Strangeways Radio » Shoegaze Spotlight: Medicine

Shoegaze Spotlight: Medicine

Medicine

Medicine is a shoegaze/noisepop band from Los Angeles, CA. The band is generally considered to have had two distinct incarnations. The band was first formed in 1991 by guitarist, vocalist and programmer Brad Laner (aka Electric Company), based on some four track recordings Laner was working on in 1990. After showing the tapes to some industry people, he was told that if he formed a band that sounded like the tapes, he could get a record deal. Laner then assembled a band of musicians from the L.A. music scene. Medicine’s early lineup included Laner, drummer Jim Goodall, guitarist Jim Putnam, bassist Eddie Ruscha, and singer Annette Zilinskas, an original member of The Bangles. Putnam, Ruscha, and Zilinskas eventually left; the latter was replaced by former Fourwaycross singer Beth Thompson. On the basis of the original demo, the band got signed to Creation Records, becoming the first American band to do so.

In America, Medicine signed to Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label in 1992. With a signature guitar tone, created by running guitarist’s Brad Laner’s guitar through a Yamaha 4-track recorder, Medicine’s music managed to distinguish itself from some of the more ambiguous endeavors of the shoegaze movement. Their first album, Shot Forth Self Living, was released in 1992. Shot Forth received airplay by college radio and coverage in alternative newspapers, with even a few of their videos played on MTV.

Their second album, The Buried Life was released the following year, and gained Medicine more mainstream attention, being written up in magazines like Creem. The Buried Life would also be the first album to be released by an American label after signing a deal based on the success of their debut.

While on tour with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Curve and Spiritualized in 1994, the band was approached by some film makers who requested a song for their upcoming movie and to make a brief cameo in it. The band agreed and reworked “Time Baby II” into a breezy translucent version that became “Time Baby III”, which features guest vocals from the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. The film, The Crow was a box office success, and the soundtrack became a top seller as well. American Recordings was eager to release “Time Baby III” to coincide with the film’s success. Laner countered by proposing a remix album of the band’s songs. The resulting Sounds of Medicine: Stripped and Reformed Sounds EP features remixes by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins and Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan.

The final album with the original lineup was Her Highness. Released in 1995, the band broke up soon after, essentially drawing incarnation one to an end.

The second incarnation of Medicine began in 2003, with the release of The Mechanical Forces of Love. For this album Medicine was just a duo, consisting of Brad Laner and singer Shannon Lee (sister of The Crow’s star, Brandon, and daughter of Bruce). This was the only proper LP the dup released.

 

Pitchfork Media has hailed Medicine as the closest thing to being an American answer to My Bloody Valentine. Generally speaking, Medicine is revered and loved as a seminal classic shoegaze band by fans of the genre. In 2012, Captured Tracks reissued the first two LPs from Medicine: 1992′s Shot Forth Self Living, and 1993′s The Buried Life as part of their Shoegaze Archive series, both of which included bonus material and rarities.

Following on the successful heels of the reissues, on April 1st, 2013 Brad Laner announced the release of a brand new Medicine track ,‘Long As The Sun’ , which was recorded with the original line up (first incarnation). The track is the first single from their upcoming full length album, To The Happy Few, slated for release on August 6th, 2013 via Captured Tracks.

When The Sun Hits

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