—the groundbreaking D.C. band Fugazi. Now, Fugazi’s aesthetic and that of, say, My Bloody Valentine are pretty different, but it turns out that there’s a higher quotient of swarming guitars in Fugazi than you probably remember, and that helps make the combination all the more delicious.

The obvious name for such a thing: “Shoegazi,” of course.
 

 
The compilation is called Steady Gaze of Nothing, a reference to Fugazi’s second full-length Steady Diet of Nothing. The compilation ranges widely across Fugazi’s discography with a strong emphasis on the early stuff—you’re likely to hear your favorites represented here.
 

Track listing:
Soft Wounds - Waiting Room
Evvolves - Turnover
Sunshine and the Rain - Merchandise
The One2s - Bad Mouth
Diluvia - Life and Limb
Rei Clone - Smallpox Champion
Cumin - Shut The Door
Harps - Blueprint
Siwomat - Larga División (Long Division)
Coaches - Suggestion
Blacksalt - I´m So Tired
Savage Cut - Brendan #1
Petal Head - Arpeggiator

 
You can listen to the entire compilation below, but by all means go over to the compilation page on Bandcamp and send ‘em some cash for the mp3s.
 

 
via Vanyaland; thanks to Jeff Albers!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Fugazi: Red Medicine for the White House, live in Washington, DC, 1991
Newly unearthed video: My Bloody Valentine destroy DC’s 9:30 Club, 1989

Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.23.2016
12:56 pm
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Members of Curve and Primal Scream talk My Bloody Valentine’s ‘You Made Me Realise’


 
One upside of being “a certain age” is that some of the concerts you went to as a matter of course seem impossibly cool in hindsight, and for me, one of those was My Bloody Valentine on the Loveless tour. I doubt I have to tell anyone who bothered to click on this how amazing the show was, and I almost didn’t go! It was a fairly expensive ticket and I was a flat broke 20-year-old, but a friend with a little flow to spare—in a move that would mark her for sainthood in whatever religion I would be in if I was in one—bought me a ticket, just because she thought it was something I should see. (In kind, I would years later take her to see Kraftwerk in Chicago on her birthday, and I’m not sure that I don’t still owe her.) MBV was exactly everything I wanted in music at the time—a noisy guitar offensive totally outside the dead-to-me hardcore milieu, but otherworldly, pretty, dense, loud, perfect.
 

 
A much-discussed feature of their shows at the time—and I understand still, though I haven’t partaken in a reunion show—was the insane noise break (often referred to as “the holocaust”) in the middle of the song “You Made Me Realise.” On the EP of the same title, the song stops cold in the middle and turns into a vortex of white noise. In concert, that sonic hurricane was intensified to painful levels. At peak volume, and with blaring lights aimed at the crowd, MBV stretched that noise break out for 15 caustic, head-melting minutes or longer. Trendy kids who weren’t prepared for such meat-and-potatoes hatenoise (they’d all go on to buy Spooky by Lush and be ultra psyched about it) made for the parking lot with dad’s car keys, but the faithful stuck it out. You couldn’t see anything but those lights. You couldn’t talk to your friends. You just took it. If you were attentive you started to notice all the over- and under-tones and implied rhythms that emerged from the huge, sick, beautiful racket they were making. Nuances asserted themselves in the punitively loud assault of guitar grit and cymbal-wash, and you might have been hallucinating some of them, but that blank wall of sound was rich, complex, and anything but blank. And then, after who even knew how long, without any cue discernable to the audience, on a goddamn dime the band dropped back into the song’s propulsive main riff. It remains to this day one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen.

The recently released documentary Beautiful Noise by Eric Green and Sarah Ogletree focuses closely on the origins and impact of the scene that MBV galvanized (and amusingly, the press release does a fine job of teasing the film without once ever using the words “shoe” or “gaze”). A recently-released clip from the film features Toni Halliday of Curve, Bobby Gillespie of The Jesus and Mary Chain/Primal Scream, and MBV drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig talking about the “holocaust.” There’s some wonderful rare footage and photography. Billy Corgan also appears. You take the bad with the good.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.16.2014
09:19 am
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Is Creation Records teasing a Ride reunion?
11.18.2014
10:16 am
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The Creation Records Facebook page has cryptically posted this uncaptioned photo, originally Tweeted by Time Out Barcelona, and participants in a growing comment thread are speculating at its obvious meaning—could the groundbreaking UK shoegazers Ride be active again?
 

