Amoeblog

The 20 Best Shoegaze Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, March 7, 2014 06:21pm | Post a Comment

Inspired by the reunion of shoegaze greats Slowdive, Amoeblogger Brad Schelden and I have compiled our list of favorite shoegaze albums.

For any who don’t know, shoegaze is a style of music rooted in the noise pop of The Jesus & Mary Chain and dream pop of Cocteau Twins from the early ’80s. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, bands took elements put forth by those bands—loud, distorted guitars, heavily reverbed vocals and emphasis on atmosphere over discernable lyrics—and came up with a new sound, first truly realized by My Bloody Valentine on their classic 1988 album, Isn’t Anything. Shoegaze (or shoegazing) was a term NME and Melody Maker in the U.K. used to describe the visual representation of the sound from bands who rose in My Bloody Valentine’s wake, depicting bands’ apparent lack of movement onstage and propensity to stare down at their numerous effects pedals. The genre hit its heyday in the early ’90s but persists today, with bands like My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver reuniting and artists like M83 and Diiv using elements of their sound (so-called nu-gaze, but I’ll avoid that terrible term). So with that lengthy explanation, here we go.

1. My Bloody Valentine Loveless (1991)

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Vivian Girls Officially Break Up; Slowdive Getting Back Together?

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2014 11:14am | Post a Comment

One of our favorite modern bands, Vivian Girls, are officially breaking up. They'll play two last shows, one of them here in L.A. at Highland Park's new Church on York venue, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. You can get tickets here. Or if you're in New York, you can see them at Death by Audio March 1; tickets for that show are here. Both shows are all-ages.

I made this Vivian Girls Family Tree a while back to note the myriad other projects that spring from the band. As far as the members of the band go, Cassie Ramone will continue with The Babies, along with Woods' Kevin Morby; Katy Goodman will have a new La Sera album out later this year; and Ali Koehler continues with her new band, Upset. You can read interviews I've done with Goodman and Upset.

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Sandra Vu of SISU and Dum Dum Girls Talks 'Blood Tears'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 9, 2013 02:33pm | Post a Comment

Sandra Vu has been the cool presence behind the drum kit in a number of bands, both on record and live. She's helped propel such bands as Dirty Beaches, The Raveonettes, Midnight Movies, Boredoms and, most often, as the drummer for Dum Dum Girls.

Now she has her own project named SISU. Judging by her resume, SISU's debut album is somehow both comfortingly familiar, drawing from influences such as girl groups and noise pop, and something entirely new. The strange tones that strike across the skies of songs like "Counting Stars" and pulsating beats under songs like "Harpoons" draw more from krautrock, industrial and experimental music than contemporary shoegaze, while Vu's vocals range from disaffected and alien to front-and-center pop vocals. Blood Tears is a delight throughout, atmospheric and cool, yet catchy and immediately memorable.

I took a minute to speak with Vu about her new project and how she came into making music on her own.

 

 

Me: I hear SISU is the Finnish word for “extreme perseverance.” Why did you choose that name?

Vu: Originally, "SISU" stems from my name, but we later found out that it was a Finnish word. I like the meaning though so we've adopted it, respectfully.

Me: You've played with some really great bands. How did that affect the way you went about making your own music?

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My Bloody Valentine's 'mbv' Up for Preorder!

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2013 04:07pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba is now taking preorders for My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited third LP, mbv, at Amoeba.com. The album hits stores March 12 and is available on CD or LP. The LP is 180 gram and includes the CD as well.

CD $22.98

LP $32.98

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Most of you probably know the story, but here’s the quick rundown: My Bloody Valentine released two full-length albums, 1988’s Isn’t Anything and 1991’s Loveless, to universal acclaim and a cult following which seemed to grow with each passing year, kicking off the shoegaze genre and spawning legions of imitators. Then they virtually disappeared — mastermind Kevin Shields could be seen in a number of guises over the years, namely playing with and producing Primal Scream and contributing to Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation soundtrack, but the band was dormant. An album was said to be “3/4 done” in 1996 but never surfaced.

Reunion shows cropped up in 2008, followed by touring and the promise of more My Bloody Valentine material, both reissued and new. The remastered Loveless and Isn't Anything hit stores last year (they are available as imports), and Shields at the end of 2012 said a new album was imminent. On Feb. 2, the band made the album available to buy via MyBloodyValentine.org, overloading the site’s server. The album by most accounts follows the grand trajectory set by their previous material, starting with a melodic, guitar-heavy first third; moving into a more ethereal middle, led by Bilinda Butcher’s inimitable, breathy vocals; and closing in a punishing final third, featuring heavy beats, guitars mangled beyond recognition and spiraling, multidimensional arrangements.

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Dreamy Shoegaze reissue from your new old favorite band Dreamscape...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 17, 2012 03:46pm | Post a Comment

I always hope that there will be another reissue of some sort of some band that I never even knew existed. I figure that there has to be at least a couple dozen bands of the dreampop or shoegaze era that I have never heard before. Some band that only put out a couple of limited 7"s and EPs . I know they are out there! I just rely on some label such as Captured Tracks, Darla or Slumberland to reissue them and bring them out of their obscurity. Kranky has gone and done it this time. The band is Dreamscape. A perfect name for what the music sounds and feels like. I will be honest and tell you that I had absolutely never heard of this band until this week. Kranky is putting out a collection from Dreamscape called La-Di-Da Recordings on both CD and LP. The previously had an EP on the label La-Di-Da. This collection comes out next Tuesday 8/21. And you can pre-order them now on amoeba.com.

I really probably should have known who this band was. Two of its former members went on to be one of
my favorite bands of the era, Secret Shine. Dreamscape was around in the very early 90's and basically done being a band by the time I would have been into them. They are the perfect mix of all the best of shoegaze. A mix of The Cocteau Twins and Lush. Not as heavy as My Bloody Valentine. Not as amazing as Slowdive. But still a band that deserves your attention. Much more on the lighter and more ethereal side of shoegaze. This band obviously deserved much more recognition then they had at the time. I am glad to now have them in my life and I look forward to see what other barely known shoegaze bands might be out there. Thank you Kranky for bringing this album to us! Here is what Kranky has to say about the contents of this collection from Dreamscape...

"The first four songs on this album comprise the unreleased EP that was to be named “Greater Than God”, a title that was used later by Secret Shine for a Sarah extended play. Tracks five through eight come from their only 12” release, the Cradle EP on the La-Di-Da label. As a bonus, the final track is the only remaining demo of what was to be a series of new recordings, which never came to fruition. There are a few small glitches from the original source tape on this last track, but it was decided to leave it as is when mastering instead of fudging corrections."







La-Di-Da Recordings by Dreamscape






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