February 04, 2013 3:18pm PT by Jordan Zakarin
The British are Coming: My Bloody Valentine, Blur, New Order and an Era's Rebirth
You would be forgiven your bewilderment if the headlines of late had you thinking a wormhole had opened to early '90s London; from My Bloody Valentine's new album to the festival headliners announced last week, it feels a lot like Margaret Thatcher is looming over us.
With m b v, shoegaze demigods My Bloody Valentine crashed the Internet on Saturday night, as fans -- both those that purchased 1991s Loveless on cassette and the many that have learned to love them since -- flooded the group's official website. The group, which always moved in mysterious ways, from their aural magic to disregard for calendars, has earned raves with the new album, with a five star review from hometown The Guardian and the lofty prediction of being "potentially timeless—and immediately breathtaking" from the AV Club.
At the same time, Suede, the band that kicked off the Britpop era, released the first music video for their first single from their first album since 2002. The band reunited for a few festivals in 2010 and 2011, but their Bloodsports, which is due out next month, represents the culmination of two years of recording new material, and the follow through on a promise years in the making. "It Starts and Ends With You," that first song, is a solid return to form.
The two groups are not alone, either. Blur, which so famously reunited -- yes, including both one-time rivals Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon -- for a run of shows for the Olympics closing ceremony celebrations. Those were preceded by two new songs, "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan," and the band will later this year headline Coachella. For context, they first broke out with 1994s Modern Life is Rubbish, and battled Oasis head-to-head as the more artistic London yin to the Gallagher brothers' working class Manchester yang.
Joining them at the festival will be The Stone Roses -- the Madchester heroes whose one great eponymous album in 1991 sent a whole nation briefly on acid. Also at Coachella will be New Order; or, the contentious remains of the splintered group that rose from shadow of tragedy to help invent the new wave-punk movement that was revived last decade.
Long-time bassist Peter Hook is out promoting his tell-all book about the band's days as Joy Division, the post-punk pioneers that fell short of world fame when singer Ian Curtis hanged himself just before their world tour; he is in a war of words with lead singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner, who leads the rest of the group as they continue with the name, if not full spirit of the revolution that made dance clubs cool, not creep magnets. Their new album, Lost Sirens, is actually the remnants of recordings they made in 2005, when their last full album as a group, Waiting for the Siren's Call, was released.
And of course, there is Pulp, the populist art-rockers led by the irrepressible crooner Jarvis Cocker; they have a new song and run of shows, as well, continuing their tradition of reuniting ever few years.
Of course, it is not a new thing for bands to reunite and tour; the Rolling Stones have been going at it for decades; boy bands such as New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and Backstreet Boys are milking the nostalgia of fans who, having been adolescents during their first go round, can now afford tickets for a night in the past. The difference, however, is that these British bands are not just cashing in on the new economic opportunities of grownup fans, but creating brand new music in the process. After a decade of being mimicked by bands reviving their style, it seems it's time to show how it's really done.