Adventures in Slumberland and Gazing at Japanese Shoes

This year’s mbv did not just mark the return of My Bloody Valentine after 22 years.  It also proclaimed the survival and revival of the shoegaze sound.

Born in Silver Spring, MD, Slumberland Records released such influential (then local) shoegaze bands as Velocity Girl, Lorelei, Whorl and Black Tambourine:

Later relocating to San Francisco, the label has added wave after wave of distorted guitars from around the world to their roster with artists such as The Pains of Being Pure at HeartVeronica FallsFrankie Rose:

Right now everything on the Slumberland label is 20-60% off.  Here’s your chance to catch up on their impressive catalog.

Recently, I discovered there is also a Japanese shoegaze scene that revolves around the UK Project label.

With heads bowed and bangs covering their faces, seemingly staring at their shoes, Mushroom Empire have the look that gave shoegaze its name.  And they sound like vintage Lush:

Paionia show how effective a simple video can be with its Tony Oursler like projections of singing lips on various surfaces:

And I can’t help but smile every time I hear them sing “I don’t make you hoppy, hoppy” even though I know they mean happy (it’s written on the screen, along with other not quite right English phrases).

Hey Mike (AKA Papa Slumber), any chance you can distribute these bands in the US?

ps — in recent interviews, MBV’s Kevin Shields has claimed that the Britpop movement was “pushed by the government.”  This really shouldn’t surprise anyone since pop music has been a major British export since at least the Beatles — why do you think rockers such as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Elton John get knighthoods?  They are good for the British economy.

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