With ‘reunion’ seeming to be the appropriate buzzword around many a shoegazing circle these days it was almost inconceivable that one of the most influential bands ever to come out of the the first wave of the late 80’s, early 90’s experimental shoegazing scene would reform and announce a live gig yet alone announce the ‘possibility’ of new music. You see for the past 18 months we’ve witnessed the reformation of early shoegazing stalwarts such as Medicine, Slowdive & Ride with varying degrees of excitement amongst their fans, both old & new. But there was always one band that most shoegaze fans wanted to see reform! There was always one band that consistently appeared as a listed influence to nearly every band that we have interviewed for ‘The Primal Music Blog’. You see Lush have been essential ‘influential’ trailblazers in this modern day shoegazing story & what’s most likely unbeknownst to them is that this epic Lush reunion will open the door to sounds produced by a wealth of modern day bands out there who hold fast to this mesmerising genre Initially created by Lush themselves!
Hailing from London the band formed in 1987 & were initially named ‘The Baby Machines’. The lineup consisted of Meriel Barham (vocals), Emma Anderson (guitar & vocals), Berenyi (guitar & vocals), Steve Rippon (bass) & Chris Acland (drums). The band members decided on a change of name to Lush & made their live debut at the Camden Falcon on 6 March 1988. Barham left the band and later joined Pale Saints leaving Berenyi to take up lead vocal duties. In 1989 the band signed to 4AD and released Scar (a six-track mini-album). Critical praise for ‘Scar’ and a popular live show established Lush as one of the most written-about groups of the early 1990s UK indie scene. Not long after the British music press tagged them with the ‘shoegazing’ label. The following year the EPs ‘Mad Love’ (produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins) and ‘Sweetness and Light’ (produced by Tim Friese-Greene) were released. All three releases were eventually combined into the ‘Gala’ compilation album.
Preceded by the ‘Black Spring EP’ issued in October 1991 Lush’s first full-length album of completely new material ‘Spooky’ was released in January 1992. Again produced by Guthrie ‘Spooky’ featured a sound very similar to Guthrie’s band Cocteau Twins with walls of sound and a great deal of guitar effects. Rippon left the band during the final mixing of the album & he was replaced by Phil King. Alan Moulder was hired to remix the bands second album ‘Split’ & it was released in June 1994.
1996’s Lovelife, the bands final album, represented a change in musical direction with less shoegaze experimentation & more direct pop melodies. It became the biggest seller of their career, possibly as it was more instep with the contemporary Britpop genre of the time. Tragedy struck the band on 17 October 1996 when drummer Chris Acland passed away & the band did not perform again, but the official break up announcement was made on the 23rd February 1998.
We have already spoken briefly on how influential we think Lush have been on this modern day shoegazing revolution & we’ve also only touched the surface of the bands musical history, but now we feel the need to explore other modern day bands who have been under the influence of Lush & who we feel have ‘held the door open’ for them to come back!
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, dream gazers ‘Star Horse’ formed in 2011. Signed to ‘Häxrummet Records’ the band are Maja (guitar/vocals), Andreas (guitar/vocals), Stas (bass) & Samuel (drums). With 5 EP’s released & various singles under their belt they typify the traditional ‘Lush’ sound with their swirling maelstrom of beautifully layered guitars intertwined with melodic vocals.
Canadian / Ukrainian dreampop & ethereal wave duo of Shauna Mclarnon & Alexx Kretov aka ‘Ummagma’ deliver an eclectic yet harmonious potpourri of sublime resonance, beats and rhythm. McLarnon’s delicate airy gossamer-like vocals are often compared to Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) with glimmers of Stereolab, The Sundays, Curve, Nathalie Merchant and Slowdive whilst Kretov’s spellbinding potion of guitar, vocals, synths, beats, programming & effects create impeccable soundscapes with elements of Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Bill Nelson and Brian Eno to help the listener take flight. ‘Ummagma’ began in Moscow in 2003 & are now signed to ‘Raphalite Records’. With a brand new EP entitled ‘Frequency’ available to pre-order right now via ummagma.bandcamp.com involving ‘Robin Guthrie’, who was also involved in producing the early Lush soundscapes & plethora of albums, remixes & singles under their belts who better to be included on this list of bands other than ‘Ummagma’?
Savannah, Georgia based shoegazing outfit ‘The Stargazer Lilies’ are Kim Field, John Cep, and Tammy Hirata. Through their musical history as a dreampop/shoegaze/psychedlic song writing team, they have released 3 albums as the band Soundpool & are about to release their second album as The Stargazer Lilies. Their debut release ‘We Are The Dreamers’ was released on Graveface Records in late 2013. The band have shared the live stage with Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss, A Place To Bury Strangers, Asobi Seksu, School Of Seven Bells, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco & Robin Guthrie to name but a few. Their 2015 Spring tour has them paired with Tobacco, Andy Rourke (The Smiths), Airiel, Fever The Ghost, New Fumes, Night School and more. The bands second release ‘Door To The Sun’ is due out on Graveface Records in Spring 2016.
