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4 Underrated 90s US Shoegaze Bands: Lost in Sound

Michael Taylor itcher Birthed in the UK to cult acclaim, Shoegaze went underground in America. If you’re looking for Underrated 90’s U.S. Shoegaze bands similar to My Bloody Valentine and Ride, you’ll love Medicine, The Veldt and Hum. ~ Michael Taylor

Gorgeous Distortion…

Combining wailing guitar feedback with pop arrangements and psychedelic overtones, Shoegaze was all the rage in Britain in the early 90’s thanks to bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Lush.

Those bands inspired a similar movement in the Americas, but thanks to Grunge and Brit‐pop, the sub‐genre fell out of favor, and U.S. Shoegaze groups never got their full due.

So let’s take a look at 4 underrated Shoegaze bands that deserve as much attention as their Brit competitors.

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Medicine (1990–1995, 2003, 2013‐present)

Essential Tracks: ‘Slut’, ‘Time Baby III’, ‘The Pink’, ‘Aruca’, ‘5ive’, ‘Never Click’, ‘Candy, Candy’, ‘Babydoll’, ‘Fried Awake’

Essential Albums: ‘Shot Forth Self Living’, ‘The Buried Life’, ‘Her Highness’

Guitarist Brad Laner’s diffuse guitar tone (created by playing through a 4‐track recorder) and vocalist Beth Thompson’s ethereal wail powers this Los Angeles group’s distinctive sound.

With disorienting seasick melodies on tracks like ‘The Pink’ and ‘Time Baby III’ (featured on ‘The Crow’ soundtrack), they made divine dance friendly noise.

As of 2015: the original lineup reformed in 2013, with their most recent album being 2014’s ‘Home Everywhere.’

With synapse‐shaking guitar tones and shimmering soundscapes, Medicine makes music to get lost in for days.

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The Veldt (1986‐present)

Essential Tracks: ‘Soul In A Jar’, ‘’It’s Over’, CCCP’, Until You’re Forever’, ‘Wanna Be Where You Are’, ‘She Stoops To Conquer’, ‘Tinsel Town’, ‘Revolutionary Sister’, ‘Everlasting Gobstopper’

Essential Albums: ‘Marigolds’, ‘Afrodisiac’

Based in college rock mecca Chapel Hill, North Carolina, The Veldt fused Shoegaze and New Wave with a heavy dose of soul thrown in for good measure.

Their unique sound proved hard to pigeonhole, and despite being championed by Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie (who produced their sophomore effort ‘Afrodisiac’) they remain one of the best‐kept musical secrets in alternative rock.

But one listen to tracks like ‘Soul In A Jar’ or ‘It’s Over’ should prove why they deserve greater recognition.

As of 2015: Band members Daniel and Danny Chavis formed Apollo Heights and have collaborated with artists including Mos Def and David Sitek of TV On The Radio. The Veldt are still active; their latest album being released on February 2016.

One of the most original groups to emerge from the Shoegaze movement, The Veldt offer massive hooks, gorgeous melodies and the powerhouse vocals of Daniel Chavis.

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Hum (1989–2000, various reunions, 2015‐?)

Essential Tracks: ‘Stars’, I’d Like Your Hair Long’, ‘The Pod’, ‘Puppets’, ‘Green to Me’, ‘Comin’ Home’, ‘Little Dipper’, ‘If You Are To Bloom’, ‘Songs Of Farwell and Departure’

Essential Albums: ‘Electra’, ‘You’d Prefer An Astronaut’, ‘Downward is

Heavenward’ Formed in Champagne Illinois, Hum crafted epic tracks that blended Shoegaze, Space Rock and aggressive guitar textures and alt‐rock dynamics.

While they’re best known for their hit ‘Stars’ (featuring one of the most massive guitar tones of all time), they’ve cultivated a small but loyal fan base, which treat albums like ‘Electra’ and ‘You’d Prefer An Astronaut’ with devout reverence.

As of 2015: the band reformed to great acclaim at the 2015 SXSW and Riot Fest music festivals and toured with fellow space‐rock titans Failure.

Featuring astral themed lyrics and the twin guitar assault of Matt Talbot and Tim Lash, Hum are one of the most unique bands of the 90’s and
beyond.

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Mazinga Phaser (1993‐2000)

Essential Tracks: ‘Diamond In Shrink Wrap’, ‘Japanese Space Opera’, ‘Alpha Jerk’, ‘Blue Sparkle Barchetta’, ‘Hot Weird’, ‘Scattered, Smothered and Covered’

Essential Albums: ‘Cruising in the Neon Glories of the New American Night’, ‘Aether’, ‘Abandinallhope’, ‘Dissatisfied Customers of Hallucination’

This Denton. TX group created a hallucinatory musical stew that mixed Shoegaze, Space Rock and Baroque Pop.

Their left‐of‐center mind‐melting shows gave them a cult fanbase, but they folded in 2000. Guitarist Wanz Dover went on to form art‐rock group The Falcon Project.

As of 2015: All appears quiet, with ex‐members keeping a low profile.

Skirting the line between trippy, tranquil and bombastic, Mazinga Phaser are local Texas legends that deserved worldwide recognition.

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Crank it Up…

So that wraps up my list of 90’s Shoegaze bands worth checking out. I’ve included several honorable mentions below as well. But now I want to hear from you: what American Shoegaze groups do you enjoy blasting at high volume and wish they had greater success?

Tell us in the comments.

And for more alt‐rock goodness, check out my list of 8 Underrated 90’s Alternative bands (featuring two British Shoegaze acts), 8 Underrated 80’s New Wave Bands, and 5 Bands Like The Jesus And Mary Chain.

Honorable Mentions: Buck Jones, Bowery Electric, Galaxie 500

My name is Michael Taylor and I′m your go-to source for finding the best in Alternative rock in all its various genres, such as Goth, Grunge, Post-punk, Shoegaze, Britpop and Electronica, with some metal thrown in for good measure. Film-wise, I′m all about sci-fi and horror, comic book movies, and cult classics. I love checking out all the best concerts and film events in my hometown of Austin, TX. I′ve written for sites such as Cracked, and I cover all my various pop culture obsessions on my site smellslikeinfinitesadness.com

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