This feature originally ran in November 2014 and is being re-published to celebrate Slowdive’s top-rated comeback album.
By now, we’ve pretty much seen the return of every notorious shoegaze outfit. My Bloody Valentine finally followed up 1991’s Loveless with their exceptional self-titled album back in 2013. The Jesus and Mary Chain never leave the road — and for good reason. Ride, Swervedriver, Lush, and Slowdive have all come and gone with impressive results. Needless to say, it’s a great time to be a sad guy with a loud amp. You won’t hear this writer complaining.
But now what? Even if you got tickets to every one of their shows, there’s no denying the addiction to shiny Jazzmasters and swimming pool-sized pedal boards. And although your ears could use some rest, you’re in luck: there’s more. Ahead, take a listen to some of the lesser known bands, both new and old, of the Scene That Celebrates Itself and find yourself a new favorite obscure band to impress your friends with the next time they’re going on about Catherine Wheel.
Having released their debut full-length in 2014 on Wichita Recordings, London-based Cheatahs is the newest band on this list. They’re from the heavier, more athletic Swervedriver school of shoegaze (as opposed to the dreamy pop of Lush or swirling soundscapes of MBV) but don’t flirt too much with the alt-rock that would eventually do in their forbearers by 99th Dream. Their 2015 sophomore album, Mythologies, continued the band’s aggressive, noisy, ethereal sounds that they had been perfecting while touring across Europe and the States.
Alright, so maybe you’ve heard of Cheatahs. They did one of those A.V. Undercover sessions, after all. It’s a lot less likely you’re putting some Stella Luna on your turntable when you want to bliss out. Mostly due to the fact that their only release to date is 2002’s Stargazer, released only as a CD maxi-single. And damn if that ain’t a shame. The album’s brilliant 26 minutes are filled with beautiful melodies that shimmer on the surface of tides of distortion and reverb-drenched, gunshot drums. It’s gorgeous and a crime that they didn’t give us more to enjoy.
One of the earliest bands in the London scene to be labeled (at the time, derogatorily) as “shoegazers,” Moose released a handful of EPs in 1991 on Hut Recordings that would help define the sound of an era with walls of buzz-saw guitars and low, lazy vocals. Despite keeping at it until 2000, they never quite found the success of their peers, though the influences of their roots remained alive and well throughout their career.