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My Bloody Valentine
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O'Ciosoig and Shields met in the late 1970s as teenagers when they both answered advertisements placed by another musician. The two joined the band in question, The Complex, and soon discovered they shared an interest in punk rock. The pair quickly became friends and played in many bands around Dublin over the next six months, including a band with Liam ? Maonla?, later the lead singer for Hothouse Flowers.
Toward the end of 1983, the two formed their own band with Dave Conway. The band was filled out by various members and split up and reformed on several occasions during 1984. Also during this period, Conway was travelling through Europe and, on the strength of the band's home recordings and the contacts he made on these travels, had managed to book the band a concert in Holland. The three recruited Conway's then-girlfriend Tina to play keyboards; adopted Conway's suggested name, My Bloody Valentine, for the concert; and moved to Holland. They stayed in Holland for three months before a dearth of opportunities and a lack of correct documentation meant they had to leave. The band then chose Berlin as their next destination, where they recorded the mini-LP This Is Your Bloody Valentine for Dossier Records. The record failed to have the expected impact, and, after four months, the band left Berlin, returning to Holland briefly before settling in London around the middle of 1985.
The band regrouped in London and and brought in a new bass player, Debbie Googe. They released the EP, titled 'Geek!' in December of 1985. The band soon began to play on the London gig circuit. The EP, 'The New Record by My Bloody Valentine', was released in early 1986. The band also began to step up their live appearances, developing a small following and venturing outside London for gigs. The band's next record was 'Sunny Sundae Smile', an EP released in February of 1987 by Lazy Records. The band then spent a few months performing in London and managed to secure a support slot with the Soup Dragons. During the shows with the Soup Dragons, Conway announced his decision to leave the band; he had been ill for awhile and felt he was not reaching his potential with the band. Conway has since pursued a career as a writer.
Conway's departure left the band without a vocalist, a situation they decided to remedy by placing advertisements in the music press. Eventually they found Bilinda Butcher and and Shields took on second vocalist duties alongside Butcher, whom he noted "sounded all right and she could sing one of our songs which sounded fine, we just had to show her how to play guitar."
Under pressure from Lazy Records to produce an album, the band compromised, citing the need for time to stabilize their line-up. The band agreed to record an EP followed by a mini LP. The EP, Strawberry Wine, comprised three tracks and was released in August of 1987. The mini-LP, titled Ecstasy, followed soon after. The EP has been described as "certainly the better of the two releases." Ecstasy has been criticized as showing "a group who appeared to have run out of money halfway through recording," which was indeed the case. Ecstasy also suffered from production difficulties, as Shields described errors in mastering the recordings. These hardships were not surprising as the band were paying for the recording. The deal with Lazy was that they do the promotion, the band pay for the recording. Nonetheless, the tracks 'Strawberry Wine' and '(Please) Lose Yourself In Me' were their own versions of 'C86', carried by Butcher's backing vocals. Another track 'Clair', reminscent of Jesus and Mary Chain, was an indication for their noisy, heavier sounds in their future releases.
The band was approached by Creation Records and, upon being told "not to worry about anything, just do it," they signed, entered the recording studios, and emerged eight months later with the EP You Made Me Realise, which was the band's breakthrough release and was voted 6th in John Peel's Festive 50 and 2nd in Melody Maker's editors' poll for 1988. The group followed with the EP Feed Me with Your Kiss and the LP Isn't Anything (1988), which married shimmering guitar distortions to ethereal folk-pop. The thick, swirling, multi-layered guitar sound developed by My Bloody Valentine would later be termed shoegazer by the British press because of the band's tendency to look down while performing on stage. The tag was applied to a number of new alternative pop-rock or rock outfits of similarly heavily layered and distorted guitars and vocals similar to those of Butcher or Shields. Around this time, Shields said in an interview with Melody Maker that he really liked Suzanne Vega - that he even found her sexy, which might explain their tendency towards soft singing, despite Shields claiming in another interview that he sang softly as he was not confident. Again, the track 'All I Need' suggests their new direction towards ambient, abstract sounds which was to fully blossom in their next release.
The follow-up LP Loveless (1991), the best known LP of their career, is generally considered representative of their sound: a distinct blend of warped, effects ridden guitar sounds, ambience, and folk tunes. This time the main vocal duties was taken by Bilinda Butcher. However, some critics viewed the album's heavily processed sound as overly clinical.
Shields wrote all the songs, except "Touched", a short instrumental by Colm O'Ciosoig. In 1999 Pitchfork Media declared Loveless to be the greatest album of the 1990s; in their 2003 revision of the list, however, it moved to number two, swapping places with Radiohead's OK Computer. Kevin Shields also has been described by Alan McGee as "a genius artist. A visionary.", while a NME review of Loveless declared, "...however decadent one might find the idea of elevating other human beings to deities, My Bloody Valentine, failings and all, deserve more than your respect."
After leaving Creation Records in 1992 and signing with Island Records, the band did not produce another release, and their final recorded song made available for release was a cover of "Map Ref. 41N 93W" by Wire, appearing on Whore: Tribute to Wire in 1995. Rumors spread among fans of albums being recorded and then shelved. Debbie Googe left the band to form Snowpony, although she had not played bass on a My Bloody Valentine recording since You Made Me Realise. Colm O'Ciosoig eventually left and recorded an album with Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Kevin Shields collaborated sporadically with other artists, most notably Experimental Audio Research, Curve, Dinosaur Jr, Sugar and Primal Scream. He claimed in a 2003 interview that Island Records had stopped financing My Bloody Valentine after they had spent half a million pounds of Island's money.
As of 2004, My Bloody Valentine were rumored to be re-recording five additional tracks in Berlin for the re-release of 1990's Glider EP; however, if anything was recorded, it has yet to surface.
Kevin Shields recently collaborated on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost in Translation which included the My Bloody Valentine song "Sometimes", as well as four solo compositions, which has attracted a new generation of fans. His most recent work was with The Go! Team for whom he provided his own mix.
adapted from Wikipedia.org