Sunday, February 1, 2009

Perfect sound forever

Perfect Sound Forever by B. Neptune on Mixcloud

oystered 19: memory gongs
Total running time: 1:06:53.
fury things flame (love sick 12”, 1990/cheree 7t)
the telescopes cold (7th # disaster 12”, 1989/cheree 4t)
my bloody valentine sugar (7” flexi-disc presented free with issues of The Catalogue, feb. 1989/creation cat067)
whipping boy switchblade smile (whipping boy 12”, 1990/cheree 8t)
swervedriver deep twang ("raise" bonus 7”, 1991/creation crefre 009)
the sugarcubes christmas (birthday 7”, 1988/one little indian 7tp11)
sweet jesus peach (phonefreak honey 12”, 1992/rough trade 2840)
ultra vivid scene mercy seat (mercy seat 12”, 1989/4AD bad906)
papa sprain rich (flying to vegas 12”, 1991/h.ark! 1244)
disco inferno second language (second language 12”, 1994/rough trade 3150)
a.r.kane up (up home! 12”, 1988/rough trade 201)
blind blown away (generator 12”, 1992/holistic vibe 1)
loop sunburst (arc-lite 12”, 1989/situation two 64t)
The term “shoegaze” doesn’t even repulse me anymore. It used to. Now, when something’s being described as shoegaze, you just gotta ignore it and move on. When it was first coined, it was referring to a group of blissed-out noise-pop artists who were all pushing the pop envelope by incorporating layers of guitars and effects and adding distortion, feedback and noise while, at the center of it all, buried deep somewhere was still the actual song. It was a very exciting time for pop music, and in hindsight, still could be considered the last creative movement in rock ‘n’ roll. This never really made much of an impact in the US due to the parallel “grunge” scene taking up most (good) American airwaves. These “shoegaze”/pre-space rock) bands surely shared a love for The Velvet Underground, who, at the time – 20 years or so past their creative peak - were still relatively obscure. Now nearly 20 more years on from the first generation of “shoegazers” (sigh), shoegaze has come to the point of watered down, soft pap with no bite or strong songwriting or anything new and exciting to offer on the noise front either. Please, everyone, stop referring to anything new as sounding “shoegazy” – you’re doing yourself a disservice. Glad I finally got that off my chest.
Other important touchstones, or forerunners to the shoegaze sound were Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and American groups Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. This set provided here compiles some of the more lesser (more lesser?) known artists and cuts – all taken from vinyl – some of these were available on CD, but most were not. A few of these songs might not have ever been considered shoegazy (Papa Sprain), or part of The Scene That Celebrates Itself, but bands such as Disco Inferno and Bark Psychosis almost singlehandedly went from shoegaze to becoming early progenitors of the whole post-rock movement rampant in the late 1990s and beyond to the guitar/laptop based ambient electronica movement that’s so popular nowadays on labels like 12k, Touch, Kranky to name just a few.
This is just the first post – of hopefully many more to come – compiling rare tracks, mostly taken from vinyl, that, I believe, should not be forgotten, and most importantly, are still fun to listen to, and somehow “fit” with each other.
A few specifics: yes, the My Bloody Valentine tune is a real rarity, taken from a flexi-disc that was given away with issues of underground UK mag, The Catalogue. And The Sugarcubes track is also a real treat – a stellar version of arguably their best song, “Birthday,” re-done with The Jesus and Mary Chain. Wow.