Last week, Pitchfork released their list of the 50 best shoegaze albums of all time. Since the list focused only on albums, one band was missing from the ensuing conversation: Chicago’s Airiel. While not exactly the most prolific band — they’ve only released one full-length, 2007’s The Battle of Sealand — Airiel’s music so perfectly encapsulates what makes shoegaze pop great that not including them in shoegaze-related discussions is a massive oversight.
Hopefully, though, it’ll soon be harder to overlook Airiel. They’ve finished a new album titled Molten Young Lovers that Shelflife Records will release “soon,” and if its first single is any indication, it’s going to be something special. “Cloudburst” is everything you could want in a shoegaze song: immaculately shimmery guitars, atmospherics that are both melancholy and transcendent, driving rhythms, and effortless vocals (courtesy of Jeremy Wrenn).
There’s also a remix by Navigateur that transforms “Cloudburst” into something approaching a euphoric house track à la Bvdub.
Finally, I’ve embedded this hour-long Airiel concert video as a bonus. It’s easy to think of shoegaze as primarily the domain of recording studios, but Airiel turns that notion on its head with a strong performance. The concert begins with “Cloudburst” and also includes such Airiel gems as “Cinnamon” and “In Your Room.”