Archive for the ‘shoegaze’ Category

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Arcade Fire – The Suburbs [2010]

August 18, 2010

Post #45.  The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.  You knew this was coming (sorry DrewDrew, you had your way last week).  This Arcade Fire album takes on a more rock spirit than their previous albums and even has a somewhat shoegaze atmosphere.  The whole thing builds and builds to the end and I can’t help thinking that AF intentionally muddied up their sound and structured the album this way to give me the feeling that I’m driving through endless suburban sprawl.

The last six songs on this are fantastic, and of course Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is a contender for single of the year.  Enjoy!

source: pfork

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Memory Tapes – Seek Magic [2009]

November 16, 2009

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Album post #13.  “I wanna give you my love, I wanna call you names / but at the sound of my voice, you turn away.”  Intimate and obvious lyrics like this one from Track 3, Green Knight, of  Seek Magic might not work but for the way they are sung and the effects applied to the vocals.  Throughout this debut album by Memory Tapes, Dayve Hawk’s voice is kept at a distance, and in many ways it is upstaged by the music.  But putting the words in the background actually gives them more meaning.  In stretching his ears to hear the far away vocals, the listener is drawn in and becomes part of the music as a tidal wave of dance beats, warm chords, and honey-sweet key and guitar riffs rush in (see 5:30 of Stop Talking).  A short phrase may call up a memory that is quickly washed over by a new musical layer; thoughts ramble and soon each song becomes intensely personal.

Every track on this album has two or three unexpected layers that provoke another listen.  This layering is done with great care and patience through some very smooth transitions.  The various layers are used to express contrasting emotions and allow the listener to eperience them simultaneously.  Drum machine-induced euphoria can coexist with sad wistful memories evoked by mellow guitar tones and echoey vocals.  Instead of being unforgettable these songs are haunting, which is perhaps Hawk’s intention (by naming his band Memory…), for that is the way most memories work.

All but Track 4, Pink Stones, can be listened to on this youtube playlist.  (I recommend going to the Memory Tapes myspace to listen to Pink Stones; it makes me feel like I’m exploring an ancient submerged Chinese city).  Also, Memory Tapes posted FREE DOWNLOADS!! of the single, Bicycle, here, and CD2 of Seek Magic, Treeship, here (source: Memory Tapes blog).

source: pfork

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M83 – Saturdays = Youth [2008]

October 5, 2009

saturdaysAlbum Post #7.  M83‘s 2008 LP Saturdays = Youth.  I was born in the 80s but didn’t listen to much other than Raffi and Sharon, Lois, & Bram in those days.  With the exception of Tears for Fears, I don’t understand or like much music from the 80s.  And, unlike many of my generation, I find it hard to appreciate the super catchy songs of Journey and Madonna, even ironically.

The 80s shoegaze of M83 does something different to me.  Other 80s-sounding music that I’ve heard lacks the richness and evocative nature of their songs.  Somehow I feel young and hopeful when I let their layered vocals and synths pass over me.  I still can’t really figure out how I am moved so much by something so 80s.  Listen to the full album on my youtube playlist or sample a couple songs below and let me know if you figure it out.   P.S. To be fair to the artists, I included Graveyard Girl in the playlist even though I think it disrupts the flow of the album and think it is better left out.

source: runnerphoenix