Twofer Tuesday: Triumphant Return of Shoegaze

Thanks to two fantastic independent bands, who also happen to be good friends, the modern shoegaze sound is born. The Prids, Portland’s DIY darlings who recently signed to Velvet Blue Music and are set to release Chronosynclastic on Friday, and Me You Us Them, the best new bank out of NYC (signed to Triple Down Records), have taken the sound developed in the mid to late 80’s by bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine and blended it with 90’s alt-rock and the resurgent sound of dancerock and Britpop to create a fresh new take on a genre that hasn’t had a spotlight shown on it in well over a decade.

Each of these bands has their own sound with the pop sensibilities of The Prids often taking forefront in their sound, while Me You Us Them forays into electro sounds and a harder edge. With their current releases, each explores a different piece of the shoegaze puzzle and varied points in their musical careers.

The Prids’ Chronosynclastic is their 3rd full length and somewhere around their 10th release. These Portland scene vets have been together since 1998 and have honed their craft and their sound over this span. The band is fronted by David Frederickson and Mistina La Fave, former couple who has remained friends and produced music together for over 15 years. The supporting cast has changed from time to time over the years, but right now includes Lee Zeman on drums and Maile Arruda on keyboards. The current foursome puts forth on their new release a sound that harkens back to the early shoegaze days, but incorporates a sound that is very reminiscent of UK 90’s indie rockers Catherine Wheel (notably 1997’s Adam and Eve). The hooks are catchy, the layers are enchanting, and the vocals are captivating. On a few occassions the guitars truly shred, but most of the time the sound is more whimsical than it is brutal.

Me You Us Them’s Post-Data is their debut full-length. Released on Triple Down Records, it features some of the best packaging in the history of music. The album is housed in a light gray 5.25” floppy disk shell, with printed artwork and booklet inside that is visible through the holes of the cover. If this packaging doesn’t wow the discerning prospective fan, the music will. Hard to believe the band has not been releasing albums for years, this debut is tight, well produced, and aggressive in all the right places. Riding the coattails of their friends from Portland, the band sent this reviewer an email stating that they saw an earlier piece on The Prids on the site and wanted to know if they could send some material to be considered for review. Upon receipt of the album, thoughts turned to excitement and thankfulness that the band sought out the review, because it’s guaranteed to enter heavy rotation for years to come.

[rating:8/10]

Chronosynclastic is a strong album cover to cover, track after track. It delivers layers upon layers of sound on each track, but where the album shines brightest is at the start and finish. The first few tracks; “Hide Your Thoughts” , “When I Look” , “Waste Our Time” ; all are wonderfully crafted tracks that have simultaneously an indie credibility and a radio-friendly sound. Mistina’s pretty vocals are highlighted with David’s lo-fi vocals and frantic guitar playing on “When I Look” making it the most enjoyable track on the album. However, unlike many albums with their best tracks at the front of the album, the rest of the album doesn’t fall off and disappear due to the best tracks being at the front.

Finishing strong, The Prids show off their ballad skills with the closing track “Tonight, October” . David’s vocals sound very real and raw on the closer, which sounds to have an alt-country influence and would likely appeal to that crowd more than one may guess by the rest of the album.

Despite a large body of work, it seems quite likely that this new release from the Portland scene veterans will showcase them to a whole new audience, broader in scope and beyond their previous ventures. A perfect pairing with Jeff Cloud and VBM, The Prids are poised to conquer the indie world, one dreamy track after the next.

[rating:8/10]

Post-Data is the debut from the Brooklyn 3-piece that has much more experience in their sound than they have as a band. With a comfort level and tightness as a band that takes many bands years and years to develop, the band has hit their stride with only one official release. Impressive to say the least.

The album is another strong album beginning to end, with more originality than the typical NYC copycat band. Combining an obvious influence from the shoegaze scene of the 80’s with the classic New York sound of Interpol, the band manages to steer clear of the trap that the other bands coming out of this Hipster Mecca fall into. Bits and pieces of grunge, new wave, and electro find their way into the band’s sound on Post-Data creating the feel that these 3 musicians are real appreciators of music, allowing all types of music to influence their songwriting while still allowing their music to be their own.

It’s hard to choose a top track on this album, as its flow from one track to the next is seamless. If one must, “Pretty Nettles” and “iQuit” stand out. The aggressive nature of “iQuit” particularly is refreshing; a welcome scream here or there allows for an emotive catharsis of sorts for the listener.

Two strong albums from bands on opposite ends of the country and different points in their careers, equally impressive and unique. If you can’t believe the hype without proof download these free tracks (“Any Time” by MYUT and both “In the Fall” and “I’ll Wait” by The Prids) to find out for yourself and stay tuned for big contests from both bands in the coming weeks.

~ by thepaintedman on June 8, 2010.

4 Responses to “Twofer Tuesday: Triumphant Return of Shoegaze”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Harlan and Justin Harlan, Justin Harlan. Justin Harlan said: http://thepaintedman.brookiellen.com/twofer-tuesday-shoegaze/ SHOEGAZE IS BACK… WITH A VENGEANCE! […]

  2. […] “Pretty Nettles” by Me You Us Them and let us know what you think. Like it? Hate it? Dig on certain parts? […]

  3. […] such contest featuring another Velvet Blue Music band, Portland’s legendary DIY superstars The Prids. Without further ado, here is your mission if you choose to accept it: 1. Listen to and/or download […]

  4. […] haven’t stuck with thepaintedman. Sure, a few bands made their mark with great releases in 2010 (The Prids, Cook & UNO, Awakening Mercury, Pigeon John, Telegraph Canyon), but as a whole the year was […]

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