Please recommend dreamy, melodic bands like Galaxie 500
August 31, 2010 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Lately, '80s/'90s dream pop a la Galaxie 500 has really been hitting the spot. Please recommend more music that will send me drifting away into a sea of fuzzy bliss.

The sound I'm looking for is spacy, melodic, and warm. Some examples:

Galaxie 500: Strange, Tugboat
Damon & Naomi: ETA
Low: Over the Ocean

I'm already familiar with most of the well-known artists often associated with this sound, including Luna, Slowdive, Low, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine, and Yo La Tengo. I'd like to know what else I've missed!

This related question got some great answers, but they tend toward the drony/psychedelic dimension of this music rather than the swooning vocals and guitars I'm looking for. Thanks!
posted by cirripede to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ride
posted by flabdablet at 3:59 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Oh, man, too bad you didn't ask this question about six years ago when I listened to this stuff almost exclusively.

His Name is Alive
Cocteau Twins

Flying Saucer Attack is considerably more on the drone-y side, but still worth a go.
posted by griphus at 3:59 PM on August 31, 2010

(The identical twin singers from On!Air!Library! are now in School of Seven Bells if they sound familiar/you want more of their vocals.)
posted by griphus at 4:01 PM on August 31, 2010

posted by flabdablet at 4:03 PM on August 31, 2010

Windy & Carl's first album, Drawing of Sound (just about everything after that is probably too much on the droning and psychedelic end of the spectrum, but that first album should hit your sweet spot).
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:09 PM on August 31, 2010


(particularly Mesmerise and Pearl)

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Also check out some of the newer "Nugaze" stuff, like Asobi Seksu
posted by pompomtom at 4:10 PM on August 31, 2010

The first Stereolab album (Peng!) might fit the bill:

Super Falling Star
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:19 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: the Drop Nineteens made an album called Delaware that is criminally underappreciated. i've been listening to shoegazer for years and years now, and i think this record is better than anything that My Bloody Valentine ever did.

there, i said it.

there are a couple of tracks on youtube :
kick the tragedy
posted by radiosilents at 4:21 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

More recently, I liked the first couple of Radio Dept. albums.
posted by caek at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Justin Bieber slowed down. I am not kidding--I am an all-my-life fan of a lot of the bands mentioned in this thread, and I seriously liked this track.
posted by everichon at 4:32 PM on August 31, 2010

You probably already know Beach House, less guitar driven, but very dreamy and swoony as requested
posted by gillianr at 4:41 PM on August 31, 2010

Some early Boo Radleys might fit; some Pale Saints tracks too.
posted by holgate at 4:56 PM on August 31, 2010

You'd be well served by some M83, and maybe some Panda Bear. It's similar in feeling, if not instrumentation.
posted by The Michael The at 5:06 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Mazzy Star
This Mortal Coil
The Brian Jonestown Massacre (saw them live in LA in June and they were great).
The Bleachers
Mojave 3
posted by xenophile at 5:48 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Timonium.
posted by god hates math at 6:10 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Al Sharp - The Beta Band
Red Weather The Duke Spirit
Cul de Sac - Komeda
Sing Swan Song - Can
Regarde - By Monade (Sterolab offshoot)
posted by applemeat at 6:37 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Sarah Records had some of this type of band. Secret Shine ("Loveblind," "Sun Warmed Water"), Eternal, some Field Mice, Brighter, Harvest Ministers...

Eric Masunaga of the Dambuilders had a record label in the '90s called Sealed Fate that had a lot of bands that focused on this kind of dreampop music almost nostalgically, and usually with a more pop-focused angle (example: "Pop Quiz" by Sleepyhead, buncha stuff from The Fly Seville). I can't for the life of me remember the name of it but there was another label around then too that had tons of this stuff, but the noisier less poppy edge. My favorites on it were Astrobrite ("Crasher") and Suprashiny ("Lollipop"). Loveliescrushing and of course Cocteau Twins also come to mind, but I'm sure they're obvious.
posted by ifjuly at 6:52 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: And maybe too awash for you, but there's a band called Mahogany doing this sort of stuff now. Some of Piano Magic's stuff is similar too. Her Space Holiday and Bowery Electric come to mind too.

And this is really pushing it, but you may well like Disco Inferno even if it's not the exact same thing, often people who like the one kind of music like them as well. Certain early to mid-range Hood songs (Cabled Linear Traction, say) too. There's also a chance you'd dig the first three or four His Name is Alive albums too.
posted by ifjuly at 6:55 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

This genre is referred to as "shoegazing".
posted by dreaming in stereo at 6:57 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's an example of the kind of Piano Magic I'm thinking might be related (they have a huge, varied catalog, s'why). "French Mittens," "Amongst the Books, an Angel" are other examples.

and before, could I have said "too" possibly any more?! yeesh, sorry 'bout that.
posted by ifjuly at 7:01 PM on August 31, 2010

Bedhead, later morphed into The New Year
posted by Zebtron at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might like The Belltower — it was Britta Phillips's band before she was in Luna. They put out one really fantastic dream pop album in the early 90s and then sort of fell off the radar, and I've always thought they were horribly underappreciated.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: This genre is referred to as "shoegazing".

