Retrospective reviews are a favorite pastime of mine. Whether by discovery or re-discovery, it never hurts to take a look back and recognize influential or remarkable music moments of the past. Now, since I do intend to skim through a few “shoegaze” and noisy “dreampop” albums, including a selection or two by Ringo Deathstar and even a couple of my favorite superb legends like Cocteau Twins and the like, why not reach back to a highly influential band that many other on-going bands reference, many pay homage to, and many downright mimic today. MY BLOODY VALENTINE.
Credited with pioneering the “SHOEGAZER” genre, My Bloody Valentine released what is considered their masterpiece “Loveless” in 1991…
|Released||4 November 1991|
My Bloody Valentine are an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1983. Since 1987, the band’s lineup has consisted of founding members Kevin Shields (vocals, guitar) and Colm Ó Cíosóig (drums), with Bilinda Butcher (vocals, guitar) and Debbie Googe (bass). The group are known for their integration of noise, melody, and unorthodox guitar and production techniques. Their work in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in their pioneering a musical style known as shoegazing.
My Bloody Valentine are regarded as the pioneers of the alternative rock subgenre known as shoegazing, a term coined by Sounds journalists in the late 1980s to describe certain bands “motionless performing style, where they stood on stage and stared at the floor”. The band’s releases on Creation Records influenced other shoegazing acts, including Slowdive, Ride and Lush, and are regarded as providing a platform to allow the bands to become recognised. Following the release of Loveless (1991), My Bloody Valentine were “poised for a popular breakthrough”, although never achieved mainstream success. However, the band are noted to have been “profoundly influential in the direction of ’90s alternative rock”, according to AllMusic.
I suppose I could go on and on about My Bloody Valentine, but it’s easy enough to just go listen for yourself and enjoy. Here’s the original album on –> spotify!
I guess I could jump forward now,
and dive into noise pop shoegazer band Ringo Deathstarr, a group that has been very unfairly criticized as a 100% mimic band of My Bloody Valentine (not true). I have a few words about these criticisms; first, Ringo Deathstarr has it’s own wondrously noisy pop sound, and though it does pay homage very clearly to My Bloody Valentine, sometimes to the tee, and often sounds nearly like them, I think Ringo Deathstarr merely carry on the “traditional sound” -updated- of My Bloody Valentine, and try to do it in innovative ways, mixing it with acid rock, like other modern acid-rockers and shoegazer bands (or rather creating simultaneously along-side other shoegazer bands). Plus, they’re a little bit weird and fun! And besides, secondly, what’s wrong with picking up where a legendary band left off unfortunately, for whatever reason, and carrying forward the sound in an updated and personalized way that made the original band that inspired you a legend in the first place? In any case, I reject the unfair criticisms, and I find Ringo Deathstarr to be very listenable, and I enjoy the sound experiments they engage in while weaving more pop melodies into their music than My Bloody Valentine ever did (or desired to, possibly).
Ringo Deathstarr is an American shoegazing band from Austin, Texas, United States. The band was formed by singer/songwriter Elliott Frazier in 2007, and released their eponymous EP on the same year. This was followed by a string of singles and a series of international tours hitting both coasts and the streets of the UK and Japan. The band’s debut full-length album, Colour Trip, was released in February 2011 by Club AC30. They toured with The Smashing Pumpkins in the winter of 2011/2012. The name of the band is a portmanteau of The Beatles drummer’s name, Ringo Starr, and the Death Star.
Now I get to criticise the critics: I guess what makes the biggest difference when trying to juxtapose an old sound with a new sound, and what WINS the day is, that Ringo Deathstarr is MORE CURRENT (Pure Mood, 2015!), which My Bloody Valentine could’ve been by just releasing a record every couple of years which they just refused to do (or could not do for whatever reason) for two decades! I can’t even imagine that MBV are even still “together” really, and it’s clear that the individual members mostly just abandoned MBV and engaged in other projects after ’91 anyway. IT WAS 22 years between Loveless and their most recent album MBV (2013). Naturally, there’s much to be said for having made such an impact (in retrospect) that a new album is “anxiously awaited” for 22 years! So, no doubt, MBV deserves quasi-legendary status. Nevertheless, in regards to RDS, my biggest argument for rejecting the unfair criticisms of Ringo Deathstarr vs. My Bloody Valentine is for the same reason I still cringe when I read snarky comments about the legendary Jeff Lynne of ELO. Okay so he’s “unforgivably Beatlesque” … well he’s also a brilliant composer and producer. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED! It’s all good. Just enjoy!
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” – Ecclesiates 1:9
|Ringo Deathstarr Members||Alex Gehring (guitar, bass, vocals)
Elliott Frazier (guitar, vocals)
Daniel Coborn (drums)
Sources/references: Album cover as fair use in review // MBV band photo via NPR 2012 (“photo courtesy of the artist”) // Official MBV Videos via RHINO YouTube // Official video Ringo Deathstarr via YouTube embed as shown – other info, Wikipedia. // While Wikipedia does have individual info on the members of MBV, it lacks info on the individual members of RDS, so if interested Google: Alex Gehring for example. Alex also has an up-to-date Instagram: