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Song of the Day (10/10/09: Saturday Shoegaze Double Shot) October 10, 2009

Posted by monty in music.
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Sometime in the last year (probably about the time I saw My Bloody Valentine in concert for the first time), I realized that if I had to pick a favorite genre of music, it would probably be shoegaze.  Often maligned for reasons I could never quite figure out, shoegaze got its start in England in the early 90’s, named for the propensity of its practitioners to be sullen and withdrawn on stage, gazing … at their shoes!  Get it?

More important than the muscians’ relative lack of affability, shoegaze is marked out by woozy, drifting cloudbursts of heavily distorted guitar and frequently inscrutable vocals that sound like they’re being sung by a person of indiscriminate gender under heavy sedation.  It’s good, though.  Trust me.

Tonight’s songs come from two of my favorite shoegaze bands.  The first is by Ride.  Hailing from Oxford, England, started as one of the genre’s most promising acts, and ended a few years later as one of its biggest disappointments.  This is the centerpiece of their towering 1990 debut, Nowhere, recorded well before the rot set in.  It’s called “Dreams Burn Down”:

The second is from Lush, based in London and featuring the twin-guitar attack of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson. Sadly, just when the band was starting to gain momentum on both sides of the Atlantic, drummer Chris Acland committed suicide.  The band never completely recovered, and broke up in 1996.  This is one of their earliest (and catchiest) singles, 1990’s “Sweetness and Light”:

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