Saturday, September 25, 2010

1990: "Everso", The Telescopes

The Telescopes first appeared on a split single with Loop in 1988, but within the next two years they'd dabbled in every corner of the neo-psych / dream pop / shoegaze triangle. This flitting from sound to sound, influence to influence may have harmed their chances of ever becoming mainstream, but it made for some pretty thrilling music at the time. Much of the early 'scopes material was mired down in muddy production and tossed off performances, but that all changed when the band were signed to Creation in early 1990. Emerging in December of that year, "Everso" marked their second single for the label, but it would be another two years before they released another full length album. That record, commonly known as Untitled or just The Telescopes, would be the group's last until a 2002 reunion.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1990: "Arc Lite (Sonar)", Loop

More dissonant and metallic than Spacemen 3 (the band they would most frequently suffer comparisons to), Loop was nearing the end of its short run in 1990. The heavier drone and minimalist riff patterns on the band's final album, A Gilded Eternity, were a harbinger of things to come: Loop mainman Robert Hampson would serve a one year tour of duty in industrial titans Godflesh (playing on / touring for the Pure album) before starting Main with Loop bandmate Scott Dawson. Main merged the dense riffs of Hampson's previous bands with a menacing bouillabaisse of electronic styles and remains Hampson's longest running project to date, though the moniker has been officially retired since 2006. Hampson has since been releasing new music under his own name, while Dawson seemingly dropped out of the music scene.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

1990: "Lord Plentiful Reflects", The Bevis Frond

After banging out a succession of fan-club quality releases in his own bedroom, Nick Salomon finally got serious about his starter kit band, The Bevis Frond, rounded up a proper drummer, and got both their asses into a legitimate studio for the first "professional" Bevis Frond record, 1990's Any Gas Faster. Whereas most of the earlier 4 track Frond releases consist of long winded jamming, Any Gas Faster was notable for its more disciplined, accessible material.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1990: "Exploding in Your Mind", Sun Dial

Psychedelia was hardly unfashionable at the turn of the 90s, particularly in Great Britain. In terms of anachronistic, spaced out jam sessions with few modern influences, there was most notably Nick Salomon and his one man band, The Bevis Frond, but following closely in those same footsteps was Gary Ramon's Sun Dial project. Like Salomon, Ramon also released a relentless procession of small run, microlabel albums, of which 1990's Other Way Out was the first. Chock full of long form guitar freakouts, "Explosions in Your Mind" is one of the more straightforward cuts.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1990: "Cave-In", Codeine

Alright, done now with vacation and vacation-related activities (itinerary planning, building up of alcohol tolerance, etc) so it's time to turn once again to my sixth or seventh great love, this blog. I'll try to knock out at least one or two entries a day from here on out... at least until my next vacation.

Today we pay blog service to the New York band Codeine, a group commonly described as leaders and innovators in the nearly synonymous orbits of the "slowcore" and "sadcore" scenes [ed. note: even though I'm completely on board with breaking things down into genre neologisms - can't fucking stand when musicians say "we just play good old rock & roll, maaaaan!" - there are fewer more annoying trends than the one which says, "hey, wouldn't it be clever to take something non-violent and repressed, rob the term 'hardcore' of its testosterone-laden suffix and, with it, conjure up new terminology which renders the twee badass? And keep on doing it over and over again for at least twenty years?" Nonetheless, in spite of my grave misgivings I am duty bound to report any parlance that has survived the test of time as nomenclature of choice].

Codeine's sound was glacially slow, and often dense in the manner of the shoegaze bands, but other than that there were none of the psych or Britpop leanings of their overseas counterparts. In fact, theirs was a more freeform avant garde haze that doesn't translate well to genre tropes at all. Hear, then, the music: