Lightfoils is a shoegaze five-piece from Chicago. They founded in 2010, and have one EP to their credit thus far. This Tuesday, they’ll release their debut album Hierarchy via the brilliant little label Saint Marie Records. If you’re scoring along at home, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve featured a lot of stuff from Saint Marie. It’s because they run a great label there. At year’s end, a handful of SMR releases will be on my year-end list. This album promises to be in the top ten of that list.
The five-piece band features three (Cory Osborne on bass, John Rungger oh drums and Zeeshan Abbasi on guitar) former members of the illustrious Chicago shoegaze band Airiel. Osborne is also in the Chicago shoegaze band Panda Riot, who are also on SMR. Singer Jane Zabeth is in an unsigned Chicago band named Essenza, and she also used to contribute guest vocals for Airiel.
The one-sheet on this album describes it as:
Hazy soundscapes, ringing guitar, icy synth, feather-light vocals, and actual compelling tunes.
And that’s perfectly fine.
To give you a quick roadside point of reference, Jane Zabeth’s vocals are reminiscent of the angelic tones of Liz Fraser, while the rest of the band certainly have more teeth than the Cocteaus did. They play like — because they pretty much are — Airiel
I’ve listened this Lightfoils record a bunch of times now, including two consecutive listens all the way through on each of the last two days while I was at work. Every time I listen to it, I have to stop and pause at least twice for those “I can’t believe how good this is” moments. And it’s always at a different spot in the album.
Today’s song might not even be my favorite song on the album, but it’s really brilliant nonetheless.
“Diastolic” by Lightfoils
For the first 25 seconds, when it’s just bass/drums/tambourine, everything is all Kid A-ish, but once those shimmering guitars and Zabeth’s vaporous vocals come in, there’s a much different vibe. You’re carried off to a darker, much more mysterious place. Dark and mysterious, but warm and comforting. That little change there at 0:25 is one of “those” moments.
I’ve listened to this song a bunch of different ways. While it sounds great in the car and sounds even better through a set of Klipsch x10 (ipod), and better still through a set of Audio Technica studio monitor headphones (laptop), the best way is through a set of real speakers on your real stereo. Play this really loud.
If you live in the Chicago area, you should definitely get on down to The Empty Bottle on Tuesday night for the CD release party. Lightfoils will be playing a show with A Sunny Day in Glasgow. I’d go to that show, but it’s an 11 hour drive and I have to work the next morning.
Seriously, though. Buy this record. Play it a lot. Play it loud.
Also, for a little bit of extra credit, here’s a video for the song: