Storms in Heaven: Ten Shoegaze Records You May Still Need to Hear
Beyond the pink squalls of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride lies a whole world of whorl.
With the release of Ride’s Weather Diaries, the holy trinity of shoegaze—My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride themselves—have all made their mark on the new millennium. Their successful collective return was made possible by plenty of other bands carrying their reverb-laden torch throughout their years of hiatus. After all, when m b v came out in 2013, it was on the coattails of a horde of bands reviving their sound and stoking the fires for Kevin Shields and company’s return. If you’re ready to branch out beyond the big trifecta, here are ten records to check out.
Sway — The Millia Pink and Green (2003)
If you’ve ever wondered if a band could get more blissfully serene than Slowdive, this is where you need to go. It’s a short, mysterious record perfect for stargazing and daytime walks through nature alike.
No Joy — Wait to Pleasure (2013)
This one strikes the perfect balance between all three of the heavy hitters. It’s got the crunchy squalls of MBV, the introspective dreaminess of Slowdive, and the instantly engaging songwriting of Ride. Listen to “Hare Tarot Lies” off this one and you’ll know there may be other shoegaze songs as good but none better.
A Place to Bury Strangers — Exploding Head (2009)
A Place to Bury Strangers was sent to earth to remind the world of the unrelenting noisiness of The Jesus and Mary Chain. The songs here are as loud and mindwarping as the title suggests.
Swervedriver — Mezcal Head (1993)
These guys were the grungiest of the initial shoegaze movement. If you’ve always wanted to hear Smashing Pumpkins sound a little less whiny and a little more ethereal, Mezcal Head might be the record for you.
Catherine Wheel — Chrome (1993)
If the buried vocals and overall dreariness of Loveless turns you off, Chrome is your antidote. The stormy guitars are still there but this’ll feel way more familiar to any given alt-rock fan than most other shoegaze records.
The Verve — A Storm in Heaven (1993)
Yes, The Verve. Before ripping off the string arrangement of a Rolling Stones song for their biggest hit, they were a space-traveling shoegaze band and a damn good one at that. This one feels like exploring some great unknown without fear—what’s not to like?
The Horrors — Primary Colours (2009)
The Horrors can really do it all. Each of their records has a unique flair and this one’s definitely of the wall-of-sound variety. Each track is a new fantastic voyage, fodder for both headbanging and meditation.
Blind Mr. Jones — Tatooine (1994)
Let’s put it this way: Blind Mr. Jones is probably the only shoegaze band to use a flute. Don’t let that make you think this is going to be super proggy but it’s certainly closer to that than most other records of this ilk.
Seasurfer — Dive In (2014)
This is one of the most recent entries here, but don’t let its youth fool you. This is the sort of album so impactful even on first listen it’ll make you think the band came up with this general sound themselves. Think Loveless from a parallel universe.
Pinkshinyultrablast — Everything Else Matters (2015)
This recent Russian entry into the genre is one of the most innovative to ever come around. If there’s one fair critique of shoegaze as a whole, it’s that it doesn’t really allow for a huge amount of experimentation. Pinkshinyultrablast manages to smash that paradigm while always remaining identifiable, first and foremost, as a great shoegaze band. FL