The Fleeting Joys – Occult Radiance (Only Forever Recordings)

If you saw My Bloody Valentine’s reunion concert this past year and thought to yourself “That was great. Now what?” Occult Radiance may be the answer. The album uses a similar sonic palette to the one Kevin Shields and co. employed on Loveless – evident in the guitar textures and breathy vocals buried low in the mix – but the band (a duo of husband and wife John and Rorika Loring) also attack their songs a little harder than MBV ever did, kind of like the grunge-friendly shoegaze of Swervedriver or Dinosaur Jr. OK, so The Fleeting Joys rely heavily on their record collections for inspiration, but at least they use it as a launching pad for their own great songs and melodies. All eleven songs on the album are strong, but it’s hard not to be bowled over by the dreamy vocal coos mixed with viola-like guitar squalls on “Cloudlike Mercury” and the backwards-vocals crossed with pounding drums on the chorus of “Closer To My World Without Pain”, both among the best that 21st century shoegaze has to offer. If you love shoegaze (and if you’re still reading this, chances are very good you do), then head over to their Myspace page ( for more info and sounds.

The Fleeting Joys – Despondent Trasponder (Only Forever Recordings)

At this point I think it’s pretty safe to say that My Bloody Valentine won’t release a follow-up to Loveless. There have been some glimmers of hope in the past few years – tales of the band reconvening in the studio have occasionally circulated around the internet – but it’s just not going to happen. This is where California’s Fleeting Joys come into the picture. The group has My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless-era sound down to a “t”. The dense fog of disorienting guitars, the powerful drums, hard to understand vocals that could be coming from a man, a woman, or both….it’s all here. Seriously, you could pass these nine songs off as a collection of unreleased My Bloody Valentine tracks and nobody would know.

Sounds pretty pointless, right? Wrong. If the Fleeting Joys were just copying Kevin Shields and Co. without doing anything interesting with it, it would be easy to ignore them. However, The Fleeting Joys have some top-notch tunes. In fact, a few songs are as good as anything on Loveless (“Go and Come Back”, “Patron Saint” and the awesome instrumental “I Want More Life FKR”), and that’s no light praise. They don’t have a record deal yet (Only Forever is the band’s own label), but they should. Hell, I’d sign ’em if I knew how to run a label! Given a proper recording budget, they could potentially put out a classic.