Guest post by Vito C:
The current musical climate is rife with nostalgia. Whether it’s early 2000s female powerhouses like Michelle Branch and JoJo performing at DC’s famous 930 club, or bands from our angsty high school years like The Academy Is…, Saosin, and Underoath reuniting for sweaty, scream-every-word tours, music from our past is popping up at every turn. To me, one of the more unexpected comebacks hails from shoegaze, a subgenere of indie rock carved out in the late 1980s and 1990s characterized by airy, washed out vocals and guitars focused more on creating atmosphere and a wall of sound than distinct guitar riffs.
While the early 2000s saw bands like M83 bring the wall of sound into the forefront of the indie scene, the shoegaze resurgence really began in 2013 when My Bloody Valentine, the most well known and revered shoegaze band, released a third album to much critical acclaim. This release allowed music fans who frequent websites like Pitchfork and Stereogum to dive into their catalog, as well as other artists of that time, unearthing a whole new world of sound. Since then, the internet has seen many lists detailing the best shoegaze albums and essential tracks. Newer artists with a direct lineage to the sounds of their elders, like Nothing, Diiv, Wild Nothing, Real Estate, and Whirr, have been dominating year-end lists and currently inhabit one of the few spaces where rock music still thrives today. 2017 alone has seen releases from genre heavyweights The Jesus and Mary Chain and Slowdive, with the latter selling out shows across North America while finding themselves atop half-year best of lists.
This brings us to the band at the forefront of this post: Ride. Ride is an English band whose 1990 album Nowhere finds itself in the conversation with the most acclaimed shoegaze albums. Though their later albums would eschew many of the sounds that saw the rise of their popularity in favor of classic rock and Britpop, their name will forever be synonymous with the genre. Ride reunited in 2014 for a run of shows that saw an unexpected enthusiasm from fans both new and old and released a new album on June 16th of this year, titled Weather Diaries. The opening track, Lannoy Point, is a high point of the album and one that is certain to appease fans of their earlier work. The track contains big, swirling guitars, washed out vocals, and a synth line that sounds like something SOHN might pump out. A bright, jangly guitar riff surrounds the chorus and makes for a perfect summer drive with the windows down and the music up. The lyrics speak to the polarizing political climate we all currently endure, specifically in relation to Britain post-Brexit, with the lead singer Mark Gardner declaring, “A better sense can start again.” The music, lyrics, and history combine to form a song that feels fresh and new despite its ode to ‘90s nostalgia. This track will most certainly be a staple of my summer.