But there's shoey and shoey: the bests show that cirripede is very much looking for the jangle/phase/wah/echo arpeggiated dreampop shoey and not wall-of-distortion OMFGMBV Jazzmaster/Jag shoey. (This taps deep into the foundations of my musical tastes.)

It now makes me think of a few of the tracks on Belly's Star, and perhaps even a few from The Sundays' Blind where you have more Cocteau-ish swirl than the other albums.
posted by holgate at 9:33 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I loved both Galaxie 500 and My Bloody Valentine (and still do) -- but I wouldn't have called Galaxie 500 shoegazers. Galaxie 500 seemed to be a bit of a different scene: a more conventionally structured, warm-pop songwriting style with a strong Velvet Underground influence and added dreamy/psychedelic fuzz (which Dean Wareham cleaned up more for Luna). Yo La Tengo seem like closer colleagues, though I guess there's a lot of territory covered by fuzzy late-'80s/early-'90s bands!

Do you know the Silver Jews? Maybe more of an Americana influence than what you're seeking,
but their first album, Starlite Walker, might appeal to you -- here's "Advice to the Graduate" from it.

Opal? (Early Recordings = awesome. David Kendrick from this band later formed Mazzy Star.)

Or maybe the cluster of fuzzy New Zealand bands that had a heyday around then? The Clean? The Chills? The Bats? Look Blue Go Purple?

Teenage Fanclub, maybe especially their earlier stuff or Songs from Northern Britain? The Swirlies? Spiritualized?

More contemporary: Crystal Stilts? Vivian Girls?

posted by lisa g at 10:56 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Or The Rain Parade?
posted by lisa g at 10:58 PM on August 31, 2010

Or Bongwater (at times)?
posted by lisa g at 11:38 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: I'm surprised no one's mentioned The Clientele. Start with Suburban Light or the Lost Weekend EP. Such a great band.

Adam Franklin's last few records are all gems.


You might also like some early Church tracks.
posted by amb at 11:44 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

(above, regarding Opal, I meant David Roback, not Kendrick -- I sleepily combined his name with that of Kendra Smith, Opal's vocalist.)
posted by lisa g at 12:34 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also check out the Slumberland compilation Why Popstars Can't Dance. On average, it's perhaps a bit more indiepop than dreampop, but there's some tracks that fit the bill on there, and it's a great overview of a scene.
posted by caek at 3:21 AM on September 1, 2010

I found Ring Deathstarr by plugging "dreampop" into a year ago. Damon and Naomi have said that the previously mentioned Opal were a big influence for them, so +1 for that. See also the first 3 albums by the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Raveonettes, and Kitchens of Distinction.
posted by K.P. at 6:17 AM on September 1, 2010

Seconding the Radio Department, particularly their recent release 'Clinging to a scheme'.
posted by zemblamatic at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2010

Best answer: Asobi Seksu, The London Apartments, Maps, Guitar.
posted by Gortuk at 8:03 AM on September 1, 2010

Best answer: The mention of Flying Saucer Attack reminds me--they have an excellent cover of Suede's "The Drowners." Not poppy, more the droney edge you're wishing to avoid, but I thought I'd mention it ('cause damn, I love it).

This is another out on the limb suggestion--I do recognize the distinction you're making, that a couple upthread have described too, and respect it but you never know--early Lush, the shimmery stuff, might be to your liking.

So many good suggestions--just wanted to nth the Swirlies, Radio Dept, Asobi Seksu, Opal (not the same at all but Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star's solo albums are great too), Brian Jonestown Massacre (Methadrone and the Diane Perry tapes), the Clean, and the Clientele.

Another out on a limb one here, but Edith Frost has some very chilly songs on Calling Over Time and Telescopic and early stuff ("Ancestors" is the ultimate example but I can't find it online; the only YT video listed isn't it for some reason) that have a production/feel of "cold space" that reminds me a lot of Galaxie 500 (stuff like "Cold Night" and the cover of "Listen, the Snow is Falling"). She went into mega poppy mode after that, but her earlier stuff is chilly and gauzy and great.
posted by ifjuly at 8:35 AM on September 1, 2010

Best answer: The only comparable album that really springs to mind for me when I think of Galaxie 500 would have the to be Bewitched by Luna; the album is sublimely good.

Another band that is kind of sort of connected vircariously through the "shoegaze" tag would have to be The Verve - really it's super awesome, almost forgotten A Storm in Heaven LP. It's more psychedelica than anything else...

Wait a minute, what about Asian Gangsta Kids by the criminally forgotten ee? ee was made up of former members of Chicago's Seam, whose the Problem With Me seems to be what you're looking for.

