My Bloody Valentine formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1984 with guitarist and songwriter Kevin Shields, vocalist Dave Conway, and a keyboardist known only as Tina. The name is taken from the 1981 Canadian horror movie of the same name. Their sound was often noisy and incoherent, taking influences from the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and Jesus and Mary Chain. In 1985, they moved to Berlin, Germany and released their first EP, This Is Your Bloody Valentine. A year later the moved to London, England and picked up bassist Debbie Googe. After several more EP's, Conway left the band and Bilinda Butcher came on board to take his place.
In 1988, they released their first full length album, Isn't Anything on Creation Records to excellent reviews. The album helped increase their following, and was released in the US under the Warner Brothers label. The band released several more EP's while working on the next full length record. Shields was quite a perfectionist and was spending a great deal of time on the record. Often he would record for a few minutes and then spend months editing and tweaking the sound. In 1991, Loveless was finally released. It was reported that Creation records spent over $500,000 on the album and nearly went bankrupt until a band by the name of Oasis came along.
Loveless was a critical favorite, making many best of the year lists and creating a good following in the US and Europe. However, it did not sell in large numbers and Creation never made back their investment. Loveless featured lyrics that were impossible to understand, heavy production, droning guitars and whispery vocals, somehow all fitting together to create an emotional experience for the listener. In my opinion, it is quite possibly the perfect album.
In 1992 the band signed with Island records to release a 3rd album. It never materalized. To date, the status of the band is unknown. Kevin Shields has been spotted playing guitar on tour with Primal Scream, and he also contributed several new, original songs (plus one MBV song, "Sometimes") to the soundtrack for 2003's Lost in Translation. The odds are quite good that we'll never see them again.
Editor's note: MBV reformed in 2007 and released a new album in 2013.