Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Shoegazing under the microscope, starring My Bloody Valentine and Ride
Steve DoubleWhenever an old/classic album is reissued these days – which is pretty much every day – it’s inevitably advertised as having been remastered, and it’s assumed that that’s a good thing. And not unreasonably – when a lot of these albums were originally released on compact disc, they were poorly converted from analog to digital and could generally sound thin/quiet/uninspiring. But remastering is no guarantee of improvement – at best, things will sound incredibly better (the 20th anniversary redo of The Stone Roses’ debut by original producer John Leckie is a revelation), at worst, they’ll be posthumous victims of The Loudness Wars and make those original pressings that much more valuable.
All of which is only salient because the specifics of remastering were brought to the fore this week thanks to a couple of coincidental analyses of some high-profile reissues of classic shoegazing albums; My Bloody Valentine’s seminal Loveless, finally being re-released next week, and Ride’s debut Nowhere, which was polished up and put out in November of 2010.
Loveless is an interesting case because rather than being half-album, half-outtakes and rarities as most double-disc reissues typically are, it comes as two complete versions of the album – one a remaster from “the original tapes”, the other a remaster from “the original 1/2-inch analogue tapes”. I use the quotes because, to be honest, I don’t know what the difference is in terms of origin or timeline; Spin also takes a close listen to the two versions and offers their thoughts on the curious release. An interview with Kevin Shields that went up at Pitchfork this week sheds a lot of light on all facets of the subject, but I guess I accept that I’m amongst those who don’t hear a difference between the two. You can see if you can hear a difference for yourself as The Guardian is streaming both remasters, though Soundcloud compression and computer speakers probably obliterate any subtle differences between the two. They’ve also dug up an interview with Shields circa 1992 that you can read while listening.
Spin also has a gander at one of the previously unreleased songs that makes the EPs 1988-1991 double-disc comp so necessary for fans. “Good For You” surfaced as a bootleg via YouTube a few years ago, but is finally going to be available – along with other goodies – in proper, high-fidelity form. The official version is available to stream via the aforementioned Pitchfork interview and the bootleg was found on YouTube.
With respect to the Nowhere reissue put out by Rhino Handmade – generally a reliable and responsible archival outfit – Bradley’s Almanac has put “Vapour Trail” and “Paralysed” under the microscope – or oscilloscope – to see just what the remastering job by Rick Webb at Abbey Road Studios accomplished. Interesting and illuminating analysis over there that’s gotten me thinking maybe I do need to re-buy this album at least one more time.
And because Boston loves Ride – clearly – I direct you to another Beantown blog in Clicky Click, who’ve compiled a tribute album to Nowhere comprised of all-Boston bands entitled Nofuckingwhere. Download it and discover some new bands while listening to some classic tunes.
Stream: 2:54 – “Creeping”
Having had to cancel last Summer’s show at The Phoenix (and the attendant tour) in support of Whatever’s On Your Mind due to illness, Gomez are making things up intimate-style with a show at The Mod Club on July 23, tickets $25.50.
Little Boots has released a video for her latest single, taken from an album that has not been announced yet but is surely coming sooner or later.
Stream: Lisa Hannigan / Passenger
The Line Of Best Fit has an acoustic video session with Niki & The Dove recorded for Swedish site PSL while DIY is streaming two of the bonus songs that appears on the deluxe edition of their debut Instinct, out May 14 in the UK and in North America on August 7.
Video: Ane Brun – “One”
Rolling Stone is offering a download of one of the songs Ladyhawke recorded for an All Saints session earlier this year. Her new record Anxiety is due out May 25 and I neglected to post the second video from it when it was released last month; let me rectify that.