I’m not sure what prompted me to pick up Swervedriver’s classic Raise back in high school, but ever since then I’ve had a real soft spot for swirling, shoegazing guitar rock. Add some solid melodic direction underneath the wall of sound and you end up with some of the all time classics — Daydream Nation, Loveless and Souvlaki for starters. While Philadephia’s Relay are not yet deserving of inclusion in this pantheon, they are well on their way, releasing some of the catchiest, hook-laden and feedback stained rock in the last few years. Headed by Jeff Zeigler, who has toured and recorded with neo-shoegazers The Swirlies, Relay balances all the necessary components of the style — taut cadence-like drumming, richly layered pedal-powered guitars, droning vocals — and comes out much further ahead of the curve than a lot of recent attempts at a similarly nostalgic sound. Although tracks from their upcoming Bubblecore release Still Point of Turning often remind one of days past, it also communicates the promise of timelessness.

RIYL: Sonic Youth, The Appleseed Cast, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Blumfeld, Swirlies, Swords