My Bloody Valentine this weekend in a concert from Lyon, France, recorded by the venerable Radio France International on March 21, 1989. Don’t know about you, but I was taken aback, the first time I heard them. They were addicting. They were transformative and brought something new to the table. It was Shoegaze of the all-enveloping kind, surrounded by a thick fog of soundscape. With vocals that were barely discernible, buried in the maze – could have been profound, could have been meaningless babble. But it was riveting.
My Bloody Valentine (or MBV for short) represented a new take on things – and they proved to be highly influential over the years. Words and vocals weren’t of primary importance – they were an atmospheric embrace. What caught your attention was the wall of sound emanating from the guitars, at volume levels certain to make your ears bleed. It was all part of the experience.
It wasn’t for everybody – some considered it low-fi noise rock, which was a convenient description when other explanations failed. Others looked at it as the next logical step in the progression that initially defined Grunge. It was the stripping away of pretense – taking it all down to basics.
Or as Wikipedia says:
Formed in Dublin in 1983. Since 1987, the band’s lineup has consisted of founding members Kevin Shields (vocals, guitar, sampler) and Colm Ó Cíosóig (drums, sampler), with Bilinda Butcher (vocals, guitar) and Debbie Googe (bass). Their music is best known for its blend of dissonant guitar textures with ethereal melody and unorthodox production techniques, and helped to pioneer the genre known as shoegazing during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Following several unsuccessful early releases and membership changes, My Bloody Valentine signed to Creation Records in 1988. The band released a number of successful EPs, including You Made Me Realise (1988), Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991), and two studio albums, Isn’t Anything (1988) and Loveless (1991), with the latter often described as the band’s magnum opus and one of the best albums of the 1990s. However, the band were dropped by Creation after its release due to the album’s extensive production costs. In 1992, My Bloody Valentine signed to Island Records and recorded several albums worth of unreleased material, remaining largely inactive. Following the departure of Googe and Ó Cíosóig in 1995, the group disbanded in 1997.
One of the pioneering bands of the 90s – further evidence there was LOT going on, with very little hitting the mainstream. It was better that way anyway.
Have a listen and enjoy – play loud or not, you still won’t be able to make out the vocals.