2024 – welcome to the/a future(s)


Another year – and the actual name of the year itself gets ever stranger and more unlikely and exotically futuristic, if you grew up in the era when the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was still set in the future. And here’s the annual attempt to get something onto this site at the beginning of the year – just made it in the first week this time – and hopefully, to post more often. The goal is a minimum of once a month but I think goals are better than resolutions so that’s as far as I will go.

2023 was the usual mixed bag of things; I didn’t see any of the big movies of the year yet. I have watched half of Saltburn, which so far makes me think of the early books of Martin Amis, especially Dead Babies (1975) and Success (1978) – partly because I read them again after he died last year. They are both still good/nasty/funny, especially Success, but whereas I find that having no likeable characters in a book is one thing, and doesn’t stop the book from being entertaining, watching unlikeable characters in a film is different – more like spending time with actual unlikeable people, perhaps because – especially in a film like Saltburn – you can only guess at their motivations and inner life. So, the second half of Saltburn remains unwatched – but I liked it enough that I will watch it.

Grayson Perry – The Walthamstow Tapestry (detail)

I didn’t see many exhibitions last year but am very glad that I caught Grayson Perry’s Smash Hits in Edinburgh. I didn’t really plan to see it as assumed in advance I wouldn’t like it, but in fact I loved it and ended up having a new respect for GP that only partly evaporates whenever I see him on TV.

Kristin Hersh by Peter Mellekas

I can’t be bothered going in depth about my favourite music of the year because the year is over and I’ve written about most it elsewhere. Old teenage favourites came back strongly: Kristin Hersh’s superb run of albums continued with Clear Pond Road. I hadn’t thought a lot about Slowdive in years but I really liked Everything is Alive and was very pleased to see them get the kind of acclaim that mostly eluded them when I was buying their first album a million years ago. Teenage Fanclub’s Nothing Lasts Forever and Drop Nineteens’ Hard Light were good too, and The Girl is Crying in her Latte by Sparks was probably my favourite of theirs outside of their early 70s classics. There were some excellent black metal (or black metal-related) albums too; much as I don’t like to think of Immortal without Abbath, Demonaz did himself proud with War Against All. Niklas Kvarforth returned to form with the brilliant Shining and Skálmöld’s Ýdalir is as good as anything they’ve recorded. In less guitar-oriented genres, I loved Kid Koala’s Creatures of the Late Afternoon and the latest Czarface record but my favourite album of the year if I had to choose one was the loveably lo-fi and enigmatic compilation Gespensterland.

I read lots of good books in 2023 – I started keeping a list but forgot about it at some point – but the two that stand out in my memory as my favourites are both non-fiction. Lauren Elkin’s Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art  is completely engrossing and full of exciting ways of really looking at pictures. I wrote at length about Elena Kostyuchenko’s I Love Russia here. Kostyuchenko introduced me to a country that I only knew via history and stereotypes and her book is an exercise in what good journalism should be – informative, interesting, compassionate and readable. Both of these books cut across a wide range of subjects and examine unfamiliar things but also analyse the familiar from unfamiliar points of view; you should read them, if you haven’t already.


It’s no great surprise to me that my favourite books of the year would be – like much of my favourite art – by women. Though I think the individual voice is crucial in all of the arts, individuals don’t grow in a vacuum and because female (and, more widely, non-male) voices and viewpoints have always been overlooked, excluded, marginalised and/or patronised, women and those outside of the standard, traditional male authority figures more generally, tend to have more interesting and insightful perspectives than the ‘industry standard’ artist or commentator does. The first time that thought really struck me was when I was a student, reading about Berlin Dada and finding that Hannah Höch was obviously a much more interesting and articulate artist than (though I love his work too) her partner Raoul Hausmann, but that Hausmann had always occupied a position of authority and a reputation as an innovator, where she had little-to-none. And the more you look the more you see examples of the same thing. In fact, because women occupied – and in many ways still occupy – more culturally precarious positions than men, that position informs their work – thinking for example of artists like Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage or – a bigger name now – Frida Kahlo – giving it layers of meaning inaccessible to – because unexperienced by – their male peers.

The fact that women know more about themselves but also more about men than men do – because they have always had to – gives their work an emotional and intellectual charge often missing from those who belong comfortably within a tradition. This is a pretty well-worn idea – it’s why outsiders like Van Gogh or dropouts like Gauguin’s work speaks to us more clearly than the academic, tradition-bound art that they grew up with. Anybody on the margins, in whatever sense, of “mainstream society” has to have a working knowledge of that society, just to exist. Society has far less need to understand or even notice those people. – therefore their points of view are likely to not only be more individual, but more acute when it comes to observing the world in which they live. Class, race, gender; all of these things are always fascinatingly central to art and art history and the gradual recognition of that fact is making art history ever more exciting and vibrant. For now at least; we live in a time of conservative backlashes which attempt to restore order to those with a comfortable position within yesterday’s world – there will probably be an art historical backlash at some point, and the reputations of the mainstream stars of art in Van Gogh and Gauguin’s day, like William-Adolphe Bouguereau will find their reputations restored.

If that backlash comes, it will be from the academic equivalent of those figures who, in 2023 continued to dominate the cultural landscape. These are conservative (even if theoretically radical) people who pride themselves on their superior rational, unsentimental and “common sense” outlook, but whose views tend to have a surprising amount in common with some of the more wayward religious cults. Subscribing to shallowly Darwinist ideas, but only insofar as they reinforce one’s own prejudices and somehow never feeling the need to follow them to their logical conclusions is not new, but it’s very now. Underlying  ideas like the ‘survival of the fittest’, which then leads to the more malevolent idea of discouraging the “weak” in society by abolishing any kind of social structure that might support them is classic conservatism in an almost 19th century way, but somehow it’s not surprising to see these views gaining traction in the discourse of the apparently futuristic world of technology. In more that one way, these kinds of traditionalist, rigidly binary political and social philosophies work exactly like religious cults, with their apparently arbitrary cut off points for when it was that progress peaked/halted and civilisation turned bad. That point varies; but to believe things were once good but are now bad must always be problematic, because when, by any objective standards, was everything good, or were even most things good? For a certain class of British politician that point seems to have been World War Two, which kind of requires one to ignore actual World War Two. But the whole of history is infected by this kind of thinking – hence strange, disingenuous debates about how bad/how normal Empite, colonialism or slavery were; incidentially, you don’t even need to read the words of abolitionists or slaves themselves (though both would be good to read) to gain a perspective of whether or not slavery was  considered ‘normal’ or bad by the standards of the time. Just look at the lyrics to Britain’s most celebratory, triumphalist song of the 18th century, Rule Britannia. James Thomson didn’t write “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves; though there’s nothing inherently wrong with slavery.” They knew it was something shameful, something to be dreaded, even while celebrating it.

