A Spoonful Of Shoegaze

The ConorTV Playlist Vol. 5  

 

 

Shoegaze is a genre widely known by aging hipsters and audiophiles. It’s mostly foreign to the masses. Well the masses are missing out.

There are two playlists I have crafted: one on Shoegaze and one on Nu Gaze – new bands inspired by the initial shoegazers.

The term “Shoegaze” was coined by British rock critics who noticed that a crop of artists in the late ‘80s / early ‘90s were so intensely focused on their instruments they appeared to be staring at their shoes.

Some joked that they were not proficient enough on their guitars to play without looking down. But I disagree. Their music was complex.

 

 

Songs by bands like Ride, Chapterhouse, Slowdive and the Jesus and Mary Chain echo with blissful melodies and jingle-jangle guitars.

These bands were popular on college radio, especially My Bloody Valentine and Lush. Shoegaze never reached the mainstream except for a few videos by MBV and Lush. These enjoyed some late-night airplay on MTV’s “120 Minutes”

 

My Bloody Valentine’s “Only Shallow” is an intense, bombshell of a tune that is definitely a contender for best track-one on any album. Hyperbolic but it’s true. Boring video. Awesome song.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Nu Gaze mix of current bands inspired by Shoegaze.

To subscribe to this playlist, go to Spotify and search ConorTV Playlist Vol. 5

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19 Responses

  1. Alex in NYC says:

    Not entirely sure I’d put the Ned’s in that category. Same era, of course, but they were sorta part of the whole Midlands post-grebo scene with bands like The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will East Itself and to a lesser extent Crazyhead and Gaye Bykers on Acid. But y’know … why split hairs? I actually saw Swervedriver open up for Ned’s Atomic Dustbin at the old Marquee on 21st street…. which is now a sleepy art gallery.

    And forget ye not Curve

  2. conortv says:

    Oops. I forgot Curve. I’m not that familiar with them. What’s their best song in your opinion.

  3. Hal says:

    The Charlatans (UK) were part of the “Madchester” psychedelic dance-rock scene but what shoegazer didn’t like them? And Ned’s vocals were at times moody but their punk aggression put them in a very separate camp of UK indie. But most UK bands from late 80s through early to mid 90s fit together nicely in a playlist. Adorable were in the middle somewhere, and even Teenage Fanclub had some shoegazey moments.

  4. Hal says:

    Although less known, Revolver and the Telescopes had that swirling wall of sound formula at times. And the Drop 19s and Medicine were clear American counterparts to the UK bands.

  5. conortv says:

    I absolutely LOVE Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. Godfodder is a go-to album for me when I want to feel happy. I think they were kind of shoegazey. Maybe not as much as the others.

  6. conortv says:

    Alex, you are totally schooling me on some of these bands. I have never ever heard of The Wonder Stuff, Crazyhead or Gaye Bikers on Acid. Maybe you need to do a guest playlist. LOL. BTW I am migrating my blog to a new domain soon. So that it won’t appear like my personal site.

  7. Alex in NYC says:

    Technically, Curve weren’t really orthodox shoegaze either, but given their single syllable moniker (see also Blur — first album is TOTALLY shoegaze), they were lumped in. Their sounds bore a closer resemblance to a Eurhythmics/Sisters of Mercy hybrid, for lack of a better description.

  8. Alex in NYC says:

    As far as the Wonder Stuff are concerned, I’d suggest their best were their first two, THE EIGHT-LEGGED GROOVE MACHINE and HUP. Crazyhead really aren’t all that great, but they were sorta the link between the first grebo (slang for “greasy boy”) wave ala Pop Will Eat Itself (who started off farily Buzzcocks-y and then went ersatz hip-hop) and Gaye Bykers on Acid… who were simply deranged.

    In terms of shoegaze-y Blur stuff, pretty much the entirety of LEISURE is admissible. For my money, Curve’s best moments were “Fait Accompli” and “Lilies Dying.”

    Oh, and the Charlatans don’t really belong in the shoegaze scene either, as they were more caught up in the whole Manchester/baggy thing with the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets and all that.

  9. conortv says:

    Alex, you are a wealth of music information. Thanks. I think we all have our areas of musical expertise. I could talk your ear off about ’90s punk and get all obscure on you. And I did on the ConorTV Playlist Vol. 1. Added a Curve song to the mix. The two you mentioned are not available on Spotify. So I picked “Coming Up Roses.” Doesn’t sound very shoegazey to me though. Kind of dancey. Cool though. I’m trusting your judgement.

  10. gregg says:

    I also wouldn’t put “Ladykillers” from Lush on a Shoegaze list. The “Lovelife” album is really part of the Britpop scene, coming out in 1996, with a very different sound for Lush. Something from Gala or Spooky would fit in much better…

    Agreed that Ned’s Atomic Dustbin doesn’t belong on this list. They go on a list with Carter USM, EMF, PWEI, Wonderstuff, Family Cat, The Frank & Walters, Sultans of Ping, etc…

  11. conortv says:

    As I said earlier, I absolutely LOVE Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. They are Shoegaze to me. Maybe not textbook Shoegaze if you’re gonna split hairs about it. But the way they sound – sounds like the Shoegaze sound to me. But you guys are the experts. I was more of a Nirvana guy when these records first started coming out. Enjoying the debate. Thanks for the comments!

  12. conortv says:

    Gregg… The playlist is not set in stone. I switched out the Lush track. Nothing Natural for Ladykillers. Thanks for the expertise. I won’t get rid of Ned’s though! By the way, I’m thinking I will do these playlists every couple weeks or monthly, so enjoy, subscribe and debate! I’ve got some fun sub-genre ideas coming down the pike. My blog moves to a new – real – domain soon (as opposed to living on a personal site). Keep an eye out. And please keep commenting. Thanks.

  13. gregg says:

    Just Like Honey” from JAMC came out in 1985, well before the actual “shoegaze” scene… I definitely would consider it to be an inspiration for that scene, but feels slightly out of place, amongst contemporaries of the actual era… I vote to swap it out for “Heaven Sent An Angel” by Revolver.

    And also agreed with previous post about The Charlatans being out-of-place on this list.

  14. conortv says:

    Added Revolver it to the playlist. Cool song. Had never heard it before. I like Just Like Honey being on the mix. Just because it doesn’t come from “the actual era” doesn’t mean it can’t be on here. Shoegaze is a sound IMHO.

  15. conortv says:

    Maybe I think of it as a sound and not an era because I wasn’t aware of it while it was going on. I was too young. And probably listening to horrible dance pop at the time. That is until Nirvana changed everything.

  16. Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance, and I’m stunned why this twist of fate did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  17. conortv says:

    Glad you found me. And glad you bookmarked the site. I post about once a week. Playlists about once a month. Check out the other ones. You might like the Twee Pop one. Or the emo one. Both fun subgenres of music. What genre should I do next?

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