2015 has been an incredible year so far for anyone remotely interested in shoegaze, psych rock, noise or combinations of all three. While Ride's reunion has (rightly) grabbed most of the headlines, many of those inspired by the Oxford four-piece have been responsible for some of this year's finest releases.
Many of them are celebrated in this column, Echodrone's Five, Fever Dream's Moyamoya and Swervedriver's I Wasn't Born To Lose You among them. However, first up among these 25 artists who've kickstarted 2015 into a distortion heavy, pedal induced frenzy are Russian quintet Pinkshinyultrablast...
St Petersburg's Pinkshinyultrablast have been on Drowned In Sound's radar since releasing the excellent Happy Songs For Happy Zombies EP in 2009. The band signed to Club AC30 in 2014 with long awaited debut LP Everything Else Matters following in February of this year. They've also just embarked on their first ever UK tour which runs until the 16th May culminating in two shows as part of Brighton's Great Escape festival. In the meantime, they've also released a third single off the album in the shape of 'Ravestar Supreme'. Here's the video.
Also making their first visit to the UK this month are Pinkshinyultrablast tour buddies and label mates Flyying Colours. Hailing from Melbourne, we first fell in love with them when debut single 'Wavy Gravy' landed in our inboxes a couple of years ago. Imagine if Fleetwood Mac had been on Creation Records in the early nineties and you're probably in a similar ballpark to where Flyying Colours sound emanates from. Their new EP ROYGBIV is out on 11th May. This is 'Running Late', taken from the EP.
Chichester's False-Heads might be new kids on the block. However, judging by the recent Wear And Tear EP, released on Hi4Head Records in March, they're already well versed when it comes to the art of songwriting. Lead track 'Wrap Up' owes as much to Black Sabbath or Pixies as it does Thee Oh Sees or Black Angels, and this diversity shines through each of the EP's four pieces. Watch the video to 'Wrap Up' and see for yourselves.
Italian four-piece New Candys have shared stages with the likes of Dead Skeletons, Crystal Stilts and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion while two of their members also play as part of Lorelle And The Obsolete's live set up. Having released their first album Stars Reach The Abyss back in 2012, they finally got round to putting out the follow-up New Candys As Medicine in March of this year. Produced by former Loop drummer John Wills, it's a psychedelic power trip of an album that demands your attention from its opening bars. They also put out a limited edition 10 inch split single with Kill Your Boyfriend, and here's 'Surf 2', taken from that release.
Essentially the solo project for Colchester-based Nathan Smith, The Virgance released his second album Hako Shrine in January and it's one of the most beautifully constructed albums to grace the stereo this year. Combining elements of ambient post-rock with errant, effects laden melodies, Hako Shrine is something of an experimental journey for its creator and ultimately represents a giant leap forward from its predecessor Lost Continent, released twelve months earlier. Here's the album in full.
Argentinian noisemakers Kill West leave little to the imagination regarding their intentions on their self-titled debut EP, the first release for new Brighton label Drone Rock Records. While clearly in thrall to the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and A Place To Bury Strangers, there's a furious bite and menace about the likes of 'Lazy Eye' and 'Highway Mind' which suggests they're on a mission of their own making. Ones to watch for the future. This is the EP in all its glory.
Having released his first record with The Telescopes back in 1988, Stephen Lawrie is something of a veteran when it comes to making music. Nevertheless, his relentless pursuit of pushing things forwards holds no bounds, nor does his prolific output. Last month saw them put out a split single with A Place To Bury Strangers for Fuzz Club Records featuring a cover of The Stooges' 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' (listen below) while their seventh long player is almost ready and scheduled for release in August. With several festival slots already confirmed including Eindhoven Psych Lab in June, they're a formidable live experience not to be missed.
Also returning with a new album - their first in seventeen years - are fellow Creation stalwarts from back in the day, Swervedriver. Recorded in Melbourne during the summer of 2014, I Wasn't Born To Lose You' bears all the hallmarks of classic Swervedriver records Raise and Mezcal Head_ while reaffirming Adam Franklin as one of the most underrated songwriters and arrangers around. Here's 'Autodidact', the third single to be taken from the album.
Nottingham three-piece Crosa Rosa were only conceived just over a year ago, yet already they've made their presence felt among the city's live music scene. Fusing elements of halcyon era Sub Pop (Superfuzz Bigmuff/Bleach, you get the drift) with psychedelic surges akin to early Spacemen 3 or more recently The Wytches, their new self produced EP Pantophobia is one of the most exciting releases out there at the minute. This is 'Little Leper', the lead track off the record.
Also hailing from Nottingham are Eyre Llew, another three-piece of whom big things are expected in the coming months. Having formed in September of last year after playing in other bands, their delicately poised sound is reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Her Name Is Calla and Sigur Ros. Their fourth single 'Lunar' came out earlier this year and is arguably the most evocative piece of music to grace the stereo in months.
Californian noise pop duo Crocodiles release their fifth long player Boys on 11th May. Channelling influences from shoegaze pioneers like The Jesus & Mary Chain through to sun drenched salsa in a similar vein to Calexico, it promises to be their most diversely experimental collection to date. With a UK tour pencilled in for June, their live show is a must-see this summer. In the meantime, here's 'Crybaby Demon', the first single taken from the record.
