follow us in feedly
My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’: still awesome backwards
09:34 am


My Bloody Valentine

Surely you know by now whether or not My Bloody Valentine’s pivotal Loveless album is in your zone. When it dropped in November of 1991—just as Nevermind was temporarily blurring the line between mainstream and underground—I was in the thick of my college years, and the gauzy, gooey, heavy, trippy Loveless was completely unparalleled as a soundtrack for having sex, getting high as fuck, and having high-as-fuck sex.

Famously, it took band leader Kevin Shields two years to assemble the album’s dense mass of sounds that often defy their guitar origins, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether any given sound or even any sung phrase is as performed or the result of post-production studio manipulation. So when an adventurous fan posted the album backward in its entirety, it was a given that it was going to sound a whole hell of a lot like the album forward. But listening to it backwards subverts the album’s two and a half-ish decades of utter familiarity, and I rather enjoyed hearing it that way.

And I had to wonder if this inspired the idea, but it was posted two weeks after the backwards album was, so it may well be the other way around, if not just coincidence:

(That Twitter feed, by the way, is fun to follow if shoegaze in-jokes are your bag.)

Backward Loveless was posted by NeutralMilkHotelArchive, who describes his/her YouTube channel as “An archive for all Neutral Milk Hotel. Formerly a channel for reversed music,” though it boasts only two NMH shows so far compared to two dozen pieces of reversed music, 7 of which are by Bach. If you’re going to get all high to listen to backward Loveless anyway, it couldn’t hurt to peruse that channel for further fodder, no?

More backwards MBV after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Members of Curve and Primal Scream talk My Bloody Valentine’s ‘You Made Me Realise’

One upside of being “a certain age” is that some of the concerts you went to as a matter of course seem impossibly cool in hindsight, and for me, one of those was My Bloody Valentine on the Loveless tour. I doubt I have to tell anyone who bothered to click on this how amazing the show was, and I almost didn’t go! It was a fairly expensive ticket and I was a flat broke 20-year-old, but a friend with a little flow to spare—in a move that would mark her for sainthood in whatever religion I would be in if I was in one—bought me a ticket, just because she thought it was something I should see. (In kind, I would years later take her to see Kraftwerk in Chicago on her birthday, and I’m not sure that I don’t still owe her.) MBV was exactly everything I wanted in music at the time—a noisy guitar offensive totally outside the dead-to-me hardcore milieu, but otherworldly, pretty, dense, loud, perfect.

A much-discussed feature of their shows at the time—and I understand still, though I haven’t partaken in a reunion show—was the insane noise break (often referred to as “the holocaust”) in the middle of the song “You Made Me Realise.” On the EP of the same title, the song stops cold in the middle and turns into a vortex of white noise. In concert, that sonic hurricane was intensified to painful levels. At peak volume, and with blaring lights aimed at the crowd, MBV stretched that noise break out for 15 caustic, head-melting minutes or longer. Trendy kids who weren’t prepared for such meat-and-potatoes hatenoise (they’d all go on to buy Spooky by Lush and be ultra psyched about it) made for the parking lot with dad’s car keys, but the faithful stuck it out. You couldn’t see anything but those lights. You couldn’t talk to your friends. You just took it. If you were attentive you started to notice all the over- and under-tones and implied rhythms that emerged from the huge, sick, beautiful racket they were making. Nuances asserted themselves in the punitively loud assault of guitar grit and cymbal-wash, and you might have been hallucinating some of them, but that blank wall of sound was rich, complex, and anything but blank. And then, after who even knew how long, without any cue discernable to the audience, on a goddamn dime the band dropped back into the song’s propulsive main riff. It remains to this day one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen.

The recently released documentary Beautiful Noise by Eric Green and Sarah Ogletree focuses closely on the origins and impact of the scene that MBV galvanized (and amusingly, the press release does a fine job of teasing the film without once ever using the words “shoe” or “gaze”). A recently-released clip from the film features Toni Halliday of Curve, Bobby Gillespie of The Jesus and Mary Chain/Primal Scream, and MBV drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig talking about the “holocaust.” There’s some wonderful rare footage and photography. Billy Corgan also appears. You take the bad with the good.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Earliest live footage of My Bloody Valentine?
11:18 am


My Bloody Valentine

There’s not a lot of relevant information attached to this live YouTube video of My Bloody Valentine, except for the year, 1987, and a commenter offering that it might have been taped at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, London. The group was originally formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983, but the members changed. If the date is to be believed—it seems right to me—then this probably would have been one of the the band’s initial gigs once the classic lineup, consisting of founders Kevin Shields and Colm Ó Cíosóig with Bilinda Butcher and Debbie Googe had been solidified. Bilinda didn’t even join until March of 1987 and until he was fired for being unsuitable after one gig in April, there was a co-lead singer with her named Joe Byfield.

In 1987, My Bloody Valentine weren’t even signed to Creation Records, that happened the following year, in 1988. This would also be the year before the You Made Me Realise EP, so around the time they would have been recording the largely forgotten Strawberry Wine and Ecstasy EPs for Lazy Records.

Although this video suffers from the same fate as most vintage, amateur shot live videos of MBV—even barely past their twee, Byrdsy/indie jangle pop era they were apparently still just too damned LOUD for the audio inputs on 80s video cameras to know what to do with the signal—it’s an interesting curio. There was no “MBV concert” setting on Sony handycams back then, like there is with iPhones today. You’re on your own as far as the set list goes.

Bonus: Approximately eighteen months later, as seen at this gig taped at the University of London Union on February 16, 1989, they were a completely different band. Note extremely short encore of “You Made Me Realise.”

Thank you kindly Nick Abrahams!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Wire’s Colin Newman advised My Bloody Valentine to cut down on the white noise stuff!
10:56 am


My Bloody Valentine

Two nights ago I saw My Bloody Valentine in New York. I had not seen them before, and they more than lived up to expectations. Way back in 1992 I was living in Austria, I was feeling out of touch with music so I asked a friend to send me three discs—my choice of material was almost arbitrary, and yet I was inexplicably certain that all three albums would be at worst really solid. The CDs were Doolittle, Loveless, and Slanted & Enchanted. Yeah. And MBV has been a constant, beloved companion of mine ever since.

Some of the reviews of the MBV shows from earlier this year were surprisingly tepid, but I can assure you that they worked out whatever was holding them back. The unremitting volume of the gig was a constant theme, including the free earplugs distributed at the venue. The show ended with a tibia-rattling rendition of “You Made Me Realise” that for quite a while sounded approximately like Apollo 11 taking off for orbit.

I didn’t time the white noise section, but according to reports it lasted six minutes—BrooklynVegan referred to it as a “Holocaust.” In an intriguing comment in that same BV thread (most of the time BV threads are entertainingly moronic), reader “ME” wrote, “MBV faced a lot of criticism after the previous tour, when the white noise ... lasted for about 20 minutes. Even Colin Newman, who knows a thing or two about making noise from when MBV were still infants, confronted Kevin, telling him it was irresponsible to inflict such a damage on their fans. Maybe that is why they cut it short now?”

Curiosity piqued, I decided to hit the Google machine. There does indeed seem to have been such an incident. In a 2008 interview with, Newman tells the following story:

Last night, before we went home, my wife and I were at the after party and I had to use the loo. And Kevin [Shields] was in there. There were three stalls and I was on one side and Kevin was on the far side and there was another guy, who was at the after party, but he looked like he was just a fan. Kevin said to me, “What do you think?” and I just said that it just “hurt my ears” and that the last song “went on too long.” He said, “Yeah, we’re going to have to do some work on that, it was something that we were just kicking around.” And the guy in the middle said, “I can’t believe you just said that! It was such a religious experience for me!” But to me it was just my friend being too loud.

It all reminded me of MBV’s cover of the Wire classic “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W,” which appeared on the 1996 album Whore: Tribute to Wire. By the way, did you know that 41°N 93°W correlates to a town called Centerville, Iowa? I didn’t even know it was about America. Here’s a gratuitous picture of Centerville:
Centerville, Iowa
My Bloody Valentine, “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W”:

Below, the little-known orginal music video for “You Made Me Realise” from 1989:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields: ‘Britpop was a government conspiracy!’
01:15 pm


My Bloody Valentine
Kevin Shields

Tony Blair and Noel Gallagher
According to a story published by The Guardian today, the rise of “Cool Britannia” in the mid-1990s, when Blur and Oasis were among the world’s most talked-about bands, was deliberately engineered by the British intelligence agency MI5, according to My Bloody Valentine resident genius Kevin Shields. “Britpop was massively pushed by the government,” Shields said. “Someday it would be interesting to read all the MI5 files on Britpop. The wool was pulled right over everyone’s eyes there.”

It’s unclear whether this was intended as a partisan move—virtually all of Great Britain’s pop luminaries have supported Labour for years, after all. The Prime Minister was a Tory through the entire 1990s up until Tony Blair’s election in 1997—but Blur and Oasis had already achieved worldwide fame (and released their best albums) by that time. The support of people like Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn for Blair is somewhat predictable—the same sort of thing happened in the United States when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, and George Bush was running the executive branch so you can be damn sure the CIA wasn’t funding them. The thesis would run, I suppose, that the elevation of Britpop was intended to bolster Great Britain’s cultural prestige in general. On the other hand, it’s always a possibility that Shields is looking to explain the odd happenstance that the rousing, anthemic Beatles-influenced rock of Oasis widely outsold his own band’s brilliant, multi-layered, dreamy, feedback-heavy shoegazer fuzz rock.
Kevin Shields
Over the years, especially during the Cold War, governments have pushed certain artists to reinforce their own legitimacy. Prominent examples include the ballet, complete with machine guns, of the Mao era in the People’s Republic of China, the massive censorship of non-regime-approved artists in the Soviet bloc, and the U.S. government’s creation of The Paris Review (as detailed here) and the intellectual magazines Der Monat in Germany, Preuves in France, and Encounter in the U.K., all of which, despite the firm assumption of intellectual independence, received lavish funding from the CIA.

Guardian website user “alexito” wittily tried to imagine what “all the MI5 files on Britpop” would read like:

Commendation: Agent Gallagher, who successfully completed mission to stick his v’s up on TFI Friday.

Commendation: Agent Cocker, for sabotage of “MJ” performance.

Advised retiral of ‘Menswear’ unit.

Requisition order for Q dept: One (1) tit-exposing Union Jack minidress for Agent Halliwell.

Well, whatever. Shields may or may not be on to something here, but his musical work remains some of the most powerful and resonant rock music ever produced. Here’s Loveless if you haven’t listened to it lately:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
New My Bloody Valentine Album out in ‘two or three days’???
06:03 pm


My Bloody Valentine

Well, according to Kevin Shields, who would probably know, that’s apparently the case. Shields made the comment to a heckler at a Sunday night gig in London (see video) after they played a new number, named as “Rough Song” on the setlist (which was photographed and sent around on Twitter).

“Two or three days?” That’s tomorrow. It’s only been what, 22 years since the last album? (A new MBV album was promised last year, too, so don’t hold your breath.)

The group’s warm-up gig in London was in preparation for their upcoming appearances around the UK, Japan, Australia, Primavera Sound and the Coachella festival on these shores.

Here’s MBV performing in Brixton two nights ago. Sound ain’t great, but the energy’s there.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
My Bloody Valentine’s James Bond cover

I thought this Blythe doll looked like Bilinda Butcher

My Bloody Valentine’s lovely, restrained cover of Hal David and John Barry’s “We Have All The Time in the World” was recorded for Island Records’ Peace Together charity compilation for the youth of Northern Ireland, in 1993.

The song, of course, was originally made famous by Louis Armstrong and comes from the soundtrack to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Considering how notoriously unproductive MBV have proven to be over the years, I wonder if there’s a bit of irony in the group choosing this song in particular to record. Some Internet sources claim that’s actually Kevin Shields singing, but I don’t think so. If it is him, well, he’s channeling Bilinda here quite successfully.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
My Bloody Valentine: Classic albums remastered, plus rarities, EPs
07:08 pm


My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine fans, rejoice: With the re-release of their back catalog (well, much of it) on May 7th, come seven unheard rarities.

According to the Creation Records website:

They will release their 2 full-length studio albums, Isn’t Anything and Loveless, plus EP’s 1988-1991, a brand new compilation which draws together their 4 EP releases, Feed Me With Your Kiss, You Made Me Realise, Glider and Tremolo alongside 7 additional rare and previously un-released tracks.

The original studio albums have been painstakingly re-mastered by Kevin Shields at Metropolis Studios in London and Loveless comes as a 2-disc set featuring a previous re-mastering from original analogue tapes, completed by Kevin Shields but never released. Alongside their EPs, the compilation album features a mixture of rare and unavailable and previously unreleased tracks.

Twenty years on and these albums still sound as modern as fuck…


Via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story

Upside Down: The Creation Records Story is a roller coaster of film, which tells the incredible tale of one of the most important independent record labels of the past fifty years - Creation Records

This excellent film reveals how the gallus Glaswegian Alan McGee started the label with a £1,000 bank loan in the 1980s, and went on shape music in the 1980s and 1990s, as he made Creation home to such talents as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Medicine, The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, Super Furry Animals, The Boo Radleys, Saint Etienne, Momus, My Bloody Valentine, 3 Colours Red and Oasis - who were signed for £40,000.

McGee originally thought Liam Gallagher was the band’s drug dealer, as he told the Sun:

“I was up in Glasgow seeing my dad and I wasn’t sure I’d even go to the gig. I got there early by mistake. Oasis were on first, before most people arrived. There was this amazing young version of Paul Weller sat there in a light blue Adidas tracksuit. I assumed he was the drug dealer and that Bonehead, the guitarist, was the singer.

“It was only when they went on stage I realised it was the lead singer Liam Gallagher. I knew I had to sign them.

“Noel and I talked after the show and just said ‘done’ and he turned out to be a man of his word.

“I was lucky to be there. We didn’t send out scouts. Most of my signings were because I happened to see new bands. That couldn’t happen any more. If a new band as much as farts it’s all over the internet.”

Upside Down: The Creation Records Story brilliantly captures the creativity that came out of the chaos of the legendary McGee’s drug-fueled reign as President of Pop.

“I was on one continuous bender from 1987 until 1994. Until Oasis came along the Creation staff were more rock and roll than the bands we signed. Then Oasis came along and things got even crazier.

“I was permanently off my head on cocaine, ecstasy, acid and speed. We’d be awake for three days.

“We went one further than having dealers hanging around. We just employed them instead.

“But they were different times. If you behaved now like we used to people would phone the police.”

Upside Down: The Creation Records Story is now available on DVD, with a short cinema release, details here.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment