Why do three bands have, more or less, the same
name? There is "Airiel", formerly of Bloomington, IN now of
Chicago, and Aerial, an Atlanta-based ravish collective, and
Airial, who is some sort of Japanese artist who has a release
No, really. What is up with this? Thanks to the glory of Google
i shall now go and do research on the name "Airiel".
Huh, well whaddayaknow? According to Google, the proper spelling
is "Ariel". If you try and look up "Airial" you will get hits
that seem to imply this is a place in France. "Ariel", however,
is a moon of Uranus named for a sprite in Shakespeare's play
The Tempest. Actually, according to the site
i found, all of the moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean
characters and not classical Greek mythology. I guess you do,
in fact, learn something new everyday.
At any rate, this is much better than my first guess, which
was that all of the artists took their name from the title character
in Disney's The Little Mermaid. I always labored
under the assumption that Disney was un-hip, so naming your
band after a character in a Disney film would appear to lose
you cred points. But The Bard -- hey, he's cool.
Anyway, the point is that i often find it confusing that these
three acts have such similar names. I tired to order the Airial
EP from Bella
Union, but they were sold out. And the first (and so far
only) time i saw Aerial was at Music Midtown a few years ago,
and i honestly went because i was curious to see if it was this
I had first heard Airiel from a 1999 7" on Roisin Records that
featured two fine shoegazing tunes, namely Shirley Temple
Tidal Wave b/w Stationary Lights. Good stuff, but
it was been a little while since i have heard from them.
Well apparently they are out of college now, living in Chicago,
and becoming much more productive. They plan to release three
4-track EPs on Clairecords during the next year, so watch this
space for more reviews to come!
In Your Room is the first release in their new round
of creative activity. It is released on clear 8" vinyl on the
Connecticut-based Sonic Syrup label. Now, i must ask, why an
8" record? Odd sizes are a pain in the ass to store, seeing
as they are too big for the 7.5" shelf i keep most of my singles
on, but too big for a regular shelf that holds 12" records.
Annoying! And, more importantly, there is no real reason for
it -- neither of the tunes on this release are long enough to
necessitate an extra inch of vinyl. So to the Sonic Syrup people
is say: knock it off and stop complicating my vinyl storing
Okay, well, that aside, how is the music you ask?
Airiel's music is typified by swirling guitars, thudding bass,
and frenetic drumming all behind mopey, vaguely brit-affected
vocals. Basically, the two tunes on here, both In Your Room
and it's b-side Wasteland Cupid, are masterpieces of
swirling guitarwork the likes of which have not been seen since
Kitchens of Distinction called it a day. (Which was in 1995
in case you were wondering.)
Yeah, this is good stuff. Guitars swirl under a mass of chorus
and echo, the bass thuds along merrily, and the drums are frenetic
and good. All of this backs up the subdued vocals, which are
almost buried in the mix. It's not exactly a revolutionary formula,
but it is well executed.
Overall, i recommend this release, in fact any Airiel release,
to shoegazers who need something new to listen to while waiting
for Kevin Shields to sober up enough to record again. Good stuff.