Dreamtigers (members of Defeater, Caspian, The Amity Affliction, and Bamorhea) recently signed to Skeletal Lightning and released a two song single, and now they’ve announced a new full-length album, Ellapsis, due February 18 via their new label home. The album was mixed and mastered by Will Yip, and the first single is “Six Rivers,” a towering shoegaze/emo/grunge hybrid that vocalist/guitarist Jake Woodruff says “sounds like a hopeless love song, but [is] actually about Sasquatch.” It “also has a continuous-first-take lead guitar track,” he adds. Listen below.
30 Essential Songs from the Shoegaze / Heavy Crossover
My Bloody Valentine – “You Made Me Realise” (1988)
Swervedriver – “Rave Down” (1990)
Way before "metal-gaze" was a thing, MBV's UK neighbors and Creation Records labelmates Swervedriver were getting metal cred. "Rave Down," the title track of their 1990 sophomore EP (which also ended up on their 1991 debut album Raise) was made single of the week by a heavy metal magazine, which prompted guitarist Jimmy Hartridge to say "Maybe we're the start of an indie-metal cross-over" in a 1990 Melody Maker interview. If only he knew just how on point that comment would end up being.
It's not hard to see why a metal mag might've liked "Rave Down." That crushing riff in the middle of the song owed as much to sludge metal as the more pillowy parts owed to shoegaze. MBV could add some weight into their songs when they wanted to, but "Rave Down" really toed that shoegaze/metal line in 1990 as much as Hum's breakthrough hit "Stars" would five years later. Swervedriver not only ended up opening for Hum years later, they also did US tours in the early days with Soundgarden (1992) and The Smashing Pumpkins (1993). With monster riffs like "Rave Down" in their arsenal, it's no wonder the grunge-loving US crowds latched onto them.
Catherine Wheel – “Kill Rhythm” (1993)
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Rocket” (1993)
Starflyer 59 – “A House Wife Love Song” (1995)
Quicksand – “Delusional” (1995)
Failure – “Saturday Savior” (1996)
LA's Failure started out as more of straight-up grunge/alt-rock band, but they slowly inched their way towards shoegaze and space rock, and it all culminated in 1996's Fantastic Planet, their third album and final new release until their mid 2010s reunion. There are a lot of songs on Fantastic Planet that perfectly navigate the shoegaze/space/grunge/punk/metal divide ("Stuck On You," "Another Space Song," "Leo," "Sergeant Politeness," to name four), but it's opening track "Saturday Savior" that really epitomizes what the heavy shoegaze sound is today. It's as catchy and anthemic as anything on alt-rock radio in the mid '90s, but it's cloaked in atmosphere and moves at a glacial pace. It's the perfect way to kick off the album that became their masterpiece.
Unfortunately, said masterpiece wasn't received as well as it deserved to be, and Failure broke up just a year later. Like Hum, the album became hugely influential over the years, and with the band's eventual reunion came the long overdue recognition of Fantastic Planet as one of the true classic records of '90s alternative.
Deftones – “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” (1997)
Hum – “Isle of the Cheetah” (1998)
Hum's 1995 hit "Stars" is the band's most historically significant song, a super catchy fusion of post-hardcore and shoegaze that managed to get this type of music on the radio, but its one hit wonder status has done a disservice to the rest of Hum's music in the mainstream public eye, so I chose something else for this list. Plus, as fantastic as 1995's You'd Prefer an Astronaut is, its followup Downward Is Heavenward is really the album where Hum pushed their sound to the limits and raised the bar for what heavy, spacey, shoegazy rock could be. It's a crime that the album was viewed as anything but a creative and artistic leap from its predecessor.
It's hard to pick just one song, but the nearly-seven-minute opener "Isle of the Cheetah" is a great place to start. It immediately introduces Downward Is Heavenward as a more ambitious album than You'd Prefer an Astronaut, with jangly acoustic guitars, gentle piano lines, thick layers of sludge, prog riffage, and Matt Talbott's angelic vocals all swirling together to create the song's towering wall of sound. "Stars" was digestible enough to become a fluke hit, but the world wasn't ready for something as immersive as this.
Far – “Bury White” (1998)
Castor – “Stay Lo” (1999)
Cave In – “Big Riff” (2000)
Shiner – “The Egg” (2001)
Centaur – “The Same Place” (2002)
Hopesfall – “Escape Pod for Intangibles” (ft. Matt Talbott) (2002)
Boris – “Farewell” (2005)
Jesu – “Silver” (2006)
Title Fight – “Head In the Ceiling Fan” (2012)
Cloakroom – “Bending” (2013)
Paramore – “Future” (2013)
Nothing – “Hymn to the Pillory” (2014)
Lantlôs – “Azure Chimes” (2014)
Superheaven – “I’ve Been Bored” (2015)
Holy Fawn – “Dark Stone” (2018)
Torche – “Admission” (2019)
Alcest – “Sapphire” (2019)
Greet Death – “You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done” (2019)
Hum – “Cloud City” (2020)
Clearbody – “One More Day” (2020)
Deafheaven – “Great Mass of Color” (2021)
Listen and/or subscribe to our playlist of all 30 songs: