The new album from the Boston shoegaze & noise-pop musician arrives via physical release March 5 before streaming everywhere March 12
In order for a lot of us to embrace life in 2021, we must make peace with our past. That practice can take on many different moods, fits or flings, but for Boston artist and musician R.M. Hendrix, it means opening up his personal creative vault and giving a new shine to some of his most personal material from a decade ago. With that comes a new era that is remade, remixed, and reloaded through new album Shamblegloss, a mountain of a record set for release March 5 on vinyl, CD, and cassette. A digital release follows a week later, March 12.
The idea behind Shamblegloss is simple: Take nine of his most preferred past compositions, add two brand new tracks (January 26 single “Morning Complaints” and LP closer “Plum Ambient”), and embrace the shoegaze and noise-pop sounds that helped define his early career. It’s a bold shift from the experimental agit-pop of September 2020’s War Is on Its Way, but in many ways, it’s an artist not just embracing his past, but emboldening it.
“I approached the process like I imagine a curator does,” says Hendrix. “My favorite genre of music is shoegaze. I decided I’d pull songs from my records that celebrate different expressions of that sound. It’s a really diverse genre. How can Swervedriver, Medicine, Slowdive, my bloody valentine, Cranes, The Verve, Lush, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Pale Saints all be in the same grouping? They each sound really different. My catalog represents that.”
Hendrix crafted Shamblegloss and the swirling mood around it by taking his music back to familiar grounds: Somerville’s acclaimed Q Division, where he remixed each track and re-recorded drums with engineer Colin Fleming. That includes prior standouts like “Summer Dresses” (a 2012 single), “In This Daydream” (2014 LP Urban Turks Country Jerks), and “Yr Queen Is Dead” (2011’s This Dreadful Mess LP). Adding to the allure was the excitement over hearing his older compositions on vinyl for the first time, giving a new depth to an already enhanced listening experience.
“After I had the songs I went through them and asked myself where to nip and tuck,” Hendrix admits. “There were a few things that bothered me, like the fret noise of a guitar, or a slightly off-key syllable. But the mistake had to be pronounced enough to personally take me out of the vibe of the song. So I left more than I changed. But then I also replaced some of the drum machines with live drums... I just felt like adding live drums would bring the energy to the recording that I always heard in my head.”
The past decade has seen a lot of shoegaze’s heyday bands, and a lot of long-overdue praise on the genre that was much-maligned and often misunderstood three decades ago. But the rise of shoegaze and noise-pop, and its prevalence in the soundtrack in the cluttered 21st century, has affirmed sort of timelessness to the collective sound, one often sharpened through new lenses. It’s something that resonates with Hendrix no matter the style of music he’s crafting.
“Shoegaze is music about emotion rather than virtuosity or ideas,” he says. “Sometimes it might have those latter things, but at its root, it’s music that’s about making you feel something through and with sound. Like the sun making us feel warm. Or the look of another person making us feel loved. That’s why I always talk about textures and colors in my music. They are as important as the notes. And it’s probably why the vocal mixes have traditionally been low on these records. It’s more about ‘feeling along’ than singing along.”
Hendrix’s recent experimentalism in his music has helped shape his sonic vision, and helped him gain confidence in securing a certain type of sound born from his headspace and out onto a recorded medium. At the core, there’s a consistency in all of his music, despite how the parts that surround it can flux in style or genre. In the end, it’s all still unmistakably R.M. Hendrix.
“If you first heard these songs in 2010, I think this will just sound bigger and better,” he says. “If you found me through War, then you might be surprised by the poppiness of these songs, but probably can still draw a clear line with the sounds. Either way, I hope it makes the listener feel good.”
‘Shamblegloss’ fact sheet
R.M. Hendrix’s new record, Shamblegloss, drops on streaming services March 12;
The first single, “Morning Complaints,” released on Bandcamp January 26 and includes a limited edition art print designed by Hendrix;
Shamblegloss follows R.M.Hendrix’s critically acclaimed experimental album, War Is On Its Way, released in September 2020;
Shamblegloss is a mixtape of new and old tracks, remixed, remastered and reverbed.
File under: shoegaze/noise pop;
Recent media praise for R.M. Hendrix
“A little weird, not quite on the beat and a bit mixed up, but that’s exactly what we love about this track. What is introduced quite melodically develops into a cool mix of fresh alternative rock and shoegaze with an emphasis on electric guitars. A straight track with pure harmonies would be boring, but this song breaks some “harmonic rules” and that’s what makes it really interesting. In addition to the energetic vocals, it is above all the guitar solos that set the tone and ensure a good variety in the arrangement.” _Berlin On Air (Germany)
“The perfect blend of power-pop and shoegaze, that so many acts get so wrong, but Hendrix has made his own. I have recently opined all power-pop becoming so very middle-aged. Hendrix drags it kicking and screaming back into today!!!”_Jangle Pop Hub (South Africa)
“Incorporating elements of psychedelic rock and noise-pop, Hendrix delivers his trademark shoegaze sound through melancholic lyricism, dictating social issues and injustices, yet maintaining constant melody and tuneful exuberance.” _Middle Eight (UK)
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