waves of fuzz
December 24, 2022 1:23 AM   Subscribe

The New Wave Of American Shoegaze - "While there're so many revelatory new sounds coming out of Philly, the reason we're on the crest of a New Wave of American Shoegaze, not just one city's worth of cool shit, is that there are several other distinct styles coming to fruition in tandem. One of them is country-gaze, a fledgling genre popularized by its foremost band, Wednesday, who share a kinship with the noisiness of the Philly bands but are otherwise doing their own thing. That is, hitching traditional country music with sand-blasted shoegaze guitars in a way that really hasn't, almost improbably, been done before."
Running counter to the country-gaze and “Philly shit” movements, bands like Winter, Dummy, and Ylaylali are tapping the ‘gaze-adjacent sounds of Stereolab and Broadcast, and blending their upbeat jauntiness with crisp shoegaze guitars and the da-da-da incantations of Yo La Tengo — all without falling into cheap imitation. Outside of the US, Ukraine’s plaaaato referenced the Philly sound of TAGABOW on their new album, Зачекай ще трохи, and South Korean musician Parannoul has been celebrated for his blend of emo vocal cadences with brittle, blown-out shoegaze compositions. The international shoegaze scene is a whole other beast, so I’ll conclude with the final region that makes up the States’ New Wave: Texas...

In the hook of Bedlocked’s knockout intro, “See Through,” one-man-bandleader J. Zach Gomez recites the phrase, “Wish I never came down,” in agonizing repetition. That single line is emblematic of the New Wave of American Shoegaze, which can all be tied together by the fact that these bands aren’t using shoegaze to escape into utopian beauty, but to reflect back an era in world history where escapism isn’t possible. The original English shoegazers were splitting the difference between the Madchester party scene and the idyllic melancholy of the gothy post-punks. The founder of Creation Records, the most important label in shoegaze history, is as notorious for his perceptive ear as his one-time enjoyment of powder and pills, whose quixotic residue sticks to the idealistic prettiness of those first-wave English ’gazers.

Not that their misery wasn’t valid, not that what they accomplished isn’t still magnificent to take in, but the music of that time and place — which is still commonly looked upon as shoegaze’s true North, and has been the sonic template for the vast majority of the genre’s 30-year history — doesn’t feel spiritually connected to today’s times. Rather than turning toward the serene in a desperate attempt to evoke a specific sound and pneuma that cannot be reborn, the shoegaze of today’s American bands are speaking to their own generation’s sonic preferences and spiritual woes. Drown in the misery of Philly’s hellish squalls, sway to the bleating cries of country-gaze, and flail your fist upward to the deadening stomps of Texas’s heavy gazers and emo realists.
also btw...
-Before Loveless
-The Japanese Shoegaze Scene
-China's Underground Music Is Weirder Than You Think
posted by kliuless (20 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
The article has lots and lots of music playlists within it, so there is good listening to be had.

This is a type of music that I really like for long drives. It seems to hit the right spot of keeping you awake without being intrusive, for me.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:33 AM on December 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Studying music, for me. Cheers for the information but halfway through the article I began to despair-- can you relate? Of ever getting through all of these bands and lists. So I'll just keep letting the YouTube algorithm lend its hand. David Dean Burkhart, anyone?
posted by BlunderingArtist at 5:36 AM on December 24, 2022

country-gaze, a fledgling genre popularized by its foremost band, Wednesday

That's nonsense, I said, you can't put those two things together! And then I put on the headphones and listened to Bull Believer (spotify, yt) and, oh my god, that's a really good song! Now I gotta click some of these links!
posted by mittens at 5:50 AM on December 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is it me or is that website just horrendous on safari/iOS?
posted by gottabefunky at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah stereogum is pretty terrible on iOS browsers. I get lots of random reloads in the middle of pages.

Here I am, living practically on the Philly city border, having never heard of shoegaze before now. Thanks, kliuless!
posted by sockshaveholes at 10:05 AM on December 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I recently discovered shoegaze and have been mostly listening to Lush, so thank you for this! Looks like I have a few new discographies to work my way through.
posted by LaVidaEsUnCarnaval at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2022

I love shoegaze and cannot complain but hasn’t “the new wave” been going for like 20 years now?
posted by atoxyl at 11:14 AM on December 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Carl-f “Bardo Pond” … what?
posted by sjswitzer at 11:24 AM on December 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wednesday is the best
posted by thivaia at 11:44 AM on December 24, 2022

I recently discovered shoegaze and have been mostly listening to Lush, so thank you for this! Looks like I have a few new discographies to work my way through.
Ooh, there’s so much good stuff that all plays well together! If you want to venture into the first wave of shoegaze beyond Lush, you could start with Siouxsie & The Banshees, then work your way over to the Cocteau Twins, maybe pepper in something from the Cranes… these bands were contemporaries and all influenced each other, but iirc Siouxsie was one of the earliest.

Excited to make modern additions to my playlists, thanks for the links!
posted by disentir at 8:48 PM on December 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Have you heard this beautiful Lush cover of one of the 1970s' dumbest songs? It's awesome!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:12 AM on December 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

IMO, these songs are more like proto-country shoegaze than the ones above, which I would just consider to be 'shoegaze'.
Chuck Meade - Big Bear in the Sky

Chuck Meade, formerly of BR-549 is almost as genre-less an artist as there is. Kind of a like a more serious Weird Al in his ability to hop genres, and do them all pretty well.

Trampled by Turtles - Western World both are not quite shoegaze, but they are heavily moving in that direction. Distorted, but country vocals, wall of sound type instrumentation, even if it's not exactly distorted jazzmasters - heck the second is acoustic guitars, slide, and fiddles. Vocals are far more clear than your average shoegaze. But 5 years from now?
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:32 PM on December 25, 2022

Carl-f “Bardo Pond” … what?

I mean, one couldn’t put them even in the 00s “new wave” because they’ve been going for 30 years now.
posted by atoxyl at 2:07 PM on December 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think the point being made is that they should have been mentioned as precursors to the Philly shoegaze scene.
posted by evilDoug at 6:30 PM on December 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh sorry yeah that makes sense.
posted by atoxyl at 10:08 PM on December 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Love me some shoegaze, thanks. Saw Helen play the other week, and they were good.

Did the band Supercar make it onto that Japanese shoegaze scene video? If not, here you go, enjoy: Lucky
posted by nikoniko at 1:17 AM on December 26, 2022

This countrified shoegaze sound reminds me of Waxahatchee, which was like this earlier on, then turned to more straight-ahead folk.

Lots to listen to here!
posted by limeonaire at 6:55 PM on December 26, 2022

This article showed up on my feed and I thought "I remember shoegaze and really liked Lush let's read up on this revival" and OMG this went way over my head with its various subgenres and artists I'd never heard of. "There's levels to this" and all that. I've always enjoyed listening to music and in my teens and early 20s I'd get fairly deep and completionist wrt acts that I liked but I never went beyond that to really explore the various genres or influences of the artists I liked. But I think treating the article as a playlist generator is a great idea. Listen to the music and see what sticks and then maybe find out about what exactly it's called and where it fits into things or just listen to the music and leave it at that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:55 PM on December 28, 2022

Personally, I prefer calling it "boot-gaze" rather than "country-gaze."
posted by General Zubon at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Rare Shoegaze Gems From All Eras Unearthed - "Below is a list of new and old shoegaze bands who are taking the genre into more avant-garde or electronic directions, staying true to the inclusive spirit of its originators while pushing the boundaries of what the genre can be—and it doesn't have to just be in the context of a rock band."
posted by kliuless at 12:12 AM on January 11

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