Sunday, June 24, 2018

My Bloody Valentine at The Paramount Theatre & US Tour: Jul 17 - Aug 1

It's widely accepted that shoegaze and the concurrent sounds of dreampop had their genesis in two bands; Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser's Cocteau Twins in the early 80s, and A.R. Kane, the late-80s British duo, whom The Guardian credits as having "Invented Shoegaze without Really Trying". Representative of their influence, decades later both can be seen to rank highly on Pitchfork's "The 30 Best Dream Pop Albums of All Time". Not limited to the post-punk era of it's genesis, both shoegaze, and it's dreampop offshoot are going though a second renaissance of sorts, with new bands stepping into the forum. The telltale distortion-soaked melodies, and submerged vocals can be heard in the music of 21st century bands originating from destinations as far flung as Russia and New Zealand. On the other side of the globe from it's UK origins, a new generation of shoegaze is currently exploding across the south pacific, detailed in The Guardian's "'A Language We Use to Say Sentimental Things': How Shoegaze Took Over Asia". At the head of this renaissance, many of the genre's most influential and formative acts have returned from extended hiatus, not only touring, but with new, and relevant material. The most improbable of them all, Slowdive not only reformed to tour, but produced one of the greatest albums of their career. Other unlikely returns have been seen in Robert Hampson reforming LOOP, the one-time-only North american visit from Lush's brand of 4AD dreampop, and tours and the first new material of decades from The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Ride.

The Guardian's "Shoegaze: The Genre that Could Not be Killed", and New York Times' "Shoegaze, the Sound of Protest Shrouded in Guitar Fuzz, Returns", best encapsulating this resurgence. Second only to the decade of the sound's origin, it's a great time for listeners avid for more of shoegaze' blissed-out fuzz and melancholic melodicism. For those just entering into the neon torrent, you'd not go far wrong beginning with The Guardian's "Shoegaze: A Beginner's Guide", and the Cherry Red label's anthology of a perfect overview with their, "Still in a Dream: The Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995." This summer, we're not only witness to the fourth domestic tour since the 2007 reformation of the definitive shoegaze band, but Kevin Shields' promise of forthcoming material, following on the heels of the first new album in 22 years. All of this initiated with a series of interviews beginning with Shields' admission to The Quietus that, "Not Doing Things Is Soul Destroying", in which he shares the details of the protracted process and decades of delays involved in My Bloody Valentine's recent remasters. Speaking further with The Guardian on how the period after the 1991 album was a series of derailing setbacks involving, among other things according to Sheilds, the dangers of chinchilla ownership. And yet, those trials and tribulations only hint at the complexity behind the development of 2013's "m b v" album. Its creation though a relocation, rebuilding the studio, and a meticulously obsessive, perfectionist work ethic as detailed in Mike McGonigal's 33 1/3 book on "Loveless".
Photo credits: Adriana Andujar & Greg Dunlap