It may not be common knowledge to many that the shoegaze scene (as we can call it in its own right) was actually pretty short-lived in commercial terms, especially compared to the ravenous seizure of mass consciousness that Brit Pop or Grunge enjoyed. So it is somewhat of a curious phenomenon that “the scene that celebrates itself” has seen such a resurgence in recent years.
Since the heyday of the shoegaze era in the early 1990s, fueled by such labels as Creation Records and 4AD (crowned by proto-shoegaze groups such as Cocteau Twins) until just recently, it seems there was no dynamic ‘shift’ in this genre until the emergence of the so-called new shoegaze, lovingly referred to as “nugaze”.
This development may be categorized as a revolution in itself or it may be something more of a genetic mutation in order for the species to advance, but something else has occurred as of late to add impetus to, draw greater attention and even gain recognition for many bands ascribing to shoegazing – Reformation… Reformation of a handful of the bands considered as pioneers of this genre, including Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Swervedriver and Medicine. In parallel, there are new projects by other artists previously revered in such circles. Look at the slow but steady rise to recognition of SPC ECO, formed of Curve’s Dean Garcia and daughter Rose, or the formation of Strata Florida by Louis Trehy of 4AD group Swallow, or even dabbling in various other music projects by Mark Gardener from Ride. Or consider the growing roster at Saint Marie Records, with many former leading shoegazers now with their solo projects.
It seems that two streams were emerging – the ‘purist’ gazers strove to uphold the reverb-doused traditions of the shoegaze pioneers, while the nugazers were eager to take this in new directions, mixing and blending in other genres such as dreampop, postpunk, ambient, and indietronica. Tradition vs. Evolution… whatever your take is on this question, one thing is for certain. Two relatively obscure indie record labels are about to make their mark on 2015 by presenting one of the most epic shoegaze compilations of our time.
REVOLUTION – The Shoegaze Revival comes out on Ear to Ear Records (UK) and Gerpfast Kolektif (Indonesia) on February 11, and we’ve had a full preview of this gorgeousness. This is literally where East meets West, and North Meets South, united in shoegaze. There are 12 fantastic Asian bands here (representing China, Japan, Indonesia, and Pakistan) with the rest covering various countries in South America, Europe and North America, as well as Australia. Participants come from as far south as Santiago, Chile (Trementina) and as far north as Canada’s Yukon Territory (Ummagma). Just as the geographic reach is wide, so too is the sonic realm that shoegaze (all of its forms) ultimately covers.
Here we offer you a teaser video for the compilation, created by Greg Wilson of DKFM Shoegaze Radio, which is a media partner for this release (as are we). We’ll be bringing you a series of exclusives over the next few months dedicated to the bands featured on this compilation. Among them are //orangenoise (Pakistan), Sounds of Sputnik (Russia), Lights That Change (Wales, UK), The Yours (Hong Kong), Trementina (Chile), Ummagma (Canada-Ukraine), Digilite (Indonesia), Jaguwar (Germany), Stellarscope (USA), Spool (Japan), Wozniak (Scotland), Ether Feels (Japan), Hideous Towns (Australia), Damascus (Indonesia), Weird. (Italy), Hermetic Delight (France), Rev Rev Rev (Italy), The Evening Primrose (Hong Kong), Stella Diana (Italy), Seaside (Indonesia), Blood Lips (UK), Magao (Japan), Clustersun (Italy), Duelectrum (Brazil), Intenna (Indonesia), Robsongs (Brazil), Slow Motion Picture (USA), Thud (Hong Kong), Sharesprings (Indonesia), and Puna (Peru).
Perhaps the shoegazing dream and sound never died, but it’s highly interesting and seemingly even healthy, to see that this is indeed a revival of some sort – but more like a resurgence rather than bringing something back from the dead. In sum, do check out and download this compilation on release day. Zero minus zero is zero – in other words, it’s a free download, so you lose nothing. Stay tuned for the next article and, in the meantime, gaze on!