 
The banner appeared in Spain, leading to speculation that the band would at least appear at next year’s Primavera Sound festival. No performances have actually been announced, and the Creation web site and Ride’s own web site are both, as of this posting, silent on the matter. The band seems at one point to have been scheduled to reunite for the 2013 North by Northeast festival, but it doesn’t look like that happened: this where-they-are-now piece was published a month after that festival.

Formed in 1988, Ride early on released a string of three brilliant 1990 EPs, and their first two albums, Nowhere and Going Blank Again made them seem like something of a force of nature. I don’t vouch for the two LPs that followed, and the band fell apart in the mid ‘90s. But, since My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, and Slowdive have all champed at the reunion bit (Slowdive in particular quite brilliantly, I seriously hope everyone got to see one of those shows, because holy shit), it would seem an opportune time for an attempt at reconstituting Ride. Founding member Andy Bell never-say-never’d in an interview two years ago:

Bearing in mind the obvious impact of Ride’s music today, I guess the final question has to be do you ever see the four of you getting back together and playing one more time?

Well, never say never. We’re good friends now. We get together once a year and just have a few pints and whatever. We’re all pretty busy with what we’re doing, but personally, it would be a shame if we never got to play those songs one more time.

While you’re crossing your fingers, enjoy this vintage footage of Ride playing at the 1992 Reading Festival.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.18.2014
10:16 am
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Hear The Horrors’ new album ‘Skying’ in full


 
British garage act The Horrors are set to release their new album Skying through XL Recordings on August the 9th (US) and July 11th (UK), but you can hear the album, in full, via the widget below. In fact, it’s not really fair to describe the Horrors as “garage rock” anymore - that may have been their initial template when they burst onto the scene five years ago, but their sound has evolved and mutated quite a bit since then.

I admit I was put off the band when they first started getting press attention, consigning them to the hype bin based on their highly coiffured hair and dandy dress sense. But all that changed as soon as I actually heard them - here was a band that was keeping alive the swamp rock / dirt blues flame of acts like The Birthday Party and the awesome Gallon Drunk. Their second album Primary Colours, produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, marked a shift in tone towards something deeper and a bit more pastoral, while retaining the all important dirt and grit. With nods to krautrock, kosmiche and shoegaze, it won the band some high praise, even becoming the NME’s album of the year for 2009.

Skying continues where Primary Colours left off, though taking us further away from the 70s and 80s influences. The ghost of shoegaze still haunts The Horrors’ sound, but now, rather than the woozy, noxious and slightly nauseous tones of pioneers My Bloody Valentine, the layered guitar and synth noise is more akin to the lush soundscapes of bands like Slowdive and The Telescopes. The early Nineties seem to be what the band are tapping into for inspiration just now, and some of the tracks even feature, surprisingly, a shuffly, Madchester-style beat. “Monica Gems” is like Suede dragged backwards through a thorny hedge and there are shades of The Doors here, but as refracted through the prism of Echo and The Bunnymen (in particular the excellent track “Still Life”) . For me the album highlight is “Moving Further Away”, which starts as gorgeous, driving Germanica before before being engulfed in layers of blissful synths and ending as a dirty rock dirge. Listen for yourselves:
 

 
For more info on The Horrors, visit their website, or their record label XL Recordings.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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07.05.2011
08:43 am
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John Maus’ excellent new LP ‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves’


 
Sometime Ariel Pink cohort, and an undoubted forefather of the chillwave phenomenon, John Maus has just released his new album We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves on the evergreen independent label Upset The Rhythm.

Isn’t it great when someone you really want to like is actually someone you really do like? Because if John Maus wasn’t as good as he actually is, I would be seriously pissed off that someone else had nicked my idea of doing for synth-pop what Portishead have done for spy soundtracks and torch songs. Even moreso than Ariel Pink, Nite Jewel or anyone else on the haunted-call-it-what-you-like-scene John Maus seriously ticks my boxes. For the uninitiated, it’s pretty simple. Maus takes synth-pop and squeezes it through a lo-fi, shoegazey filter until it comes out the other side dripping in an unreal atmosphere. Imagine OMD on 33rpm, or the soundtrack to a long forgotten 80s art film you saw on cable one night, multiply it to the power of a bongs-and-mushrooms trip, and you’re nearly there. It’s so spectral it’s as if you have dreamt it before. In fact maybe I didn’t invent this idea and it’s all just aural deja-vu.

