Archives for posts with tag: Slowdive

Star Horse

Replacing Psychedelic Sunday with Shoegaze Sunday today for Swedish dream-pop/ shoe-gaze band Star Horse and “Pickle Plum” from their “You Said Forever” album released in August 2019:

You might automatically assume that a dream-pop/ shoe-gaze band naming a song “Pickle Plum” would sound a bit like Cocteau Twins, and, if you did assume that, you would not be disappointed.

However as well as the apparent nod to later Cocteau Twins influences on this song, the album also does a very fine Swedish take on the more expansive guitar-effect sonic haze of Slowdive as well, particularly on the epic 8+ minute “Albatross” or “Serpentine”.

Star Horse are from Stockholm, Sweden and consist of Maja (guitar/vocals) Andreas (guitar/vocals), Samuel (drums) and Viktor (bass).  The historic shoe-gaze reference points aside, there is much that is very much their own contemporary sonic landscape on “You Said Forever” that makes the album well worth taking time with to make it familiar.

ToothpasteToothpaste are a London 4-piece mixing shoegaze and dream-pop together like alchemists on this 2019 single “Outside Panucci’s”:

Chief alchemist here in the magical transformation of melody, instruments and voices into something that glides through a heat-haze shimmer is bassist Daisy Edwards who engineered produced and mastered the recording.

Every part of the sound here – arrangement and production – contributes something to the feeling of vague ennui and nostalgic yearning (maybe?) the song is built on, and also captures perfectly the kind of weightlessness Slowdive perfected in their albums and EPs.

I’m a sucker for a good dream-pop/ shoegaze band and intrigued to hear more from Toothpaste. They have the makings of  GREAT dream-pop/shoegaze band on the strength of this song (and recording).


Earth to ZenaWellington psychedelic shoegaze band Earth To Zena return with an intriguing preview of a new release called “Transmutations” which they say is companion release to their 2018 album (or long EP) “Transmundane”. This new release promises to shift the axis of their debut by revisiting three of the songs in stripped down versions along with three new improvised instrumentals. Here’s their transmutation of “I’ll Never Know”:

The low-key atmospheric wash of “I’ll Never Know” takes them into similar territory to Slowdive’s epic (although misunderstood/ under-appreciated at the time) low-key ambient/ experimental shoegaze 1995 masterpiece “Pygmalion”.

The transmutation of “I’ll Never Know” highlights Renee Cotton’s vocals and also the songwriting and musical skills of the band. The recordings grew out of finding stripped down ways to perform the songs in more intimate settings than suited the full throttle roar of their normal performance: “we aimed to replace shimmering distortion with ethereal ambience, complexity with simplicity, density with space.”

The other pre-order track, the dreamy soundscape “Found”, is also a sublime atmospheric trip into a new world courtesy of what sounds like an elevator trip into the ambient afterlife and beyond.

“Transmundane” has been a regular feature on the car stereo and home stereo since its release and, on the strength of these two  pre-order tracks, the ethereal ambience of “Transmutations” promises to be a regular companion as well.

Earth to ZenaEarth to Zena are a 4-piece band from Wellington describing themselves – very accurately – as ‘psychedelic shoegaze’. Here’s the remarkable “Celestial Skins” from their debut album, “Transmundane”:

“Celestial Skins” here represents the best of all the bands’ elements combined together. There’s muscular crushing space rock noise (Hawkwind, circa “Space Ritual”, with Lemmy on bass!) to open and close the song, and, in-between, passages of diaphanous dream-pop/ shoegaze wonder, plus a kind of free-flowing psychedelic rock reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane. The outro combines everything – plus added synth – in a celestial celebration of distorted glorious saturated noise.

Lead vocalist Renee Cotton also plays synthesizer, adding extra textures and melodies to the futuristic (and Hawkwind-esque space rock) elements of the sound, with Barton McGuire on guitar, Alex Sipahioglu on bass and Nic Allan on drums.

“Transmundane” is a great collection of strong songs, rendered with confidence and style, and also quite often with the amps and effects turned up past the point of no return. Give it a whirl for yourself!


Kindling by Reid Haithcock Photography

Kindling are from Easthampton Massachusetts and “Destroy Yrself” is from their album “Hush” released in November 2017.

Discovered via a reference on the Norman Records mini-review of Bad Sav’s forthcoming album, Kindling are more in the My Bloody Valentine/ Lush/ early Slowdive zone of heavy shoegaze rock than the aforementioned Dunedin trio. But this song – and in fact the whole album – is top shelf immersive noise, with an agreeably dense atmosphere of reverb-bonded layered guitars and bass surrounding its molten core.

