PSYCHGAZE INTERNATIONAL


 

About this compilation…

The idea was simple, but the execution turned out to be a lot more difficult than I had expected it to be. In the end, having too few countries represented when using only releases from 2015—I had eight but wanted ten, and way too many if I included releases from 2014, I compromised by taking those eight tracks from 2015 and adding another eight tracks by different bands from the same countries. Most of the additional tracks were released in 2014, but there is also one each from 2013 and 2015.

As a result, you will find two tracks of psych-tinged Shoegaze each from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and the USA, making a total of sixteen tracks (plus a bonus track).

In a way, “meadowsweet” by Chatham Rise (mixed by Mark Gardener) is a perfect choice to kick off this compilation, having been released in both 2014 and 2015. This single track was posted to Bandcamp last September, but has subsequently been remastered by Andrew Rose—the new version replacing the old in February. Highlands is the other half of the USA’s contingent. “Onto You” is a track from their well-received Dark Matter Traveler, which was released last year.

Canada is represented by Holy Mount and Constellation Nightclub, who contributed “Sunset” from last year’s VOL and “Dream Love” from this year’s Hero EP respectively. From Down Under we have the title track from the 2014 Copper Girl single by The Grand Rapids as well as “Let It Go”, the first track from this year’s Volume Two, the second album released by The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Aussie cousins: The Grease Arrestor.

Also south of the Equator, Brazil contributes “Away to Mars” by The Sorry Shop from Mnemonic Syncretism, an album I didn’t discover until this year, but which would have been on my ‘top ten albums of 2014’ list, and “Nothing Else” from Always Nothing, Something Nowhere by The Silent Party.

Both of Denmark’s representatives are from Aarhus, which incidentally is where I went to live when I moved to Denmark in ’76. Tales of Murder and Dust brings us “Tremblin’” from the 2013 release Skeleton Flowers, while Spökraket (Swedish for ghost rocket, a type of UFO frequently sighted in Scandinavia in 1946) offers up “Tandava” from 2015’s In A Witch Forest.

From Russia with love, we receive gifts from Lava Lite and Cosmic Letdown. The former presents us with “Don’t You Know” from their self-titled EP—a favorite of mine last year, which is also being re-released this year by Far From Moscow of Los Angeles, whose mission, it seems, is to spread the word about recordings from Russia. I have no idea how to pronounce the latter’s “Боль” much less what it means. I could have used “Мэри”, which I recognized as “Mary” from last year’s EP of the same name, but I liked “Боль” better.

In my opinion, “Raed”, a single track posted to Bandcamp last year, is the most overtly psychedelic track Bleak Boys have released so far. Also representing Mexico is OCEΔNSS, who takes us to the “Outer Limits”, a track from its Atlantic EP.

The first quarter of 2015 has nearly passed, and one of my favorite releases (and definitely my favorite album) of these past three months is New Candys As Medicine by those Italian masters of Psychedelia: New Candys. Collin of Chatham Rise and the Picture In My Ear label was kind enough to give me an advance copy of “Dark Love” to use in this compilation, but it took me so long to put it together that the album was released first and I ended up choosing to use the aptly titled “Endless Deadline” instead.

Originally, I intended to use “Green Sight”, a single track posted to Bandcamp by My Invisible Friend as the bonus track, but I couldn’t make the track from a third Italian band fit in this compilation, so it looked like I was going to do without a bonus track. That is until another single track by a third Aussie band, The Dunes, showed up just in time to fill that void with “When You Wake Up”.

Having listened to earlier EPs from The Dunes, I have to agree with the assessment by musicsa that the band’s genre is best described as Dream Pop. With this single track, however, they seem to be exploring a much fuzzier sound. Hopefully, they will like the results as much as I did.
 

TRACK LIST & SOURCES

01. “Meadowsweet” by Chatham Rise facebook

02. “Sunset” by Holy Mount facebook

03. “Copper Girl” by The Grand Rapids facebook

04. “Away to Mars” by The Sorry Shop facebook SoundCloud

05. “Tremblin’” by Tales of Murder and Dust facebook SoundCloud

06. “Can’t You See” by Lava Lite facebook SoundCloud vimeo

07. “Raed” by Bleak Boys facebook SoundCloud

08. “Endless Deadline” by New Candys facebook website YouTube

09. “Onto You” by Highlands facebook SoundCloud Instagram

10. “Dream Love” by Constellation Nightclub facebook

11. “Let It Go” by The Grease Arrestor facebook SoundCloud

12. “Nothing Else” by The Silent Party facebook

13. “Tandava” by Spökraket facebook

14. “Боль” by Cosmic Letdown facebook

15. “Outer Limits” by OCEΔNSS facebook

16. “Green Sight” by My Invisible Friend facebook

Bonus Track “When You Wake Up” by The Dunes facebook webpage

six


 

About this compilation…

This is a compilation of halves. Half of the tracks originated in the USA; two more are courtesy of Australia, while France, Italy, and Sweden contributed one each. Looked at from another perspective, half of the tracks were released in March, while the other half were all released earlier in the year. Apart from those tracks earmarked for themed compilations already in the works, I have no tracks from January and February left over. I’m all caught up!

