In February 2013, there were three events that shook the world: the resignation of the pope, North Korea's successful test of a nuclear bomb, and the release of Irish/British rock band My Bloody Valentine's first new album in 22 years. Dispatched with less frequency than popes and comparable volume to nuclear bombs, My Bloody Valentine albums are rare and dangerous beasts, with venues on the band's recent tour handing out complimentary earplugs to the audience on the way in.
They're also hugely influential — within minutes of the new album "MBV" being made available on the band's website, fans had broken the Internet in their clamor to get hold of it — and nowhere is that influence more keenly felt than in Japan's indie-rock scene.
My Bloody Valentine's reputation rests on two albums: 1988's "Isn't Anything" and 1991's "Loveless". The former was like a bolt from the blue, its multi-layered guitars and multitude of effects intertwined with sweet, caressing melodies sounding like nothing that had gone before, and inspiring a legion of copycats like Chapterhouse, Lush, Ride and Slowdive. The latter album honed the band's sound and cemented their position as one of the most important groups of the era, and thanks to guitarist and band leader Kevin Shields' refusal to release anything short of a masterpiece as a follow-up, My Bloody Valentine protected their legend, avoiding the pitfalls into which contemporaries The Stone Roses dived with such suicidal abandon with 1994's turgid "The Second Coming".