Despite – or perhaps because of – the relatively short-lived initial period of so-called ‘shoegaze’ rock from the late 1980s to early 1990s, it is a genre than has inspired a substantial ‘New Wave’ of bands in the 2010s, to continue the exploration of noise+melody.

RangitotoDay 31 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon closes the set of songs with something only a few days old from Auckland shoegaze ensemble Couchmaster. Here’s “Honey over Thunder” from a 5 song EP called “Tumor” released on 25 May.

I was going to select the opening track “Psychogenic Fugue” because it is dedicated to Dunedin music legend Peter Gutteridge and packs that familiar Snapper drone and drumbeat. But for the closing song for this year’s NZ music month trawl through the wonderful online underground of Bandcamp I couldn’t go past “Honey Over Thunder” with it’s wistfully melodic vocal from drummer Rachel Charlie and effortless reverb drenched psychedelia.

The EP is a wonderfully eclectic mix of guitar rock heavy on the atmospheric effects. It appears to be mostly the project of Rikki Sutton, from another shoegaze style Auckland band Eyes No Eyes. He’s guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist on most of the tracks as well as engineering and mixing the recording. Rachel Charlie on drums and vocals and Adison Whitley on guitar are the other two people who play on all the tracks. Extra points for naming the band after a great album by The Bats too.


ozeanStep into this time machine courtesy of Ozean and find yourself in 1991… but in the San Francisco Bay area of California rather than England.

These three songs by Californian band Ozean date from 1991, the same year Slowdive’s first album “Just For A Day” was released. This fascinating interview shows there was more than just a musical connection between the bands at the time.

The first two songs here feature basslines and drums which are classic Cocteau Twins while the guitar miasma is a perfect echo of the sound of early Slowdive.

Lisa Baer’s vocals are closer to Rachel Goswell’s ephemeral wonder in Slowdive than Liz Fraser’s distinctive and exotic vocals in The Cocteau Twins, yet the atmosphere created on these songs is a perfect distillation of the essence of both bands in their early prime. It’s all the more wonderful when you read that she comes from a non-rock background and is actually more influenced by Astrud Gilberto, which makes sense.

These three wonderful songs – long lost and forgotten about after a cassette release in 1993 – have been mastered from a cassette tape and that sonic patina from tape compression and drop-outs just adds to the character.

The Bandcamp release from Ozean is to raise the money for a vinyl release. Sounds like a worthwhile investment to me. It’s an interesting and very worthy side note to an era in music that didn’t last much longer that Ozean did.

[Note June 2017: now the vinyl has been released the embed up above is now to the label page for the EP and the song.]

[Thanks to The Autumn Roses for the tip-off]

GoddessGoddesses are a ‘shoegaze’ styled band from Derby in the UK who have just this week released what appears to be their first album. Here’s the lovely “Say Nothing” as an introduction to the weightless atmosphere of their ghostly sound world.

The album mines some of the same dreamlike territory as Slowdive’s fabulous Souvlaki album, all gentle washes of diaphanous sound and melody.

“Say Nothing” flows through a variety of moods across its almost 8 minutes, slowly building and threatening to unleash some kind of sonic fury at about the half way mark.

However, there’s also a bit of that teasing Sigur Ros style restraint here and instead of the expected noise, the song takes an unexpected but quite brilliant leap into a brief psychedelic electronica moment at about the six minute mark before drifting back to earth again.

Elsewhere the album blends in some more saturated noise washes so it’s well worth sticking around to listen to all of it and losing yourself in the swirling mists of this very well crafted music.


For Day 10 of the unofficial Australian Music Month Trans-Tasman exploration I thought I should look for something outside the Bedroom Suck Records or Chapter Music catalogues. So I went for a random search on Bandcamp…. and eventually came across Melbourne band Lowtide and ‘Blue Movie’ from a forthcoming (July) album:

Lowtide are Giles Simon, Lucy Buckeridge, Gabriel Lewis, Anton Jakovljevic. Two things of note here – the first is they have two bass players which gives that lower end a nice chorus-phased kind of thing going on like early Cocteau Twins. The second is they must be huge fans of UK shoegaze sonic architects Slowdive. The name Lowtide would seem to be a play on that and the music is similarly hazy, washed out and just as gloriously dreamy and wonderful. I’d like to hear more than just this track on preview here so I’ll have to keep an eye out for the album on Melbourne’s Lost & Lonesome label.