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Top 60 Shoegaze & Dream pop albums

Ranking the best shoegaze and dream pop albums, including non-pure (whatever it means) gaze/dream pop LPs with huge influences in those genres.
60Life on venus
Odes to the Void

Very good russian shoegaze revival album.
59Sadness (USA)
I want to be there

If you think that sunbather is the most positive black metal album ever you missed this one.
Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts

A minimal electronic album that matches desolate soundscapes, shogeaze/ dream pop aesthetics and post rock vibes.
57Narrow head

A post-hardcore/shoegaze hybrid with aggressive guitar sound and apathetic male vocals. Stay is a truly great song. Too bad this album is very short
To See the Next Part of the Dream

South korean lo-fi shoegaze with mellow bittersweet melodies hidden into a chaotic noise rock production. In particular the first half of the album is beyond good. The vocals are pretty average but that's not a huge problem since they are padded behind the dense music.
55The Jesus and Mary Chain

Actually Psychocandy came before shoegaze was even a thing, still it had a huge impact on the genre. While it may have aged quite a bit there are some iconic tracks throughout the long tracklist.
54This Mortal Coil
It'll End in Tears

Ethereal wave meets dream pop. The big problem with the album is that the best songs are all placed at the beginning of the album making the second half just ok compared to the greatness of the first. Kangaroo had a huge impact in dream pop and also inspired Radiohead's Talk show host. Song of the siren has one of the most emotional vocal performances in the genre.
53Silversun Pickups

Accessible shoegaze/alternative rock with catchy choruses. Common reactor is an amazing closer, one of the most memorable songs in the genre

Actually more complex than many listeners believed it to be. Split has a huge variety throughout the tracklist combining dream pop, shoegaze, indie, punk, post punk and britpop. Still the best song is the dreamy fable-like opener.
51The Radio Dept.
Lesser Matters

A soothing introspective dream pop work with lots of acoustic melancholia. 1995 alone makes this album worth listening

Hypnotic and relaxing indie/ neo-psychedelia with huge shoegaze and dream pop elements. While i'm not a fan of indie rock this album makes exception for most of it's length.
Twilight at the carbon lake is a masterpiece of the genre.
Wings of Joy

While at moment sounds a bit stale the unique sound and weird atmosphere contained in wings of joy makes it a must listen. A combination of gothic rock, darkwave and dream pop that balances dreamy atmosphere with a somehow uneasy feeling. The childish vocals add that weird touch that i love.
Things We Lost in the Fire

Depressive slowcore at it's best filled with emotional duets, decaying autumnal vibes and dream pop influences.
47Nemo (CAN)
In Stereo

How come this band is so unknown? Space rock tinged shoegaze with post rock elements and memorable songs.

Jesu's discography is solid but they never topped the silver ep. If they only released a full length like this it would be at least in the top 30.
Awesome post metal/ shoegaze hybrid.
45The Angelic Process
Weighing Souls With Sand

There's a bit of music in this reverb.
Maybe the less accessible album in the list, still if you dig enough inside the chaotic destructive sound you'll discover a beautiful impending doom atmosphere.
44Galaxie 500
On Fire

Influenced by spacemen 3, this longing dream pop icon combines bluesy guitar lines with saxophone-led scorches, dense atmospheres, depressive lyrics and loneliness.
43Beach house

The most popular modern dream pop band. While it's not among my all time favorites it still has it's huge amount of merits. First of all, the keyboards sound is one of the best ever. The first four songs are all classics, so it's on the sea. Some "just ok" songs prevent me to pick bloom Higher on the list, still it deserves all the attention it got.
42Miranda Sex Garden
Fairytales of Slavery

Darkwave/goth/dream pop hybrid in the style of cranes but with more diversity, quirkiness and much darker. Dissonant bows, oppressive atmosphere, pessimistic lyrics, industrial noises and weird pieces like a german polka. Overlooked gem.
Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill

The most minimalistic album in the list. A dark majestic neo-folk work with many dark ambient moments that crafts an incredible esoteric atmosphere.
40Yo la tengo

Better than ICHTHBAO. Painful is a nocturnal anthem that combines post rock, indie, dream pop, shoegaze, slowcore and some ambience. This album manage to create a night drive soundscape matching gentle sounds with distorted reverb and a somehow nostalgic feel.
39Spangle call Lilli line

Indietronica and dream pop that combines minimalism with sudden rock strikes. The electronic elements creates surreal atmospheres, the drums sounds amazing and the soft female vocals are top notch. Veek may be one of the best songs you've never heard of. Another hidden gem.
38Starflyer 59

Sometimes less is more. Silver is short, the songs are simple and with similar structure all built around almost whispered vocals and catchy guitar melodies.
Yet it's so great that will stuck inside your brain for long time.
The aforementioned guitar melodies are some of the most memorable in the shoegaze genre.
The alternative rock elements and the heavy rythm guitars fits perfectly.

