Uncovering the quiet story of a genre defining Perth band
To the many that found them long after splitting up, Bluetile Lounge were a band with a cult following. Deep-cuts from an obscure scene, subverting many of the genre tropes. Slowcore, Shoegaze, etc…
With the popularity of guitar based music swelling in the grunge-fuelled 1990’s, what was it about Bluetile Lounge that saved the music from being loss amongst the rest at the time? Swapping structure and form for lengthy, ebb and flow sequences in its dreamlike atmosphere, these records are considered by many adoring fans as a defining point for the genre/s.
Exisiting in pre-internet mass adoption, 1991. Exisiting in a place far away from everything, Perth Western Australia. It’s incredible to think these records, as mesmerising as they are, how they weren’t lost in time. It took two years before playing live and four years for their debut record Lowercase (1995), then follow up with Half Cut (1998) to emerge. With just those two albums and a compilation appearance, then they were gone.
“It was a bit like a reaction to going out – there’s lots of loud stuff so we’ll play quiet. There’s lots of fast stuff so we’ll play slow.“– Daniel Erickson
Through a series of events, the band was championed by notable figures such as Guy Blackman of the record label Chapter Music , Alan Sparhawk of the band Low and Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth. Leading to record deals in the US, Lowercase would see a release via Summershine Records (distributed via Sub Pop) and Half Cut also a US release by Smells Like Records (Shelley’s own label).
Bluetile Lounge would remain put. Despite the international attention, to tour in the nineties was not an affordable option for most Perth bands, which included Bluetile Lounge. Outside of being squeezed onto the bill of the Perth leg of 1996’s Summersault Festival at the behest of Sonic Youth, few people beyond the band’s friends ever saw them live. They made no film clips and did few interviews. Both CD albums have been out of print since before the band split in 1998.
But up until recently it was notoriously difficult to find any information online about the band at all. To the majority that found them after they became inactive, Bluetile Lounge were a band with a cult following. Amplified by passionate fans and online file sharing, long after their records were out of print, they remained a hidden gem. You’d learn about the mainstays My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and then perhaps discover Codeine, Duster etc shortly after. But Bluetile Lounge… these were the deep cuts from an already obscure scene.
Both their albums are available to listen across all the usual digital outlets, as well as for first time on vinyl with new artwork by the band.
Bluetile Lounge are:
Gabrielle Cotton – Guitars
Daniel Erickson – Guitars, Piano, Vocals
Howard Healy – Bass, Guitars, Vocals
Alexander Stevens – Drums, Percussion