According to my handy-dandy weather widget, it’s going to hit 100 degrees today — which says nothing about how hot it will actually feel once you factor in the humidity. Chances are, it’ll be absolutely wretched yet again. But such are Nebraska summers, which can leave you just as drenched in sweat at midnight as at high noon.
During these hot and muggy days, I find myself retreating more and more into music that conjures up cooler climes. Which means that I probably listen to a lot more shoegazer pop than I’m normally inclined to. The sound of breathy vocals and layers of shimmering, glittering guitars is always something I identify with icicles, snowstorms, and other wintry clichés. And during these days, where just taking a few steps can have you mopping your brow, I’ll take anything I can get that will at least make me think the mercury has dropped a few days.
Airiel’s music is replete with shimmering guitars, chilled atmospherics, and intertwined male/female vocals that conjures up the great shoegazers of yore: Lush, Swervedriver, The Boo Radleys, et al. Like many of the “newgazers” (though Airiel has, in fact, been around for ten years), their music is firmly rooted in the sounds of the genre’s past, which might lead to a sense that Airiel is shamelessly ripping off their (admittedly obvious) influences. Which might be true if we were dealing with a genre that wasn’t so expansive and forward-looking.
Airiel has released a number of EPs, singles, and seven and ten inches throughout their career, but they’ve yet to release an honest-to-goodness full-length. That changes August 29, 2007, when The Battle of Sealand is released on Highwheel Records. Airiel has a slew of MP3s from many of their releases, including one titled “Thinktank” from The Battle of Sealand, on their website, and they’re all well worth your bandwidth — doubly so if you’re a fan of shoegazer pop.