Learning to Love Again

Recommended albums from the first half of 2006


Various artists
(available at gojohnnygo.com)
Listening to this collection of local dream pop compiled by students from the Institute of Production and Recording, I've come to two possible conclusions: Either Minneapolis had an exceptional shoegazing scene from 1992-98 or shoegaze was exceptionally easy to produce. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and go with the former. Fourteen bands defang grunge with the help of a delay pedal, beginning with Hovercraft's shimmering "Has Been." The rest of the tracks hit various oxygen-deprived stages of drowning in sound, with Colfax Abbey's "Silver" feeling the most blissed-out (I think it's the cascading chimes).

The problem with a lot of druggy dream pop is it can grow kind of dull if you're not actually on drugs. But RedEyed provides just enough variety: Purblind offer a less cluttered aesthetic and crooned vocals, sounding more like the Smiths than any stereotypical shoegaze outfit. Fauna and Shapeshifter dare to let their guitars get a little crunchy and almost rock out. Blanket's dynamic "Folding Chair" predates emo, while Pleasant Stitch and Ousia set the stage for shadowy trip hop and electronica. I never thought of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields as a godfather of modern rock, but this compilation serves as a pretty good argument.

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