Slowdive @ FYF Fest, Aug 2014

I certainly had some misgivings about seeing Slowdive at a festival. Foremost, how would their sound translate to an outdoor stage. And, secondly, middle-tier shows at festivals sometimes attract casual fans and passer-bys. If the crowd was indifferent, something would die in me. This band that I adored in my youth just being filler for the next act, ugh, no, just no. Well, I’m happy to report that I was dead wrong on both counts.

There were only a few sombre, quiet tracks on the set. Most of the songs featured Slowdive’s glorious wall-to-wall sound. It was big but not necessarily loud. Halstead’s progressively soaring crescendos always had an emotional edge, but in a live setting, with that sound engulfing the lawn, it was heart-rending. I figured seeing Slowdive live for the first time would be sufficient, but to have it delivered with such force made it incredibly satisfying and entertaining. I was pretty much focussed on Halstead and his playing was spot-on. The closing jam on Golden Hair was definitely the highlight.

Concert demographics have always fascinated me. Who makes up the fanbase? Well, Slowdive followed two contemporary acts; Real Estate and Little Dragon, and in my casual, non-scientific estimation I would say the average age actually dropped for Slowdive. Sure there were smattering of us bearded, balding geezers. But mostly we were swamped by millenials. And you could see in their eyes and the buzz, that this iconic, cult English band actually about to play in front of them was nothing short of a miracle. And…, we moshed to When The Sun Hits and Alison. Surreal but good fun. I suppose the energy had to go somewhere.

In their day, the critical and popular reception to Souvlaki and Pygmalion was mixed at best. The tide was shifting towards Britpop and grunge. For this band to reunite 20 years later and have such a young, thriving worldwide fanbase must be bittersweet and affirming. Also their widespread influence on today’s music scene is remarkable, certainly not something I would have anticipated back then.

Thankfully they are returning in the fall and playing much larger venues than they could have ever imagined and, of course, it comes with my highest recommendation. Shout out to the stranger who diligently compiled this set list and I pestered him to email to me.

  • Slowdive
  • Avalyn I
  • Catch the Breeze
  • Crazy For You
  • Machine Gun
  • Souvlaki Space Station
  • When the Sun Hits
  • Alison
  • She Calls
  • Golden Hair

Timestamp: 1409031300

Slowdive @ FYF Fest, Aug 2014

I certainly had some misgivings about seeing Slowdive at a festival. Foremost, how would their sound translate to an outdoor stage. And, secondly, middle-tier shows at festivals sometimes attract casual fans and passer-bys. If the crowd was indifferent, something would die in me. This band that I adored in my youth just being filler for the next act, ugh, no, just no. Well, I’m happy to report that I was dead wrong on both counts.

There were only a few sombre, quiet tracks on the set. Most of the songs featured Slowdive’s glorious wall-to-wall sound. It was big but not necessarily loud. Halstead’s progressively soaring crescendos always had an emotional edge, but in a live setting, with that sound engulfing the lawn, it was heart-rending. I figured seeing Slowdive live for the first time would be sufficient, but to have it delivered with such force made it incredibly satisfying and entertaining. I was pretty much focussed on Halstead and his playing was spot-on. The closing jam on Golden Hair was definitely the highlight.

Concert demographics have always fascinated me. Who makes up the fanbase? Well, Slowdive followed two contemporary acts; Real Estate and Little Dragon, and in my casual, non-scientific estimation I would say the average age actually dropped for Slowdive. Sure there were smattering of us bearded, balding geezers. But mostly we were swamped by millenials. And you could see in their eyes and the buzz, that this iconic, cult English band actually about to play in front of them was nothing short of a miracle. And…, we moshed to When The Sun Hits and Alison. Surreal but good fun. I suppose the energy had to go somewhere.

In their day, the critical and popular reception to Souvlaki and Pygmalion was mixed at best. The tide was shifting towards Britpop and grunge. For this band to reunite 20 years later and have such a young, thriving worldwide fanbase must be bittersweet and affirming. Also their widespread influence on today’s music scene is remarkable, certainly not something I would have anticipated back then.

Thankfully they are returning in the fall and playing much larger venues than they could have ever imagined and, of course, it comes with my highest recommendation. Shout out to the stranger who diligently compiled this set list and I pestered him to email to me.

  • Slowdive
  • Avalyn I
  • Catch the Breeze
  • Crazy For You
  • Machine Gun
  • Souvlaki Space Station
  • When the Sun Hits
  • Alison
  • She Calls
  • Golden Hair

Joanna Gruesome @ Rickshaw Stop, Aug 2014

Timestamp: 1408736930

Joanna Gruesome @ Rickshaw Stop, Aug 2014

School - SoLong

We posted this track months ago but now there’s a video and an official release outside of Sweden. Still one of the best tracks of this year. Man that bass. Recommended for kitchen pogo dance parties

Adna - Night

Have been recently enchanted with Adna’s songs. Her sound is quietly arresting. The sparseness has one straining to hear every nuance and then savoring it. There’s some similarity with Soap & Skin and Alice Boman. 

Minipop - My Love Will Last Forever

There’s activity at Minipop HQ. They have launched a Kickstarter to fund a video for the Chances single. Here’s a lovelorn track from the same EP with Tricia Kanne serenading in fine form, what more could you wish for? Well, how about a signed EP which can be yours for a small donation.

Star Horse - Spend The Night

My estimation of Star Horse climbed several notches after hearing this gorgeous track. Sumptuous and languid dreampop, like a velvet cape, just let it envelope you. Coming from the same place as Mazzy Star and Slowdive, these guys remain pretty faithful to the 90s.

Azura - Smoke

Azura is the project of Lauren Coutts, a 16yo musician/producer from Brisbane. One listen and think you might agree she’s an incredibly exciting talent. I’ve been listening to this for a few weeks now, and it’s still golden. One warning though, Azura is an overloaded hashtag, almost pointless if not jarring. Let’s agree to use azuramusic (?)

Rebecca Clements - Coma Boy

Once again, I don’t actually remember how I stumbled across this young indie folk singer. As this has been part of my daily Soundcloud ablutions for a while, it’s high time mentioned it. Something like a blend of Beth Orton and Daughter.

Tears For Fears - Goodnight Song

Ah, what!? Just discovered there’s a video for my favorite TFF track. Orzabal finds this beautiful guitar melody with just the right shade of poignancy. It’s perfect for a meta song about closing out shows. I’ve always considered Orzabal a masterful songwriter. Long after the peak of TFF’s popularity, he released this great album, Elemental, (without the other guy) with songs as good as any on The Hurting or Songs From The Big Chair.

Woman’s Hour - In Stillness We Remain

Without much intention, I have listened to Woman’s Hour LP, Conversations, more frequently than I’d care to admit. It’s so easy to be seduced by that soothing and entrancing sound. Their videos have always had a sophisticated and inventive slant. This time around, though, they drop the monochrome and add charm to the palette. Watch as middle-schoolers earnestly dance a choreographed sequence without a hint of self-consciousness. It’s an interesting duality that Woman’s Hour straddle between the highly refined and stylized and the gritty day-to-day world of a young indie band.