Shoegaze: a beginner’s guide

Guardian.co.uk recently asked their readers to pick 10 essential shoegaze tracks for newcomers. Here’s what they came up with …

My Bloody Valentine

Best enjoyed at maximum volume … My Bloody Valentine

Earlier this week we asked readers via Twitter and Facebook which shoegaze songs they would recommend to newcomers. We’ve compiled a list of 10 tracks, intended to act as a introduction to the genre.

You can listen to these tracks as a YouTube playlist, or you can watch each individual video. We’ve included a little bit of information on the songs, comments from the people who recommended them, and some links to our coverage of shoegaze bands.

1. My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise

Packs a mighty sonic punch with wall of sound/breakdown towards the end. Beats anything by any other band. – Greg Lowe

2. Ride – Vapour Trail

Taking shoegaze to another level – Murray Easton

3. Cocteau Twins – Carolyn’s Fingers

A very, very dreamy tune – @Syaugeek

4. Slowdive – Alison

To really encapsulate the scene in a song, Alison by Slowdive has everything you need – Andy Hazel

5. My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes

Accessible yet endlessly nuanced. Also packs surprising emotional/lyrical weight – @hughdignan

6. Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

A band that have been around since 1983, split in the late 90s but are back together and still touring. Be sure to check out their distortion-laden Upside Down as well.

7. Lush – Sweetness and Light

One of the most prominent shoegaze bands of the early 90s. This song has all the classic hall markings of the genre: ethereal vocals, distortion breakdown and shimmering, layered guitars.

8. Chapterhouse – Pearl

Epitome of the genre – @thegroupies

9. Swervedriver – Never Lose That Feeling

For sheer euphoria, duelling guitars & that swarming instrumental coda -@dandouglas

10. Horrors – Mirror’s Image

The Horrors formed in 2005 and took a couple of years to develop their sound. Their 2009 album Primary Colours was met with critical acclaim, wowing many who had previously dismissed them as all style over substance. The video for See Within a Sea, a song from the same album, was directed by Douglas Hart, a former bassist with the Jesus and Mary Chain.

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