Today’s history lesson focuses on the perils of looking down.
Shoegaze is an oddity. Easily described and circumscribed, it is a sub-genre of alternative music that flourished mostly in England between 1990-1995, and sank almost without a trace under the rising swell of Grunge in the US and Britpop (a la Suede) in the UK.
Nothing captures the spirit of shoegaze as well as My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless released in 1991. The dense sonics, layered and treated guitars, wistful melodies and laconic vocals all contributed to the image of shoegaze as music for angsty, basement dwelling teens (like Emo today).
I have to admit, I can’t be impartial. I was there. I saw and loved all these bands and to me their music still has visceral impact. And perhaps I’m not the only one with a soft spot for this vanished scene. Over the past few years a new genre, sometimes referred to as Nu-Gaze, has emerged – with bands like Autolux, Asobi Seksu, Deerhunter, Beach House, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart all owing a debt to those who looked downward before them.
Compiled by Spike Stockdale, a long, cool, drink of water who enjoys quiet walks on the beach and iambic pentameter. Spike has a tendency to pick fights after his third Mai Tai and is known for his opinions on music, and many other subjects.