Last summer Robert Smith curated the Meltdown festival in the UK with handpicked acts ranging from My Bloody Valentine to Nine In Nails to The Church. The Cure, of course, headlined but were billed as CURÆTION-25 so as not to violate a contract for its massive headlining slot a few weeks later in London’s Hyde Park. Both shows are being combined for a DVD/Blu-Ray release this October to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. The setlists are expectedly massive, showcasing every idiosyncratic incarnation of the band.
Smith recently revealed an update for the band’s progress on its first new album in 11 years in an interview at the Fuji Rock Festival, claiming that the record will be delayed until next year. He had originally claimed it would be out close to Halloween this year. Even casual Cure fans know not to trust anything the man says with regard to release timelines.
This interview with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields is worth a read even without the conspiracy theory that Britpop was pushed by the Labour Government in the mid-90’s (ha!).
‘But when it is jokingly suggested that, had Shields released m b v in 1994, as initially planned, he could have kiboshed Britpop, his mood changes. “Britpop was massively pushed by the government,” he says. “Someday it would be interesting to read all the MI5 files on Britpop. The wool was pulled right over everyone’s eyes there.”
However, this interview by Ian Svenonius of Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up over at Vice is probably more fun, though:
As much as I resent being taken advantage of by record companies’ transparent marketing schemes, I do pony up for a reissue every now and again. News of Ride’s seminal Nowhere being given the fancy makeover by Rhino has me pulling out my Christmas list for editing. I literally wore this cassette out from over-playing it back in 1990. Pitchfork is correct in its assertion that Ride is not held in the same esteem as peers My Bloody Valentine for reasons unknown to me. I view Nowhere with equal reverence to Loveless. And I had Ride poster in my freshman dorm room, which must mean I prefer Ride overall. Anyway, the reissue will be a double disc affair, replete with the requisite remastering of the original album in addition to the Today Forever EP and a previously unreleased 1991 live show. If that’s not enough it will also come packaged with a 40-page hardcover book with an essay by critic Jim DeRogatis. In other news, Jesus God I cannot believe this album is 20 years old.
Nowhere: 20th Anniversary Edition:
CD1 (Nowhere and Today Forever):
03 In a Different Place
04 Polar Bear
05 Dreams Burn Down
08 Vapour Trail
10 Here and Now
CD2 (Live at the Roxy, 1991):
01 Polar Bear
04 Dreams Burn Down
05 Like a Daydream
06 Vapour Trail
07 In a Different Place
08 Perfect Time
11 Chelsea Girl
12 Drive Blind
My Bloody Valentine is going to pass out free earplugs to fans during its upcoming European tour. This idea is about two decades too late for many who have already witnessed the eardrum shattering noise this band emits live. Several friends of mine who have had the good/bad fortune of seeing My Bloody Valentine in concert swear unequivocally that it was the loudest thing they have ever experienced. Bar none. The ringing lasts for days. Both Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher have ear problems, which will be no surprise to anyone familiar with the band’s swirling shoegaze wall of noise. I learned my lesson a long time ago never to attend a show without earplugs. I don’t care if it’s acoustic night in someone’s basement. I wear earplugs 100% of the time. I still know lunatics who practice with bands in metal shacks with amps turned up to 11, who don’t wear them or even care, and they are insane. I do not want to spend my days listening to the relentless buzzing sounds of my own dying cells.
Hearing that a band is from Brooklyn may predetermine your attitude towards it, but good music rises above petty biases, good or bad. Soren Well is a quintet from the aforementioned trendy borough that plays a frighteningly accurate amalgamation of Loveless-era shoegaze with showers of guitars and dreamscape vocals. The tonal similarities to My Bloody Valentine’s career-defining album are almost overwhelming. Upon first listening to “After”, I just harped on all the noises and bended tremolos I could pick out that sounded like they were sampled straight from Loveless. But the more I listened, the less that bothered me because the music overtakes you with its monolithic hypnosis. The new songs the band has recently posted to its MySpace page will immediately trigger a reflexive comparison to MBV’s layered, moody architecture. It’s unavoidable. But there’s enough going on under the surface to avoid a knee-jerk dismissal. Soren Well is really good at reproducing these moods and sounds that you’re already very familiar with. So, even with docking for originality points, the band still comes out in the black just based on sheer talent and sonic mass. It’s quite a racket, but one that you will cling to as your ears bleed.
I’ve grown up resignedly accepting the fact that there are some bands I’ll just never get to see live. Not because they’re dead, but because they had bad break ups or whatever various and sundry reasons caused their demise. Talking Heads is one example. Well, a few exceptions have creeped up on me over the years much to my delight. I got to see Bauhaus in 1998, which blew me away, not only because it was just surreal seeing a band that was so inextricably bound to my adolescence that I thought it was a permanent part of the past but because they were absolutely amazing. And I saw The Police last summer, which was equally surreal, if not quite as energized. I’m not a big fan of reunions, per se, but I love music more than I hate reunions. The news of My Bloody Valentine’s regrouping shouldn’t have surprised me that much given the fact that just about every band on the planet is getting back together whether anyone actually wants them to or not, but I guess I figured Kevin Shields had morphed into too much of a freak hermit to pull it off. So, I’m beyond intrigued/excited to see how they sound 17 years after the release of Loveless, one of my favorite albums of all time.