For reasons that will become obvious to the listener, I wanted to use “Green” by Melbourne, Australia’s Del Boca Vista to close, and, having chosen “Sequin Days” by Nashville, Tennessee’s HONEYTOMB to open, I decided to continue to alternate tracks from the USA with those from other countries. So, all the odd-numbered tracks are from the States. Hey, I had to do something to keep myself entertained.

Of the eight remaining tracks, three are from bands whose music I have featured in earlier compilations—either here or at NWshoegazing. Before Bandcamp arrived on the scene, I used to search MySpace for Shoegaze bands, and, if I liked the music, buy their CDs. This is how I ended up with the self-titled debut EP of San Francisco, California’s Echodrone in 2007. I’m very happy to see the band is still in the game and making good music eight years later.

A friend brought Gotheburg, Sweden’s WESTKUST to my attention late in 2012, and I used the b-side from their Summer 3D single on a compilation in 2013. Now the band returns with Last Forever, an album due out in late April and featuring “Sway” as the first track. Like Del Boca Vista, Contrast are also from Melbourne, and they have already contributed 2013’s “Dull” and last year’s “Drum Machine” to previous compilations of mine. To say that I like these guys would be an understatement.

The three remaining bands from the USA are, making our way from the West Coast east to New England: Draag of Los Angeles, California, Calico Sunshine* of Texas, and Slowshine of Albany, New York. Boca River of Rennes, France and Human Colonies of Tuscany, Italy round out the overseas contributors. Hmmm, first Bialogard and La Casa al Mare, then Schonwald, My Invisible Friend, Kimono Lights, and now Human Colonies… these days, it seems my compilations often include tracks from Italian bands. Italy has not generally been considered a hotbed of Shoegaze activity, but that does seem to be changing rapidly.

*Less than 24 hours after I posted this, Calico Sunshine changed its name to The Drones
 

TRACK LIST & SOURCES

01. “Sequin Days” by HONEYTOMB facebook website

02. “Swirl” by WESTKUST facebook

03. “Janet” by Draag facebook

04. “Doomsday Killer” by Boca River facebook Instagram

05. “Glacial Place” by Echodrone facebook website

06. “Construction” by Contrast facebook

07. “Psyche Scare” by Calico Sunshine Instagram

08. “Falling Deeper” by Human Colonies facebook SoundCloud

09. “Far Out” by Slowshine facebook SoundCloud

10. “Green” by Del Boca Vista facebook

five


 

About this compilation…

It wasn’t intentional, but, had this compilation been released on vinyl, the tracks on Side 1 would all be from North America—four from the USA and one from Canada, and the tracks on Side 2 would all come from somewhere else, specifically, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Italy, and the Isle of Man. Most of these bands were new to me. With the possible exception of one or two, I don’t believe I was aware of any of them a year ago.

Anyway, sticking with the analogy, Side 1 begins with the dreamgaze and drone of El Monte, California’s Wall of Stars and Baltimore, Maryland’s Alter respectively. Then, thanks to some dreamy and slightly fuzzy Post Rock from Victoria, British Columbia’s ACAB Rocky, the Pacific Northwest is once again represented on this site. Side 1 closes out with some Shoegaze from Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Brilliant Beast and a bit of dreamgaze from Hartford, Connecticut’s Omega Vague.

Side 2 opens with some gothgaze by Magnitogorsk, Russia’s Honeyfrequency, followed by The Isle of Man’s Postcode, which might be the band I’ve known about longer than any of the others. By their own admission, they are not strictly Shoegazers, but they do dabble in the genre as well as several others. “Summer” may be the only ‘gazey’ song on Year Of The Zebra – Part Two, but I also liked “Echo” for its Horses-Era Patti Smith sound—especially the vocals.

Side 2 continues with a tasty piece of Shoegaze from Madrid, Spain’s The Poetry Book. The single from which “Kisses” was taken is the band’s second release of this year, coming hot on the heels of the EP First, which I also recommend. Next, comes some Dream Pop from Hamilton, New Zealand’s Ancient Tapes, before Kimono Nights of San Pancrazio, Italy wraps up Side 2 and the compilation with a soothing stretch of dreamgaze.
 

TRACK LIST & SOURCES

01. “Blue” by Wall of Stars tumblr

02. “Naked & Terrified” by Alter

03. “Backwoods” by ACAB Rocky facebook

04. “No Fate” by Brilliant Beast facebook

05. “The Long Way” by Omega Vague facebook

06. “Spit Your Dead” by Honeyfrequency

07. “Summer” by Postcode facebook SoundCloud

08. “Kisses” by The Poetry Book facebook SoundCloud

09. “Don’t Fade Away” by Ancient Tapes facebook

10. “Underground Station” by Kimono Lights facebook SoundCloud Instagram