But anyways, the kind of avowedly forward-looking people we that are saddled with now, with their apparent concern for the future of the human species – especially the wellbeing of thus far non-existent future humans, as opposed to actual real living humans are, unlike the Amish, okay with progress, in the material sense of cars, computers, aircraft, spacecraft. But that only makes their core concern with traditional values and what is natural/unnatural even more nonsensical. If the defining thing about human beings is nature – men are like this, but not like that, women are like that, but not this; that nature dictates that compassion and medical science ate wasted on the weak and inferior, etc, then why draw the line at controlling gender and reproduction? Why get excited about the use of vaccines, or whether or not people “should” eat meat? If nature/”natural” really is the be all end all of human existence, why wear clothes, drive cars, cook food, use computers, build houses?  At what point does nature dictate what we do or can or should do? Isn’t everything humans do inherently natural because we have the capacity to do it and actually do do it?

Again, despite the supposed rationalism that fuels the superiority complexes of so many powerful people in whatever sector, their bullshit traditional ideas are dictated against – and always have been – by the lived experience of almost everyone in the world. If ‘real men’ are strong, rational and above all heterosexual, how come most of us will have met, throughout our lives, emotional, irrational men who can’t cope with pressure, who aren’t in control of themselves or their environment? How come homosexuality has existed since the beginning of recorded time and does not go away no matter how traditional or repressive society becomes or how much generation after generation insists that it is unnatural? If ‘real women’ are weak, gentle, sentimental, maternal, submissive and above all heterosexual, how come (etc, etc, etc, etc) Because of decadent western society? Well Western society is partly founded on the ideas of Ancient Greece, which though pretty misogynistic, famously did not have quite the same views on sexuality. And how come these people equally exist in every other society too? Could it be that traditional ideas of ‘human nature’ have nothing to do with actual nature but have always existed in western patriarchal societies simply to reinforce the status quo in the interests of those at the top of the hierarchical tree? From monarchies to oligarchies to modern democracies and communist states – all of which have their own ruling class, even when it is explicitly labelled otherwise – it’s been in the interest of those in charge to prevent anything which fundamentally changes the way things work.

For similar reasons, people in western society (perhaps elsewhere; I am no expert) who live unremarkable and mediocre lives within essentially complacent, and often apolitical circles are increasingly drawn to right rather than left wing extremism to gain prominence and (importantly) material success. Extremist views across the spectrum are entertainingly “edgy” and titillating to people who like to be entertained by controversy and/or shocked by outrageous behaviour, but right-wing views are far more acceptable within the media – and therefore are far more lucrative and rewarding – because they don’t threaten the financial basis that underpins the media and political structure.

So in short – only joking, this will be a long sentence (deep breath). If comedian or podcaster A) gains millions of followers who are excited about disruptive ideas that undermine the state by questioning the validity of the (sigh) mainstream media, by interrogating ideas of media ownership and the accumulation of wealth and power and so on, that represents a genuine threat to Rupert Murdoch, Viscount Rothermere, Meta and Elon Musk in a way that comedian or podcaster B), gaining millions of followers who lean towards ideas that disrupt society by attacking progressive, egalitarian or (sigh) “woke” culture does not. Regardless of the actual or avowed political beliefs of these media magnates, is comedian/podcaster A or comedian/podcaster B going to be the one they champion in order to tap into the zeitgeist (which media magnates have to do to survive)?

BUT ANYWAY, it would be nice to think that these things would be less central or at least more ignorable in 2024. It would also be nice if people in power could not enable the worst elements in society (where the two things are separable). It would be more than nice if the governments of the world would listen to people and end the butchering of helpless civilians. It’s important to remember that it is in the interests of governments – even relatively benign ones – that people in general feel powerless. But we’re not. If making resolutions works for you then make them, if not then don’t, if you have goals then aim for those and you may achieve something even if not everything you want to achieve. But if something is unacceptable to you, don’t accept it. You may have money, power, time or you may have little more than your own body and/or your own mind, but those are 100% yours and the most important things of all. Happy New Year and good luck!

the crossroads of hamburgers & boys: Bowie and Diamond Dogs (and Glenn Hendler’s “Diamond Dogs”)


I don’t often post book reviews here, but I was lucky enough to be sent review copies of the two newest additions to Bloomsbury’s always-interesting 331⁄3 series of books, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs by Glenn Hendler (hopefully the spelling of his name will be consistent on the cover of the non-advance edition) and D’Angelo’s Voodoo by Faith A. Pennick, which I’ll cover in a different post.

Hendler’s book was of immediate interest; I’ve been listening to David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (1974) for literally (though not continuously) half of my life. When I first started this blog, names for it that I rejected included ‘The Glass Asylum’ (from the song Big Brother) and ‘Crossroads and Hamburgers’ (actually based on a mishearing of a line in perhaps-best-ever-Bowie-song (or group of songs), Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise) which is really ‘the crossroads of hamburgers and boys’, arguably a better name for a website, but perhaps overly misleading. The Glass Asylum already exists and is anyway not especially relevant. But I’ll name this site properly one day).

For years, Diamond Dogs was my favourite Bowie album, only pushed into second or third place (it changes quite often; currently #1 is Station to Station and #2 is Young Americans) because I listened to it so much that it had become hard to listen to without skipping bits.
But despite listening to it to the point where I felt like I knew every second of the album, and reading a lot about Bowie over the years (though not the lyrics apparently – I presume I just thought I knew them), Glenn Hendler’s little (150 page) book taught me a lot that I didn’t know and hadn’t considered – and, even better – sent me back to the album with fresh ears, and made me fall in love with it all over again.

