Sun Dial started as an old school psychedelic space rock band fronted by Gary Ramon. This is the band's second album, a very experimental release that burns bridges to their "retro" past and succeeds in crystalizing the mood of that era. The vocal harmonies and blurry guitar haze are pure shoegaze, while the loud beats shows connections with the madchester sound and their mechanical groove sort of anticipates modern bands that blend shoegazing guitars and electronica. You might find this record much more muscular than your average shoegaze classic, although the songwriting is still catchy and fresh.
The maturity album of Swervedriver. As their guitar clang became more and more massive, pure and refined (Alan Moulder producing...), they learnt to sing and released a masterpiece of early Nineties indie rock, with psychedelic vapours and some indescribable instrumental codas, somewhere between shoegaze, kraut and UK post-rock.
This is the reissure with the masterpiece EP Never Lose That Feeling and its amazing title-track.
More US shoegaze, this time under the star of Slowdive. Colfax Abbey will probably never be part of history, but this record should be remembered as one of the swan songs of the genre. The mix is filled with chemtrails of guitar radiations, distortion supernovas, alien electronic signals and is touched by angelic singing.
The record has a melancholic pop side and an experimental soul too, touching unmatched levels of shimmering guitar beauty while surprising with unheard tones.
A strange beast, a band from Oxford with influences from the USA underground and rastafarian hair.
Swervedriver was one of the best elements of Creation Records and their background is influenced by the shoegazing sounds of Ride, although the sleepy mumbled vocals come straight from Dinosaur Jr and their metallic droning sounds are a spawn of the couple Moore/Ranaldo.
Somewhat still raw and improvable, Raise is still a classic record, one of the ultimate user manuals to electric guitar armageddon. The central part of the record is so perfect it makes you want to cry.
Sludgy shoegazing from California. Often labelled as a christian rock group, Starflyer 59 started as a very heavy indie-rock combo with many points in common with British shoegazing bands. The drums are quite slow and elephantine, and lack the "alternative dance" swing that you hear in many contemporary UK bands, although the tremolo-filled guitar lines, liquid sounds and screaming feedbacks show a clear affinity. Like many US-gaze bands, the vocals are mellow, masculine and there are no "a cappella" harmonies.
Courageous mix of madchester and some kind of US power/jangle pop. Most of it consists in upbeat guitar arpeggios, hammond whirlwinds and energetic suspended chords. The rest follows the more "spiritual" side of the madchester sound, with massive sounds and that gospel-like choral feeling.
Perhaps not essential, although you jangleheads won't be disappointed.
Thunderbirds Are Now! played that kind of funky nerdy funky indie-rock that was in fashion almost ten years ago. It's migraine music, full of hysterical vocals, angular guitars and a mix of twisty rhythms, catchy hooks, post-punk and some post-hardcore/screamo influences. Similar bands could be Les Savy Fav, El Guapo and Bloc Party, while one can arguably hear some classics too, from Unwound to Minutemen, but mostly it would be Brainiac's squealing synths.