“It is a great time for the Indie Top 20 to come of age with the release of the 21st volume in the series.” It was April 1995 and the series was starting to slow down. The mainstream was beckoning, Brit Pop was about to explode and Polygram TV’s Shine was in the wings.
Shaker Maker always gets overlooked on compilations. Released at the end of June 1994 and despite hitting #11 in the charts, it seems like an afterthought now. Less than two months later, Live Forever emerged as the trailer single for Definitely Maybe. The 7″ B-side was a sparkling acoustic version of future album track Up In The Sky with the dense Cloudburst preserved for the 12″. Once again, the CD single represents the best value with four songs – the extra being a live version of Supersonic. But Live Forever really did convert the doubters, among them some of the punks in New Ross. I played a DJ set in Galavan’s that August and it got aired three times – all three DJs spun it. The swagger and confidence was breathtaking. Not quite on the same plane, but cruising along with plenty of self-belief are Sleeper with the catchy Inbetweener. On Paul’s Forgotten ’90s, I ended up putting it between London Girls and Ten Storey Love Song for some peak nostalgia.
Equally chirpy are Echobelly with the enigmatic Close…But, a song that benefits from repeated play and a rather complex structure. It’s followed by Cracker’s angsty Low and Perfume’s evocative and melancholy Lover, a track that had a second bit at the cherry in 1997. The perfect accompaniment to a scene from This Life. Over to Cheetah – “This song sounds like if the Beatles and Nirvana had a baby together.” He’s referring to Radiohead’s bitter My Iron Long, which still sounds very like a leftover from Pablo Honey. Next come AC Acoustics – a band I saw in the back of Galavan’s around the same time. Able Treasury was their album, a record that was shunned by shops when trying to sell or trade second hand copies of it. Hand Passes Plenty is pleasant but ultimately meanders nowhere.
By now Spiritualized were blossoming. Let It Flow is beautifully blissful and carried by a gospel vibe. Perfect for flat parties with dozens of bodies sitting on the floor, the crunch of crushed cans and the flipping of ashtrays. Next are Suede with – gasp! – an A-side, The Wild Ones. Taken from the glorious Dog Man Star, this is a show-stopper. Beautifully sung and impossibly romantic, it manages to freeze that 1994-1995 in time, forever young and so emotional. Equally chilled but coming from a very different place is Ride’s I Don’t Know Where It Comes From. A late ’60s jangle that threatens to break into late-period Byrds territory around the two minute mark. The sound of wonder. Some more retro: Whiteout’s endearing early ’70s Faces pastiche, Jackie’s Racing; comic vibes. To Supergrass; it was the year of I Should Coco, their debut LP which emerged in mid-May, around the same time that I was intensely cramming for my final university exams. Their spiky singles Caught By The Fuzz (served here), Lenny, Mansize Rooster, Alright and Lose It are forever associated with that hazy time. Sofa (Of My Lethargy) sounds like a late ’60s psych tune brought right up to date for the middle of the 1990s.
Ash’s third single, