Entries tagged with: Slowdive
photo: Slowdive @ Terminal 5, October 2015 (more by PSquared)
Slowdive released their self-titled debut EP 25 years ago today (November 5, 1990). To commemorate the occasion, the band have shared a live recording of the EP's "Avalyn" from their 2014 North American tour. Along with it, the band shared some memories of the song on Facebook today as part of a lengthy piece about their formative years:
We didn't really have a structure for the song until we got to the studio. In fact, it was almost an afterthought. We had the bass part that was simply repeated all the way through, and Neil and Christian found that they could make weird noises with their guitars. One part almost sounds like a wind instrument. Otherwise it was really just composed on the spot, Rachel bringing the words and vocal melody - and we recorded it pretty much live, and possibly in a single take. We knew immediately that together with Slowdive, this was the direction the band was taking. Listening back to Avalyn at that time, we couldn't really believe that we'd come up with something that sounded like that when a few months earlier we were being talked about as "Reading's answer to The Primitives".Stream or download the live version of "Avalyn," and read the entire note from Slowdive, below.
When the band reformed for 2014, it seemed obvious to us to start our live shows by playing the Slowdive EP at the top of the set list. It sets out where we originally came from, and sets the scene for where we were going.
The band say they plan to release a live album, also recorded during their North American tour, soon so stay tuned for more info on that (as well as the new record they're working on).
by Bill Pearis
There was a while there -- oh, 2009 or so -- when you could barely go a day without someone posting a new parody of the scene in Downfall when Adolf Hitler learns he's lost the war. If you missed that somehow, the subtitles were redone so that the scene was about Hitler finding out there'd be no camera in the iPod Touch, or that his friends aren't going to burning man, or him failing to get The Fall's RSD09 single. Then someone made one where Hitler actually finds out about the Downfall Meme, and the meme quieted down, but I just came across a new one where he finds out that The Cocteau Twins aren't actually reuniting this festival season. It works in Slowdive, Ride and a few other shoegaze bands as well. It's clearly from this year, and funny, and you can watch it below...
Slowdive's 1993 album Souvlaki is a shoegaze classic, all shimmering haze and ethereal vocals, with great songs at the root. Pitchfork has produced an hour-long documentary about the making of Souvlaki that features new interviews with the entire band (who reformed last year), along with Creation Records domo Alan McGee, producer Chris Hufford, and engineer Ed Buller. Watch it below... where you'll also find a stream of the album.
PS, some of the accents are thick -- especially McGee's. There's a CC/subtitles option on YouTube but we're not sure how much it actually helps:
photos by PSquared; words by Bill Pearis
Slowdive @ Terminal 5, 10/25/2014
MT: How did you choose the songs you wanted to play on the reunion tour?Slowdive spent their original '90s run in relative obscurity but cast a long shadow, resulting in this year's reformation seeing them tour much bigger places than they ever did 20 years ago. In fact, Saturday's show at NYC's Terminal 5, also part of CMJ, was their biggest headlining show in their history. (Not counting giant festival gigs like Primavera Sound.) The place was absolutely packed -- five deep along the balconies -- and the band's oceanic sound fit T5's cavernous nature perfectly. While not the most exciting band to watch live, they came with a dazzling light show and you could always just close your eyes and let the sound wash over you. It was also a trip to watch the sea of people on the floor bobbing their heads in unison throughout the show. For those who didn't get enough (or didn't get to go), singer Rachel Goswell told the crowd "See you next year" before leaving the stage. The band will begin working on a new album in early 2015. Meanwhile, pictures and setlist from T5 are in this post.
Rachel Goswell: We did like a Twitter and Facebook thing to see what people wanted to hear, and we've rehearsed a few more songs for the American tour that we haven't played live before, so that's really exciting. There's kind of like the standard ones, it's interesting over the summer playing songs like "40 Days." Some of the members don't really like playing it because they don't think it sounds that good, but it always goes down really really well live. It's kind of having to adjust your own feelings on certain songs sometimes and chopping the set around. You want everyone to enjoy it, obviously. It's just kind of making sure the songs sound the best they can sound live, which is the most important thing for us. We're really excited about the visual aspect of the shows that we're going to do in North America because it's all so exciting, the things being sorted out by our lighting guy. - [Music Times]
Low were perfect openers for this show, similar in mood and their sparse, echoey sound also fit really well with T5's acoustics. Pictures from their set, and more from Slowdive, below...
by Andrew Sacher and Bill Pearis
OBN IIIs in Austin in January (more by Tim Griffin)
We just posted a list of 10 NYC artists we think are worth catching this week at CMJ, but CMJ is also a great time to check out bands from other cities and countries passing through for the multi-venue music fest. Hundreds of artists will be here for shows over the next five days (10/21-25), so if you're feeling overwhelmed about who to see we've narrowed things down to a list of 20 we think you should check out. Of course we'd love for you to come to the official BrooklynVegan showcase at Baby's on Saturday night (10/25) with The Jazz June, Pity Sex, Beach Slang, Cayetana and Sport, but we talked a lot about those bands here and decided to highlight 20 different ones here. Clicking on the artist name takes you to their corresponding page on our NYC Show Calendar with a list of all of their upcoming NYC shows. We also made a Soundcloud playlist featuring songs from all the bands (except Slowdive who are on Rdio) which you can stream below.
Our picks are below...
The annual CMJ Music Marathon happens from October 21 - 25 at venues all over NYC. We've heard about a few bands who are heading here during that time (Slowdive, The Wytches, The Ocean Blue, Tom Vek and Courtney Barnett to name four) but CMJ threw an announcement party tonight (8/27) at Bowery Electric and the line-up is now out. In addition to those artists, The Kills, Bombay Bicycle Club, Protomartyr, Twin Peaks, White Fence, Shonen Knife OBN IIIs, Ultimate Painting, Yumi Zouma, and many more are amongst the 2014 CMJ performers. Badges are on sale now and the complete initial line-up is listed below...
Outkast / Janelle Monae / Blood Orange
Earlier this month, we sent longtime BrooklynVegan contributor Dominick Mastrangelo to the three-day 2014 Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Here's his report and photos from Day 3...
The final day of Flow began with a lunchtime party for those of us in the press corps, hosted by Radio Helsinki at their offices a short walk away from the festival grounds. The party was co-hosted by Nordic Playlist and Music Finland. (Nordic Playlist offers weekly curated playlists by artists and tastemakers covering Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. Here are a couple of playlists including the Flow playlist by Flow Festival artistic director, Tuomas Kallio.) There was easy conversation over fish hot dogs and sparkling white wine, as people recounted afterparty adventures, shared highlights of the festival and tipped their selections for Day 3.
It was another pristine summer day in Helsinki and things kicked off a littler earlier with the catchy/swooning pop of Iisa, lead singer of Finnish band Regina, over at the Main Stage. Then it was on to Finnish electro-pop duo Sin Cos Tan, comprised of Jori Hulkkonen and Juho Paalosmaa (whose voice is a dead ringer for the Cure's Robert Smith), at the Black Tent.
After a little bit of downtime, I headed over to the Blue Tent for Blood Orange. Dev Hynes hobbled out on a crutch, his left knee secured in a black brace following the alleged assault on him and girlfriend, Samantha Urbani, at Lollapalooza the weekend before. Hynes apologized for not being as mobile as he usually is before the band started their set.
I stuck around for a few minutes before dashing over to catch a little bit of the UK's Jungle in the Black Tent. But my time there was short as well because I didn't want to miss any of Janelle Monáe on the Main Stage. I approached the photo pit just as a straight jacket-clad Monáe was being delivered via dolly front and center. This was the soul singer's second time at Flow - she graced the Blue Tent back in 2011 - but it was my first time seeing her and I was won over in the first couple minutes. Monáe is the consummate performer and her energy was so damn infectious. She tireless worked the stage, the crowd, danced with her band, who were all effortlessly cool. If she had been the headliner on the Main Stage instead of OutKast, I'm not sure anyone would have minded.
With Janelle Monáe looking on André 3000 and Big Boi came out to a bass so thumping loud for "B.O.B." my shirt was fluttering from my body. Except for a clever/not clever refrain of "What the Helllllllsinki," that grew tiresome between almost every song, their set was one big party. They rolled through hits like "Ms. Jackson," "Roses" and "The Way You Move." Girls were called for and duly took the stage to dance along to "Hey Ya!" which was always going to be the highlight of the set. Was anybody not singing or dancing? If so, I didn't see them.
I stuck around for a couple more songs and then made my way to the Black Tent for my final band of the festival - Slowdive. I just saw the English shoegazers at Pitchfork Festival a few weeks ago, but seeing them inside the tent at night (where there was more of a club show vibe) as opposed to the piercing late-afternoon Chicago sun, made it seem more epic. And indeed, as the band crescendoed through the five-minute outro of Golden Hair with lights flashing all over the stage and out into the crowd to cap a brilliant set, I couldn't think of a better way to end the festival.
In the end, there were a little over 57,000 people who attended the three days of Flow and it's easily the best outdoor music festival I've attended. There's really nothing like it in the States. From the setting, to the city, to the curation and social responsibility... And I didn't even talk about how chill pretty much most of the festival attendees were. No douchebaggery and drunkenness was at a minimum. And except for my frustration at people talking during Bill Callahan's set on Saturday, the crowds were entirely warm, enthusiastic and respectful. If we could get just one festival like Flow over here I'd be there in a heartbeat. As it is, I'll just have to wait another year to return to Helsinki.
Helsinki has some nice architecture...
After spending three days shooting portraits and other SoundWave tent activities for us at Lollapalooza in Chicago, BrooklynVegan photographer Dominick Mastrangelo took off to Finland for this year's Flow Festival. Keep checking back for his coverage from the fest throughout the weekend, starting now...
With Lollapalooza in the books for another year, this weekend's summer festivals look west to San Francisco for Outside Lands. And they also look east, way east, across the pond to the Scandinavian and Nordic countries whom are all holding their own festivals. Norway's Oya Festival is up and running while Sweden's Way Out West and Flow Festival in Finland take place Friday through Sunday. At the time of this writing, I'm 31,000 feet over Iceland and bound for the beautiful seaport city of Helsinki for Flow. The lineup is a healthy mix of heavy hitters, indie-popular bands as well as Finnish talent.
Last week's Lollapalooza headliners, Skrillex and OutKast, are headlining on Friday (8/8) and Sunday (8/10)respectively. The National, whose seemingly endless tour in support of last year's Trouble Will Find Me, roll in to town after playing Oya and Way Out West to headline on Saturday.
In addition to the headliners, the fest also features Röyksopp & Robyn, Polica, Little Dragon, Marissa Nadler, The Horrors, Darkside, Bill Callahan and Janelle Monae are also performing. And a handful of artists who performed at Pitchfork a few weeks ago will be making their way to Helsinki as well including Slowdive, Real Estate and Neneh Cherry.
Flow also gives a nod toward festivals like SXSW and CMJ with a host of talks on tech and music as well as a screening over 40 short films. The National will also feature on the film side with a screening of the documentary Mistaken For Strangers.
Update: Being seven hours ahead of New York, I've been out and about in Helsinki today. Posters for Flow are everywhere, the weather was gorgeous and I spent most of my afternoon out on Suomenlinna, a fortress built on six islands in the Gulf of Finland. (That beautiful weather disappeared in less than an hour as it's presently pouring outside.) Some photos from my afternoon jaunt, plus the full Flow lineup, below...
photos by Erina Uemura
Flaming Lips / Outcast / Arcade Fire @ Fuji Rocks 2014
The transition from indie darlings to stadium-rockers is rarely a painless one, although a decade on from the release of its debut album "Funeral," Arcade Fire proved that it has at least navigated that path better than most. The band's performance was mature and assured, although lacking the latent spark of aggression that had originally marked it as such an exciting prospect. Occasionally there was a flicker of the Win Butler and co. of old, such as the wonderfully anarchic and incongruous modular synth solo during "Reflektor." The group's renditions of "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and "No Cars Go" were also particularly spirited, even if the latter's lyrics are perhaps a little bit too timely: "We know a place where no planes go."The Fuji Rock Festival has been happening has been happening the last weekend of July since 1997. Originally held at the Base of Japan's most famous mountain, since 2000 Fuji Rocks has happened at Naeba Ski Resort and the 2014 was last weekend (July 25 - 27), featuring Arcade Fire, Outkast, The Flaming Lips, Saint Vincent, Franz Ferdinand, White Lung, Slowdive, SBTRKT, Disclosure, The Waterboys, Yoko Ono and lots more over its three days. Pictures from all three days are in this post.
Conversely, it's hard to imagine The Flaming Lips ever changing their style for anyone. Wayne Coyne, as ever, looked delightfully shambolic, outfitted in a combination of tinfoil and an "Attack on Titan" cosplay bodysuit that he'd no doubt copped from Don Quijote the night before. Naturally, he was flanked by giant dancing mushrooms. The group wasted no time, jumping almost straight into fan favorite "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1″ while unleashing a shower of confetti, setting the tone for a relatively short but saccharine sweet love-in. - [Japan Times]
Outkast, Lorde, Temples are among the Fugi Rocks performers who are in Chicago's Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza. Lot more pictures from the 2014 Fuji Rocks Festival below...
Grimes / Kendrick Lamar / Slowdive
The 2014 Pitchfork Music Festival wrapped up yesterday (7/20) after two previous days of fun in Chicago's Union Park. It was an especially diverse day with plenty of hip hop (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Isaiah Rashad), flourishes of heavy offerings (Deafheaven, Perfect Pussy), a highly anticipated reunion from Slowdive, plenty of indie rock/pop (Grimes, Majical Cloudz, DIIV, Real Estate, Dum Dum Girls, Speedy Ortiz) and even more. Here's how the Sunday of Pitchfork Fest went down...
