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

fluxington | July 27, 2007 5:07 am

Listen, 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]