See, here's how it all started: I think shoegazer music (= dreampop, ambient music) is some of the deepest, most beautiful music made in modern times. To give some definition to what I term "shoegazer" music, I mean this: shoegazer music is the style of music produced by a group of mostly British bands in the early '90's, the prime examples being My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Curve, Ride, etc. The music itself is characterized by layered guitar sounds, soft vocals, churning/echoing guitars, and overall ambient noise. Shoegazer music can be described as dreamy, moody, and deep, but many people find some of it difficult to listen to at first. The ultimate shoegazer album, the one that began and simultaneously outdid the whole musical era was "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine. Kevin Shields is a musical genius (though one with an inferiority complex), and all shoegazer music is really the effects of the musical ripples Kevin created. I know others will argue that the Cocteau Twins are the first shoegazers, which I don't disagree with, but MBV really opened the musical door to a new genre.
Given this amazing form of music that is so emotive and deep, I wondered what relation this music has to the Christian faith. I mean, we know the Source of all emotions, and as Christians we can experience the true focus (and eventual fulfillment) of emotions, so how does this type of music and the effect it has on me relate to my relationship with the Lord? And, secondarily, if this musical form has probed a deeper level of human experience, who are the Christian bands that have explored this musical frontier? I tend to be cynical, so before I start a polemic on today's Christian music, let me go in a more positive direction and tell you what I have found.
So far, I've found some really cool bands that are influenced by the shoegazer style, and also incorporate a Christian message in some way. The most obvious and best example is Starflyer 59, which is the brainchild of Jason Martin. Martin grew up listening to My Bloody Valentine and he understands how deep music can go. I actually found Starflyer 59 before MBV, so I heard the influence before I found the source. Another great album is the latest one by Common Children called "The Inbetween Time." Their work has traditionally been more grunge/emo, but this latest album definitely takes a turn for the ambient. Much of the first half of the CD has songs like they used to do, just a little moodier, and the second half of the CD really gets cool and experimental. Velour 100 is another good band, with the "Of Color Bright" CD being their best work. One band that is relatively unknown at this point is Midsummer (www.midsummer.cc). They have two ep's out so far, and the first, "catch and blur" should be on every shoegazer's shelf. They create that glassy, echoing, sound with layered guitars. Fans of Slowdive will like them. (side note: the guitarist of Midsummer indirectly contributed to me hearing Loveless for the first time; friend of a friend thing).
So, on to why you're here: I'm trying to use this page as an information source so that I can hopefully find more bands to listen to and connect with some others that like the same kind of music and share the same faith. So far, I've only found two people like me, a friend that lives in Colorado, and a friend who lives in West Virginia. I'd also like to document the "Christian Shoegazers" if such a term is allowed to exist. Don't worry, I'm not into the whole "copy the culture" or "christian alternatives" vibe, you won't find any of those dumb lists which say "if you like ______, then check out ___________, the christian alternative." I believe, rather, that Kevin Shields began a musical revolution with the release of "Loveless" and I want to document the impact that album had among Christain musicians and artists, much like it's effect on secular music has been documented and researched.
So, are you the person who can help me on my quest? Do you hold another bit of information that I've been searching for? I don't know, but at the very least I'd like to hear from you and find out how in the world you found this little campfire in the corner of cyberspace. What will this page become? Who knows, maybe a waste of an hour of work, or maybe a way for others who share musical tastes and faith to meet others like themselves. Let God be the judge.
Here's the info: shoot me an email at scottberggren "at" yahoo "dot" com and give me your details. I look forward to hearing from you! God Bless.