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

three


 

About this compilation…

It took a bit longer to get the first cloudcast of the year posted in 2015 than it did in 2014, but here it is at last. This compilation features ten tracks, unevenly harvested from five nations, with five coming from the USA, and one each from Canada, the UK, the Russian Federation, Italy, and Spain.

The Pacific Northwest is not represented this time. In fact we don’t get any closer to the West Coast than San Antonio, Texas, home to BLOOM, whose old-school Shoegaze is one of the early highlights of the year. Sister Bear of Saint Paul, Minnesota, brings some lo-fi Noise Pop, while The Morelings of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania counter with etherial dreamgaze. Slotting in somewhere between these two sounds are Gibberish of Fayetteville, Arkansas and The Astral Planes of Louisville, Kentucky. No one in The Astral Planes takes credit for banjo playing, but I swear I can hear one being used intermittently throughout the album.

As with BLOOM, the noisy Post-Punk of Toronto, Canada’s Tyburn Fields reminded me of the good ol’ days of Shoegaze. I could have used either track from the band’s debut single in this cloudcast, but I thought “Always on Me” a slightly better fit. The best band name from among the ten contributors has got to go to London, England’s Love, Hippies & Gangsters. There is an obvious Psychedelia influence in their music, so I get the ‘Love’ and ‘Hippies’ part, but I’m not quite sure where the ‘Gangsters’ fit in.

I have to admit that the first two times I sampled Munic!‘s Enemies EP on Bandcamp, I found the vocals off-putting and I moved on. I kept coming back, however, drawn by the music of this Madrid, Spain quartet, until I finally purchased the EP. I had no such trouble with the three-track EP from My Invisible Friend of Parma, Italy. It was love at first listen. The first track is old-school Psychedelia with male vocals, and the second track is more of a drone with female vocals buried somewhere in the mix—just the way I like it.

The highlight of this compilation could easily have been expected to come from Pinkshinyultrablast‘s new album and first release since the amazing Happy Songs for Happy Zombies EP of 2009. Unfortunately, the band from Saint Petersburgh, Russia has not delivered an album to equal their debut EP. Most of the songs are weakened by being 50/50 hybrids of dreamy synthgaze followed by the guitar driven walls of sound I was hoping for. That said, “Ravestar Supreme” is a very good track and will certainly be in the running for ‘best of the compilation’.
 

TRACK LIST & SOURCES

01. “Less” by The Morelings facebook instagram tumblr website

02. “Not Easy” by Munic! facebook SoundCloud

03. “Trudy” by Gibberish

04. “Eyes” by My Invisible Friend facebook

05. “Rise” by BLOOM facebook

06. “Ravestar Supreme” by Pinkshinyultrablast facebook

07. “Always on Me” by Tyburn Fields facebook

08. “Tides” by The Astral Planes facebook SoundCloud tumblr website

09. “Tattoo” by Sister Bear facebook

10. “Through Your Mind” by Love, Hippies & Gangsters
facebook SoundCloud tumblr YouTube