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Shitgaze is a genre of indie rock characterized by the use of traditional rock music musical instruments—guitars, drums, and keyboards—recorded and played live in such an abrasive manner as to distort recordings and push amplifiers to their sonic limits. The emphasis of the music is usually on the treble end of the musical scale at the sacrifice of lower-end sounds, such as those emanating from bass guitars.

Origin of the Phrase

The term "shitgaze" was coined by Kevin De Broux of Pink Reason (and formerly of Psychedelic Horseshit) when he told Matt Whitehurst of Psychedelic Horseshit that his music wasn't like the shoegaze that Whitehurst listened to, but rather, it was "shitgaze". Whitehurst put the term on his Myspace page and it stuck[721395], even growing to encompass bands from different regions that didn't have anything to do with the original scene from which the genre originated.


The genre has its roots in the mid-2000s garage rock revival and lo-fi rock scenes, with an apparent nexus in Columbus, Ohiomarker [721396]. By 2005, the city had birthed two of the first and most important bands of the new sound: Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit, with the former releasing its debut album that same year. By the end of the year, other alleged shitgaze bands began emerging, notably Los Angeles' No Age, who were quickly signed to Sub Pop and issued their debut album in 2007. Also that year, the aforementioned Psychedelic Horseshit released their own debut album, and Times New Viking released their sophomore effort, Present the Paisley Reich, which was well received by critics [721397][721398].

During 2008 the scene continued to grow, and received mainstream attention with the release of No Age's critically acclaimed LP Nouns, Times New Viking's Rip It Off and Vivian Girls' self-titled debut. By then, the trend had spread far away from Columbus, with regional scenes springing up in Californiamarker, New Yorkmarker and Canadamarker.

2009 saw further growth of the genre, with bands such as Wavves, Crystal Stilts and Zola Jesus releasing critically acclaimed albums. Additionally, shitgaze flagships Times New Viking, Vivian Girls and No Age and Women all have upcoming releases scheduled for the fall.

MJ Hibbett & The Validators are not shitgaze

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