By the time I arrived on Sunday, Speedy Ortiz were well into their set on the Blue stage and playing the fan favorite "Taylor Swift." Speedy's recorded material has always oozed personality and attitude, and their live show does as well. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis comfortably ad libbed lyrics with various shouts and word extensions throughout their set. The band polished off their live-wire performance with a couple of tunes from their Real Hair EP and their new song "Bigger Party." -ZP
Over on the Green stage, Bandcamp sweethearts Mutual Benefit simultaneously opened up the fest's final day with a few of their sweet, melodic tunes. With an entire live band backing frontman Jordan Lee's soft-spoken, almost falsetto vocal range and feather light lyrics. The crowd was surprisingly full for the early afternoon set, and many closer to the band seemed to know every word off of its debut studio album Love's Crushing Diamond. Highlights included a heartfelt rendition of "Golden Wake" and a take on "Advanced Falconry" perfect for warming people up for the rest of the day. -AG
DIIV kicked off the first show on the Red stage yesterday and played for a fairly large early afternoon crowd, beginning their set with a new song called Follow . The band jangly guitar indie pop made for some excellent summer jams. Keeping with that theme, they played a few tracks that showed hints of surf rock, and the lead singer Zachary Cole Smith wore a colorful flamenco looking shirt that Prince might be proud of. -MM
Syracuse rockers Perfect Pussy drew a huge crowd on Sunday, surprising even lead singer Meredith Graves. Their set was short but powerful, not unusual for a band whose last record, 2014's Say Yes To Love, clocks in at around twenty one minutes. After a lengthy sound check, a rarity for the band, they didn't waste time getting into their set. While they sounded excellent, the real highlight of the show was, as always, Graves' fantastic performance as a vocalist and frontwoman. Her theatrical dancing stood in delicious contrast to the pure energy of each song. The crowd barely got a chance to calm down from one pit before another song crashed down, opening up an even bigger floor. Although the band seemed a bit flustered by the crowd and the midday heat, they never let up, quickly running through hits off of their debut album and demo, touching on fan favorites such as "Interference Fits," "Advance Upon The Real," "I," and "II." -AG
Next up were Deafheaven on the Green stage. The California crew began their set with the glimmering Sunbather opener "Dream House," and proceeded to match the weather with equal parts soaring shoegaze and metal assault. Lead guitarist Kerry McCoy expertly segued the band into "Irresistible," and then to "Sunbather." That block was followed by their spacey new tune "From The Kettle Unto The Coil," which contains a traditional metal breakdown in the middle. George Clark's guttural shrieks glided effortlessly over the riffage, and he's quite the frontman too, thrashing about the stage. Deafheaven closed their incredibly moving performance with "Unrequited" off of 2011's Roads to Judah. Not all "metal" acts are appropriate for a daytime slot, but Deafheaven were damn near a perfect fit. -ZP
After Deafheaven, I headed over to the blue stage to catch a bit of Isaiah Rashad's set. As one of three TDE rappers of the day (along with Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q), Rashad stood out with his southern flow, relaxed vibe, and raspy delivery. He drew a huge crowd, who danced and sang along to "Heavenly Father" and "Menthol" off of this year's Cilvia Demo. You can hear a bit of guys like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper in Rashad's delivery, and with the amount that the crowd was feeling it, it'll only be a matter of time before he rises up to their level. -ZP
Continuing the hip hop block, next up was Earl Sweatshirt on the red stage. His DJ played a few songs before Earl came out -- Chief Keef's "3Hunna," Tyler the Creator's "Sandwitches," etc. -- and when he finally took the stage, Earl had the crowd sing along to about half of "Don't Stop Believin'" as it played over the PA. When he actually got started, the first song Earl played was "20 Wave," accompanied by Odd Future associate Domo Genesis. Downtempo tunes from Doris hit much harder than I expected them to, and the crowd was hyped on it. He took things to another level by playing the very heavy "Kill" from his debut album Earl. Earl's been touring quite a bit lately and that definitely showed in his live performance -- he's become a showman and has so much control over the audience. Before playing "Molasses," he had the crowd repeat its hook back -- "Ima fuck the freckles off your face, bitch." -ZP
Dum Dum Girls had some minor technical difficulties before starting their set, but once things got going they sounded great. As usual, they were in matching outfits, and played a mix of the old and new. My personal favorite from the set was "Rimbaud Eyes", an excellent single from their recent Too True LP. -MM
One of the most anticipated sets of the day by many was Schoolboy Q's late afternoon performance on the Green stage. The party rapper got things started with his hit "Hands on the Wheel," and then jumped to 2014's Oxymoron for "What They Want" and "Gangsta." He reached back to his debut studio album Setbacks for "Druggys wit Hoes," and the crowd went nuts. Q's a fine addition to any festival, offering hyped-up vibes and heavy beats. -ZP
Craving some shade, I went to check out Jon Hopkins over at the Blue stage. His seemingly dance-focused set was based upon a series of glitchy Immunity tracks, including bits of "We Disappear," "Open Eye Signal," "Breathe This Air," and others. The Blue stage was simultaneously the place for those who wanted to dance and others who'd rather take a seat and nod their heads along. -ZP
I was fortunate to see Majical Cloudz perform as an opener for The Soft Moon a few years ago and it was great seeing how much more confident the duo had become since then. Frontman Devon Welsh sported his never changing plain white tee and black pants and started a few songs with countdowns that the crowd enthusiastically chanted along with. I was hoping Welsh would later join Grimes on stage during her set to play their collaborative "Nightmusic" from Grimes' Visions album, or maybe their recently unearthed demo about an obese cat. Grimes played the former, but Welsh was nowhere in sight. -MM
Shoegaze legends Slowdive played their first U.S. show as a reunited band this Sunday. While the crowd seemed to mostly be waiting for headliner Kendrick Lamar, who was playing on the same stage a few hours later, their true fans did make themselves known, responding enthusiastically to classics off of their unforgettable 1993 release, Souvlaki. Slowdive lived up to the precedent set by fellow reunited UK shoegazers, My Bloody Valentine, playing a loud, intense set. Songs like "When the Sun Hits," gained a heavy, aggressive edge, giving Deafheaven a run for its money in respect to ferocity. Softer tunes like "Alison" lulled the crowd into a collective bliss. -AG
After that on the Blue stage it was DJ Spinn, who was initially going to perform with his collaborator DJ Rashad before Rashad's untimely passing, but decided to stay on the festival and perform his own set which Chicago Tribute called "a thrilling display of the "ghetto house" sound that has thrived in the city's South Side neighborhoods for the better part of two decades."
Canadian pop sensation Grimes was the penultimate performer of Pitchfork 2014, an honor she did not take lightly. In addition to running through classics, Grimes treated the crowd to two relatively new songs and one for which she was still working out the lyrics. She had seemingly boundless energy, dancing feverishly throughout her entire set. She seemed to be having the time of her life, playing with multiple synthesizers and vocal reverb to create the image of DJ set. This was clearly a different Grimes than we have seen in the past - she was confident, loud, and ready to party with the audience. Fans went crazy for Grimes classics such as "Circumambient" and "Oblivion," and stayed dancing even for her lesser-known songs, such as "Be a Body." However, the highlight of the set was undoubtedly the last few songs. After premiering a new song on which she had just completed production to a rousing response from the audience, Grimes treated the crowd to "Phone Sex," a Blood Diamonds song on which she is featured. She then broke out her dance floor-ready hit, "Go," to the delight of the audience. It was clear when the drop hit in "Go" that this was a new, supersized Grimes, ready to take the world's dance clubs by storm and become the next EDM sweetheart. Always the performer, she closed out her set with her biggest hit to date, 2012's "Genesis." -AG
Sunday headliner and festival bookend Kendrick Lamar put on a helluva show with his excellent four-piece band behind him. Lamar began to hold court with the good vibes "Money Trees" and very live "Backseat Freestyle" off of good kid, m.A.A.d city. The pro band managed to handle every little nuance contained in Kendrick's beats, and there are plenty of 'em. Unlike most of his peers, Lamar isn't much for cutting songs halfway through. Almost all tunes, with the exception of "The Art of Peer Pressure," were performed in their entirety. Virtually undisputed party song "Swimming Pools (Drank)" came next, followed by the boom bap of "m.A.A.d city." The last tune I heard before splitting was the chilled out "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst." Kendrick provided the perfect ending to the day and the entire festival. -ZP
Low at The Concert Hall in 2013 (more by PSquared)
As if it wasn't exciting enough that the reunited Slowdive are going on a full North American tour, it just got more exciting because slowcore vets Low were added as the opener, making for two '90s indie rock greats (just one that never broke up) in one night. As discussed, the tour hits NYC on October 25 at Terminal 5. Tickets for that show are back on BrooklynVegan presale after initially selling out (password: Avalyn). If you miss out on the presale, you can try again in the general on-sale starting Friday (7/18) at noon.
Updated dates are listed, with videos of both bands, below...
UPDATE: PRESALE PASSWORD HERE.
With Slowdive playing this weekend's Pitchfork Music Fest in Chicago, we kept waiting to see a NYC show pop up while they're in the States. That's not happening this month, but the reformed shoegazers will return for a proper North American tour this fall. The NYC date happens October 25 at Terminal 5. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (7/18) but your first chance to get them will be with our BrooklynVegan presale beginning Wednesday (7/16) at 10 AM. Check back Wednesday morning for the password.
UPDATE: PRESALE PASSWORD HERE.
All tour dates are listed below...
Slowdive back in the day...
Having left an indelible mark of influence on a multitude of bands and musicians since their initial breakup in 1995, Slowdive's reunion announcement earlier this year was more than welcomed by fans who'd discovered the band's remarkable shoegaze sound during its early 90s heyday and those new listeners who'd discovered the band well after their last release, Pygmalion. These new listeners come by way of a myriad of genres, not limited by any particular scene or sound, giving a broad picture of just how impactful Slowdive was and continues to be. Hearing the band's music even two decades later gives a striking sense of connectivity to bands on every side of the spectrum, from the experimental metal of Deafheaven to the psychedelic pop atmospherics of Deerhunter.
Founding member and vocalist/guitarist Neil Halstead, who we last talked to in 2008, immediately reveals a kind of quiet modesty concerning the band, satisfied to see Slowdive's story and eventual massive influence as something that simply fell into the band's lap. It's the kind of subdued quality and characteristic that's underlined Slowdive's music and those influenced by it, with a sound that seemingly builds the wealth of its power under a steady haze of melodic noise. With several festival appearances slated for this summer, the anticipation now points to what lies ahead for Slowdive. In our conversation with Halstead, the answer is not so much vague as it is deliberately positive and hopeful, with the vocalist/guitarist seeming as excited for the band's future in 2014 as he likely was over twenty years ago.
