Top 30 albums of 2017: #’s 10 – 6

It’s my top 10 of the year.  Who’s here?  Read on for the first five.

#10 – Sleaford Mods – English Tapas

Bold, brash, and at times brutal, this is a punk rock album disguised as a hip hop record.  The minimalist beats get under your skin and the scathing lyrics stick it to the Man, ourselves, and everyone in-between.

#9 – Gary Numan – Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

This industrial powerhouse of a record was a great return for Gary Numan and a fantastic concept album (about life in a post-apocalyptic world) to boot.  It has some great riffs and Numan’s synth work is top-notch.  He shows no signs of slowing or aging.

#8 – Soulwax – From Deewee

Recorded beginning to end in just one take, this amazing record combines three drummers with four other people playing vintage synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers.  It’s an impressive piece of work and it produced one of my favorite singles of the year – “Missing Wires.”

#7 – Honey – New Moody Judy

I picked up this album after hearing just one song from it, “Dream Come Now (another one of my favorite songs of 2017),” and was astounded by the rest of the record.  It’s fierce and chock-full of garage-punk riffs that flatten nearly everything else I’ve heard this year.

#6 – Slowdive – self-titled

This is one of the most beautiful records of the year and marked a big return for not only Slowdive but also the entire shoegaze genre.  Everyone wondered how this record would sound once Slowdive announced their reunion, and it exceeded everyone’s expectation.  It’s easily the best shoegaze release of 2017.

Who makes the top five?  Tune in on New Year’s Day to find out!

Keep your mind open.

[It’s not too late to subscribe this year.]

Slowdive – self-titled

2017 has been a good year for shoegaze music because two legendary British shoegaze bands returned this year with excellent new material. One of these bands is RIDE, and the other is Slowdive (Nick Chaplin – bass, Rachel Goswell – guitar and vocals, Neil Halstead – guitar and vocals, Christian Savill – guitar, Simon Scott – drums).

Slowdive’s self-titled album is perhaps the lushest, loveliest record of the year. The opener, “Slomo,” immediately seems to lift you off the ground and send you into an idyllic sky with its floating guitars and ghostly vocals about “curious love.” The band has lost nothing in the last twenty years. They only seem to have improved on everything. The title of “Star Roving” (a song about sharing love even when it seems daunting) couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s a sonic blast that burns as bright as a comet.

Goswell’s vocals on “Don’t Know Why” start subtle but then the entire song opens like a flower and becomes a stunning piece about trying to escape the memories of a lover who has moved on to someone else. “Sugar for the Pill” was the first Slowdive had released in two decades, and it immediately set the music world on fire. It’s no surprise, because the song is stunning. Slightly goth bass, echoing guitars, lush synths, and smoky vocals about not being able to live up to a lover’s expectations all mix together to produce one of the prettiest songs of 2017.

“Everyone Knows” bursts with energy, whereas the follow-up “No Longer Making Time” is like a lovely walk through a morning fog that is lifted by the sunrise. Slowdive has mastered the art of making guitars both loud and soothing. “Go Get It” is a master course on how to put together a shoegaze song: shifting levels of distortion and reverb, solid drumming, and mysterious vocals.

The album ends with “Falling Ashes” – which is little more than a rain-like piano riff, subdued guitars, and quiet vocals (often repeating the album’s theme, “Thinking about love.”), but that’s all Slowdive needs to hold you in the moment.

I know most of this review is merely I saying, “This record is gorgeous,” but that’s the best way I can put it. Parts of it sound like Slowdive stepped out of a time machine from the 1990’s, but other parts of it are rich with new energy that’s hard to describe.

“Gorgeous” is the best word that comes to mind.

Keep your mind open.

[You’d be sweet as sugar to me if you subscribed.]

Slowdive announces more U.S. tour dates into the fall.



Slowdive‘s self-titled album, released last month via Dead Oceans, is one of the best-reviewed albums of the year so far.  Following a sold out North American tour in advance of its release, the band are announcing a return to the continent in the fall, to perform in cities both new and old. Prior to that, they’ll be appearing at FYF Fest in Los Angeles on July 21st.

Also, today saw the release of an incredible stripped back NPR Music Field Recording that the band filmed while in New York in May. Watch below.



