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Lemme Get an Encore: My Bloody Valentine

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my bloody valentine feat e1359334586543 Lemme Get an Encore: My Bloody Valentine

Following 21 years of sporadic teasing of a proper followup to 1991‘s heart-shattering Loveless, the ever-elusive My Bloody Valentine (MBV) have finally materialized out of the shadows with concrete evidence of a future. On Sunday evening, the UK outfit kicked off their first round of live appearances in over three years at London’s Electric Brixton, where Shields not only debuted a new track titled “Rough Song” but also murmured that the alleged followup would be released “in about two or three days.”

Whether their current tour is in support of their new album remains unclear. A few things are certain, though: Thousands of eardrums will surge with the spine-jolting holocaust section of “You Made Me Realise”, while “Only Shallow” will swoon audiences with the same breathless wonder as it did upon first listen. The 10 tracks ahead feature several of the band’s deepest and cuts, as well as a number of gems from Loveless that have been rarely performed.

-Paula Mejia
Staff Writer

Sugar

“Bring your photograph / Where I’m really loving life,” Shields vaguely intones on the rare 1989 split single with Pacific. It’s a rusty, stock track, but oiled over with enough blissful melancholia to get the emotional gears rolling. And, if they’re looking for a rare impromptu jam, it’s quite simple to wring out, too. Though, whether or not Shields can recreate the song’s snap, crackle, and pop on stage is another story. -Michael Roffman

Moon Song

Although recorded during the same period, the Tremolo EP is less polished and even more abstract than Loveless, as difficult as that might be to imagine. Closer “Moon Song” finds Shields on vocals in place of Belinda Butcher, and the effect of his lethargic delivery is a complete absence of warmth amidst the suffocating sea of cacophony. This ode to self-destructive love would be a perfect storm of sadgasm on the live stage. -Frank Mojica

Strawberry Wine

First released on the Strawberry Wine EP in 1987, the poignantly sweet “Strawberry Wine” was the first track to feature what would later be an intrinsic part of MBV’s sound — Butcher’s vocals, pleading and evocative. Before then, vocal duties had been shared by Shields and MBV’s original lead singer Dave Conway. The Ecstasy & Wine EP would later feature a different version of the song, but the misty duet from Shields and Butcher, jangly and reminiscent of ‘60s folk, is all the same. Paula Mejia

(Please) Lose Yourself In Me

Bands don’t become genre-definers overnight, and at some point during the self-discovery phase it becomes clear that the artists are on their way to settling into their own identity and sound. “(Please) Lose Yourself In Me” embodies such a point of transition for MBV. On this standout from the Ecstasy mini album, Jesus and Mary Chain-esque discordance pop soon gives way to a new kind of soundscape that stands as a precursor to the trademark textures of Isn’t Anything and Loveless-Frank Mojica

Swallow

Soaked in reverb and a backwards guitar loop, “Swallow” features a testament to MBV’s Dublin roots with a characteristically Celtic synth line, and Butcher vocalizing more as a traditional folk singer than the otherworldly vocals for which she is usually credited. At its pained core, “Swallow” is an elegy, displaying MBV’s unparalleled ability to extract divinity from the suffering that love can cause. Paula Mejia

Blown A Wish

What tends to get left out of discussions of MBV and their trademark tremolo are the band’s penchant for catchy melodies and how they make layers of ethereal haze all the more appealing. On “Blown a Wish”, Butcher’s breathy coos are especially unforgettable as they sweetly lodge themselves into the hearts of everyone within blast radius. This one-upping of Cocteau Twins is the perfect reminder of MBV’s pop group core. -Frank Mojica

Loomer

Because we need another reason to lose our hearing, and I’m pretty sure the song’s spinal melody will do just that. -Michael Roffman

Don’t Ask Why

MBV shows are so notoriously loud that earplugs are freely distributed, and rightly so. But suppose there’s an “eye of the storm”, where the uncomfortable pieces of foam can be removed ever so briefly before the onslaught reconvenes. The honeyed dual vocals, acoustic guitar tones, and gentle tambourine tap of Glider’s “Don’t Ask Why” would offer such a moment before that extended, reverbed finale. -Frank Mojica

Glider

A razor-deep cut from the Tremolo EP, “Glider” glistens as an underrated gem from Shields’ expansive noise palette. Shields was able to manipulate nausea-inducing dissonance at his will utilizing the tremolo bar. The 10-minute long opus is one of the few MBV tracks that ditches both drums and vocals, which would give bassist Debbie Coog a chance to glow. Paula Mejia

Sometimes

How this isn’t a regular live staple is beyond me. The bruising distortion and those airy string-synths at the end? To die for. On Sunday night, they closed with “You Made Me Realise”, which is apropo, but the way “Sometimes” burns into the air makes for a far more compelling curtain call. It’s one of the few patches in Loveless that you can unstitch to perfection. -Michael Roffman

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