As a  semi-professional music journalist myself (Hendler, incidentally, isn’t one; he’s a Professor of English, though he writes on a variety of cultural & political topics) I’m very aware that there are many people who believe that music writers should focus solely on the music at hand and leave themselves out of it. This is, thankfully, not how the 331⁄3 series works, and in fact none of my own favourite music writers – Charles Shaar Murray, Jon Savage, Caitlin Moran, Lester Bangs etc etc – write from any kind of neutral position. And really, anything about music beyond the biographical and technical information is subjective anyway, so better to be in the hands of someone whose writing engages you. For me, the test of good music journalism (not relevant here, but will be for the Voodoo review) is whether the writer can make you enjoy reading about music you don’t already know, or maybe don’t even like – something which all of the aforementioned writers do.

331⁄3 books always begin with something about the writer’s history with the music that they are talking about – and it’s surprising the difference this makes to a book. For me, reading the opening chapter of Mike McGonigal’s My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless (Loveless came out when I was at high school and was very much a fan of the scene that had grown up in the long gaps between MBV’s releases; Ride, Lush, Slowdive, Curve etc etc etc) was such a strange experience – he describes encountering the band’s music in what comes across very much as a grunge, ‘alt-rock’ milieu – that, although I liked the book very much, it felt so far removed from how I saw the band that it was oddly dislocating, like it would be to read a sentence that began “Wings frontman Paul McCartney” or, more pertinently to this article, “David Bowie, vocalist of Tin Machine.”

the 1980 Floor Show

Anyway; in this case, the author’s relationship with his subject stretches all the way back to the his first real encounter with the music – and strangeness – of Bowie, when as a 12 year old, he saw The 1980 Floor Show on NBC’s Midnight Special, filmed in 1973, which acted as a kind of fanfare for the as-yet-unreleased Diamond Dogs. This setting is important, because anyone coming to Bowie now has grown up with all of his incarnations – and the fact that he had various different personae – as background. I first knew him as the barely-weird-at-all Bowie of Let’s Dance, a pop star who was not noticeably stranger or even (stylistically/musically at least) obviously older-looking than the other acts in the charts at the time (also in the top ten during Let’s Dance’s reign at number one were the Eurythmics (Sweet Dreams (are Made of This)), Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of the Heart) and Duran Duran (Is There Something I should know). The fact (not in itself so unusual in the UK) that Bowie had an earlier existence as some kind of glam rock alien of indeterminate gender was almost invariably commented upon by DJs and TV presenters in the 80s and that is a very different thing from becoming aware of him when he was a glam rock alien of indeterminate gender, especially since – in the USA at least – he was yet to really break and in ’74 was a cult figure with a surprisingly high profile, rather than one of the major stars of the previous two years.

In his book, rather than making a chronological, song-by-song examination of the album (though he does dissect every song at some point), Hendler examines the array of different inspirations (musical, literary, cultural, political, technical) that informed the writing and recording of the album, as well as looking at where it lies in relation to his work up to that point. Those inspirations; Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (Bowie’s original intention was to write a musical based on the book, but after that was vetoed by Sonia Orwell he incorporated the material he’d written into Diamond Dogs), Andy Warhol and the superstars of his Factory, some of whom were then in the UK production of his play Pork, the gay subculture of London and the post-apocalyptic gay subculture of William Burroughs’s novels, Burroughs & Brion Gysin’s ‘cut-up’ technique, Josephine Baker, A Clockwork Orange, the soul and funk that was to take centre stage on Young Americans, the Rolling Stones, the post-industrial decay and unrest of Britain in the mid-70s – are all audible to varying degrees on Diamond Dogs, a kind of linguistic stratigraphy* that mirrors the album’s layers of sounds and instruments and makes it both aurally and figuratively one of Bowie’s most richly dense albums.
*thankfully, Glenn Hendler never writes as pretentiously as this

Bowie & William Burroughs in 1974 by Terry O’Neill

When reading the book, two phrases other writers wrote about the Diamond Dogs era came to mind, which I think reinforce Hendler’s own conclusions about the album;

it […] single-handedly brought the glam rock era to a close. After Diamond Dogs there was nothing more to do, no way forward which would not result in self-parody or crass repetition” David Buckley – The Complete Guide To The Music of David Bowie*, Omnibus Press, 1996, p.37

*incidentally, a intriguing detail reported by Buckley but sadly not mentioned in Hendler’s book is that the territory of ‘Halloween Jack’ (the only named member of the Diamond Dogs) who ‘lives on top of Manhattan Chase’ was inspired by stories told by Bowie father (who at one point worked for Barnardo’s) of homeless children living on the rooftops in London.

And, even more to the point:

The last time I’d seen him [Bowie] had been the last day of 1973, and he’d been drunk and snooty and vaguely unpleasant, a game player supreme, a robot amuck and careening into people with a grin, not caring because after all they were only robots too; can trash be expected to care about the welfare of other trash?
Since then there’d been Diamond Dogs, the final nightmare of glitter apocalypse Charles Shaar Murray, ‘David Bowie: Who was that (un)masked man?’(1977) in Shots From The Hip, Penguin books, 1991, p.228

This sense of Diamond Dogs’ apocalyptic extremism is addressed throughout Hendler’s book; the record may not be a concept album in any clear, narrative sense (indeed, the Diamond Dogs, seemingly some kind of gang, are introduced early on but only mentioned once thereafter), but its fractured, non-linear progression and its musical maximalism (should be a thing if it isn’t) actually imbues the album with a far stronger overall identity than Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane had before it. In fact it works more like a kind of collage than a conventional story. related to this, an important point that the author brings up early on concerns the role of the Burroughs/Gysin cut up technique. Although this is often used to explain (or rather, not explain) the more lyrically opaque moments in Bowie’s 70s work, Hendler stresses that this was a creative tool rather than a kind of random lyric generator. As with the use of Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards on Low a few years later, the cut up was used as a way of stimulating the imagination, not bypassing it. The lyrics to songs like Sweet Thing clearly benefit from the use of randomised elements, but these were then used to create lyrics which have an internal sense but which crucially also scan and rhyme when needed, something that would be fairly unlikely in a purely random process. The result is something like the experimental fiction that JG Ballard had pioneered earlier in the decade (most famously in The Atrocity Exhibition) which come across as sometimes-gnomic bulletins from the unconscious, filtered through a harsh, post-industrial geography, but never as random gibberish. What Hendler draws attention to (that I had never consciously noticed in all my years of listening) is the strangely dislocated perspectives of the album’s songs, where the relationship between the narrator/subject/listener are rarely clear-cut and often change within the course of a single song.

