The first in a series of promotional discs issued in conjunction with the annual Shoegazer's Ball, a seasonal showcase that features a new generation of Pacific Northwest bands covering the classic shoegazer efforts of the late 1980s and early 1990s, NW Shoegazerbliss documents the cream of 2002's crop, compiling 11 original recordings from as many Seattle- and Portland-area bands. If you were at all immersed in the original shoegazer scene as it blossomed, it's certainly a bit surreal to experience a new crop of bands so slavishly imitating the kaleidoscopic guitars, murky vocals and somnambulist rhythms of an era seemingly all but forgotten by everyone but aging record store employees and rock critics -- the legacies of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride are in no way threatened by any of the followers featured here, but if the music of those artists ever meant something to you, you'll nevertheless find much to savor. Some of the bands appear unlikely to evolve beyond the trappings of nostalgia, but others boast real potential, in particular the High Violets ("44 Down"), Minmae ("This Means Everything") and Thebrotheregg (who deserve props simply for titling their entry "Billy Barty's Brains").
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny