Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MBV = Double Heartbreak!!


There's no need for me to be yet another kneeler at the church of My Bloody Valentine, but suffice it to say that I am one of those who feel that their 1991 album Loveless is pure, unadulterated greatness. There's no other group quite like My Bloody Valentine, and probably won't ever be. For those who aren't familiar with the Irish/American/British group, their sound is both brutal and dreamy at the same time. Imagine the loveliest gossamer thread in the world, except that it's made of heavy crystalline glass. Their sound is heavy with distortion and almost tortured guitars; yet at the same time, there is genuine bliss and peace to their music. Imagine that you are standing in the eye of a hurricane; all around you are loud guitars swirling and thundering instruments, yet the air immediately around you is peaceful, and you are able to watch the mayhem surrounding you without feeling threatened. That's what Loveless is like: a mystery unto itself, the peaceful maelstrom. Kevin Shields is the mastermind guitarist/songwriter; Bilinda Butcher is a guitarist and the main singer; she has a lovely voice, the peace in the storm. Debbie Googe is the bassist, and Colm O'Ciosoig is the drummer. I have heard that the proper pronunciation of his last name is O'Cusack, but even my cousins from Ireland weren't entirely sure themselves how to pronounce that last name.

That said, My Bloody Valentine has managed to have broken my heart not once but TWICE in the past weekend. Allow me to recap, if you will:

#1: They are just about to embark on their reunion tour, starting in the UK and making a stop in Chicago, at the Aragon Brawlroom. I was all set to go, and even alerted my wife that I wanted to go. She was tentatively agreeable, but thought that it might interfere with BabyGirlMurph's first birthday party, which would ostensibly fall on that very day. I had just seen the previous day that on TicketBastard that there were still tickets remaining, so I didn't need to make up my mind that very second, right? I mean, otherwise TM would have updated their page to read SOLD OUT instead of Find Tickets, right? WRONG!! They just hadn't updated the page (and as of this writing haven't yet). I told my wife, and she was wide-eyed. "Really? How long have tickets been on sale?" Well, about two weeks... MBV was one concert that I wish I had been able to see back in the day; all accounts of their shows are said to have been ear-piercing, punishing, yet fascinating and exciting. When I heard that Chicago was going to be graced with an MBV show, I was truly excited. Shame on me for not buying the moment they went on sale. A friend of mine sounds like he's willing to go the scalper route; more power to him. I'd love to, but don't think that's a realistic option for me...

I'll have to console myself with the knowledge that I have indeed seen Kevin Shields in concert, with Primal Scream in 2000 at the Metro, for their XTRMNTR tour. The Metro is a much more intimate venue than the Aragon, so I got to see him better then than I would were I to be going to the reunion show. And besides, I thought that I might have another potential consolation, which leads to...

#2: For some reason, Sony Records Japan has had different MBV boxed sets on their schedule at various times. All are variants on collecting their Creation Records works in one place. There was perhaps the ultimate Creation Records output boxed set all ready to be released in mid-June; it was to be a 4 CD and 1 DVD set, inclusive of remastered versions of Loveless and Isn't Anything, remastered EPs compiled (You Made Me Realise, Feed Me With Your Kiss, Tremelo, and Glider), and other assorted rarities. Plus: all lyrics were to be included!! This is key; not only did MBV never include them in their albums, the vocals are always buried just far enough under the surface of the noise to render them cryptic and deeply masked. To actually know what the lyrics are is a huge thing. However, on May 19, all of the Japanese CD retailers which were carrying it stopped listing it, as if it had never existed. This article (and the excellent To Here Knows Web fansite) confirm that this would-have-been-excellent boxed set has been postponed indefinitely. God, when will Kevin Shields stop breaking our hearts??? We are going to be getting remastered versions of Isn't Anything and Loveless in mid-June; both of these promise to be wonderful, but the boxed set would have just made our decade.

As a challenge to Kevin Shields to finally release this boxed set in sufficient quantities that each MBV fan like myself who wishes to pay a proper price for this awesome collection, I am posting a high-ish quality mp3 of one of their finest songs: 1988's You Made Me Realise. Like I said in a previous blog post, I purchased this CD in 2001 for $20, and it was already out of print. I just saw this CD sell for $100 on eBay. It has never been released here in the US on CD, and is out of print globally. It is truly a mind-blowing song, and should give you a taste of their greatness.

Kevin, as soon as you release this on a more affordable boxed set version, I'll gladly take it down!!

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