Beautiful Noise: A Shoegazer Documentary

Contributor; todd
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My Bloody Valentine

I don't post much around these parts unless I happen to be up in Toronto for the odd film festival. However, I found this news too exciting to ignore.

If you want to get me to listen to a band, no questions asked, you just have to say one word: "shoegazer". If there's a musical genre that I'd call my favorite, it'd be this seemingly obscure one that arose out of the U.K. in the late 1980s. Albums by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, Lush, Catherine Wheel, and The Boo Radleys are still in constant rotation here at Opus HQ, and they still sound as revolutionary and breathtaking as ever.

And so not surprisingly, I was really excited to discover that a documentary is being made about the genre. Entitled Beautiful Noise, the film looks at shoegazing: its origins, its main figures, and its continuing impact on popular music today.

To that end, director Eric Green has amassed a considerable list of interviewees: Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine), Robin Guthrie (The Cocteau Twins), Robert Smith (The Cure), Neil Halstead (Slowdive), Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) -- to name a few. Looks to me like the man's been doing his homework over the last few years.

The film is nearing completion; no release date has been set.

Hypnagogia Films -- Under construction
"MBV, JAMC, Corgan, Coyne, Reznor in Shoegaze Doc" -- Pitchfork article on the documentary

Wikipedia Entry On Shoegazing

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beavisJuly 19, 2007 1:35 PM

and it seems like there is no better time for new interest in the genre! after the long eighties revival it's time for the nineties. smashing pumpkins are back. dinosaur jr, buffalo tom, happy mondays, crowded house and bad brains have new albums out. I'm ready for it :-) Via this link you can download my ultimate nineties compilation / mix-tape (including lot's of shoegazer music)

nik cannonJuly 19, 2007 8:12 PM

The so called "Shoegazer" scene over here in BLighty really kicked off in the early Nineties, pioneered by much delayed MBV album Loveless, which is still a classic by anyones standards. Bands like Chapterhouse, whose 3 E.Ps that proceeded the Album whirlpool were brilliant, but the album was average. Ride's E.P's before the album came out were amazing, combining the sonic attack of Sonic Youth with the harmonic Beatlesque style, there was also Swervedriver, who's 1st album was pretty good too, I was lucky enough to be a student at this time and got to see Ride, Lush, chapterhouse, Slowdive, Swervedriver etc... but as with any scene, once it's made official it implodes under it's own self importance(or should I say impotence?) and then blown away by the emerging Grunge scene's angry energy,Nirvana, Mudhoney etc....( who were also pretty damn good in the early years)
good to see that the Shoegazer thang is getting some respectful interest again, there was pretty good sonic experimentation in the early days which inspired me greatly, and I still revisit the albums of the time, from time to time!...

logboyJuly 19, 2007 10:42 PM

shoegazing is primarily a term i remember being bandied around to describe bands that stared down at their guitars to see what they were doing... it became this derisory term also applied to people who listened to such music, rather than a term to describe what was often amateurish musicianship with lofty ideas, and sometimes unfortunately contained some geniuses who seemed to be taking the piss -- kevin shields is perhaps the greatest, in my opinion, but don't forget jason pierce, spacemen 3 and spiritualized filled this gap also. to some extent, that's a classic chicken and egg situation, and perhaps this documentary has a personal opinion about where it came from and where it went to. it doesn't match my memories of early 90s noise bands which effectively disowned and later namechecked a whole series of predecessors like the sundays or cranes if i remember rightly...

for me, the bands being interviewed and named often seem to be more associated with pre-shoegazing, first-generation british indie music or the stuff it seemed to give way to in terms of bands more associated with grunge : the cure, smashing pumpkins, J&MC never seemed lumped in with the masters of droning walls of sound like swervedriver, slowdive, the boo radleys (well, earlier stuff) and even 'verve' were there in that lot in their early days too, as well as ride (their second albums a great summer / driving album too). interestingly, MBV never entirely seemed to get lumped in there either, being a band that had been around staring at their shoes long before it became entirely commonplace and perhaps labelled by the british music press in order to give a pigeonhole by which to shorthand describe a certain amorphous group of musicians who loved feedback, hiding their faces, peddles (most peddles every on a stage -- 'moose', who did some great and 12 string guitars. there were plenty of popularish bands who forever stuggled, made brief appearances in reasonable success chart-wise like lush too, chapterhouse to a lesser extent.

so, shoegazing was incidental, accidental and later puposeful. depending on where you join the loop, how strictly you try to control what has no borders.

one non-shoegazing band which i thought were semi-dismissed as teens trying it on, 'drop nineteens' actually did a very MBV inspired first album (delaware) which i still rate highly as a pop album with heavy noise sensibilities.

alternapop.comJuly 20, 2007 1:34 AM

lots of reviews suggestions for newer shoegaze influenced/sounding bands at

SwampwizardJuly 20, 2007 2:54 AM

What the hell is Trent Reznor doing in a documentary on shoegaze?

oncassetteJuly 20, 2007 5:58 AM

corgan and reznor? wtf are they doing in this movie?

opusJuly 20, 2007 6:23 AM

One of the film's goals is to look at the continuing influence that the shoegazer movement has had on music, well past its "heydays". An influence that a lot of folks might not be aware of. And since both Corgan and Reznor have been influenced by shoegazing, and both are relatively well-known figures in today's music, why not include them? If anything, hopefully it'll make some their fans check out the film, connect the dots, and maybe go pick up the odd Slowdive or MBV album.

sonaboyJuly 20, 2007 10:39 PM

"shoegaze" as a veiled insult was pretty hilarious, considering that up to that point, exciting stage presence was defined by dolled-up, coiffed men in spandex and instruments of vile multicolors jumping around like coked out cheerleaders and effeminate flirting with the crowds. I don't believe that shoegaze entailed average musicians trying to hide behind effects and smoke. They simply put SOUND back to the forefront of the music experience, instead of cheesy pomp. I, for one, thank the bands of the early 90s who moved in this direction.
Maybe this time, experimental-type shoegaze will come back once again to save us all from the formulaic and manufactured anger and xenophobia currently being marketed as nu-metal.