The only thing better than finding crushing indie rock albums is bumping them at 10 or 11 in your car instead of on earbuds. The louder and more dense the music, the less justice those workout bluetooth headphones give your guitar RAWK.
Here are 3 albums currently being played at unhealthy volumes in my car.
An American response to the UK shoegaze movement, Medicine was always wilder, weirder, dancier and a noisy avant-garde marvel. Making pop music louder and more disorienting since 1992’s Shot Forth Self Living, Medicine leads out on Silences with Jim Goodall’s hammering percussion.
Check out the bonkers cacophony of “Hey Hey Go Away!”
Medicine never lets a good hook go to waste though.
This isn’t kitchen sink noise with a side of melody. Brad Laner and Julia Monreal intertwine their Age of Aquarius harmonies like shoegaze on acid. But they never let go of song structure — however discordant things get, a pop song is happening here.
I put Medicine’s new album on my “To Buy” list just today…and you should too! Get the vinyl or digital release of Silences at Bandcamp.
Slowdive (Everything is Alive)
This post is not a shoegaze stalking horse. In fact the aforementioned Medicine really belong in a category of their own.
But shoegaze is loud and Slowdive are part of the genre’s Mount Rushmore. Just tonight, the Slowdive Salt Lake City show played at the Union Event Center – I regret to report I could not attend. Were you there?! Leave a comment or e-mail me about how your ears are doing tonight.
Slowdive’s canon is legendary but not deep. They basically changed the world with 1993’s Souvlaki but there are just a handful of Slowdive albums, and just two since reforming in 2017. They are shoegaze with ambience; a wall of sound with aspirational intentions.
Here is album opener for Everything is Alive, “Shanty.” Give “Shanty” about 45 seconds for the ambience to melt your face.
Rachel Goswell sounds so damn good exchanging vocals with Neil Halstead. Goswell floating in the ether, Halstead plowing ground below. Here they are on the exquisite “alife.”
As much as I suggest you buy Everything is Alive and Slowdive’s back catalogue, I also recommend you dig into Halstead and Roswell’s heralded work with Mojave 3. Ask Me Tomorrow (1995) and Out of Tune (1998) are both available at 4AD’s website. I also loved Halstead’s solo Oh, Mighty Engine! (2008) but haven’t bought Palindrome Hunches (2012).
Special Friend (Wait Until the Flames Rush In)
The ENTIRE Special Friend release isn’t angsty and loud. But OH MY HEAVENS you have to turn “Applause!” to the highest possible decibel. I was listening to it this afternoon in my car and you just can’t play it loud enough.
The spacious garage pop, synth and intense harmonies of Guillaume Siracusa and the Erica Ashleson goes over the top with the overdriven fuzz guitar solo that walks the song off stage. Wait Until the Flames Rush In will probably make my Top 20 this year, and a Top 10 for loud and proud among indie rock albums.