October 27th, 2010
Hey, it’s never too early to start thinking about my next party CD, right? There have been some good suggestions, like Nigel’s idea of a compilation of early ’90s hip hop, but I think I’m going to mine an obscure musical genre: shoegazing. Unlike past CDs focusing on musical movements tied to a particular moment in history, like bossa nova or polynesian pop, shoegazing music is more elastic. Without a doubt, the ’90s marked the heyday of the genre, but there are still some great bands out there keeping the form alive. For those who have never heard the term shoegazing, it refers to music that has an atmospheric quality to it. How the shoegazing moniker emerged is somewhat murky, bit it probably referred to the tendency of shoegazer bands to peer at the floor during performances. Some suggested this was due to not wanting to engage with the audience, but a more likely reason is the attention the bands lavished on their chains of effect pedals between their guitars and amplifiers, which were the secret weapon to the atmospheric sound. The shoegazing phenomena took off with the release of the album “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine in 1991. The album was rumored to have cost 250,000 pounds and took two years to record, nearly sinking the band’s label, Creation Records. Here in the States, shoegazing was largely overshadowed by the mammoth popularity of grunge, but the movement managed to develop enough steam to take through the ’90s and inspire a number of band to pick-up the torch and continue making music in the same vein (often branded as nu-gazers instead of shoegazers).
For me, the challenge will be deciding if I want to stick only to music created during the shoegaze heyday, from roughly 1988 to 1996, or to include contemporary tracks from bands like Mallory. Alison by Slowdive is a must, but picking one track from MBV’s “Loveless” album will be a challenge. I think the CD packaging will be influenced by Vaghan Oliver, who was kind of the in-house designer for the 4AD record label. Anyway, more to come in future posts. Maybe even a draft playlist with links to the actual songs.
Entry Filed under: Randomness