Friday, December 30, 2011

loveless [1991]

much has been made this year being the 20th anniversary of nirvana's groundbreaking album nevermind. i seeing the video for 'smells like teen spirit' on mtv and i thought, finally mtv got punk rock right. mindblowing music from a raw, visceral band that blew open the mildewed curtains of mainstream pop.

this year is the 20th anniversary of loveless by my bloody valentine. it is instructive to compare the albums by nirvana and my bloody valentine and argue which recording is more influential. that's not an argument i want to get in to right now. for me, i discovered shoegaze bands about 10 years after the movement. i knew about bands such as lush, slowdive, and my bloody valentine but i wasn't paying attention. the bands for me back in the late '80s and early '90s were the pixies, the sugarcubes, sonic youth et al.

it was a cassette that anna had laying around the house, gala by lush, that got me paying attention to shoegaze music. i rediscovered these bands and i fell in love hard. i kick myself for missing out on the opportunity to see slowdive, lush and my bloody valentine live.

if there are masterpieces in shoegaze dreampop it would have to be loveless and just for a day, also from 1991, by slowdive. i return to these recordings with great pleasure and deep appreciation for their creators. maybe its age that i prefer the slower, richer textures of shoegaze but i don't think so. i still get a rise out of punk, hardcore punk like the circle jerks and black flag. i return to my bloody valentine, slowdive and lush much more than i listen to black flag.

so i discovered loveless many years after it was released. kevin shields' sonic structures and bilinda butcher's lilting vocals created a sound that was cerebral, exhilarating and trippy. it's not for nothing that my bloody valentine is credited with influencing electronica musicians and post-rock bands like radiohead. grunge in the early '90s may have eclipsed shoegaze and by the late '90s both movements petered out. i can only speak for myself because shoegaze is timeless music. i hear its influence in contemporary indie rock bands such as the electronica one-man project washed out and the lo-fi guitar based rockers real estate.

i love the entire album. i'm celebrating its 20th anniversary, or i have been celebrating its 20th anniversary because after tomorrow night the record will be 21 years old. right now its 20 years old. not that that matters. its all about the sound. and this sound rocks me to my cells. below is my favorite song off the album 'blown a wish', with vocals by butcher and those jagged but swirling guitars by shields.


At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for turning me onto the shoegazer genre. Enter album name here

This album has 1 photo and will be available on SkyDrive until 4/4/2012.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever listen to Flying Saucer Attack? They fit the shoe-gaze mold, but were around a few years later. Check out "Land Beyond the Sun" if you haven't already. Nowadays, I think The Antlers are the heirs to that scene, though they are emotional where the other bands seemed more enigmatic or coy. "Hospice" by them is a favourite of mine. By the way, sorry that I haven't been around much in the blogospherelately and that it has taken a beloved music genre to get me out of my shell. Hope you're well.


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