What happens when two guys - Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones - from New Orleans blend shoegaze with synthesizers? An awesome wave of sound,fuzz, and guitar textures come alive. They started with an EP called Tour, and their first album, October Language, both from 2006. October Language was born inside Dietrich's bedroom around 2004, so hopeless,sad, with whirling guitars, dreamy melodies and therefore, rich. Their following works are two EPs called Colorloss Records and Same Places, both from 2008. Their next album, Common Era, is the cherry on the pie! They add dronish elements which boosts its beauty! Or recalling what Vítor Hugo, a good friend of ours, said: "Common Era is poetry in grey shades of sizzling".
The band we feature today, cosmicdust, is probably one of the most enigmatic Shoegaze project out there., if it's not the one. It consists of a sole member, who calls himself Y.A.F., coming from Japan, and that's all we know about it. Projects like this are usually based on a extremly lo-fi sound recorded at its mentor's bathroom, based on the most extreme realms of underground music, such as Black Metal. But Y.A.F. does not use corpse paint (at least I don't think so) or burn religious temples (as far as I'm concerned), instead, he focuses his energy and creativity on making sonic maelstroms fueled by surreal attacks of feedback that drive simple and sweet melodies. The vocals? deeply buried, of course! Does it sound familiar?
Yep, his works share a great similiarity with My Bloody Valentine @ Loveless era (not otherwise, at the last couple of 2012 days, people said a new MBV song leaked but, actually, it was a song from... cosmicdust!). If it wasn't for the total absence of female vocals, one could easily say it's one of those unreleased MBV albums. However, it's not about cloning Loveless (at least not only), as it's possible to see cosmicdust carving its own identity as they push all his fuzz worshipping into a more extreme level than Kevin Shields usually do (as far as we know), much in a Astrobrite vein. Besides, it's possible to catch the Slowdive-esque breezes (sic) spiralling here and there and some Dark Ambient/Drone interludes that aren't very usual in the Shoegaze realms despite a few exceptions (USA bands, for example), giving a more dreamy and softer scent to all the noise madness.
Therefore, you can taste his two works released so far, the full-length Snow Noise Assemblage, from 2006, and the EP Enjoy Everything (2008), in the links right below. That's it, I hope you enjoy it!
Hello, fellas! After almost one month without mixtaping, there we have our 13th edition (nothing better to start 2013 with a 13th mixtape, huh? But this pattern will be broken, as we won't have the 14th on 2014...). Instead of focusing on the Shoegaze and Dream Pop we all love so much, this time I shifted to the (even more) lysergic side of the force. Mixtape #13 consists in a collection of 11 sonic pulsars featuring the best of nowadays psychedelic masters, as the likes of texans The Black Angels (I had the chance to see them live at late 2011, pure awesomeness), the stellar The Cosmic Dead, the kinda-occultism lysergy of Dead Skeletons, the Lovecraftian fuzz of Dead Meadow (yeah, these guys love to put "Dead" on their band names), the Desert Rock veterans of Yawning Man, the Joy Division (on a tank of acid) meeting Velvet Underground's Blue Angel Lounge and, of course, the already-classic BJM, besides other extremly talented guys.
Therefore, we have over an hour of brain-melting surrealism, cosmic exploration of otherwordly dimensions and a dinner with chimaeric creatures. Just buckle up and enjoy the (bad?) trip. :)
Asteroid #4 - My Love The Black Angels - Entrance Song
The Cosmic Dead - Spice Melange Spectrum Tweak Bird - Sky Ride
The Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - D Brown Dead Skeletons - Om Mani Peme Hung My Sleeping Karma - Shiva The Blue Angel Lounge - LSD And The Search For God
BJM - Just Like Kicking Jesus
Yawning Man - Blue Foam
Dead Meadow - Beyond The Fields We Know
Born in the last year of the previous millenium in San Francisco, Astral was dedicated to a lush mixture between the melancholic gloominess of Post-punk and the stellar surrealism of Dream Pop, which wasn't quite the kind of music that was in evidence by those years (actually, they were swimming against the tide, specially if you consider they're from USA, in aeons totally dominated by Nu Metal and Poppy Punk...).
Well, let's forget the musical scenario of those dark ages and talk about what matters, their music. While they weren't exactly innovative, they crafted a great collection of moody and dreamlike songs for their debut, the 2003's Orchids, that will certainly remind you of Cocteau Twins (Blue Bell Knoll era), My Bloody Valentine's(1988-1989's EPs era) and specially The Cure (Disintegration era). Even the vocals (aside from Shoegaze tradition, Astral did the vocal lines comprehensible for most human ears) display a great influence of Mr. Smith in all its characteristic romanticism and vulnerability. However, they don't get stuck in copying their musical references as many people did (and still do!) around there, but assemble their identity by choosing the classical references they most enjoy, making these The Cure and MBV inspiration sound healthy and just plain natural.
Although their later work has great quality too, I stick to their debut and decided to drop it right below for you. It's a sadly overlooked gem, refreshig in its own way, sounding perfect for windy autumnal afternoons/evenings. I hope it tastes good for you all! ;)
Although the name of Jessica Bailiff wasn't familiar to my ears until late 2012, she's out there on the road since 1998, at least, the year she released her debut album. After some research, I found out she has already released a handful of albums, each one following a musical direction, but mainly centered in theShoegaze, Slowcore, Folk spheres, sprinkled with tiny drops of Post-Rock. Her latest release, At the Down-turned Jagged Rim of the Sky, is an amalgamation of the dreamlike world of Slowdive-esque Shoegaze, the cosmic droning of Flying Saucer Attack (with who she collaborated in the past), the slowtempo introspection of Low, and even the eerie, haunting atmospheres which brings Chelsea Wolfe current works up to our minds. Each song has its own subtitles (like Hail to the Thief from Radiohead), going from utterly swamped bleakness in some moments to angelic fuzzed bliss in others although she never loses that feeling (oops!) and make easy-listening and easy-enjoyable songs in each pole.
For sure, it was one of the greatest albums of 2012, although I (unfortunately) listened to it only in 2013. Otherwise, you would see her in the mixtape #12 for sure. But better late than never, as one should say. So, I hope those still unfamiliar to her enjoy it as well! ;)
Rising from the ashes of Joe Lan & The Jing Jang Jong, we have Toy. Quite a simple name, and the same goes for their debut album, self-titled, which will make many think this british five-piece lack imagination and make boring and bureacratic music. But as soon as one listens to the first notes of this album, he or she will realize how wrong they were, since Toy is nothing but a factory of crativity and sonic candy. They venture at the cosmic channels of Psychedelic Rock and the enigmatic fog of Shoegaze spheres, however, their songs have a Pop dress that makes their songs not only ear-friendly, but capable of creating a highly pleasant experience for the listener in a very easy way. If you wish some comparision, I can say you'll notice a lot of influences coming from the ol' good masters of lysergia (early Floyd, Syd Barrett solo,Neu!, and Spacemen 3, to name a few), the noise lords of Jesus and Mary Chain, the neo-psychedelic BJM and the dark-than-deepest-sea The Horrors (not coincidently, Toy supported them at 2011 during an UK tour and are highly regarded by those guys. Take a listen to the song #8, "Strange", and you'll notice their direct influence at their art conception too).
To sum it up, Toy is a rough gem that is already delivering some amazing music out there, then imagine what they're capable in a few years, if they keep on the evolutive curve they seem to be tracking right now. Mandatory for everyone into the lysergic side of the force and suffer no sickness in space travels. ;)