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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: shoegaze

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May 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM

In the presence of Nothing | Concert preview


Nothing, from left: Kyle Kimball, Nick Bassett, Brandon Setta, Domenic Palermo. Photo by Shawn Brackbill.

Nothing’s music video for “Bent Nail” — the second single off its debut, “Guilty of Everything” — dramatizes a familiar scenario for any struggling band.

In the three-minute clip, below, the Philadelphians, who play Barboza Friday, give a spirited performance to a half-empty room of denim-vested, tattooed onlookers, all folded arms and vacant stares.

By the time the song hits its slow, dreamy crescendo, the crowd’s apathy has turned to outright hate, and they begin pelting the foursome with rotten fruit and eggs as they play on.

The video “is to be taken literally,” singer-guitarist Domenic Palermo explains via telephone. “I wanted to try and convey the self-abuse that musicians deal with.”


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, Philadelphia, shoegaze

March 19, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Flavor Crystals’ long-form atmospherics at Chop Suey | Concert preview

Flavor Crystals

Minneapolis’ Flavor Crystals perform live in Seattle Wednesday. Photo by Tom Gilmore.

If the double album is a rarity these days, the triple LP is practically extinct — but don’t tell that to Flavor Crystals, who’ll perform live at Seattle’s Chop Suey club Wednesday in support of “Three,” a six-sided, 24-song suite released in 2012.

It’s tempting to call the Twin Cities foursome’s music shoegaze — not the tinnitus-inducing variety like genre kingpins My Bloody Valentine, but laid-back and richly textured, like San Francisco’s The Brian Jonestown Massacre.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: China, Minnesota, shoegaze

March 4, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Nothing feels good | New recordings


Nothing, from left: Brandon Setta, Kyle Kimball, Nick Bassett, Domenic Palermo. Photo by Shawn Brackbill.

“Guilty of Everything”

The current crop of shoegaze groups — Philadelphia’s Nothing among them — is staggering enough to rival the style’s early-1990s heyday.

How to explain this?

At least partially, it’s because the right amount of washed-out guitars and gauzy vocals can make twee-pop heavy, or doom metal pretty.

And it’s not exclusive — to play it, one doesn’t need chops so much as effects pedals, sturdy amplification, and a desire to experiment.

Yet where nü-gaze often falls short is originality. The genre’s pioneers — Ireland’s My Bloody Valentine, Scotland’s The Jesus and Mary Chain, England’s Slowdive — made noise and wrote songs. Too frequently now, bludgeoning audiences’ ears takes precedence.

Nothing, however, gets the balance right.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: New Recordings, Philadelphia, shoegaze

August 22, 2013 at 2:44 PM

My Bloody Valentine bloodies ears at Showbox SoDo | Concert review


My Bloody Valentine — Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Colm Ó Cíosóig and Debbie Googe — played Seattle Wednesday.

Nothing about My Bloody Valentine’s sound is compact, so when word came down last week that the Irish-English noise-pop innovators’ upcoming Seattle show had been moved from the airplane hangar-sized WaMu Theater to the much-smaller, much-maligned Showbox SoDo, those who’d pre-purchased tickets let out a collective groan.

That the foursome handily sold out WaMu in 2009, its last trip through town, only to be demoted to a smaller room for this tour — supporting 2013’s “m b v,” its first new LP since 1991’s legendary “Loveless” — suggests that when it comes to reunions, fans get more excited when they don’t know what to expect.

Yet while the surprise factor might’ve been lower Wednesday night, the volume certainly wasn’t.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, dream-pop, shoegaze

August 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Long-dormant shoegazers My Bloody Valentine plug back in

Dublin, Ireland’s My Bloody Valentine performs live at Showbox SoDo Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Camera Press. Having defined the shoegaze genre with 1991’s landmark “Loveless,” My Bloody Valentine all but disappeared for two decades before finally breaking its silence this past February with “m b v.” While the existence of a new record from the Irish…


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: dream-pop, Dublin, shoegaze