Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Bloody Valentine - Ecstasy & Wine (1987/1989)

The British musical landscape during the mid to late 80s was somewhat a sparse desolate mass of decay and bile, it was terrible, the so-called 'popular music' of the time was at best mediocre, the only real music which saved the small minority of the UK's music lovers at this time was the very anoraked world of Indie music (this was during a time when Indie music was still in essence D.I.Y and still held true to some Punk ethic and credentials, unlike today where the term 'Indie' is somewhat thought of as mainstream and something cool to be associated with).

From around 1983 through to 1989 following on and rising forth out of  Punk and New Wave, many bands all throughout the UK formed and recorded music which was often put-out on tiny independent record labels, some of these groups even self-funded and released records themselves. 

The crux of it however was that not a great deal of money was made during these times for either band or label alike, however a tremendous wealth of stunning 7" singles, EP's and albums were released under the 'Indie' moniker.

One such band who were of great importance during this malaise in UK music from between 85-91 were  Dublin's My Bloody Valentine.

My Bloody Valentine were - 

Kevin Shields - Guitar, Vocals
Colm O Coisiog - Drums
Belinda Butcher - Guitar and Vocals (Joined in 1987)
Debbie Googe - Bass
Dave Conway - vocals up until 1987 (To give Conway credit he did record on MBV's classic Sunny Sundae Smile EP)

My Bloody Valentine put in the leg-work having toured as a band since forming in 1983 and had a handful of releases on small labels, unfortunately the band never really took off in their early days, by 1987 shortly after the departure of singer Dave Conway, the band really came into their own and began to get noticed by a wider audience.

During 1987 My Bloody Valentine released their dreamy noise-pop in the form of two releases on Lazy Records, these were the mini album 'Ecstasy' and EP 'Strawberry Wine', these two records were compiled into one and released in 1989 as 'Ecstasy Wine'.

This period of MBV see's the beginning of what would make the group the cult band that they became.

What I enjoy about these 'earlier' recordings before the band went into interstellar overdrive and headed spacewards in developing their signature shoegaze noise experimentalism, was that the birth of that sound was in its embryonic stages on these two 1987 releases and also on these records were a great pop song structure and I feel the songs on these releases are fantastic pieces of dream laden pop music.

During my school years, from the ages of 12 till 15 I was obsessed with 80s indie music and still love to revisit it from time to time. The bands that did it for me were Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, I even tried to mimic these groups with a dodgy pudding bowl hair style, I grew my hair to such a state and managed to pull-off a bowl-cut for about a week until the natural curl in my hair took over, regardless I looked mentally ill.

The thing with a great deal of the 'indie' bands of the 80s UK music scene were that these bands are what got me into the rarer 60s music and elements of that 60s groups sound and mentality can be heard in a lot of the records these types of bands produced.

Being a kid listening to this sorta thing particularly in the area I grew up, instantly made me an outcast, my peers were all listening to the horrible sounds from dodgy dance based music which came under the aforementioned headings 'House and Garage' and 'Two-Step' and here I was in my own dreamy oblivion searching out the most obscure 60s, punk, old blues, krautrock and indie music I could find and get my hands on. I wanted to be different and found music which aligned perfectly with this train of thought and what a pleasure it is and has been. I'd say I was pretty fortunate when I was younger in having this love of music , cos although I got a huge amount of stick for being me at least I wasn't one of "them" y'know??

I aim to write more about this 'lost' decade of cool music, in order to spread the word a little, because there are many pieces of absolute genius which were released during this time that not a great deal of people (even those who dig this stuff know about) and for that reason I feel these deserve to be known, heard and talked about.

Below are a few songs from Ecstasy and Wine which I really dig and I hope you do too.

Strawberry Wine 

Never Say Goodbye

She Loves You No Less


(Please) Lose Yourself In Me

If you enjoyed the sounds above, please search out the record or cd and buy it, the original 7" EP and Mini-LP of the tracks on this LP are pretty hard to come by these days and often cost a pretty penny, likewise the Ecstasy and Wine LP itself can go for up to £50. My own copy cost me around the £20 mark... so you just have to search and you'll find it affordably, it's worth having because it's the birth of a band which later on changed the rules in music and become a pretty important group.



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