Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
In the Presence of Nothing
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Lilys First Incarnation...A Shoegazing Masterpiece!
Neal Murray | Dallas, TX United States | 04/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You've heard it refered to as the lost My Bloody Valentine record that was made in America. You've heard loads of idiot music critics say that this record is a fake, and that Kurt Heasley (the brains behind Lilys) robbed Kevin Sheilds of his genius. Okay, so here's the story on this legendary album which any fan of the shoegazing movement MUST own. This is the first record by one of the most amazing and intriguing bands that are still around today...just in another form, that's all. Kurt Heasley made this record for $1000, and not a penny more. Yes, this is true. Heasley was heavily influenced by the sound of My Bloody Valentine, and is also quoted as saying "I felt I could pull "Isn't Anything" (MBV record prior to "Loveless") out of my ass!" Quite a bold statement for anyone to make, considering that record is complete genius. Anyway, the fact is that this record sounds nothing like MBV, except for the hushed, mysterious vocals and the layers and layers of guitar texture, which is pretty much a staple in any shoegazing band. I am a HUGE Lilys fan, and have embrassed every single new direction they have taken...with open arms! Friends, this is one of their best records, and if you are a fan of shoegazing and legendary bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, then this record is gonna knock your socks off! One sidenote, Kurt Heasley recently gave Kevin Sheilds, who he is friends with, the demos to this record for Kevin to play around with, and possibly remix. Looks like shoegazing fans everywhere might be in the presence of "something" very soon. Oh yeah, this record is long out of print and I doubt that their will be a reissue, due to the fact that Kurt and his Lilys seem to go unnoticed in the music scene. Only those truly "in the know" regard Lilys as a rare and groundbreaking band...which they most certainly are. Find it, buy it...it's worth any price!"
Distortion FIelds meet melody
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not even going to waste space with comparing this album to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Too many people have already done this, and quite simply, this album deserves better. For me, this album is the pinnacle of the shoegaze aesthetic. Each song has it's own unique sound and style, so I will go over each one.
There's No Such Thing As Black Orchids--- Beginning with a metallic riff in the background this song explodes into dense guitars and Kurt Heaseley's beautiful voice after about a minute. Obviously, in this song, Kurt really tried to create a "distortion fields" atmosphere that really defines the song. What makes this album so great though, is that Kurt bypassed the somewhat boring, repetitive song structures of My Bloody Valentine and instead made things a lot more interesting. None of the songs get old.
Elizabeth Colour Wheel--- What many consider the corwning acheivement of the album, "Elizabeth Colour Wheel" is simply the most beautiful mixture of distorion and melody. THis song is so amazing and so wistful that it can literally bring tears to the eye. One of the shoegazing genre's most standout songs.
Collider--- This song has a beautiful verse with a standout vocal meldoy that then gives way to crashing detuned guitars during the chorus that, as the title suggests, seem to collide with one another.
Tone Bender--- Another popular song off of this album, "Tone Bender" is set apart due to it's ultra-dense "wall of sound" guitars which make this song gigantic in it's sound.
Periscope--- A melodic approach which many shimmering guitars, the structure of this song is very interesting and never gets old.
It Does Nothing For Me---Glissening tremoloed distorted guitars echo along with Kurt's longing voice, acoompanied with a beautiful female voice that makes this one irresistable.
Snowblinder---Very distinctive due to the start-stop guitar pattern that occurs during the verses. One second it's quiet and then, deafeningly loud.
Threw A Day---THis is the hidden track-- it opens with a byrd's like guitar before erupting in tremelo and feedback.
Clair Hates Me--The beautiful closer. The Lilys had the good sense of turning up the vocals in the mix, because this song is simply a brilliant pop song. While the recorded version has a shoegazer slant, The Lilys still perform this song today, even acoustically, testament to what a great song it is.
WHat I feel The Lilys did that many shoegaze bands failed to do is that they stressed what shoegaze was about to begin with, Volume. This recording is very loud and the volume and distortion is what makes the songs so impressive. WHen I have a friend who is curious about shoegaze, I play them this, and then refer them to Loveless, while both album's are excellent, they stand on their own.
Perhaps the last great shoegazer album
Polite Young Man | Chicago, IL | 06/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lilys' In the Presence of Nothing is the last great shoegazer album, if you exclude Swirlies from consideration. (Although many Swirlies songs show a strong shoegazer influence, they're usually considered part of Boston's "chimp rock" scene, along with Sebadoh.)
Yes, this album sounds a lot like My Bloody Valentine. Borrowing ideas is how art gets made. MBV were true sonic pioneers, but they never would have gotten there without Cocteau Twins and Jesus & Mary Chain ... in fact, MBV's album Geek sounds more like JMC than MBV. One should also consider that we haven't had a new MBV album in more than a decade, and probably never will have one. (I've started ignoring those rumors of Kevin Shields returning to the studio, and you should too.) If your MBV CDs are as worn down as mine, let this Lilys CD fill a bit of the void ... it comes closer to MBV than Ride, Lush, Slowdive ... or really any other shoegazer band I've heard (and in my MBV hunger, I've hunted down records from almost all of them).
The sound that Kurt Heasley (the guy basically is Lilys) achieves on this album's first seven tracks is a nice midpoint between the wall of noise of Loveless and some of the more delicate songs on Isn't Anything (e.g. "Soft as Snow" or "No More Sorry"), letting the layers of guitar stop short and then explode ... Loveless drowns you in layers of sound, but these songs let you see the wave at a distance before it crashes over you, and this difference, I think, is enough to make this album a welcome addition to MBV's output.
Lilys goes in other directions with the last three tracks on the album, one of which is untitled ... I'm pretty sure the very last track is "Claire Hates Me," since that phrase appears in the lyrics. I don't know which of the other songs is untitled, but I suspect it's the album's eighth track, an ambient piece that is pretty great ... imagine Kevin Shields scoring a film (the sounds under the action, not the soundtrack), perhaps borrowing ideas from the likes of Brian Eno or Philip Glass. The final two songs are sugary pop songs with a shoegazer glaze. These might seem to betray the rich MBV texture of the rest of the album, though you could argue that Heasley was just borrowing from a different part of the MBV canon, as they are in the vein of the MBV B-side "Drive it All Over Me," or the Ecstacy and Strawberry Wine EPs. These two tracks are nice too, for what they are ... a bit of dessert after a satisfying meal.
Later Lilys recordings do not live up to the promise of this one. A Brief History of Amazing Letdowns is an enjoyable but unexceptional EP of riff-based guitar rock. The next LP, Eccsame the Photon Band, is a much more mellow, but still interesting, album ... shimmery and cool, a bit like Slowdive. After that point, Lilys recordings have usually aimed for a sound very close to The Kinks. Heasley can write that stuff too, but if I want to hear British Invasion pop, there's already a ton of great material out there. There is, on the other hand, far too little great shoegazer music out there, and In the Presence of Nothing is a much needed addition to it."