21. My Bloody Valentine
Years active: 1983 - 1997, 2007 - present Influenced: Shoegaze Hometown: Dublin, Ireland Jam: "To Here Knows When." Ethereal feminine harmonies matched up with guitars that attack like weapons—shoegaze that makes you want to look up from the floor.
Arguably the initial purveyors of "shoegaze," My Bloody Valentine took distortion and reverb in a new direction, eschewing traditional rock or noise sounds, as well as the anti-rock artsy inroads, to create something that sounded both mysterious and brutal. Originally the term "shoegaze" was meant to describe the band's motionlessness onstage but soon developed into shorthand for the band's intricate dream pop sound. Airy vocals and menacing guitars sound like an obvious combination now, but it was MBV who helped ring in the oppositional elements that make up much of "intellectual" pop's grooves in the current musical climate.