Indie Hits (Telstar, 1992)

Indie Hits

Indie Hits r

Indie Hits saw Telstar make one of its occasional forays into the alternative scene. You’ll recall the memorable Product 2378 and Rave (both 1990) which were a pair of qualified triumphs. We get 16 tracks with James, Curve, Daisy Chainsaw, Lush, The Wonder Stuff, EMF, Jesus Jones, The Sugarcubes, Ride and Teenage Fanclub getting top sleeve billing. Three tunes also appeared on contemporary rival Indie Top 20 Volume 14: Lush – For Love, Daisy Chainsaw – Love Your Money and The Sugarcubes – Hit.

“Ape your father’s sins, your mother’s mood swings, to perfection.” It’s nice to start off with a James track that isn’t from the Gold Mother era. This effectively spanned two years which had begun with the unsuccessful Rough Trade single releases of Sit Down and Come Home and ended with the former’s 1991 success. Sound emerged as those fading autumn leaves fell, a stirring gathering er, sound. We get the 7″ mix, considerably shorter than the version on the Seven LP. It’ll haunt you for many years afterwards. Next come Ride and the blistering psychedelic metal of Leave Them All Behind. “Beautiful guitar, I can swim in the sound.” All that bass and exploding drums. The song that cemented shoegaze. The album Going Blank Again drove the point home and still brings forth a torrent of pure emotion every time I play it. A true hurricane of intensity, not forgetting the wah-wah at 6:15. “This noise, melody and singing just make my heart ache with nostalgia.” (M Iwa)

Curve’s Doppelgänger came out on 9 March 1992, the same day as Ride’s second LP. I bought both on the day and played the Curve LP while lying in bed, lights out, curtains open. Contemplating. A disturbing listen, accentuated by the broken dolls on the outer and inner sleeves. Fait Accompli, the lead track is here in 7″ form, still sounding like the future. By that stage of the year, The Wedding Present were one quarter of their way through their master plan to release one 7″ single each month. Three came out in March, another purchase from Our Price in Tallaght. It’s more intense than Blue Eyes or Go-Go Dancer, a plaintive knockabout lament. Each single came with a cover on the B-Side; in this instance it was a novel retread through Altered Images’ Think That It Might. The concept, collected on The Hit Parade 1 & 2 led to a dozen top 30 hits during 1992 with just three of them staying on the charts for more than one week. The first half is definitely the best – peaking with June’s California, an NME SOTW; by December the band had clearly got tired of the concept as the material became more throwaway and the covers anodyne.

Price points ending in 98p were brought in by Borderline Records. In a lot of cases, 12″ singles would drop to £1.98 after a few weeks. Teenage Fanclub’s What You Do Me was one such example, released on 27 January – a short, sharp burst of frantic power pop. Meanwhile The Wonder Stuff were hitting their stride on their fiddly LP #3 Never Loved Elvis; the stomping Size Of A Cow went top 5, a buoyant rush that leads neatly – raggle taggle style – into The Levellers’ Dick Whittington-like anthem One Way. A stirring call to arms, caned on CD jukeboxes across the land. Slowly the tempo rises with the next track – Primal Scream’s joyous Screamadelica-opener Movin’ On Up which was the lead track on the Dixie Narco 12″. They covered a Beach Boys track written by Dennis Wilson – Carry Me Home – for the EP. As did Lush – one of his best solo tunes, Fallin’ In Love AKA Lady.

We go back to baggy for the next sequence. Silvertone mined yet another single from The Stone Roses’ debut – Waterfall – more than two and a half year after the emergence of the album. It’s good to hear the 7″ edit here. We laughed when EMF released their follow-up to Unbelievable. Reason – it had the word “believe” in the title. I Believe was a frantic piano pounder and rumour had it that single #3 would be I Don’t Believe Anything. And International Bright Young Thing still remains a bit of a mouthful for Jesus Jones fans. Elsewhere Mega City Four – another McGonagles gig I saw in 1992 – grew up a bit with the mature & reflective Stop. The same four songs were on the 7″ but the quality was poor. Another £1.98 12″ as was the follow-up Shivering Sand. Finally it’s the timeless shuffle of Thousand Yard Stare’s Comeuppance, a loping slice of earnest guitar harmonies. Happy?

