“I wish that I was born a thousand years ago,I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas.”

4 12 2011

My days are currently spent working, reading X-Men and listening to more music than my ears can handle. Reading X-Men and Ted Hughes poetry makes me create my own little world. It’s always been this way, it always will be this way. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest- I’m content with being boring. Yesterday I found a market that sells records. Records are my weakness (as are other things but you don’t need to know.) I spent quite a bit, but the woman knocked off some money because I picked up a lot. I found two of my favourite songs of all time on vinyl: Black-It’s A Wonderful Life and The Jesus And Mary Chain-Some Candy. I had to be dragged away by my friend because I found a comics section too. I’ll return soon enough and spend more money that I don’t really have.

I should’ve done this last Wednesday but I was busy. By busy, I mean I was tired after work. So I’m doing it now. This mixtape is going to focus on some dark, heavy songs I have heard that mean the world to me. I love songs that make it painful for you to listen to because they go right through you with how dark, brutal and honest they are. Songs that make you feel less alone, but probably make someone else feel uncomfortable. That’s what music should do. It should challenge your feelings and scare you shitless. Enough ranting, have some songs:

 





Shoegaze.

20 08 2011

Sub-genres in music have a lot to answer for. By this, I mean for the most part these sub-genres that are made up are entirely pointless.

Prime example, emo. Emo music is has been given, for the most part- bad press. Maybe quite rightly so, who knows. It depends if you enjoy hearing singers with a nasally voice singing about how some girl ripped the singer’s heart out and now they want to drink themselves into an oblivion and probably attempt to kill themselves. If that’s your thing, then fair enough.

However, shouldn’t ALL music be emotional? Shouldn’t all music make you feel something? Whether it makes you laugh or cry- it should make you feel. Therefore all music is emotional so in short, the term “emo” is redundant. As is “pop-punk” but some may say it’s the same thing and I could write thousands of words about my hate for that kind of music. But I can sum it up with one- SHIT.

Now that’s out of my system (for now) I’ll go on about one of my favourite sub genres of music (aside from Riot Grrrl). Shoegaze for most started out as an insult, which first came about when a journalist went to review new band at the time, Moose. If you watch performances of bands that are classed as Shoegaze, they used to constantly stare at the ground (at their shoes) when they performed. Ergo, the term Shoegaze was born. TA-DA! And all that shit.

What I love about most of the bands that are classed as Shoegaze (even if it is against their will) is how low the vocals are, how the guitar hypnotises you and how the drums have a vague Wall of Sound feel to them. I love how dark the whole sound is, it’s like nothing else.

A lot of bands I listen to now have this same kind of feel such as The Horrors (Primary Colours and Skying) and Zola Jesus. From a hypnotising sense, I get that from bands such as Widowspeak and Warpaint.

Anything that can transport you into a different world with a sound is fine by me. The dark, intense atmosphere that you get from most Shoegaze bands is something that just hits you right in the gut. It doesn’t make you want to dance, it just makes you feel. I’d rather listen to something that causes my mind to go off than make me want to dance.

The Jesus And Mary Chain is probably my favourite band that fell into the Shoegaze category. There is something about Jim’s voice that just moves you in an unexplainable way. It’s eerie, it’s menacing- but at the same time you sense hints of vulnerability in his voice. I suppose that’s why many have compared The Horrors to The Jesus And Mary Chain. Oh that and the fact both bands are brilliant.

Psychocandy, I feel just defines Shoegaze. It also defines what a debut album should be like. It grips you and you want more and more from them.

My love for them goes beyond words. Aside from The Smiths, no band has ever made me feel like this about music.

Bands such as The Smiths, The Velvet Underground and Bauhaus can easily be regarded as an influence for the Shoegaze genre. Just listen to the guitar in How Soon Is Now or Venus In Furs. The eerie sound is such a blatant influence on Shoegaze.

One band that I brutally obsessed over between the ages of 17 to well, now I guess are Husker Du. To me, I regard them as a massive influence within Shoegaze. The distorted guitar, the low voice- it’s all there. Bob Mould is just a musical genius.

I remember finding a Husker Du shirt in Camden around 4 years ago, I felt like I had won the lottery or something. Pretty sure I lived in that shirt. Candy Apple Grey is such a phenomenal album. It just poured out so much feeling. The despair in Don’t Wanna Know If You’re Lonely is gut-wrenching.

It’s pretty much sacrilege to not mention Cocteau Twins when mentioning Shoegaze. The gripping sounds, the exquisitely emotional lyrics. Such a perfect band that still, I believe do not get the respect and recognition that they fully deserve. They also reinforce my belief that most good music comes from Scotland.

As Shoegaze sadly faded out we were unfortunately exposed to the sounds of Brit-Pop (the only acceptable band was Suede) how we went from music with so much passion and heart to something so dull and bland baffles me.

I suppose, you just have to take the good with the bad.

Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine is one of the most magnetising front-men ever. His hypnotic voice, his comforting words. His whole stance on stage is just stunning. My Bloody Valentine’s use of reverb and distortion influenced so many bands that fall into the Shoegaze sub-genre, and still influence bands of other genres.

My Bloody Valentine’s second album, Loveless is highly thought of as THE influential Shoegaze album. Loveless was recorded over a couple of years in around 19 different studios. The album is just so perfect from start to finish, a true masterpiece. To Here Knows When still blows my mind.

As far as female fronted bands go, Lush were one of the greats. Labelled as Shoegaze by many, most them chucked them into the Brit-Pop category. Call them what you wish, but they are one of the most underrated bands that the UK has produced.

With bands such as The Horrors and Crocodiles making music that gives you the psychedelic feel mixed with Shoegaze. In a way, Shoegaze may have stemmed from psychedelic. A sound that makes you feel like you are being carted off into space, creating a swirling world that nobody can stop you entering. Why would they? It’s the best place to be. There will never be a band that can cause you to feel how The Jesus And Mary Chain does or an album as sincere and poignant as Loveless. Regardless if you like the term Shoegaze or not, all the bands that have been lumped with this label have just been so inspirational.

Last week, Under The Radar Magazine coined the phrase Bossgaze. Yes, it is Bruce’s music and Shoegaze. It needs to happen. Let’s make it bloody happen!