Let me preface this by saying I have next to no knowledge about shoegaze music. Evidently, there is a bit of a ‘shoegaze revival’ going on and it has fallen completely underneath my nose. In 2013, I listened to Sunbather from Deafheaven and really enjoyed it. It was a shoegaze record and I didn’t even realize it! Most recently, I was able to listen to the latest Whirr and Nothing LPs through KSDB and my mind was opened. I had no expectations other than the fact I knew that Whirr is a band on the Run For Cover Records roster, which is all the go-ahead I really need before checking out an artist.
All that was before winter break, and now I’ve fallen down somewhat of a rabbit hole. This dreamy and ethereal drudge rock offers an atmospheric and fuzzy sound that I didn’t even know I had wanted to hear, and it’s starting to dominate my rotation. If you’re looking for a place to start to become better acquainted with the genre, I recommend checking out the new split from Whirr and Nothing. Both bands are coming off recent releases of excellent full-lengths, but this short collection of tracks feels like fresh material rather than afterthoughts or cuts that didn’t make the full. It’s an accessibly pleasant offering that gives you a taste for two bands that have put out fantastic “nu”-gaze releases.
Whirr’s portion starts with the aptly-titled “Ease.” It’s a driven yet cloudy track kept grounded by a driving bassline while the guitars float. The vocals are more of an afterthought at times, remaining very relaxed and never forced. “Lean” is a brooding, dreamy track with a bit more of a heavy and focused sound. It’s a bit more structured, and has an ethereal outro. I can say that Whirr’s style of music is a very relaxing one that constantly teeters on the edge of soft and loud, light and heavy. These tracks are more uptempo than most of the songs on their full-length, Sway, and I think that drastically improves their sound.
Nothing’s side of the split is a bit heavier and maybe a better place to start. The sound falls somewhere in between that of Pity Sex’s poppier tendencies while maintaining a distinct, heavier prog-emo sound similar to Balance and Composure’s The Things We Think We’re Missing. It’s my favorite style of shoegaze that I’ve heard. “Chloroform” is a fuzz-heavy track with loud choruses and a homage to the band’s roots in the Philadelphia hardcore scene. “July the Fourth” doesn’t stray from the formula too much, but I admire Nothing’s ability to merge outside influences into their own unique music that still falls into the confines of what is shoegaze. If you are looking for an opportunity to become better acquainted with shoegaze, this is an excellent starting point. While Nothing’s side of the split comes across as a little better and more purposeful, Whirr is another band that is sure to rise to the top of any alternative rock charts. These four songs offer just a glimpse into the future of what is some very exciting things to come from Whirr and Nothing.
By: Andrew Shores