“The sun is shining” says the introduction. I don’t remember 1993 being a particularly memorable summer in terms of weather. The magazine is time-stamped 16 July; my re-collection is picking it up one day after work, from Top Twenty Records in Kilkenny and chatting to the late Willie Meighan about the featured artists. I spent two successive summers working in Kilkenny; Top Twenty was a daily port of call and it was always enjoyable to shoot the breeze with Willie. My copy of The Fall’s Perverted By Language came from him, a steal for £2 in 1992. Given that the era was vinyl’s lowest ebb, a number of new LPs had to be ordered specially – U2’s Zooropa & Neil Young’s Unplugged being two purchases that stand out. Despite the 65 minute running time, the latter holds up remarkably well in the circumstances. Now when Transformer Man starts up, I close my eyes and think of those days. As for Rollercoaster Records, long may you run.
We start with a great interview – Teenage Fanclub talking about music. Early US rock & roll (Buddy Holly and Little Richard get mentioned), Joe Meek, the British beat boom, the 1970s, punk & new wave, Orange Juice, Felt, baggy and house music. Only at the end do Big Star get invoked. We get a nice new instrumental tune Belt, a tribute to Lawrence’s mob. Then a fascinating look into the mind of early Radiohead, who would still have been supporting The Frank & Walters around then. Stupid Car (Tinnitus Mix) is enjoyable, the original being taken from the Drill EP which was better than most of Pablo Honey. It’s followed by Verve (the two bands would have a massive 1997) and South Pacific. Plaid Zebra recalls “The live track by Verve is difficult to find elsewhere, I think, and it is a stunning meditation on death with cascading sheets of noisy guitar.” It was certainly a blissful time for them and us; there’s a gig review and some good background info on the legendary A Storm In Heaven. “A young band spreading its wings with true majesty.”
The most interesting thing – then – about the Sebadoh inclusion was to see if Lou Barlow was still bitter about his sacking from Dinosaur Jr. He was. It’s a decent write up with a nice career summary. October 1993 saw me host a joint all night radio show on UCD FM with a friend who brought along his copy of the Soul And Fire 12″. B4 Untitled got played; a collage of 1990s intro tapes used in various live shows of the band. This version of Whitey Peach was recorded live in Amsterdam. Also lifted from a concert was Elevate My Mind from the Stereo MCs who were supporting U2 on the Zoo TV tour. They bitch to Sam King about the glossy tour programme and come across as extremely ungracious in their attitude to the main act. Connected – while an enjoyable enough listen – was certainly popular with the “corporate” casual buyer that the band obviously despise. Next are Sub Sub with the meandering Valium Jazz. In the magazine we then get an exciting advert for the upcoming Trance Europe Express: “Over 150 minutes of sonic pleasure and not a guitar in earshot.” Remember the very limited triple vinyl, book and slipmat DJ pack.
Touched by the hand of Adrian Sherwood: Little Axe’s 15 To 4 is a free-spirited slice of blues, at the time a new recording from the forthcoming album Never Turn Back. From topping the Festive 50 to covering T.Rex – Bang Bang Machine give us an alluring Life’s A Gas and call Elvis Presley a hippy. A fantastic discussion with Marc Almond follows in which he refers to the final Soft Cell LP being as “uncommercial as possible” and also gives his views on Suede (good) but the new glam is “very tame”. Incestuous Love is a little overlong and lacks the melodies of earlier efforts. Much better are Slowdive with their stupendously brilliant cover Nancy & Lee’s Some Velvet Morning. It would later feature on the US CD of Souvlaki. Of great interest is their spat with the Manic Street Preachers in which the shoegazers were lambasted for being middle class. Christian Savill makes a relevant point: “You may as well get shot of Lou Reed, Neil Young, REM, three Beatles, two of the Stones, all of the Beach Boys, Beefheart, the Pixies and Miles Davis.” – that’s something which the righteous self-loathers would do well to remember.
We’re really motoring now. Seefeel’s Come Alive (Climatic Phase #1 Mix) is a hypnotic high-pitched drone. Uh-oh – Sarah says “I’m an ex-indie kid.” I don’t which is worse. Landfill time as The Heroines add nothing to the part. Far, far greater are the Boo Radleys then making a massive splash with the genius pop orchestration of Giant Steps. Barney – as it is written – is a joy, chords E and A and almost Just Like Heaven in greatness. Although it’s supposed to sound like Electronic. Martin’s first gig was the Thompson Twins and refreshingly, he still has positive memories. More: Redd Kross and the happy trash Any Hour Every Day leading into the belting Lick Wid Nit Wit, a treat from Andy Weatherall’s new project Sabres Of Paradise. And then a Secret Knowledge spin-off Delta Lady with the electronically brilliant Anything You Want. Note the front cover mentions Leftfield too. Then a nice bit of progressive trance courtesy of Eat Static, eerie post-club rural driving music. Read with LP reviews for B12, Blur, New Order, PJ Harvey, Red House Painters, After such a trip, ending with a Jesus Jones can only be an anti-climax.
Slowdive – Some Velvet Morning
The Boo Radleys – Barney
Lest we forget
Sabres Of Paradise – Lick Wid Nit Wit