LSD and the Search for God have become a cult band in their own right. Their sound weaves heavily around the shoegaze genre with both front-man Andy Liszt and guitarist, Chris Fifield congregating about 50 effects pedals between them, this positioned the duo as both elegant dancers as well as musicians – it was a real multi-discipline art.
As LSD and the Search for God took to the stage, faces curiously gazed upwards as the mass of effects pedals and musical equipment was packed tightly onto a stage that held five of the members of the group. Swirling jitters began to emerge from Fifield’s amplifier before the group came crashing in behind it, hurtling through tracks from the new EP. Songs such as ‘(I Don’t Think We Should) Take It Slow’ demonstrated their accuracy in finding the groove and the ease as to which LSD could capture the crowd’s imagination and attention. Bodies swayed in time with the gentle, fuzzy washes that wrapped their loving arms around you, it was a hazy red wine moment that was ultimately so immersive it had the potential to transport you to other realms.
The set bended and warped through psychedelic bliss, fuzzy wah effects shaked and vibrated the volume and sound of the guitars, every movement, tap and shimmy on-stage was essential, demonstrating the exceptionally careful musicianship of the duo. Songs such as ‘Starting Over’ evidenced the sensitive, delicate approach that LSD can often take.
Crazed and incensed punters at the front of the crowd dictated spaces to writhe themselves around in, one chap took to taking his top off, letting his spilling gut loose and continuing to throw his head towards the monitor, just incase it was not loud enough. It’s characters like this that make gigs so exciting, he personified the cultish appeal that LSD have and put some real endearment into the show.
LSD and the Search for God came about and then instantly descended into obscurity allowing them to be every hipster’s hard-on. What they proved tonight though was their utter worth and credit to the shoegaze genre, they add their own, distinct flavour on a genre that can often be so overwhelmed with try-hards. After meeting them as a group afterwards, a perfect way to summarise is to mirror the words of Liszt and yell, “Right on, LSD!”
Indie shoegaze stalwarts Film School return with their sixth full-length release and first for Sonic Ritual, We Weren’t Here, the follow-up to 2018’s Bright to Death. Whereas the band recorded the previous album while holed up together in the isolated Southern California desert enclave of Joshua Tree, the Covid pandemic forced a different kind of isolation this time around. Already divided between the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles, bassist Justin LaBo, guitarist Nyles Lannon, frontman Greg Bertens, and keyboardist Jason Ruck—each from his own quarantine home studio—had to collaborate on the songs remotely. Except for when newest member Adam Wade met up with Greg to record drums at LA’s Headwest Studio with mixer Dan Long (all wearing masks, of course), the bandmates never saw each other in person during the entire making of the album.
But the title We Weren’t Here isn’t merely a reference to its socially distanced recording method. During life in quarantine, Greg says, he became acutely aware of all the ways human beings try to avoid being truly present. Though lockdowns gave us the opportunity to spend “quality time” with whomever we live with—whether that’s a romantic partner, a roommate, a parent, or our kids—the pandemic also forced us to become more conscious of our own, uninterrupted, day-to-day reality—a disquieting sensation many countered with drinking more, streaming television nonstop, obsessively scrolling social media, or otherwise checking out. For the members of Film School, the making of We Weren’t Here reflects how music—whether you’re creating it or immersing yourself in hearing it—can be a transformative way to feel spiritually and psychically anchored again.
What emerges from beneath the waves of the album’s psychedelic dream pop are bittersweet themes of a year lived in suspended animation: anticipation, separation, regret, revelation. From the moody sonic crush of “Superperfection” driven by an icy yet ethereal harmony featuring guest vocalist Noël Brydebell of Wild Signals (who appears throughout the album), to the standout track “Isla” with its intertwining guitars and swooning synths, and culminating in the buoyant, nostalgic closer “Take What You Need,” We Weren’t Here bathes the listener in a soundscape of atmosphere and emotion. With their sixth full-length release since the band’s formation over 20 years ago, Film School crystallize their position in the shoegaze pantheon.
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete release their sixth album Datura on June 16, 2023.
It’s a short, sharp shock of a record designed to be played live. Gone are the psychedelic wig-outs of previous releases, replaced with bass-heavy post-punk grooves inspired by the roots of The Congos, the no wave of Ike Yard, the industrial hip-hop of Dälek and the dark modular moves of Hiro Kone, all while harnessing the elemental power of Jon Hassell’s Vernal Equinox.
The band formed in 2011 around the nucleus of Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto González and found favour in psych circles with their first two albums (On Welfare and Corruptible Faces). Originally from Guadalajara (they are now based in Ensenada, Baja California), their name was half inspired by a recurring joke in Seinfeld, half by an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Since hooking up with UK-based label Sonic Cathedral in 2013, they have toured extensively in the UK and Europe as well as the US over the last decade. As their sound gradually evolved from its psych-inspired beginnings to take in analogue synths and experimental grooves more akin to bands like Talk Talk across the albums Chambers, Balance and De Facto they have won over famous fans in Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Robert Smith, Mani and Sonic Boom.