Saturday, February 2, 2013

Now Playing 2-1-13

Early Day Miners - Let Us Garlands Bring (2002)

A lovely slowcore record, though perhaps not as slow and bleak as the style can get. Their sound has a warmth to it that I love, particularly on the last song, "A Common Wealth" which is almost 18 minutes and doesn't overstay its welcome at all. Very tastefully done, with hypnotic guitar melodies and occasional surprises like the especially climactic second half of "Offshore" and harmonica on "Summer Ends."

Early Day Miners - All Harm Ends Here (2005)

The fourth of this band's seven albums, and the second one I've listened to is almost of comparable quality to Let Us Garlands Bring. It feels a bit lighter, the guitars less lively and playful, which lessens the impact somewhat. More emphasis on vocals doesn't totally suit them either, but this is still very pretty, chilled-out indie rock.

For Against - December (1988)

I read about this band on a list of "essential" shoegaze records, although it really seems to have more in common with the sort of gothy post-punk that bands like The Cure play. As such, it doesn't create much in the way of atmosphere, instead feeling like moody, vocal-centric pop songs with a post-punk aesthetic. There are elements of shoegaze, but the guitars stay pretty low in the mix, which is a shame because they sound pretty good. Definitely has some good moments, but if a 35-minute record feels a bit long, that's a problem.

Bluetile Lounge - Half-Cut (1998)

Half-Cut is the second of two records put out by this little-known band. Some of the most bleak, sad music I've heard. The vocals are monotone, the music plods along slowly and the guitar tones are very expressive. These songs move slowly, but the intensity (read: volume) ebbs and flows in a way that makes this a pretty exciting listen. A friend of mine recommended this band to me a while ago, just got around to them recently.

Morella's Forest - Super Deluxe (1996)

Morella's Forest were another shoegaze discovery, and a great one at that. This record may become one of my favorites of the genre. This is a female fronted band and the vocals sound a bit twee but the guitars get very noisy, starting with the first track, "Hang Out," which will make your ears bleed if you listen too loud. For all its intensity, the record has some real variety. "Wonder Boy" is a slower tune whose verses have a guitar part that, for some reason, reminds me of Weezer's "Sweater Song." The album mellows out in the middle, with "Oceania" letting the vocals take center stage and "Puppy Luv" sounding like one of Kim Gordon's contributions to a Sonic Youth album. They're great when they let the guitars run wild, and they're great when playing power ballads. I wonder how many other brilliant alt-rock relics the 90s are hiding.

Morella's Forest - Ultraphonic Hiss (1996)

This band's second album, released just four months after their first. Significantly poppier than their debut; though it has its noisy parts, they're fewer and further between. Instead pop hooks abound and they aren't bad but the album does feel a bit too... precious at times. While inferior to their debut (and most shoegaze/noise pop/dream pop albums are), it's solid in its own right. The album feels like it flows by pretty quickly, ending with a ten-minute song that makes up more than 25% of the albums length, easily my favorite song here, mainly because it's more of that great guitar sound they do so well. That cover art makes me think of boy bands for some reason.

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