Fans of Maus’ previous work won’t be disappointed with We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves. In it he retains all the core values of his last album, the officially awesome Love Is Real, but now the sound and the songs have had a wee tightening up. But don’t worry yourselves with thoughts of “sellout” - where before the lo-fi nature of the recordings created a dank haze the listener had to aurally peer through, this new, slightly more clean approach gives room for the individual parts to breath. Being able to distinguish them in the mix in no way detracts from their shimmering nature and actually adds to their power. There are less tracks than before, and the running time is just over half an hour. There is little over-indulgence here - and that is a very good thing. From the Upset The Rhythm website:

Pitiless Censors’ as an album displays a more delicate touch than its predecessors. “Hey Moon” is John’s first duet, performed with Molly Nilsson, who originally wrote the song. It’s a serene elegy that subtly weaves an impression of nocturnal loneliness and romantic dreams.

Closing track “Believer” is equally evocative with its bells, choral soaring and echoing sentiment. Of course, a John Maus album wouldn’t be a John Maus album without the same anthemic genius and dark humour that we’ve seen previously with songs like “Maniac” and “Rights For Gays” and this new album finds its succour in “Cop Killer”. The eerie waltz-time offspring of Body Count’s controversial 90s protest track, it is dystopian, bleak and ridiculous and, in short, classic Maus.

Unlike the last two albums, ‘Pitiless Censors’ looks towards the future in all its absurdity. It’s a record where promise takes the lead for the first time, providing a counterpoint to John’s default existential calling. The cover of “Pitiless Censors” depicts an airbrushed lighthouse, thrashed by wave after wave, bringing to mind Beckett’s quote “Unfathomable mind: now beacon, now sea.”

And one final thought -  the slightly grandiloquent title undoubtedly has a proper explanation (Maus is a philosophy professor) but maybe it’s also a subconscious pitch to have his music featured in the work of Adam Curtis? It’s definitely worth a shot, as the two would go beautifully together.

John Maus - “Believer” (available for free download here)
 

 
John Maus - “Cop Killer”
 

 
John Maus - “Matter Of Fact”
 

 
John Maus - “Keep Pushing On”
 

 
You can pre-order We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves on vinyl from Upset The Rhythm. For more info on John Maus,visit this page.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.21.2011
09:14 pm
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The Horrors’ new offshoot band Cat’s Eyes

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Farris Badwan is lead singer of the British psyche-garage troupe The Horrors, and Cat’s Eyes is his new project, co-founded with the London-based Canadian opera soprano Rachel Zeffira. The pair’s debut album, cunningly titled Cat’s Eyes, has just been released on Polydor, following up their debut Broken Glass EP which came out in January, and it’s really rather good.

What the duo are doing is nothing we haven’t seen before, but they do it very well. Take the dark romanticism of male/female duos like Nancy & Lee, Isobel & Mark, even Kylie & Nick, filter it through the girl-group and 60s pop lens of Phil Spector and inject it with occasional jolts of psyche-rock and you pretty much get the picture. What a lovely picture that is too, a balance of light and shade, of anger and tenderness blended to perfection by veteran producer Steve Osbourne.

Cat’s Eyes is not the first Horror’s off-shoot band. That honor would go to Spider And The Flies, which is Rhys and Tom experimenting with analog synths and Joe Meek-esque production techniques. That too is really good, and floats my particular boat very much. I have to admit I was really wary of the Horrors when the emerged about 5 years ago - I took one look at their haircuts and goth-dandy stylings and dismissed them straight away as another “fashion” act. Their music blew me away though, keeping alive the heavy sleaze-garage vibes of one of my favorite bands from the 90s, Gallon Drunk. Their Primary Colours album from 2009 (produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) took their sound in a more psychedelic/shoegaze direction and straight to the top of the NME’s best albums of the year poll. Now The Horrors have just announced a short string of UK dates for this summer, and their official website says they are currently in the studio.

I eagerly await what they do next, but in the meantime am more than happy to make do with Cat’s Eyes, who have more info (and some free MP3s) at the Cat’s Eyes website. The album Cat’s Eyes is available to buy on Amazon now, here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
 
Cat’s Eyes - “Face In The Crowd”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “The Best Person I Know”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “Cat’s Eyes”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “When My Baby Comes” (Grinderman cover)
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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04.20.2011
08:49 am
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