The Pains of Being Pure at Heart gave us their debut, self-titled LP in 2009. The band created this interesting blend of indie pop with hints of shoegaze and even emo. The songs featured on the Pains of Being Pure at Heart were romance and relationship based with a youthful edge. Their music was packed with catchy vocal hooks, fuzzed-out melodic guitar riffs, and an overall dreaminess to it.
The band would go on to release four more albums before ultimately calling it quits in 2019 with founder Kip Berman announcing the end and noting he’d be focusing on his project The Natvral.
I can’t recall when The Pains of Being Pure at Heart hit my desk, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t 2009, but was before 2011. I remember falling in love with their sound. In particular “Young Adult Friction” was a favorite, but other singles they dished out around the release of the LP were frequently revisited.
Today I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to pull 5 albums from my collection that you should check out if you like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Happy listening!
You Forget So Easily by exlovers
I’m kicking this list off with UK band exlovers.
Just as packed with catchy melodies, memorable hooks and the thematic elements of young love, heartache, and romance as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but with a little less fuzz. Active between 2007 and 2013, this band is set to reissue their lone LP Moth for the first time ever on vinyl this month.
My copy of You Forget So Easily includes a handful of tracks from that LP, and it’s one I revisit frequently because I just love it so damn much! You can find Moth available for pre-order on Japan’s P-Vine Records. For now, you’ll have to import it from Japan.
Idle Labor by Craft Spells
Soft and synth-y with hints of new wave, occasionally angular and jangly, always packed with romantic themes, my next pick is Craft Spells. Idle Labor was released a few years after The Pains of Being Pure at Heart hit the scene with their self titled debut, and you can still snag the LP at a super reasonable price.
Also of note, their 2014 album Nausea and 2012 EP Gallery were pretty phenomenal as well.
Tired of Tomorrow by Nothing
This is a new one in my collection, pulled while scouring lists of the top shoegaze albums of all time. It’s Tired of Tomorrow by Nothing. Not nearly as pop-centric as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but still with elements that overlap their style, Nothing is drenched in deep shoegaze with overwhelming guitar riffs that inevitably call out My Bloody Valentine, yet with plenty of dreaminess to entice fans of Slowdive.
Immediate favorites have been “A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” and opening track “Fever Queen,” but it’s easy to see why this LP, despite it being relatively new (it was released in 2016) makes several top 10 shoegaze album lists, despite most albums being from the sub-genre’s heyday in the early 1990s.
Nowhere by Ride
I mentioned MBV and Slowdive while talking about the last band. This one tends to round out the top 3 when it comes to lists counting down the best of the sub genre. Ride’s nowhere is quite different though, more rock than dream, more jangle than reverb, but just as great.
Nowhere has been in and out of print, and appears to not currently have a recent pressing, but you can grab 4 EPs, a compilation of, well, the bands 4 early EPs. That came out last November, and copies are still available for less than you can buy each EP individually.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults by Letting Up Despite Great Faults
I just covered this one the other day. It’s the self-titled LP by Austin, TX band Letting Up Despite Great Faults. New on vinyl as of last year — kinda like Moth, which I mentioned before — this LP received its first vinyl pressing in 2022 despite being released in 2009. Kinda like Moth, the reissue was on P-Vine as well.
Letting Up Despite Great Fault released their album IV this year, and I hope to be picking that up in the near future as well.
Further Listening: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
In addition to the above albums, here are a few more by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and the bands mentioned above that might be worth checking out: