Tag Archives: Shoegaze

Lights That Change – ‘Voices’ (single, 2015)

What first impressed me about Lights That Change’s single ‘Voices’, is the notion that the rippling guitars spark the suggestion of a Puressence song tweaked to shoegaze.

Lurching bass and detached robotic beats underpin a swirling dream-pop soup. Mandy Clare’s vocals are so opaque you could almost miss them, but after a few listens, the glistening sparkle becomes unmissable.

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Of particular interest are the lyrics; short, simple word collections that evoke cryptic imagery of the Ancient World…

Queens, wives and slaves
Of Mycenae
Bound so tight and sent away

One single night
Gave sacrifice
Then sold abroad to friendless homes

In circle mound
By standing stones
Embossed motifs will tell and show

Fragments rejoined, not man or horse
A shape re-formed
Priestess adorned

Tied in with the fact that their upcoming album is called Byzantium, leads one to wonder just how much of their music is powered by a history degree.

Maybe on a similar topic, somewhere in the song lies a certain mystic Celtic grandeur, a rain-soaked vista of dewy gras… a subconscious bleeding of the Welsh origins of Lights That Change…?

Enticing.

‘Voices’ is the lead single from the upcoming Byzantium and is available on Bandcamp, Amazon and maybe iTunes if I could be arsed looking.

Listen here.

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Control Of The Going live at The Castle 30.08.2015

Fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre should find much to enjoy with Manchester shoegaze reprobates Control Of The Going, whose waves of subtle shimmers evokes Anton Newcombe’s estimable band. Or for another comparison, maybe Control Of The Going are a baby version of Helicon, Glasgow’s 3D demons of space rock.

Frontman Liam Hart combines Anton cool with a Julian Cope voice and choosing the ending of a song as the time to clean his specs was decidedly Morrissey-esque. The clean tone he produces from his Vox guitar has a wide, open, epic quality to it.

Highlights of the set where recent single ‘Wild Flower’, ‘Step Back’ with additional vocals from bassist Tom Stilltoe and the closing track, a tweaked ‘The Message’.

Control Of The Going have a fairly democratic sound with 6 instruments given equal footing, with the rhythm section and keyboards having just about enough space to keep things rolling.

Growing in confidence and star quality…

Click to watch ‘Wild Flower’ live at The Castle.

Liner Notes – Control Of The Going on ‘Wild Flower’

One of Manchester newest bands, the shoegaze & post-punk inspired Control Of The Going recently released ‘Wild Flower’. To provide us, the listeners with the inside track on writing and recording the song, the band has graciously provided exclusive liner notes…

You can listen (and more importantly buy!) ‘Wild Flower’ right here.

Watch a live performance right here.

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(Liam Hart – Guitar/Vocals, Ashley Hart – 12 String Guitar, Alex Reid – Drums, Matt Byrne – Guitar, Tom Sillitoe – Bass, Minesh Mistry – Synth/Keys)

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Inspired and encouraged with the release of our first EP, Epilepsy Bus Ride, and our recent show at Night and Day Cafe, we were excited to get back into the studio. ‘Wild Flower’ developed in this creative harmony.

On the 15th July, we were in the studio working on a track that wasn’t really going anywhere and we received a call from a close friend of the band, John Hall. John informed us that there may be an opportunity for us to provide a song for a documentary on wild flowers. On a hunch, he called us to see if we had anything in our repertoire. At that time, we had a few ideas, but nothing which would suite the floral sense which we were aiming for.

However, I had something in mind. From time to time, I wake up in the night with catchy guitar riffs in my head. I reached over for my phone, which I keep right next to my bed and mumbled the riff I had in my head, went back to sleep and forgot about it.

When John called us up in the studio, this riff reappeared, playing in my head. I checked my recordings to get it exactly how I imagined, sat down and began playing it. Matt picked it up right away and developed the rhythm. Alex gave us a nice little beat, while Minesh worked away in the background with the synth. Crucial to the main riff though, is what Ashley developed, the incessant backing riff which just seemed to hook everyone in. The guitar work is semi-inspired by ‘Fingertips’, a track from the Brian Jonestown Massacre demo, Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse. The floating, mesmeric guitar work is sheer genius; its musical bliss.

To add to this dreamy carefree sound, the synth in the background is equally important to the Control of the Going sound. Minesh explains:

‘Wild Flower’ leaves a never-ending feeling of being in a large field surrounded by free flowing flowers and rays of sunshine zipping through my mind as the drums and bass start to flow, this feeling is followed by the sharp lead rift from Liam and the strings start to pour down on the flowers along with the guitars that follow into a beautiful rhythm.

With us all hooked on this new song, all we needed was to get Tom in, finish the bass, for me to write this into a song and to record it. We arranged for us to record it 4 days later.

When I got home that night, I began writing the lyrics for what was going to be ‘Wild Flower’. At the time though, I was planning on calling it ‘Freedom’. The lyrics of ‘Wild Flower’ explore life and death through the use of a metaphor. I began writing with how life begins, how it rises and grows in stature. This theme is followed through even in death. With death comes new life and all organisms come from the ground, when we die, we return to the ground and from that new life grows. It is a subject which people find it hard to talk about, but it is something we all have to deal with. When you look at it this way, it is sad yet beautiful in some aspects. The lyrics combined with the shimmering guitars and flowing rhythm section all contributed to a song which is romantically juxtaposed and poetic in its nature. It became something more than I ever imagined when I dreamt it.

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Days later on the 19th we were in the studio, all 6 of us and we recorded it in one take. Unfortunately due to a faulty cable, recording was delayed for 3 hours. This led to Control of the Going taking an hour break at the local KFC. When it finally came to recording again, we did it again in one take. To go beside ‘Wild Flower’, we chose ‘In Line’ as the B side. We chose this as it was already a fan favourite and it was similar in nature to how ‘Wild Flower’ sounded. Ashley describes the development of ‘In Line’ as an attempt at capturing a Spacemen 3 style song with elements of the Dandy Warhols and Lush. Coincidently, ‘In Line’ is Tom’s favourite… He says he always gets a kick from it! ‘In Line’ was wrapped up in a manner of minutes and the days work was done.

We received the master back from Sam at Egg Studios a few days later on the 23rd and it was promptly put up for pre purchase, with an eventual full release on the 1st August. Immediately, people began downloading it and the positive reviews poured in. I am personally very proud of ‘Wild Flower’, and I am very happy that people on the whole feel the same way about it!

Click to visit Control Of The Going on Facebook

Click to visit Control Of The Going on twitter

Inner Oceans – ‘8 Cousins’ / Everything’s Alright’ (2015)

Dreamy shoegaze band Inner Oceans spit out a nugget.

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Stuttering into life with a Sigur Ros grace is ‘Cousins’ (click to listen). Ghostly and shapeless music, then formless words. Then life begins; stomping drums and warning-alarm guitar. Surges of energy hit then dissipate as the song keeps changing; unable to decide on a final shape. The middle portion is fairly Radiohead-ish before lurching back into rigidity. The end arrives, collapsing under a wall of mud.

‘Everything’s Alright’ is a slice of Sonic Youth inspired fun. Hot bass propels the song while two low-key guitars drop delicate sounds around each other. Breathy vocals give the song a seductive edge. An electro middle section joins melds with fuzzy guitar then it all comes together for one last push, a ghost of an anthem.

There is a sense that something huge could be released if Inner Oceans wanted to, except it sounds like they don’t. Instead they are opting for something more interesting. There’s an anorexic A Place To Bury Strangers quality to their work.

In 8 minutes Inner Oceans go to a lot of places. Wanna hear where they go next…

Click here for a song which is neither but brings a Young Marble Giants fragility to a song with a panoramic vista.

Control Of The Going – Wildflower (single – 2015)

Ashton shoegazers are Manchester’s latest addition to the psych new age. A 6 strong band of preciously young lads (these lad’s probably don’t remember when the England team where capable of the giddy heights of a World Cup Quarter Final) merging psych and post punk. They’re fresh on the scene and their second single is called ‘Wild Flower’.

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‘Wild Flower’ (click to listen) leads with a sharp, icy guitar lead while another drops in a casual BJM riff. Liam Hart’s post punk baritone drops in, gloomy but in an almost playful and self mocking way. He’s probably closer to Julian Cope than Ian Curtis.

B side ‘In Line’ offers frisky drums that almost overpower the song, but Liam’s voice keeps things in focus.

Quaintly, the 3rd song is an instrumental version of ‘Wild Flower’, which takes you back to the age of cassettes in cardboard cases.

Control Of The Going casually remind me of the Russian band Motorama who blend a chilly post Joy Division Factory Records sound with a smooth motorik flow.

