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Arts and Culture

Mazzy Star Fades into View

The sultriest act of the 1990s emerges from nighttime to make its slow return.

By Adrian Mack 25 Jul 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Adrian Mack contributes a regular music column to The Tyee and frequently sits behind Rich Hope.

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Mazzy Star, still feelin' blue.

Last week on The Tyee, Alex Hudson wrote wrote about Vancouver's princess of dark pop, Louise Burns. In his rundown of influences, Hudson neglected to mention Mazzy Star, the almost-not-quite huge '90s psych-country act who probably soundtracked at least one of your 3 a.m. red wine bedroom conquests back in the day.

If there was a contemporary sound any sultrier than Hope Sandoval's voice, then I didn't hear it. Between that and long-time musical partner Dave Roback's L.A.-noirish guitar work -- he was a graduate of the '60s obsessed paisley underground before founding the band with Sandoval in '89 -- Mazzy Star crept into every cool kid's CD collection, including Kurt Cobain's (he included the 1990 full length She Hangs Brightly in his famous list of top 50 albums).

It was seemingly all over with the release of the 1996 album, Among My Swan. But the influence still vibrates through artists like Beach House, the Dum Dum Girls and our own Louise Burns. If sexily downbeat, psychedelic cabaret set on slowburn is your thing, Roback and Sandoval provide the purest source.

Anyway, as is apparently the fashion these days, Mazzy Star has emerged from its private, permanent nighttime to announce its first new album in 17 years. And not only does Seasons of Your Day -- set for a September release -- reconvene all of the band's original members, it also throws Scottish folk-guitar genius Bert Jansch into the mix with a duet he recorded with Roback before his death in 2011.

A teaser track emerged on the web last week, and notwithstanding the absence of Roback's beloved reverb all over the place, there's no doubt from the starlit quality of "California" that we're among our swan once again.  [Tyee]

Read more: Music

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