Tag Archive: shoegaze

Today’s post is Part Two of the three part Goldenweek Tour preview. Yesterday I covered all-female Japanese Punk/Garage Rock band Otoboke Beaver and today’s it’s the turn of tour mates Sue Say Me a South Korean Indie-Rock band. 

Childhood friends Byung-kyu (guitar), Jae-young (bass), and Se-min (drums) met Su-mi (vocals) at a tea shop in the Nampo-dong neighborhood of Busan in 2012. The three liked Su-mi’s speaking voice and immediately offered her a spot as the vocalist in their new band that would become Say Sue Me.

Say Sue Me released their debut album, “We’ve Sobered Up” in 2014 followed by their first EP, “Big Summer Night” in 2015.

In 2016, drummer Se-min fell into a semi-comatose state after rupturing his skull. Say Sue Me fans, as well as other indie bands from Busan raised over 13 million Won (South Korean currency) in one day to help pay for his medical bills.

The band brought on new drummer Chang-won to temporarily replace Se-min and named their 2017 EP, the Record Store Day release, “Semin” after the injured drummer.That year, the band also released a self-titled compilation album on UK record label Damnably.

In 2018, Say Sue Me release their second album “Where We Were Together”, followed a week later by the Record Store Day EP “It’s Just a Short Walk!”, which includes covers of songs by Blondie, the Ramones, the Velvet Underground, and the Beach Boys. That year, the band performed at SXSW, marking their first performance in the United States and toured the UK and Europe. At the end of the year, the band released the holiday EP, “Christmas, It’s Not a Biggie”.

Say Sue Me’s musical style has been described as surf rock or “surfgaze.” The band has said that their surf rock sound was not intentional, but was likely influenced by their seaside hometown Busan and their practice room’s proximity to the beach. You can also definitely hear a big Dream-Pop influence on their sound.

Of the three bands on the Goldenweek Tour Sue Say Me are least favourite. I’m not really a fan of Dream-Pop, surf music or jangly Indie-Rock. However, their best such as ‘After Falling Asleep’, ‘To Be Wise’, the trashy almost Velvet Underground-y ‘Beginning to See the Light’ and I also like the darker ‘Spy On Motorbike!”. I can also appreciate the band’s musical skill and I believe that fans of the genres the band fits into will love them.

You can check Sue Say Me’s music and the Goldenweek Tour Spotify playlist below.

Comment below with what you think of Sue Say Me.

This is a monthly feature where classic and cult albums are revisited and reassessed for the modern listener. The only rule is that it must be a critically acclaimed or cult record released before 2000.

Dinosaur Jr. – “You’re Living All Over Me” (SST Records, 1987)

This month’s Classics Critiqued selection is considered by many fans and music critics to be an alternative rock classic that put Dinosaur Jr. (J. Mascis (guitar), Lou Barlow (bass) and Murph (drums) on the map and triggered their signing to a major label. “You’re Living All Over Me” and the band’s live shows influenced the shoegaze music scene in England and the American grunge scene in Seattle. Combining a melting pot of rock music genres including metal, hardcore, punk and noise rock and adding twist of Neil Young and a pop sensibility, the album created a fresh fusion from long established elements. In this article I discuss the album and its sound, initial impact and continuing legacy.

 “You’re Living All Over Me” was the band’s second album and follow-up to 1986’s “Dinosaur”, which was a spirited affair that hints at what was to come and contains none of the new melodic sound showcased on “You’re Living All Over Me”. By this point the band had developed their sound and became tighter through touring. The album arrived in 1987 as the US alternative rock scene shifted from the dominance of hardcore in the early 80s to both more experimental and more tuneful extremes. On the one hand Sonic Youth released “Sister” and Minutemen would bow out with “Ballot Result” while Husker Dü had released “Warehouse: Songs and Stories”, The Meat Puppets put out “Huevos” and Dinosaur Jr.’s closest peers the Pixies started their career with “Come On Pilgrim”. Dinosaur Jr. sat in between these two extremes taking the best elements from the two sides and fusing them together into something of their own.