Control Of The Going’s songs are quite subtle and reveal their intricacies after repeated listens. Sounding more composed, focused and confident than on their debut single it will be interesting to see where Control Of The Going go next.

Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe – I Declare Nothing (2015)

I Declare Nothing – the sensation of swimming through Guinness, drinking in the velvety goodness. An album doused in a shoegaze torpor, yet the heavy use of repetition and deep shifting grooves transforms this into slow motion dance music.

I Declare Nothing is a sand dune. Individual grains would slip through your fingers come together to form a hard indestructible mass. Yet sand shifts relentlessly. I Declare Nothing is desert dance music. Let it wash over you.

The bottom line is this album is essential for any fan of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Yet that is to downplay the role of Tess Parks, who makes the transition from solo artist to band leader with the sort of style you come to expect from the panda-eyed chanteuse. She’s an incredibly charismatic performer, and swoonishly magnetic.

Her collaboration with Anton Newcombe has already hit rich dirt, with the release of their first album together, with hopefully many more to come down the years.

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‘Cocaine Cat’ smoulders like fire, doped up bass rendering you senseless. Descending into a swirling whirlpool your sense of perception comes unstuck.

Click to watch the video for ‘Cocaine Cat’

‘October 2nd’ is almost gut wrenchingly slow with atmospheric keys and a riff that sucker punches.

‘Mama’ pits jaunty riff and groovy beat against squawking, snaking guitar.

The dappling guitars of ‘Peace Defrost’ could easily have escaped from Methodrone and likewise ‘Gone’ from Take It From The Man.

Anton doesn’t sing, but maybe taking a seat and concentrating on writing and guitar playing is providing him with a holiday from the responsibility of touring with an endless group of musicians who seem to really annoy him. When I saw them live at Manchester’s Ruby Lunge the gig was an incredibly well-mannered one considering the BJM’s reputation for bickering. As a band they’re tighter than two coats of paint.

Tess is pure star material and will win scores of fans off the back of Anton’s championing of her. Having witnessed her solo act to about 40 people last year at The Castle it’s a safe bet she won’t be playing to crowd’s that size again.

I Declare Nothing bleeds together into a melted treasure trove of jewels that causes wonder and melancholy at the same time. The constant battle between downbeat and summery provides an arresting time, leaving the listener unsure whether to wallow in misery or get a choc-ice.

Purple Heart Parade live at Gullivers 27.06.2015

Since the Liverpool Psych Fest Purple Heart Parade have been getting better and better, every performance taking it to a new level.

Headlining Astral Elevator 4 at Gullivers they wowed the home town crowd after a few months winning scores of fans down in ‘that London’.

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Set list notes: track 1 is going by the title of ‘3 Phase Forever’ (I prefer ‘New Romper Stomper’ myself) but tracks 1 and 2 were actually played in the reverse order. All clear?

Keith on drums was amazing tonight: the best I’ve seen hm play. A total powerhouse, locked in and pounding a loud, stadium rocking, groove. That lad’s had 3 Weetabix.

Mike on guitar again proved himself the best on the scene. Whether the buzzing see-saw angularity of the earlier tracks or rock pyrotechnics, he’s all over it. The guy’s a virtuoso, he’s Vini Reilly, he’s Hendrix, he’s Steve Jones. He’s Rainbow Road in Mario Karts. Snazzy yellow trainers too.

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3 new tracks shone. The first 2 tracks ‘Shadow Dance’ and ‘New Romper Stomper’ (OK, ‘3 Phase Forever’ if you must) took Purple Heart Parade towards dance with huge beats to get the crowd moving, a bold, invigorating start, drawing people in who may be chatting at the back. Already dying to hear what else lies down this new avenue. ‘Desolation Angel’, written just 2 weeks ago is stunning; an epic psych-blues burn of slow, mellow, lava lamp vibes. A guitarist not up to Mike’s pedigree and the song would be limp and pretentious, with Mike on board you’re watching the new age of blues.

The quietude of ‘Desolation Angel’ makes the hit of ‘Starfucker Blues’ even more powerful, that riff, man, that fucking riff. Yeah, that’s all you need say.

Click to watch ‘Starfucker Blues’ live.

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Bringing a myriad of sounds and elements to their show and building the intensity to boiling point the most exciting thing about Purple Heart Parade’s progression is… what the hell will these guys be achieving in 6 months!?

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