Shoegaze music has many interpretations and major criticism due to the extent of experimental style and growth. Since the 80’s, companies such as Marshall and Casio have come out with intricate sound technology within their reverberation and feedback systems to plug into electric guitars and bass.
A variety of sounds achieved through these pedals contribute to hard rock and metal music, though these pedals are known for the toe-tapping dances of shoegazers all over the world. Not only will this article go over the difference between shoegaze and dream pop music, since they’re commonly confused, but I’ll provide you with my list of the 12 best shoegaze albums to buy on vinyl (and why I think they are so significant).
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Dream Pop vs. Shoegaze: What’s the Difference?
The ultimate goal behind the dreary haze of experimental noise shoegaze music has brought about, such as white noise, cowbells, tambourines, synthesizers, pedals, and reverb on bass guitar notes is to set one’s mind into a transcendental journey. Withholding the utmost meditative qualities such as vibrational rhythm that echoes in and out of speakers while weaving into music like water, while soothing your mind with quiet frequency.
While they are easy to overlap, there are certain distinctions between dream pop and shoegaze music. Though they both have ambient, euphoric quality using electronic venues, shoegaze music is defined through the use of pedals that are hooked to the guitar and amp, giving the musician the chance to reverberate sound with a number of feedback options, as well as white noise configuration.
Dream pop is more electronic, using the same ambient sounds developed through technological sources like a computer, keyboard, or editing guitar tracks with software. Major influences on this genre include The Cure, Pink Floyd, The Doors, and other alternative bands like Depeche Mode and Nirvana.
The Top Shoegaze Albums of All Time
Let’s kick off this countdown list with Alcest.
12) Alcest – Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde (2007)
A French, black-metal, shoegaze nightmare with transcendental spurts of fairyland magic, Alcest’s “Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde” is a collection of fine poetry and music written by Stéphane Paut, who goes by “Niege.”
Every single piece of music and lyrical contribution on the album, besides Audrey Silvain’s vocals on “Sur l’autre rive je t’attendrai,” was delivered by Niege himself, and compiled and edited in the studio to sound whole. The band arouses subtle nostalgia of our happiest memories as they cover their tracks with a certain child-like, frivolous energy with quiet scenes at the playground.
As the English translation of the album’s name is “Memories From Another World,” this progressive, yearning piece expressing visceral flashbacks of nostalgic memories most certainly blew everyone away.
A Far-Off Fairyland
In an interview with Kill Your Stereo, Niege says that he simply uses a Marshall amp with quality reverb. The French Dream-metal musician was lyrically and musically inspired by a far-off fairyland that he says has lived within him ever since he could remember – a connection to other-worldly visions and spirits, as well as environmental substance and sound.
Though this private experience is still aroused while he’s alone composing or playing guitar, Niege never experiences these feelings on stage. The band in its entirety is present, alive, and intense with focus and joy. He’s been playing music for years, building this connection between the supernatural sensations with consistent pleasure.
The song “Printemps Emeraude” has some high-pitch, electric guitar riffs that bounce across the room and back with an ocean wave-like vibrancy, crashing on the walls like a hurricane of sound. Enriched plucking of delicate, deep notes coupled with quick, fervent bass and drums cause one to fall into a subtle trance while the melody hypnotizes one easily.
The recording quality is phenomenal, cutting major guitar sound at the closing of the song in the right speaker while continuing the soft melody to linger out of the left side.
Some other songs have similar qualities with focus on Niege’s soft, unequivocally voice, such as “Les Iris” and “Ciel errant,” which are both explosions of piercing ghost-like whispers, guitar strings dancing like the souls in a gloomy, cemetery parade while the Marshall pedals reverberate sounds like an aquatic bomb.
“Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde” is one of the most valuable gems to have stored in one’s vinyl collection, as it’s the perfect melody to get lost to while emotions are vibrant, drenching the mind with spontaneous dread. This phenomenal, almost solo-work of Niege’s stands out for the significant quality and creativeness behind the work this great artist’s work.
11) Jesu – Jesu (2004)
After the breakup of Godflesh back in 2002, Justin Broadwick, Diarmuid Dalton, and Ted Parsons spun off into a frenzied world of disciplined, metallic notes when they formed Jesu. Submerging the mind with spotty drums heavily bolting in and out of ears like a racing snake, their debut, self-titled album released in 2004 became their most inexorable, intricate tracks of the decade.
