The term ‘shoegaze’, quite obviously, began life as a piss-take. Snarky music writers in the late 1980s coined the expression to pigeonhole a new breed of band who, instead of prancing around like punks, spent entire live sets staring pensively down at their newfangled battalions of effects pedals.
Shoegaze artists weren’t necessarily shy, or rude; rather they were pioneers, intent on conquering hitherto unimagined sonic landscapes through technology, spurred on by contemporary touchstone records like The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, Pornography by The Cure, or Cocteau Twins’ Treasure.
Today, most true aficionados date the genesis of shoegaze to 1988’s Isn’t Anything by My Bloody Valentine, a peerless artefact that still sounds like nothing of its – or any other – time.
Within a few short weeks of Isn’t Anything’s 1988 release, Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation and Dinosaur Jr’s Bug also landed, and the taciturn, effects-pedal heavy revolution was in full swing. Not that you could tell by their attitude on stage, mind.
To mark the 30th anniversary of this pivotal epoch, Gigwise has selected 30 iconic shoegaze albums – one from each year, right up to the present – that are key to understanding the formation and evolution of this widely misunderstood yet hugely influential genre.
Right then – eyes down…So without further ado, here’s our celebrated 30 starting off in 1989….
The Telescopes – Taste (1989)
Hailing from Burton-On-Trent and led by the inimitable Stephen Lawrie, The Telescopes first cut their teeth as a potent live act of some repute. Opening for the likes of Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine and The Darling Buds, their first release was a split seven-inch flexidisc with Croydon trance-rockers Loop. After three more critically acclaimed singles, including ‘The Perfect Needle’ off their debut, The Telescopes unleashed Taste on an unsuspecting world at the back end of 1989. While comparisons with the likes of Spacemen 3 and The Jesus & Mary Chain would be inevitable, this (then) five-piece brought something altogether different to the mix. Influences ranging from experimental folk and sixties-and-seventies garage rock could be heard alongside a barrage of sonic ferocity years ahead of its time. Lawrie still fronts an incarnation of the band, proving true innovators never die.
Key track: ‘The Perfect Needle’
Ride – Nowhere
Ride may well have been the glossy poster boys of a generation, but they were also capable of kicking up an incendiary racket. Forming in Oxford in 1988, Ride were signed to legendary Creation Records off the back of a handful of live shows, and an otherworldly demo tape featuring songs that would go on to comprise their first EP. Most bands would have killed for any of the songs off that or the following two EPs, such was their flawless nature. Yet the best was still to come in the form of debut album Nowhere; eight songs of effervescent, perfectly-executed beauty that not only stands the test of time today, but is regarded by some as a blueprint for the shoegaze itself. Until their dissolution in 1996, Ride were the most commercially successful band to emerge from their scene, and so pandemonium naturally ensued when they finally reformed four years ago, initially to celebrate Nowhere’s 25th anniversary.
Key track: ‘Vapour Trail’
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Not just, perhaps, the definitive shoegaze album; Loveless has become a benchmark for what can be achieved when a traditional four-piece guitar act is set loose in a studio with no constraints (and, to be fair, a rather handsome budget). Many have tried unsuccessfully to replicate Loveless both in style and sound, and its influence can be heard across any number of succeeding genres records. Committed to tape over a two year period at a cost of around a quarter of a million pounds, alas it proved to be the band’s swansong with Creation Records and indeed the last time they’d release anything for more than two decades. But as a timeless epitaph, Loveless is simply one of a kind. Perhaps the most obvious choice here, but a record that defines the genre as much as one could not be omitted for anyone to take this kind of list seriously.
Key track: ‘Soon’
The Boo Radleys – Everything’s Alright Forever
If you were fortunate enough to get a ticket for the aforementioned Loveless tour, and arrived early, it’s likely you’ll have caught The Boo Radleys during their most exquisite, not to mention loudest phase. Hailing from The Wirral, this five-piece originally formed at the tail end of the 1980s over a shared love of bands like Hüsker Dü and Dinosaur Jr. The Boo Radleys’ 1990 debut Ichabod And I hinted at great things to come, and that promise was realised on the follow-up Everything’s Alright Forever. Released on Creation Records in the spring of 1992, it’s a diverse collection that highlights the band at their most brutal (‘Does This Hurt?’, ‘Firesky’) yet still erring inexorably towards the melodic pop (‘Memory Babe’, ‘Lazy Day’) that would later become their hallmark. Nevertheless, this is a glorious collection of songs that stands proud in any company.
Key track: ‘Does This Hurt?'
Swervedriver – Mezcal Head
The year 1993 was strikingly good for albums from the Creation label, with Slowdive’s Souvlaki (more on them later) and The Boo Radleys’ Giant Steps among those unleashed. Nevertheless, one album that stood out from the pack is Swervedriver’s Mezcal Head. Released in the August of that year, Mezcal Head marked a stark progression from its predecessor, which at the time was quite the remarkable feat considering they’d lost their rhythm section during the interim between records. Elements of dub, krautrock and garage punk permeate through songs like ‘Duel’ and ‘Duress’, highlighting the talents of core writing duo Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge to maximum effect. With grunge still ruling the airwaves on both sides of the Atlantic, it seems strange to think Swervedriver never enjoyed the commercial success their widely-acclaimed wares so richly deserved. But a bunch of recent 25th anniversary shows in support of the album brought memories flooding back of what an incredible record this truly is.
Key track: ‘Duel’
Lush – Split
Looking back at the early nineties and its various music scenes, it’s probably fair to say Lush didn’t quite fit into any one particular box. Initially conceived as a punk band in 1987, they eventually found an ethereal sound that gave them a template to work from. While not necessarily their most commercially successful or critically acclaimed era, those early EPs and albums characterised the band for many – affording them positively revolutionary status in some quarters. Although frequently out of kilter with fashion, Lush stuck to their guns and with Split made an album that sounds, quite fairly like a band in the middle of an emotional crisis. It’s a despairing and wistful listen in parts, although always with a buoyant flourish to save the day. Released in the summer of 1994 as Britpop was about to become “a thing” (that Lush would become part of), Split is regarded by many as the band’s finest hour. And quite rightly so.
Key track: ‘Desire Lines’
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Methodrone
Still largely unknown outside of his native California, Anton Newcombe had been making music with The Brian Jonestown Massacre since the turn of the decade. However, this being before the internet, most of the UK music press at the time were fixated on all things Britpop – meaning an album like Methodrone went largely unnoticed on these shores for years to come. Nowadays looking back, it’s hard to envisage why anyone would overlook such an incredible piece of work in favour of Britpop’s ephemeral retrofest. Each and every one of these carefully assembled compositions sounds like the past colliding with the present to create a vision for the future. Which Methodrone did – and seventeen albums later, Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre are still going strong.
Key track: ‘Crushed’
Swirlies – They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days In The Glittering World Of The Salons
As the UK embarked upon its lame union jack-emblazoned midlife crisis, all the most interesting music was being made Stateside. Among those artists at the forefront of this sonic revolution were Swirlies, an outfit from Boston whose ever-changing lineup calls to mind a revolving door. Nevertheless, the quality of their output rarely suffered as a result. Released in 1996, They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days In The Glittering World Of The Salons is widely regarded as the band’s coup de grace. It also placed the production talents of one Rich Costey firmly on the map, his presence still sought after today having worked with the likes of Muse, Biffy Clyro and Foo Fighters in recent years. Embracing more electronic elements than the band’s previous releases, They Spent Their Youth… isn’t just a groundbreaking record for its creators – it flung open the doors to a world of possibilities for those eager to extend their sonic palette beyond the strictures of normality.
Key track: ‘Two Girls Kissing’
The Dandy Warhols – Come Down
Back in 1997 The Dandy Warhols were still relatively unknown outside of their native Portland. Just a few months – and three hit singles – later all that would change. While their debut, Dandys Rule OK, released two years earlier, hinted at the group’s stellar potential, on Come Down The Dandy Warhols refined and formulated their vision into a taut fourteen-part adventure. Encompassing pop, ambient, drone and electronica which at times sounded as if it were conceived on another planet, ‘Every Day Is Like A Holiday’ and ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’ gatecrashed the charts. But it was on the likes of opener ‘Be-In’ – still a prominent fixture in the band’s live set – ‘Minnesota’ and, especially, album stand-out ‘Hard On For Jesus’ where The Dandy Warhols creative juices really starting cooking.
Key track: ‘Hard On For Jesus’
Six By Seven – The Things We Make
Far from the clamour of London, Nottingham’s Six By Seven were crafting incendiary sonic patterns of their own. Completely at odds with the ephemeral popular sound of the day, the group led by enigmatic frontman Chris Olley existed exclusively on their own terms. This created for them a captive audience right from the start. When debut single ‘European Me’ emerged twelve months earlier, it truly did sound like nothing else on this planet – inspired as much by the krautrock and prog artists of the seventies as anything else from its era. Welding differing time signatures into one glorious cacophony ‘European Me’ would go on to become one of the greatest debuts of the 1990s – so it was no surprise ‘The Things We Make’ spawned a revolution of its own where more was better, and possibilities became endless. Britpop has been vanquished, and this stylish record is the sound of creative England dancing on its grave.
Key track: ‘Candlelight’
Sigur Ros - Ágætis byrjun
Formed in Reykjavik five years earlier, Sigur Rós were at the forefront of the new “post rock” explosion alongside Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Bands whose ethos and identities undoubtedly owed a great deal to My Bloody Valentine and Loveless, if not sonically yet certainly in their approach to reaching for something otherworldly. The band’s debut album Von appeared in 1997, steeped in reverb and other post-punk tropes. But it was their follow-up two years later that launched them to a wider audience, while since proving to be the album many regard as their finest hour. Ágætis byrjun heralded a clear departure from its predecessor, embracing orchestral segments and experimental passages that lifted the record beyond any humdrum genre classification. Undoubtedly one of the most original albums ever committed to tape, Ágætis byrjun still sounds fresh and invigorating almost two decades on.
Key track: ‘Svefn-g-englar’
Broadcast– The Noise Made By People
Formed in Birmingham during the middle of the previous decade, Broadcast became renowned for creating left-field, experimental pop. Incorporating a wide range of influences into their sound that straddled krautrock, Parisian lounge and noisy electronica, the band’s live sets were often a thing of dazzling beauty. No surprise they ended up signed to Warp Records, and, having released a handful of well-received singles and EPs, finally put out their debut ‘The Noise Made By People’ in the spring of 2000. From its sinister introduction courtesy of ‘Long Was The Year’, through the avant garde kitsch pop of ‘Papercuts’ and ‘Echo’s Answer’, ‘The Noise Made By People’ remains one of the finest debut albums released this century. Broadcast’s recorded output was flawless throughout the decade until singer and songwriter Trish Keenan tragically passed away in 2011.
Key track: ‘Come On Let’s Go’
My Vitriol – Finelines
The turn of the century has become a much-maligned subject when talk turns to music. The rise of ‘nu-metal’, not to mention then emerging phenomenon of Coldplay makes it difficult to look back with any genuine fondness. Yet scratch beneath the surface and there’s hidden treasures to be found. Like ‘Finelines’, the long awaited debut from London’s My Vitriol. Formed by science students Ravi Kesavaram and Som Wardner in 1999, My Vitriol’s sound was forged through a shared love of bands like Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and Nirvana, which seemed like an ideal gateway point for anyone uncomfortable with the radio and MTV playlists of the day. A handful of early singles provided an insight into the collective’s mindset which was finally realised on ‘Finelines’, released in March 2001. That it also pretty much signalled the end of the band is another thing, but for a couple of seditious years the world belonged to My Vitriol and we fell at their feet.
Key track: ‘Always Your Way’
The Warlocks – Phoenix
The Brian Jonestown Massacre inspired an underground musical revolution in the States, with several key bands forming in the group’s orbit. One of those were fellow Californians The Warlocks, whose founder Bobby Hecksher played bass with Anton Newcombe and co towards the end of the nineties. After getting together in 1998, it took fully three years to gestate the band’s first full length album ‘Rise And Fall’, a record which wore its influences firmly on it’s sleeve yet unquestionably lit the touch paper for what was to follow. Which of course, was Phoenix. Released in November 2002 and eventually licensed to Mute in the UK, Phoenix comprises ten pieces of music ranging from simplistic West Coast-inspired psychedelic pop (‘Shake The Dope Out’, ‘Baby Blue’) through experimental excursions in noise (‘Inside Outside’, ‘Oh Shadie’) and beyond. Hecksher and his ever-changing lineup of Warlocks have amassed an impressive body of work since, but this is the one most listeners tend to go back to.
