So, I might be a day late in blowing the trumpet (I have a Friday column, damnit) but this is it. According to My Bloody Valentine, the long-awaited reissues of Isn’t Anything and Loveless will be released this May. To paraphrase something a friend of mine said earlier today, I guess pigs do fly. While I’m still not 100% convinced, I must say this is the most specific reissue announcement they’ve released since they started talking about it, well, let’s just say a looong time ago. This, friends, makes me a very happy fan.
It seems fitting, then, to scrap what I had been planning on yammering about and touch on something more-than remotely related to the BIG announcement: the Creation Records label.
Firstly, in this the age of self-releases and digital albums, sometimes I find it difficult to remember that labels DO exist. Not having a physical copy of a record and liner notes to read, many times I have no idea what label a band or artist is on. Does this make me a bad consumer? Maybe. Perhaps it’s because I have less time to investigate and my priorities have shifted over the last 20 years from being a music fiend to being a music fiend trying to learn a new language/have a family/make some money (to buy records, incidentally…it comes full circle, friends). Nevertheless, there was a time in my life when I could look at a roster of artists on a label and make a safe bet that if I bought any number of their CDs blindly, I’d fancy, if not all, most of them. Two good examples: 4AD and, of course, Creation.
The brainchild of Alan McGee, Creation Records launched the careers of seminal indie bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, The Pastels, Ride and MBV…and of course, toward the end, britpop-powerhouse Oasis. And these are just a few of the the biggies. Talk to (or read interviews with) young, un-established (or established) independent pop/rock musicians with some musical knowledge worth their salt and I’ll put money on them naming at least one Creation band as inspiration. I’ll bet you.
What made Creation such an anomaly was the unorganized and ethically questionable goings-on behind their success. For years it was merely legend passed down through mutterings from one band to a fan and into public ears and airwaves. Not until several interviews and books popped up after the labels dissolution did the public get a real look into McGee’s drug fueled kingdom. The best documentation, by far, has to be “Upside Down: The Creation Records Story” (2011), in which the alcohol-soaked, over-sexed, gory and super hilarious details are laid out about the “Ultimate fucked up family” that was Creation. Of course, the libations and pill-popping ultimately led to McGee’s laying low in order to get healthy and the eventual selling to Sony, but what a ride. What a back catalog!
I am pleased to have been a fan of these bands – and the label as whole – in real time, if you catch my drift. These were some good years to be young. I mean, the first time I heard the Nowhere was soon after its release during my senior year of high school. Footloose and fancy free, my parents (mostly) footing the bill, I could read about these bands and their hijinks in week-old copies of NME. Plus, the market wasn’t as flooded as it is today. But then every generation says this about their own, right?
So fast forward to the present and amongst my records, physical and digital, there is one recent label that stands out: Captured Tracks. It’s the closet to having that same 4AD/Creation quality I mentioned before. Most every damn thing they release I adore; notably, Dignan Porch. It warmed my heart, of course, to learn of their Shoegaze Archive: “unearthing a whole series of reissues from around the world to investigate this era the same way 60′s Psychedelic and Garage, 70′s Punk, 80′s Post-Punk and Cold Wave and every other nook and cranny of music subculture has been investigated and sprung upon a new generation of listeners.” Thank goodness. Perhaps the kids will listen to you; heaven knows they aren’t buying what a music nerd hidden in Munich is selling.
[Abby’s Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]