Get This!, Live!


The neighbours to my kitchen side have been slowly building an extension for the past couple of months. The battering and hammering and shouting and swearing usually begins at eight in the morning and lasts until mid afternoon, earlier if there’s rain or other such setbacks. “Did you just drill through that fuckin’ thing?!?” I heard accusingly one day as I hung the washing out. There was a muttered, muffled reply followed by a “You fuckin’ idiot!” and a good two or three days of silence and inactivity. I don’t know quite know where the drill was bound for, but it seems the boy did indeed drill through the fuckin’ thing.

Back on track, the racket continues. Amongst the blaring Commercial FM – adverts every five minutes punctuated by out of tune builders singing to Ed Sheeran – my garden has been filled with the sound of summer – brain crushing nail guns, all compressed air and heart-stopping rat-a-tats, bandsaws that grind their hellish grind right to the very back of your fillings, unidentifiable dull thuds – perhaps the boy receiving his punishment for the misplaced drilling, and an ever-permanent coating of red brick dust that blows only in our direction the minute a brick requires cutting. It’s quite the sound and sight.

A day or two ago it was building to a perfect, swirling crescendo, bandsaw and bawling builders and the bang bang bang of the nail gun all trying to outdo one another. A hellish cacophony of noise. And it hit me – I’ve heard this before. That jarring, pummelling racket, disconcerting and never-ending, uneasy listening that the ears have trouble adjusting to…’s My Bloody Valentine! Specifically You Made Me Realise. Ha! You made me realise indeed.

My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise

Good luck recreating that unique MBV sound…

MBV’s gig in the Barrowlands (1992?) is the reason I suffer tinnitus. It’s whining away in the background right now, a permanent reminder of why you should consider ear defenders if you’re a regular gig goer. They’re just not very cool though, eh? Midway through You Made Me Realise, after the machine-gunning snares and off-kilter harmonies and the lurching open-tuned riff, right when the bass and guitars and drums lock into that chuga chuga swirling groove, Kevin Shields stomped on the pedal marked ‘Aural Sickness‘, hid himself behind his lank fringe and for a good while, maybe 6 or 7 full minutes, let rip an ear-splitting shriek of howling white noise, band and bass and drums and everything playing as one.

Like a Panzer attack, it reverberated from the front of the stage, crept over the tops of heads and into the lugs and set up camp, pulsing and refracting and phasing and flanging until the sub frequencies began playing tricks. My eyes hurt! People actually left and I was at most 15 seconds away from throwing up when Shields peeked out from behind the fringe and nodded the others back into more tuneful action. Close call. I know lots of folk love this sort of thing, but man! It was just too loud.

Kevin Shields, My Bloody Valentine.

There’s a good article currently doing the rounds where The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli talks about his favourite music. You can hear his Sopranos’ character voice – Chris-tuh-fuh – leaping off the page as you read about his love of Chuck Berry and the New York Dolls and doo-wop. A great article, he talks about other bands and artists that you might not expect him to like…including, quite unbelievably, My Bloody Valentine.

Imperioli mentions leaving a Dinosaur Jr gig early, the support act MBV having drained him of all emotion ahead of the headliners. Drained of emotion maybe, or just feeling plain sick. I wonder if he suffers from tinnitus too?

* for the record, I love My Bloody Valentine, especially You Made Me Realise.

Cover Versions, Hard-to-find

My Bloody Frustrating Valentine

My Bloody Valentine are back on a brief tour and the reviews have been a wee bit mixed. Some people claim they can’t hear the vocals. Some people say the show they’ve attended is the best thing ever. Some people say the noisy bit in ‘You Made Me Realise’ isn’t noisy enough. Some people say the shows are too loud. Too loud! It’s My Bloody Valentine not James Blunt. Jeez. Lets hope they get some sort of new material together soon. It’s been too long. Anyway, until then…

In anticipation of their Barrowlands shows this Wednesday and Thursday I thought I’d post these obscurities and curios. First up, My Bloody Valentine do their version of Louis Armstrong’s ‘We Have All The Time In The World’. This is taken from a 1993 Island Records charity CD called ‘Peace Together’ which set out to get young people from both sides of the religious divide in Northern Ireland working together. There’s a fair amount of Irish artists on there (U2, Fatima Mansions, Therapy?, Sinead O’Connor etc etc, you know the rest) but the My Bloody Valentine track is easily the best thing on it. Hear for yourself.

In 1998, Kevin Shields produced a one-off, released-for-a-day-then-deleted Primal Scream single. ‘If They Move Kill ‘Em’ was taken from the ‘Vanishing Point’ album, but Shields buckled and bent and twisted and distorted it inside out. It sounds backwards in places, it sounds under water in other places, it sounds other-wordly in the rest of the places. It sounds as good as the cover (below) looks. It. Is. Fantastic. Even better, there are two mixes! The My Bloody Valentine Arkestra mix and the 12″ Disco MIx (my favourite – it has a bit in it that sounds an awful lot like Jimi Hendrix‘s ‘Crosstown Traffic’). The ep also featured 2 mixes of Primal Scream covering the Jesus & Mary Chain‘s ‘Darklands‘. What the hell – here’s Darklands and here’s Badlands. Happy listening.

‘If They Move Kill ‘Em’ sleeve

*Bonus Track. Andrew Weatherall‘s seminal, yes, seminal remix of MBV‘s ‘Soon‘. It’s My Bloody Valentine, but you can dance to it! It’s a belter! If you’re reading Mr Shields, many of us would like a new album or single or chord or anything.

Kevin Shields – bloody frustrating