Bowie working with cut-up lyrics in Olympic Studios, 1973 by Roger Bamber

The most obvious example is in one of the book’s best parts, the exploration of Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise) (the crossroads and hamburgers song). Although, lyrically, the song’s focus is all over the place, it never feels disjointed, and until reading about it, I’d never really considered how ambiguous it all is. Although seen through a kind of futuristic lens, thanks to the album’s loose concept (established by the album’s sinister and slightly silly intro, Future Legend), when I listen to it now, it feels very much like a condensed/compressed 70s version of Hubert Selby Jr’s notorious Last Exit To Brooklyn (1964) with its shifting viewpoints and voices and its pitiless depiction of what was – for all the novel’s controversy – the normal life for many people in the underclass of any big city. Like Selby, Bowie doesn’t help the audience by indicating who is speaking or when but places us in the centre of the action (essentially violent gangs and male prostitutes), making the listener in fact, (at times) the ‘sweet thing’ of the title (though at other times Bowie adopts that role too) not that that had ever occurred to me before. It’s a mixture of menace, sleaze and impending violence, the ‘glam’ sheen of glam rock rendering it all at once romantic and dangerous – and full of unexpected details. I had obviously always heard the line ‘Someone scrawled on the wall “I smell the blood of Les Tricoteuses”’ but I hadn’t bothered to find out what it was he said or what ‘Les Tricoteuses’ were (the old ladies who reportedly/supposedly knitted at the foot of the guillotine during the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution, it turns out) and therefore didn’t pick up on the way the percussion becomes the military marching snare drum. Bowie was always about theatre, but this song absorbs the theatrical elements so seamlessly into its overall structure that drama/melodrama, sincerity/artifice, truth/deceit. seduction/threat become one vivid and affecting whole. I would say the song is bigger than the sum of its parts, but there are so many parts, going in (and coming from) so many different directions that I don’t think that’s true – but it somehow holds together as a song or suite of songs; almost a kind of microcosm of the album itself.

Elsewhere, my other favourite song, We Are The Dead (directly inspired by Nineteen Eighty-Four) is dissected brilliantly, highlighting the way (again, I hadn’t noticed) that Bowie absorbs the key ideas of the novel into his own framework; this is one of the few songs aside from the title track that mentions the Diamond Dogs and, without being jarring (or at least no more than intended) sets the originally very 1940s characters of Winston Smith and Julia (not that they are named) and his timeless themes of power, sex (and the relationship between the two) and totalitarianism into the 70s post-apocalyptic dystopia that owes more to Burroughs and the street-life milieu of Lou Reed’s lyrics than it does to Orwell himself. Like the use of cut-up techniques to stimulate his own imagination, Bowie’s absorption of these disparate elements created something new and powerful that concentrated Bowie’s interests and obsessions as well as holding up a distorting mirror to the times in which it was created.

But this has gone on long enough and, rather than rewriting or paraphrasing Hendler’s book – one of the best books on Bowie I’ve read – I’ll go and read it again while listening to Diamond Dogs.

Guy Peellaert’s iconic painting for the Diamond Dogs cover


what January 2020 sounded like


Despite the portentous title, this is a round up of things I was sent by nice PR people that sounded interesting, since I said at some point a while ago that I’d do this regularly (and why not?) so here they are, in alphabetical order, because that’s simplest.

Artist: Collectress
Title: Different Geographies
Label: Peeler Records
Release Date: 6 March

I mentioned it here, but have to say more about it now that I know it a little better. If their previous album Mondegreen sounded like music from a benignly haunted doll’s house, Different Geographies has the same gently spooky charm, but takes (even by their standards) strange departures,  like on Mauswork, where their oddly Victorian string arrangements blend with electronic elements, or the beautifully wistful single In The Streets, In The Fields, a truly timeless melange of strings and modern sounding percussive elements and howling noises; which sounds much prettier than that description would suggest. Even within the album – and its individual pieces – it’s unpredictable and hard to define, with songs like the busy Landscape taking unexpected twists and turns during its five and a half minutes.
As with all of Collectress’s work, the music on Different Geographies is strongly visual and does strange things to time; a magical, otherworldly record full of delicate moods and strange musical non-sequiturs.

Artist: Little Albert
Title: Swamp King
Label: Aural Music
Release Date: 27 March

I’m always a bit dubious of the blues as a style, rather than as the product of a specific, African-American culture from a specific time period, but since it definitely is one (and really, if one can accept Eric Clapton as a blues musician then anything goes), I can say that this is a very cool sounding record, notwithstanding that it was made by a young white Italian guy (Alberto Piccolo) best known for his work in doom metal band Messa. Doom is of course the closest metal comes to the blues, and there’s a monolithic, Black Sabbath quality to some of the songs here, notably the cover of Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs. In fact, it’s a pretty good album if you like gritty, bass heavy blues of the late-60s type; it sounds great, and the most worrisome factor, Alberto’s vocals, are actually really good; his voice isn’t as powerful as his guitar playing, but emerging from the darkness with a hint of reverb it’s more than acceptable. With all the caveats that come with a heavy blues album from 2020, Swamp King is kind of awesome.

Artist: Nuclear Winter
Title: Night Shift
Label: self-release
Release Date: 7th February

Very polished, melodic death metal (at times almost like death-power metal) from Zimbabwe, this is essentially not my cup of tea at all. I’m always curious to hear music from places not normally associated with that kind of music and sometimes (there’s a great Saigon Rock and Soul album that I think I’ve mentioned before, also that Mongol Metal split from 2015 and last year’s compilation Brutal Africa of death metal from Botswana) it really shows artists approaching familiar musical ideas from a really different perspective. Here it doesn’t; with no disrespect to Gary Stautmeister – who wrote, played and sang everything here aside from some guest vocals – this is an album of classy modern death metal which could have just as easily come from Sweden, France or wherever. The plus points are that he writes cool riffs (Blueshift) and solos, can do both raw and melodic vocals well, as well as writing proper songs. The minuses – well, none if you love this kind of music. I can absolutely imagine Nuclear Winter signed to a label like Relapse or Nuclear Blast; he’s very good at what he does and if you like those Scarve/Sybreed type of bands, give it a go.

