There’s a new My Bloody Valentine record. No, really.
by Ben Stas (English/Journalism), published February 6th 2013
Twenty-one years after the release of their genre-defining shoegaze masterpiece Loveless, My Bloody Valentine have, astonishingly, returned with a new record. Many had begun to lose faith that it would ever happen. Mastermind vocalist, guitarist and producer Kevin Shields has been teasing the existence of a mythical Loveless follow-up for years, but even when the band reunited for a series of live shows in 2007, there was nothing to show for it. Cue another five years of big talk and empty promises.
Shields set and reset deadlines for the album’s release so many times that most people had stopped listening. It would definitely be out by the end of 2012, he told NME back in November. By New Year’s Eve, the excitement had faded once again. The Internet’s go-to joke became that Shields was simply toying with us to amuse himself.
On Saturday evening, a Facebook update announced that the record would be online with the band’s new website that very night. Sure, Kevin, sounds great, but we’ve been burned too many times before. Suddenly though, the band’s profile was updated with what appeared to be new album artwork. Their Twitter account followed suit. Their 90s relic of a website disappeared. It collectively occurred to the Internet that it was really happening this time. My Bloody Valentine, massively influential pioneers of the world’s finest, dreamiest, noisiest guitar music, were actually releasing another album.
The new website launched at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and promptly crashed under the crippling force of a million music geeks simultaneously clicking a ‘purchase’ button. We hung in a torturous limbo for three harrowing hours, knowing that a 403 server error was the only thing standing between us and one of the most anticipated records of the past 20 years. Critics, fans, musicians and media outlets took to Twitter to vent frustration and build anticipation in a rare instance where an entire community was on the verge of simultaneously experiencing something huge. “#linkless : ( ” tweeted Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo. “RT if My Bloody Valentine’s server crash broke your heart a little,” said the Paste Magazine account. For a brief few hours, #MBV was trending higher than the Super Bowl.
In a musical climate where having a proper release date has essentially become a formality, it’s become increasingly rare for the entire music community to hear something for the first time together. Albums leak, singles get released months ahead, critics have advance copies and streaming experiments like Pitchfork’s Advance or NPR’s First Listen get MP3s into the ears of listeners long before they can hold a physical copy. Releases have become staggered. On Saturday night though, once the dust of the server crash had settled and the site was up and running, the blissful vibes of the new My Bloody Valentine record were hitting all of us at once. And that was something special.