Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Geek Out: Shoegaze Doc To Be Released

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 13, 2007

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I remember how nuts I got when I heard about the existence of Live Forever, the John Dover-helmed documentary about the Britpop movement in the UK in the mid-90s. Released in 2003, when I was a Junior in High School and at the very height of my Anglophilic phase, it drove me crazy that it wasn’t released to theaters in this country, and when it finally came out on video, I scoured the rental stores of Lower Merion for a copy–I even went to the TLA in the city, where they actually had a copy, but wasn’t allowed to set up an account there without a credit card (my friends talked me out of paying strangers $20 to let me rent on their account). Eventually, I found a copy at a Best Buy–it wasn’t quite as amazing as I’d hoped, but hell, it was Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn talking about Britpop for two hours. I regret nothing.

I can’t even imagine how crazed it would’ve made me to have heard about Beautiful Noise, a new documentary by Eric Green reported on by Pitchfork today, back when I was in High School–I might’ve swam to the UK on the release date just to be on the safe side. Taking on the Shoegaze scene of the mid-80s to early-90s, the movie boasts a list of interviews with pretty much all the scene’s movers and shakers. Seriously, check this shit out:

“To help tell that story, then, Green went straight to the sources, interviewing on camera pretty much anyone who’s anyone in the genre: My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields and Debbie Googe, JAMC’s Reid brothers and Douglas Hart, and Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde, as well as Robert Smith (the Cure), Neil Halstead (Slowdive), Mark Gardner and Andy Bell (Ride), Emma Anderson (Lush), Adam Franklin (Swervedriver), Toni Halliday (Curve), Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), David Pearce (Flying Saucer Attack), Ian Masters (Pale Saints), Martin Carr (the Boo Radleys), noted producer Alan Moulder, and Creation honcho Alan McGee.

Green also sat down with noisemakers who owe a debt to shoegaze– such as Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor, and Wayne Coyne– as well as contemporary bands still tapping into the genre’s essence, like Asobi Seksu, Serena-Maneesh, Ladytron, and Autolux, among others.”

C’mon, how many movies have you seen in the last few years with interviews with the dudes from Swervedriver, or Alan fucking Moulder? The prospect is totally insane. There’s no release date yet–supposedly it’s not even done editing–but when it’s out, it’s going to be orgasmic for anyone with even a passing interest in the last 25 years of underground rock/pop.

The most amazing thing about this, though, is that it’s even getting made at all. Unlike Live Forever, and the great majority of rock docs that get made, there’s barely any undercurrent to the shoegaze movement–social, political, geographical, really anything–there’s no real arc to it, there’s no huge behind the scenes drama, there are no gigantic egos, and there are no big stars. It’s just great, forward-thinking, occasionally perception-expanding music, music which never got its due in the mainstream but which created a sort of sonic ideal for thousands of music fans in the two and a half decades since the Cocteau Twins started the blueprint.

Title’s kind of boring, though. If the thing gets delayed for years like I fear it will be, hopefully they can at least use the time to come up with something more creative.

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