Thanks for posting this question by the way.... It takes me back to my angst-filled, utterly problem-free days of university, spinning records on the morning show or the late late late show at the university radio station, and then all the way to my early days in Japan in the mid-90s, before internet, divorced from any sort of access to pop or indie culture, save for the occassional NME, which was terrible, because reading NME in backwoods Japan in 1995 provoked profound homesickness. All these bands, including Ride and Stereolab casually playing little bars and nightclubs in London, which might have been the far side of the moon to me.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:35 PM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers. Some of these artists scratch my Galaxie itch just right, and some of them aren't quite there but I'm very happy to discover them all regardless. As some answers have observed, it's not shoegaze specifically that I'm after, but shoegaze is definitely close: synth washes, soaring vocals, fuzzy guitars, songs drenched in reverb.

lisa g, I love the Silver Jews! I'm not sure I'd classify them this way although the production on Starlite Walker and The Natural Bridge isn't that far off, e.g., Dallas.

ifjuly, it's funny—I thought I was the only person on Metafilter who evangelized for Edith Frost. I was just listening to Calling Over Time the other day. She's great.

For posterity's sake, I thought I'd add some recommendations from my own library that have a similar feel:

Slowdive, Machine Gun
Spiritualized, Shine a Light
Wire, Outdoor Miner (oddly enough)
Mogwai, Honey (Spacemen 3 cover)
Landing, "Where the Leaves No Longer Grow" (from split tour EP with Windy & Carl)

Also, not sure what it is, but lots of songs by the Delgados hit a similar place for me:
- Coming In from the Cold
- I Fought the Angels
- Pull the Wires from the Wall
posted by cirripede at 6:45 PM on September 4, 2010

You know, you might just want to go back to the source (for Galaxie 500 and Luna), which would have to be Velvet Underground and Lou Reed.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:06 AM on September 5, 2010

Wow, we really do have similar taste--that particular Slowdive song is wonderful, I must've listened to it 100 times a week as a sad teenager and could never convince any of the "music buff" dudes I met later on who loved Pygmalion that yes, Souvlaki had great moments too. And Wire! And Mogwai! Spiritualized! Silver Jews! Windy & Carl tour EPs!! Always great to know someone else loves the same stuff, that you're less of a weirdo. (:

Randomly, now given other bands mentioned you like, yet more comes to mind in case you haven't tried any of these (though you may well have obvy). These aren't related though to the initial query. There was this song from Juno called "The Great Salt Lake" years ago that felt wistful and cold starry-night-sky-ish to me too, and live they played it instrumental-only and it was still beautiful. Black Heart Procession comes to mind too, 2 and 3 I think ("Outside the Glass," "A Light So Dim," "Guess I'll Forget You," "A Heart the Size of a Horse," "It's a Crime I Never Told You About the Diamonds in Your Eyes," "Your Church is Red," "Blue Tears," "Gently off the Edge," "Waterfront"). And some Woven Hand ("Into the Piano," "Blue Pail Fever," "Tin Finger"). Early Songs: Ohia too--g'ah, I love cold-seeming, pitch black/dim sounds. The new Portishead is also amazing, and I was one of the only people in the '90s I knew who didn't really think a ton of the first two.
posted by ifjuly at 8:53 AM on September 5, 2010

Response by poster: By the way, KokuRyu, I loved reading your memory of listening to this music back in the '90s. There's something so wistful and sad in these songs that makes them that much more apt to lock themselves in our memories. ifjuly, Souvlaki really brings me back, too—cold, gray mornings pulling into my high school parking lot.

And you have excellent taste! I agree about Portishead's Third—I liked the first two albums, but there's something haunting and delicate about the last one that makes it my favorite (especially The Rip—oh man).

The BHP is great; I discovered them about 7 years ago right after an awful breakup, which was the right moment. I haven't spent much time with Woven Hand, although I grew up in Denver and listened to a lot of 16 Horsepower, bleak teenager that I was.

I like that Juno song—it reminded me a bit of Arab Strap, actually. Are you familiar with them? Their 1999 live album, Mad for Sadness, is full of wonderfully spacy, chilly guitar sounds (e.g., New Birds, Girls of Summer, and esp. "My Favourite Muse"), as are their earlier studio records (see The Clearing).

Some more thoughts:
- A few songs off Mercury Rev's first two albums: Frittering, "Sweet Oddysee of a Cancer Cell t' th' Center of Yer Heart."
- Labradford (S, Mid-Range, WR) is a dronier, colder, more ambient exploration of this sound. Mi Media Naranja is just about my favorite record ever.
posted by cirripede at 9:58 AM on September 5, 2010

Yeah! I love Arab Strap (I think the official video for "Cherubs" is maybe the most beautiful music video ever), though I tend to prefer the earlier stuff before they became poppy-electronic (but even the later poppier stuff has Aidan's smart and tidy lyrics, very welcome indeed), and oh my gosh, Labradford was one of the most wonderful college shows I saw--they played in a little lecture room at Carnegie Mellon, it felt like being in a high school auditorium, all warm but dim lighting, carpeted walls and hushed sound. "Pico" is one of my favorites. What a great, great band. My husband calls me "mi media naranja" sometimes because we both love that album and he had to explain to me that it was a common term of affection. (:
posted by ifjuly at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2010

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