“Jesu” is a startling gem from the collection of albums from the British drone-metal band, blending their own mix of instrumental genius through classic 90s grunge bass, vocals, percussion, guitar, and synthesizer programming.
This album includes eight full-length songs between seven and eleven minutes long, including the expertise of Paul Neville playing on “Man/Woman,” an industrial, heavy mix with demonic influence on Justin’s vocal contribution, as well as heavy metal influence on the reverberating guitars and bass.
Sounding a little like Have a Nice Life with their extended reverb on metal notes, Jesu created a collection of shoegaze anthems for musical fanatics to jump at. “We All Faulter” is a haunting melody which echoes sharp, high-pitch guitar notes, sounding like electronic hawks in the night.
While the drums rain through the speakers like a hailstorm, a heavy baseline, and light, positive guitar notes overlaying the track, perpetual lyrics seem euphemistic and understanding. Rather than singing quiet melodies focused solely on discontentment, depression, and fear, Jesu plays many songs like this, such as “Walk on Water,” “Sun Day,” and “Guardian Angel” that eviscerates thick, metaphysical valleys crafted by soothing melodic tempos.
This is the perfect vinyl to have spinning on a portable record player late at night with a bottle of wine while gazing out the window.
Slow, steady, and angry, this rhythm will comfort the darkest thoughts imaginable. Not only that but in 2005 the band released only 1000 copies of a double-vinyl picture disc set; there is still a handful of this rare vinyl in the world, though they cost between $30 and $55. This double-vinyl set is known to have the best quality recordings of their songs ever, topping even their CD and original vinyl release sound.
10) Swirlies – Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (1993)
Born in Boston back in 1990, the band has yet to stop playing love music and sharing a tour almost every two years. They originally were just a Go-Go’s cover band that went by the name of Raspberry Bang, though their current band name stuck after 1990 hit, along with the band members from Kudgel and Fat Day, Damon Tutunjian, Ben Drucker, Andy Bernick, and Seana Carmody stuck together and pursued their most experimental album in their career.
Their last album in 1992, “What to Do About Them,” was a vague representation of the band’s ability to make dream-pop, causing this new concoction of sounds to cause a ruckus in the chimp rock scene. Their music not only inspired and transcended major sounds such as Ride’s music but wowed the world due to their striking ability to incorporate such phenomenal, retro sound with the classic grungy post-metal movement.
Starting off with a guitar being tuned on an amp, the Swirlies spin off into a heavy, melancholy drawl of a riff instinctively causing a sort of rocking back and forth as they soothe each nerve with a remarkable, lovely melody. “Blonder Tongue Audio Baton” is a beach-like spin on LSD waves and even, calm consistency of voice, and angels echoing in the background.
Songs such as “Pancake,” “Bell,” and “Jeremy Parker” are meant to drift the mind to sleep, holding an explosive quality about the musical atmosphere surrounding a monotonous, steady voices of Damon Tutunjian and Seana Carmody melting with dreary, lifeless energy, only to surprise the listener with momentary, choir-like vocals.
This album incorporated an enormous amount of musical talent, such as Damon Tutunjian (vocals, guitar, Minimoog, Casio VL-5, and Chamberlin),
Seana Carmody (guitar, Mini-Moog, Chamberlain, and vocals), Andy Bernick (drums and radio), Ben Drucker and Mark “Spongey” Rivers (drums), Kevin March (drums and dam builders), Dan (a moth talk recordist), Sentridoh and Madbox (Moth talk cover-up music and ambient sound).
Every artist collaborated an equal amount of effort throughout each track, giving special focus to a collection of sounds simply layered over one another. Using vintage keyboards, Mini-Moogs, the Casio VL-5, and Chamberlain synthesizers to create a wide variety of sounds through both indie rock and shoegaze personas, the album title being a Blonder Tongue Labs’ top-quality audio graphic equalizer fits like a glove.
