are best known for their hazy, shoegazer album So Tonight I Might See
(Grooveshark stream), which contained the single Fade Into You
(YouTube). That album was released in 1993
, and went platinum
, providing an odd counter-point to the popular grunge sounds of the day
. As a band, they made three albums in the 1990s, though neither hit the peak of their sophomore album. They disbanded (as far as the public was concerned*) in 1997, though there were a series of reunion tours in 2000. Eleven years later, they released a new single
, Common Burn b/w Lay Myself Down
, and the group toured in 2012
. This week, they release their fourth album, Seasons of Your Day, and they aren't any cheerier (in responding to interview questions).
Mazzy Star is primarily the duo of David Roback and Hope Sandoval. Roback's musical history goes back farther than Sandoval's, to the early 1980s, as part of the Paisley Underground (era) in Los Angeles, a psychedelic scene that inspired Prince
. David and his brother, Steven, formed the band Rain Parade, "the closest to being the real deal for their use of psychedelic flourishes throughout their first album."
The group made four albums together in the 1980s and a couple more since
, but David split from the band and after the first album. He joined with his girlfriend at the time, Kendra Smith
, who was previously the bassist for another member of a Paisley Underground group, Dream Syndicate
(lo-fi live clip, more info
). They were joined by drummer Keith Mitchell
and released one single
as Clay Allison
(YT, live audio from a show in 1984
with photo montage), then changed their group name to Opal
, playing harder electric stuff, "right in the center of this giant wall of noise"
(interview with David Roback, 1987).
It was here that Hope Sandoval joined the group. As told in this fictionalized history of the band
, Hope first noticed David back when he was in Rain Parade with his brother, and their chemistry started then. As told by Sandoval, she was a teen-age Dream Syndicate fan, following Kendra Smith
instead of David (third alternative: Sandoval was a devoted follower of Rain Parade, and she recruited Roback to produce an album by her folk duo
). One way or another, Hope was involved with Opal in the late 1980sas seen in this video for Opal's "Nightmare Baby" song
(YT; more history of Hope and Opal in the description of this video). The fictionalized telling captures Smith throwing her microphone down and storming off stage at Hammersmith Apollo in London, the third show of the tour opening for the Jesus and Mary Chain, Opal's big break. Smith did
leave suddenly in that show, though the why isn't really known (or at least mentioned online). Sandoval replaced Smith
(YT, low-quality live clip), and Hope's bio notes that after this tour, Opal became Mazzy Star.
Opal existed from 1983-1989, only releasing one album and a handful of shorter releases
. Mazzy Star kicked off in 1990 with She Hangs Brightly
(Grooveshark), which opened with the single Halah
(YT video). The next two albums came out on a pretty solid three-year cycle, but the 1996 album Among My Swan
(Grooveshark; Flowers in December
music video) couldn't match So Tonight That I Might See
from 1993. Both Sandoval and Roback went off to do their own things, though they have since said they never really stopped making music together, but they didn't make anything they wanted to share. In a 2009 interview, Sandoval told Rolling Stone "It's true we're still together.... We're almost finished [with our new record]. But I have no idea what that means.
But it's finally here, 17 years after their prior studio album. You can hear the entire album streaming on Soundcloud, thanks to The Guardian
, or for a limited time as a First Listen from NPR
If you're craving more of their past, YouTube user Bobjb999/Hermesacat
has uploaded a ton of live videos and audio from Rainy Day, Opal, Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval, and others.