Key track: ‘Shake The Dope Out’
Longwave – The Strangest Things
By 2003 The Strokes were everywhere and inarguably the biggest indie rock band on the planet. Love or loathe them, they were impossible to ignore and their influence could be heard on just about everything. Which suited Longwave and their vastly underrated second album ‘The Strangest Things’ just fine. Whether on Steve Schiltz’s Brooklyn twang or his and Shannon Ferguson’s playful, interwoven guitar styles, their music unashamedly doffed its cap towards New York’s press darlings of the time. However, what Longwave also had in abundance was a desire to experiment sonically and with respected producer Dave Fridmann also on board, the results were astounding. Sadly, by 2008 the band was finished – although they did reunite earlier this year for a one-off gig with the possibility of new music to follow. Watch this space.
Key track: ‘Everywhere You Turn’
Autolux – Future Perfect
Formed in 2001 by Carla Azar, Greg Edwards and Eugene Goreshter, Autolux have remained something of an anomaly throughout their existence. Their reputation as being perfectionists both live and in the studio explains why their output has been less than prolific. Nevertheless, music is all about quality over quantity – and nothing can surpass Autolux’s ‘Future Perfect’. Released towards the end of 2004, the Californian trio’s debut fuses elements of post punk, electro pop and reverb-heavy sonics into a glorious harmonious whole that transcends any previous notions of what “shoegaze” may or may not mean, beaming it into the psyche of a new generation’s musical digestive system. ‘Future Perfect’ was so good it took them six years to follow it up, and while sporadic ever since, you can rest assured Autolux will be busy conjuring up their next work somewhere.
Key track: ‘Turnstile Blues’
Amusement Parks On Fire – Amusement Parks On Fire
Michael Feerick was just a teenager when he wrote the lion’s share of ‘Amusement Parks On Fire’ in his Nottingham bedroom. Yet it’s still one of the most explosive debuts released this century. As bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party emerged blinking from the underground to dominate the mainstream, Amusement Parks On Fire made a record which sounded like it had landed from another universe altogether. Songs like ‘Venus In Cancer’ and ‘Venosa’ could have been handpicked from any year of the preceding or succeeding decades and still sound unique. For a few heady months they had the world at their feet, with the NME creating a genre around them (“nu gaze!”) and even Richard Branson (no less) signed them to his V2 label off the back of ‘Amusement Parks On Fire’. By 2009 they’d changed labels once more and, four years later, went into a self-imposed hiatus, only to return at the tail end of 2017 with the excellent ‘Our Goal To Realise’ seven-inch. With a new album imminent, there’s plenty of life in Nottingham’s loudest yet.
Key track: ‘Venus In Cancer’
Asobi Seksu – Citrus
New York’s Asobi Seksu first emerged at the turn of the century thanks to their self-titled debut, which revealed to the workd a band only too willing to fuse pop sensibilities with sonic experimentation. Essentially the brainchild of keyboard player and vocalist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna, the band would employ various rhythm sections (and eventually, shhh, a drum machine) throughout their twelve years of existence. Citrus, released on One Little Indian in the summer of 2006 remains their grandiose statement. Chikudate’s dreamy vocals rising to the fore on the woozy likes of ‘Strawberries’ and ‘Thursday’. They eventually called it a day in 2013, reforming as a one-off to open for Slowdive the following year.
Key track: ‘Thursday’
The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters
Let’s get one thing straight, The Twilight Sad aren’t your stereotypical shoegaze act. But then Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters isn’t your stereotypical album either. Released in the spring of 2007, it introduced The Twilight Sad to a largely oblivious world. James Graham’s unmistakeable Kilsyth brogue elevated the likes of ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse’ and ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’, while Andy MacFarlane injects cold shards of harshly manifested guitar noise over frequently intrusive, pounding rhythms. Sounding like nothing else around at the time, or indeed since, ‘Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters’ remains one of the great debut albums of the 21st century, universally acclaimed by both fans and critics alike. Just don’t say “shoegaze” in their presence…
Key track: ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’
M83 – Saturdays = Youth
With the internet now defining both the formation and consumption of our musical landscape, those who stand still get left behind and stagnate. Thankfully that word doesn’t exist in the vocabulary of Anthony Gonzalez, and on Saturdays = Youth, his fifth LP as founder member and creative genius behind M83, he struck gold. Never afraid to declare his affection for eighties pop and nineties dance music as much as avant garde guitar bands like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, Gonzalez found a way of integrating them all into one enticing musical smorgasbord. From the artfully poised ‘We Own The Sky’ through the eyes of ‘Kim And Jessie’, the dark soul of ‘Graveyard Girl’ or celebratory ‘Couleurs’, Saturdays = Youth brought M83 and Gonzalez the widespread recognition his work deserved while introducing his music to a whole new audience in the process.
Key track: ‘Graveyard Girl’
A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head
When Skywave disbanded in 2002, who would have predicted founder member and guitarist Oliver Ackermann would return with something bigger, bolder and (somehow) even louder than his previous outfit? Nevertheless, that was what went down when 2007’s self-titled debut and their subsequent live shows established them as heir apparents to My Bloody Valentine. Since then, A Place To Bury Strangers have proved themselves to be far more than a shoegaze outfit, as demonstrated by each subsequent release that pushes those sonic boundaries ever closer towards the limit. However, it’s on 2009’s ‘Exploding Head’ where they truly attained perfection. All ten tracks here displaying various aspects of the band’s make up, not least Ackermann’s ability to use melody as a distortion tool with consummate ease.
Key Track: ‘I’ve Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart’
Wild Nothing – Gemini
Essentially a solo project, at least in terms of, writing and recording, Wild Nothing is the brainchild of Jack Tatum, who in the summer of 2010 unleashed Gemini. Containing twelve songs that encapsulate its creator’s buoyant mood at the time, ‘Gemini’ flutters between elegant dream pop (‘Chinatown’, ‘Summer Holiday’) and lo-fi indie rock (‘Our Composition Book’) while retaining an identity all of its own. Since then, Wild Nothing has become more of a band affair in the studio with this year’s ‘Indigo’ and its predecessor ‘Life Of Pause’ taking a more straightforward pop course than Tatum’s debut. Nevertheless, several songs off ‘Gemini’ still feature prominently in Wild Nothing’s live set, and its place here on our list is richly deserved.
Key track: ‘Chinatown’
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
Another band to emerge from the lo-fi indie scene, albeit three years earlier. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were put together in Brooklyn by Kip Berman, who remains to this day the only original member. While it was the band’s self-titled debut in 2009 that won hearts and minds around the globe via its creator’s knowing way around a tune set counterpointed against often coarse arrangements, this follow-up two years later suggested a more lofty, experimental approach. Inspired in part by Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins and fuelled by The Cure’s poppier elements, Berman and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were more likely to be found gazing up at the stars than down at their shoes and for the most part it worked a dream. Nowadays essentially a solo project, Berman is still capable of penning the odd classic – and next month sees him bring out his most ambitious project to date, in the shape of an entire album’s worth of Tom Petty covers.
Key track: ‘Belong’
The Lost Rivers – Sin & Lostness
Some bands outstay their welcome, whereas others evaporate almost as soon as they appear. Sadly, German trio The Lost Rivers fall into the latter category having all but vanished since their debut ‘Sin & Lostness’ unceremoniously bludgeoned its way into minds and eardrums six years ago. Originating from Baden-Wurttemberg in Stuttgart’s industrial heartland, The Lost Rivers first caught our attention eighteen months earlier thanks to their ‘My Beatific Vision’ EP. Incorporating industrial elements of Nine Inch Nails and Killing Joke alongside similar noise-rock principles employed by A Place To Bury Strangers and My Bloody Valentine, this self-produced opus looked set to be the catalyst for a long and distinguished career but then, nothing. However, as obscure classics go, this is one record we implore you check out.
