Here is a group that comes out with their debut album on Projekt records and becomes popular in the gothic/shoegazer scene almost over night. It really started when their appearance on A Cat Shaped Hole In My Heart
with "Cayman", which is an excellent and captivating track. Over the course of eleven years they have releasede three full length albums, a 7", a couple of EPs and their disc of demos and various outtakes. Much of this material wasn't available except for on some compilations and as unreleased work available on mp3.com which they now have on this release.
The band finally headed out on their first national tour including shows all across the United States in late summer and fall of 2002. From this tour they took back some incredible experience and continued to play live locally over the next few years. They finally found time to go back into the studio and work on some new material including a new EP and album for 2005. Since then we heaven't seen much come from this band until their release of demos, etc. in 2011. Hopefully we'll hear more from this band again, they would be sorely missed. Check out selections from all of their albums here on Gothic Paradise.
The Echo Lingers On - Review
This album marks a sort of anniversary since the release of the band's debut album in 2000. Though an eleven year anniversary seems an odd number to put something like this together, it's great whatever the reason or the occasion.
Like Sam from Projekt
, I really enjoy these raw early demo tracks and the additional outtakes and extras presented on this album. We're presented with four early tracks from the Somthing Ventured
ep, various tracks that didn't make the cut for the debut album and other bonus material. For eleven tracks total, it's a nice collector's item and a taste of how the band was introduced to Projekt
For me, most of this material is familiar as I was listening to these tracks on mp3.com all those years ago. Many of these were the versions posted there and most of all, for me it's great to finally have one of my all-time favorite tracks available on an officialy release "It Happens Anyway". This piece is amazing in it's simplicity, beautiful in it's simple grace and composition, mesmerizing and heart-breaking with it's lyrical content and stunning angelic vocals. If ever were to hear an angel's voice, it would be Regina's voice as it appears on this track. There's nothing glitzy, not a ton of computer processing, just simply great music, a nice percussion to keep the music moving along, simple guitars and soaring vocals. Even the band can't remember why they left it out, when I asked them on the night I interviewed them, they didn't really know, except it just didn't fit well with the rest of the material, but we're glad to have it now. Another unreleased track that appears is "For Now", not really something you would expect from this band, which is probably why the liner notes say "unfinished, unreleased outtake from the demo". It's still a decent track, a little fun, upbeat piece that is a nice extra, but understandably not included in the other albums.
Rewinding a bit, the first four tracks from the Something Ventured
EP are a great collection of songs. They exhibit just a more raw version of the same tracks that appeared later on the debut album. These are for the most part fairly dark and brooding pieces, with a lot of soaring and layered guitars mixed with the haunting vocals, all over a steady beat. These pieces mixed with the early versions of "truly" and "in the end" really show why this band was so captivating and caught the attention of Projekt
. For those of us that like a little bit more than alternate versions of tracks, we get a couple of little treats in some live rehearsals of "Space", another stellar favorite track, as well as a couple of unreleased pieces. The rehearsal of "Space" reminded me so much of their live performance that I remember like it was yesterday. That will always be such a vivid memory and favorite live show with a really great performance of great music, but this track in particular I remember best as a DJ because they segued so perfectly without losing a beat or any pause at all, they just took one track and segued right into "Space" perfectly. They throw in a live rehearsal of "London Dungeon" a Misfits
I'm sure they a lot of fun doing. We also get a glimpse of a track that never got a name, and never really got any vocals or lyrics... just a raw instrumental with a few flaws and some nice insight into what goes on during that creative process.
Each album from this band is truly a pleasure, and though much of this seems like "old news", it's great to have it in such a raw and candid form. Of course we look forward to more great music from this band and this should tide the fans over for a little longer, reminding us they're around enough to put something like this together for us.
There I Go Daydreamer - Review
After a long wait and the nice teaser Pieces
EP, we finally have the next great thing from this shoegazer band out of Florida. The album contains a dozen great new tracks that hold the listener captivated for the duration.
They remain true to their original style without compromising anything, and so like previous works they really come through on this album.
