Exploring lesser known, more elusive genres can open up a whole new world of music that might never otherwise have been discovered.
This month, we are tapping into the sublime world of Shoegaze music. In the late 1980s, a sub-genre of alternative began emerging that some described as a “wall of sound”. Heavily distorted guitar riffs morphed together and melted into eerily enchanting, misty and melodic vocals. This type of sound was one with a steady, molasses pulse that never really faltered, built or dropped significantly and the lyrics became as esoteric as the entire body of each song.
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The title “shoegaze” initially came to be coined by British music journalism magazine NME when they first referred to a band member’s frequent tendency to gaze down towards the stage at their various effect pedals, “seemingly in deep concentration”. By the early 90s, shoegaze was hitting its pinnacle, with a surge of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive owning the scene, becoming what we now consider to be some of the kings of the “scene that celebrates itself”. Shoegaze’s decline came later in the decade; it made a few waves in the mid 2000s and has since been having a bit of a resurgence in recent years, with newer extensions like Dream Pop, Nu gaze and Ambient stepping in.
Below, we have collected some favorite choices taken from classic Shoegaze days and sprinkled in a selection of modern nods to this underground staple.
Image via Ola Onda