a1019412529_2Artist: Alison’s Halo
Album: Eyedazzler [reissue]
Label: Manufactured Recordings
Release date: May 19, 2017
Reviewed by Jake Folsom

Like any respectable literature, I’m going to throw too many names at you.

Back in early April, a friend shared with me a press release that Manufactured Recordings would be reissuing a trio of classic, overlooked shoegaze records: KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, Alison’s Halo’s Eyedazzler and Bethany Curve’s Mee-Eaux. I was vaguely familiar with Bethany Curve, but had never heard of the other two. Considering my friend’s excitement over Alison’s Halo getting a vinyl reissue (and a double-LP treatment at that), I took a dive into the album and their available recordings scattered across the internet.

In their time, Alison’s Halo only released on 7” single and this record, yet they toured with heavy-hitters of the underground shoegaze scene including Medicine, Curve and the Verve. Eyedazzler is a retrospective collection of the band’s music from 1992-1996. The record saw a CD-only release in 1998, and has now been re-released digitally, on a limited-run CD, and as a double-LP vinyl reissue. This record holds its own, using very classic song structures from the ethereal 90s and pumping them through delay and distortion to create a beautiful wall of sound, which sits upon Catherine Cooper’s subdued but definitive vocals. This album deserves its place in shoegaze royalty.

I now consider it one of my favorite records ever, and Manufactured Recordings has taken great care to package this record into something worth tucking-in at night. I recommend this record for warm, wet days inside.

Favorite track: Snowbleed

get the record at www.alisonshalo.com

check out the full roster for the Shoegaze Archives project at discogs

Ron Raymond Reviews The Sound of the Smiths by The Smiths

The Smiths
The Sound Of The Smiths
Sire/Rhino Records; 2008
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music Director

Over the years, 80s modern rock heroes, The Smiths, have had their share of greatest hits collections, including the brilliant 1987 collective LOUDER THAN BOMBS. Now, Sire and Rhino have teamed up once again to bring fans THE SOUND OF THE SMITHS, a 23-track, one-CD offering of this 4-man band’s most memorable hits. Included are favorites like “Hand In Glove,” “This Charming Man,” “William, Was It Really Nothing,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “Panic,” “Ask,” “Sheila Take A Bow,” “Girlfriend In A Coma,” the full-length version of “How Soon Is Now?” and the John Peel Sessions version of “What Difference Does It Make?”

Ron Raymond Reviews 4:13 Dream by The Cure

THE CURE
4:13 Dream
Suretone/Geffen Records; 2008
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music DirectorHow does a 32-year-old alt-rock/goth band get the fans excited about a new album months in advance of the album’s release date? Well, to prepare for the 13th album by 80s alt-rock/goth heroes The Cure, 4:13 Dream, the 4-man band led by Robert Smith, released singles on the 13th of each month leading up to the album’s initial release date of September 13th. Each of these singles had non-album B-sides, which have always been a Cure staple. However, the album got pushed back to October 13th and was ultimately released on October 28th. After a remix EP was released on September 13th to tide fans over, the album arrived and is the first album since 1989’s Disintegration that, for the most part, sounds like The Cure we used to know.

Ron Raymond reviews Merl Saunders’ “Blues From The Rainforest: A Musical Suite”

Merl Saunders
Blues From The Rainforest: A Musical Suite
Grateful Dead Records, 1990
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music Director

The recent passing in October 2008 of legendary musician and frequent Grateful Dead collaborator, Merl Saunders, at the age of 74, reminded me of an album he did in 1990 titled Blues From The Rainforest. This was the album he was promoting when I actually got to meet him that same year. And, it’s one of the most beautiful and relaxing albums I’ve ever heard. While this album could be construed as New Age-ish, it’s more of a World album. The album’s six songs clock in at just over an hour, beginning with the 15 and a half-minute title track. The late Jerry Garcia lent his guitar talents to four tracks on the album (5 years before his passing), and you can certainly tell when he pops in. Merl takes you all over the globe on this one, from “Sunrise Over Haleakala” to “Sri Lanka” to “Blue Hill Ocean Dance” (I like to think it was for Blue Hill, Maine, but I don’t believe it was). My favorite song on the album happens to be the shortest song on the set, “Dance Of The Fireflies,” a lovely track which features additional help from Muruga (of the Global Jazz Trio) and Eddie Moore.