What’s new: Various Artists, “Still in a Dream: Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995”

by Jon E. Lynch

Various Artists, ‘Still in a Dream: Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995’

Available: Feb. 5 as an import, five cd box-set from Cherry Red

Ah, the ’80s. So much horrible, terrible, wonderfully nostalgic music was made. Right alongside truly amazing, progressive and wildly influential music. It was, to me personally, perhaps the most influential decade, sonicly speaking.

I am fortunate enough to look back on the ’80s through a reflective and revered lens having been just (barely) old enough to really, truly, appreciate the decade that gave rise to many of my favorite artists and classic records. Some of the greats of College Radio (Pixies, Camper Van Beethoven, The Replacements, R.E.M, The Smiths and Hüsker Dü), American punk and hardcore (Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Minutemen, Bad Brains and Black Flag) and the golden age of hip-hop (Run D.M.C, Public Enemy, N.W.A, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B & Rakim and Beastie Boys) are all of the ’80s

That being said, one of my least favorite names of all the subgenres of music also came from the ’80s: shoegaze. To be clear, I very much enjoy this style of music but loathe the genre identifier itself. Cherry Red Records, a label based in the U.K., has released a fairly comprehensive five-disc retrospective of the genre characterized by of heavy distortion and feedback and disaffected cool. The name itself was coined in the British press to mock those artist making light psychedelia and Brit/indie pop while staring straight down their shoe laces. Ugh. Still, this 87-track set collects rarities and classics alike and gives a better-than-comprehensive glance at the genre.

Recommended if you’re a fan of ’80s shoegaze, 4AD Records, Pale Saints, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Spiritualized or Cocteau Twins.

Jon E. Lynch, [email protected]

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