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Jun 28, 2008

Q: So what is shoegaze?

Shoegaze is a rock subgenre originating in the late 80s that blends psychedelic rock and post punk. It's characterized by an effects heavy guitar tone creating a Phil Specteresque 'wall of sound.' The genre is called 'shoegaze' or 'shoegazing' because guitarists used so many effects pedals that they were constantly staring at their shoes.

Q: Can you give some examples?

Well to start there's the definitive album of the genre, as well as the 90s and all music ever. I'm talking of course about Loveless by My Bloody Valentine (the second greatest band ever).

(don't type "Loveless" into google).

Anyway, My Bloody Valentine formed in Dublin, Ireland in the 80s and were named after a horror movie. At first their sound was influenced by scary sounding bands like the Cramps and the Birthday Party, and a few Eps later started dabbling in twee pop. By the time they recorded their first proper album, Isn't Anything they had matured into the shoegaze band we all know and love. By the time they recorded their next album Loveless no other band sounded quite like them.

Q: What about after Loveless?

Well, there isn't anything after Loveless.* Guitarist and bandleader Kevin Shields claimed to be working on a followup but 20 years and a reunion later, nothing's been released. In the meantime, you can go through their discography in reverse chronological order.

* [there is now]

Q: What about other bands?

While no shoegaze band is as good as My Bloody Valentine, there are still plenty of high quality bands out there. Like Ride, who's debut album Nowhere was reissued earlier this year.

The whole album sounds like they took the Beatles' song “Tomorrow Never Knows” and created an album length sequel. Their later albums are hit or miss but their early Eps are worth checking out.

Q:What about noise pop, dream pop, etc.?

noise pop

Noise pop is a pretty self explanatory genre. The Jesus and Mary Chain and their debut album Psychocandy defined the genre which often overlaps with shoegaze.

Their next album Darklands is also quite good, as is the compilation Barbed Wire Kisses. Later albums decline in quality somewhat. It's best to approach their discography chronologically.

Medicine is another noise pop band as well as the best first wave shoegaze band this side of the Atlantic. It's best to start with their debut Shot Worth Self Living and going chronologically from there.

Did you know?: Medicine was in the movie The Crow.

dream pop

Dream pop is a vague, broad genre that also overlaps with shoegaze. Cocteau Twins are one of the most important dream pop bands and are often described as having an ethereal sound. This was achieved through a combination of vocalist Elizabeth Fraser's glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and guitarist Robin Guthrie's extensive use of modulation effects which produced synth-like guitar tones.

Depending on preference, either Treasure or Heaven or Las Vegas would make a good starting point. Treasure is darker and more gothic sounding while Heaven or Las Vegas is lighter and poppier.

Slowdive is another dream pop/shoegaze band and their album Souvlaki is generally considered their best.

Did you know?: Some people say Slowdive is better than My Bloody Valentine. These people are wrong.

Pomplamoose fucked around with this message at 03:48 on Dec 18, 2014


Jun 28, 2008

Although it's popularity peaked in the early 90s, shoegaze is far from a dead genre. One of the ways it lives on is through fusions with other genres, which have been occurring since the beginning. (click for videos)

hard rock

With songs all about fast cars and fast living, Swervedriver is sort of the ZZ Top of shoegaze.

twee pop

Even My Bloody Valentine was twee at one time. Other bands include Black Tambourine and more recently, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

noise rock

A trio of bands with overlapping personel based around the performance venue and effects pedal manufacturer Death by Audio play an extra loud blend of shoegaze and noise rock. A Place to Bury Strangers is the most popular of the three, but Skywave was the first of the three. Last but not least, Ceremony , true to their name, are heavily influenced by New Order.


There are many bands that mix metal and shoegaze, such as Alcest who mixes shoegaze with black metal and Jesu who mixes shoegaze with doom metal.


Although shoegaze started out as a genre centered around guitar sounds, many artists, such as Ulrich Schnauss and M83 take a more synth driven approach.


space rock

Space rock originated in the late 60s as an intermediate between psychedelic and progressive rock with leaders including Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and the German Kosmische scene. In the late 80s, a new wave of space rock bands emerged that were more influenced by punk than prog. These new space rock bands had stylistic similarities to shoegaze with their effects driven psychedelia.

Spacemen 3 can best be summed up by their motto “taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.” Spiritualized was formed by former members of Spacemen 3 and presented a softer, more refined version of space rock. Loop cut a blazing wah-fueled path through the far reaches of the heavens and The Telescopes mixed calm and fury, sometimes featuring screamed vocals, a rarity in shoegaze.

Pomplamoose fucked around with this message at 20:12 on Aug 24, 2011

Jun 28, 2008

The shoegaze documentary Beautiful Noise is out now!

"They didn't sell a lot of records but everyone who heard them still won't shut up about them."

Pomplamoose fucked around with this message at 03:37 on Dec 18, 2014

Jun 28, 2008

Rageaholic Monkey posted:

Silversun Pickups.