Regular readers of this column may already be familiar with Canadian quartet No Joy. 2013's Wait To Pleasure was one of that year's finest albums, and its successor More Faithful bares all the hallmarks of being among 2015's too. Released on 8th June via Mexican Summer, the band are currently on tour in the UK with Cheatahs. As a taster for the LP, this is 'Moon In My Mouth'.
Hailing from Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains of California, Sun Colony are something of an unknown quantity. However, if the blissed out psych grunge of 'Heavy Sky' is anything to go by, their anonymity will soon be a thing of the past.
Season Of Strangers
Coming from Seattle, one might expect Season Of Strangers to be purveyors of heavy duty, in your face, angst. Which in all honesty couldn't be further from the truth. Instead, their spectral deities and ethereal passages are reminiscent of 4AD luminaries Pale Saints or Lush. Although currently unsigned, we're pretty excited by their three-track demo that's doing the rounds at the minute. Have a listen for yourselves...
Amsterdam duo zZz have been making their own brand of experimental noise rock for over a decade now. Formed in Amsterdam as far back as 2001, they've quietly gone about their business, releasing two critically acclaimed albums (2005's Sound Of zZz and Running With The Beast four years later). Last month saw them release long awaited third record Juggernaut and having recently toured mainland Europe with A Place To Bury Strangers, the duo's profile has seemingly risen somewhat. Here's 'When I Come Home' taken from the album.
London-based trio Fever Dream have been kicking up a storm for a while. Having signed to esteemed independent Club AC30 at the tail end of 2014, the band announced the release of eagerly anticipated debut Moyamoya in April of this year. And what an incredible record it is too. Combining their customary noise pop with radiant bursts of sonic exploration, it stands out as one of 2015's most extravagant releases so far. This is 'Serotonin Hit', the first single taken from the album earlier this year.
Love, Hippies & Gangsters
Essentially the solo project of Yiğit Bülbül, Love Hippies & Gangsters first came to our attention in January when the EP Sun Over Babaluma landed unsuspectingly in our inboxes. As mesmerizing and out there as the name suggests, all four tracks on the EP show a different side to Bülbül's creative palette, from forward thinking psychedelia in the vein of the Brian Jonestown Massacre ('This Is What We Want') or Temples ('Through Your Mind') to the abstract experimental noise of 'Got My Coat'. With an album set to be released later in the year, exciting times lay ahead.
Israeli trio Vaadat Charigim sound like they could have been conceived somewhere around the Thames Valley circa 1990 rather than Tel Aviv from where they originate. 2013's The World Is Well Lost, their debut LP for Burger Records, initially brought them to the attention of a wider audience. While this year's follow-up Sinking As A Stone, also released through the same imprint, is expected to catapult them to even greater heights. This is 'Ein Li Makom' which is taken from the album.
The Away Days
Another band previously featured in this column are Istanbul quintet The Away Days. Having put out a couple of impressive singles last year in the shape of 'Your Colour' and 'Paris', they returned in January with arguably their best 45 to date, 'Best Rebellious', a shimmering beast of a song that recalls Ride at their most potent and The Boo Radleys pre-Wake Up. With a new EP entitled THIS set to be released any day now, Turkish shoegaze might just be the soundtrack to your summer.
Michigan's Pity Sex have established themselves as a potent force on their native live scene in recent months. Their explosive performances at this year's SXSW didn't go unnoticed either, and later this month they'll be visiting the UK for the first time in support of debut long player Feast Of Love. Expect riffs J Mascis and Thurston Moore would be proud of fused with effects-driven melodies and the occasional wall of noise to boot. This is 'Acid Reflex' off the album, which I'm sure you'll agree hits the spot nicely.
Lorna have been around for the best part of two decades having formed towards the back end of the 1990s in their native city of Nottingham. While band members have come and gone, main songwriter Mark Rolfe remains the driving force and they're about to release their sixth album, London's Leaving Me for Minnesota imprint Words On Music. In the meantime, the band put out a limited edition single for Record Store Day and this is 'Wayne Mills', the lead track off the release.
Hailing from the not so salubrious backwaters of Barnsley, supergroup of sorts The Blackrays look set to be the South Yorkshire mining town's latest exports following in the footsteps of Exit Calm and Pusher. Featuring current and former members of Two Skies and The Underground Youth respectively, debut single 'Here They Come' is out shortly on Fuzz Club Records. In the meantime, here's the video to 'Endless', which features on the b-side of the seven-inch.
Oakland native Vivian Moon might not be a recognisable name to most, but under the guise of Pastel Ghost she's crafted another of 2015's most evocative debuts. ABYSS, released earlier this year on 80s Ladies Records. With influences ranging from Beach House and The Cure to Wild Nothing and Crystal Castles (really!), it's a delightful concoction of pastoral ambience and dance infused dreampop. Here's 'Clouds' from the LP.
Father and daughter outfit SPC ECO have been regulars on the London underground scene for a few years now. New single 'Feel Me' features Rose Berlin's signature vocal over an industrial backbeat that's part Sisters Of Mercy and part Curve, her old man's former outfit. Meanwhile, fifth long player Dark Matter is out this week and well worth the admission fee.
Celebrating their tenth year in existence, San Francisco's Echodrone wrap up 2015's first instalment of Some Velvet Mixtape courtesy of awesome recent single 'Glacial Place'. Taken from their long awaited and some would say well-overdue debut Five, released earlier this year on Saint Marie Records. Both band and song pretty much do what it says on the tin, creating six and a half minutes of ethereal bliss in the process.