A Spoonful of Nu Gaze

The ConorTV Playlist Vol. 6 



Nu Gaze emerged in the early 2000s as a horde of bands started playing music influenced by the Shoegazers that came before them – see yesterday’s post  on Shoegaze. Deerhunter, A Place To Bury Strangers and Beach House are semi-popular examples.

There is also a prevalence of somewhat mainstream acts like Silversun Pickups – a band whose fuzzbox guitar effects echo the early Shoegaze scene.



M83 isn’t entirely Nu Gaze, but songs like “New Map” and “Reunion” fit the bill nicely. The ethereal nature of their music is definitely shoegaze inspired.

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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”

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The Mountain Goats Greatest Hits

The ConorTV Playlist Vol. 4



Since 1994, John Darnielle has recorded a total of 14 full-length albums under the moniker The Mountain Goats. An indie-rock legend, Darnielle has won the hearts of hipsters and critics and performed on a main stage at Lollapalooza.

Today, to celebrate the release of his 14th album Transcendental Youth, I bring you this Spotify playlist that I crafted – a greatest hits of the man who reinvented indie folk. 



In 2000, I was a lowly college radio DJ at Iowa State University. I was absolutely obsessed with The Mountain Goats and then suddenly my fellow DJs and I discovered that Darnielle was living in our college town. His wife was in grad school and playing for the Iowa State women’s hockey team.

When I realized Darnielle’s home base was Ames, IA, I immediately sought an interview with the Mountain man himself. He obliged, inviting me over to his West Ames house.

Darnielle used to record his music on a boombox and was still doing that at the time. He showed me a big box of cassette tapes, all filled with original songs he wrote and recorded solo acoustic. We drank red wine, ate chocolate and chatted about Norwegian death metal and quilt making. Yes, quilt making. Here is the article I wrote 12 years ago for the Iowa State Daily. 


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The Golden Age of Emo

The ConorTV Playlist Vol. 2

In the late ‘90s, bands like Milwaukee’s The Promise Ring, Kansas City’s The Get Up Kids and D.C.’s Dismemberment Plan churned out albums filled with confessional lyrics that resonated with the college radio crowd.

I was a DJ at KURE at Iowa State University from 1997 – 2001, the golden age of emo. The genre became a cornerstone of my show and this Spotify playlist features the best songs from the era. They are new classics… 

The emo explosion of the ‘90s came about – some joked – because the punk kids started smoking pot. Whether or not this is true is up for debate.

In the case of Fugazi – the post-hardcore band that is often credited as being one of the founders or biggest influences of the genre – lead singer Ian MacKaye is famously straight edge, meaning he doesn’t drink or do drugs. I interviewed the Fugazi frontman in 1998 for the Iowa State Daily. He called me at 8AM on a Saturday morning for our phone interview. I was in bed when the phone rang.

The origin of the term “emo” dates back to the mid-‘80s when the DC band Rites of Spring were playing a show and someone was moved by the music, shouting out “You guys are so emo!” The term was applied to describe the intensely emotional nature of the band’s music.

The style had its big break in 2001 when emo posterboy Chris Carrabba released his album “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most” under the moniker Dashboard Confessional. The album arrived with a single and music video for “Screaming Infidelities,” a clip that enjoyed play on MTV. That video is not online so here is “Saints and Sailors,” a better song anyway. 

Weezer’s flop of a second album “Pinkerton” was initially panned by critics. But it emerged as a touchstone for the emo movement as the emo kids latched onto its deeply personal lyrics. It would later find its place in rock ‘n’ roll history as the favorite Weezer album of many.

Emo would later be heard in the 2000s with bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy releasing multiplatinum music dubbed emo-punk.


My Chem and FOB are included at the end of this mix not because they were particularly emblematic of the genre, but because they were inspired by all this music. Yes, please tell me in the comments that including these tracks is blasphemy.

What are your favorite emo bands? Comment below. 

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