The disc opens with "Say When" beginning with hauntingly minimalistic guitars and Regina's beautiful vocals portraying the deeply emotional lyrics. With each new track the listener is brought up to this powerful crescendo in one way or another and suddenly left hanging, feeling almost devastated, as if brought in as the character at the center of the entire lyrical and musical story. On and on the album goes through this emotional frenzy of highs and lows. Those that picked up the EP will recognize the torturous "Pieces", the poignant "No Other Way" and upbeat "Window Seat". Each of these shows how the music spans so many emotional aspects through the simple, yet thought-provoking lyrics, the range of musical compositions, soaring guitars and moving percussion.
With the simple nature of the lyrics and how captivating and mesmerizing they are through Regina's enchanting voice, the listener realizes how beauty is accomplished through simplicity. Yet that's not really all that listeners find so attractive about this group either. It's really a combination of everything put together, even though the lyrics are simple, they are still deeply emotional in many ways and often reflective. But when you throw into the mix the awesome guitar work on each track, you realize they almost become extra lyrics and vocals, adding a substantial emotional and spiritual nature to the music. In the same way, Regina's vocals become another instrument through the use of these simple lyrics. The remaining tracks on the album are all great masterpieces in this genre. From the appropriately titled "Highs and Lows" to the finale to the album "Hinterland", there is a perfect flow of energy and continuity through the music. The album wraps up with all the force these artists can muster and should satisfy the most hard-core fan.
Pieces - Review
It has been an incredibly long wait for new material from this band. After their 2002 release and tour, it really left fans wanting more from this group.
It's been three years and we finally have something and a promise for more. This EP is a short taste of what is soon coming from this group. It's evident that they haven't lost anything in style and quality from previous releases and they don't deviate much from what fans have grown to love so far. The EP contains four excellent tracks spanning the haunting shoegazer tracks we've enjoyed in past releases.
The title track is a stellar masterpiece in this genre. The distortion and variety in the guitars and driving bass lines is incredible from this group with Regina's powerful and emotionally spellbinding vocals. "Window Seat" picks up the piece and sets the listener on the scene, possibly in a bus or plane with the band playing in a seat nearby as you set off on a memorable journey not soon to be forgotten. "No Other Way" presents the darker, moodier sound of the band in a slightly jazzy style. Again, this band pulls off something entirely mesmerizing and hard to beat just in this track alone, yet they continue to do so one composition after another in each of their works to date.
The final piece on this maxi-CD is a cover of friends Cream Abdul Babar
which they manage to pull off quite well in a style that fans can still appreciate. Those die-hard fans will recognize this piece from the limited 7" release back in 2002. It's not entirely something you might expect from this band, but it's still enjoyable in it's own unique way. This just sets me on the edge of my seat as I await anxiously the next full-length album to come out later this year.
Interview - Aug. 26, 2002
I had the opportunity to sit down with all five members of Mira
when they came through town on their tour. It was a great interview, the entire band was very friendly and sincere. I want to thank them for their time and answers during this interview.
How has the tour gone so far since you're about halfway through?
We've met lots of cool people and played at lots of good venues, we've been having a good time. It's been great playing every night or every other night at least. The audience has been very receptive at each show.
How did you come together to form Mira?
Years ago it kind of just came together out of some friends just playing music together. Regina was doing some music with a friend and I got abducted into the mix somehow and it just sprang forth from there. We picked up Alan and we had some other people and revolved through different members and finally picked up Mark and Melody. Nothing really all that interesting.
Tell me how you came to sign on with Projekt?
We recorded an EP a long time ago and around that time Black Tape for a Blue Girl
played at Tallahassee. We were there and remembered that we had a copy of the EP in the car and Regina took it up to Sam and he at first refused saying "We don't accept demos".
He said they weren't signing anybody and so I kind of hung my head and walked away. A friend of mine said to go give it to him anyway, so I approached him again and he finally took it. He finally got around to listening to it and emailed Tom and said that he really liked it.
He said it was the best demo he had heard that year and asked us to submit something for A Cat Shaped Hole In My Heart
and so we did "Cayman". It just kind of fell together and I guess it turned out really well! (laughs) After the success of that he asked us to sign.
Since that time you've become famous at least in the Projekt world, and as far as mp3.com goes, you're always way up there on the charts. For whatever that's worth, it seems that as for this particular genre you've been able to move up very well, have you been able to feel that as well?
