High Violets at Dagger Zine

I’ve never been a hardcore shoegaze disciple or anything but I do like the genre and this American label, out of Texas, has quietly been releasing some of the best stuff the past few years (also check out the new EP from New Jersey’s Deardarkhead). Anywho, funny thing about this band is that they’re based in Portland , a place I lived from 2002-2012, and I remember seeing this bunch once live and liked it ok and all but didn’t dig deeper for some reason. You go the their Bandcamp page and they’ve got a ton of records for sale, at least one dating back to 1999 (and it looks like the band’s most recent release prior to this was 2010’s Cinema). Which brings us to Heroes and Halos which I really like. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit lately, pulling it out of the stack of cds when other ones I like are right beside it. The band still adds a bit o’ mystery and intrigue to their lush, dreampop songs mostly thanks to vocalist Kaitlyn ni Donovan who has this goddess-like voice from the heavens (think the gal from Lush or Rachel from Slowdive…two bands who I’m reminded of while listening to the High Violets). Also, let’s not forget guitarist Clint Sargent bringing the noise with some tasty ax work . First cut “How I Love (everyting about you)” is a terrific opener with swirling guitar, rock-solid rhythms and Donovan’s fluttery vocals while “Dum Dum,” still with Donovan’s vocals out front, is where the mystery comes in (same on “Bells”). The title track almost created this dizzying effect on me (luckily I was sitting down) and ‘Ease On” has these great whispery (and wispy) vocals before bursting into a glorious chorus. All the way through Heroes and Halos the High Violets never forget the importance of the song, heading into orbit at times, but never getting lost in the outer space. This one’ll have plenty more plays on my house.www.saintmarierecords.com

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