Thursday, 8 May 2008

Blonder Tongue Audio Baton

Shoegazing. Another one of Everett True's great ideas I imagine. Those few who slogged around the English scene in the late 80s with only the mainstream music press to navigate by, hugged it to their pigeon-breasts. It was this, or Grebo. One consequence was the majority of the yout' looked backwards, and fractured; in 1987 a different tribe could be found on every corner (Punk, Mod, Goth, Rockabilly, you name it really). Meanwhile, in America, boredom was coalescing into something initially termed Slacker culture, later Grunge.

The Swirlies were unusual for a stateside band in that clearly they couldn't ignore the washes of noise offered by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Slowdive. Add to this an American "rawk" inheritence, filtered through the hardcore scene that gave the world Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du and Sonic Youth and you get somewhere near Blonder Tongue Audio Baton.

For me the Swirlies debut album somehow bridged a gap, unfortunately one that few really needed to cross in 1992. Not Grunge enough in the States, certainly not baggy enough for Britain. Anyway, shoegazing appears to be making a resurgence in the U.S.A. and Pancake, in particular, still gives me shivers of excitement. Check it out.

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