Æ: Aglet Eaters

St Marie Records Rampage: The Sunshine Factory

Posted in Feature by R on June 23, 2012

Seriously now, what do you expect when you hear that name? The Sunshine Factory. Me, I expect bright, sunny – and given the album art – acid-laced exhilaration (I was going to say ‘ecstasy’ but that could be confusing).

They are joyful, you know. But they are not nauseatingly happy in the Katrina and the Waves sense. Sorry, I don’t exactly hate That Song, but there’s only that much positivity us normal folk can stand to have shoved in our faces. What makes ‘Walking on Sunshine’ (and its ilk) so excruciating is that it doesn’t share the happiness – it just flaunts itself without inviting the listener to bask in the same joy.

Of course we haven’t brought Katrina and the Waves into the picture for a musical comparison, but more to bring home the point as to how positivity is meant to be brought out in music. You have to really involve the listener – make him or her feel how you (the musician) are feeling. Instead of making a song for a listener to ‘use’ only in appropriate and/or unique circumstances where it can be most effectively ‘applied’ (that too to the individual alone), it is far more endearing to make a song that, more honestly, reflects your own experiences. That way, when we listen and nod in agreement, you can be assured we honestly sympathise with how you feel.

That’s the kind of sound The Sunshine Factory have –  they make introspective, but engaging neo-gaze, tinged with the sound of the classics, but still unmistakeably recent. Their album, Sugar, is very open, very honest and consequently, very  inviting. You’re not forced to echo the songs’ emotions, you’re not compelled to wait for a certain mood or ambience to set in before you listen. They make Anytime Music so it’s no wonder they’re such favourites within the Shoegaze Set. And it’s even less of a wonder St. Marie Records picked them up. Listen to Sugar on Bandcamp and try to tell me I’m wrong.

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St. Marie Records Rampage: The Spiracles

Posted in Feature by R on June 3, 2012

You know, I keep wondering if this should be called St. Marie Record Rampage, but that title throws me off, because the Proper Noun is plural, but with ‘rampage’ you should use the singular, so I am a bit befuddled and you are all just going to have to put up with the slightly shaky on the ears plural form.

Today I’m listening to the Spiracles. Do you remember Resplandor from a few years ago? Peruvian shoegazers caused quite a ruckus in their time with Pleamar which is now a classic in Gaze 2.0 circles. Any aglet-eater worth his or her salt had Resplandor on their Dream Lineup (together with the likes of Malory, Ariel, Highspire et al).

I’m not sure why I’m referring to Resplandor in the past tense. It may be because Luis Rodriguez, guitarist and songwriter for the band, is one of the two Spiracles I’m talking about. Don’t expect the breathy vox off Pleamar, because we’ve got Aracelli Fernandez doing the singing here. ‘Fireflies’ is the song to watch out for. They may have experience, yes, but for all practical purposes, The Spiracles are a new band, yet ‘Fireflies’ is overwhelmingly well-produced. I daresay, it’s so professionally presented its virtually pop music. There is nothing rough or jagged about it. It’s crisp, sleek and even has an expert video to match. The Spiracles have also gone and done the world a favour by reminding them ofThe Field Mice via their, admittedly a bit safe, version of ‘The End of the Affair.’

The EP  you’re meant to pick up has the tongue twisting title How Things Went Well When I Met You. Listen to these two tracks, a third called ‘Mercy’, and two mixes of ‘Fireflies’ (told you it was popular). If you are so intrigued or inclined, the St. Marie Records bandcamp page is the place to be.

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