Artist: Pia Fraus
Title: Empty Parks
Label: Seksound/Vinyl Junkie
Release Date: 20 January

Something like an Estonian Slowdive-meets-Drop Nineteens, Pia Fraus have been around for ages (22 years!) and this is their millionth (I think sixth) album. It has a great title and is incredibly nice. As shoegazey/dreampop type albums go it’s pretty upbeat, wistfully happy, rather than wistfully sad and mostly relatively up-tempo with at times (like Love Sports) a Stereolab kind of texture.
The female (Eve) and male (Rein) vocals go very nicely together (hence the Slowdive/Drop Nineteens comparisons, they are rarely – exception; Slow Boat Fades Out – quite as ethereal as My Bloody Valentine) and although it’s hard to choose highlights from an album where all eleven songs are quite similar, it stayed nice all the way through without getting boring* and never became twee, so that’s an achievement in itself. I don’t know enough of the band’s other work to say how good the album is by their standards, but if you like the atmosphere of those Sarah Records, Field Mice kind of bands, but not their ramshackle amateurishness, this is highly recommended.

*if you’re in the mood for pop-shoegaze. If you’re not I imagine it would be extraordinarily dull

Artist: Revenant Marquis
Title: Youth In Ribbons
Label: Inferna Profundus
Release Date: 20 January

British black metal of the ultra-mysterious one-nameless-entity type, I really liked the imagery and atmosphere surrounding the album before I even heard it and the music didn’t disappoint. It’s the (I think) fourth RM album, but I’ve only heard bits and pieces before so I guess I’ll have to get the others now. Murky, very rough (it sounds loud even when played quietly), atmospheric and extremely black, it reminds me of early Xasthur and the chaotic obscure nastiness of Manierisme, though it’s never quite that eccentric. The key to its non-crapiness is that, just about gleaming through the surface noise and thunderous rumbling are strange queasy melodies, often simple but very effective and, crucially for this kind of music, every aspect (music/lyrics – insofar as one can make them out/themes/imagery) works together to make something bigger than the sum of those parts. And though the album rarely really gets better than the superb opening duo of Menstruation (a kind of ceremonial intro) and Ephebiphobia (actual black metal), it maintains that quality throughout. Hating teenagers and school (specifically Tasker Milward School; a moody highlight is The Blood Of Lady Tasker) is, oddly, a theme that runs through the album, though I guess that’s no less than the title promises. Loved it.

Artist: Sunny Jain
Title: Wild Wild East
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Release Date: 21 February

After a Zappa-ish opening fanfare, Indian-American percussionist Sunny Jain and his excellent band bring together a vibrant and sometimes slightly indigestible mix of Morricone-esque rock and jazz with south Asian elements. It’s very good; at times it reminded me a bit of one of the all-time great soundtracks, Rahul Dev Burman’s Yaadon Ki Baaraat, but also the superb Kaada/Patton album Bacteria Cult. At times the album takes on a droning quality which gives it a very positive, summery feel, but at times, most noticeably on Osian, that becomes a loud, busy, blaring quality and a few more of the beautiful, quiet moments would have made it an easier record to love. That said, I haven’t heard anything else quite like it and it’ll definitely be on my playlist for a while.


Inevitably, the releases of the year, 2016 (Part Two)


Here are some more of the things I thought were good this year

Vaguely (or very) shoegaze-related releases of the year

I didn’t like the term ‘shoegaze’ back in the early 90s and I don’t like it now. I dislike ‘dreampop’ even more. Neo-shoegaze has now got to the point that original shoegaze got to; 99% of it is boring. But I do like some of it and these were good:

Stella Diana – Nitocris (self-release)


Naples shoegaze trio Stella Diana seem to be influenced mainly by the less experimental end of the original shoegaze scene (Just For A Day-era Slowdive with a pinch of Ride), rather than My Bloody Valentine or Curve, but on this, their third album, it all comes together with some quality songwriting and excellent performances.



Minor Victories – Minor Victories (Fat Possum Records)


I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would in fact; but it’s definitely a good album. As with so many ‘supergroup’ records, a bit underwhelming and boring overall, but the good bits, like ‘For You Always’, (where, as usual, Mark Kozelek makes one wish he seemed to be as likeable as he is talented) are so good that it’s definitely worth checking out.



Alcest – Kodama (Prophecy Productions)


For me, Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde is still the perfect Alcest album, the one where the shoegaze and black metal elements blended most seamlessly and where Neige’s vision seemed most clear and fresh. But Kodama is the best he’s made since then, the reintroduction of the metal elements slicing away some of the flabbiness of Shelter. The striking artwork and design of the album also rekindled the spark which had become somewhat mellow over time.



Daniel Land – In Love With A Ghost (self-release)


More singer-songwriter oriented than the other releases here, Daniel Land’s In Love With A Ghost meshes a strongly atmospheric dreampop feel with a very human, rather than celestial approach. His songs; sad, happy, richly lyrical, have everything to do with real life, making this the most approachable and loveable shoegaze(ish) album I’ve heard this year.



More non-genre-specific Releases of the Year

The Vision Bleak – The Unknown (Prophecy Productions)


Even without the conceptual baggage of their previous albums, The Vision Bleak’s latest opus is an overpoweringly rich and theatrical work of gothic melancholy. Konstanz and Schwadorf’s art will never be for everyone, but The Unknown is as accessible and as eccentric as anything the duo have recorded.



Kaada/Patton – Bacteria Cult (Ipecac Recordings)


In terms of time spent listening, Bacteria Cult may actually be my release of the year; the pairing of Mike Patton and Norwegian composer John Erika Kaada makes most of Patton’s other collaborations feel like novelty acts. Sweeping, epic, beautiful, funny and atmospheric, the music on this album is great as background or foreground and I am yet to be bored by it.



Jozef van Wissem – When Shall This Bright Day Begin (Consouling Sounds)


I wrote a detailed review of this great album for Echoes and Dust so will keep this short. This is a beautiful and haunting album of wistful (non-traditional) lute music with some experimental elements. It doesn’t sound like anything else in my Releases of the Year.



Darkher – Realms (Prophecy Productions)


An unclassifiable album of darkly romantic, sort of gothic (but without being theatrical) mood music. So immersively atmospheric that it takes a while to realise just how tightly written and well constructed Jayn H Wissenberg’s songs are.



