Analysis from a wasted day off spent worrying about tomorrow:
I am a big fan of the genre of Shoegaze. It’s defined as a subgenre of indie rock that has characteristics such as obstructed vocals and distorted guitars and effects. It came out of the United Kingdom in the 1980s with such bands as My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain. The term “Shoegaze” itself comes from the fact that many early bands stage presence, frequently staring down at their feet or just looking generally detached. Several bands have picked up the genre and pushed it into new and exciting places such as Silversun Pickups and Pity Sex, to name a couple. In doing a simple search of the genre, I came across dozens of bands with the tag thrown in the mix. One of my favorites of the pack is the band Nothing.
Dance on the Blacktop is the third studio album from the Philadelphia based four-piece. Their two previous albums, Guilty of Everything and Tired of Tomorrow are very solid albums that I still go back to quite frequently. The only qualm I could say about them is they blend together a little bit, making a shuffled play of the two albums difficult to place each track on its proper album. The first couple of listens through Dance on the Blacktop immediately placed this collection of tracks in a different subset for me.
Along with the opening line, “Everything starts the same, infinity, oblivion,” the first track “Zero Day” brings in the tried and true Nothing sound. The same mood continues into “Blue Line Baby,” and the two songs act as one continuing opener. The next track, “You Wind Me Up,” is the first of several sounds that really push the band into new places for me. Almost poppy, the Nirvana-Esque guitars are still ever-present, but the tempo is something new and blends perfectly with the droned-out lyrics. This happens again with my favorite track, “Us/We/Are,” and also with “I Hate the Flowers.” Any of these tracks would be a welcome addition to the terribly bland local “Alternative Rock” radio stations I’m forced to listen to every day at work. The tempo is slowed way down with a couple of great closing tracks, “The Carpenters’ Son” and “(HOPE) Is Just Another Word With A Hole In It.”
As a collection, I fear Dance on the Blacktop won’t garner too many listeners who weren’t already fans of the bands’ early works. As for me, this fits perfectly into my “Reading Playlist” as it serves as perfect background music to write or read along with, but at the same time works at full volume driving home late at night from work.
Analysis from a broken comma on a keyboard:
Talk about a mood killer! This album will take you deep into intellectual depression, and it came at the perfect time. I listened to this album on repeat for three days, and I needed it. I wallowed in my melancholy, and this soundtrack kept me going.
If you do give this album, a listen I highly suggest that you read the lyrics along with it. I have actually saved them to my phone so that I can come back to them again and again. They are beautifully poetic and dark, and I am now in love with each band member.
While this is not typically a genre that I visit, it certainly has it’s place. I will keep it in my Apple Music library for days when I just want to enjoy a good old fashioned pity party or when I need someone to understand that the whole world has turned against me. Two enthusiastic tissue holding from my constant sobs thumbs up!