You’ve seen them at parties, lurking in the corner, waiting to engage in battle disguised as conversation. They’re indie rock know-it-alls, and no matter what band or musician you mention, they’ve got an opinion — strong and almost certainly negative — ready to ram down your throat. With Instant Expert, we offer preparation for these very situations. Each Thursday, in advance of your weekend carousing, we pick an artist and provide a quickie career overview, highlighting both prevailing critical opinions and the inevitable contrarian counterarguments. Even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the music, you’ll be able to bluff your way through and defend your indie cred. This week: My Bloody Valentine.

  • The Gist

    My Bloody Valentine formed in Ireland 30 years ago but didn't perfect their guitar-based noise sculptures until their debut album, 1988's 'Isn't Anything.' Three years later, they released their masterpiece 'Loveless.' The band's mix of woozy guitar lines, ethereal vocals and dreamy melodies helped secure their position as the world's premier shoegaze band. After 'Loveless,' they didn't do much for 20 years, with frontman Kevin Shields stopping and starting work on the band's long-awaited third album, 'm b v,' which finally came out in February 2013.

    Bryan Bedder, Getty Images
  • Critical Consensus

    With 1991's 'Loveless,' My Bloody Valentine defined the shoegaze genre. But more than that, the album is a '90s indie-rock milestone, an effects-guided excursion into psych-rock territory that isn't sure if it's coming or going half the time. 'Loveless' is scary, gorgeous and flawless.

  • Contrarian Counterargument

    The band's 1988 debut album 'Isn't Anything' is leaner and in ways more focused than anything else they ever recorded. It's guitar-powered, melody-driven noise at its purest.

  • Counter-counterargument

    The 1990 EP 'Glider,' released between their first and second albums, is 20 minutes of heaven -- a foggy, hazy, glazed-over heaven.

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Say This

    They're so loud. And I'm pretty sure their guitars are out of tune.

    William Vanderson, Hulton Archive, Getty Images