Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Loveless or Loving?

It's been 2008 for a little while and nothing has been released (or, uh, leaked) that holds a candle to the best of '07. That's not so much a knock on this year, as it is a compliment to its predecessor. But, nonetheless, there isn't a lot to grab my ears. Sure Destroyer's Trouble In Dreams (March 18) is pretty good, as is (Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox) Atlas Sound's Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (Feb. 19 - soon!). Yes, there are other decent releases - Vampire Weekend's self-titled is pretty adorable - but it's more the promise of things to come that has me salivating... not so much the stuff I've heard so far.

My Bloody Valentine, like, one of my favorite bands, say they've got something new for us to hear. It's about time. Sixteen years is a long while in-between releases, especially at this band's caliber. Though their body of work consists of a modest 4.1 hours, according to iTunes, MBV's back-catalog is pretty stunning. Yeah, Loveless and Isn't Anything were great, but the Jesus and Mary Chain-aping Ecstasy and Wine is just as essential. You can hear its influence all over new favorites like last year's Liars self-titled album and this year's Distortion by The Magnetic Fields. Ecstasy proves there are actually songs under the hazy symphony of noise normally associated with the band.

But what a symphony it is! Yeah, only two of their full-lengths sound like that but, gosh, their similar EP's are so... great! Glider and Tremolo, probably their best EP's, are actually in print but hard to find without Amazon. Their You Made Me Realise EP is also a classic, and the Feed Me With Your Kiss EP is pretty good. But, you know, that's what eBay is for.

They have older material, too, but it's not worth checking out as much. Even so, three albums and four EP's make a pretty decent body of work worth checking out before they unveil what has been 16 years in the making.

But, yeah, that's all well and good. Is it true?

That's debatable. I remember a couple of years ago the Web was alive with news about a forthcoming boxset with all of their releases - LP's, EP's, and singles. Tell me when you've seen it, and it would be greatly appreciated. And, yeah, the band's been under contract to release new material since, well, before Loveless. That means every year I've been paying attention, a rumor has surfaced regarding this supposed masterpiece. And what about the "lost album?" You know, the full-length version of Glider that spawned Loveless! Did that just, uh, disappear?

Kevin Shields has been up to stuff lately. The idea has people's mouths watering, but what he's really been up to is no good. His work with Primal Scream, with the exception of EXTRMNTR, had been garbage. So have his soundtrack contributions.

So the question now is a two-parter... Is MBV setting us up for disappointment with a phantom album? Or are they setting us up for disappointment with a trashy release?

But let's stay optimistic. Their new one is 16 years in the making. It could be something more than worth hearing. And, Shields says, most of it was written and recorded shortly after Loveless... during the band's stride.

I'm crossing my fingers. And listening to their back-catalog.

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