Southeast of Saturn Volume II

Back in 2020 I happened upon an amazing compilation of shoegaze and space rock featuring bands that had never been on my radar. Always on the hunt for new music I grabbed a copy on vinyl and gave it a spin. Sure, there was a couple of bands I’d heard namely the Scott Cortez projects astrobrite and lovesliescrushing.

Digging deeper there were new names and new sounds I hadn’t come across before. Bands like Majesty Crush with their woozy pop sensibilities to Windy & Carl who produce this acoustic almost ambient gaze. Everyone on the record had certainly been influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. However, what they all did with that influence was so broad and different to each other. I just found it a thrilling listen and I’ve damn near worn my copy out. You can find out more about how that album came together in this short video.

The man behind compiling the album, Rich Hansen, has returned to the dusty record racks of Michigan state and beyond to bring us Southeast of Saturn Vol 2. So, what’s new this time around?

“The second volume expands upon the Michigan-centric aural delights purveyed on Vol. 1, by including groups from throughout the Midwest. Highlighting groups spanning Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Vol. 2 works to cement the Midwest’s status as a breeding ground for the space-rock and shoegaze subgenres, which more famously burgeoned in the UK.”

Once again, the album is being released on the amazing Third Man Records label and they have very kindly given me a sneak peek. On my November DKFM Shoegaze Radio show I played four exclusive tracks from the album so I thought it would be cool to tell you a bit about those songs by way of an introduction to this new compilation. So, without further ado lets dive in.

Colfax Abbey – Feel

‘Feel’ is a cut from the 1996 album, Drop, from Minneapolis proto gazers Colfax Abbey. If the name is ringing bells for you, it’s because it’s from Bram Stoker’s book ‘Dracula’. Carfax Abbey was the name of Dracula’s estate in England, and the band members lived on Colfax Avenue S. in Minneapolis. This shimmering, glowing beauty of a track leads out the LP and it’s no wonder.

Fauna – To Ecstasy

‘To Ecstasy’ comes from Faunas 1992 Everafter album. It’s a sumptuous, trippy number with a flute reminiscent of early Medicine, driving the melody. The tremolo guitars are wonderfully heady in a disorienting kinda way. It’s a formula that would go on to form the blueprint for many bands in the 2000’s. These guys were there first!

Catherine – It’s No Lie

1993 saw the release of the Sleepy EP from Chicago based Catherine. Undoubtedly influenced by the amazing J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr the band evolve that sound into something more direct and on point. Coming in at just over three minutes this is one track I wanted to go on and on. The main guitar riff is incendiary!

27 Various – Turn On and On

Starting off as a sixties influenced psychedelic mod group 27 Various, also from Minneapolis, morphed into a fuzzed-out gazers delight by their fifth album. Fine, released in 1992, took that My Bloody Valentine wall of noise and added their melodic vocal harmonies. They make this relatively simple song sound a hundred feet tall.

You can listen back to my show on DKFM and hear these tracks in full.

Like I said on the show, I feel like Southeast of Saturn is our generations Nuggets or Pebbles. Both albums are rich with wee gems that it takes guys like compiler extraordinaire Rich Hansen to find and a label like Third Man Records to get out there. These four tracks are only the tip of the iceberg. The whole album is an exceptional listening experience.

Thanks so much to Rich and Dave over at Third Man Records for sharing this amazing album with me!

Southeast of Saturn Vol 2 is released on Friday December 2, and you can grab a copy from Third Man Records. If you head instore to buy in person, you’ll find some really nice colour variants.

Follow Southeast of Saturn on social media here…

Follow Third Man Records on social media here…

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