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My Secret Playlist: by SOARS

SOARS is a reflection and by-product of Eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, a fertile creative pool over the past decade, spawning a healthy number of noise/experimental/punk artists, bands, and venues. Comprised of four long-time mainstays of the Lehigh Valley’s spirited independent community (members of Memes, Goodnight Stars Goodnight Air, Dark Circles and We Have Heaven), the band’s atmospheric-scapes of dream-pop are awash with gauzy hints of Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, propelled by lockstep industrial rhythms. While destroying and rebuilding sonic textures and lyrical myth, SOARS mirrors the depth, beauty, and character of their regenerative post-decay rust-belt colony. [Read on below about the music that inspires SOARS, written in their own words]

1. D Rider / Touchy
Sleazy, way-too-far-in-the-red bass and sleazier vocals make this track. Jim Zespy at Tizona turned me on to this new post-US Maple band and I can’t stop listening to this. The accompanying video includes some crucial guitar and sax face. Totally gross. Make your dumb life a little better and find their LP now.

2. The Wedding Present / Bewitched
Nothing new, I’ve always loved this song. Beautifully chiming droning guitars nudging this along, finally blowing it apart for a cathartic end. But the protagonist doesn’t win. He pines for the girl, never makes his move, and she never notices him. This is The Wedding Present, and as in life, the guy almost never gets the girl. David Gedge writes the best love (loss) songs. Hands down.

3. The Psychedelic Furs / Love My Way
I’ve listened to this song since I was a kid and I never seem to get tired of it. Curiously, it holds up remarkably well. The lush and quavering synths and Richard Butler’s heartbreaking voice borderline on schmaltz, but it works wonderfully. Triggering the faded memory of lost days; making out with your crush, walking in the woods, leaves falling, thinking this is too good to last, finding out that it was. When Witch House’s bile bubbles up into my esophagus and I can’t take it anymore. I still have this.

4. Love And Rockets / All In My Mind
Not that you and I don’t love Durutti Column, but where are the bands now willing to jock the Love And Rockets sound? Someone please step up. This is a song, an arrangement, a beautifully and lovingly crafted feeling and mood that could move me to tears. An audio equivalent of running into a warm frothy ocean. Daniel Ash has some of the most inventive guitar colors, ever. I find it pretty odd, but love that Bauhaus eventually gave way to this perfect pop music.

5. Saccharine Trust / A Human Certainty
Gloriously sick and desperate vocals, truly interesting ringing guitar chords, and atonal textures are what set this apart from everything I listened to back then. Sounds fresh now, but still retains that sinking pit of your stomach feeling that people had during the Regan administration and the potential for bombs to fly over your head at any given time. Arguably the best cut off of that Blasting Concept compilation, one of the best SST bands save for Minutemen, and probably the only other band on that label that may have been in the same rare headspace as those guys.

6. The Birthday Party /The Friend Catcher
You can’t deny the fuck you guitar noise and plodding sad sack bass. There’s a reason this sound is referenced to death. The Birthday Party was the perfect vehicle for Nick’s voice, even though early Bad Seeds were more solid. Pissed, negative, feverish, and so totally defeated. Makes me want to start a bar fight and spend the night in jail.

7. Karp / Rowdy
God damn when that motorcycle chain stuck in the mud bass kicks in at :27 and god damn that grinding breakdown at the latter half. I try not to listen to this in the car due to the likelihood of getting a speeding ticket or blowing out my speakers. Too late for that though on both counts. This is a blown out, grinding, epic road trip jam. Karp are one of those bands like Arab On Radar that not too many people really dug back then, but are being reinvestigated now. It is about time.