10 most popular posts of the past 90 days

mbv

1. Skyrim – Constructive criticism at its best

People are usually unable to express their opinions without coming across like toddlers stamping their pudgy little legs and screaming, “But I want …”

2. First impressions: Arx Fatalis

I’m not very good at wielding a bone. Hell, I’m not even good at throwing them for dogs.  Continue reading

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First impressions: My Bloody Valentine – MBV

mbv

After Kevin Shields’s teasing announcement last week that the new My Bloody Valentine album, mbv, would be out in “two or three days”, he’s proved as good as his word. Fans of Loveless will be relieved to note that mbv continues very much in that vein, all shimmering soundscapes of layered distortion and drifting, insubstantial vocals. Most pleasing of all, My Bloody Valentine haven’t lost their ear for a fine pop hook, as mbv continues its predecessor’s trick of wrapping hummable tunes in trippy weirdness. Only Tomorrow could almost pass for Nine Inch Nails in their Bowie-Berlin phase, a companion-piece to The Day The World Went Away. Then, halfway through the album, mbv starts to get really interesting. Continue reading

15 of your favourite people … as ZOMBIES!

Sarah Michelle Gellar by David Shankbone - zombiefied

I don’t give much of a crap what Kim Kardashian looks like as a zombie, but Sarah Michelle Gellar is another matter. Those nice people at The Walking Dead have put online an app that allows you to to turn yourself into a shambling flesh-eater. Buzzfeed had a little fun with your mainstream celebrities, but I figured it would be much more fun to put the likes of Grimes and Bat For Lashes and the cast of Doctor Who through the zombie-making machine … Continue reading

Berklee String Metal Ensemble

Nicking this from @iheartnoise.

The Berklee String Metal Ensemble is a student group composed of three cellists, two violinists, two drummers, a bassist, and a vocalist. They play melodic death metal, with some hardcore influence. The group covers bands such as Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy, and Heaven Shall Burn. Band members include Trev Wignall and Jason Lim on violin; Dean Capper, David Tangney, and Eden Raiz on cello; Aaron Liao on bass; Steven Hopkins on vocals; Rae Amitay on drums and vocals; and Carson Groenewold on drums.

I’m definitely no fan of death metal and think the vocals spoil it, but if you ever wanted to know what a chamber ensemble death metal cover of My Bloody Valentine’s Only Shallow would sound like, you’ve come to the right place.  Continue reading

10 Greatest Songs on Creation Records

Between 1983 and 1993, Creation Records released some of the best records ever made. They limped on for another six years after signing Oasis, but by that point the magic was gone. There was so much more to Creation than thuggish lad pop. This much more important history is remembered in a new film, Upside Down (named after a JAMC single), which does alas seem to spend too much time on those horrible, horrible Gallaghers.

Creation Records was indie music. It was everything that was right about it – and, later, everything that was wrong about it. I never much liked the Mary Chain or Teenage Fanclub, and later they had the weakest, most insipid excuses for Britpop – most of which came out after the label was bought out by Sony. Alan McGee had sobered up, which was important for him personally, but the death knell creatively because he could no longer keep pouring money into loss-making musical geniuses. My Bloody Valentine almost bankrupted him, but Loveless was unlike any record that had ever been made. Time was that you could pick up almost any band from the label and hear a great song. Time was that he’d sign bands on a whim with no concern about whether anyone would buy the records. Music needs people like this – not necessarily obliterated on drugs, but certainly insane and with capital. Most magically of all, some of these strange creative risks tapped into the soft spot of the record-buying public. Screamadelica reached number eight in the UK charts. Ride went top 10. Even Loveless sold 225,000 copies. I was not the only person to love these records with a passion.

Here are 10 of my favourite Creation songs, in no particular order.

Continue reading