2017 started on the right track with the reissue of Lily’s1992 debut album, In the Presence ofNothing. Lisa Fancher of Frontier Records fame worked alongside sole Lily’sOG member Kurt Heasly to get this long sought after work back into the hands ofhardcore shoegazers of the world. To say that this was anticipated is puttingit lightly. Since the original release of the album on Slumberland Records,first pressings of the record have gone to extreme prices on the secondarymarket. Even an original cd copy can almost cost you 100 bucks!

Just like last year’s reissue of Lily’s second album, Eccsame the Photon Band, Kurt and Lisahave put a lot of work into making this reissue standout and become a huge giftfor the fans. However, before I dig into the details of the package, let ustalk a bit about the music and why it is so important that this came back intothe spotlight.

You are watching: Lilys in the presence of nothing

Whenever I talk about the shoegaze genre with someone, Ialways like to name-drop my favorite artists and their best albums. When itcomes to Lily’s I often get blank stares. Why no one knows about this band andthe amazing debut record is tragic. To help whomever I am speaking with Ialways ask, “Hey, you like Lovelessdon’t you? Well In the Presence ofNothing is like the American version of that album!”

I do not take it lightly when I make that comparison, but itis the best way for me to get someone interested. Moreover, I do not mean it ina derogatory way either! Seriously, if you like Loveless then you should surely like ITPON.

Take everything you like about shoegaze in general and addon more of a 90’s East Coast indie rock vibe and you have the perfectconcoction of noise, or as critic Robert Christgau described, "Amplifiedwatercolors".

This reissue of ITPON has all the original album tracks plusan additional three tracks from the ToneBender ep. Those bonus tracks are a wonderful addition since they containthe first Lilys tracks ever out, “February Fourteenth” and “Threw a Day” aswell as the track “Eskimo”.

Right from the start, this album blasts forth after abuildup that is both exciting and terrifying. Once the guitars start scorchingyou know that wall of sound is now taking over and you get goosebumps. This isthat sound you have been looking forthat many other so-called shoegaze bands do not really act on. MBV were alwaysthe ones who could do it proper, but there was no one else you thought.However, right here it is in your face and blasting through. "There"s NoSuch Thing as Black Orchids" is a perfect opener and the dramatic mix ofwailing guitars, drums, bass, and Kurt’s lo-fi sounding voice in the backgroundenvelope you in a deep pool of eargasmic frosting.

Things are just getting started though because the secondtrack is even more amazing. "Elizabeth Colour Wheel" is perhaps thealbum standout and it is a nice slow climb with atmospheric texture that iswrapped up in warmth and emotion. “Collider” is another standout with dynamicshifts from pop sounding to heavy crunching, and "Periscope" has anice punkish vibe with heavy bass bleeding through. You want more rockin’ tunesthough? Well check out the track “Tone Bender” for a very heavy, almost droningsounding song that can remind you of modern acts like Isis or maybe Boris. Alsonot to forget, you must check out the track “February Fourteenth” with itsnoisy, Jesus and Mary Chain-like approach if that even remotely interests you.

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While shoegaze might have been a huge UK thing with greatbands like Slowdive, Ride, Swerve Driver, Catherine Wheel, Verve, Lush, andChapterhouse, America had its fair share as well. Bands like Drop Nineteens,Velocity Girl, Swirlies, Starflyer 59, and of course, Lilys are some of themany and sadly left unnoticed outside the scene and the occasionalretrospective. That should not be the case and this reissue can hopefully bringback some of those missing pieces of a certain time in music.