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Jesus And Mary Chain

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  • Jesus And Mary Chain

  • Jesus And Mary Chain

  • Jesus And Mary Chain

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: John Moore

All Music Guide:

Like the Velvet Underground, their most obvious influence, the chart success of the Jesus and Mary Chain was virtually nonexistent, but their artistic impact was incalculable; quite simply, the British group made the world safe for white noise, orchestrating a sound dense in squalling feedback which served as an inspiration to everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Dinosaur Jr. Though the supporting players drifted in and out of focus, the heart of the Mary Chain remained vocalists and guitarists William and Jim Reid, Scottish-born brothers heavily influenced not only by underground legends like the Velvets and the Stooges but also by the sonic grandeur and pop savvy of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. In the Jesus and Mary Chain, which the Reids formed outside of Glasgow in 1984 with bassist Douglas Hart and drummer Murray Dalglish (quickly replaced by Bobby Gillespie), these two polarized aesthetics converged; equal parts bubblegum and formless guitar distortion, their sound both celebrated pop conventions and thoroughly subverted them.

In late 1984, the band issued its seminal debut single, "Upside Down," a remarkable blast of live wire feedback anchored by a caveman-like drumbeat; the record made the Mary Chain an overnight sensation in the U.K., as did their nascent live shows, 20-minute sets of confrontational noise (performed with the band's members' backs to the audience) which frequently ended in rioting. The follow-up, "You Trip Me Up," further perfected the formula, and led to their 1985 debut LP Psychocandy, which gift-wrapped sweet, simple pop songs in ribbons of droning guitar fuzz. After a two-year layoff (during which time Gillespie exited to form Primal Scream, and was replaced by John Moore), the Jesus and Mary Chain returned with Darklands, a dramatic shift in approach which stripped away the feedback to expose the skeletal guitar pop at the music's core. After a sprawling 1988 collection of singles, B-sides, and demos titled Barbed Wire Kisses, they emerged with Automatic, which introduced a more tightly coiled brand of feedback while jettisoning Moore's live drums in favor of synthesized beats.

After another long absence, the Mary Chain (minus Hart) resurfaced in 1992 with Honey's Dead, and earned greater U.S. visibility thanks to a spot on that summer's Lollapalooza lineup; the first single, "Reverence," also won them renewed notoriety at home when Top of the Pops banned the song because of its opening lines, "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ" and "I wanna die just like JFK." With 1994's gentle, largely acoustic Stoned & Dethroned, they even reached the U.S. pop charts thanks to the lovely single "Sometimes Always," a duet with Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. Another collection of scattered sides, The Jesus and Mary Chain Hate Rock 'n' Roll, followed a year later, highlighted by the single "I Hate Rock 'n' Roll," a scabrous swipe which reclaimed the pure noise attack of their earliest work. Moving to Sub Pop, they returned with Munki in 1998. William Reid left the group during the subsequent tour, and in 1999, the Jesus and Mary Chain officially disbanded.

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eMusic Features

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Who Are…Light Heat

By Matthew Fritch, Contributor

Quentin Stoltzfus shot through the ranks of a late '90s Philadelphia psych-rock scene — a tightly-knit faction of retro-futurists that included the Lilys, Bardo Pond, Lenola, Photon Band, Azusa Plane and Asteroid #4 — on the back of a near-perfect dream-pop debut album. Watch It Happen, released under the name Mazarin, revealed Stoltzfus's talent for princely, soft-focus pop that was well aligned with peers such as Grandaddy and the Elephant 6 collective. Two more Mazarin… more »

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Who Are…Moon Duo

By Austin L. Ray, Contributor

Moon Duo's second LP, Circles, will probably be the best record made in the most obscure location this year. Although parts of it were recorded in the band's previous home of San Francisco, and some mixing and other worked happened in Berlin, the majority of its creative efforts came from a Rocky Mountain eternity of a winter early this year. The band's new home of Blue River, Colorado, sported a population of 685 during the… more »

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36 Songs To Soothe the Pain

By Wondering Sound Staff, Contributor

Whether you're happily married or told Cupid to shove it a long time ago, we can all agree on one thing: to quote the one-and-only Nazareth, "Love hurts/ Love scars/ Love wounds/ And mars." Or something. That's why we went ahead and compiled a list of 36 Songs To Soothe the Pain, from the bloodletting confessionals of Neko Case, Bright Eyes and Sunny Day Real Estate to the melancholic melodies of Sigur Rós, the Shangri-Las… more »

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Who Are…Wax Idols

By Barry Walters, Contributor

While Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino radiates all the sunny musical signposts of her native Los Angeles — specifically, surf guitar riffs and beach-buoyant harmonies — Wax Idols' Oakland transplant Hether Fortune sings, writes and generates a sound that references several decades of dark British alt-rock, albeit with a contemporary DIY spirit. Like other buzzy Bay Area bands, Fortune and her supporting players prove that punk and pop can still come together without going corporate. eMusic's Barry… more »

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Six Degrees of Wavves’ Life Sux EP

By Austin L. Ray, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

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Six Degrees of Psychocandy

By Matthew Fritch, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

Video from YouTube

  • thumbnail from The Jesus and Mary Chain - I Hate Rock'n'Roll (Official Video) The Jesus and Mary Chain - I Hate Rock'n'Roll (Official Video)
  • thumbnail from The Jesus And Mary Chain | In A Hole (Live @ BBC TV's The Old Grey Whistle Test, 1985) The Jesus And Mary Chain | In A Hole (Live @ BBC TV's The Old Grey Whistle Test, 1985)
  • thumbnail from The Jesus And Mary Chain - Happy When It Rains (Official Video) The Jesus And Mary Chain - Happy When It Rains (Official Video)
  • thumbnail from The Jesus and Mary Chain - Interview + Live London 1985 The Jesus and Mary Chain - Interview + Live London 1985

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