Favourite tracks
Curve – Fait Accompli

Ride – Leave Them All Behind

Lest we forget
Thousand Yard Stare – Comeuppance

Posted in Pop UK | Leave a comment

Indie Top 20 Volume 14 (Beechwood Music, 1992)

Indie V14

Indie V14 r

Arriving in the shops during the heady spring of 1992, the 14th volume in the Indie Top 20 series undergoes a radical makeover. Now called “Independent 20”, the highlighted bands are Curve, Lush, The Sugarcubes, Revolver, Daisy Chainsaw “and more” while the only reference to the number is in the CD spine. In a rather obnoxious move, vinyl buyers were given an option of buying a pricey edition with a bonus one-sided 12″ containing three unessential tracks – Revolver’s Heaven Sent An Angel (Demo), Moose and Theme From Ace Conroy plus Argonaut by Dr Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations. That limited pressing subsequently disappeared after a short while. In addition, Th’ Faith Healers’ Reptile Smile didn’t make the CD version. And there’s pelicans on the sleeve. Go figure.

The sleeve note comments make a welcome return:
Lush – For Love: “Since their formation in 1988 and the release of the first mini-LP Scar in 1989, Lush have had to develop under the spotlight of the nation’s music media. The For Love EP and the recent Guthrie produced album Spooky have proved beyond a doubt that Lush have been worthy of the attention which has been paid to them over the past three years.”
Moose – Last Night I Fell Again: “Moose shot out of musical obscurity in the early part of ’91 with the release of their Jack EP on the Hut label. Cool Breeze, their second EP, quickly followed and established Moose still further as an important and exciting new band. Last Night I Fell Again is featured on their third EP Reprise which sees Moose in a more melancholic mood. Do keep an eye on Moose as they have the talent to produce something rather remarkable in the future.”
Revolver – Don’t Ever Leave: “Revolver emerged in ’91 as the torch bearers of new order in independent music. They soon signed to Hut and have released two critically acclaimed singles to date. The first, Heaven Sent An Angel, silenced those journalists who claimed the band were just hype. The following Crimson EP which Don’t Ever Leave is taken from, is a collection of tender tracks which prove that Revolver will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the months and years to come.”
Mercury Rev – Carwash Hair (The Bee’s Chasing Me) Full Pull: “Mercury Rev are a six-piece from Buffalo, New York who took the independent music scene by storm in ’91 with the release of their Yerself Is Steam LP. They have been compared to various bands such as Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction and Butthole Surfers. Car Wash Hair was their debut single which earned Mercury Rev a Melody Maker single of the week.”
Throwing Muses – Not Too Soon: “Over the past six years Throwing Muses have been one of the most consistent bands to have come out of America. Signed to 4AD in ’86, they have released a total of four EPs, one mini LP and four full length albums. Not Too Soon, taken from ’91’s Real Ramona LP, was written by Tanya Donelly who has since left the group. Both Tanya and the Muses are currently recording LPs for release this autumn.”

Dr Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations – Hazy Lazy Hologram (Edit): “Dr Phibes and The House of Wax Equations are based in Liverpool and signed to 50 Seel Street records. Fronted by Howard King Jr, Dr Phibes will go a long way. Do not be surprised if they soon get scooped up by a major record company and go on to have enormous commercial and critical success.”
The Sugarcubes – Hit: “Hit is The Sugarcubes’ seventh single for One Little Indian and is featured on their third album Stick Around For Joy which is their best collection of tunes since the release of their 1988 million selling debut album Life’s Too Good. The Sugarcubes are one of the most refreshingly innovative bands around at the moment.”
Catwalk – Damascus: “Catwalk is made up of Chris Roberts and a shifting nucleus of contributing musicians. After winning the GLR demo clash for a record number of consecutive weeks, they were signed by Dedicated. Damascus is a pulsating passion play about love, hate, revelation and mermaids, which is featured on Catwalk’s debut 45 which came out in January.”
Wonky Alice – Caterpillars: “Wonky Alice are a four piece who are causing quite a stir in the North West at the moment. Caterpillars is taken from their debut EP for the Pomona label Insects and Astronauts. The band recently recorded a Radio 5 session for Mark Radcliffe and have supported World of Twist. Wonky Alice are definitely a band to watch out for in future.”

Curve – Die Like A Dog: “To date Curve have released three EPs on Dave Stewart’s Anxious label. The first two, Blindfold and Frozen proved that Curve were without a doubt a very exciting proposition for the future. Die Like A Dog is taken from their third EP Cherry which was released in December ’91 and reached the Gallup Top 40. Their debut album Doppelganger will further establish Curve as one of the most important bands to have emerged out of the British independent scene in the last few years.”
The God Machine – Home: “The God Machine arrived in Camden from California and released their debut EP Purity on Eve Recordings in November 1991. Home is one of three tracks featured on the EP which has been hailed in some quarters as the finest debut of ’91. Now signed to Fiction, The God Machine are an exciting prospect.”
Silverfish – Jimmy: “Silverfish were formed in North London at the end of ’88. Before signing to Creation they had released two singles, both of which received the Single of the Week treatment. In January ’90 the first real Silverfish album Fat Axl came out – ‘The title comes from a particularly scathing NME review’. Their first 45 for Creation was the F***in’ Drivin’ Or What EP which reached the Gallup Top 100. Jimmy is taken from their January ’92 Silverfish With Scrambled Egg EP which is indeed Silverfish at their finest.”
Leatherface – I Want The Moon: “I Want The Moon is the second single to have been released from Leatherface’s titanic Mush album. It earned the band an NME single of the week in November ’91. Look out for their next release which will be a ten inch EP, Compact & Bijou which should be available from May onwards.”
Midway Still – Wish: “Midway Still formed at the tail end of ’90 out of the ashes of a couple of anonymous grunge bands. Signed to the Roughneck Recording Co, their debut EP I Won’t Try received huge critical acclaim. Wish is the title track from their follow up EP which also features an outstanding cover of My Bloody Valentine’s You Made Me Realise. Their Don Fleming produced album is set for an April release.”

Gallon Drunk – Some Fool’s Mess: “Thundering out of London come Gallon Drunk, with this, their fourth single for Clawfist. This sexy little blistering baby ploughed the independent charts for two months and established the band as the slicked-back gentlemen of dynamic tunes. These righteous preachers released their debut LP in February. How can anyone go wrong with Gallon Drunk? After all, they do smoke their own!”
Daisy Chainsaw – Love Your Money: “Daisy Chainsaw are a London foursome whose debut 45 Lovesick Pleasure set the world alight in January of this year. Achieving airplay on daytime radio and crashing into the Top 40, Daisy Chainsaw are definitely going to be the surprise success of ’92.”
Shonen Knife – Space Christmas: “Shonen Knife are three talented Japanese women whose debut 45 in the UK, Space Christmas, reached number one in the independent chart. After touring with Nirvana and Captain America, they are now attracting interest from Japanese, American and European record companies. Shonen Knife’s zany world of animals, sea shells, marshmallows and ice-cream will be entering the lives of a lot more people over the coming months.”
Captain America – Wow!: “The rise of Captain America over the past few months has been quite amazing. Fronted by ex-Vaseline Eugene Kelly, they recently supported Nirvana on their British and European tour as well as releasing their debut EP for Paperhouse. At the moment they are working on their first album which on the strength of Wow! promises to be something else.”
The Pastels – Thru Your Heart: “After a two year absence The Pastels are re-establishing themselves on the independent music scene. A cover of Daniel Johnston’s Speeding Motorcycle was their first proper release since the Sittin’ Pretty album of 1989. Thru’ Your Heart was a Melody Maker single of the week and bodes well for their forthcoming album, A Truckload of Trouble.”

The music contained therein (and to a similar extent on the next volume) remind me of my first days in Dublin – as a resident, rather than an occasional visitor. In those days, vacant flats were advised in one or both of the city’s evening papers – Herald or Press. Both came out around midday and you needed to be quick off the mark. In mid-October, I managed to secure a basement bedsit on Harold’s Cross Road for £35 per week. The bathroom was shared – on the first floor – and the shower took 20p coins. There was a black ESB meter inside my door that needed 50ps to keep the power going. The bars on the windows gave the place a boxed-in vibe and the natural light was never that great. Mobile phones were unheard of in 1991; if I wanted to make a call, I used the payphone in the hall or else went onto the street where you had a choice of a regular payphone or one that took callcards. But it was my own place and once I got back from my job in Tallaght each evening and closed the door, it felt liberating to stick on a record and just relax while considering food options. A tinned cannelloni that needed to be boiled in a saucepan was a favourite.

In 1990s flatland, visiting friends was very important. You could really become isolated when living alone so it was important to get out at least a couple of times each week. One of my closest friends was repeating his Leaving Cert in Leeson Street and rented a flat (nicer than mine) on Lower Rathmines Road – about a 13 or 14 minute walk away. The guy living in the flat beside him was called Ernie, was fond of watching horse-racing and used to play 4AD albums loudly – Pale Saints, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance. There was a strange, overly friendly and somewhat creepy guy living downstairs. Hey ladies! Back then, women would typically share two bedroom flats in groups of four. The key female friend hangouts for us were at Grove Park and Leinster Road, both in Rathmines. The Grove Park flat was closest to mine, a mere seven minute stroll away. Getting to Leinster Road meant a brisk walk through the lonely backstreets of Grosvenor Lane where dark shadows always bounced off the plywood (there was always some form of construction going on).

Over the years I attended many house parties. The craziest of them all was the one at 128 Leinster Road, held on a Friday night during late November 1991. Your hosts: four student nurses. We all met in Curtin’s pub which was located – as far as I remember – at 196 Lower Rathmines Road. Painted green. It subsequently became Toast. We headed back to the flat after a couple of pints; it seemed like more than 100 of us. A most memorable night; soundtracked by an interminably buried compilation tape I made. Bits of Trompe Le Monde, Nevermind, Screamadelica, Loveless, Bandwagonesque, Foxbase Alpha. Plus the Pet Shop Boys’ Discography. Mayhem, pile-ons, punches, moshing, mushrooms, stolen cans & the inevitable return of the gatecrashers. Of course the neighbours complained and we piled out on the quiet residential street around 2.30am. It was very close to a public phone box and who could forget the red door. Naturally an eviction notice followed the next day and the student nurses were out on their ear. No mercy from the landlord. They did find another flat on the same road shortly afterwards so the regular visits continued.

128 Leinster Road

Gala was compiled by Lush’s record label, 4AD, as an introduction to the United States and Japanese markets. The album features the band’s debut mini LP Scar along with the Mad Love and Sweetness and Light EPs in reverse chronological order. A trick that they’d repeat for their 2001 Ciao! Best Of Lush compilation. A cover version of ABBA’s 1975 song Hey Hey Helen which had been recorded for an abandoned anti-poll tax compilation was also included, as well as a rerecording of Scar’s Scarlet that had been previously released in March 1990 on the Melody Maker compilation Gigantic! 2. All CD copies of Gigantic! 2 now suffer from disc rot, the CDs sadly manufactured at PDO Blackburn. Despite owning all of their collected output, I bought Gala anyway; its packaging the real draw, consisting of an outer sleeve and two inner sleeves. DTK Records, around December 1990. Lunch in Burger King, Grafton Street – the same place I snacked when I had bought Scar some 12 months earlier. 1991 was relatively quiet for the band as they recorded their debut album Spooky. The silence was broken by the Black Spring EP towards the end of the year. The sweeping Nothing Natural was the killer; released in a edited 7″ mix that’s simply perfect.

New Year’s Eve 1991 was spent on a lengthy pub crawl in Leeson Street that culminated in drinking a take out of a warm six pack of Harp Lager. The night ended in vomit; crashing in someone else’s car flat. I remember the painful walk back to Harold’s Cross. The cold and the lack of open shops. And a deeply sinister repeat of Wanderly Wagon on television. To cheer myself up, I took out the new Lush 12″ that I had picked up on the Monday. For Love was beautifully melodic and came with a fabulous cover of Wire’s Outdoor Miner. Anticipation was rising for Spooky and I barely made it into town on the 49 bus from Tallaght on 27 January 1992. It came in a double 10″ pressing and plays like a quartet of wistful, dreamy movements. Paula Mejia states “Its brilliant intricacies remain best appreciated alone, through headphones, and preferably in a room where long shadows creep onto the walls.” I played it all week – until Friday 31st when Lush came to The Rock Garden. A belated birthday bash. Mick & I made the trip and we moshed our heads off.

After such a fragile beginning, nothing quite matches the mood again. Moose are second out with Last Night I Fell Again – all raw and melancholy before Revolver’s no note thud of Don’t Ever Leave. A flashback to The Square, Tallaght – I’d often go there at lunchtime, anxious to get away from office politics. There was an Our Price Records, not quite as good as the one in Henry Street but had some interesting singles, often reduced to 50p. After an unsatisfying McDonalds lunch, I had some loose change in my pocket and checked out the 7″s. One came in a plain back sleeve with Jaguar Coventry written on it. A vague & hazy recollection from the NME – Mercury Rev’s Car Wash Hair. And what a punt – a glorious psychedelic trip of noise that was standalone from their debut LP Yerself Is Steam. Again, The Rock Garden was the place to be when Mercury Rev played a six song set, supported by Rollerskate Skinny. NB – it’s the full length 12″ mix that appears here – twice the time.

For me, the Throwing Muses peaked on The Real Ramona, a most delightful song cycle. Each song a treasure trove. Counting Backwards was the lead single, a spiky gazing-in-the-distance anthem that’s preserved on Indie Top 20 Volume 12. A Lower Rathmines Road bedsit jam – Mick bought the LP first, then me. Here we get Not Too Soon – a wonderful single, a sort of manic pop thrill driven along by the brilliant drumming of David Narcizo. Hooks galore and enhanced by the alluring Tanya Donelly in the video. Inevitably, after such front-loaded highs, things settle down into a rather samey vibe thereafter. Dr Phibes and his mob are anodyne; Hazy Lazy Hologram sounds just as uninspired as you would imagine. Thankfully The Sugarcubes return after a two year absence with the toe-tapping gorgeousness of Hit complete with Einar rap. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

The patron saints of mediocrity next – both Catwalk and Wonky Alice showcase a pair of truly unremarkable tunes in Damascus and Caterpillars, the later being as pug ugly and angular as anticipated. Thankfully we’re saved by an EP track, Curve’s relentless Die Like A Dog – lifted from their third 12″ selection, Cherry. Another killer four tracks; sadly the momentum could not be maintained and March 1992’s debut LP Doppleganger was a slight disappointment – the expectancy was huge after the ’91 releases. “Peace in a world free from religion.” While Die… remains a fan favourite, I’d have been equally happy to have seen the 7″ edit of Clipped. Check out the Pubic Fruit compilation and marvel at what might have been – a bit like The Beta Band’s 3 EPs. Back to noise and it’s not beautiful – The God Machine’s charmless Home – before the snarling Silverfish and their likeable Jimmy. I was the proud owner of two Silverfish t-shirts: Hips, Tits, Lips, Power and the red Fat As Fuck one. Saw all dates of their Irish tour in ’93 as local band Brawl supported.

I keep confusing Frankie Stubbs with Levi Stubbs. Leatherface were a bit popular with the hardcore lads and I Want The Moon still packs a punch; great when you’re 21 in a mosh pit. Next are Midway Still and the rather downbeat (for them) sound of Wish before the most overrated Gallon Drunk ply their ugly trade in Some Fools Mess. Back then we’d go out every Thursday and Saturday night to McGonagles on South Anne Street. Panic and Sonic Boom. Daisy Chainsaw’s riotous Love Your Money was briefly bright; the new Transvision Vamp with an album named Eleventeen. It’s still memorable to re-visit every once in while, particularly when surrounded by the rather absurd Space Christmas by Shonen Knife and brutish Wow! from Captain America. Which brings us to the closing track; along with Curve, one of the highlights of sides 2, 3 & 4: The Pastels in fine fey form with the joyful clumsy shimmer of Thru Your Heart. A neat way to close a chaotic chapter of youthful freedom. Dedicated to Photo Jenny C, of Dublin 13 – unlucky for some.

Favourite tracks
Lush – For Love

Throwing Muses – Not Too Soon

Lest we forget
Mercury Rev – Car Wash Hair (The Bee’s Chasing Me) Full Pull

Posted in Indie Top 20 | 1 Comment

The Best Of The Mark Goodier Radio 1 Sessions (Nighttracks, 1992)

The Best Of The Mark Goodier Radio 1 Sessions

The Best Of The Mark Goodier Radio 1 Sessions r

As an ideal companion piece to The Best Of The Radio 1 Sessions Volume 1, The Best Of The Mark Goodier Radio 1 Sessions Volume 1 was also a one-off. In 1990, The Evening Show became The Evening Session and Mark Goodier began presenting it, a most eclectic mix of sound and became arguably more diverse than fellow BBC compatriot John Peel. It’s worth noting that many of these songs ended up a brilliant cassette which was given away as a cover-mount with Vox magazine, Christmas 1991 – called Live & Unreleased.

With one exception, each band have submitted sleeve note comments:
The Farm – Hearts ‘n’ Minds: “My aim is to become the Kiss of the ’90s. We’ve always hated dance music and those Julius Caesar haircuts were just a regrettable bid for popularity. The real Farm is all about bizarre facial decorations, meaningless lyrics, excruciating guitar riffs and a high ratio of phallic gesticulations. Think Farm: think glamour.”
Jesus Jones – Someone To Blame: “An attractively obscure choice, a song that had previously been overlooked and not done justice. The session version reflected our interests at the time better than when the song appeared on Liquidizer. The fact that we were at our least incompetent here also helped the decision!” (Mike Edwards)
Milltown Brothers – Sally Anne: “This is our favourite track.” (Matt Nelson)
Paris Angels – Oh Yes: “We thought this would be a good one to include because it’s the original version of the song. There’s more of a groove to it than the one we did for the album.”

EMF – I Believe: “We formed the band at the end of ’89 and I Believe was the first song we wrote together. The video is filmed in the Forest of Dean, which takes us back to our roots too. So it’s just the track that started it all.” (Ian Dench)
Spirea X – Chlorine Dream: “A symphony of sound set around out-of-tune vocals, this is the first recording of Chlorine Dream. Don’t go near the water!” (Jim Beattie)
Poppy Factory – Stars?: “…was written six months ago. It screamed radio airplay. It was more Poppy Factory escapism, really.” (Jock Cotton)
Birdland – Wake Up Dreaming: “We wanted Exit to be on this CD but our manager chose Wake Up Dreaming. It’s an old song which we decided to hold back until we could get it a lot better. We did a straight version for the session. I wanted it to be more like Blondie than it came out. It doesn’t mean much – just a pop song, basically.” (Lee Vincent)
The Real People – Wonderful: “We did four tracks on the session. I think this was a pretty good choice – it’s great live, a real ballsy track. I wrote it in our manager’s house before recording the album. It started off as a different track at first, but me and my brother took the idea further and worked it into a new song.” (Chris Griffiths)

Banderas – Don’t Let That Man: “We thought it sounded better live than on the album. It had more of the feel we had intended, which was slightly more surly.”
Linden Tree – Walk Your Way: “This song hopefully says something to someone about not getting inside your head too much for what you’ve done or didn’t do in love and life.”
The Dylans – Ocean Wide: “…is a song about existentialism and more precisely JP Sartre’s book Nausea which was a major influence. My mind is not a paddling pool.” (Colin Gregory)
Fatima Mansions – You’re A Rose: “This is included to commemorate the first and last attempt by The Fatima Mansions to fit into the ossified British way of doing things.” (Cathal Coughlan)

