This month on Philosophy of the World, episode 29 is all about the “scene that celebrates itself.” Shoegazing was a relatively short-lived subgenre emerging from the confluence of punk, post-punk, space rock and dream pop in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in the UK. We start by listening to some “proto-shoegaze” including the noise pop of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the wall-of-guitars space rock of Loop and ethereal dream pop of Cocteau Twins. We then focus on the initial wave of shoegaze bands up to about 1993. Not only do we listen to the “big three” including My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive, but we also spin some of the lesser appreciated groups such as the harder-edged Catherine Wheel, industrial gothisms of Curve, and the hypnotic pop of Pale Saints. Enjoy this primer on a subgenre that, while brief, continues to influence underground music today.


1. The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Taste of Cindy” from Psychocandy

2. Loop – “Too Real to Feel” from Heaven’s End

3. Cocteau Twins – “Carolyn’s Fingers” from Blue Bell Knoll

4. My Bloody Valentine – “Lose My Breath” from Isn’t Anything

5. Ride – “Vapour Trail” from Nowhere

6. Pale Saints – “Sea of Sound” from The Comforts of Madness

7. Lush – “Sweetness and Light” from Gala

8. Chapterhouse – “Pearl” from Whirlpool

9. My Bloody Valentine – “Sometimes” from Loveless

10. Curve – “Coast Is Clear” from Pubic Fruit

11. The Boo Radleys – “Skyscraper” from Everything’s Alright Forever

12. Catherine Wheel – “I Want to Touch You” from Ferment

13. Slowdive – “Machine Gun” from Souvlaki

14. The Verve – “Star Sail” from A Storm in Heaven


Companion Material
Beautiful Noise Documentary
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
Pitchfork Classic: Slowdive – Souvlaki
How Soon Is Now? by Richard King

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4 comments on “Ep. #29 – Shoegaze

  1. Swervedriver Fan Nov 17, 2017

    Love shoegaze so I enjoyed this. But what’s with all the Swervedriver hate, Carr?

    • Yeah, sorry man but I just can’t get into them. They kinda sound like they wanted to be a US band too much and didn’t really fit in sonically with the rest of the scene to begin with. I’m curious what you like about them so much. Let us know!

      • Jonathan Jan 5, 2019

        I was thoroughly enjoying your “shoegaze” episode until your anti-Swervedriver comment(s). Now I’m not even sure I can make it through this Chapterhouse track as my stomach is churning in the wake of such blasphemy. Raise and Mezcal Head are indisputable classics that got me through tough times during my rebellious teenage years and still cause me to joyfully head bang. As an American (currently living the UK) with a love for shoegaze the US-tinged sound/feel always hit me just right. I implore you to take another deep dive starting with Rave Down, Duress, and Never Lose that Feeling. Anyhow, some MBV is now calming my nerves so I should be able to make it through the pod. Cheers.

        • Hahaha! Thanks man. I’m glad you generally enjoyed the show. Sorry for the Swervedriver hate but I’m definitely going to revisit what you’ve suggested. I think I need to listen to them outside of the context of the shoegaze scene because. I’ll take a deep dive as you’ve recommended!

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