Down Colorful Hill (1992) by Red House Painters

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I do not know the history of slowcore, as I am only familiar with a few bands (5 or so tops) that would be considered slowcore and who existed in 1992. So I find myself unable to assess whether or not this is an important record in the development of the genre, given that lack of information. And, perhaps undermining to the degree to which I might rate this highly due to its influence/impact/what have you, I know for a fact that there were slowcore bands in existence 4-5 years earlier. Read More

Going Blank Again (1992) by Ride

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I thought I was getting shoegaze, and I do.. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on here that isn’t strict shoegaze. One of the things that I don’t love about some shoegaze is the relentless commitment to one particular style. But there’s enough variety here that I’m kept interested. Also, the songs are pretty good so it’s not just the wall of sound that is appealing. 7/10 Read More

The Return of the Durutti Column (1980)

Categories: 1980 and Music.

This is a really unique take on Post Punk, if it can even be called that, featuring expressive guitar playing over some pretty minimalist bass and drums (sometimes not even that). In fact, it’s more the era it was made in and the legendary post punk producer who supervised it that mark it out as post punk; I’m not sure it really qualifies, But regardless of what it is, the music is lovely and really stands out from the other British bands of the era, though the production is kind of dated. Pretty interesting. 8/10 Read More

The Curtain Hits the Cast (1996) by Low

Categories: 1996 and Music.

Not knowing Slowcore well enough, this feels like Slowcore brought to its logical conclusion. These songs are slow. But it’s remarkable how good some of the songs are (I like “The Plan” most) and it’s also impressive that the band can get dynamic tension out such a small sound and such simple music. That’s a miracle, practically. But that 15 minute song is entirely unnecessary and something I’d skip any future listens. 7/10 Read More

Yerself is Steam (1991) by Mercury Rev

Categories: 1991 and Music.

Mercury Rev combine recent goings on in Shoegaze with psychedelia (to a greater extent than the British Shoegaze bands that inclined that way) and a knack for poppy hooks. The result is a bizarre, perhaps too ambitious, crazy record that is better than anything the Lips had managed up till that point. (Why compare them? Sorry…) To me this stuff is more interesting than the straight Shoegaze; it connects with me more for whatever reason. It does feel like there are more ideas, for one thing. Even if that last track is way too long, this is great stuff. 8/10 Read More

Recurring (1991) by Spacemen 3

Categories: 1991 and Music.

I understand why people like this stuff and I understand why it’s trailblazing. (Though I’m not exactly sure why some people consider this shoegaze, though that is a different story…) But I have two problems with this record that keep me from giving it the respect a lot of people think it deserves. The first problem is that for something considered “neo-psychedelia” it’s pretty samey throughout. There’s not a lot of variation even between the two band member’s sounds. I mean, there’s some, but it’s relative and very much “on style.” (On a related note: I find it lacking a Read More

Palms (2013)

Categories: 2013 and Music.

I try to be careful with hype, I really do, but every so often I’m fooled by it anyway. And the worst part is that I don’t know the Deftones at all, and barely know Isis. This is being called “post metal” by a lot of people but I’m sure if that’s because Palms a bunch of metal musicians playing music that is decidedly not metal, at least in any conventional sense – or because it’s somehow considered the metal equivalent of post rock. The former is certainly more true than the latter. I don’t know what I thought I Read More

The Terror (2013) by the Flaming Lips

Categories: 2013 and Music.

I have avoided everything the Lips have done in studio since Embryonic – I saw them live last summer – for two reasons: 1) because I am adverse to weird formats and must admit that I am just a CD kind of guy and 2) because Coyne kept promising “guitars” for album after album and instead we were left with more of the same noisy-but-catchy-and-clean pop shtick they had performing for the whole of the ’00s. But I caught this on NPR’s First Listen and I was suddenly intrigued again. This album is not the album I wanted but more Read More

Suspiria (1993) by Miranda Sex Garden

Categories: 1993 and Music.

This band seem to have stumbled upon something pretty unique, in their mix of “angelic” vocals borrowed from the western classical tradition and alternative rock. It’s pretty hard to pin down. It also feels like it came out of nowhere. But, on the other hand, the production isn’t particularly great and the “mantra” style of singing (for lack of a better word) means the lyrics are a little lacking. But, for the most part, a unique and great record. 8/10 Read More