Shoegaze might have a reputation for being gloomy, dejected, and wintry, but with this post, I’m here to argue that there’s no better style of music for a day at the beach than shoegaze. Just think about it: swirling fuzzy guitars driven by effects pedals mimicking the sun pressing down on our bodies, waves of sonic energy flowing over us like the ocean, dreamy vocals floating like slow-moving clouds, sweet melodies hiding under the noise like whalesong from afar…um, let me think of another. Sand. Shoegaze is the sand in our bikinis, scratching us slightly but at least we know we’re alive.
Really, though, beach music can be deep. As much as I love corny old beach party movies from the American International era of mid-century cinema, I realize that jangly style of surf guitar fluff isn’t for everyone. So that’s where this brand of shoegaze comes in — some may call it “beach goth” — taking the fun of that old style and crafting it into something a little darker, perhaps more world-weary, without losing out on the romance, youthful irresponsibility, and/or lovelorn horniness (after all, the Beach Boys’ influence on dream pop has never been a secret.).
In case I can’t convince you with words, I’ve put together a playlist to illustrate my point. This mix ranges from classic shoegaze royalty to “that moment” in Britpop to more recent takes on the genre, with fuzzed-out alternative rock, experimental instrumentations, Wall of Sound throwbacks, and hyper-ethereal pop sounds. Take it with you on vacation this summer, and it may take you someplace else altogether. ★