Guardian Tries To Shoehorn A Few Bands Into A Half-Baked Trend

Jul 27th, 2007 // 5 Comments

shoegaze.jpgListen, I know that it’s silly to take the British press seriously when they write trend pieces about genres, and coin names for new subgenres and movements. It is a truth universally acknowledged that writers for publications like NME and the Guardian are kinda silly, and sometimes have a tenuous grip on reality. It’s not so bad, actually–sometimes it results in totally improbable things becoming popular for five or ten minutes. But c’mon, Guardian: Nu-Gazing?

The story’s first paragraph:

At the start of summer 2007 a supple, shimmery thread started darning itself through a long line of euphoric-sounding albums. From Maps to Blonde Redhead, Mahogany to Deerhunter, Asobi Seksu to Ulrich Schnauss, you could hear the heady, woozy influence of a style of music that had been a byword for naffness and overindulgence for the past 15 years; a type of music that Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers had said he “hated more than Hitler”. Names like nu-gaze, stargaze and shoetronica were used to describe it, names that couldn’t quite hide the scene that dared not speak its name. For shoegazing was back – the sound of jangly indie fed through layers of distortion, overdrive and fuzz; of delicate souls turning themselves up to 11.

Shoetronica? I desperately want to believe that Jude Rogers is having a “larf.” For one thing, did the shoegazer style ever go away? It may have been on the sidelines of fashionable indie music for a bit, but believe me, as a person who has been wading through a sea of promos for the past few years, there is no shortage of people out there trying to be the next My Bloody Valentine. The sound and style that define “shoegazing”–diffident stage presence, droning chords, cooing vocals–have been so thoroughly absorbed into indie rock that’s it basically one more default sound for rock music, rather than anything particularly radical. Someone telling you “yeah, I’m in a shoegazer band” now is about as banal as if they were in a hardcore band, a power pop trio, or whatever it is you call people who sound like the Strokes. Though it’s true that there’s been some strong records relating to the genre in the past year — the article doesn’t even mention Thrushes or that amazing A Sunny Day In Glasgow album — but it’s not nearly novel enough to burden young musicians with the most cringe-inducing new label since “New Rave.”

Diamond gazers [Guardian]

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  1. Ned Raggett

    Really it’s all about enjoying Alan McGee’s loosening grip on dignity.

  2. dabug

    I’ve seen “screengazing” before, because I tried to coin that phrase (in ref. to Ulrich Schnauss) only to find that someone else beat me to it. That was about three years ago, maybe more. (I wasn’t being serious.)

  3. StopKillingMe

    The term “nu-gaze” has been bandied about for years among fans of the genre, though it’s used sparingly since, well, it sounds dumb as all get out. I guess shoegae is something of a loaded term, since it was meant to be derisive in the UK but there’s a lot of folks in the US who wave their shoegaze flag proudly. And I seem to remember a review for The Meeting Places that called them to task for changing their press release from “shoegaze” to “noise pop” after one album. Seems you can’t win, so just enjoy the music. Asobi Seksu, Blonde Redhead, Mahogany…it’s all great stuff.

  4. revmatty

    I’m just glad that Richey is still considered a worthwhile quote-machine.

  5. FunkyJ

    I’m still confused about “New Rave”, which was neither new nor rave…

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