Shoegaze is a sub genre of rock from the early 90’s, in which vocals play second fiddle to melodies which were made on heavily distorted or effected guitars. The name partially comes from the fact that when performed live the guitarists in the bands spent all their time looking at the floor so that they could mess around with the different effects that they were using. The music produced by shoegaze bands was seen as being self-indulgent by many, which to be fair is understandable and it is not a style of music that everyone will like.
Another name used by some of its detractors was the scene which celebrates itself, as the bands who made up the scene were friendly with each other and would often go to each others gigs. I’m not too sure why that was seen as a bad thing, but I guess the music journalists at the time, wanted something else to write about besides the music, hence the relish with which the Oasis vs Blur saga was reported on.When grunge and britpop increased in popularity, these became the de facto styles that all rock bands had to play and so shoegaze music was quickly ignored.Two of the most famous bands which were of the shoe gaze genre are My Bloody Valentine, who I have guest posted before, and Ride whose album Nowhere, and the track Vapour Trail especially, is highly regarded.
Having mentioned both of those bands, the song that I have chosen is from the album Souvlaki by the band Slowdive, and the track is called Souvlaki Space Station, which I see as an archetypal shoegaze track, i.e. guitars with heavy effects and difficult to hear vocals which contribute to the melody rather than stand out from it.