Back in December I stumbled upon the Captured Tracks website and found myself drooling over their Shoegaze Archives section. You see, Captured Tracks are a record label that gets it. They know there’s a certain group of us music-listening public that can’t get enough of those noisy, hazy shoegaze years. But you see, there were more shoegaze bands than MBV, Ride, Lush, Slowdive, and Swervedriver.
Oh, you knew that? Well color me embarrassed.
Anyways, there were some really great shoegaze band back in the early 90s that never got the attention they deserved. Arizona’s Half String comes to mind(also available in the CT Shoegaze Archives), and California’s Medicine. Besides having a pretty incredible track on The Crow soundtrack; plus two masterpieces in Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life, they remained in relative obscurity. Medicine’s brand of aural pharmaceutical was a bit different than their peers. You see, they took harsh, jagged guitar noise and blended it with pop fragments which created something not unlike Kevin Shields’ finer buzzsaw moments. But unlike Shields and MBV, they didn’t hide the vocals under all the fuzz and dissonance. Brad Laner and Beth Thompson kept their vocals in plain sight, allowing a human element to emerge that so often was hidden in other shoegaze bands. It’s a jarring and at times quite beautiful experience.
So like I said, in December I came across these hidden musical treasures. I immediately got a hold of a copy of Shot Forth Self Living and had my mind blown. It’s a beautiful reissue. Two LPs, double gatefold sleeve; plus a download of the album and tons of extra tracks. Discovering Medicine was exciting and bittersweet. I love finding bands that completely avoided my radar back in the day. The thrill of locating a lost gem and having a “new” band to dive into is the best. But it’s also kind of sad because once you collect it all, well there’s nothing else to look forward to. So I thought was the case with Medicine. But dammit, Captured Tracks does it again….
It was announced that the original core members of Brad Laner, Beth Thompson, and Jim Goodall have come back together and recorded a brand new full-length called To the Happy Few that will be released -on Captured Tracks nonetheless- August 6th, 2013. They have thrown us a musical bone in first single “Long As The Sun” and let me tell you it’s f*****g incredible. All of those funny, tingly feelings came back as I played it. The buzzsaw guitars, the sweet vocals of Beth Thompson, the great changes mid song, only to bring us back where we started. If it’s any indication of the entire record(and why wouldn’t it be?), this record will be in my top 5 records of the year for sure.
So if you love music that challenges you, moves you, and takes you to the edge but won’t let you fall, then you need to take your Medicine. Check out all the new album’s info here.
Editors Note: I do not work for Captured Tracks, nor am I involved in any way with the band Medicine(other than obsessing over “Christmas Song”). Though if Captured Tracks would like to send me a t-shirt, I’d be most grateful(X-Large…just sayin’).