Well, friends, I guess this is it. It’s been a pretty laid back week as far as posting goes–perhaps appropriate given the band we’re discussing, so I’ll leave you with the above Beach Fossils cover of “Alison.” Its demonstrative of a lot of ways that the Brooklyn jangle-poppers (and really a lot of the early Captured Tracks stable) have cribbed from the Slowdive formula. Close harmonies and distant sounding guitars and that mid-tempo driving drumbeat could just as easily be at home on a Beach Fossils track proper as it is on this cover. Dustin Payseur and co. don’t really do a lot to distinguish this track from the original (with the exception of maybe making the vocals even more laconic), but if nothing else it serves to underscore those throughlines from Reading ’93 to Brooklyn ’13. It’s really pretty incredible the wide-reaching impact that Slowdive has managed to have, inspiring a whole host of dream pop bands (Beach Fossils and their contemporaries), 2nd and 3rd wave shoegaze bands (Serena-Maneesh, Tamaryn, LSD and The Search For God et al.), as well as a small group of experimental electronic composers (the aforementioned Ulrich Schnauss, Motion Sickness of Time Travel, and others). Its perhaps a testament to the wide-reaching power of their catalog, but at only three albums, it may be more demonstrative of a young band that never figured out exactly what they wanted to do, but nevertheless succeeded at whatever they tried. Just For A Day showed the initial promise, Souvlaki was the most emotionally resonant, and Pygmalion was the left-field near-masterpiece, but no single album was perfect. What stands behind is this weird shrine to the early career of two of the UK’s most prolific songwriters, and even if perfection wasn’t achieved, could that have really been the goal of a bunch of kids who were just 24 and 25 when the band finally called it quits?
The first time I ever encountered Slowdive was on the cover of a beat up CD copy of Souvlaki nestled deep within a stack of similarly well worn discs bestowed upon me by a well-intentioned (if a little pushy) high school friend. Flashy covers (and the flashy albums that accompanied…
Just a small part of why Souvlaki means so much to me.
Before we jump into Just For A Day (I know, I know, it’s Wednesday and I still haven’t to the debut LP), let’s jump forward in time a little bit to Slowdive’s last show ever. Above is (what I believe to be) the final song they ever performed, whic, as you might remember, is culled from the Morningrise EP. It’s at least some sort of testament to the way that the band themselves viewed this period of their output that this deep cut was the last song of a tour supporting Souvlaki. Part of that, though, might result from just how well this song translates live. “Losing Today” is a disorienting and wonderfully anesthetic, but live they stretch it into this nearly nine minute opiated odyssey. It drives a little bit harder than it does on record, thanks in part to Simon Scott’s more emphatic drumming, given even greater contrast to Goswell’s dead-eyed vocal take. Slowdive always had a knack for treading the line between staggering beauty and overwhelming hopelessness, and in this final moment of their touring career they do so even more powerfully.
This is a really great performance of one of my favorite Slowdive songs
I’ve always been prone to a sort of hippy dippy spirituality, no doubt aided by the fact that so much of my childhood was spent wrapped up in the loving arms of a Methodist church in Tampa, Florida. But even as a little kid, I identified more with the vague promises of transcendence than with the dogma so often peddled amongst even the most well-intentioned practitioners of mainstream Christianity.
But that transcendence never really surfaced within the walls of that church. Music was the closest I got to grasping at the divine. It’s all really fucking cliché, but the vestiges of that search for some unquantifiable experience still pop back up every now and again, and it always ends up happening when music is so loud that it’s physically overwhelming.
I saw My Bloody Valentine last night, and that famed section of “You Made Me Realise” was one of the loudest things I’ve ever seen. My ears are definitely still ringing, but in terms of reaching to the spiritual, shaking me to my core, it doesn’t really match either time I’ve seen Oren Ambarchi. It’ll take someone with more technical knowhow than me to explain how one dued with less amps can manage to be more phsyically overwhelming than Kevin Shields and co. and a wall of full stacks, but both times I’ve seen Ambarchi managed to conjure up a little bit of the magic that I always imagined religion might bring. The live video above does the experience a little bit of justice, but you just need to go see him–stone cold sober–and let those massive drones resonate through your body. There’s really no experience quite like it.
In 1989, the aforementioned duo of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell finally found something that stuck. A years long friendship, centering on classical guitar lessons and playing together in bands that never really amounted to anything, finally culminated in the creation of a proper band. An…
My first really substantive post at OWOB digs into the Slowdive EP
We’ll be discussing Kate Bush this week (“finally,” they grumble), but we’ll be focusing on one album: possibly her most maligned, certainly her most mistreated, definitely her most underrated and arguably the album she was born to make, which is…
This is going to be a cool week on oneweekoneband. I really dig what I’ve heard of Kate Bush’s music, but know very little beyond that. This particular record in question is not one that I’ve really delved into, but the fact that the Powell and Pressburger film of the same name is going to be discussed has me intrigued to say the least.
It’s stuff like this that reaffirms that oneweekoneband is pretty much the best outlet for discussing ‘old’ music in a thoughtful and interesting way.