BIG UPS What Slowdive Listens to on Bandcamp By Joe Trainor · September 14, 2023

Slowdive‘s popularity has grown tremendously in the two decades since they released their timeless classic Souvlaki. One reason for the music’s endurance might be the way the band sonically captures the internal world of youth, the inwardly-focused angst that anyone—from the ’90s kids who were there the first time around to the Millennials who discovered Slowdive on blogs, and now Gen Z finding the band on social media platforms and streaming services—can relate to.

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But what does a band sound like when they’ve grown up? Slowdive’s first release upon reuniting was their 2017 self-titled record, which felt like an obvious continuation of what the band were doing on Souvlaki. Six years later Slowdive have returned with Everything is Alive, a collection of tunes that feels like looking back on half-remembered memories; it’s not nostalgic but it is reflective, a sonic expression of the passage of time.

When I catch up with Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell (guitar, vocals) and Christian Savill (guitar) on a crappy weather day in the UK, they are pooped from having just returned home from touring Japan and Australia. When asked what compelled the band to reunite again post-COVID, Goswell explains, “I just think we all just enjoy making music together. And there’s something really special about when we all come together, it’s kind of an alchemy that maybe you can’t really quantify.

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That alchemy is palpable on Everything is Alive. There’s no mistaking it as a Slowdive record, but from the opening moments, when a rush of kosmische synths explode into a noisy banger, it also feels much more cinematic: the sound of a band experimenting and growing up by not resting on their laurels, but leaning into what makes them artistically restless in the first place.

Goswell and Savill’s Big Ups picks reflect that artistic restlessness and maturity, from a classic record from Yo La Tengo—another band who have aged with grace and a sense of adventurousness—to the calm folk of Nadia Reid.

Rachel’s Picks

Lanterns On The Lake
Versions of Us

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“I got introduced to [Lanterns On The Lake] by Justin Lockey, who I did Minor Victories with, and I just really liked them. I love [Hazel Wilde’s] vocals so I’ve kept an eye on what they’ve been doing for the past few years. What I didn’t know until they announced this record was that they’d had Phil Selway from Radiohead playing drums for them. By all accounts it looks like this record was a difficult one for them to actually get done and finished, and I think there was a period where the singer felt like it just wasn’t going to continue. Lyrically, some of the songs are so great. I hope they get bigger. They deserve it.”

Pete International Airport
It Felt Like The End Of The World

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“I co-wrote [a song on this record] actually, ‘Tic Tac.’ I bought his last album, and I really liked it. [Peter G. Holmström] has different singers on each song and co-writes with everybody, which I think is a really interesting way to work. Obviously, Pete is a guitarist, first and foremost, and a very good one. He sent me music for ‘Tic Tac,’ and it’s actually changed a lot. It was a lot more guitar-y, the original musical piece that he sent me, and it got really stripped down and changed.

“I think he sent me that in 2020, actually. That was a COVID lockdown year and I had a lot of stuff going on. It took me I think nearly about a year to actually get around to sitting down properly and writing it. I kept procrastinating about doing it and then once I’d done it, I was really pleased with it. But I think as a record, there’s some great songs on it. I didn’t know who else had written with him on this record, I was just really happy to be a part of it. It is quite a broad spectrum musically, and quite eclectic.”

Nadia Reid
Out Of My Province

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“Nadia is somebody that I’ve loved for many years. I definitely have a massive soft spot for beautiful voices. We had her open for us in Auckland last week. She was one of the names that came up on a list of possible supports, and as soon as I saw her name, I was like, ‘Of course. In Auckland, she has to do it, it has to be her.’

“Her voice really reminds me—slightly differently, but her singing is effortless and it reminds me of Mimi [Parker] from Low in terms of being just effortless, doesn’t even have to try, it just comes out. And her voice is beautiful. Her lyrics are fantastic. I mean, just everything. I just love her! I think she’s great. It was a real pleasure to watch her play last week because I’ve never seen her live before. The first album I got was Preservation and that came out in 2016. I used to listen to that album on repeat that year. That sort of folk writing, I think I find it quite comforting and I like the sparseness of it as well.”

Pale Blue Eyes
This House

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“Earlier in the year, I started doing a playlist thing in America for the Pandora app, and somebody I know told me to listen to Pale Blue Eyes. They’re got that song ‘TV Flicker,’ which is really good. It’s kind of like an instant classic. That’s from an album they released last year which was called Souvenirs. They’re actually pretty prolific because they’ve got another album coming out this September. Really impressive!”

Christian’s Picks

Secret Diary / Heritage

“I like listening to College at the moment because it’s like all that kind of Drive soundtrack stuff. I just love all that sort of real synth-y stuff.”


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Burial? I’m new to them. I’m only just joining the dots now because I realized that this other record I really liked had Burial on it as well, which was a Thom Yorke one with Four Tet. I really like it because I don’t understand how that kind of music is made, but it still has elements that I do understand. Like, there’s these beautiful melancholic bits underneath these crazy beats and cut-ups, and I have no idea how they do it.”

Yo La Tengo
And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

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“It is an insane record. I think that they just exist in their own little world, which I like to think that Slowdive does as well. We operate under our own rules And I love this record because I went through a period of being really disenchanted with music just after Slowdive finished the first time around. I really just wasn’t interested. But Yo La Tengo? Well, what a band—that kind of pulled me back into music, and that record is just amazing. I remember seeing them live around that time and they were so good. All their records feel timeless.”


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“I didn’t know this band until we did a festival with them. And I was just blown away by them, really. There’s a song called ‘Vertigo’ on there; I play that to a lot of people who say, ‘I don’t like metal.’ When they hear that, they come and go, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ It’s just something about it.”

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