you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

27 May 2011

Mini VJ Set: Preston Maddox, of Bloody Knives and Killredrocket Records owner, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

Preston Maddox, Distilled:

A member of Austin's bad ass psychedelic/noise/shoegaze trio, Bloody Knives. Owner of record label Killredrocket Records. Hardworking. Kind. Fucking HI-LAR-IOUS. And talented as fuck. We adore Preston and the Bloody Knives! If you frequent our blog at all, you already know this. And if you've heard their music or met them in real life (or both!), then you know why we adore them. They are creating some of the most interesting music being made right now, hands down, and Killredrocket Records is releasing music by some seriously talented artists. And did we mention how cool those guys are? Because those guys are cool. Thank you Preston, for being The Awesome. Everyone, we insist that you check out the bandcamp pages of Bloody Knives and Killredrocket Records. You will find gold, and it will be totally free, and you will wonder how you got so lucky.

Catherine Wheel “Future Boy”

I first heard this song driving with my friend Jon in his red Nissan pickup truck on a Sunday night. We were leaving Deep Ellum, Dallas Tx after playing a pretty crappy show with my high school band at the now-defunct club The Rock. Our eclectic punk rock band opened up for some terrible hair metal band from NYC, it sucked. Jon put this on and the buildup in the beginning zoned me out, and then when the vocals kick in the song goes to a whole other level. It builds up but never blows up, a lot of stuff on Adam and Eve does that. The textural noise was awesome to me, I could hear all the layers of guitars and noise piled on top of each other, I tried to chase down each winding noise, it was unexplainable to me and awesome. This was the first time I had ever heard shoegaze.

My Bloody Valentine “Blown a Wish”

I heard Loveless five years earlier and didn’t like it. When I heard it the second time, it was the only thing I could listen to. This record changed my entire approach to music. I came from a technical rock, metal and jazz background. I learned music theory and practiced scales. When I heard MBV, I started smoking lots of weed and buying lots of pedals. I got made fun of for listening to them, so I had to do it in secret. This is my favorite song of theirs. Belinda Butcher is such an incredible singer. Her voice sounds both so sweet and sad, and her melodies are so easy to follow, and so simple. The sweeping guitar and arpeggiator sounds follow along this winding Beatles style arrangement, and when the ooooo’s come in at the end, with the extra sounds, it's pure sonic genius. And the most interesting thing is that Kevin Shields did it by being exact with his sounds, instead of piling up layers of sounds, which is what most people thought. Probably the most atmospheric heavy song I have ever heard without distorted sounding guitars.


The Cure “Plainsong”

I have loved the Cure since I was younger, but this year and this album are still my favorite. I had been told that Disintegration was their best album, but I had not heard it yet. I knew the hits, but not the record itself. So, one day, strung out from all kinds of stuff, I decided that I was gonna go on a mission buy the record. My car broke down on the way to the record store, and it was raining. It was gonna be a long walk. So I smoked a couple cigarettes and made my way to the store to get the record. I bought the record and walked to my crappy apartment to listen to it. I thought I was gonna listen to the whole thing, but I ended up listening to “Plainsong” over and over. The song is so majestic and anthemic, sounds coming from everywhere. And then the lyrics….I think Robert Smith sets a lyrical and melodic standard, he is just so good. “Sometimes you make me feel like I living at the edge of the world” - what a perfect way to express that moment. Simon Gallup bridged the gap between melodic bass playing and rhythmic bass playing, and had a huge influence on my playing later on. My friends came home and asked what the deal was, I told them the story, and one of my friends said: “Dude, you walked in the rain to get Disintegration? You must be really depressed!!”


Curve “Perish”

There was a period of time for about 6 months when two friends and I basically just walked into the void, living in as much excess as we could. During this time we listened to three records on repeat, Sparta/Wiretap Scars, Massive Attack/100th Window, and Curve’s Gift album. “Perish” was the first Curve song I ever heard, and it is still my favorite. The arrangement of this song is deceptively simple, there is a ton going on, and lots of changes, very little repetition, but it sounds simple. I remember 1st hearing it, with all the noises at the beginning, all the space and the atmosphere, then the drums kick in and demand your attention, and bass takes you along, and then the guitars get massive, everything stops, and then Toni Halliday. Her singing is so honest, I think it’s the most important quality for a singer; it’s what people relate to, everyone can spot a faker. She has the ability to write and sing something so directly that it sticks with you (there’s a ghost, in my house, I realize it’s you). Her swinging and swaying rhythms locked in with the huge beats and the melodic bass. I think my constant use of the word “ghost” in songs can be traced back to this.


The Jesus and Mary Chain “Never Understand”

I used to hate the JAMC. I never understood why so many of my favorite artists and friends liked them so much. I first heard them in high school and then forgot about them for years. We were on our way home from the last Joy Bus tour, which was pretty miserable, and I wanted to get new music for the drive. I walked to a record store in Cleveland called Bent Crayon ( and bought Psychocandy. I listened to it once and thought: “hmm, well, that was alright.” I didn’t listen to it again until we got back from tour. Then I played it for about a month solid, gradually liking it more and more. The vibe of their band became so obvious, essential, universal; I couldn’t believe I missed it. This is the song that sticks with me off this record. The 60’s pop references, the massive feedback, simple bass, simple beat, and awesome vocal hooks. The vocal hooks were what really drew me in with this band, he just leads you along with this nice melody which pulls all the bass and noise together. “Never Understand Me Yeah, Uh huh, Uh Huh”, I would hear it and start singing along. All the sudden I caught myself singing along to the whole record. I'm glad I missed them the first time around, I think picking up on their music later on gave me a lot of needed inspiration, and kept me from being bitter and jaded towards music, which happens to a lot of musicians over time. It's nice to discover something classic like this, it reminds you what it's like to really love music, it brings you right back to that time before you heard 10000000 different bands.

Their interviews are classic too:

They are very observant and self aware (Jim Reid accidentally predicts 90’s pop music trends around 7:20), and sometimes, so hateful (watch William Reid give him the finger around 3:50, or him talking about bands around 8:11).