Friday, September 16, 2016


I can usually figure out when I first got into certain music by pinning down where I was living at the time.  That would make MBV's Isn't Anything my first purchase to be lumped in this category.  Thought it sounded like lo-fi Sonic Youth, wasn't impressed in the slightest.  Still don't like it.  Loveless is a whole other monster, of course.

A friend got me into Galaxie 500 shortly after that which, to me, has nothing to do with shoegaze, but DAMN they kicked ass.
Image result for she hangs brightly

So Ride was the first shoegaze band I liked, I guess.  Got their first album about the same time I got She Hangs Brightly.  Good times.....

I lived in a hick town and worked at a truckstop in a hickier one.  Nearest decent record store was probably close to 2 hours away so, again, I always missed the early singles by the UK bands, never heard anything by them until they scored a US record deal.  For some reason, this truck stop had Rolling Stone and (in it's dying days) CREEM Magazine (which I've always loved).   I think it was large format by then, I remember reading good album reviews of MBV and Spacemen 3 on my break, and a good article about Swervedriver in RS 

So, even in the pre-internet age, I was able to hear about this stuff and tune out the Billy Ray Cyrus and Guns & Roses coming out of the jukebox.

Slowdive would've been my second British shoegaze band.  Just for a Day seemed a little overpolished after months of listening to Nowhere, but it delivered the goods.  Heard those early releases years later, loved 'em.  A very good start for the band.

Image result for just for a day slowdive  Image result for souvlaki slowdive

Image resultSouvlaki, I read, wasn't even going to get a US release, but it was selling a lot of import copies here, so the US label grudgingly released it with the extra lure of 4 unreleased-in-America bonus tracks and (I remember the sticker on the CD) a FREE POSTER!  Which essentially meant you unfolded the artwork for a picture of the band that was still smaller than a 12" record cover and half-ass artfully blurred.    Awesome record though.  Had poppier songs that JFAD, yet they were simultaneously spacier and eerier and, in many places, more minimal and desolate.  Wow.

Took me a long-ass time to find Pygmalion.  How dare bands release albums with no hit single potential!  I've read lots of negative shit about it, but it all seems to have been written by dickheads.  Very good album.  Minimal and ambient and totally unconcerned with anyone else's views on what a "good" record should sound like.
Image result for pygmalion slowdive

After Slowdive split, I tried to get into Mojave 3, but they always sounded pretty generic to me.  Their first album had its moments, and that was about it.  Black Hearted Brother, on the other hand, is highly recommended.  Not as highly as Slowdive themselves, mind you, but it's still a pretty damn fine listen.

Image result for boy howdy!And, of course, there seem to be demos for both Souvlaki and Pygmalion floating around the internet, as well as an unreleased film score for something called I'm the Elephant, You are the Mouse.  Bless those internet music geeks for their obsessiveness.

Bottom line - unlike Ride, who ended up seeming pretty directionless, Slowdive's sound was a natural evolution for the early headiness to a slightly more earthbound solidity and then slowly up into the ether.  There was growth there, not just a spastic sort of lurching about.

At least that's what I'm saying, and why the hell would I lie?

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