Record Review - 5 November 18 2000
If, as the old adage goes, everyone who heard the Velvet Underground formed a band, then everyone who heard My Bloody Valentine bought an effects processor and formed a band. Funny thing, though; while the Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine are known for producing some exquisite noise, few who followed did a good enough job to get folks clamoring.
After all, it really isn't easy to be loud, loose, warm and song-oriented at the same time. Thankfully, Toronto's Mean Red Spiders' sophomore album, Starsandsons, has done just that, by taking lessons from the best. Washed through the album's looping, spacious paces are traces of the premiere shoegazer groups of the early-'90s given an analog electronic edge. Lisa Nighswander's vocals sweep through the mix with that familiar breathy air, while the songs follow the jangly, melodic trail of Ride. Mean Red Spiders know effects have a bigger effect if there's a song to go along with them. Mean Red Spider's pop may pop your eardrums, but won't drone like so many Velvet/MBV clones.
Equally addictive (as any band formed after hearing "Heroin" should be) are Lilys, whose drug of choice seems to be whatever pills fueled the Creation and the Kinks. Lilys new five-song EP, Selected, collects studio recordings of concert favorites. "The Any Several Sundays" sounds like the Byrds through Ride's stage set-up. "Touch the Water" has the glam gait of Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye." While "Won't Make You (Sleepy)" hints at the trembling timbre of MBV's "To Here Knows When" and a more heavily panting "Lose My Breath." Fans of Apples in Stereo also take note, Lilys tunes are red hot, crunchy and delicious.
Mean Red Spiders play Dottie's, Sat., Nov. 18.