For this week's Friday Feature we're celebrating Mazzy Star, an alternative dream rock band from Santa Monica, USA who have been creating bewitching music for nearly three decades. Their music is iconic for two reasons a) Hope Sandoval's dreamy, lilting, crooning, melancholic, comforting vocals and b) their use of almost completely acoustic instrumentals (with the odd electric guitar). David Roback writes nearly all of Mazzy Star's songs and it is due to this and his decision to steer away from hopping on musical trend band waggons that their music is as enjoyable and timeless today as it was twenty years ago. If I was to be flippant I'd say it is music to get high to (in particular their first 1990 album She Hangs Brightly) however it is also music to dream to, music to drink cocoa whilst watching rain run down the window to, music to comfort a friend to and music to enjoy insomnia to.
Where will I have heard them before?
If you're American you're probably most familiar with their single 'Fade Into You' (from 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See) which has been in a billion films and TV shows from Batman Forever to End of Watch. UK visitors are more likely to recognise 'Into Dust' (also from So Tonight That I Might See) an album song which made it into the UK singles charts twice! First in 2009 for a Virgin Media advert and then again in 2011 after featuring in this Gears of War 3 advert.
During Mazzy Star's 1997-2009 hiatus both Hope and David explored solo careers. Along with her own music Hope performed on tracks for The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Chemical Brothers, Air, Death in Vegas and Massive Attack. Meanwhile David performed in and wrote three songs for 2004 film Clean.
Featured Song: Flowers in December
Where can I hear more?
Mazzy Star has released three albums to date (a new one coming soon apparently) and two special singles 'Common Burn' and 'Lay Myself Down' (2011) all of which are easily available to download - the cheapest place being Amazon where She Hangs Brightly (1990) and So Tonight That I Might See (1993) are only £2.49 each! DEAL! Among My Swan (1996) is a little more expensive but is actually my favourite and in my opinion the most accessible (with She Hangs Brightly being the least) however when the other two are so cheap and with So Tonight That I Might See containing their most famous songs why not get all three in one go? You'd be mad not to.
What is their website?
Next week: I'll do some sort of end of year round up...I'm still thinking on it!
P.S. Don't forget to suggest your own favourite singers and bands!