The black metal antithesis. Blackgaze with fast pounding drums, ethereal clear vocals, existential lyrics, post metal vibes and guitars in major key. Black metal for people who don't like black metal.
36Mazzy Star
So Tonight That I Might See

Bluesy neo-folk tinged dream pop with ethereal peaceful vibes and the great sensual voice of Hope Sand capable of creating a warm psychedelic lethargic relax.
35The Church

Post punk meets dream pop with a little bit of progressive. Atmospheric yet insanely catchy.
Reptile's guitar melodies are the most 80s things ever (in a great way) and it's the proggiest of the album.
The opener destination is the most dream pop oriented piece and contains terrific atmosphere while the closer hotel womb is mostly centered around traditional post punk.
Tindersticks II

Elegance is the word. A jazz-pop album with chamber pop and dream pop influences. Sounds like a 70s album. Needs more recognition.
33Holy fawn
Death Spells

I'm a huge post metal fan so i don't get how i've missed death spells for so long. A wise balance of metal aggressive sound and shoegaze ethereal aura sounding like a very dark fable. The best example is the opener where a culling ambience is torn by the heavy guitar leading to the rest of the song.
32The Chameleons
Strange Times

I always liked it more than the acclaimed debut. Iconic both for post punk and dream pop catching the great aspects of both genres. Extremely catchy and surreal.
31Blonde Redhead
Misery is a Butterfly

A bittersweet chamber/dream pop work with interesting rythm section, mysterious lyrics sung by the unique Kazu Makino weird falsetto-like vocals and a truly solid tracklist.
30Greet death
New Hell

One of the most depressing albums on the list. Slowcore shoegaze with sorrowful melodies,introspective lyrics about self-hatred and gloomy atmospheres. Circles of hell is one hell of an opener.
29Kinoko Teikoku

Bizarre and dense, eureka is a superb japanese release and thanks to a masterful production contributes to a fantastic retro-futuristic vibe. Actually this album wasn't even in the list but it grew on me with time. Kokudou slope is terrific.
The Great Dismal

Alternative rock and shoegaze blended together and filled with a pessimistic dark and overwhelming mood. Most songs are catchy and features distorted guitars but the highlight is the monumental opener "a fabricated life". In it's minimalism and painful atmosphere it's beautifully depressing.
27Kairon IRSE!

Surrounded by a cosmic psychedelic aura and a gigantic soundscape ujubasajuba pay homage to shoegaze and space rock without being derivative. Valorians is basically a modern only shallow but the further the album goes the more it becomes experimental a proggy.
26Lift to Experience
The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads

A christian concept album about biblical apocalypse. While i'm not a religious guy the lyrics still sounds interesting matching humour, spirituality and belief. The guitar sound is outstanding and the post rock influences works perfectly in their uplifting nature. While it's a bit too long most of the songs are worth listening, even if you are not interested in religion.
25The Daysleepers
Drowned in a Sea of Sound

A huge tribute to the 90s shoegaze and dream pop yet keeping their own identity without falling into being worshipping wannabes. The whole album succeed to deliver a sort of teen-summer nostalgia. The vocal duets works very well. The tribute doesn't limitate to dream pop and shoegaze, the opener is basically don't fear the reaper rearranged and with different lyrics. There's no filler in this album but the very best is the closer "Run" which has been stuck in my head for days.
24Loathe (UK)
I Let It In And It Took Everything

Loathe had the pretty unique idea to combine progressive metalcore to depressive shoegaze and the result is surprisingly good. Metal fans will love the downtuned guitars, and the complex time signatures while shoegaze lovers will indeed appreciate the sombre tracks like a sad cartoon which incorporates the best elements of both genre.

