“Yet for the practical among us, the combination of tunes that milkmen and postmen are unable to hum and comment columns that milkmen and postmen have no desire to read is a massive boon.” The editorial goes on to praise PJ Harvey and Pavement for writing songs that milkmen and postmen won’t dig. File under chinstroking indie elitist crap.
Like Volume Nine, this one was also released on double vinyl although copies of it never seemed to be as plentiful. Overall, it’s a stronger selection and starts with AR Kane’s Deep Blue Breath (London Mix), a more loose and almost jazzy version. “Our surf album.” Next are Disco Inferno; the band with an album that resembles The KLF’s Chill Out. Second Language is a demo mix of a track from the EP of the same name, a gorgeous blank canvas of a tune. Natural ways are coming to an end; to be replaced by a constructed artificiality. After such a wonderful opening brace, we crash back to an ordinary world on Scarce’s Naked Freak Shadow. After an advert for the Volume box (cardboard, costing £23), Gene arrive with the urgent To See The Lights, a track that was recorded during the sessions for their second single Be My Light, Be My Guide. It would later become the title to their Hatful Of Hollow, released in early 1996. This one’s got plenty of bite in its 2:29 length.
Frequently confused with the journalist of the same name (a bit like Joe Jackson), Sean O’Hagan’s High Llamas came on my radar around the time of Volume Ten. A friend had Gideon Gaye and we worked backwards to Santa Barbara. I was also busy buying up old Beach Boys albums (having discovered Pet Sounds a couple of years earlier), so having something contemporary that carried their vision was ideal. Might As Well Be Dumbo flows with feeling and has huge personal significance as Dumbo was the supporting film at The Spaceman And King Arthur, my first film at The Ritz Cinema in 1979. Then there’s an excellent feature on Pulp, a fine interview with Jarvis – he wasn’t any good at sport – and a look back at the early years. Crucially Intro – The Gift Recordings gets mentioned here. Things picked up for the band with the original release of Babies in October 1992 and built steadily over the following 12 months with a slew of impressive 45s like Razzmatazz, Lipgloss and Do You Remember The First Time? His ‘N’ Hers was real navel-gazing stuff, but with the melodies and tunes to match. Like a secret diary of indeterminate age set to music. The version of Joyriders here is much more subdued than the LP. Still top though.
We go acoustic for track 7, Tiny Monroe’s nifty Cream Bun. The nicest ones came from Brennan’s shop on The Bullawn, just around the corner from the CBS primary school. Buttercream, a dab of jam and icing dust that covered your jumper if you breathed on it. The shop where I also discovered Space Dust in 1982. Back to reality with Echobelly’s wistful Fake, a song sometimes savored with a donut before heading for The Trap. And then a cover of They Don’t Know by The Gigolo Aunts. Nice but nowhere near the wow factor of Kirsty or Tracey. Meanwhile Lush were gearing up for their second album Split, a record that jars one from extreme to another (“an unnerving, juddering quality”) but has its fair share of wonderful moments. Here we get a sublime demo of Tinkerbell.
Tricky’s You Don’t would become one of the highlights of Maxinquaye; Martina’s vocals are particularly strong here. Next is Credit To The Nation’s Come Dancing, not a Kinks cover. A dynamite & dynamic jam. The next three tracks all work well together:Loop Guru’s chant shuffle La Boheme, Transglobal Underground’s head-spinning mystique Khan & Transcendental Love Machine’s hedonistic Revolvalution. And then the spooky, almost minimal groove of Insides and Tikky (Remix), worthy of Artificial Intelligence. A hypnotic diversion indeed. Elsewhere Colin Newman’s mob Oracle slip inside with The Sweetest Place, an atmospheric, slowed down number that reminds of An Ideal Copy-era demos. We end with Peter Perrett of The Only Ones and the suitably ragged Daughter, taken from a January radio session, a nice closing antidote after the beats of second half.
Gene – To See The Lights
Disco Inferno – Second Language (Demo)
Lest we forget
Insides – Tikky (Remix)