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  Revolution: Shoegaze Revival

Raphalite Records (UK) and Gerpfast Kolektif (Indonesia)

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Revolution: The Shoegaze Revival is a free download of 30 songs by 30 different bands who are currently making classic shoegaze. That is to say, this is a set of 30 different acts who are making noisy pop music with lots of distorted guitars. And it's free. Go here and grab it.

One word of warning: these tracks vary widely in quality. That is to be expected in a compilation of that many bands. However, in addition to song quality, there is also a wide range of recording quality on display here. That is to say, some of this stuff is recorded poorly and the resulting product is muddy and unclear. Of course, with shoegaze bands that might be intentional, but at times as i listen to this, i am struck with thought that it just wasn't recorded well. Be forewarned.

There are 30 songs here, but let me go over my favorites.

Chilean band Trementina give us Hazy Youth. The song starts off slowly and kind of mournful, but then suddenly it kicks into overdrive, with the vocalist kind of yelling and the guitars almost lost under the distortion. It is gloriously messy and loud.

Pakistani band //orangenoise are towards the janglepop end of the shoegaze continuum. This song just kind of meanders lightly, with some really pretty guitarwork.

British act Lights that Change are our token Cocteau Twins influenced band here. The guitar chime under the tremendous amounts of the Chorus effect pedal, and they even have a female voice. At times, they layer her voice over top of itself several times, a type of vocal folding that helps to create a Liz Fraser effect. They actually do a really good job with it.

Australian act Hideous Towns have a great band name, and a light, echoing sound that reminds me of The High Violets. Their singer has a really great voice, just a nice wailing. And i love the guitarwork that they accompany her with on Pets.

Intenna are an Indonesian band who give us the lo-fi My Flowery Dream. This is fun and pretty, with the sort of rough and raw sound that Alison's Halo used to great effect on their Eyedazzler compilation.

Germany's Jaguwar are decidedly less lo-fi. Muffhead is a slickly produced noise fest that channels MBV and the early, noisy messy stuff from The Boo Radleys.

Hong Kong band The Yours give Honey Treats, where the drums are clear and crisp, the guitars are intentionally fuzzy, and the voice is echoed to hell and back. It makes for a nice mix on this delightfully driving song.

Scottish band Wozniak provide the surreal El Maresme. This tune has a great rhythm built out of light clattering percussion. The guitars here come in waves that seem to start and stop, and the voice is so echoed that the singer might have been in another room, down a long corridor, far away from the rest of the band. This is a nice dense tune.

The artist most featured on this record is Ummagma, who also contributed to that LP from The Virgance that i liked so much last year. Ummagma is a duo, including a female singer. She adds vocals to the song Overdrive by Russian act Sounds of Sputnik. This track is so clean and sparse that it almost sounds antiseptic. Each musical element is isolated, separate. The overall effect is very crisp sounding.

Ummagma give us a song of their own, Live and Let Die. This is a jazzy song of echoed guitar, spastic drums loops, and their vocalist lounge singeing her way through the tune. Here her voice reminds me of Shilpa Ray -- she has a nice rich voice that she really knows how to use.

The final part of the Ummagma trilogy is their mix work on Essa Grande Falta de Voce by Brazilian Robsongs. Robsongs seems to come from the Spiritualized side of shoegaze, making music that is bluesy and psychedelic at the same time.

But there are 19 other tracks here, and i just cannot talk about them all. There is a lot to enjoy, and since the download is free, fans of shoegaze will need to grab a copy.

Obviously this distorted musical style that i enjoy is still popular all over the world, little groups of people making messy loud music. That is a good thing to know. The compilation was put together by Raphalite Records in the UK collaborating with Gerpfast Kolektif in Indonesia. (You read that right: gerpfast. What a wonderful word.) Thank you, Raphalite and Gerpfast. Keep up the good work.

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