BV: I'm always interested to learn what initially brought a musician to their craft, and I'm curious as to what that was like for you personally, Neil. Was there a specific band or song or sound that brought you to music in the first place and provided that initial creative spark for you where you knew that this was something you had to do yourself?
Neil: I don't know. [Laughs] I mean, for me, I suppose - just I was super influenced by bands specifically like Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Cure, and I guess the Byrds, The Beatles, and stuff like that. I think that my interest in music was seeing The Beatles documentary when I was about eleven years old and just being like "Shit, that looks like fun," then, the next day, trying to get my dad to buy me a guitar so I could learn that. I don't know if I ever reached that point where I felt like "Oh, this is the thing I do." I still don't know if I feel like that, to be honest. Slowdive, we kind of got a record deal by accident as we'd really not done a lot of gigs or anything. We were sort of quite lucky in that we just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. And we were all quite young, and I suppose it was - we were all just obviously super obsessed with music and Creation, the label that we signed to, had a bunch of our favorite bands on them. I think all of us felt that we were extremely lucky to do it, and it was something that we were totally into, I think back then. I suppose, for me, personally, you reach a certain point in playing music and you sort of actually realize "I'm sort of really useless at doing anything else." [Laughs] It's not like how you can change a career. I've always really loved doing it, and I'm sort of lucky because I've been able to do it for quite a while now. But I never felt like it was a calling.
The annual two-day FYF Fest is returning to LA from August 23-24 this year, and the lineup was just announced. It includes The Strokes, Phoenix, the reunited Blood Brothers who haven't played sine 2007 (!), Slowdive, Slint, Flying Lotus, Grimes, Blood Orange, Darkside, Jamie xx, Haim, Little Dragon, Future Islands, Death Grips (we know FYF is a festival they actually play), Ty Segall, Deafheaven, La Dispute, Joyce Manor, Against Me!, Built to Spill, Murder City Devils, The Bronx, Angel Olsen, Four Tet, Earl Sweatshirt, Joanna Gruesome and many more.
Tickets go on sale May 22 at noon PDT. Full lineup below...
Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Chicago's Union Park from July 18-20 and the lineup was just announced. It includes Neutral Milk Hotel, Kendrick Lamar, Beck, Slowdive (their first reunion show in the US so far), Giorgio Morder, Sun Kil Moon, Factory Floor, Death Grips, the Haxan Cloak, Sharon Van Etten, tUnE-yArDs, The Julie Ruin, Grimes, Wild Beasts, DIIV, Ka, Circulatory System, Pusha T, The Range, Mas Ysa and more TBA. Tickets are on sale now.
In related news, Pitchfork is teaming up with ATP and Primavera Sound for London's Jabberwocky Festival which includes Neutral Milk Hotel, Electric Wizard, Deafheaven, Kode9, Earth, Pissed Jeans, Connan Mockasin, The Ex, Speedy Ortiz, Iceage, Vatican Shadow, Joanna Gruesome, Metz, Jesu, Chelsea Wolfe, Hookworms and more.
Initial day-by-day Pitchfork Fest lineup below...
by Bill Pearis
The big news with yesterday's Primavera Sound 2014 line-up announcement (for me at least) was the return of shoegaze vets Slowdive. The band broke up 1995 right after the release of their third album, Pygmalion, and there have been rumors floating around for some time, fueled last fall by Rachel Goswell performing a few Slowdive songs acoustically with Neil Halstead in London. When an official Slowdive twitter account appeared a few weeks ago, reunion speculation went into overdrive. And here we are.
The Quietus just published a feature, interviewing both Hallstead and Goswell (who continued after Slowdive as Mojave 3) about the reunion and what's to come. The band decided to reform last summer and have been quietly putting pieces in place since, and had their first practice a couple weeks ago. "We were surprisingly good," says Hallstead. "Quite a few of the songs came back quickly."
As for what to expect, Halstead says, "We will definitely be playing some stuff from Pygmalion, as we never got to play that record live before. I think the live set will be a pretty fair reflection of our career and our hits - or not hits as they were." Goswell adds, "We were young and naive; we had terrible management and a terrible accountant who ended up in prison. The business side of it was a complete mess. But this time round we're 20 years older and we want it to be fun and to enjoy it."
The revelation in this feature is that proceeds from the reunion shows will go towards funding a potential new album. "I hope we can do it," says Goswell. "I think it will be a bit of a slowburner, but the potential is there."
The only other show Slowdive have currently on deck is an ATP-presented gig at London's Village Underground on May 19. But expect more. And hopefully some in North America, too.
With an ethereal vibe more akin to Cocteau Twins, Slowdive never had the popularity of My Bloody Valentine or even Ride -- they were mostly hated by the UK music press at the time -- but their albums and EPs have held up remarkably well and have grown in reputation. You can listen to their three albums at Rdio and stream a few choice cuts below...