“A brilliant, brutal hailstorm of hyper-distorted riffs and pulverizing basslines, it’s harder, louder and meaner than nine out of ten heavy metal albums. The multi-sectioned songs change direction so frequently that it’s hard to tell them apart, as the power-trio assault is modulated by graceful, looming melodies that rise like mist out of the pedal-mess”.

–          Trouserpress.com

What were the ingredients that went into Dinosaur Jr.’s melting pot? They combined the molten garage rock of “Funhouse” by The Stooges, the adolescent punk of The Ramones, the noise rock of early Sonic Youth, Neil Young style melodic country rock and Black Sabbath’s epic sludge filled metal. One of their closet contemporaries was Husker Dü who similarly combined punk’s energy with the classic rock influences that punk bands were supposed to shun. The difference between the two is that as Dinosaur Jr.’s sound developed they retained most of their punk edge. Many critics have spent a lot of time discussing the emotional content of the band’s material (more on that later) and I think it’s this that places the trio in a lineage of great adolescent pop-rock bands including The Stooges, The Ramones, Buzzcocks and Nirvana; maybe what separates Dinosaur Jr. is their earnestness.

“It gives off the feeling that you’re not listening to a record, per se, but rather have stumbled into the practice space of the best unknown guitar band in the world. They don’t know you’re there, so they just keep playing with everything they are”.

–          Pop Matters

Much has been made of Dinosaur Jr.’s slacker image and their dour subject matter. However, what is rarely picked up is the moments when their music temporarily surges up and sours creating (sonically at least) a feeling of uplift. Taking into consideration that the band members were barely out of their teens dealing with all the new problems life throws at young people, it’s not a surprise they often dealt with life’s more troubling emotions. The band were incredibly adept at expressing a range of emotions often simultaneously, who else could create songs like ‘Raisins’ which finds space to include “anger, arousal, depression and awkwardness” in a four minute song or ‘In A Jar’ which “displays the scepticism and paranoia of the socially downtrodden when a girl actually likes them”. Barlow takes things a step further on his two song writing credits: ‘Lose’ and ‘Poledo’ which total “nine minutes of pure, unadulterated self-loathing”. ‘Poledo’ is the odd one out on the album sounding like a prototype for what would be become Barlow’s new project Sebadoh. It combines a section of lo-fi ukulele with Barlow despairing over the top followed by “some Stockhausen-by-way-of-Fisher-Price pause-button edits.”  Elsewhere Mascis yearns like Neil Young, his voice caught in “a confused mess: emotionally disentangled yet intensely felt, indolent and passive yet capable of incredible fury and volume”. Dinosaur Jr. created the most directly personal and emotional music while their peers “My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth immersed their personal-political ambivalence in torrents of guitar noise; Butthole Surfers ran with scatological humour as expressive deflection; Spacemen 3 discovered gospel and the blues as a way of channelling their responses through pre-determined forms.”

“… Dinosaur are the sound of galvanised lethargy, vibrant despondency. Grey skies have seldom blazed so bright, surged so furiously.” – Simon Reynolds, Bring The Noise.

It was with “You’re Living All Over Me” and its accompanying tour that Dinosaur Jr. started to influence bands on both sides of the Atlantic, most obviously the Seattle grunge scene and in particular Mudhoney, who incorporated the sludge metal aspect of Dinosaur Jr., and Nirvana who, inspired by “You’re Living All Over Me”, also married hardcore punk’s intensity to metal sludge and grind with pop sensibilities. Over in the UK the band was an influence on the shoegaze scene with My Bloody Valentine taking the way that “Dinosaur Jr. dissolved rock’s vertebrae, vaporizing the riff, power chord and bass line in a blizzard of serrated haze. MBV took this logic of blessed amorphousness to the next level, years later; Kevin Shields would play in the appropriately named J Mascis and the Fog.” Though it’s hard to pick out contemporary bands who are directly influenced by “You’re Living All Over Me” it’s immediate impact echoed in many bands for years to come.

You can listen to “You’re Living All Over Me” here.

 Let us your views on the album and Dinosaur Jr. in the comments or on our Twitter.

