Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Morning Shoegazer

Slowdive, "Ballad of Sister Sue". Have no idea what it's about (something incestuous? Sex with a nun? WTF?), but a good example of the shoegazer genre -- relentlessly downbeat, dream-like, and deeply layered with reverb and delay effects. Slowdive was a master of the genre, then mutated into Mojave 3 to do a more country-tinged sound that they hoped would be more commercially successful (being dropped by your record label inbetween turning in your last album and going out on tour tends to do that -- you'd think that the record label would drop them *after* the tour to promote the album, but those assholes in the music industry have about as much sense as the Great Penguin gave a ferret, shoegazer was no longer "oh shiney!" so they dropped it like a rock). As usually happens with these things, simply changing their sound and band name wasn't enough, success never happened - Mojave 3 never hit it big either.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. There's a shoegazer genre? Why?

    I stopped gazing at shoes when girls stopped wearing patent leather shoes.

    Those vocals are so muddy, all I can get is "laid down beside you."

    JzB the grew up Catholic but NEVER had a nun fantasy ever trombonist

  2. Why? Because some people like making slow-moving deeply-textured "pretty" music, I guess. The "shoegazer" appellation was invented by music critics as a derisive term for that particular niche of the dream pop spectrum.

    The vocals here are being used primarily as an instrument in the mix. I don't think it's really intended that we be able to pick them out of the mix as discrete words. There were some of the more "art" bands of that era who didn't even bother with lyrics, they just had their female lead singer babble nonsense words in the mike then submerged it in the mix until it was ambience. Slowdive had actual lyrics but you're right, it is damnably hard to pick them out of the mix.

    - Badtux the Music Penguin

  3. I thought is was my ears. Sitting in front of the trumpers can do that to you.

    Jz the non-deaf trombonist

  4. Oops. Trumpets, not trumpers. This is jazz band, not a bridge tournament.

    JzB the 7NT trombonist


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