9) Bardo Pond – Amanita (1996)
Space rock accompanied by an ambient, grungy guitar, the American band Bardo Pond offers the sound of a shoegazing Smashing Pumpkins experience. While their music is much harsher, Bardo Pond’s “Amanita” uses an aquatic reverb on their guitar and bass, creating an orbital sensation which blends with strong drums and a psychedelic voice. “Sentence,” “Tantric Porno,” and “Yellow Turban” are songs with a hypnotic oasis of exaggerated vibrational melodies from droned-out LSD-laced notes ripple across the room like the water of a shallow pond – calm, collected, and with grace while delivering severe urgency on each fret.
In addition to studio production of “Amanita,” Clint Takeda (bassist), Michael and John Gibbons (guitar and vocals), and Joe Culver (drums and vocals) contribute an even portion to make the sound whole. Isobel Sollenberger’s soft, transcendental vocals and lyricism paired with her quiet hum on the flute correlate with the rest of the band with utter brilliance.
It’s no wonder “Amanita” has become a gem amongst the vinyl collecting community. Bardo Pond’s sound is largely influenced by My Bloody Valentine and Pink Floyd, exposing their love for lengthy, modern-day explorations of both transient and harsh, screeching consistency.
Right after college, the Gibbons and Joe started playing what they called “free jamming” in the late 80’s, with no direction or structure to create a variety of noises and combinations. Years later, Clint joined and that’s when their revolutionary sound came together, forming the official band under the name “Bardo Pond.”
“Bardo” is a term originating from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and “pond” added simply since it sounds cool; the band described the band name as their perception of life and death, where they imagine a pond sits full of fish that search for food and the food represents meaningful rock music. The album name, “Amanita,” is a hallucinogenic mushroom strain. Once Isobel became involved their lyrical sense was crisp, cloaked in spiritual yet angsty rhythm.
8) Blonde Redhead – 23 (2007)
The birth of the band originated from Simone and Amedeo Pace’s move to New York with Amedeo from Boston late in the 80’s to start pursuing their music to the fullest extent. Playing on the street and in subway stations, they were living humble lives while getting by.
One night at a show in Elba, a friend named Titti introduced them to a man named John Lurie, who eventually invited them to join his band named The Lounge Lizards. From there, Pace, Amedeo, and Lurie realized they were all friends with Kazu (soon to be vocalist), so they all met up one night and hit it off.
After completely submerging into the Lounge Lizards, the band ended up missing a tour to Japan – this gave the guys a chance to start really working on their own music, eventually spinning off into Blonde Redhead.
“23” was a phenomenal record, earning some airtime on the British T.V. series, “Skins,” as well as “Grey’s Anatomy.” It was an intense recording experience, since the singer, Kazu Makino, didn’t exactly get along with the rest of the band while the recording process took place.
Nonetheless, this track and “Silently” were groundbreaking songs that were oozing with adolescent travesty, rebellion, and hopelessness. The ringing of Kazu’s voice causes one to sink into their pillow with visions of hazy memories in their mind. The fanatic mix of the drums having a light, paper-like quality while being consistently smacked fuses wonderfully with the crystalline vocals, drowning out in the sensual bass and dramatic, dreamy guitar with an edge.
There were several vinyl LP releases of their smash album, “23” – the full 12-inch vinyl, the individual singles of “23,” a blue 7-inch vinyl, the 7-inch vinyl “Silently”, and the Japanese vinyl release that offers bonus tracks such as “(We Are a real Team) Harry and I,” and “Signs Along the Path.”
For every shoegazing fanatic, this four-legged lady playing tennis in a white sundress should be floating up on every shelf possible.
7) Catherine Wheel – Ferment (1992)
Developing themselves as a staple in the shoegaze movement in Britain from the remains of the band Eternal, Catherine Wheel bludgeoned the millions through musical genius, just as the legendary torture device the band is named after had done in 19th century Germany.
Dreary and obviously English, surrounding the soul and tugging at distant memories while leaving remnants of emotional baggage, their debut album released in 1992, “Ferment,” holds the texture of an angsty, day-dreaming punk whose drugs are starting to fade away. here are elements of pop-punk and post-industrial sound cloaking the steady focus on the soothing vocal work of Rob Dickinson (vocals and guitar), Dave Hawes (bass), and Neil Sims (drums) spin off into space with a riveting collision.
