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Old 08-06-2012, 03:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Shoegaze Genre

Lately I've been getting into a lot of Shoegaze, and I wanted to sort of chronicle the expanding of my knowledge of this genre by reviewing each album I give an extensive listen. Yes, that means I'll eventually be reviewing Loveless and Nowhere, which are albums that have probably been mentioned on this forum at least twelve thousand times each, but that's irrelevant.

So I'm going to stop lollygagging and get to the point. Here's the first album:


Slowdive - Souvlaki

This might compete for the most purely beautiful album I've ever listened to. "Machine Gun" might just be one of my favorite songs of all time.

There are a few words or phrases that are going to be repeated several times in all of these reviews. Here's one of them: this album is a landscape of beautiful sound. The two opening tracks is arguably some of the greatest shoegaze ever recorded. This record is pleasant and easy to approach for someone that's new to the genre (while Loveless is a little more mature and a bit harder to chew). Rachel Goswell's voice is brilliant for shoegaze -- haunting, yet beautiful.

Slowdive's Souvlaki benefits from the creative and production input of Brian Eno, resulting in a dreamy and placid aesthetic which attains a similar emotional texture to Loveless - except whereas Loveless achieves its ends through murk and noise, Souvlaki's production is crisp, clear, and distinct. In this respect it represents the other side of the shoegaze spectrum, and it would probably have done a lot better had it been released a little earlier and had time to make a creative impact before the emergence of Britpop caused the Scene That Celebrates Itself to drop off the commercial radar.

Regardless, this album is among the juggernaut albums of shoegaze and is a must-listen for anyone that even thinks they enjoy the genre.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good review. Slowdive are one of those bands that never realized their true potential. Though Souvlaki is one of the best albums in the genre, if it hadn't been plagued by delays and poor distribution we may have seen something even better. I played the hell out of this album when I first heard it, so I don't play it much anymore, but I definitely put it on for people who are curious about shoegaze.

This being one of my favorite genres, I have shoegaze albums coming out of my ears. Let me know if you ever want a recommendation.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Regardless, this album is among the juggernaut albums of shoegaze and is a must-listen for anyone that even thinks they enjoy the genre.
It's an okay album. Just For A Day is way better. Were you alive yet when Souvlaki was released? Just curious.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's an okay album. Just For A Day is way better. Were you alive yet when Souvlaki was released? Just curious.
No sir. I was -1 at the time. Does this fact affect anything?
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No sir. I was -1 at the time. Does this fact affect anything?
From an emotional standpoint, yes absolutely. Just For A Day accompanied my confused, hormone-infused teenage emotions. I had no idea who Brian Eno was at the time and by 1993 shoegaze was irrelevant to me.

Souvlaki is an okay album though. I guess.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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From an emotional standpoint, yes absolutely. Just For A Day accompanied my confused, hormone-infused teenage emotions. I had no idea who Brian Eno was at the time and by 1993 shoegaze was irrelevant to me.

Souvlaki is an okay album though. I guess.
I can understand that. I try to be as objective as possible though. I don't really have immense emotional connections to any shoegaze albums, which is why I thought it'd be a good topic to try and cover and review. It would be different if I decided to review The Antlers discography or something, because I'd give them all 10/10 because of the emotional connection when objectively probably only Hospice deserves that lol
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I can understand that. I try to be as objective as possible though. I don't really have immense emotional connections to any shoegaze albums, which is why I thought it'd be a good topic to try and cover and review. It would be different if I decided to review The Antlers discography or something, because I'd give them all 10/10 because of the emotional connection when objectively probably only Hospice deserves that lol
Yeah, man. Say what you want, it'll be a great thread. I love a portion of shoegaze, like, LOVE it, so please keep going but do expect my subjective rants to arise occasionally.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, man. Say what you want, it'll be a great thread. I love a portion of shoegaze, like, LOVE it, so please keep going but do expect my subjective rants to arise occasionally.
Alright, and that's all good man. Subjectivity is really the most important thing about music!
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Catherine Wheel - Chrome

You know, this album is criminally underrated. It's overshadowed by My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride's magnum opuses, and people very rarely point to "Chrome" and say, "now that's one of the greatest shoegaze albums." But really, it is among the best shoegaze albums. Catherine Wheel released one album before this and three albums after this, and none of them really reached this level at all. Which is disappointing. They had such potential.

Rob Dickensen and Brian Futter do in this album what makes shoegaze such a great genre -- they create a towering wall of overwhelming, roaring guitars and they do it extremely well. However, what makes this record great where many other shoegaze records fail is in the harmonies and melodies that this band created. Many shoegaze albums resort to sheer guitar squall, which is fine and all, but Catherine Wheel uses it to enhance the music and the haunting beauty they are trying to craft.

It's really a powerful record that should be in any shoegaze collection, without a doubt.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It's an entertaining album, but it never grabbed me like the other albums you mentioned in the post. There are moments where I felt like it was really going to take off, but it never got there completely.
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