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Shoegaze is a loaded label, term, genre. And a list of contemporary shoegaze acts must be all about emulating the good ole’ days – right!? Well, hopefully this list proves otherwise. Despite the fact that reverb and noise are in abundance, its still all about the songs. In 2012 there was plenty of golden songs, with or without the tremolo riding, pitch bending tendencies, these songs stand their ground. Without further preaching, here’s SBWR’s Best Shoegaze Albums Of 2012. Please click through and add your favourite record/s so we can all be better informed. Plus, if you missed it, the Best Dream Pop Records of 2012 is right here too.

 

Best Shoegaze Albums of 2012…

 
1. Dead Mellotron – ‘Glitter’ [EP] (Sonic Cathedral) (more)

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So ‘Glitter’ isn’t technically an album but what it lacks in length it makes up for in sonic bliss! This is a special set of songs that won’t leave you wanting more. The American (not British) trio have previously released 2010’s ‘S/T’ and the eight track release ‘Ghost Light Constellation’. Shoegaze fans or better still, rock fans in general, shouldn’t miss it. Sonic Cathedral should be praised for supporting these guys.

2. Arc In Round – ‘Arc In Round’ (La Société Expéditionnaire) (more)

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One of the strongest debut releases of the year. Philadelphia’s Arc In Round have created an album that creeps up on you, then just refuses to get off your speakers. It hits all the right queues and just works. Its also one of the best sounding shoegaze records of the year, audiophiles take note! The work of Jeff Zeigler and co at Uniform Recording paid off.

3. Ringo Deathstarr – ‘Mauve’ (Club AC30) (more)

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As long as Ringo Deathstarr keeps making records they’ll keep making the list. The Texas-based band have been a dependable force, consistently delivering lovable rock n’ roll. ‘Mauve’ is a mix of shoegaze pop, garage punk and wall of sound rock. At the rate Ringo Deathstarr is releasing music they’re likely to eclipse their forefathers catalogues in no time.

4. A Place To Bury Strangers – ‘Worship’ (Dead Oceans) (more)

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The noise rock record of the year without question. Arguably one of the most influential for guitarists seeking new levels of creative distortion. The amount of effects pedal dancing required to bring ‘Worship’ to life makes this a worthy inclusion. Pack your ear plugs!

5. Snøskred – ‘Whiteout’ (Riot Factory) (more)

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With five singers, tremolo heavy guitars and a solid debut single, there was little to stop Snøskred’s debut LP ‘Whiteout’ from being great. The Norwegian shoegaze act (Avalanche in English) produce catchy hooks with crossover indie pop appeal. A lot of love has gone into making this record and it’s audible on every track.

6. Airiel – ‘Kid Games’ [EP] (Shelflife) (more)

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The perfect mix of electronics and swooning guitars. Jeremy Wrenn’s Airiel changed up their sound and nailed it. After fifteen years of sonic wizardry the Chicago shoegazers struck a brilliant balance between strong songwriting, lush synth work and shimmering guitars.

7. Whirr – ‘Pipe Dreams’ (Tee Pee) (more)

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Droning fuzz rock from the Northern Californian six piece! Since the release of the well loved track ‘Junebouvier’ and the ‘Distressor’ EP before it, Whirr’s debut LP seemed forever on the horizon. ‘Pipe Dreams’ eventually saw the light of day following a signing to New York’s Tee Pee Records.

8. Young Prisms – ‘In Between’ (Kanine Records) (more)

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‘In Between’ is delivered with an honesty that makes it hard to pass up. Perhaps underrated due to a lack of production gloss, the naval gazing tone or simply because it isn’t the happiest of records. The San Francisco-based quartet produced a solid follow up to ‘Friends For Now’ and its worth checking out.

9. Highlands – ‘Singularity’ (Independent) (more)

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Psych clashes with shoegaze awesomeness on ‘Singularity’. The SoCal rockers push out waves of guitars and vocal harmonies all wrapped in warm reverb. Highlands are a band that could easily explode if given the means to do so.

10. 93millionmilesfromthesun – ‘Towards The Light’ (In At The Eye Records) (more)

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Doncaster noise makers 93millionmilesfromthesun released their third record ‘Towards The Light’ this year. It’s a loud one. Verging all the way from shoegazey textures to extreme signal mangling, the trio fully embrace their effects units! Perhaps not for the casual listener, but an experience nonetheless.

Best Shoegaze Albums Of 2012 (Notable mentions): Stagnant Pools, Sea Dweller, Crocodiles, No Joy, Indoor Voices, Carousels, SPC ECO, Panda Riot, Conduits.

What’s missing? Click through to the Best Shoegaze Albums of 2012 and add to the list.