Back in February I wrote an article that hypothesised the links between a growing underground of new psychedelic music and those that had influenced the artists involved. Since completing it I have had many thoughts about modern psychedelia and how it links together. In this piece I will discuss the work of Caribou (formerly Manitoba) and Animal Collective and continue the thread through the last decade. I will briefly examine a new idea about the beginnings of modern psychedelia in the late 1990s/early 2000s, in particular the work and effect of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips.

Dan Snaith’s (Caribou/Manitoba) career has covered a diverse range of genres from ‘60s psychedelia to modern dance music like Animal Collective yet there is a distinct difference between them. The principal difference being that Animal Collective are more flamboyant and confident, especially since 2005’s ‘Feels’ whereas Snaith’s music is rooted in subtle details to the point where the gorgeous electronica of ‘Start Breaking My Heart’ (2001) can seem too similar from song to song.

His next album ‘Up In Flames’ established Snaith as a psychedelic artist and his reputation for attention to detail. This album succeeded in marrying the sound of shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine with the drum breaks that would become a staple of his sound for the next few releases. It was critically acclaimed, earning plaudits such as it is ‘laptop pop that shimmers, shakes and twists like the precocious child of Aphex Twin, Spiritualized and the Beatles’ (Urb magazine) and ‘approaches the psychedelic grandeur of Spiritualized or Mercury Rev at their finest while still offering a wealth of carefully placed sonic detail.’ (The Wire). It was from here Snaith would use a flexible formula of combining the latest studio technology with analogue warmth and references to psychedelic music.

Snaith then flexed his musical muscles with the delivery of ‘The Milk Of Human Kindness’ in 2005 after changing his name to Caribou due to the threat of legal action. Travelling from ‘Yeti’s propulsive ‘60s organ sounds  via the near noise fest of ‘Hands First’ and the perfect Can tribute ‘Barnowl’, this is an eclectic album that shouldn’t hold together but does with aplomb. Caribou has been undeservedly criticised for lacking cohesion yet this is hard to understand as he regularly delivers albums that reach his fanbase’s high standards. ‘The Milk of…’ is his most diverse effort to date but linking it all together is the influence of Can and in particular guitarist Michael Karoli who’s funky yet emotive style is the one thing consistent on the album.

For his next album ‘Andorra’, Caribou focused on ‘60s psychedelia and though a more focused effort it covered a large amount of ground across its nine tracks with its closer ‘Niobe’ hinting at a future daring departure. This year that move was completed with the release of the dance music influenced ‘Swim’, a record inspired by Snaith’s rediscovered love of swimming, which shows. Its layered sounds come in waves, washes of psychedelic effects shift sounds in and out of focus with the fourth track ‘Found Out’ recreating the effect that being underwater has on the perception of audio.

As mentioned, Caribou/Manitoba and Animal Collective have both covered a range of genres within psychedelic music. The reasons for choosing Animal Collective in the original article was because they, like Snaith, serve as a link to the various genres mentioned, directly or indirectly, and have been releasing music throughout the previous decade.

However, after reflection I decided that the roots lay a little further back in time. The bands that galvanised this proliferation of psychedelic music were the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev who released their ‘The Soft Bulletin’ and ‘Deserter’s Song’s’ albums in 1998/1999. These were critically acclaimed and bands such as Luna, Home and Mercury Rev side project Hopewell also gained media exposure. It was as if for a moment that a new psychedelic movement was going to take the world by storm, but it was not be and only Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips retain a profile similar to that they enjoyed during this period but instead of petering out psychedelic music continued to evolve into a number of forms, which has not explicitly covered in the mainstream media and many links have gone unnoticed. Though only a theory I believe it stands up as an overview of an unreported network of related of artists and their activities.

I am considering a further follow-up to the original psychedelia piece or a series of articles focusing on the shoegaze, krautrock and 70s synth music scenes and other strains of psychedelic music.

Spotify playlist (HHTP link, then Spotify link)

Psychedelia: The Return – Further Explorations

Psychedelia: The Return – Further Explorations

And now for something completely different:


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