One of the coolest festivals in the world, Barcelona's Primavera Sound will hold its 2014 edition from May 29 - 31. Arcade Fire, Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel were announced as headliners a while back but the fest announced it's headliners today via an online short film. They've outdone themselves this year, as the three day event includes a reunited Slowdive (!), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The National, Television, Slint, Foals, Warpaint, St. Vincent, Majical Cloudz, Kendrick Lamar, The National, Metronomy, Queens of the Stone Age, Disclosure, CHVRCHES, Darkside, Julia Holter, Cloud Nothings , and more.
Full line-up below and tickets are on sale now.
by Wyatt Marshall
For their painfully pretty new album, Shelter, Alcest left any traces of the metal elements that were once an integral part of the band's black metal dreamscape sound at the studio door. The stylistic change was made before pen was put to paper--main man Neige and drummer Winterhalter seem pretty keen on driving home the idea of a metal-free Alcest, a version of a much beloved band that just a few years ago didn't seem so immediately possible. (The duo's black metal pedigree is deep and I, for one, didn't realize that, according to Metal Archives, the two were part of 2012's brutal old-school debut from Glaciation, 1994. That's in addition to better-known work with Peste Noir and Forgotten Woods, and even dalliances with Celestia and more.) But it always was possible, as undercurrents in Alcest and Alcest-affiliated bands Amesoeurs, Lantlôs and Les Discrets indicated. It's something that Neige has been thinking about for some time.
Metal-less Alcest will probably appeal to a new batch of fans. As has been said elsewhere, Shelter is more shoegaze/post-rock than anything else, a sparkly collection of ethereal songs that brings to mind a mix of Alcest's previous melodic tendencies combined with the stylings of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Slowdive. Slowdive's Neil Halstead even guests on lead vocals on the song "Away", a somewhat out of place track on an album recorded by Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson that otherwise keeps the pre-morning-beach/forest-wandering dream alive.
Neil & Rachel @ Cecil Sharp House last week (via Sonic Cathedral)
"We're still all friends who talk, and there have been some offers we've discussed," Halstead confirms. "Everyone is up for doing it. It's just a case of whether we would. The question is what is the point? Why would we do it? Because it's kind of an exercise of nostalgia?Neil Halstead performed two career-spanning sets last week (October 23 & 24) at London's Cecil Sharp House. He brought out his former Slowdive / Mojave 3 partner, Rachel Goswell, for a number of songs, and it was the first time they'd performed together since 2006. That set was mostly Mojave 3 songs but they did do acoustic versions of Slowdive's "Alison" and "40 Days." There's videos of those, plus a few of the Mojave 3 numbers, below.
"But it would be nice to play together again. That part of it is really cool: getting up with those guys again. We were at school together, so it's not just about music for us, it's also about friendship as well. I guess it's always in the cards. No one has said they wouldn't do it." - [Exclaim!]
As the above interview states, Halstead says none of his old Slowdive bandmates are against getting back together if they can think of a good reason to do it. There are a couple more practical hurdles. "I can't even remember the guitar tunings on most of those songs. I never play them," he told Exclaim. "But it would undoubtedly be a real buzz to do them again. I just don't know. It's a weird thing doing reunions."
Meanwhile, Halstead's new "loud" group, Black Hearted Brother, released their debut album, Stars Are Our Home, back in October and you can stream a few tracks from that below. They band just released a video for "My Baby Just Sailed Away" which is recommended viewing for anyone looking to hold onto the Halloween vibes a little longer. Watch it, along with the live video of Neil & Rachel performing last week, below...
by Bill Pearis
Rachel & Neil w/ Slowdive
After focusing on his acoustic guitar (and touring with Jack Johnson) for a while, Neil Halstead has been getting back into his shoegaze side this year. Black Hearted Brother, his new band with Seefeel's Mark Van Hoen, will release their debut album, Stars Are Our Home, on October 22 and it's easily the noisiest thing he's done since Slowdive broke up in 1995. We already posted "(I Don't Mean To) Wonder" and the band have since released a second track from the album, "This is How it Feels." You can stream that below.
Meanwhile, and this is pretty exciting, Hallstead will be performing two shows at London's Cecil Sharp House on October 23 & 24 that will feature a full band and material from throughout his career. One of the special guests at the shows is Rachel Goswell who was his bandmate, singing for Slowdive and Mojave 3. The two haven't performed together in nearly a decade. For those who can't make it to those shows, they are being recorded for a live album, so look out for that. And maybe they'll say, "That was fun, we should do more."
New BHB song stream below...
by Bill Pearis
Every time I write about something related to '90s-era shoegaze (be it Medicine, Kitchens of Distinction most recently) someone usually comments "where's the Slowdive reunion?" While I have no information on that, for those who hope that guitarist Neil Halstead would stop making hushed folk (lovely as it is) and palling around with Jack Johnson, and instead plug back in and make some noise -- you're in luck (though he's probably still hanging with Jack).