Tracks such as “Texture,” “Black Metallic,” and spin out with reverberating energy, echoing repetitive lyrics with foundations based around friendship, life, and love, giving Dickinson and Hawes a chance to put extensive reverberation on grungy guitar and bass solos. “Black Metallic” was such a huge hit for the band, that it’s music video circulated on MTV for reaching the ninth place on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks list of 1992.
It’s no wonder that Pitchfork regarded this song as the ultimate shoegaze anthem, as well as Paste’s suggestion for those who don’t usually listen to Shoegaze at all. It’s easy to hear influences of many hard rock artists as well as shoegaze, interlacing the sound of classic 80s rock and industrial pedal-guided melodies with a casual balance of eccentric energy.
In addition, the 80s sound comes also from the influence of the former partner of Talk Talk, Tim Friese-Greene, who produced “Ferment” to have a culture of musical energy to accentuate the jangly rhythm disguised as a singular layer of a stack of sounds.
Like an addict, Sims smacks the drums like they’ve got magnets attached to the tips of his drumsticks; heavy and seamless, almost like the drumming is his source of life and energy. Dickinson’s vocals are phenomenal – a grateful combination of high and low range all it’s washed out, droning disposition.
Like lying in a warm bath while a loud stereo vibrates the floor of the tub, drifting into a haunting trip of LSD-soaked impulsive thoughts. There were a huge amount of vinyls released for this album, especially singles on 12 and 7-inch vinyls that earned a lot of credibility, such as those of “She’s My Friend,” “Painful Thing,” “Balloon,” “I Want To Touch You,” “30 Century Man,” and of course, “Black Metallic.”
If diving into your senses while peacefully lying in bed is a sense of comfort, “Ferment” will be a great friend to keep on the shelf with the rest of your vinyl collection.
6) Lush – Spooky (1992)
Forming in London, England during 1988 under the name Baby Machines, the band name Lush stuck shortly after a period of time. Lush combined the efforts of both Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson, who both played in many bands throughout the years – Anderson’s work in Rover Girls, and Berenyi’s work in the Lillies and I-Goat Fuhrer Five.
Chris Acland, the former boyfriend of Berenyi’s, played in several bands as well, namely A Touch Of Hysteria, Infection, and Panik. Though they originally played with Meriel Barham, they left in a rush to bring about The Pale Saints, instead.
“Spooky” reached the British Top Ten, giving the band huge amounts of success to stand on, followed by their heavier works that spun off the sound of the “Spooky” layout. Sadly, the band completely ended in 1996 following the suicide of Chris Acland, which was a heavy blow to all the band member’s personal lives.
Lush’s album “Spooky” – the alternative band’s spin on shoegaze and dream pop during the early 90’s. One can tell that the album was produced by Robin Guthrie, famously known for his contribution to Cocteau Twins, echoing slight tambourine-like ringing in the background of grungy guitar interlacing with the sound of floral, Johnny-Marr type sound.
Songs such as “Nothing Natural,” “Covert,” “Ocean,” and “Fantasy” give the album’s name meaning; seeping with a creepy, nightmarish essence accessed through harrowing reverb on two guitars.
Not only that, but Steve Rippon’s underlying, grungy bass reflects the mood of 90s rock music, offering a gorgeous symphony while offering a fruit-punch melody; truly giving the listener lush waves of well-articulated, artistic visuals.
Through their lyrical intention to inspire whimsical daydreams of long-lost friends, deep desire, peaceful gesture towards the light future ahead, the band captivates one’s interest with deep, genuine concern for their lust for life.
Lush does a gorgeous job at figuring out a simply balance between shoegaze and dream pop, making the most relaxing, soft-rock blend of a hardcore drumming on Chris Acland’s part, as well as piercing vocals on Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson’s part with the highest frequency, though drizzling over the eardrums like warm, church-inspired melody. This was Anderson’s favorite album, actually, as they’ve created an entirely unique sound through candy rhythms and dream waves.
Somewhat beachy, Lush layers these sounds with utter grace. Though they may not be able to play this way in concert, “Spooky” is a necessity to own on vinyl. Not only is the music well known, but Lush is known for their creative album art; this album has with visuals one sees under a microscope with a negative photo effect. Lush shook the musical industry once they paired with Guthrie, making an album streamed by thousands to this day.
