The 10 best shoegaze albums, by Nightmare Air

a press shot of nightmare air

Sure, it might have started off life as a music industry in-joke, but with the helps of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Swervedriver, indie subset shoegaze slowly became one of the most influential genres to flourish from the 90s.

It makes sense, then, that the genre influenced hundreds of bands in its wake. One such band is LA three-piece Nightmare Air, who build on the early 90s template, adding their own jangling, poppy noise to the mix. Join the band below, as they celebrate the scene that celebrated itself – you can check out the video to their new single, Strange Things, at the bottom of the page.

Swervedriver - Mezcal Head (1993)

“This is my perfect record. Duel, Duress, Girl On A Motorbike… I would name all those tracks as favourites. Duel was the track that first hooked me in, and the track I remember playing my friends back in the 90s, saying ‘Have you heard this band?!’ I think Mezcal Head made many a Swerve fan for life. The vibe and hooks made through the guitar layering really inspired me to take my guitar playing, and what I was using pedal-wise, in a whole different direction.”

Slowdive - Souvlaki (1993)

“I remember so well the first time I listened to this record. I had just smoked a massive joint and was driving from my home, which was in New Hampshire at the time, to some random show in Boston. I was floored. There’s a soft wall of sound that takes over so beautifully on this record. This record flows like quiet lava, and it’s too hard to pick a favourite track on this one. The subtle vastness on the instruments creates a sonic beauty really only found on this album. It was a special time in the early 90s.”

Blonde Redhead - 23 (2007)

“When this came out I thought it was their best record to date, combining more electronics in with their natural band sound and ethereal vocals. I thought it was perfect and still do.”

A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head (2009)

I first saw APTBS live back in 2007 and was totally taken aback by the sonic onslaught of Oliver [Ackermann, frontman] and his band at the time, and they are still killing it. Tough to pick a top out of their discography, but Exploding Head hit me a time in my life where it just took over. Really great layering and management of dark shoegaze energy through this whole record. They also have a new record coming out and are endlessly on tour. If you haven’t seen them live yet… just fucking go. You’ll never regret it.”

Ride - Nowhere (1990)

“The classic shoegaze ‘wall of sound’ is greatly represented here, along with great melodic hooks all over. I was fortunate to see them on their reunion this past year.”

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)

“This is the record of all records in this genre. What can you say that already hasn’t be said? It’s a Total Masterpiece.”

Lush - Gala (1990)

“I saw them open for Jane’s Addiction sometime in the 90s and was immediately taken aback. The next day I stole this record from a hippie neighbour in college who under-appreciated it, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a great record, and I get great memories flooding back when I listen to it. Essential dream pop at its best. The chorus-y jingle-jangle of the guitars and reverbed out sweet vocal melodies dance perfectly over the tunes.”

M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us (2005)

“There are bits on this record when the sonic ‘wash over the face’ couldn’t be any better. I just loved how adventurous this record was, and how adventurous the band continues to be.”

My Bloody Valentine - Isn’t Anything (1998)

This is not like Loveless, but it’s just as important as it was their first album. This album came out when I was on a kind of search for something new. To get Loveless after this was quite satisfying. One of the few songs Nightmare Air has ever covered live is on this record.”

Swervedriver - Raise (1991)

“The first of the two Swervedriver records, this is a little more raw and wild which translates to it being even more epic then Mezcal Head at times. Son Of Mustang Ford, Sandblasted… too good. I’ve had the pleasure of touring with Swervedriver in recent years – they’re great people, a real riot of a gang. They have a new record coming out very soon too, watch out!”

Nightmare Air’s new album Fade Out will be released on 2 March via Nevado Music. You can check out new single Strange Things below, or catch them on tour with Gary Numan at one of the dates below:

Mar 2: Kagelbanan, Stokholm, SWE
Mar 3: Kulturbolaget, Malmo, SWE
Mar 4: Parkteatret, Olso, NOR
Mar 5: Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DK
Mar 7: Tivoli, Utrecht, NL
Mar 8: Trix, Antwerp, BE
Mar 9: Luxembourg, LU
Mar 10: Oberhausen, Germany, DE
Mar 12: Pyramids Centre, Portsmouth, UK
Mar 13: Arts Centre, Warwick, UK
Mar 14: O2 Academy, Leicester, UK
Mar 16: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, UK
Mar 17: Empire, Middlesbrough, UK
Mar 19: Guild Hall, Preston, UK
Mar 20: City Hall, Hull, UK
Mar 21: The Foundry, Sheffield, UK
Mar 23: Villa Marina, Isle Of Man, UK
Mar 24: O2 Academy, Liverpool, UK
Mar 25: Roadmenders, Northampton, UK
Mar 28: The Limelight, Belfast, UK
Mar 29: Olympia Theatres, Dublin, IRE

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