Over thirty years into the rock subgenre’s existence, shoegaze continues to thrive.
We’re at the halfway point of 2020. Fair to say it has been ‘memorable’. Despite the shenanigans, 2020 has proven to be a pretty solid year musically. Here are our favourite shoegaze records released so far. Make sure to leave malicious comments about our choices. Some hate mail might be nice too. Cheers!
Holy Fawn – The Black Moon
Holy Fawn hail from Arizona and make sounds that are excessively pretty and excessively loud. The Black Moon is their latest EP. ‘Candy’ leads the short three-song affair with a beautiful combination of the classic loud chorus, quiet verse aesthetic. This is followed by ‘Tethered’ which displays the group’s penchant for ambient soundscapes. Closing out the EP is ‘Blood Pact’, which sees the band veer into near post-rock territory replete with dreamy heartfelt passages before an explosion of ferocity that is face-melting. Can’t wait for their next full length.
Floral Tattoo – You Can Never Have A Long Enough Head Start
Seattle’s Floral Tattoo bring some noise pop sensibilities to their shoegaze noise. Take ‘She’ from their most recent album You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start. The track sits somewhere on the shelf between The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, and Dinosaur Jr. Which is just fine with us. Elsewhere on the album, the group explore some more traditional shoegaze sounds on the likes of ‘Life in Color’, ‘Danny, Be Well’ and ‘Julius & Ethel’. However, the group also explore sounds outside the sonic spectrum of shoegaze such as the punk-folk of ‘Don’t Try Things’, electronic ambience on ‘(my life fell apart this year)’ and more straight-up alt-rock on ‘The Art of Moving On’. It is lo-fi and it is glorious.
Deserta – Black Aura My Sun
L.A. based Deserta is a much more polished adventure than Floral Tattoo. This is controlled and yet just as cathartic. Check out ‘Hide’ as a starting point. Here is an example of a combination of electronic elements with big and wide shoegaze crescendos. Vocals are muted but emotions are huge. Another gem on offer is the album opener ‘Save Me’ which is takes a slower and more dramatic approach than ‘Hide’. It is no less effective.
Wednesday – I Was Trying To Describe You to Someone
North Carolina’s Wednesday take us back to more rough and ready territory on their latest album I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone. Melding grunge, dream pop and shoegaze in a gloriously earnest and heady mix, Wednesday are unusual in that the vocals from Karly Hartzman are as clear as can be. Opening track ‘Fate Is…’ is an excellent example of their approach as it combines classic shoegaze tropes with a somewhat more immediate melodic approach.
Hum – Inlet
Surprise released on June 23rd, the first album in twenty two years from pioneering alt rock/shoegaze outfit Hum may already be album of the year material. Carrying pretty much where the quartet left off on 1998’s Downward Is Heavenward, the album chugs with metalgaze riffs slammed next to dreamy vocals and ethereal melodies. A triumph.