Key track: ‘Your Looks’
Weekend – Jinx
San Francisco’s Weekend also came and went alarmingly quickly, paradoxically just as the noise rock underground was theirs to conquer. Relocating to Brooklyn prior to recording ‘Jinx’, their second long player, Weekend – and in particular singer guitarist and songwriter Shaun Durkan – exorcised their demons by way of a noisy catharsis. Fuelled in part by Durkan’s six months of therapy following a family bereavement, ‘Jinx’ is the sound of tension, trauma and brutality. Songs like ‘Sirens’ and ‘July’ throb incessantly as sound levels intensify. While the band’s post-punk roots come to the fore on ‘Celebration, FL’, a song that owes as much to Pornography era Cure or early Jesus & Mary Chain as it does the new breed of sonic terrorists. Sadly it’s been a while since we last heard from them but if ‘Jinx’ is to be Weekend’s parting shot, they well and truly left on a high.
Key track: ‘Sirens’
Cheatahs – Cheatahs
Despite hailing from different corners of the globe, Cheatahs got together in London a decade ago and have been based there ever since. Another band who bonded over a shared love of classic bands from the Sub Pop and Creation archives respectively, Cheatahs’ first EP came out in 2009, but by the time their self-titled debut emerged five years later they’d signed to Wichita and honed their sound to the distinguished beast we cower before today. The follow up ‘Mythologies’ came out the following year, and while they’ve been quiet in recent months, expect the announcement of new material any time soon.
Key track: ‘The Swan’
Pinkshinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters
It took six years after the release of their first EP ‘Happy Songs For Happy Zombies’ for Pinkshinyultrablast to finally drop their long awaited debut ‘Everything Else Matters’. But like all good things, it was definitely worth the wait. As were the subsequent live shows in support of the record, which saw many a UK audience spellbound in disbelief at what they’d witnessed. Hailing from St Petersburg, the five-piece mixed angelic vocals with vicious attacks of brutal noise and ornate electronica to concoct one of 2015’s most pivotal releases. Since then, they’ve put out two more releases (also on Club AC30) while slimming down to a three-piece to better focus on their quieter, more sensitive electronic elements. However, ‘Everything Else Matters’ remains their definitive statement and every home should own a copy.
Key track: ‘Holy Forest’
Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
Ulrika Spacek formed four years ago following the dissolution of its members’ former bands. Which was probably a blessing, if their recorded output so far is anything to go by. Based in Reading and augmented by the songwriting chops of guitarists Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams. ‘The Album Paranoia’ proved to be their introductory statement in February 2016, it’s effortlessly gliding melodies and ambient textures proving a hit with all that were lured in by its ten beautifully crafted pieces. A follow up entitled ‘Modern English Decoration’ came out last summer once again illustrating what an important band Ulrika Spacek are in the development of a genre that’s far outweighed those journalistic misconceptions of the early 1990s.
Key track: ‘I Don’t Know’
Slowdive – Slowdive
It’s worth noting that Slowdive rarely pulled more than fifty people to UK shows outside of London first time around. Which probably says more about people’s tastes back then than anything else. Whatever, that they’ve since re-emerged as arguably the genre’s more prominent exponents is testament not only to their mission to carry out unfinished business, but their constantly striving for improvement on an already winning formula. With an already impeccable back catalogue, no one could have predicted their fourth album – and first for twenty-two years – would be as good (if not better) than anything they’ve committed to tape in the past. Yet on last year’s flawless self-titled return, Slowdive announced they were a match for anyone past, present or future. Their seemingly relentless live schedule shows no signs of abating any time soon, and we’re intrigued to know what’s coming next.
Key track: ‘Star Roving’
Bloody Knives – White Light Black Moon
Which brings us to the present. 2018, another year of great releases from the likes of Spiritualized, Air Formation and Basement Revolver among others. However, one record that stands out from the crowd is White Light Black Moon, the fourth LP from Bloody Knives. Having formed ten years ago in Austin, Texas, the three-piece – Preston Maddox (vocals, bass), Jack O’Hara (guitar) and Jake McCown (drums) – have spent the intervening decade crafting visceral slices of sonic annihilation which sit somewhere between Nine Inch Nails, No Age and A Place To Bury Strangers. With backgrounds in the punk scene rather than the shoegaze world, Bloody Knives have adopted a “no limits” policy from day one and while 2016’s challengingly titled I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This gained a wealth of recognition far beyond their native city, we believe this year’s effort is the band’s finest collection to date.
Key track: ‘Slicer Repeater’