Rachel Staggs’ recommendation: “I love all types of music and have been inspired by many artists in my lifetime. The Raveonettes stand out for quite a few reasons. The first time I heard the EP, Whip It On, I was hooked. The droney, hazy vocals, the surfer guitar infused with distortion and danger, wicked melody, and pop sensibility. How could I not fall in love? I still listen to “Do You Believe Her” or “Beat City” and adore them just as much as the first time I heard them. Plus, the concept behind that EP was genius. All of the songs are in Bflat minor. Then, right out of the gate on Chain Gang of Love (all songs in Bflat major, again, genius), they hit me with “Remember” and my heart was surrounded by a sad love story shimmering in tambourines, fuzz guitars, and smooth, subtle vocal harmonies. The Raveonettes have a way of telling a really heartbreaking story inside a beautiful melody. “Remember” takes me on a Jesus and Mary Chain ride towards the end, but drops me off at Buddy Holly’s house. Buddy Holly might have something to do with this torch I carry. I listened to a lot of Buddy Holly in high school. I was never into The Beatles or The Stones; it was Buddy Holly & Velvet Underground. I was also listening to The Cure, but I really loved Buddy Holly. He made me happy. He made my heart full. I went to college in Lubbock, Texas after growing up in Austin, Texas. Culture shock is putting it lightly. Music is the reason I made it through those years in Lubbock and I like to think Buddy Holly’s energy is still there. The Raveonettes seem to genuinely love Buddy Holly and use his inspiration in a way that resounds with me. They write songs that incorporate all of the elements I love. Vintage sound, heartbreaking guitar lines, fuzz bass, guitar walls of sound, dreamy vocal melodies/harmonies, tambourines, bells, hypnotic drums, and not too much (or any) cymbal. “That Great Love Sound” is a brilliant pop song. I remember seeing/hearing this song live once and after they sang the lyric, “love tornado struck”, Sharin sang, “what the fuck” right in time. Now, I can’t listen to that song without adding “what the fuck” when I sing along. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen them live, but I’ve never been disappointed. I’ve seen them with full bands, as a 3-piece, and as a two-piece. I think they pull it off no matter what formation they are in because the love and passion for what they do is palpable. I also appreciate the way they present themselves. There is a vintage essence in everything they do, but it’s fresh and exciting through The Raveonettes kaleidoscope. They have an aesthetic, musically and artistically, that I’m drawn to. They are also really lovely people.”
New to The Raveonettes? Rachel suggests you start here: “What album should a newbie listen to first? I’m going to suggest Lust Lust Lust. The vocal harmonies are stunning. It takes me to that Buddy Holly place the most (“My Heartbeat’s Dying”), but it also gives amazing gusts of distorted melodic guitar, and waves of surf. I can’t get over “With My Eyes Closed” or “The Beat Dies.” In “The Beat Dies.” Sharin’s voice is beautifully intimate and takes me to a dark booth in a 50s diner where the moonlight is hitting some sort of magic crystal and small silver sparkles shine all over the wall. Sune’s guitar line kills me and spins me into a David Lynch dream.”
(Update from Rachel: “While writing this piece, I bought their most recent release, In & Out of Control, and can’t stop listening to it. It’s brilliant. I think it’s a great companion to Lust Lust Lust for those new to their sound.”)
About the guest author, Rachel Staggs: Rachel is the unmistakable voice that fronts Experimental Aircraft and All in the Golden Afternoon (the latter being a band she performs in with her husband and whose self titled cd can be purchased here). She also has several solo releases under the name Rachel Goldstar. As if this all doesn’t keep her busy enough, she expresses herself through paintings and photographs. More on that at http://magiclighthouse.com.
Rachel Staggs photo credit: Aubrey Edwards