This post is dedicated to Sing-Sing (the UK band, not the prison!) and shoe-gazing. When I was in highschool, I used to listen to Terry David Mulligan (very late night) on CBC Radio. Terry used to play the coolest alternative music from around the world on that show. I think my friends and I had an unspoken competition regarding who could obtain the most rare and bizarre import CD’s at the time and Terry’s show was a great place to get introduced to some of these Indie groups. If I could keep my eyes open long enough (I swear I was narcoleptic up until my early twenties), my ears would be treated to a variety of sounds from the likes of The Dylans, The Charlatans UK, Lush, My Bloody Valentine and others. All of these bands are a few of my favourites now, but my very first UK band crush had to be Lush. Wow. When I first heard Lush, my heart melted and dripped like wax onto the floor. This London shoe-gazing band had a very unique sound of layered guitars and ethereal voices. I fell in love with the sound of Emma Anderson’s voice. I bought every import CD I could find (Spooky was my absolute favourite) and listened with a hungry ear to every shifty rift and beat. I absolutely couldn’t get enough of this group – they inspired many of my creative artistic bursts and fueled my ethereal soul. Then, as we 80’s and 90’s music lovers know, the shoe-gazing movement was steam-rolled by the Seattle grundge scene – Nirvana and Pearl Jam hit the mix and shoe-gazing fizzled into the background (albeit with a loyal underground following).
So a few months ago, I was flipping through my cassette collection (oh yes, I still have my “cassettes” and I came upon Loop and My Bloody Valentine (MBV) – another couple of shoe-gazing favourites). Since the early 90’s I have occasionally flipped Lush onto my CD player to get a quick fix of the band (I knew and was rather depressed about the band’s disbanding in the late 1990’s). The re-visitation of Loop and MBV once again aroused my interest in the shoe-gazing genre and I thought I would visit Wikipedia and see what they had to say about this obscure music style. Well. Turns out the genre was a little more prolific than I had once thought (and I thought I was a true shoe-gazing fan). Chapterhouse, Ride, Verve, Kitchens of Distinction…woo hoo…..who knew that this many SG bands even existed (I was lucky enough to be able to find import Lush CD’s in my little corner of the Universe). And it turned out (thank you Wiki) that Emma Anderson (and Lisa O’Neill) had formed a new band – Sing-Sing. My heart leapt for joy. Then, I had an idea. Let’s see if Itunes has a few of these little gems. Sure enough, I was able to purchase some Chapterhouse (“Pearl” is divine by the way) and another Lush collection (Ciao! 1989-1996). I also picked up “The Joy of Sing-Sing” and later spoiled myself with “Sing-Sing and I”. Incredible. I can’t stop listening to this music. Working, reading, driving, creating, cooking…it’s all so very delectably good…!
Why Shoe-gazing? Apparently, the artists would spend alot of time adjusting their instrument pedals during a performance and spent alot of time looking down at the floor! (aha, not a bad name for the genre then). Classically, the genre has alot of layered guitar sounds and the voices are often obscured and very celestial sounding (I have overused the word “ethereal” today, but that’s another description for the voices). Anyways, I think my paint appreciates the inspiration coursing through my fingers when I start to decorate my canvasses to this music (wait for my upcoming art blog – I’m also working out the kinks on a new website for my art studio). My nature-inspired art takes on a surrealistic and very philosophic air when influenced by this music. Some of my favourites for acrylic-mixing would have to include “Panda Eyes”, “Feels Like Summer”, “Modern Girl” and “When I Was Made” by Sing-Sing (but I honestly can’t say I have a true favourite song of theirs because everything is so delectably GOOD – sexy marmalade good, in fact….). Then there is “Lovelife”, “Nothing Natural”, “Untogether” and “Monochrome” by Lush and “Pearl” and “In My Arms” by Chapterhouse. Honestly, I am once again in a euphoric state of bliss here. Technically, Sing-Sing’s sound is as juicy as ever, but I don’t think we can classify it as shoe-gazing per se (that era has more or less slipped into divine obscurity) – and why would we insult the music by classifying it anyways? Anyways, if we had to absolutely describe it, it would require a culinary description. Yum. Oozing, dripping, honey-like sustenance. I am the hummingbird for this musical nectar.
ps. “The Librarian” is much happier when I play music in my study…little grump that he is!