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

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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.