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

Welcome 2015

Out with the old…

As the end of 2014 was rapidly approaching, I realized that I had not kept my collection of that year’s releases organized enough for me to put together and post one or two ‘best of the year’ cloudcasts as I had done for 2013 on NWshoegazing. I figured I’d have to make do with posting lists of my ‘top five’ albums, EPs, and singles. Unfortunately, while I knew that I would have to leave out some good EPs and singles in paring those two lists down to only their top five entries, off the top of my head, I could only come up with three albums: DIV I DEDBorn to Sleep, ParasolI Close My Eyes to See You Again, and SexoresHistorias de Frío. I suspected LightfoilsHierarchy might also be on that list, but it had been so long since I had listened to it that I wasn’t sure*.

“So,” I thought, “I’ll just refresh my memory by gathering together all the music I collected in 2014 and seeing what names jump out at me. It sounded good in theory, but in practice, I spent many hours of the last three days in December hunting down music folders and the associated cover art across three computers and twice as many external hard drives. In the end, I only made it halfway through the alphabet, but I can tell you that, from ‘A’ thru ‘M’, I have retrieved 252 release and cover art pairs. Expecting to find a similar number of releases in ‘N’ thru ‘Z’, I abandoned the notion of posting any ‘top five’ lists.

Someone who did have his act together was Renato Malizia over at The Blog That Celebrates Itself. I spent a large part of yesterday morning listening to the three, nicely packaged compilations, cleverly named after the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gaseous, which he put up on Bandcamp.

I started with Solid and ended with Gaseous, and found that, although the lines between sub-genres is not as clearly established on Liquid and Gaseous as they are on Solid, going through these comps in the order I did was like taking a journey from the fringes of Shoegaze in toward its center. The Post-Punk and ‘gothgaze’ of Solid led into the mostly ‘dreamgaze’ of Liquid and finally into the ‘psychgaze’ of Gaseous. For someone like me, who likes to save the best for last, this was the right order in which to play these compilations.

Solid

Liquid

Gaseous

 

… in with the new

Hoping I’ve learned a lesson, my New Year’s resolutions for music include:
1. being more selective about what I download,
2. fully processing each release as soon after downloading it as possible, and
3. archiving each ‘keeper’ in an organized and consistent manner.

I wonder how long that will last.

I’m off to a good start. I’ve already made three 2015 purchases, two of which are preorders: PinkshinyultrablastEverything Else Matters (Club AC30) and EchodroneFive (Saint Marie Records). So far, the only purchase I’ve been able to download and listen to is a two-track single, Magic LoveNight Before, which follows last year’s release, the three-track Dawn EP.

Japanese dreamgazers Hamanaka Shohei (guitar and vocals) and Kondo Kazuaki (drums, recording, mixing, and mastering) were joined by special guests Kokeguchi Seiji (bass) and Yoshiyama Moe (guitar, synth, and vocals) to record these two “Basement Session” tracks, whose original versions are found on Magic Love‘s 2011 release, Bright a Scene.

Magic Love facebook SoundCloud website

 

*Having listened to it again, I can safely say that LightfoilsHierarchy would have made my list of top five albums of 2014.