A couple weeks ago, legendary shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine released their first album in twenty-two years. The press surrounding the release of m b v was as extensive as any I’ve seen for a musical release in quite a long time. Why? What’s the big deal about this band coming back after so long?
The performance was viscerally compelling. Immersed in evolving harmonies and asymmetrical rhythms, I found myself transported to a space outside the predictable and rigid schedules of junior spring, of deadlines and word counts, into a rustic, sunlit world where patterns existed to be deconstructed and reformed.
Listen to two or three of the songs off of the album. Pick them from different sections, so it seems like you listened to the whole thing. Also, don’t call them songs. Call them “tracks” or (even better) “cuts” instead.
Nearly all my life, I have faced this question. More than a courtesy, it is a challenge, a demand: “Identify yourself.”
In my childhood, I was lost and unsure. Who am I? Am I that guy who carelessly shortens his name, soiling the greatest gift, after life, his parents have given him? Or am I that guy who insists on being called by his proper name, like some pompous Alexander or Maximilian?
This summer, I went to prison. Well, not actually, but I did watch Netflix’s original series “Orange is the New Black,” and therefore feel as though I am something of an authority on the subject of federal penitentiary. Piper Chapman, the show’s WASPy, neurotic protagonist, has led me on a tour of prison life, providing a kind of personal “scared straight” program.