My Bloody Valentine
A lot of good, if not great bands, spent the '80s on the periphery; loved in certain circles but unknown to the general public. Sometimes though, the reason wasn't the cruel marketplace but rather the group's inability or unwillingness to leverage an opportunity. Thankfully, some bands put creativity and doing what they want (not always the same thing) ahead of commercial success. One of those was My Bloody Valentine. Best known for their '88 release "Isn't Anything" the group recorded a trio of EPs ("Feed Me With Your Kiss," "You Made Me Realise" and "Glider") before finally issuing the full-length "Loveless" in '91.
The album was critically acclaimed and earned the group a spot supporting Dinosaur Jr. on a U.S. tour. But sales were disappointing so their label, Creation Records, dropped them. According to reports the label never came close to recouping the $500,000 spent recording the album. After that, My Bloody Valentine's output dwindled to a song here and a song there appearing on a compilation.
My Bloody Valentine started in '84 with New York born but Dublin raised Kevin Sheilds and childhood friend Colm O'Ciosoig. They added vocalist Dave Conway and keyboardist Tina Durkin (Conway's then-girlfriend).
Taking their name from a slasher horror flick, the group moved to Holland, then Berlin and began recording. But little came of it so they pulled up stakes again; this time to London. At this point the group added bassist Debbie Googe.
My Bloody Valentine bounced around from label to label releasing the EPs "Strawberry Wine" and "Ecstasy" along the way. In '87, Conway departed and was replaced by Bilinda Butcher. This line-up produced "Isn't Anything."
While My Bloody Valentine was capable of intense shows, they rarely moved or looked at the audience. This caused the U.K. press to dub their performances as "shoegazing." Of course, that led to the whole new Rock "category/genre."
It took My Bloody Valentine a mere 22 years to complete their third album, which they announced via Facebook in December, '12. "People who like us will immediately connect with something," stated Shields. "Based on the very, very few people who've heard stuff-- some engineers, the band, and that's about it-- some people think it's stranger than 'Loveless'. I don't."
1988 Isn't Anything
My Bloody Valentine plays chord driven guitar Rock with doses of ambient noise. "Isn't Anything" is the group's tour de force. Not all of it works but a lot does.
"Loveless" has a narrower focus. Still, the group seems to unravel at will. They often take forever to finally get to the song (long intros) and regularly it's not worth the trip. My Bloody Valentine sounds pre-Grunge, although the album hit about the same time as Nirvana's "Nevermind." Instead of angst filled verses, My Bloody Valentine injects a severe melancholy that even out strips the Smashing Pumpkins. But without the underpinning rage, it's no wonder the album fell short - both artistically and (more importantly at the time) commercially.