SLOWDIVE TOUR DATES (new dates in bold)
Fri. June 16 – Sun. June 18 – Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby
Sat. July 1 – Roskilde, Denmark @ Roskilde Festival
Thurs. July 6 – Trencin, Slovakia @ Pohoda Festival
Fri. July 7 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
Sun. July 9 – Six Four Les Plages, France@ Pointu Festival
Fri. July 21 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
Fri. July 28– South Korea @ Valley Rock Festival
Sun. July 30 – Tahar Shi, Japan @ Fuji Rock Festival
Sat. Aug. 19 – Trondheim, Norway  @ Pstereo Festival
Fri. 25 Aug. – Switzerland @ Nox Orae Festival
Sat. Aug. 27 – Paris, France @ Rock En Seine Festival
Thu. Aug. 31 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival
Sat. Sept. 2 – Milano, Italy @ Un Altro Festival
Thu. Sept. 7 – Tel Aviv, Israel @ Barby Club
Fri. Sept. 15 – Sat. 16 Sept. – Angers, France @ Levitation Fest
Sun. Sept. 17 – Birmingham, UK @ Beyond the Tracks Festival
Fri. Sept. 29 – Dortmund, Germany @Way Back When Festival
Sat. Sept. 30 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ DR Koncerthuset
Mon. Oct. 2 – Warsaw, Poland – @ Palladium
Tues. Oct. 3 – Berlin, Germany @ Huxley’s
Weds. Oct. 4 – Hamburg, Germany @Uebel & Gefaehrlich
Fri. Oct. 6 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Sat. Oct. 7 – Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique
Mon. Oct. 9 – Glasgow, UK @ ABC
Tues. Oct. 10 – Manchester, UK @Albert Hall
Weds. Oct. 11 – Leeds, UK @ Town Hall
Fri. Oct. 13 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
Mon. Oct. 23 – Vancouver, BC @ The Commodore
Wed. Oct. 25 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
Thu. Oct. 26 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Sat. Oct. 28 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater   
Wed. Nov. 1 – Denver, CO @ The Ogden
Sat. Nov. 4 – Madison, WI @ Barrymore Theatre
Sun. Nov. 5 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
Tue. Nov. 7 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
Wed. Nov. 8 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
Thu. Nov. 9 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Hall
Fri. Nov. 10 – Toronto, ON @ CANADA @ Massey Hall
Sat. Nov. 11 – New Haven, CT @ College St Music Hall
Sun. Nov. 12 – New York City, NY @ Terminal 5  

Tue. Nov. 14 – Boston,MA @ Paradise
Wed. Nov. 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Thu. Nov. 16 – Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head
Fri. Nov. 17 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel

Tickets available from


“A precise and altogether gorgeous showcase of their peerless ability at production, mood, and songcraft.” – Pitchfork [Best New Music]

“Listening to Slowdive is like watching the sunrise and sunset at once — an awe-inspiring chorus of the galaxy.” – NPR Music

Slowdive carries all the right baggage from the band’s past, but the album leaves no question about the direction they’re traveling in. They’re carrying this sound towards the future.” – Stereogum

“Throughout Slowdive, the band use foggy images and slippery transitions as a soothing sort of déjà vu—you feel like you’ve been here before, even though you obviously haven’t.” – SPIN [SPIN Essential]

“With this self-titled record, their first in 22 years, Slowdive definitively prove that some bands have enough creative juice to get back together and make some incredible music.” – Vulture

“The result is as beautiful and stilling as ever.” – AV Club

“Dreamy vocals, thick melancholia, heavy guitar treatments. And ‘Slomo,’ the opening track, is a goddamn minor miracle. Welcome back, shoegaze friends.” – Newsweek

Levitation France announces dates and first lineup.

While Levitation Austin didn’t happen this year, Levitation France is a go on September 15-16th!  This bodes well for the Levitation shows (a small one is being held in Austin the first weekend of May) making a full return next year.

The first wave of band announcements includes the Black Angels, Slowdive, Acid Mothers Temple, and Kikagu Moyo.  As usual, the Levitation festivals always have a great lineup, and this will be no exception.  Get to Angers, France if you can.

Keep your mind open.


Slowdive’s first album in 22 years due out May 5th.




UK shoegaze pioneers Slowdive are pleased to announce their self-titled fourth album, out May 5th via Dead Oceans, and the beautifully understated new single, “Sugar For The Pill,which follows the release of “Star Roving.” Additionally, Slowdive announce a live stream of a surprise show tomorrow, March 29th, at London’s The Garage, the venue in which the band played their final London show in their original incarnation in December 1993. The stream will go live at 4:10pm Eastern here:

Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears. These eight new tracks, simultaneously expansive and the band’s most direct material to date, deftly swerve away from any “trip down memory lane.” They were birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt, The Courtyard, and mixed at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound by Chris Coady (Beach House). Throughout, the group dynamic was all-important. “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,” notes principal songwriter Neil Halstead.

The video for “Sugar For The Pill,” produced by in/out, takes its inspiration from the Slowdive album artwork which is itself a still from Harry Smith’s cult classic animation Heaven and Earth Magic – the vast spiritual narrative that has influenced so many artists since it was originally released back in 1957.

