Alison's Halo

When discussing shoegazer, there are certain names that inevitably, and not surprisingly, pop up (e.g., My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride). However, there are a slew of bands that have carved out their own solid niche in the genre, and one of them is Arizona’s Alison’s Halo. Formed in 1992, the trio (plus a drum machine named ​“Alison”) was a major part of Arizona’s ​“beautiful noise” scene, and released several EPs, some live recordings, and a compilation.

The band’s secret weapon is Catherine Cooper’s vocals, which bring to mind Lush’s Miki Berenyi. While often buried beneath layers of noise, as shoegazers are wont to do, there’s both a sweetness and an ache in her voice that pulls you in. And while Alison’s Halo can certainly conjure up a lovely whirlwind of noise, their finest moments are when they dial the noise down a bit and let the melodies — and Cooper’s voice — work their magic.

I’ve embedded some of my favorite Alison’s Halo songs below, including the Dozen/​Calendar 7, which contains some of the band’s finest material.

Alison’s Halo’s Eyedazzler will be reissued by Captured Tracks in December, presumably as part of the label’s ​“Shoegaze Archives”. The label has already reissued material from Half String, another Arizona-based ​“beautiful noise” band.