Like others have said, they're more Smashing Pumpkins worship than anything but if you like that sound check out Hum. They were a space rock band and contemporaries with Smashing Pumpkins. Their song "Stars" was a minor hit in the 90s.

origami posted:

Maybe I'm old and cranky but your OP is poo poo and irritating and I'm assuming you just stumbled onto 'shoegaze' over the weekend or something.

I don't know if you were expecting a thesis or something but the OP was supposed to be entry level for people who don't know much about the genre.

Jun 28, 2008

origami posted:

I like this video for Sugarcube -

Also, Sugarcube has, hands down, the best guitar solo in any shoegaze song (because Loveless doesn't have any).

TheIndividual posted:


My favorite Chapterhouse song is Falling Down, which has a fun dancey feel. But when Chapterhouse tried to go all out dance it backfired with Blood Music.

Bonk posted:

I didn't see any mention of The Depreciation Guild. They've (fairly recently) broken up, but they did a great job of melding shoegaze with 8-bit/chiptune sounds.

That's because one of the members is in the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Also, it's kind of forced.

Also I updated the OP if anyone knows of any upcoming releases post them and I'll add them.

I'm also considering adding a recent albums (since 2010 (2010 had some good albums)) section under 'coming soon' but that might be too much, so tell me what you think.

Pomplamoose fucked around with this message at 03:28 on Aug 25, 2011

Jun 28, 2008

FetusOvaries posted:

Brian Eno making shoegaze in 1974:


I think I already mentioned "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles, so here's "Bo Diddley" by Bo Diddley in 1955. Bo Diddley is Jesus.

By the way I added a collaborative spotify playlist I found as well as some recent albums to the OP (3rd post).

Jun 28, 2008

WhiteHowler posted:

Also, referring back to the OP, I have no idea what the hell "twee" is, but I really like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- and especially their newest album -- so I guess I'm into that too.

Well, for the long answer read Twee as gently caress.

The short answer:


In a pop music context, the term “twee” was originally used by British music journalists in the mid- to late 1980s as an abusive term for indie pop. It has since been ‘reclaimed’ by some indie pop fans and used in a neutral sense.

Musically its key characteristics are jangling guitars, a love of sixties pop and often fey, innocent lyrics. It is not at all uncommon to find hand claps, rubber bands or ukuleles in the background of these songs.

Some bands:

For shoegaze/twee there's also Black Tambourine (you can get their whole discography on one CD)

and My Bloody Valentine's EP Ecstacy was pretty twee.

For regular twee I like Beat Happening and Los Campesinos! the best.

Pomplamoose fucked around with this message at 02:42 on Aug 29, 2011

Jun 28, 2008

Ras Het posted:

This is true, but not just because you'll probably like it, but also because twee as a genre/scene contains all the talent the lack of which shoegaze musicians hide behind their awful meandering song structures and pointless "noise" ("sound" would perhaps be more accurate). To me, almost all acclaimed shoegaze sounds like a combination of the worst aspects of Jesus & Mary Chain's (anaemia) and Sarah Records' (lyrical and artistic banality) musics, though there's a couple of modern bands I like (I can only think of Asobi Seksu but I do think there's others).

It's true that some popular bands like MBV, Slowdive, Spacemen 3, and Cocteau Twins have repetive song structures that emphasize sound over writing but there's still plenty of bands that place a greater emphasis on songwriting like Ride, Swervedriver, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and later M83. I'm not sure what Sarah Records' has to do with it, are you saying you dislike twee as much as shoegaze? Maybe I'm misunderstanding your post.

Anyway, I edited this into the OP a while ago but I wanted to talk about Big Troubles. Their album Worry from last year had some of the best lo-fi shoegaze I've heard. It follows the MBV model and includes some tremolo bending 'glide guitar' (but without the overdubs) and despite all the haze the melodies come through pretty strongly. So maybe that's not the most flattering discription, but why not give it a try?

They're also releasing an album later this month on Slumberland and like labelmates the Pains of Being Pure at Heart they've cleaned up their sound and absorbed some Smashing Pumpkins influence. I'm not sure how I feel about this since I'm pretty ambivalent about the Smashing Pumpkins but I can't stop listening to their new songs. They just released a new single "Sad Girls" and you can hear it on their bandcamp.

Jun 28, 2008

I posted about it before but Big Troubles finally released their second album. It's less overtly shoegazy than their first but it's great indie/alt rock anyway.

Stream the whole album here.

Jun 28, 2008

Stravinsky posted:

Ceremony has their upcoming ep streaming on soundcloud if anybody else is into that.

The loudness war claims yet another casualty.

But seriously, this is great stuff.

This band, Cheatahs released their first full length earlier this year, but it's not quite as good as their first EP Sans.

It sounds kind of like Sugar's Copper Blue except more committed to it's shoegaze influence and much less Mould-y overall. Or an EP-length "Everlong" if that sounds like your kind of thing.

Jun 28, 2008

Chill Callahan posted:

John Davis and Brandon Fisher from Superdrag. LP out September 16th. Lookin' forward to it.

That sounds like more generalized shoegaze than their earlier stuff, which had more of a power-pop bent to it.


Jun 28, 2008

Fart of Presto posted:

Beautiful Noise is finally available to buy/stream on demand/download in SD+HD

About time! I went ahead and updated the OP.

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