So, it's time to switch things up a little as discussed in the last thread. We're going to have multiple records a week from now on and follow themes rather than the alternating weeks we've had...
So, it's time to switch things up a little as discussed in the last thread. We're going to have multiple records a week from now on and follow themes rather than the alternating weeks we've had until now.
The first week of our new format is the beginning of a genre introduction series that I'm running: Intro to Shoegaze! We will likely have several different themes switching off each week, and I'll kick off a few over the next couple weeks. These aren't intended to be tailored for genreheads (at least not right now), but rather a way to have a conversation about the all-time greats of specific genres, scenes, labels, etc. while also having something fresh that those already into that kind of music might not already be familiar with.
Shoegazing (or shoegaze, initially known as "dream pop") is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock that emerged in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It is characterised by its ethereal-sounding mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects, feedback, and overwhelming volume. The term "shoegazing" was coined by the British music press to ridicule the stage presence of a wave of neo-psychedelic groups who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state with their heads down. This was because the heavy use of effects pedals meant the performers were often looking down at the readouts on their effects pedals during concerts.
Most shoegazing bands drew from the glide guitar template set by My Bloody Valentine on their early EPs and 1988 debut Isn't Anything. A loose label given to the shoegazing scene and other affiliated bands in London in the early 1990s was The Scene That Celebrates Itself. In the early 1990s, shoegazing groups were pushed aside by the American grunge movement and early Britpop acts such as Suede, forcing the relatively unknown bands to break up or reinvent their style altogether. In the 2000s, there was renewed interest in the genre among "nu gaze" bands.
Essential Album: My Bloody Valentine - Loveless - Listen to it!
The shoegaze genre has a pretty much univerally agreed-upon "Big 3" records, the most prominent and influential of which being My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, which is undoubtedly the #1 starting place if you're looking to check out shoegaze for yourself. It's the darling of the genre and of internet music nerdom in general for a reason.
Loveless is the second studio album by English-Irish rock band My Bloody Valentine. It was released on 4 November 1991 in the United Kingdom by Creation Records and in the United States by Sire Records. The album was recorded over a two-year period between 1989 and 1991, with vocalist and guitarist Kevin Shields leading the recording sessions and experimenting with guitar tremolo techniques and tuning systems, samplers, and meticulous production methods. The band cycled through nineteen different studios and many engineers during the album's prolonged recording, with its production cost rumoured to have reached £250,000.
Preceded by the EPs Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991), Loveless peaked at number 24 on the UK Albums Chart and was widely praised by critics for its sonic innovations and Shields's "virtual reinvention of the guitar". However, after its release, Creation Records owner Alan McGee removed the band from the label, as he found Shields too difficult to work with, a factor alleged to have contributed to the label's eventual bankruptcy. My Bloody Valentine struggled to record a follow-up to the album and broke up in 1997, and Loveless was their last full-length release until MBV in 2013.
Since its release, Loveless has been widely cited by critics as one the greatest albums of the 1990s, a landmark work of the shoegazing subgenre, and as a significant influence on various subsequent artists. In 2012, it was reissued as a two-CD set, including remastered tracks and a previously unreleased half-inch analogue tape version, and peaked on several international charts. In 2013, Loveless was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry.
Minor Album: Vyva Melinkolya - Vyva Melinkolya - Listen to it!
This one is a shoegaze record which lies a little more on the dream pop / ethereal side of the genre than Loveless, and is my personal album of the year for 2018 so far by a longshot. I would suggest this for anyone who wants to to live in that wonderful dreamy yet noisy middle ground. The artist is also nonbinary, and while I can't speak for everyone, I find that this speaks to gender dysphoria in a way that only the best shoegaze can.
Here's the place to discuss your thoughts on the records, your history with them or the artists, and basically talk about whatever you want to that goes along with Loveless and Vyva Melinkolya! Remember that this is intended to be a slow moving thing, feel free to take your time and comment at any point in the week!
Again, if you'd like to stream or buy the albums, they can be found on most platforms here (Loveless) and here (Vyva Melinkolya).