Friday, September 25, 2009

School of Rock

We've all seen the Myspace music descriptions - you know, the ones that look like this - indie/punk/experimental or funk/soul/thrashcore. What the Hell does a freak-folk/speed-grass band sound like anyway? To help relieve you of your confusion, today, An Ocean of Noise unveils it's campaign to spread the knowledge. I will periodically be coming at you with terminology and music movements on a need-to-know-basis (i.e. whenever I can't think of anything else to write about). For our first lesson we are looking at the term "Shoegaze."

Shoegaze - adjective, origin, UK, circa - late 1980's

The term shoegaze came into existence when it was used by a writer for the British music magazine, NME, to describe a type of music that had come into fashion in the mid-to-late 1980's in the UK. The sound of shoegaze is typified by droning, distorted guitars and vocals that seem to blend into the music, creating a 'wall of sound'. Musicians who made this type of music generally played with their effects pedals (see picture above) and stared down at the ground (shoe gazing) instead of interacting with the crowd.

Some bands associated with this movement are My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride and on the periphery Dinosaour Jr. and Sonic Youth. The movement was eventually killed off by the grunge scene but has made a resurgence as of late, which is of course called Nu Gaze, and can be heard in bands like Animal Collective, Yo La Tengo, Blonde Redhead and Broken Social Scene.

Class dismissed.

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