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CVLT Nation’s Top 10 SHOEGAZE Records of 2023

#10 SPARKLER Big Sonic Chill

This band creates a wall of beautiful buzz and hum that captures everything I love about this genre. It’s the escape from the compartmentalized norm, it’s the expansive freedom of noise particles, it’s the floating away on tangible glittering ethereal soundscapes. 

#9 GLAZYHAZE Just Fade Away

I love how Glazyhaze‘s video for their song “Saltless” starts and ends with the static TV screens of my youth that don’t exist anymore because we live in an age of unending infotainment and aggressive visual brainwashing. Their dreamy shoegaze feels like it’s wrapping its fuzzy arms around me and coaxing me into a welcome numbness, where I don’t have to see the contradictions and juxtapositions of normal, where I just feel that sweet screen-induced peace.

#8 SLIDE Loss

If space is the place then SLIDE’s Loss EP is Bliss! This band is fucking rad and I can’t wait for a full-length! This band’s music is so good for my mental health that I advise everyone to blast Loss at least once a day. Yo Suburban Creep Records, I want to say thank you for putting out such an amazing record. This is a message for SLIDE keep doing what y’all are doing because y’all have major fans over here at CVLT Nation!

#7 CITRUS – Citrus

I can’t front I find nothing but happiness in the sonic fuzz of Shoegaze! CITRUS is a band that released a self-titled tape on Transylvanian Recordings and I’m addicted to it. Every moment of this release puts a smile on my face and makes my brain cells jump for joy! Hey CITRUS, if y’all read this just know that we have nothing but respect for what y’all are creating!

#6 OLD COKE Seasonal

In the cracks between heavy and dreamy, that’s where you’ll find OLD COKE. They take glistening melodies and layer them on aggressive percussion and the result is grungegaze that could either lift me out of gloom or let me sink into it. 

#5 Forever ☆ 3 Series

If I had to pick one release that has pushed my wig back this month, it would be Kansas City’s forever ☆‘s tape 3 SERIES. This band has taken two genres I love beyond words and perfectly mixed them together! forever ☆ is 50% blissed-out shoegaze magic and 50% calling all drum & bass headz energy to manifest a sound that is 100% Pure Radness. This band is the next band to blow in 2023, mark my words. From the very first moment I heard their BIG Tune “Rain Forever,” I became an instant fan! Their vocalist does not sing on these tracks, they float over them and give me the sensation that I’m about to fly off into space. forever ☆ are so fucking on point and I love the way they have looked to the past while pointing their sound to the future.

#4 GLIXEN She Only Said

Real talk, my heart has been really heavy the past couple of days, and the gray skies outside have not really uplifted my spirits. But the new record from GLIXEN entitled She Only Said is making me feel more than better! Listening to songs like “Splendor” are making me have visions of love and unity instead of visions of beheading racist scum bags! This ShoeGaze/Dream Pop band has manifested a collection of songs that are sonic spaceships that will allow our brain cells to travel to spaces where all of our bodies are safe, no matter our color! I love the vocalist’s tone and delivery. 

#3 GLIA Happens All The Time

It doesn’t happen all of the time but sometimes a record // band makes me SO FUCKING HAPPY! Case in point, the new album Happens All The Time by GLIA makes me so happy that I have a huge smile on my face as I write this and the music is so good my heart is smiling! This band has created the soundtrack to my summer and beyond! Unholy hell yes, their songs are Shoegaze anthems that must be heard by all because they are that freaking good. All of their tunes have the perfect balance of blown-out fuzz mixed with sundrenched riffs! GLIA’s song “Turn” is an audio magic carpet ride that I wish lasted beyond forever! Everything about this tune is fucking PERFECT and I love how it almost has an R&B vibe. I love the last song on the tape “Moonflower” because it puts me into a mindstate of raw uncut BLISS. 

#2 STAB Quarter Life Crisis

If you’re feeling the alternative rock revival that’s happening across the underground these days then you better be listening to STAB! They’re hard to find online and dig up information on, and you know cuz I’m a music journalist I need to label them something — so I’m gonna call this Shoegaze Slacker Rock, but it’s a lot more than that. They’re weaving in a nihilistic Nirvana vibe with My Bloody Valentine’s wall of sound and it’s all tied together with the uplifting melancholy of 90s indie rock.

Their new record Quarter Life Crisis is helping me breathe after a long day of holding it. It’s heavy and ethereal at the same time, making me feel like my head’s floating in the clouds as my feet root into the ground. I feel like this tape is reminding me that every difficult moment in my life will eventually pass, so I just need to stick it out and reflect on it once it’s over. 

#1 LUSTER Dopamine Loop

I’m speaking from a place of bliss! I’m speaking from a place of amazement! I’m speaking from a place of LOVE for LUSTER‘s Dopamine Loop. Real talk the title of this record could not be any better because after listening to this collection of ShoeGaze Dream POP gems my whole brain becomes an ocean of Dopamine! From the very first moment I heard “Thorn In Yr Kiss,” I got chills and still do to this very day. With this tune, LUSTER has captured the magic of early 90’s Rave Culture and mixed it with the wall of sound of Shoegaze. Damn, “No One To Hold You” slaps so hard and hugs me every time I hear it! Being an L.A. native, I know how hard it can be to survive in that city, but the sonic blissed-out power of songs like Dopamine Loop can take the listener to other states of mind. What I respect about this project is how the band has looked to the past but is also pointing all of us to the future!

What also comes through as I listen to this record is how well-balanced it is between dance culture and the wall of sound. In the 90s, L.A. was home to the sickest underground dance parties, especially in the Latino community, where kids would ditch high school and rave all day. LUSTER captures that energy and flips the script by infusing it with trailer loads of ShoeGaze riffs. I want LUSTER to know that they have created a collection of songs that is going to live with me forever! I know for a fact that Dopamine Loop is going to rank high on our EOTY list. Y’all have manifested a perfect EP, now bless the world with a perfect full-length. 

Written By

“IRON
Sentient 51423

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