Rachel Mason – Das Ram (Cleopatra Records (LP) / Practical Records (cassette)

Matthew Spiegelman

I wrote extensively about this album here but since it was very nearly my album of the year, here’s a bit more: Rachel Mason has produced so much, in so many fields – performance art/sculpture/filmmaking/music, etc (check out her website for a cross-section) – that it’s easy to immerse oneself in her work. In music alone she is amazingly prolific and has amassed a vast and crazily varied discography (fourteen albums, plus various collaborations) within just a few years. Das Ram is a bold, exciting and accessible album, utterly different from the acoustic/folk rock textures of Mason’s earlier works like Turtles or Hamilton Fish… and even further removed from the raw, homemade quality of Gayley Manor Songs.  Only a handful of artists have convincingly made a gesamstkunstwerk in the idiom of popular music without falling into the trap of overblown pretension – and most of those have spread from within the music world outwards. With Das Ram, Rachel Mason has become one of an even more select group – an artist who has learned to express herself with equal authority in whatever medium she chooses – and who seems to have fun doing it.




Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp  


Deceptively cheerful lo-fi indie pop with incisive tunes and lots of heart



Blizaro – Cornucopia della Morte (I, Voidhanger)


John Gallo’s Goblin-worshipping occult synth doom rock(?) is at its best on 2013’s Strange Doorways compilation, but when this album is great, it’s really great.



Nox – Ancestral Arte Negro (Forever Plagued Records)


Pure Colombian brutal-but-atmospheric black metal – short, to the point; perfect.




More to come….

All the stuff and more; why bands should split up and never, ever reform


Firstly, let’s acknowledge that there are a few reasons that bands who have long since split up should reform, but they are mostly reasons relevant to the band itself and not their fans;

  • unfinished business (various kinds)
  • reaping the rewards (personal, financial) that they didn’t get the first time around
  • because they (think they) are better songwriters/musicians than they were before – that kind of thing. 
  • It’s fun being a band again

BUT – much as I loved Lush, Ride, Slowdive, The Stone Roses, Pixies and definitely wish them all well, do I want new albums by them?  Even if (as seems unlikely – and in the case of The Pixies definitely wasn’t the case) the new albums are “better” (whatever that means) than their old ones, part of the appeal of those bands (leaving aside nostalgia and the age I was when I first liked them) is the completeness of their discographies; a whole story, from start to finish.


As with most pop/rock music,The Beatles are archetypical. If their discography had stretched from 1962 to 1970, but with one strange album from 1979 where they sounded a bit like The Beatles, only in 1979, with maybe ‘Just Like Starting Over’, ‘Getting Closer‘, ‘Blow Away‘ and ‘Wrack My Brain‘ on it, would Beatles fans be any better off? If nothing else, it would spoil the strangely mythical story arc as recorded in the Anthology documentaries etc, not to mention their embodiment of the cultural phenomenon that is remembered as ‘the sixties’. 

Obviously there are many bands with long, good careers, bands who manage to produce something surprisingly great, even in their ‘twilight years’, but nevertheless the classic band (or just human?) trajectory is:

  • early promise (or astounding precociousness)
  • maturity (‘best’ period)
  • post-maturity (weird/interesting period)
  • end (can be many kinds of end)

There are many permutations on this formula, but a relatively short, intense career (5-10 years?) can be the most satisfying one to look back on, especially from the point of view of the record collector who wants to own everything, in every format and version. Ideally (again, from the collecting point of view) a career should make a nice box set (or two; albums/singles, although it’s inevitable that if a band is commercially successful, record labels will make much more than one or two nice box sets out of their work; “reissue, repackage, repackage” etc).

This article was prompted by the seemingly untimely demise of the brilliant avant-grind/death metal/peculiar UK underground band Oblivionized, followed by the realisation that a couple of demos, an EP, and a few split releases, culminating in a pretty much perfect album is in fact a model career. Their work began in a certain style, they perfected that, moved on, experimented, made something new, perfected that and then quit while they were ahead. And it’s all out there, relatively easy to get hold of and there you have it; the complete Oblivionized collection. Might be a bit of a wait for the box set though.


The Smiths are another favourite band with a model career; and at this point it seems like Morrissey has made it pretty certain that a reunion can never happen. Even though I would no doubt want to see them live if they did reform, I’m glad it seems unlikely. As it stands, The Smiths’ career has that Beatles-y sense of symmetry; The Smiths, where they set out their style in its roughest form (actually my favourite album though); Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead refining it and perfecting it; a sense of strain and everything going a bit odd with Strangeways, Here We Come (my second favourite). Plus a fantastic run of singles, some demos and Peel Sessions and a live album; and then end it before it gets to the first not-good album; perfect. For the individual Smiths, as for The Beatles, their post-band careers would be far more erratic, but successful enough (in Morrissey’s case more than successful enough) that they have no pressing reasons to relive their youth as grown-ups, with all of the high-school-reunion awkwardness one assumes comes from that situation.


It’s nice that The Smiths are, thus far, holding firm; one imagines that the financial rewards would be almost irresistable; and normally I think it’s fair to say that financial factors play a part in the majority of reunions of ‘heritage’ bands (classic cases; The Sex Pistols, Velvet Underground). Normally it is circumstance rather than integrity that prevents bands from working together again; too much water under the bridge in the case of Abba, or more tragically The Doors, Joy Division, Nirvana among many others; these bands have untarnishable careers for the saddest of reasons.


It’s entirely reasonable and understandable that artists want to relive their glory years; but they are called glory years for a reason – they can’t come again. Most bands with any kind of longevity are built around the vision of one or two members anyway (except The Ramones I guess) and how many bands that are any good have had more than a decade of productivity without any lineup changes or inferior albums? And how many reunions have resulted in the best album of a band’s career?

Best not to do it people, once the thrill of seeing you in concert has passed you will have taken the shine off your greatest musical achievements; and no-one except your bank manager will thank you for it.


Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside) – “shoegaze” 1988 – 1993


First a note: this is not an exhaustive exploration of the (for want of a better term) shoegaze genre. It’s extremely subjective, being based on my own memories and tastes c.1990-2 and therefore has some glaring omissions (unaccountably I never really heard much of the Cocteau Twins. More accountably, I didn’t like Catherine Wheel very much) and takes no account whatsoever of neo-shoegaze or the careers of the bands mentioned below after the period covered.


small but perfectly formed…

Nowadays, when even the format of the album is under threat from the ability to download single songs, EPs (always a lesser format) seem ephemeral or even pointless. It was not always so, however; although posterity has made Just For A Day and maybe even Whirlpool and Ferment into ‘classic albums’, those who were around at the time will remember that virtually every shoegaze album was initially regarded as a disappointment upon release, and all were completely eclipsed by My Bloody Valentine’s genre defining/destroying Loveless when it finally emerged from its long gestation (or what seemed at the time a long gestation; compared with m b v (finally released in 2013), Loveless seems almost hastily thrown together).


That the genre is ideally suited to the format of the EP partly has to do with style; although no two shoegaze bands sounded as alike as their contemporary detractors claimed, it’s true to say that effects-laden guitars, wistful vocals and hazy, dreamy atmospheres predominated – and these things are on the whole more effective in small doses. Likewise, the subject matter of the majority of these bands was enigmatic and allusive rather than forthright or obvious – understanding lyrics (or even singing along to them) is by no means a prerequisite for good music, but it does give an album a focal point aside from the overall sound; in the majority of shoegaze records the vocals are an integral part of that sound and often the lyrics are barely audible.

EPs, singles and even mini-albums were therefore the ideal way to experience the style:
and all of the key (and minor) bands in the scene produced their best work over series’ of three or four-song 12″ records, right from the dawn of the style.

The architects of shoegaze

cocteauThrough the early/mid 80s, The Cocteau Twins were undeniably key in establishing a guitar based, semi-ambient sound and, simultaneously The Jesus and Mary Chain made feedback and sheer noise a part of the overground rock/pop scene. Some aspects of the sound that became shoegaze can be traced back further, to the post-punk scene (notably The Cure, still very much a vital part of the music scene in the late 80s.early 90s), but it is really these two bands that should be considered the real architects of shoegaze. In their wake came the 80s indie scene in gene
ral, with bands like The House of Love and The Smiths, who would influence pretty much all UK indie one way or the other from around 1984 onwards.


Baby Talk…

‘Shoegaze’ proper really kicked off in August 1988, with My Bloody Valentine’s You Made Me Realise EP.
Although MBV had been releasing records since ’85, until You Made Me Realise, the band’s sound was far more traditional, with a jangly 60s, post-Smiths, C86/twee quality very different from their aggressive, feedback and effects-laden mature sound. 1987 single Strawberry Wine is a case in point; essentially it is very similar to a song like Thorn from the You Made Me Realise EP; both songs are fast-paced indie pop, characterised by Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher’s vocal harmonies, Colm Ó Cíosóig’s dynamic, aggressive percussion and layers of MBV you madeguitars. On Strawberry Wine, though, the guitar sound is the chiming, jangly, Byrds-influenced sound then popular in the UK indie scene. On Thorn, the underlying track is not that different, but on top of the base layer of strummed guitars, the melody is formed, not by a 12-string Rickenbacker-ish sound, but by the highly peculiar vacuum cleaner-like mechanised howl of Kevin Shields’ heavily distorted guitar. Even if Thorn wasn’t a better song than Strawberry Wine (but it is), the guitar adds not only a unique sound to the song, but it also intensifies its stormy, melancholy atmosphere. This was a key feature of shoegaze that all of the best bands brought to their music; not only was the voice another instrument, the guitar was another voice.

MBV isnt

MBV followed up You Made Me Realise uncharacteristically quickly with their debut full-length album Isn’t Anything. Iconic though it is, it demonstrates exactly why the EP is the format of shoegaze: even a relatively short 40-ish minutes of disorientating, backwards-sounding, intense and mysterious hazy intensity is a bit much without the voice of .a singer like Elizabeth Fraser bringing it all together. Anyway, the impact of You Made Me Realise was pretty immediate; by October ’89, one of the first new young bands made its debut: Lush, with their Scar mini-album.



Lush 1With Scar, Lush not only established a distinct musical identity based around the opposing forces of Cocteau Twins-esque fragility (enhanced by the – typically – ‘ethereal’ vocal harmonies of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson) and prickly, punky bitterness, they also created an instantly recognisable aesthetic. 4AD – always the most coffee-table-book-friendly indie label – should have been a natural home for the shoegaze scene, but in fact Lush and Pale Saints were (I think) the only shoegaze bands aside from The Cocteau Twins (always somewhat aloof from the ‘scene’) to benefit from the label’s invariably evocative artwork and Creation became the shoegaze label. The six songs on Scar were uniformly excellent, but the production (by John Fryer, with the band) was serviceable but lacked sparkle, something rectified on the band’s next (and best) release:

Mad Love EP (1990)

Lush 2This EP exemplifies the best of the shoegaze scene; four excellent songs, no fillers (and it is surprising how many bands couldn’t record an EP without at least one lesser song), each song catchy and atmospheric but no two very alike.
This time round the production was in the hands of the Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie, indie royalty, and of course the main architect of the kind of pretty noise (and it is worth remembering that, despite their ‘niceness’ most shoegaze records included the kind of abstract noise that was definitely not a normal part of chart music) that Lush were working with. Alongside three new songs (all better than anything on Scar) there is a sparkling rerecording of Thoughtforms, the somewhat leaden sound of the Scar version replaced by something more scintillating.
Lush 3Later that year, the band released Sweetness and Light, their most commercial, hook-laden record, the poppy a-side backed with two even more lighter-than-air songs, both pretty good. At the same time, it was becoming clear from interviews and TV appearances that the band were not quite the fey, angelic characters they mostly sounded like on record. By ’91 the shoegaze scene was, if not in decline, at least on a plateau, and Lush’s singles Black Spring and For Love were far patchier than their previous work. There were still great songs, but what had been ethereal had started to become watery and unmemorable and the band’s tougher songs jettisoned the shoegaze idiom for something more proto-Britpop/mainstream indie-rock-ish. Which is not what I am writing about.

Luckily, 4AD seemed to notice this watershed and released an album bringing together all the band’s work up to Sweetness and Light. Gala, especially in its lavishly packaged LP form, is all you need to know about Lush the shoegaze band, and one of the great monuments of the genre.

Lush 4


RideRide 1The month before Lush’s Mad Love went on sale, a young band from Oxford released their self-titled debut EP. Ride is not as perfect as Mad Love but it established a sound that was more pop-oriented than My Bloody Valentine, but with a heavier, noisier guitar sound than Lush. Ride balanced the unabashedly indie-pop sound of Chelsea Girl with the heavier Drive Blind (with its psychedelic, flickering guitar part strangely reminiscent of the intro to Status Quo’s ludicrous 1967 psych-pop classic Pictures of Matchstick Men) and the more reflective All I Can See and noisy Close My Eyes. The band’s sound was defined by the gentle harmony vocals of Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, whose voices bore a passing resemblance to that of MBV’s Kevin Shields, but where his voice often stayed buried, semi-coherently in the mix, Ride put their harmonies in centre stage.

Ride 2

In the summer of 1990, Ride released the eminently summery Play EP. Again, the band showcased a heavier indie rock sound, softened by the mellow Englishness of the vocals, but never as wispy and insubstantial as the scene’s detractors sometimes claimed.
The Fall EP was released in September and was another strong release, but although I remember a Melody Maker journalist claiming slightly later that the shoegaze (the then-derogatory term was coined around this time) bands were sapping their strength by releasing streams of EPs instead of saving their strength for an album, Ride were one of the few whose debut full-length (Nowhere, released a month after Fall) was actually stronger than the EPs which preceded it.
Ride 3By the time Nowhere was released, ‘shoegaze’ was at its height, with critical reactions from the music press (in those days a little more influential than now, especially on the UK indie scene) outweighed by support, especially from Melody Maker.
Ride were also wise in that they (more or less) jettisoned their shoegaze sound at the right time, the more 60s-pop/prog influenced Going Blank Again proving to be their biggest selling album. But before they moved on, the band released their most perfectly realised work, the Today Forever EP, four contrasting but still definitely ‘shoegaze’ oriented songs.



Slowdive 1If Ride were more strident and rock than Lush, then Slowdive were everything shoegaze’s critics hated about the scene: mellow, melancholy, dreamy, slow (of course), fragile. But that’s not all they were: their self-titled debut, released at the end of the autumn in 1990, was a seriously noisy release, for all its snails-pace tempos. The beautiful foghorn guitar of the title track was closer to the sound of My Bloody Valentine’s (as yet unreleased) magnum opus Loveless than any of their peers, and the way the delicate Slowdive 2female/male vocals of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead drift through the massive soundscapes of guitar noise was distinctly different from the other bands of the genre. 1991’s Morningrise EP was another near-perfect EP but Holding Our Breath, released not long before debut album Just For A Day suggested, despite the presence of one of their most popular songs, Catch the Breeze, that the band had painted themselves into a corner; the distorted noise and feedback of the first EP had been smoothed into something altogether cleaner and more melodic, but without the stormy holding_frontatmospherics, the sound of Just for a Day sometimes veered uncomfortably towards a kind of ‘Shoegaze Moods’ new age muzak.

Unlike Ride and Lush though, Slowdive’s second LP Souvlaki, released in 1993 after the death of shoegaze, was probably their strongest work.

slowdive LPs

Other bands
Shoegaze was not a vast scene, but at its height, EPs more-or-less in its style(s) proliferated almost weekly. The following are a few bands who excelled on EPs:

CurveBlindfold (1991), Frozen (1991), Cherry (1991)

Curve appeared fully formed in 1991, with the slick and accomplished Blindfold EP. Despite very positive reviews, there was a certain amount of suspicion of the band in the indie press because the duo – Toni Halliday, (probably the shoegaze pinup, though not my personal one) and Dean Garcia – had links to various mainstream pop artists, having worked with Eurythmics and having attempted a mainstream pop career as State of Play in the 80s. Curve were important, though, in that they brought electronic elements and dance beats to the shoegaze genre, not to mention the only (to my knowledge) appearance of a rapper on a shoegaze song, namely JC-001, who appears – surprisingly successfully – on Ten Little Girls. Curve’s first three EPs were consistently strong, but their debut full-length Doppelganger (1992) was the archetypical disappointing shoegaze album, partly, as with Slowdive, because more than four or five songs in the band’s style becomes something of an endurance test.


ChapterhouseFreefall (1990)

Chapterhouse bore the brunt of the music press’ disaffection with shoegaze, and indeed their discography is on the whole one of the weaker ones of the scene. Freefall is probably the best of their EPs, although lead track Falling Down (a Curve-like funky dance/shoegaze crossover) has not aged as well as one would like. For the best of Chapterhouse see the list at the bottom of this article.


The Boo RadleysAdrenalin EP (1992)

It’s hard not to hate The Boo Radleys for Wake Up Boo etc, but all of their early EPs (and their debut album Ichabod & I) are all worthy of investigation. Adrenalin features Lazy Day, one of the finest shoegaze-pop songs of the period, the perfect marriage of pop hooks and blurry noise, and satisfyingly short too.

boo radleys

MooseCool Breeze (1991)

Moose, like Chapterhouse, seemed to come along just as the music press was growing weary of the shoegaze genre, but the three EPs they released in 1991 form a body of work with a very distinct personality and charm. Cool Breeze is the best of these, four perfect, sparse and autumnal pop songs, simple but inventive. Somewhat surprisingly, the band’s debut album XYZ was good too, despite an unexpected segue into mellow Americana.


Drop NineteensWinona (1992)

Labelmates of Moose (on Hut Records), Boston’s Drop Nineteens were (I think) the only US band to fully embrace the shoegaze sound, and their single Winona is a melancholy, droning-but-catchy classic.

drop nineteens

Some songs of the period that would make an excellent shoegaze compilation (with the disclaimer than not all are technically shoegaze songs):
* My Bloody Valentine – Thorn

* Ride – Vapour Trail

* Lush – De-Luxe

* Slowdive – Slowdive

* Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas

* Chapterhouse – Breather

* Curve – Ten Little Girls

* Boo Radleys – Lazy Day

* The House of Love – Christine

* Pale Saints – Half-Life

* Drop Nineteens – Winona

* The Wendys – Pulling My Fingers Off

* Moose – Suzanne

* Cranes – Thursday

* My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep

* Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station

* Ride – Today

* Lush – Thoughtforms

* The House of Love – Destroy the Heart

* Curve – The Coast is Clear

* Pale Saints – Throwing Back the Apple

* Codeine – D

* Moose – Untitled Love Song

* My Bloody Valentine – Slow