Gaslight Radio

About Gaslight Radio

One of the best bands in the neo-dream pop underground but also one of the most obscure, Gaslight Radio's lack of relative attention lies not merely with its initial run of releases on small labels but its location -- Australia. In a country generally more well-known for harder-edged rock, brothers Rory and Martin Cooke, both guitarists and singers, formed the band in the town of Burleigh Heads on Queensland's Gold Coast. The other members recruited include keyboardist Matt Davis, bassist Michael Regan, and drummer Simon Piper. Gaslight Radio's sound draws on various guitar experimenters from the U.K. and elsewhere -- hints of classic 4AD and Creation shoegaze are commonplace in the band's work, but there's also the calm distance of Hood and a touch of Neil Young's wistful, high-pitched reflection, among other sources. With Rory handling lead vocals, the group released two initial singles, Torchin' Towns, Hankerin' Homes and Our Dolelove, before relocating to Melbourne, the rainier environment of which seemed to outside observers to better suit the songs. There they recorded three more releases: Is By Bus and Sleeveful of Sight, both EPs, and in between them a striking debut album, Hitch on the Leaves. Gaslight Radio's domestic profile was further raised by a stint opening for Pulp when that act toured Australia -- though the two have little in immediate common beyond instrumental lineup, it still sounds like an inspired combination. At least some bandmembers later returned to Burleigh Heads, but the band themselves continued on, signing to Silvertone sublabel Zomba and recording material in May 2001. ~ Ned Raggett


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