Slowdive – Here She Comes // surreal fan video

Slowdive band 1993

Here’s an admission: shoegaze is still one of my favorite genres. The gauzy dream-sound of guitars blurred into pure haze.. it’s never left that soft, nostalgic center of my brain. Effects pedals, ghosted vocals, and a sort of spectral swagger will always their place in my heart.

Today I listened to Slowdive‘s monumental second album, Souvlaki, and it all came flooding back. I got those old familiar chills right in the middle:

Here She Comes is the simplest, most direct song on the album. The impressionistic lyrics are just dark and weird enough to not seem juvenile; combined with the melodic cloud of hand drums and reverb-laden guitar, they form a surreal love poem.

It’s so lonely in this place
So cold I don’t believe
And as no-one knows my name
It’s easy to pretend
It’s easy to believe
There’s a shadow on my wall
It dances like my soul
Dances like my soul
It’s so cold now
I swear it will be warm
Here she come now

Since the band recently reformed, I’m hoping for at least one chance to see Slowdive perform in this lifetime.

slowdive souvlaki

Someone was kind enough to upload the entire Souvlaki album on youtube, so give it a listen if you don’t already own it. As one of the best albums of the 90s, and easily one of two or three crowning achievements of the shoegaze genre, it’d be a damn shame to miss out on this experience. Buy the album for less than $10, if you’re interested. Or listen first below.

There’s a shadow on my wall / It dances like my soul

The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania

This exists: a new Smashing Pumpkins album which is not terrible, not in the least.  The band whose output sustained my entire teenage existence is back (metaphorically) and making music worth hearing.  I was embarassed listening to 2007’s abysmal Zeitgeist, feeling my soiled adolescence paraded before the entire world.  I swallowed any hope for something better.  I basically hoped Billy Corgan would just euthanize the project and do anything else to spare us all.

And then this happened.  And it’s streaming here, introduced by Mr. Corgan himself.  Ladies and gentlemen, a new Smashing Pumpkins full length: Oceania.

In full disclosure, I am only now finishing up a first full listen and have yet to fully digest this new work.  I simply heard the opening salvo and got excited; I need to share this, shout the news from rooftops.  The quality is sustained throughout, and my strongest gut reaction is:  “milder cousin to Siamese Dream.”  The cohesive production wraps a mixture of new and vintage textures around signature Corgan guitar tones and vocals, yet pinpricks of welcome surprise dot most of the one hour running time.  Like all proper Pumpkins albums, it even ends on a typically dreamy note.

That’s all I have to say right now.  Enjoy?