With their chiming guitars, indelible melodies, and soaring vocals (courtesy of Jeremy Wrenn), Chicago’s Airiel have been one of the highlights of the American shoegaze scene for over twenty years now. Watching this recent Audiotree session, it really is mind-blowing just how good these guys still sound after all these years. Wrenn’s voice is as lovely as ever and the band’s shoegaze tunes have a timeless quality about them.
Airiel’s entire discography is solid, including their most recent album — 2017’s Molten Young Lovers — but arguably their most famous release is Winks & Kisses, a series of four EPs released by Clairecords between 2003 and 2004. The EPs contain some of Airiel’s most signature songs, including “Sharron Apple,” “Firefly,” and the nearly ten-minute epic “In Your Room.”
Winks & Kisses has been reissued several times, including a triple LP set in 2015. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, however, Airiel recently announced a “deluxe” edition of Winks & Kisses that includes all of the original tracks plus a number of demos and unreleased material recorded around the same time as original EPs. The 20th anniversary edition will be released by Feeltrip Records on June 30 as a digital download as well signed and unsigned CD box sets.