Born in the late 1980s, shoegaze centred on heavily-processed FX pedals, disorientating wall of sound production, soft and whispery vocals and frequent quiet-to-loud transitions. The name is derived from the musicians' tendencies to literally gaze at their shoes. Because of its close-knit community, the press dubbed it "the scene that celebrates itself."
Who's doing it?
My Bloody Valentine defined the genre and after years of teasing fans, finally returned this past February with their first new album in 22 years. Fellow originals Medicine also reformed this year to release their first album in 18 years. Current bands influenced by shoegaze include Deerhunter, No Joy, Deafheaven, Nothing, M83, the History of Apple Pie, Jesu, Yuck, Ringo Deathstarr and Nadja.
Where should I start?
Creation Records in the early '90s was the hub, releasing fundamental shoegaze albums like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, Slowdive's Souvlaki and Ride's Nowhere. After that, try Adorable's Against Perfection, Swervedriver's Mezcal Head, Pale Saints' In the Comfort of Madness and Chapterhouse's Whirlpool.
To the Happy Few by Medicine was released in August. Jesu's Every Day I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came comes out September 24. And expect new albums by Sweden's I Break Horses before the end of 2013 and Nothing in early 2014.