Slowdive is Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals) and Simon Scott (drums, electronics). Their debut album, Just For A Day, was released in 1991 by Creation Records and was followed by the band’s now revered 1993 album Souvlaki and 1995’s Pygmalion before they disbanded. In the 22 years of their virtual disappearance, compilation albums have been released and the core members of the group have gone on to join other musical endeavours. In 2014, the band announced that they’d reunited and more new music would follow.
Watch Slowdive’s “Sugar For The Pill” Video –

Listen to Slowdive’s “Star Roving” –

Pre-order Slowdive

Slowdive Tracklisting:
1. Slomo
2. Star Roving
3. Don’t Know Why
4. Sugar For The Pill
5. Everyone Knows
6. No Longer Making Time
7. Go Get It
8. Falling Ashes

Slowdive Tour Dates:
Mon. March 27 – Glasgow, UK @ Art School – SOLD OUT
Tue. March 28 – Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Arts Club – SOLD OUT
Wed. March 29 – London, UK @ The Garage
Thu. March 30 – Bristol, UK @ The Fleece – SOLD OUT
Fri. March 31 – The Hague, NL @ Rewire Festival
Sun. April 2 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo – SOLD OUT
Mon. April 3 – Berlin, DE @ Festsaal — SOLD OUT
Sun. April 30 – Fort Worth, TX @ Fortress Festival
Tue. May 2 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
Wed. May 3 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater # — SOLD OUT
Fri. May 5 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall # — SOLD OUT
Sat. May 6 – Montreal, QC @ L’Olympia
Sun. May 7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club # — SOLD OUT
Mon. May 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel # — SOLD OUT
Tue. May 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Wed. May 10 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Thu. May 11 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Sat. May 13 – Santiago, CL @ Fauna Otono
Sun. May 14 – São Paulo, BR @ Balaclava Fest
Fri. June 2 – Oxford, UK @ O2 Academy
Sat. June 3 – London, UK @ Field Day
Fri. June 16 – Sun. June 18 – Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby
Fri. July 7 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
Fri. July 21 – Sun. July 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
Thu. Aug. 31 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival

Slowdive announces North American tour for May 2017.

(above image by Ingrid Pop)

“Listening to Slowdive is like watching the sunrise and sunset at once — an awe-inspiring chorus of the galaxy.” — NPR Music on “Star Roving”

“The mix is even denser and more diffuse than Slowdive’s albums from the 1990s, reveling in the analog blur and sounding glad to be back.” – The New York Times on “Star Roving”
Slowdive recently made their return with new single, “Star Roving,” their first new material in 22 years. It was released to a flurry of excitement, even taking the band to No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140. Comprised of Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals) and Simon Scott (drums, electronics), Slowdive is now announcing a North American tour, their first since fall 2014. They’ll play select cities throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Japanese Breakfast will support on all dates. Tickets will be on sale on Jan. 27th.

Slowdive Tour Dates:
Tue. May 2 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre # [TIX]
Wed. May 3 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater # [TIX]
Fri. May 5 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall # [TIX]
Sun. May 7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club # [TIX]
Mon. May 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel # [TIX]

# = with Japanese Breakfast

Listen to Slowdive’s “Star Roving” –

Purchase “Star Roving” –

Slowdive release first single in more than two decades.



(above image by Ingrid Pop)

After 22 years, Slowdive return with “Star Roving, their first new material since 1995’s Pygmalion. Featuring Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals) and Simon Scott (drums, electronics), “Star Roving” embodies the effortlessness for which Slowdive is known — as the song progresses, it expands and contracts in ways that feel infinite.
Slowdive released their debut album, Just For A Day, in 1991 via Creation Records. The highly revered Souvlaki followed in 1993 and Pygmalion in 1995, and then the band disbanded. In the 22 years of their virtual disappearance, compilation albums have been released and the core members of the group have gone on to join other musical endeavors. In 2014, Slowdive announced that they had reunited and more new music would follow. Upon today’s release of new single, “Star Roving,” the band has also announced signing to Dead Oceans.

Halstead says, When the band decided to get back together in 2014, we really wanted to make new music. It’s taken us a whole load of shows and a few false starts to get to that point, but it’s with pride and a certain trepidation we unleash ‘Star Roving.’ It’s part of a bunch of new tracks we’ve been working on and it feels as fun, and as relevant playing together now as it did when we first started. We hope folks enjoy it.”

Dead Oceans’s Phil Waldorf comments on the signing, “We are elated to work with Slowdive on their new album. I saw Slowdive for the first time, as a teenager, in 1991 at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. I remember it being a revelation – the way the band used texture and tone was something I’d never heard before, and it stuck with me for a long time. It was one of those gigs that was a gateway drug of sorts — not only was it amazing to see Slowdive, but it was the first taste of a whole sound that made me go exploring into all kinds of music. More than two decades later, their music sounds just as relevant and vital, and we cannot wait for old fans and new listeners to hear the band’s new recordings.”
Listen to Slowdive’s “Star Roving” –

Purchase “Star Roving” –

Levitation Austin artist spotlight: Slowdive


England’s Slowdive are shoegaze legends who should’ve been bigger over here in the U.S. than they were in their early 1990’s heyday.  They’ve been reunited and touring for a couple years now, which is good news for all of us.  I missed them at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival a couple years ago, but I’m happy to see them at Levitation Austin when they close out the main stage on April 29th.

Keep your mind open.

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