Update -- 11:00 p.m., February 2, 2013: After more than 21 years since releasing their last record, My Bloody Valentine finally put out their new album tonight—meaning Kevin Shields only broke his latest promise by a few days! It's called mbv and it's available for downloading on their website, where listeners can also order vinyl and CD copies. Having given the first few tracks a cursory listen, we can say that this thing sounds incredible and was well worth the tortuous wait. We're sorry for having ever doubted you, Kevin. Take a listen to the first song, "She Found Now."
For those readers not already inducted into the cult of My Bloody Valentine, just know that legions of hopeless romantics adore this band for their dreamy whirlpool of heavily distorted guitars and sweet vocals. Loveless is practically a sacred cow amongst music critics. The album took years to record, costing Creation Records so much money that the label nearly went bankrupt due to Shields' insistence on getting every unintelligible vocal line, every swell of pink noise, and every strum of meticulously treated guitar just right. The story goes that Shields lost his marbles, Brian Wilson-style, shortly after putting out the record. He became estranged from his bandmates, and they haven't been able to cobble together a new record in over 21 years.
The sequel to Loveless has been delayed so many times now that it's become something of an Internet joke. And maybe humor is the only method we now have for coping with all of your broken promises, Kevin Shields. "I suppose I've been more wrong than most people when it comes to time," you told Vice's online talk show host Ian Svenonius. Fittingly, you titled Loveless' closing track "Soon," and that's what you've been saying for years now about the next album. As a card-carrying My Bloody Valentine devotee myself, I've learned to tune out repeated reassurances that the release is just around the corner. Because, Kevin, after all these years of unfulfilled promises, you made me realize that a promise from you isn't anything to be trusted.
The promise of November 13, 2007
In early 2007, Shields makes this out-of-the-blue promise in an interview Magnet magazine, "We are 100 percent going to make another My Bloody Valentine record unless we die or something." The band has a trove of shelved recordings from 1996 and 1997, Shields says, and they plan to put the finishing touches on them soon. Their manager hints that the band will "do a Radiohead" and surprise fans with an online release. Later that year, as a guest on Vice's interview series Soft Focus, Shields sets a firm deadline for the new album's release. "I know what the one that's going to come out this year's going to sound like," he announces, nonchalantly.
ETA: Got that? "This year," as in before the end of 2007.
Overdue: Five years.
The promise of April 6, 2012
In a phone interview with Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal, Shields says the new record could be done in "a few months." He's less committal this time around, but teases readers by saying, "I tend to work really quickly, suddenly, and I might be willing to do that right now."
ETA: "A few months" after April 2012.
Overdue: Depends on how you define "a few months." But we're coming up on 10 months since he said this...
The promise of November 7, 2012
Shields is fond of saying the new album will be out by year's end. Though it's been five years since he failed to make good on his year's end promise from 2007, Shields confidently tells British music rag NME that the album will be out before 2012 comes to a close. The band even updates its official Facebook page in December to inform fans that they've finished mastering the new album.
ETA: No later than December 31, 2012
Overdue: One month.
The promise of January 27, 2013
Fans have begun to worry that Shields is spending all his time trying to convince a bar in his neighborhood to turn down their Dido remixes. But at a show in London, Shields and co. debut a new song, proving that they haven't been completely idle. When a heckler accosts the frontman, "When's the new album out??", Shields replies, "in two or three days." He may be joking, but at this point fans feel so betrayed that no one's laughing anymore.
ETA: No later than January 30, 2013.
Overdue: Two days.
Mr. Shields, these unfulfilled promises must end. The grooves in our copy of Loveless are worn out. Those Louis Armstrong and Wire covers were nice, and we thought your "I Want Candy" remix was cute. But those appetizers can only tide us over for so long. Yes, you're one of the world's great sculptors of sound, and yes, we want you to apply your perfectionist touch to this record before unleashing it on the listening public. But seriously—and we say this from a place of love and encouragement as much as frustration—put that record out or shut up about it already.