Shoegaze & Opinions on Priests


Jim and Greg dive into "Shoegaze." In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, this sound developed in the U.K. and was typified by lots of guitar, atmosphere and noise. But while the height of Shoegaze only lasted a few years, its influence looms large today. Plus, Jim and Greg review the new album from Priests.

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The Seduction of Kansas Priests


The D.C.  punk band Priests has returned with its second album, The Seduction of Kansas. Both Jim and Greg are big fans and love the group's socially-conscious lyrics and rich instrumentals, which include the marimba and mellotron as well as traditional guitar, bass and drums. Jim appreciates that the band is exploring modern political issues while trying to diffuse the divisiveness the U.S. has been experiencing. He also loves the way Priests makes music in general: its sophistication "never detracts from the sheer 'bang your head on the wall' joy of this noisy chaos." Greg agrees that the band members express themselves in a very eloquent and thoughtful way. He also digs the overall message of the record about the lies we tell ourselves and how those lies after repetition and reinforcement can somehow become the truth.

Shoegaze Genre Dissection


In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Shoegaze developed in the U.K. and was typified by lots of guitar, lots of atmosphere and lots of noise. But while the height of Shoegaze only lasted a few years, its influence looms large today. As Jim and Greg explain, the artists of this movement were students of rock history. They looked at the guitar as something more than a traditional blues instrument. Those hunks of wire and wood could act as a sound machine. And evidently that machine and all the effects pedals that modified the sound required constant attention: instead of dancing, preening or stage diving the bands stood still and looked down at their feet while on stage- hence the originally derisive intent behind the name "shoegaze." You can trace a line from bands like The Velvet Underground and Dinosaur Jr. to key Shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Ride and Slowdive. And their desire to marry rock drive with otherworldly ambience is what carries the genre into the present moment when new bands all over the globe keep coming together to play this style of music.

Hooked On Sonics: Pedro The Lion’s David Bazan

David Bazan

Pedro The Lion released their fifth album, Phoenix, earlier this year. It's the first Pedro The Lion album in 15 years, though the band's only constant member, David Bazan, released five solo albums in that time. Bazan is a guy who grew up deep in the evangelical Christian subculture, and many of his songs are scathing critiques of that culture. That plus his father's work as a music pastor led to Bazan getting "Hooked On Sonics" by the instrumental "Axel F" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

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