Shoegazing (also known as shoegaze) is a subgenre of alternative rock (indie rock) that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s.

Birth: 1985 Bloom: 1991 Death: 1994

The British music press—particularly NME and Melody Maker—named this style «shoegazing» because the musicians in these bands stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, hence the idea that they were gazing at their shoes. The heavy use of effects pedals also contributed to the image of performers looking down at their feet during concerts.

Common musical elements of shoegazing consist of distortion, droning riffs and a «wall of sound» from noisy guitars. Typically, two distorted rhythm guitars are played together to give an amorphous quality to the sound. Although lead guitar riffs were often present, they were not the central focus of most shoegazing songs. Vocals are typically subdued in volume and tone, but a strong sense of melody generally exists underneath the layers of guitars. However, lyrics are not emphasized, nor are vocals. While the genres that influenced shoegazing often used drum machines, shoegazing more often features live drumming.

The most commonly cited precursors to shoegazing are Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and Loop. Common musical threads between the different bands included garage rock, `60s psych, and American indie bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. The first bands to attract the shoegazing label (Catherine Wheel, Slowdive, Swervedriver, Chapterhouse, Ride, Moose, Lush and Pale Saints) were largely influenced by My Bloody Valentine, and emerged in the wake of that band`s 1988 breakthrough (with the «You Made Me Realise» single and album Isn`t Anything).The shoegazing label has more recently been applied to My Bloody Valentine themselves, although Kevin Shields stated that the band had never used any chorus, flanger or delay effects pedals. Other artists that have been identified as influences on shoegazing include The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, The Chameleons, The Cure, Bauhaus, Galaxie 500, and The Smiths.

The most popular shoegazing groups include: Aarktica, Adorable, Black Tambourine, The Boo Radleys, Bowery Electric, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Catherine Wheel, Chapterhouse, Curve, Th' Faith Healers, Flying Saucer Attack, Galaxie 500, Loop, Lush, Medicine, Moose, My Bloody Valentine, Nightblooms, Pale Saints, Ride, Secret Shine, Slowdive, Snowpony, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, Swervedriver, The Telescopes, The Verve.

Also read: Britpop, Grunge, Post-rock, Psychedelic rock

Umbrellate style: Rock

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