writing about music and movies among other things in hopes of selling ad space in the future or getting a job writing about music and movies among other things

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shoegaze is dead, but not.

Shoegaze never was a wildly popular genre. Sure, many people own Loveless, but shoegaze, once referred to as The Scene That Celebrates Itself, never caught on like grunge, anti-folk(you can thank Juno for that), or indie-pop(you can thank the OC for that). You may say, "Ben, I disagree with you. I loved it when The Jesus and Mary Chain got together for the '07 Coachella, and I have been waiting patiently for 19 years for My Bloody Valentine to release their next classic." Well, I would respond, "Cool. You are the exception. Call me. Let's get together and have a beer. Now, look to your right. Ask the stranger next to you what their favorite Nirvana album is. Then ask them what their favorite Slowdive album is. I'm sure they can answer the first question. Now, if they have an answer for the second question, invite them to have a beer with us. Even if they don't have an answer for the second, invite them anyway. I'm sure they are nice if they are talking to a complete stranger about music." But I'm getting distracted. My point is that shoegaze was never as popular as it should have been. Or was it?

I am not about to make an argument that shoegazers were the originators of the use of reverb. However, I'm sure I could make a pretty good argument that they were some of the first to use it excessively, among other things like ethereal vocals and tidal wave distortion. Now let me get to the reason why I said "Or was it?" Most would argue that the Shoegazing scene ended in the early to mid-'90s. However, in the past few years, I have found myself hearing new artists who have been incorporating a "Wall of Sound" production style. Ever hear that phrase before? Shoegaze isn't dead, it has just grown up and merged into modern pop.

I give examples of old and examples of new. Enjoy.

(New'07) Panda Bear - "Comfy In Nautica" Listen for the Wall of sound and reverb drenched ethereal vocals.

(Old '85) The Jesus and Mary Chain - "Taste of Cindy" Listen for the buzzsaw guitar distortion so often employed by the JMC.

(New '07) Liars - "Freak Out" Listen to the similarities to the JMC.

(Old '95) Mojave 3 - "Love Songs on the Radio" Formed from the remains of Slowdive, Mojave 3 are one of the early bands to evolve out of the early scene while incorporating their shoegazing roots.

(New '06) Beach House - "Master of None"

Hope you enjoyed some of the compare and contrasts. I could cite some other popular bands of today that draw from shoegaze style production and sound like Grizzly Bear, specifically on their new album, and Deerhunter as well. But yeah. The Scene That Celebrated Itself is gone, but they left us with an aesthetic legacy so that we may continue to celebrate. At least I will. Oh, and to be continued.


  1. i have to say machine gun from slowdive and night sky from alcian blue are so alike~
    but i can't understand the lyrics of both, neither can i find the lyrics on net. so sad...
    do you have any idea?

  2. Punk is dead, any new punk band isnt punk in the way it was back then, same with shoegaze. Wall of sound-music of today > shoegaze. And it is NOT shoegaze. Nor is any nirvana-wannabe band of today grunge