Listening to a new music genre can be a daunting task. You have various people telling you where to start and, before you know it, you’re swamped in suggested albums and artists. This is no different for shoegaze. Luckily it has been narrowed down by many to the ‘Holy Trinity’; Slowdive’s Souvlaki, Ride’s Nowhere and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. But why should you have to start there? Why not live life on the edge? Here are the four (well five actually) albums from ‘new age’ shoegaze that you should start with.
The Horrors – Primary Colours (2009)
After ditching the goth-punk fashionista aesthetic that was plastered all over their debut album Strange House, The Horrors returned in 2009 with their career changing album Primary Colours. The Southend-on-Sea quintet were now creating vast multi-layered soundscapes that even Kevin Shields would be proud of. Tracks like Mirror’s Image channelled My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and elements of I Only Think Of You wouldn’t got amiss on Slowdive’s Just For A Day. The album went on to getting nominated for the Mercury Prize award and introduced a whole new generation to shoegaze. Primary Colours isn’t just one of the best new age shoegaze albums, it’s one of the best shoegaze albums of all time.
M83 – Dead Cities, Read Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003)
Before they became known as ‘that band who do the Made In Chelsea song’, M83 started off as a shoegazing electronica group. Much like their recent releases, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts boasts it’s orchestral prowess. However, DCRS&LG builds these electronic instrumentations into huge fuzzed filled goliaths that envelope the listener. The magnitude and intensity is ethereal and unlike anything you’ll ever hear on another shoegaze record.
DIIV – Oshin (2012)/Is The Is Are (2016)
Okay this may seem as a cop out, but there are cases for why both of DIIV’s albums should be considered as some of the best new age shoegaze. Starting as a solo project by Zachary Cole Smith, DIIV’s debut Oshin was the perfect execution of modern day shoegaze dream pop. Reverb drenched vocals buried beneath jangly guitars, DIIV saw mass critical acclaim with their first album. After four troubled years, DIIV came back with Is The Is Are. This double album follow up was an album of two halves. With the first half being more in the spirit of Oshin, the latter half is a much darker and twisted affair that really juxtaposes the side of shoegaze that DIIV are usually known for. This resulted in an album that really explores the multiple layers and sounds of shoegaze.
Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013)
The final album to reach your shoegaze enlightenment is the second album by the Californian black metal outfit Deafheaven. “But wait, did you say black metal?” Yes, but their album Sunbather is the definitive representation of post-shoegaze. Creating beautifully intricate walls of sound, mixed with disturbing black metal vocals, Sunbather is the most challenging and rewarding record on this list. With multiple tracks passing the ten minute mark, Deafheaven certainly know how to create a spectacle of epic proportions. If you can conquer this record, then the world of shoegaze is in the palm of your hand and is ready to be explored.