5) Asobi Seksu – Citrus (2006)
From starting their gigs up in New York, the band played for two years without many fans or recognition. Though after a while, the band’s following slowing started to grow as Yuki’s solo albums gained momentum, as well as their debut, self-titled album.
Spun from the remains of “Three Cornered Season” and “Thea Wave State,” the band that was originally named “Sportfuck” when they formed in 2001 in New York City. The band name was changed to Asobi Sesku (which means “play sex” in English) a little later, which made the band seem a bit shocking to both Japanese and English audiences before finally laying the vinyl on their record player.
Before “Citrus,” Haji had gone off on other projects, though he and Bryan Greene were necessary for their dreamy, bass-driven notes. On tour for “Citrus,” the band actually broke up, then got back together shortly afterward.
Piercing like moonbeams late at night, “Citrus” is an album from the Japanese band Asobi Seksu, singing both Japanese and English lyrics that melt one’s heart to mush that ring melodies of Cocteau Twins and The Cranberries.
Angelic, pure, anxious with yearning and desire, Yuki Chikudate’s vocals are the band’s vital instrument, though the power of the combination of these musicians would craft an entirely new sound that would be just as great without Yuki’s interaction.
Every member has extensive versatile talents, being able to effectively create their own work without the one another, though the fact that these members came together created a complete masterpiece of musical genius, mastery, and creativity ultimately tested the bounds of experimental music, even during such modern times such as 2006.
The lyrical genius between Yuki and James created an exotic trance that drew every ounce of imagination from the listener.
Ultraviolet, New Sound
Leading the melody and mood with jolting, positive energy, Hanna’s guitar burns with an ultraviolet passion. Satin, sweet, and delicious, each note’s texture is also acidic and enticing, giving invigorating combinations of sound to give the listener. The band gained a huge following after this album, playing a majority of their tracks on the hit T.V. series of “Skins” (the U.S. version), playing their silky rhythms laced in delirium over overindulging teens – a rightful depiction of the euphoric feelings this music invokes.
Coating the experience with a sense of euphoria and wanderlust, Brian Greene’s drumming in “Thursday” and “Strawberries” mimics one’s footsteps running through a silver-mooned night. Additionally, Yuki says in an interview with Pitchfork that the lyrics for “Strawberries” was inspired by James saying that strawberries kept speaking to him like he was going mad for a moment of time.
In “Pink Cloud Tracing Paper,” desperate yet catchy vibes allure the listener with their unique energy throughout the album. There was a collection of instruments, such as an organ, synthesizers, guitars, bass, toy piano, a viola, drums, and obviously some amazing pedal work.
“Strings” is a Hawaiian, lush blend of aquatic guitar, stellar vocals all reverberating across the room as if it were a shooting star, colliding with the black sky. The bass line washes down the spine with seamless pleasure, playing beautifully beside the collection of noises coming from the rest of the band.
Popping like cherry bombs that unfold floral rhythms within the depth of each note, this song has several layers of sound and synthesizing noises such as a faint trace of a tambourine, groggy noises coming from what sounds like are underwater caverns, brain-rattling white noise, and angelic humming.
This is one of the best works by a shoegaze artist ever seen, colored in rainbow sherbert and cosmic vibrancy, such as the luxurious feedback drawn from the waves of bass and crystalline vocals in “Red Sea.” The same can be said for “Goodbye” and “Exotic Animal Paradise,” caressing the skull with a jungle of white noise washed by euphoric melodies that crowd high-frequency notes like cool, hazy fog.
Brian Greene’s drumming is phenomenal, carefully crafting the consistency of his pop-like tunes to morph into both dreamy and violent patterns to keep up with the tempo of Yuki’s voice, Haji’s consistent bass, and Hanna’s quick riffs. During “Mizu Asobi,” you can hear the dramatic power and influence each member has over the entire track, even stemming to the dreamy components like a childish tambourine and Yuki’s jangly toy piano beats.
4) Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See (1993)
Though “So Tonight That I Might See” might be regarded as more dream pop, Mazzy Star’s emphasis on pedal dancing for both the bass and guitar created a more generous mix of dreamy shoegaze, acoustic solos, and trance influence – a nostalgic sound that one can play over and over again without hesitation.
