Modern English Shoegaze Bands: The KVB (Photo Credit: Klara Johanna Michel)
When it comes to British shoegaze, we almost always think of the holy trinity from the 80s: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride. They applied an overwhelming number of pedals to drown you in reverb and distortion, and nothing feels more sensational than that. And then there were bands like Chapterhouse and Catherine Wheel that carried the shoegaze spirit to the early 90s, despite having only released a handful of studio albums.
People always seem to have a short-lived flirtation with shoegaze compared to other genres, just like when the British press ruthlessly slated it before they turned their lens to Britpop in the 90s. Still, it always revives and it is ripe for exploration. The ethereal shoegaze tune will patiently linger and get to those who understand. While we have been waiting to hear from Kevin Shields about My Bloody Valentine’s long-anticipated fourth studio album (to be fair, it took them twenty-two years to release m b v after Loveless), we would like to share with you some of our favourite modern English shoegaze bands so you can keep yourself busy.
Check out These Modern English Shoegaze Bands
Melding shoegaze with jagged post-punk and darkwave, London-based audio-visual duo The KVB crafts an arresting soundscape like no other. While their latest 2018 album Only Now Never is a soothingly vibrant sonic bliss, the classic ‘Dayzed’ from 2013’s Immaterial Visions will always be one of their most compelling tracks (‘Radiant Hour’ is an underrated close second in our opinion). Punctured by thundering guitars and explosive synths, ‘Dayzed’ has now become the designated and most enthralling ending song at every one of their live gigs.
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Leave the Planet
Leave the Planet is a potent fusion of shimmering shoegaze and hyperlush pop. Having discovered their mutual love for Slowdive and early Sarah Records releases such as Field Mice and The Orchids when they moved into the same flat, Nathalie Bruno and Jack Milwaukee decided to start a new chapter in their musical journey. The London-based shoegazers carve the most hypnotic lo-fi cocktail of shoegaze and dream pop. They are undoubtedly one of the nicest modern English shoegaze bands to look out for.
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Hailing from Sussex, the South Coast of England, Air Formation are heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine, Flying Saucer Attack, The Cure and Spirtualized. Their 2010 release Daylight Storms is like a feedback-laden warm purr; while their most recent album Near Miss(2018) hits you with crashing crescendo. It is enriched and it has matured. It’s almost instinctual to just bow your head, stare down at your shoes and start swaying softly whilst listening to their music.
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Oozing with youthful longing, Cheatahs’ fuzzy soundscape definitely reminds us of one of the most legendary English shoegaze bands Ride. Formed in London, the shoegaze outfit cleverly blends jingly verses with incessant drumming, distorted guitar with obscure vocals. Their self-titled album features brilliant tracks such as ‘The Swan’ and ‘Geographic’, creating an absolute whirlwind to engage all the dedicated shoegaze listeners. Without a doubt, we’re absolutely enraptured.
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Amusement Park on Fire
Nottingham shoegazers Amusement Park on Fire make excoriatingly fuzzed-up shoegaze packed with bashed drums. Having performed with the likes of Dinosaur Jr, The Flaming Lips, M83, the band then started working with producers Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails) and Nicolas Jodoin (Arcade Fire, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) on their 2010 album Road Eyes. Their hit single ‘Our Goal to Realise’ is propulsive, bombastic and anthemic. In May 2020, the quartet released their latest offering Thankyou Violin Radiopunk, which continues to seize you with emotive riffs and roaring guitars.
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Coming from Norwich, Ninth Paradise are committed to crafting ethereal textured sounds, described as “like surfing through a giant, quiet and peaceful wave that is disconnected from the world”. Often glistening with iridescent noise and colours, Ninth Paradise offer a lovely slice of woozy shoegaze with their soft-spoken self-titled album in 2012 and its successor Twoin 2016.
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Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.
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