According to the all-music guide,
"A genre of late '80s and early '90s British indie-rock, named after the bands'
motionless performing style, where they stood on stage and stared at the floor while they
played. The sound of the music was overwhelmingly loud, with long, droning riffs,
waves of distortion and cascades of feedback. Vocals and melodies disappeared into the
walls of guitars, creating a wash of sound where no instrument was distinguishable from
I wouldn't say that the vocals & melodies disappear since they are usually
very pretty and fundamental to the song, but its true that the magic of the songs is in
the complex harmonics blended into the noise. For more detailed musicology, people
named Thad and Sande wrote some in-depth analysis (now vanished from the
including the observation "Despite the backlash against shoegazers in the music
press, the genre is alive and well in the underground, and on small record labels."
In parts of the US, the genre was evolved into/renamed as dreampop.
My Bloody Valentine is
usually said to have invented and defined the genre. There are 3 full-length albums and a
few EPs. Start with Loveless, their final and most consistent work. I
personally love their early album Ecstacy and Wine, but good luck finding it -
i've seen it selling for $50.
||Lush was a
British pop group headed by Miki, flamboyant half-Japanese lead singer, and Emma, who
wrote and performed the stunningly beautiful guitar parts. I saw them live 4 times and
tended to scream a lot. Their last album Lovelife was largely second-rate pop
music, so start with their earlier 2nd album Spooky.
||Slowdive/Mojave3 started out as
a dreamy, swirly shoegazer band, matured on their second album, then did an ambient album Pygmalion
and then reincarnated as a 'country-ish' band as Mojave3. All of
their albums are worth having, though you could start with their first, Just for a day.
||Swirlies are a
avante-gard noise/jangle band much like Isn't Anything-era MBV, but from the US
east coast and having a more American sound, occasionally Smashing Pumpkins-like. I
recommend the albums Blonder Tongue Audio Baton and They Spent Their Wild
Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons.
Blind Mr. Jones
- British shoegazer band, heavy harmonies and flute(!), boy vocals. Sadly
overlooked. I am still searching for their other album Tatooine. Their
AMG page has a lot more info.
was an important shoegazer band for their first 3 albums (Smile,
Nowhere, Going Blank Again). Occasionally brilliant,
as in the incredible song "Like a Daydream" on their first US release Smile,
they went downhill rapidly and lost their fans long before breaking up.
||Difference Engine was an "indie" band with one known album, Breadmaker,
haunting and deeply emotional within the context of shoegaze-dense
AMG link. There was a later CD on Bedazzled but it
sounds more mellow and jangly.
||The Boo Radleys had around 3 excellent shoegaze songs on their early
album Everything's Alright Forever, but the rest of their work is Brit-plop.
I'm still trying to acquire their earliest release Ichabod & I.
||Secret Shine was an obscure "indie" band, yet i think they
are a delightful gem of shoegaze / dreampop. They were from Bristol
and affiliated with the Sarah record label. TweeNet has a discography. An earlier
incarnation had the name Dreamscape.
Some people have referred to them dismissively as a "MBV clone", which
sounds like a compliment to me.
||shiFt - a Texas dreampop band, much recommended -
EP 'a folding sieve'. The track
'breathe salt' has an incredible harmonic noise texture. A must-have for MBV fans.
Changed their name right after that album to
People have emailed me about some other bands that belong here, but i
haven't had a chance to investigate them yet - e.g. Garden