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Tag Archives: shoegaze

I’ve wanted to write about this band and their music for quite some time now but never could discover the words that I wanted to use to describe them. I think that one of the main reasons why I’ve become so attracted to this record is that I hadn’t quite heard something played in this fashion and in such continuity before and done to a degree that I’ve come to appreciate over the course of a few years. Having been released in early ’08, the record itself has had time to settle throughout its respective musical circles and suffice it to say, it has managed to hold its own particularly well despite similar releases of comparable sounds.

This double album is not so much about any one genre; indeed, many musical elements are showcased here. A lot of shoegaze is present as is a bit of post-rock and even drone at points. The shoegaze elements work particularly well – I don’t find too many albums these days who have been able to replicate the effect that is played throughout Half a Nice Life’s music. The third track perhaps most heavily hints at this with vocals sounding like they’ve been partially submerged as well as liberal use of effect pedals and other equipment that produce a certain dreamlike quality to it reminiscent of 80s and very early 90s shoegaze groups (think The Jesus and the Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine).

However, I don’t think that these reasons alone account for the band’s consistent appeal since I’ve known about them. The fact that they do so many things in the album and do it well should indeed speak for itself. It flows very well from the very first track. Texturally rough, but beautiful and seductive. It took me a fairly lengthy amount of time to fully appreciate the record for what it is and I’m still finding small details about it that make that even more pronounced.

What’s interesting is that the people behind the Connecticut, US-based band took almost eight years to put out their very first full length album when it was formed in 2000, perhaps more involved in other projects at the time including bands like The Danger Strangers and then-active In Pieces. Their second release entitled Time of Land was released two years later comprising of just four tracks and although of equal caliber to Deathconciousness, not much else has been heard from this group that we know of, at least not in any official capacity.

“Bloodhail” and “The Big Gloom” proved to be surefire hits, however there is a lot more to be discovered as you listen throughout the album including “Holy Fucking Shit, 40,000” linked above as well as “I Don’t Love” found within the second half of the album: an incredible washed out wall of sound that really satisfies and compliments the entire album very, very elegantly.

Double albums are usually very ambitious and prove themselves out with their reception. And despite the hype that this band got when Deathconciousness was released, Half a Nice Life has honestly out done themselves with such a fine quality release and I have no doubt that the record will continue to be a staple of the genres that it represents.

For more information, check out the following:

Last.fm

Discogs

– At Enemies List Recordings

Download.

Neverchanger is a small but fantastic 2008 release on Latenight Weeknight Records. All the effects, programming, mixing, and synthesizer work was done by Ulrich Schnauss. A very notable shoegaze release. Along side the title track, it comes with two remixes: one by Cacheflowe, the other by Jap Jap. The former is filled with juicy, near trip-hop-like beats (that rivals the track before it) while the latter sports a laid back, slow build-up approach. Recommended. Here’s a clip just uploaded to Youtube; the first out of three tracks.

In total, the three songs clock in just under 17 minutes in duration.

For more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

– MySpace (1, 2)

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I wanted to post about Italy-based port-royal’s Flares in anticipation of their new record Dying in Time, to be released on 10.05.09; however, pre-orders will ship September 24th (I ordered it).  $11.25 USD. You can listen to some brilliant previews here. Really, really, cool; the natural next step in port-royal’s music.

Two years have past in all our lives since the release of the port-royal’s “afraid to dance” (Resonant) but the royals have been keeping very busy with writing, recording, touring the EU and Russia, as well as creating remixes for the likes of Ladytron and Felix Da Housecat. For “Dying in time” port-royal have expanded their sound to encompass the more electronically skewed perspectives of synth-pop and even techno while still holding steadfast to their roots and original core sound that has always laid somewhere between shoegaze and emotively soaring ambient. As the title may suggest there is an undercurrent of aching melancholy to the album, as if the band are expressing the feelings they have for the temporality of life’s situations and feelings.

I feel that Dying in Time will be as big of a hit in the electronic music community as Flares is. Here’s a music video of “Jeka” from the aforementioned album (though the “Zobione” series is lovely! Search them on Youtube).

Flares combines lots of shoegaze and post-rock elements with ambient. One of my all time favorite records. Recommended for those who like Hammock and Epic45.

For more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Download.

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Slowdive was a band that began in 1989 and ended six years later. The group was at the forefront of the shoegaze “movement”, characterized by liberal use of (including but not limited to) guitar, reverb, and muted vocal effects heavily applied throughout their works. The result are layers of softly sung lyrics submerged in a warm warp of instrumentation. They produced three albums along with a multitude of EPs and a compilation (this release), sporting songs from both Souvlaki and Pygmalion. They were a fantastic band.

More information:

Last.fm

Discogs

Download.

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Belong is a duo from Louisiana, USA who specialize in ambient/drone-based music on the slightly more noisier side of the scale. Belong’s debut record October Language was released on Carpark Records in 2006. This is an album I am proud to say I own. Headphone music at its best. Listen to this one all the way through without interruption from external forces, in the dark. Don’t rush it. $11 USD on carparkrecords.com. This album is like having sand being blasted at you at a million miles an hour, slowly erasing features but in the process building new ones. Highly recommended.

Sample track:

User review at Discogs:

I’ve never heard anything like this… It’s like the sound, if a sound could be applied to such, of dying and being transported to an afterlife; noise and ethereal melodies collide chaotically in a blurry, boundless environment of such unbelievable scope and scale… I believe that most of the melodies on this album were produced with spectacularly overprocessed and overdriven guitars; its like hearing 4AD in middle of a hurricane!

October Language is a must-hear for those open minded enough to be receptive to its incredible beauty.

More information:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Download.

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