The most popular blackgaze album, for a good reason. The combination of traditional black metal screams, relentless drumming, warm atmosphere, positive lyrics about life and beauty, uplifting guitar melodies. It may put off those not into screamed vocals but for anyone else this is a must.
22The verve
A Storm in Heaven

A massive debut featuring powerful reverb, oneiric ambience and lot of variety, from space rock tinged songs to saxophone based pieces. Most songs are hazy slow burners with deep psychedelic feels, connecting catchy britpop parts to trippy shoegaze. The best adjective i can find to this album's atmosphere is "aquatic".
Downward Is Heavenward

Hum is one of the first band that combined shoegaze aesthetics with a more aggressive alternative rock sounds. DiH is by far their most complete work, their traditiona alternative rock/ shoegaze blending incorporates some heavy post hardcore elements and lots of immersive space rock tunes. Songs like "if you are to bloom" and "Mr.Lazarus" are alternative anthems and served for inspiration for later artists such as deftones and failure. "Dreamboat" and "Apollo" features more immersive atmospheric structure.
20Angelo Badalamenti
Twin Peaks

The mastermind of mindfucks David Lynch is not only one of the best directors out there, he's also a music lover and he made the best choice ever to choose Badalamenti to arrange Twin peaks soundtrack. Most of it's surreal and dreamy atmosphere is a credit to Angelo's music, a minimal combination of dream pop, dark jazz, ambient and lounge. The highlights are the pieces with the beautiful vocals of Julee Cruise
Lazer Guided Melodies

Before their space rock masterpiece LAGWAFIP, J.Spaceman's first albums had a lot more shoegaze elements.
The slow burning crescendos and the hypnotic druggy vibes delivered by reverbs, passionate lyrics, immersive repetition and the sensation of being lost in space.
18The Flaming Lips
The Soft Bulletin

Neo-psychedelia meets dream pop and art rock in this abstract journey through subconscious. The songs often sounds joyful but hides cryptic lyrics and weird subjects and metaphors. It's not easy to describe the oddity of this album.

A complex work that combines progressive pop, dream pop and indie. Every song has memorable melodies, enigmatic lyrics, androgynous lyrics and odd structures. The lush production fits the abstraction of the songwriting. The first 3 songs are pure gold and so it is the majestic closer.
16Candy Claws
Ceres And Calypso In The Deep Time

Basically an acid trip in a tropical forest. Candy claws combined joyful exotica to a unique psychedelic shoegaze sound that's both chaotic and peaceful at the same time, it's like being surrounded by an hallucinating alien tropical landscape.
Saturday Night Wrist

After Around the fur every Deftones album has some shoegazy parts, this and koi no yokan are the only albums that incorporates shoegaze for almost their entirety. SNW combines shoegaze to some pretty heavy alternative metal such as Beware and Combat, post rock like the instrumental and atmospheric masterpieces such as Cherry waves, xerces and kimdracula. Sure their most underrated work.

Be sure to purchase the expanded version of nowhere which contains some of their best songs. This album may be the most important album for the shoegaze development besides loveless.
It has strong energic pieces like seagull and Kaleidoscope, strong reverbered pieces like polar bear, slow melancholic ones like dreams burn down. And of course the masterpiece of the genre Vapour trail, the outro of that song alone makes this album a classic.
13Chelsea Wolfe
Pain Is Beauty

Through her extremely solid discography Wolfe combined her landmark goth/darkwave to many genres. Apokalypsis was centered in folk, abyss had a strong industrial sound, Hiss Spun flowed in post metal. With Pain is Beauty Chelsea centered her influences in a dark dream pop sound with some gaze elements. Throughout the album a lot of territories are explored, "they'll clap when you're gone" has strong dark jazz vibes, "feral love" is more electronic, "the waves have come" has post rock influences.
12Catherine Wheel

Among the best shoegaze/ alternative rock releases of the 90s.
Rob Dickinson (Bruce Dickinson's cousin) smooth vocals, the strong reverb and iconic guitar riffs contributes in crafting one of the most enjoyable albums in the genre. Crank, the nude, strange fruit and show me mary are all timeless classic. Sadly forgotten.
11Julee Cruise
Floating into the Night

Sung by Julee Cruise with music arranged by Angelo Badalamenti and lyrics written by David Lynch, Floating into the night became popular after three songs became part of Twin Peaks soundtrack. The whole album is a minimalistic dark jazz/ dream pop masterpiece that sounds like a deep slumber. While it's calming and relaxing it somehow makes the listeners feel uneasy without even knowing why.
Long Season

A 35 minutes behemoth of a song that never gets boring even with a regular song structure. The opening piano riff descents into an overwhelming sultry ambience filled with androgynous vocals, rythm built on water percussions, accordions and violins, echoes and whisperings. The soundscape creates through this five acts masterpiece is impressively immersive.
Écailles De Lune

The definitive Blackgaze album.
If astronoid are more celestial and deafheaven add shoegaze to a more black metal style Alcest are the perfect fusion of the two styles. Neige can lull you to sleep with ethereal vocals and screams his lungs out. The uplifting guitar sound fits the aquatic vibes perfectly. The whole album sounds like being absorbed in a deep night ocean. There's no other way to describe it.
8The Cure

Disintegration is without doubt one of the most important albums of the 80s, they enstablished a new sound, explored dark and romantic territories and crafted something unique. Among the many musical styles there's a lot of dream pop influence: Plainsong, closedown and untitled, pictures of you all have the aesthetics of the genre, while the creepy lullaby and the dynamic title track are an experimental combination of post punk, gothic with dream pop influences. I think that in their little The cure influenced the shape of shoegaze to come.
7The Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream

Some may argue that SD is just an alternative rock album but imo it has enough shoegaze and dream pop elements to fit in this list. The fuzzy guitars, the chaotic yet elegant production and the dreamy sensation delivered throughout this masterwork are clearly gaze-inspired, songs like "The hummer", "mayonnaise" and "cherub rock" are perfect examples of grungy alternative rock with impressive gaze sound, "geek u.s.a." and "silverfuck" are more aggressive pieces but still contains atmospherics elements while other softer pieces like "disarm", "spaceboy" and "luna" are more rooted in dream pop aesthetics.
6Cocteau Twins
Heaven or Las Vegas

Dream pop's godfathers masterpiece. Everything about this album is an experience. The cryptic lyrics are basically improvised and perfectly harmonized to the heavenly surreal warmth of the music. Fraser's haunting vocals are used as a sentient instrument perfectly combined to Guthrie's dense guitars. 37 minutes of gold.
5Have a Nice Life

Among the most depressive and hopeless albums ever. Deathconsciousness is repetitive, funereal, anxious and totally depressive. The tortured vocals are buried under a claustrophobic soundscape that combines elements of shoegaze, noisy industrial, apocalyptic drone, gothic and a couple of post punk tunes. Bloodhail and earthmover are some of the best songs ever made but the whole album is a classic. Even the 7 minutes intro perfectly sets the desolation that will follow. Giles Corey's masterpiece.
4Sweet Trip
Velocity : Design : Comfort

The album title is cryptic and yet perfectly describes the content. A futuristic abstract work that wisely combines IDM, glitch pop, shoegaze, dream pop and electronica. A sweet trip (pun intended) into a virtual reality from another dimension.

The quintessential shoegaze. Poetic, accessible for it's mellow nature and yet perfectly structured. Dagger and machine gun are that type of songs loved by everyone, they are catchy and soft but holds existential themes and an unimitable nostalgic feel. Halstead and Goswell's shy vocals amalgamates into the dreamy atmospheres. The highlights are without doubt When the sun hits which is a marvelous evocative vibe and Souvlaki space station which has the most autentic space sounding atmosphere and reverb ever.
2My Bloody Valentine

Loveless just can't be out of the top 3. Kevin Shields produced the most important shoegaze album ever, one of the most impressive piece of art in the whole music industry that set the base for countless followers with the iconic reverbs, echoes and distorted guitars surrounding melancholic nostalgic songs. Butcher's soft vocals are buried under a majestic wall of sound that drowns haunting melodies delivering shivers down the spine.
1Sigur Ros
Agætis byrjun

While MBV founded a new genre inspiring many bands, Sigur Ròs basically created their own that nobody managed to imitate. Agætis Birjun is a cathartic opera that blends dream pop, post rock, ambience and experimental rock. The closest thing to alien music along with Radiohead's Kid A.
Many songs holds an embryonic feel delivering both darkness and light. AB contains many unique ideas: the majestic emotional "staralfur" is palindrome, "hjartað hamast" has a breathtaking crescendo that ends in a nuclear explosion, "olsen olsen" has a joyful folk segment. One of the best albums ever.
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