Not in our day-to-day lives, we all still have to have day jobs! (laughs) It's fun to be on tours and it's exciting to hear these things that we don't hear everyday.
It's kind of overwhelming to hear it all, it's just like.. "wow!" It's all pretty amazing.
It's very cool to see all the figures that Projekt sends us and the mp3.com stats are almost not reality.
They don't even hardly play us on our station locally anymore.
Does this affect the outcome of your future work?
Band almost in unison:
No.. we just keep going on with what we're doing.
Do you agree with the categorizations and band comparisons that people so often make of Gothic/Shoegazer and comparisons with Slowdive and Cocteau Twins?
I'm not really sure about comparisons, but the Cocteau Twins
are definitely an influence of mine but I had never listened to Slowdive
Me and Alan used to listen to Slowdive
pretty heavily, things are a little different for us now and I know those influences aren't there for Mark or Melody.
I used to always listen to Sonic Youth
. But I'm self-taught, so I can never imagine trying to sound like anybody else. Mark is more our musical genius.
I studied classic guitar and I'm into a lot of finger-cell guitar, acoustic stuff and I listen to a lot of punk rock too.
So what are your favorite bands that you like to listen to right now?
I listen to a lot of Jeff Buckley
right now which annoys everybody
Everyone else in unison:
Not so much that we don't like it, just the frequency that we have to listen to it.. (laughs)
I also listen to a lot of Radiohead
I'm kind of in a void right now so I just kind of listen to whatever is in the cd player.
You're on tour and possibly thinking ahead, what do you see coming up in the near future?
We're working on putting some songs together and hopefully we'll have something out next spring.
What about your European fans, where Gothic Paradise is listened to by people all over the world, are there any plans to make it over to Europe soon?
We've had that question asked a bit and we get emails from all over the world. They kind of seem isolated and so we don't really know what the concentration of fans are like in Europe. It's something we would like to find out if shows would do any good there.
Is there anything else you want to pass on to your fans?
We just put out a 7" with 2 songs, Cream Abdul Babar covers one of our songs and we cover one of theirs. It's a really good eclectic piece of music available through mail order and on our tour. It's on clear vinyl and it has some nice artwork.
Apart - Review
If you were impressed with their debut album, you will not be disappointed with a more mature sound from this excellent goth/shoegaze group's follow-up album. apart
is a combination of all the different aspects of shoegaze rock with it's moody lyrics, grinding guitars and of course, the wonderful angelic voice of Regina Sosinski!
Starting off the album is a potential gothic club hit, "space". With it's out-of-this-world sound it really moves you with the catchy rhythm and grinding guitars. But once again, it's Regina's voice that just carries the entire feeling and body of this track. With catchy guitars in the vein of old U2
, a very nice tempo and a lot of emotion, it may just leave you too dazed on the dance floor to even dance.
This entire album takes you back and forth through all the different emotions you can experience. From just the utter dazed, dreamy feeling as you float through the air of the music to the dark despair of agony and pain in the mournful lyrics. The tempo varies from track to track and the intensity leaves you feeling like you've been on an emotional roller coaster. What an intense feeling. You can't get this feeling unless you really listen to the music, the lyrics and soak in the beautiful voice like soaking in the rays of sun on the beach. Several songs will carry you through all of these stages I've described above. One of the prime examples of this variation is "in theory". Starting it very slow and mournful, quiet and dreamy it gradually picks up on the intensity. Then towards the end the distorted, grinding guitar kicks off the finale of the song with Regina's voice carrying the thick, moody feeling straight to your heart. Other songs like "green" and "going nowhere" are a little more consistent throughout but still hold you captivated.
I could go on and on describing each song, each feeling, each captivating chord, note and emotion this entire album presents. I just don't think I can do it justice. In comparing it with their previous work, I would have to say their overall sound has improved a bit, showing a little bit more emotion than before. However, I must say that I still have not found an equal to "Cayman". Although several tracks on this album come really close to holding me breathless like that one track does. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed their first album, you will love this one. If you haven't heard mira
's spellbinding sound yet, you do not know what you're missing. Be sure to have a listen on the radio shows here.
Label: Projekt Records