Monday, May 1, 2017

Slowdive's new album & East Coast Tour Apr: 30 - May 11 | FYF Festival Los Angeles: Jul 21 - 23

It's been a memorable string of years for those who saw the heyday of spacerock and shoegaze as a pinnacle development following in the wake of the iconoclastic era of 1980's post-punk. We were not only witness to the third domestic tour since their reformation by My Bloody Valentine but the first new album in 22 years, "MBV" which finally manifested after years of legend and rumor. Equally unexpected, the return of LOOP after decades of it's founder Robert Hampson claiming if you weren't there to witness their staggering volume and endurance-testing live performances in the 1990's, then you'll never quite know what the band was about. 4AD label dreampop confection, Lush also joining their ranks in the course of the last year. Spring 2016 saw the band's first live shows in 20 years since the unexpected death of friend and drummer, Chris Acland, Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson and Phil King spoke with The Quietus for their "Mad Love: An Interview With Lush". An era for the band that both initiated and concluded within the course of the single tour cycle. Marking a similar path, these ranks were also bolstered the immensely popular britpop influenced Ride, who themselves have a new set of recordings to be released this summer. All of which pursuing courses forged down precluding pathways by Scottish dream-pop progenitors Cocteau Twins, and the later British bands following in the druggy astronomical haze of Spacemen 3. This set of compatriots in shared sound fast became a who's who of the best of UK underground rock of the early 1990's. The most improbable of them all, was the announcement that Slowdive would be performing a one-off at the Primavera Sound Festival in 2014. Following in the wake of the massively received event, the band recognizing the ongoing dedication of their fanbase in interview with The Quietus, "There Seems To Be A Lot Of Love Out There: A Slowdive Interview". Finding an enthusiasm for performing and writing again, suggesting the very real possibility of a reformation as the "Slowdive Reunion Expands with More Shows, Possibility of New Music" and following in rapid succession, "Slowdive Announce North American Tour, Reunion".

For followers of the band, after the breakdown of the mid-90's, the last thing one would expect to hear is that it's their overlooked final album created in mid-rift, "Pygmalion" that stands out amidst the sonic bluster of this new incarnation. Made all that much more surprising for Neil Halstead's often-expressed sentiment that that era of his music was definitively closed and it was his 4AD released project Mojave 3 and solo work that would be his larger legacy. Halstead not the only band member with a vital and prolific post-breakup creative arch away from the path carved by Slowdive, the work of drummer and sound designer, Simon Scott is equal to the band's sonic summits. One only need hear the atmospheric, jazz-informed doomscapes of his excellent "Bunny" for the Miasmah label for it to be made clear that the adventurous pop Scott created with Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Nick Chaplin and Christian Savill decades before was a point of entry, rather than a destination. This month they reassemble for the first new recordings in 22 years on the self titled "Slowdive" for Bloomington Indiana independent label, Dead Oceans. Home to Ryley Walker's folk-concrete tapestries and the the spectral vocal transmissions of Juliana Barwick, the newfound poppier edge of the singles, “Star Roving” and “Sugar for the Pill”, share much with both the current neo-psychedelic scene as the band's own legacy. The development of this new work detailed for Stereogum by guitarist, Rachel Goswell with Halstead who was the primary architect of 1995's "Pygmalion", stating that his time out the group dynamic was all important, offering; "It's poppier than I thought it was going to be,". "When you're in a band and you do three records, there's a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record." The album's release ushering in a string of tour dates across the United States and continuing throughout the summer, onward from Slowdive's late July appearance in Los Angeles' FYF Festival.