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Sunday, 24 February 2013 09:44

Charting the Music: My Bloody Valentine, 'm b v'

Charting the Music: My Bloody Valentine, 'm b v' facebook.com/mybloodyvalentine
Written by Travis Dettmann
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After countless depleted stacks of cash and creative meltdowns, the My Bloody Valentine provided the notorious "Loveless" a sibling only after over two decades of recovery. "m b v" is unapologetic and all analog.

My Bloody Valentine welcomes veteran fans as well as new blood, combining their distinctive formula with new sounds of the 21st century. While "m b v" is late chronologically speaking, the band's strength has only grown over time.

88.1 KDHX Chart Position: #5 CMJ Top 30 for the week of February 12, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: Pickpocket Records released "m b v" on February 2, 2013; it was produced by My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields.

Can be heard on: The Space Parlour with Nick Acquisto, Afternoon Delight with Jeff Hess and Train of Thought with Nick Cowan.

RIYL: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Slowdive and Sonic Youth.

Hometown: Dublin, Ireland.

Standout Tracks: "Only Tomorrow" will have your head in the clouds. "New You" offers a driven backbeat, tremolo guitars and instant awe. The spacious "In Another Way" should be cranked to 11.

About the artist: Shoegaze pioneers, My Bloody Valentine began existence in late 1983 after Kevin Shields, Colm O'Ciosoig and Dave Conway were forced to find another medium for creativity when their band, the Complex, seized to exist. Guitarist/vocalist Bilinda Butcher, the last addition to the classic lineup, replaced Conway and debuted on the "Strawberry Wine EP" in 1987. The 1991 sophomore release, "Loveless," is considered to be the group's magnum opus; it was their last full length until this year's "m b v."

Play it while: Daydreaming.

Album art: A careless glance reveals nothing special, but not until examined closely does the cover of "m b v" create goose bumps. What looks like a mundane pixelated background with the letters "m b v" is really a complex collage of layered transparent photos. If one looks just to the right of the top portion of the "v," you see a chalkboard message, "Nothing is this and yes I really love you." Both "Is This and Yes" and "Nothing Is" are tracks on "m b v." With a high resolution photo and a bit of magnification, maybe one can unlock all the perplexing mysteries of the cover.

Did you know?: "Loveless" was recorded in 19 different studios over a span of two years. Perfectionist Kevin Shields employed and fired over 10 engineers during the recording process. If that wasn't enough, rumor has it that Creation Records spent around 250,000 euros funding "Loveless," which caused the label financial troubles and, ultimately, to sever ties with the band.

Awards and accolades: In 1992, My Bloody Valentine's single "Only Shallow" peaked at 27th on the "Billboard Alternative Songs Chart" for two weeks.

What the critics say: "If a band's career trajectory is a graph of its leader's life, Kevin Shields is batshit. It's taken him and his pioneering shoegaze group, My Bloody Valentine, 22 years to release 'm b v,' the follow-up to its legendary sophomore album, 'Loveless.' During that time, Shields produced very little, outside of the occasional cover song, remix, guest collaboration and reunion tour. But amid intense speculation -- from himself and others -- about his soundness of mind, he's maintained that a third album was in the works, even if that possibility seemed to retreat further each year into the same inchoate ether that shrouds his best music." Jason Heller, A.V. Club.

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