If I Gazed At My Shoes I’d Fall Over!

Shoegaze bands had a slight foothold during the time between hair bands and grunge in the U.S. and the movement lost its tread quickly and it was replaced by Britpop overseas. The pretensions associated with the artists and the difficulty in digging out lyrics from the heavy waves of sound made it difficult for the average listener. Shoegaze was the scene that celebrated itself. I certainly had no idea what to make of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless when it came out, it sounded like a band that spent too much time fiddling around in the studio to my timid ears. I held on to the record though since a lot of albums I love started out as records I either didn’t understand or just didn’t spend enough time listening to. Shoegaze bands were known for stillness in their stage presence which belied the density of the records bands such as Ride, Chapterhouse and MBV were putting out. About as close as I got to the scene was by listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain who I thought were more pop oriented (i.e. I could understand some of the lyrics) and shoegaze just sounded like one long looping track. In the modern age of easy access I have listened to bands I’ve never heard or caught very little of such as Slowdive, Pale Saints and Swervdriver. I’m enjoying what I’ve heard so far and I’m even a little obsessed with Ride’s Leave Them All Behind. Loveless still sounds like an endless loop to me, but that’s part of its appeal. It feels like a musical journey that’s worth repeating and I am so glad to be filling my ears with music that sounds exciting and vibrant. There’s a mini revival going on , Swervedriver has a new record, Ride is touring and their best of comp OX4 is being re-released that will please listeners who were around the first time, newbies and dunces like me who ignored shoegaze the first time. So here’s to second chances as I dig into a treasure trove of new/old sounds. I guess that’s why I love music so much, it’s a journey of discovery that never ends.

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