Black Hearted Brother is a new project comprised of Halstead, onetime Seefeel member Mark Van Hoen (who also records as Locust, not to be confused with The Locust), and Nick Holton of Coley Park. The trio will release their debut album, Stars Are Our Home, on October 22 via Slumberland Records. It is, to quote Halstead, "a lot of very long and indulgent space rawk." He further adds:
The idea was to just make a record that was in some ways 'unedited,' to not worry about a particular sound or style, but to just go with the flow. We all make quite focused records individually so, as Mark says, it's our 'guilty pleasures' album.Nothing guilty about the first released track from the album, "(I Don't Mean To) Wonder," whose roaring guitar sound can be traced back to Slowdive's 1994 album, Souvlaki.
Album cover art and song stream below...
BEAUTIFUL NOISE is an in-depth exploration of a music movement in the late 20th century, a fascinating period when some innovative musicians mixed guitar noise into conventional pop song structures while maintaining a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself.Legendary shoegaze/dream pop bands My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and The Jesus and Mary Chain are subject of new documentary, Beautiful Noise, who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money for the film to be distributed in film festivals and released on DVD/Blu-Ray (via Pitchfork). In addition to those three bands, the film will feature interviews with/appearances by members of other shoegaze pioneers like Ride, Slowdive, Lush, Curve, Swervedriver, Medicine, Pale Saints, and more, plus appearances by Wayne Coyne, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, and Robert Smith, and performance videos (and some interviews) with current bands like Sigur Ros, M83, A Place to Bury Strangers, Grouper, Serena Maneesh, and others. The Kickstarter campaign has reached just over $17,000 of its $75,000 goal as of this post, and is open until December 15. More info and rewards details at the documentary's Kickstarter project page.
Although many of the people interviewed are notoriously press shy they have opened up about their music and experiences from over 20 years ago; how they defied the rules and became sonic innovators that have inspired so many.
Currently the documentary is in the final stages for worldwide release, and we need your help to raise the $75,000 to pay for limited run licensing and finishing costs to distribute in Film Festivals and on DVD/Blu-Ray.
This documentary will finally be released only if the fans of this music believe in this project and contribute.
This comes shortly after the news that My Bloody Valentine plans to release an album by the end of the year.
Campaign video below...
Slowdive back in the '90s
Shoegaze nerds, time to get stoked.
"There's a chance that we'll get back together... It's definitely possible at some point." Halstead added that the band [Slowdive] never swore off a reformation. "No one has ever really said, 'I never want to do it.' We've never really talked about it much."Who will step up to the plate? And why haven't Ride or Pale Saints jumped into the ring?
Though Slowdive haven't performed or recorded together in its complete lineup since penning their final album, 1995's Pygmalion, Halstead maintains that they've all kept in touch and remain on good terms. "We haven't been in the same room together for a really long time," he said, "We're all in contact through email. We sort of have these email conversations and we're all friendly, but we haven't actually been together as the whole Slowdive unit in years, unfortunately."
What will it take for the UK shoegaze pioneers, then, to finally reunite? "Just shitloads of money, you know" Halstead said, laughing. "It's crazy how in vogue it is for bands to get back together these days. It's almost like you're not allowed not to get back together. So, I'm sure that we will get back together -- because we won't be allowed not to." -[MTV Hive]
In the meantime, you can pester Neil Halstead in person at a set of US tour dates scheduled in Sept/Oct. Look for Halstead to hit NYC twice in that timeframe: Oct 4 at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard in Manhattan) and Oct 5 at Union Hall (tickets). The shows are in support of Halstead's latest solo venture, Palindrome Hunches, due on 9/11.
All tour dates and song stream from Neil's new album are below.
For staunch fans of his music in the early 1990s, Halstead's transformation might seem like treason. Slowdive, after all, were a fiercely alternative group of teenagers from Reading, and the only people in their school, to Halstead's knowledge, to know who the Smiths were. Thrown out of home at 16 by his father, he lived in a small flat behind a snooker hall and worked in a burger bar, finding escape in bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. After signing with Alan McGee, Slowdive's three EPs and three albums became underground classics, although the band were mocked mercilessly for being middle-class mopers, staring at their distortion pedals rather than engaging with the audience. Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers famously said he hated Slowdive "more than Hitler", but only in recent years has shoegazing undergone a revival, and has Halstead's reputation been salvaged.Neil Halstead is going on a tour in March. That includes a March 27th show at Union Hall in Brooklyn (tickets) and one the next day at Joe's Pub (tickets). All dates below...
Halstead blames timing. "The criticism of bands like us was class-led, weirdly, perhaps because of what else was happening in music at the time. Grunge came about a few years after we started, which was blue-collar, and then the Mancunian thing with the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays was obviously working class." He shakes his head, tiny dots of Guinness sparkling in his moustache. "We went to a comprehensive! Middle-class bands in America were never knocked - it didn't happen to the Lemonheads or Dinosaur Jnr, bands I also loved. [The Guardian]