Chapterhouse – Breather: “It’s got the full Chapterhouse sound with two vocalists and three guitars. It’s faster than most of the stuff we do, so it’s a good track live. The Goodier session was about the fourth time we’d recorded it because we were trying to get the right sound. It was just after we’d been touring so I think it sounds pretty good on the session.” (Andrew Sheriff)
The Frank & Walters – Michael: “We chose Michael because it’s the track we thought sounded the best on the session and it’s the first one we ever heard on the radio that means something to us.”
Cud: Oh No Won’t Do: “…started as a list of interesting sounding places in the developing world set to a Cud-like rhythm. It kind of metamorphosed almost inevitably into yet another obtuse Cud commentary on the state of affairs somewhere sometime. We like to play this one live.”
The Charlatans – (No One) Not Even The Rain: No sleeve notes provided.

The selection of “exclusive and unreleased recordings” kicks off with The Farm’s Hearts ‘n’ Minds. Originally their debut single as far back as 1984, the track was a strong opener to the Spartacus album and this version retains the baggy groove of the ’91 cut. Plenty cool people poked fun at the album back then; it’s garish supermarket / washing up powder sleeve was an easy target but in retrospect it’s an excellent crossover LP perfectly balanced on the indie dance axis. I saw The Farm play at Féile 1991; part of an excellent Friday night line-up that also included Into Paradise, The Golden Horde, The Mock Turtles, Power Of Dreams, Ride, That Petrol Emotion, Happy Mondays plus a surprise impromptu teatime set by Black Francis. A most fondly-remembered occasion. Next are Jesus Jones with the nagging Someone To Blame before a superb version of the Milltown Brothers’ plaintive Sally Anne. This ace baggy sequence continues with the Paris Angels’ smoking Oh Yes.

Following up Unbelievable with I Believe was a funny move for EMF. This version from November 1990 contains enough swagger and attitude to make you get up and dance. We start to shimmer with the next number, Spirea X’s Chlorine Dream. We are now sliding deep into Forever Changing territory with the Poppy Factory’s remarkable Stars, a great and lost indie dance classic. Oh that Madchester guitar! Check out my mix 18 Forever for more of the same. Still hanging on in 1991 were Birdland; Wake Up Dreaming is typical of the sound of the self-titled Lazy album. Better are The Real People – a favourite of Peter Harrison from Brookside (he wore their t-shirt) – and the wavy, heartfelt Wonderful. I did say that the show was eclectic – next are Banderas and the ripe soulful pop of Don’t Let That Man. And then the most obscure Linden Tree & the moody strum of Walk Your Way.

Released on Situation Two, The Dylans’ self-titled debut album was more of the era’s more psychedelic LPs. Ocean Wide see them bring the organ to the fore. “This is Mr Blank calling…” – so begin a rather subdued version of one of the many highlights from Fatima Mansions’ Viva Dead Ponies. You’re A Rose was released as a single in 1991, coming with a limited edition art print. Also flying the tricolour are The Frank & Walters who recorded their session around the same time as EP1 hit the shops. Two SOTW in NME and three in Melody Maker. Michael remains a revelation of the absurd, a rush and a triumph (20). Over to Shoegazer 93 re: Chapterhouse’s Breather: “The rush of distortion, the frantic drumming, breathy, gliding vocals, the main riff, the intro volume swell, the guitar effects, the melody, oh, this is just Shoegaze perfection!” Moving on – it’s Cud and the catchy Oh No Won’t Do. Lastly, The Charlatans and the thrillingly miserable (No One) Not Even The Rain dating from 15 October 1991. “The first and lonely days have come…”

Favourite tracks
Poppy Factory – Stars

Milltown Brothers – Sally Anne

Lest we forget
The Frank & Walters – Michael

Posted in BBC Sessions | 2 Comments