June 22, 2004


Marcello with the promised Shadows post, albeit cunningly embedded in a discussion of Naked Maja's 100 best British albums. (Can't bring myself to be interested in lists any more actually; I think I ingested more than my lifetime's supply when I read Morley's Words and Music...)

(btw Marcello, like Simon, bigging up Isn't Anything at the expense of Loveless. I'm stunned by this: as I think I've said before, listening now, Isn't Anything strikes me as obviously the precursor, the prototype. It still bears the grubby traces of the indie quotididian, its instruments all audible, analyzable, whereas Loveless is schizophonic, its sounds globular, nondecomposable, unrelatable to any instrument, except guitar in the most abstract sense.

Posted by mark at June 22, 2004 09:03 PM | TrackBack

count me in the _Isn't Anything_ camp as well. Thought a bit about it after you last take on this, and truth is you 100% right, its just that people like me prefer those traces. Revolutionary isn't the only important characteristic in record... Things are often most interesting on the edges, _Isn't_ takes pop to its far edge and magically teeters there. _Loveless_ just jumps over the edge and gets lost. The world it ends up in is perhaps not that interesting, very few musicians seem to want to explore it. Maybe TV on the Radio, but they too seem able to balance on that pop borderline. I guess Glenn Branca and a bunch of noise bands know the lay of that land though.

Posted by: Abe at June 23, 2004 04:20 AM

I don't agree that Loveless is 'merely' revolutionary; I think this is the 'accepted truth' about it, which assumed reverence drives ppl back towards the apparently more accomodating Isn't Anything. I consider Loveless to be the better Pop album, precisely --- it's the 'rockiness' (of Isn't Anything, its 'liveness', that I find uncompelling. It's in terms of enjoyment, jouissance - in addition to sonic invention - that I think Loveless is incomparably superior. I'll happily be suspended in Loveless' world; to me, it's endlessly fascinating. Fennesz, rather than Branca, is the obvious descendant (the way MBV divert noise away from the masculino-avant garde is one of the interesting things abt Loveless).

Posted by: mark k-p at June 23, 2004 05:07 AM

parallel world views:
isn't anything - meek finally gets to produce the shadows/shadows finally come to their senses.

loveless - meek gets to produce the cocteau twins; amm and ornette take turns at remixing.

laura always preferred them live. if you look at her list there's a tape of mbv @ town & country club in dec '91, including 20 minutes of you made me realise. that was always our favourite mbv "document" and besides we were both at that gig, right down the front. when it came to you made me realise, everyone else was suddenly standing ten yards behind us, covering their ears, etc. (the people from Lush looked particularly distressed!).

loveless took the template further, but isn't anything invented the template to begin with, and i just think it's in danger of being forgotten/taken for granted. but in '88 it was revolutionary and shocking (the C86 mirror cracks!).

one great moment in pop radio: tommy vance played to here knows when on the top 40 rundown when it charted. four seconds of silence after the track ended. then vance (sounding genuinely stunned)quietly said: "that was quite, quite brilliant."

also: "To Here Knows When was the greatest single of the '90s. The stupid British public should have taken it to number one" - Jonathan King, before he went inside.

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at June 23, 2004 09:04 AM


Yeh, noticed with envy that MBV live perf on Laura's list ---- thought it was some secret CD you'd got ---

(shamefaced) never saw them live I'm afraid ---

(Typed while listening to The Shadows - even better than I remember them!)

Posted by: mark k-p at June 23, 2004 03:07 PM

You might find Earth 2 worth checking out.

Posted by: jd at June 23, 2004 04:15 PM

hmmm, never called _Loveless_ "merely" revolutionary, I'd agree completely that it makes a much greater leap then _Isn't_, and I think that enough would agree that the point would approach a fact. "Better" however is almost impossible to construct as fact. Some like _Loveless_ better, many seem to prefer _Isn't_ and I'm interested in the why and how of that. The fact that you happen to enjoy the space _Loveless_ opened up is somewhat irrelevant to explaining why so many prefer the other record, no? Perhaps MBV where just to far ahead of their time, opening up sonics that almost no one will explore for years. But for now there is some strange attractor in _Isn't_ that clearly pulls on many, and I think it has a lot to do with approach to their approaching a threshold without ever quite crossing over...

And yeah MBV live is fucking incredible. Perhaps some of my personal dismissal of _Loveless_ comes from that fact that it seems like such a pale imitator of the live experience, while _Isn't_ still stands on its little pop feet.

And yeah, who the hell is trying to follow _Loveless_? In someways its like trying to emulate Pollack, there just isn't that much more people can do with the form, at least not yet...

Posted by: Abe at June 24, 2004 01:40 AM