The “Shoegazer” whatis FNG Primer

Guestbook The “Shoegazer” whatis FNG Primer

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      My philosophy has always been, “better to have information and not need it, than to need it and….”

      I don’t like the term “newbie,” because it sounds like “booby.” (Maybe it’s supposed to.) I prefer the abbreviation (NOT acronym) FNG. Our dad was in Vietnam.

      FNG, of course, is “freakin’ new gal.”

      So I kept hearing the term “shoegazer,” and I finally decided to pull the Google “[define:]” trick, which I just discovered yesterday. Probably everyone here knows about all of this already, but for future SWDFNGs, here’s what I found.


      Tuesday, November 12, 2002

      What is a shoegazer, anyway? what the hell is dreampop?

      “1985 saw the release of the highly influential album Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain. Waves of distortion drenched feedback, while maintaining underlying pop sensibilities, was a formula that would prove to be essential to a new generation of bands. Meanwhile, The Cocteau Twins, another major influence on the Shoegazer bands, were crafting their brand of shimmering reverb drenched guitar beauty.

      One of the major components of Shoegazer music is the Wall Of Sound guitar. The Wall of Sound was actually first used by producer Phil Spector in the 1960s. Spector created his Wall Of Sound for drums by using numerous microphones. He would first set up the microphones as usual, then setup an entire row of microphones a few feet back, then another row a few feet further back and so on. By doing this, he was able to achieve a huge sound and record every nuance of the sound as it moved through the room. Examples can be heard on The Ronettes “Be My Baby,” The Crystals “Da Do Ron Ron,” and “And Then He Kissed Me.” The Wall Of Sound drums would later be copied by everyone from The Rolling Stones (“Paint It Black”) to The Beach Boys.

      In the mid to late 80s, the heavily effected guitar sound would again be described as the Wall Of Sound. Countless microphones were no longer needed because of Reverb and Delay effects pedals but the result was similar, huge sounding guitars with all the nuances of a room, this time any size or style room the musician chose.

      Shoegazer got it’s name from the stage persona of it’s key artists. Musicians would stand motionless on stage staring down at their shoes (or more likely, their guitars). The genre was set forth by mostly UK bands and were based around the now defunct label Creation Records.

      Many times, the guitars were deafeningly loud, Instruments would blend together, virtually indistinguishable from one another. The first real example of Shoegazer came from My Bloody Valentine with their 1988 album Isn’t Anything. The album is characterized by warbling fuzzed out guitars, male / female vocal harmonies and dreamy, possibly cough syrup influenced pop sensibilities. Many others followed, each adding their own unique twist, including; Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse, Lush, Boo Radleys, The Verve and Stone Roses.

      Shoegazer was basically muscled out of fashion in the early 90s by the uprising of grunge. Most of the key artists fell by the wayside and disappeared. Bands like Lush and Ride attempted to adapt by morphing into a more pop oriented sound but both fell apart. The tradition is carried on, mostly by American bands like; Swirlies, Bethany Curve, Lovesliescrushing and unsigned band Tracer to name a few.”

      wall of sound, blending voices, beautiful noise….

      Dreampop. Heavenly, heavenly, dreampop.

      Thomas, 12:36 PM

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