Category: My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine – Gilder / Tremolo

ARTIST: My Bloody Valentine

TITLE: Gilder / Tremolo

YEAR RELEASED: 1990; 1991

CHART ACTION:  Glider : #2 UK, Tremolo: #1 UK

SINGLES: Soon (#41 UK), To Here Knows When (#29 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No

LINEUP: Kevin Shields, Billinda Butcher, Colm Ó Cíosóig, Deb Googe

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Two Eps released between albums that prepped the sound that My Bloody Valentine was going to unleash on the world, and introduced Kevin Shields’ unique tremolo guitar technique.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Glider and Tremolo were apt names for these two Eps (yeah, breaking the rules a bit but they fit together nicely). During the tour and after their first album, Kevin Shields had fully developed his tremolo-guitar technique, where he plays chords while manipulating his tremolo bar, and has a lot of vibrato in his guitar effect as well. The result is, as some put it, a ‘glide’.

The effect is quite noticeable on the track “Glider” where it does sound like the record is warped. The tracks really dig into the tremolo effect, and mostly punt the vocals back to where they’re a melodic hint in the back of the mix, while the guitars move back and forth between channels, and in your ears. “To Here Knows When” made the Top 30 in the UK without any semblance of a traditional song structure, just guitar noise in front of ethereal vocals by Billinda Butcher.They also experimented with drones and raga sounds as well.

These Eps were an agreed to stopgap by the band and Creation Records as it was taking forever to record their next album. It whetted everyone’s appetite and launched even more shoegaze acts in the UK. 

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At this time Shields became immersed in the sound and production of the band. Tremolo was supposed to be seven songs, but three instrumentals were added as codas to the tracks so it fit in the definition of a 12” single or EP

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: There were stand alone singles as well as these Eps, and “Soon” and “Glider” were re-mixed for a 12” version.

 GRADE: B+: A couple cuts don’t quite make the grade but these are important Eps in MBV’s development.

My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything

ARTIST: My Bloody Valentine 

TITLE: Isn’t Anything

YEAR RELEASED: 1988

CHART ACTION:  #61 UK, #1 UK Indie

SINGLES: Feed Me With Your Kiss (#2 UK Indie), Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really, no.

LINEUP: Kevin Shields, Billinda Butcher, Colm Ó Cíosóig, Deb Googe

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After a few years of mucking about, My Bloody Valentine signs to Creation and gets carte blanche after their first single for the label was a hit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Beating the indie bushes, moving from noisy pop to C-86 jangle, My Bloody Valentine were developing their revolutionary sound all the while. Creation signed them and they released “You Made Me Realise”, a landmark of guitar layers, feedback, and hazy production that kickstarted shoegaze.

When it came time for the album, Creation Records said, “more of the weird stuff”. And so, the My Bloody Valentine sound emerged. Taking notes from the Jesus and Mary Chain, and adding even more dissonance, MBV became unique among all shoegaze and UK indie rock.

Basically, it’s distortion, layers and layers of guitar and guitar riffs that are usually bent or used a slide or something out of the ordinary. Meanwhile the vocals had nice melodies, and harmonies, but they were mixed in the back. Sometimes so far back it was hard to hear the words.

The effect was a collage of noise that was noticeable even in the quietest songs. But in tracks like “All I Need”, “Feed Me With Your Kiss”, and “Sueisfine”, the music moves, the noise envelops, and the concept of song is altered.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Unlike later MBV albums, this was recorded in two weeks in Wales.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: They had a noisy instrumental single appended to some US copies and later releases.

 GRADE: A-: Obviously not for everyone. It’s a landmark though in UK indie rock as it kicked off shoegaze and introduced layered guitar noise as an instrument in of itself.