The lyrical essence sailing the mind down a reverberated pond of warm honey and silk swallows the listener whole, allowing Hope Sandoval’s voice to wash over them like summer rain. Though Hope Sandoval (vocals, tambourine, guitar, and harmonica) and David Roback (guitar, keyboard, and piano) are generally a duo, this album incorporates the help of a few other musicians such as Jason Yates (bass), Keith Mitchell (drums), and William Cooper (acoustic guitar).
Mazzy Star’s History
Originally, Mazzy Star spun out of the break-up of the band Opal, which was led by the Kendra Smith and David Roback. During a performance in London in 1987, Kendra left the stage during the middle of a show, leaving Mazzy Star in pieces. Roback called Sandoval since she was a close, talented friend, becoming their new vocalist with ease. Slow, drowsy drumming in conjunction with a tambourine trembling to keep up with Hope’s morbid voice, almost as if she was a whisper from the late 60s psychedelic-rock wave. David Roback being the strongest guitarist to have on hand with heavy influence from his other bands called Opal and The Rain Parade. Coming together for their release of “So Tonight That I Might See” in 1993 was a relief for the shoegaze and dream pop communities, providing a retro aspect of shoegaze music that intermixes elements of acid-rock and folk.
Songs such as “Fade Into You” and “Bells Ring” ring through stereo record players with romantic reverberation on David Roback’s electric guitar and bass notes, echoing in the wind of peaceful plucking of acoustic strings. Hope’s voice almost seeps into the sound of the melody of “She’s My Baby,” reverberating like a murky fog over a haunted lake. In addition, Roback uses elements of white noise while screeching the closing notes to this song, echoing soft influences of My Bloody Valentine.
Sandoval sounds like Lana Del Rey’s vocals washed in heroin, filtered through smoke, with the dreamy quality of a murderous femme fatale, which she also explicated with the fullest extent in their track, “Mary of Silence.”
3) My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991)
Irish rock band My Bloody Valentine released their sensational, legendary album that shakes the public to this day – “Loveless.” In 1978, soon-to-be bandmates and childhood friends Colm Ó Cíosóig and Kevin Shields found one another after years in Dublin. Soon after, they formed a band called The Complex with a friend named Liam Ó Maonlaí.
They played a lot of Ramones and Sex Pistols covers, though eventually, Liam left the band, so Colm and Kevin formed Hothouse Flowers, later evolving into “A Life in a Day” with another bandmate, finding their way to David Conway and Tina in early 1983 to finally find their calling with My Bloody Valentine – a slasher film from Canada back in 1981.
Violent, extensive reverb on the voice and guitar overlay from two years of studio production and engineering, “Loveless” has the sound of a grungy, shoegaze garage-band interlaced with clear, crisp vocals that chime in like bells.
Throughout the album, different songs hold a variety of aspects to them, such as the vast difference between “Only Shallow” and “To Here Knows When” and “I Only Said” to “When You Sleep.” The band has many sounds, controlled through (guitarist)’s rabbit foot and Marshall amp. This is a delicate combination of technological and natural sound, which also makes for a tough mix of dream pop, shoegaze, heavy-industrial noise, and acid-rock. This album created a major standard in the shoegaze music scene due to its versatility, causing the remastered and original vinyl to be some of the most treasured in the world – found exclusively online or in the occasional record store (if they aren’t sold out!).
Extensive Effort and Studio Time
Costing the band £250,000 out of pocket for the original recording of this album, as well as going nearly broke to remaster the original version to have an analog vinyl record disc set to compare the sounds, the band had squatted for several periods of time while becoming the sensation they are today, and it definitely paid off.
There were an array of gorgeous sounds Kevin Shields interlaced amongst one another, playing upon each layer with a sense of being a set of reverberating platforms. A decade later, he decided to remaster “Loveless” for the sake of the genuine sound of the studio and the band in their natural state, and even though it cost them around the same amount as the first run, fans rejoiced in the phenomenal product he has created.
2) Jesus and the Mary Chain – Psychocandy (1985)
Strongly influenced by the sound of The Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols, this band followed Britain’s fall out of the Sex Pistols’ popularity in 1983, forming in rural Glasgow, Scotland. William and Jim Reid started off writing their songs as well as the guitar pieces, too.
Once they moved to London not much after the formation of the band, they got in touch with Bobby Gillespie, who was originally the vocalist for the band Primal Scream, who sent them to Alan Mcgee and Creation records to start recording. From there, Gillespie became their drummer for the album “Psychocandy,” carrying stark, adrenaline-based notes rattled by single snare rhythm and floor tom stomps.
Probably the earliest sign of shoegaze and trance music entering the scene with fierce, white-noise pitches and genuine,“Psychocandy” has a fluorescent mix of romantic, synthesizing melodies that clang together like church bells on a sunny 80’s Christmas morning. Captivating images of the men chasing honey bees in “Cut Dead,” as well as “Just Like Honey” plays calming pop-like notes through the pedals connected to both Reid’s guitars, and Douglas Hart’s bass.
Not only that, but “Taste of Cindy” reverberates harsh riffs that only certain ears can handle – the grungy screech similar to that of My Bloody Valentine in later years, who picked up their style due to some inspiration from this album. Gillespie shakes the symbol with the ferocity with a sensual, breath-taking beat beneath William and Jim’s alluring lyrics.
1) Slowdive- Souvlaki (1993)
Souvlaki is a revolutionary album that has turned the tides for musicians aspiring to master the use of pedals and effective layering of a collection of dreamy sounds. Slowdive is a British dream-pop shoegaze band, playing melodies on their legendary album “Souvlaki” mistakable for a collection of water-soaked drums.
“Alison,” “Machine Gun,” “When The Sun Hits” and “40 Days” are exceptional forms of visceral art, falling on one’s head like soft lavender. Using extensive reverb makes the sound wash away into the distance while Rachel Goswell uses liberating imagery through metaphysical scenes of love, pain, and existence.
Slowdive’s Humble Formation
The essence of youth and adolescence in its entirety, with the influence of heartbreak, obsessive emotions, and blissful, innocent fun, Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead had been together for a while before the official formation of Slowdive in 1989. In fact, they were friends since they were six years old.
Originally, they played in an indie-pop band through a Sunday youth group called “Pumpkin Fairies,” but they disbanded and created Slowdive later on, including their former drummer’s friend, Nick Chaplin (bassist). Inspired by the late work of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive disbanded from the indie-pop scene and creating their own version of shoegaze music.
“Just For A Day” was released in 1991, a debut album that started their career on the wrong foot since the shoegaze scene was still learning how to accept experimental sound. Right before “Souvlaki,” Rachel and Neil broke up, so their music took a brief emotional toll during their live performance and private practice.
At first, the band intended to have a bit murkier sound, until they layered sounds and reverbed the guitar to seem more orchestral, accentuating elements that keep a gorgeous, ambient sound throughout “Souvlaki.”
Their producer, Ray Montgomery, helped with three of David Bowie’s albums, adding a retro quality to the structural sound of Slowdive’s concise lyrics. Rachel’s vocal range is similar to that of The Cranberries, and opalescent angel crafts dreamy, drawn-out moans, played upon by Neil’s haunting, dull voice humming on songs such as “Here She Comes” and “Dagger” to set the tone of a melancholy album with everlasting grace.
“Dagger” is one of their most emotional acoustic pieces, speaking of the heartache Neil experienced after his break up with Rachel. He depicts Rachel as the wound in which he keeps inflicting pain, naming himself a dangerous dagger.
The poetry behind each scene the band recorded tells a plethora of stories, as they were focused on both the rhythm and lyrical elements of their songs. Compared to their main influence My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive’s jangly, slow-moving shoegaze is a wistful alteration of deep, personal moments was an entirely unique sound that, in turn, influenced thousands of artists to make illustrious sounds, rather than the popular, mainstream grungy-pop rhythm of the 90’s.
While all these bands contributed a plethora of musical elements that guided the shoegaze, alternative, and dream-pop movements, they also have brought about major cultural changes.
With the utmost desire to exert every ounce of energy as guitarist wave their hands back and forth, with the whammy bar and several pedals, the sound of the dreamy melodies that send one’s mind spinning into a world of oblivion.
The shoegaze movement has yet to end, with Slowdive spouting new albums within the last two years, as well as other bands that perform with regular persistence like The Swirlies.
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