What The Hell Is Shoegaze: 9 Bands Influenced by MBV
    • TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2013

    • Posted by: Corey Mejia

    Ever since My Bloody Valentine released Loveless and the band became known for their wall of sound, "shoegaze" became known as a major influence. This wall of sound is an essential quality of the genre and exaggerates the overdrive of effect pedals with premium fuzzed-out sounds. Even though the genre also emphasizes pop qualities, it is considered a vague form of pop-esque sound and ridden with a distorted punk inclination.

    Almost immediately after Loveless, and growing as time leaked into the new millennium, we've seen a considerable amount of musicians that haven't hijacked MBV's style, but rather followed them as if they were the forefathers. It's all a ripple effect, becoming a never-ending pattern of influences that have been becoming instantaneous and since the dawn of the technology.

    These nine bands that have, in one way or another, have shoegaze embedded in their sound:

    1. Dinosaur Jr. is among the earlier groups that have incorporated the shoegaze sound in some of their tracks, though with a trademark sharpness that viciously penetrates ears.

    2. Battles implements the shoegaze concept of intuitively constructing and grasping soundscapes and using effects in all aspects of their music to create a solid dimension that listeners can discern whether it be when their distortion pedals are fuzzing and producing surreal harmonies or their rhythms repeat into oblivion. There is that literal slice of shoegaze since they have effect boards, synths and some of the members are always staring at their shoes waiting to press another pedal.

    3. Mogwai has multiple aspects of shoegaze in their sound and embedded in their dynamics. What prevails over our ears is the droning quality that the effects rub off. There is also that chaos=beauty concept that MBV implements and Mogwai is able to mirror in their own avant-garde way.

    4. Deerhunter is another among those bands who have indefinitely digested MBV, and for all the better. Though Bradford Cox (frontman/vocalist/guitarist) has developed his own style throughout the years you can still hear that revolving spray of effects that MBV had developed a little earlier.

    5. Radiohead cannot deny not ever listening to Loveless. Nor, perhaps, can they deny enjoying MBV's sound. Of course they were on a different wavelength than MBV, but regardless, both their sounds are congruent in an eerie way, transposing the fuzzy glitch-like noise and somewhat incorporating the wall of sound, though not as exaggerated as MBV had..

    6. Animal Collective: While we're still speaking of glitches, Animal Collective is one of those bands that might be harmful for people who have epilepsy, but for everybody else, they've put us in creative wonderment. Their droned-out distorted effects and sampled sounds have a wavering effect similar to how MBV has demonstrated theirs. The differences are vividly evident but so is the influence and transference of technique.

    7. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have that vague pop-esque, though frequently more jittery than MBV could ever be. The guitarist, Nick Zinner, definitely assists in guiding the band into a shoegaze-like sound with his certain effects that bring a crunch and a shimmer to it.

    8. Ty Segall is a young musician that floods our ears with integrity. Mr. Segall has loads of experience in the garage punk scene, and incorporates the psychedelics of the 60's and 70's; nevertheless there are hints of shoegaze every now and then that perpetuate the, now vintage, wall of sound, spinning the wheel of noise.

    9. Thee Oh Sees are enthusiastic and you'd probably have more of a chance hearing this band at a party (because let's be honest, if you're at a MBV show listeners would probably lean and sway side-to-side rather than begin pushing themselves and each other into a pit, listening to MBV is more hypnotic than an energy-provoking band), whereat listening to Thee Oh Sees, people will begin bouncing up and down to the beat. But embedded somewhere in the frequencies and glued into all those pedals is what John Dywer (Vocalist/ guitarist/frontman) took out from listening to MBV and pondered on the essentials of shoegaze riffs.

    As we progress to MBV's new self-titled album we hear how with time comes a subtle change in sound - a more mature, rather tamed sound. Listeners of the shoegaze era are reviving their dusty memories and can only hope for more shows, more exposure/influence, and more music!

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