Jane Woodman is a San Francisco based shoegaze, darkwave & ambient pioneer. Her works to date have been nothing short of mesmerising. She released her 4 song EP ‘Poéme Èlectronique’ back in 2011 & the epic full length album ‘Teenage Red’ on June 21, 2013 plus various remixes & collaborations along the way. ‘Teenage Red’ exposed her industrial slant à la NIN and deranged Marr-esque quitar trademark while keeping the vocals and lyrics intensely dreamy and engaging. A must listen for fans of The XX, Warpaint, Cocteau Twins, The Soft Moon, This Mortal Coil, Curve, Fever Ray, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, Deftones, 4AD & My Bloody Valentine.
‘Shana Falana’ is an experimental dream-pop band emerging from New York’s vast drone/psych scene. Combining live looping of reverb-drenched vocals and guitar with tribal drums and stunning visual projections, Shana’s live experience has often been described as transcendental. “Contrary to the light-infused title, Lightning Fire is a record of psychedelic dream pop dashed on the rocks of goth defiance” says Stereogum, her debut LP “Set Your Lightning Fire Free” out now on Team Love Records.
‘Drowner’ are a Texas based Shoegaze/Dream Pop & Post Rock inspired band who are signed to the brilliant Saint Marie Records & who create stunning soundscapes to gaze away your days to. The band are made up of Anna Bouchard – Vocals, Darren Emanuel – Guitar, Sean Evans – Guitar & Mike Brewer – Bass. Drowner began as a side project of Darren Emanuel (Swimming In, Apples to Earth). For fans of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Engineers, High Violets, Film School, Sleepover Disaster, Gliss & Ringo Deathstarr – ‘Drowner’ will blow your socks off.
‘Sexores’ hail from Barcelona, Spain & they create wonderful soundscapes full of dreamy shoegaze & shimmering dreampop. Their music joins a hazy Dream Pop ambient with a wall of sound of guitars. Founded in 2010, Sexores have released two studio albums; the last one, Historias de Frío, has earned the respect of critics in countries such as Ireland, Peru, Spain and the United States. Now, they are working on new songs, and planning a tour for some South American countries. US Festivals and European venues have been the places where the band has shown their music performance.
Hailing from New York ‘Her Vanished Grace’ plays power dream pop. Nance and Charlie Nieland, Maria Theodosiadou and Billy Loose explore sweet melodies and noisy guitars. ‘Her Vanished Grace’ went from being a colorful new wave and goth influenced duo on STATE OF GRACE (1991) & the shoegazey FESTIVAL (1992) to a full band on WAITING (1994) & SOON (1996), neatly balancing dream pop with the urgency of indie rock. In 1997, Nance and Charlie began playing with bass player Maria Theodosiadou on the sprawling COLORS VOL 1 & 2 (2000), striking out in all directions with pop, electronica and prog sensibilities. Charlie and Nance then became involved with the scoring of the film THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS, completed in 2001, which also included the song “Out The Window” from COLORS. With PARADISE (2004) & then GET UP (2005), Her Vanished Grace really hit its stride, powered by brightly sculpted melodies, winging Morse code guitar filigree and driving post punk rhythms. SATELLITES (2006) & TWILIGHT (2007) through to 2012’s STAR-CROSSED showed that Her Vanished Grace’s atmospheric direction was becoming increasingly tuned in to the resurgence of shoegaze.
‘Panda Riot’ formed in Philadelphia while Brian Cook & Rebecca Scott were working on some short films. Soundtracks turned into songs & Panda Riot was born. After moving to Chicago, they expanded the band and in 2011 dropped the Far and Near Ep. They recently released a limited edition Serious Radical Girls 7” in May of 2012. Their new record Northern Automatic Music (2013) is available on Vinyl and CD via Saint Marie Records (US) Notes and Bolts (US) and Vinyl Junkie (Japan) White Wabbit (Taiwan).
‘Mahogany’ incorporates elements of postpunk, shoegaze, disco + classical into futuristic, architectural, symphonic dreampop. The band, consisting of co-collaborators Andrew Prinz and Jaclyn Slimm, combines vocals, dual 12-string guitars, melodica, sequencers, synthesizers and samplers along with video projections for a cumulative effect that the band refers to as the “Hypercube”. Mahogany have released two critically acclaimed full-length albums, The Dream of the Modern Day, & Connectivity! as well as numerous singles, EPs and compilation tracks collected on Memory Column: Early Works and Rarities 1996-2004. Lucie Belle Guthrie (daughter of Cocteau Twins Robin Guthrie & Elizabeth Frazier) sang on the epic Mahogany track – ‘My Bed Is My Castle (Robin Guthrie remix )’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last three years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.