2017 was a pretty intense year all around, but there was still time for lots of music. For me personally, it included covering bands that I had never dreamed I'd get to photograph, crossing many entries off from my bucket list of artists to see, and even traveling overseas for several festivals. Choosing the "best" shows from among the numerous ones that I attended and covered for ChunkyGlasses was a daunting task, not least because I'm pretty selective about which shows I'll even do, meaning that I rarely see a bad one. Still, there were several that definitely stood out as being the best of the best. Here are my picks for my top ten shows (and festivals) of this year.
Sometimes stories do have happy endings. When Ride split acrimoniously in 1996, leaving behind one last album (Tarantula) that suffered greatly from the strains that were ripping apart the group during its recording, many assumed that the band was done. Even after the tensions had cooled, the band themselves said for years that a reunion would never happen. Then, in late 2014, word came that the band were reforming for a series of dates in North America and Europe in 2015, including stops at both Coachella and Primavera Sound. Reviews were positive and often glowing, fans were excited, and the band appeared to once again enjoy working together. After it was done, many were left wondering what, if anything, was next. Would it all come down to just a brief nostalgia run, or was there new life in it?
When music historians look back on the 2010’s, will they see it as the decade of unlikely reunions? It seems like nearly every week another band that had their heyday – and their dissolution – in the 80s or 90s is announcing a return. Some, like Sleater-Kinney, come back with new material as strong as their classic releases, while others like The Pixies seem to have lost their magic. Some last for a single tour and then fizzle back out, as seems to have happened with the much-touted return of The Replacements. Many seem to be testing the waters, seeing if the band, older and wiser, can put their past reasons for splitting behind them and make things work, and if they still have an audience. For some, it seems to have clicked – after a successful run of touring last year, Slowdive has been hinting at new material in the works since the beginning of this year – while others seem ready to fade back into the past – Neutral Milk Hotel is about to play their last shows “for the foreseeable future.” And of course the first question that the fans have to ask is always “Have they still got it?”
Sounds Like: Slowdive, Ride, Helium
Why You Should Care: Adding to the vibrant garage and psych scene of the
Bay Area, Cruel Summer aims to throw some much needed shoegaze to the mix.
After seeing Tame Impala and Yuck last weekend, I realized that some aspects of the shoegaze sound from the late 80's - early 90's is definitely popping up in new music again. So in honor of such an occasion, here is the lead off track, "Seagull", from Ride's 1990 feedback soaked extravaganza Nowhere.
Ride - "Seagull"