Is This a Good Idea? Portland Punk/Bluegrass Musician Remakes MBV’s Loveless

Kenny Feinstein

YOU be the judge, dear readers! The album is titled “Loveless” Hurts To Love”…

 Front man for Portland, Oregon-based roots-bluegrass-punk outfit, Water Tower, Kenny Feinstein will release his debut solo album, Loveless: Hurts To Love, a tribute to My Bloody Valentine, on Portland, Oregon-based Fluff & Gravy Records September 17, 2013.  The record, which contains all eleven tracks from the My Bloody Valentine classic, plus the track “Swallow” from their 1991 Tremolo EP, released nine months prior to Loveless on Creation Records, finds Feinstein paying homage to his favorite record, while not just covering it, but re-creating it with acoustic guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and dulcimer.

      MP3: “Loomer”

  “This record is not just a Loveless cover, it is a different planet in the same galaxy,” says Feinstein, discussing the record he spent two years making in California with record producer Jeff Kazor and engineer/co-producer Bruce Kaphan (American Music Club).

 “Because we were able to spend so much time on the record, we were able to gain perspective in between recording sessions and really find what it was we were looking for in the album,” furthers Feinstein.

 Feinstein, who played the majority of the instruments on the record, enlisted the help of Kaphan and Kazor, as well as infamous singer-songwriter Richard Buckner, who lent his voice and ukelele to the record. (Below: Feinstein and Buckner’s “What You Want”)

   “I approached a dear friend of mine, an amazing record producer/band leader Jeff Kazor to help me produce this record, as I knew he understood and lived through the shoegaze era,” Feinstein recalls.  “I was too young to understand the shoegaze movement when it was happening.  Jeff introduced me to the engineer/co-producer of this record, Bruce Kaphan.  The three of us became a team who met once a month for about two years in Bruce’s studio in Niles, CA.”

 Kazor also introduced Feinstein to Buckner, a songwriter Feinstein had long looked up to and admired.

 Together, the four of them set up to re-create a classic record, understanding the feat they were tackling, but looking at the project in a new light.

 “The goal was to play along on acoustic guitar with the record and have whatever part I created work perfectly with the original album.  I then realized I needed to share this with the world to help everyone understand this album,” he says of his motivation behind the project.

 “I forced myself to listen to Loveless over and over because I did not understand it.  I was confused by the sounds coming from it,” says Feinstein of his initial reaction to the album.  “Finally, when listening to ‘Loomer’ while driving around a mall in Fort Lauderdale I had an epiphany during the chorus.  I could not tell if the sound was being made by a human, a synth, a guitar, a bass or anything, but I did not care, all I could gather was that it was the most blissful sound I had ever heard.”

 Thus, Feinstein’s love of Loveless was born.

 “The mystery was intriguing and painful.  That started the year of Loveless for me.  I listened to it every day for a year, sometimes a few times a day, sometimes all day.  I had a feeling of not being able to get close enough to the album.  This hurt me.  I tried to get closer and closer, and play it louder and louder, but I could never get as close as I wanted to.  So I decided to learn each song as accurately as possible.”

 Learning the songs on acoustic guitar, he knew he had to record it and release it to the world.  In between touring with Water Tower and recording Water Tower’s forthcoming, debut full-length, Feinstein and friends made Loveless: Hurts To Love, as both a tribute, and a new take on the classic.

 The results are stunning.  While the original is minimal and loud, purposely taking advantage of under production while pushing the tape to red, Feinstein’s version is lush, with tight, impeccable production.  The stark contrast between the two shows both Feinstein’s understanding of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields’ original version for Loveless, while re-imagining it being made without contempt and malice for the label for which it was being created.

 For those that have heard Loveless countless times, much like Feinstein, Loveless: Hurts To Love will be a breath of fresh air.  For those that have never heard Loveless before, Feinstein’s take on a classic will be one that will both open your eyes and make you wish to visit and familiarize yourself on the album that has both influenced and stunned countless musicians and audiophiles.

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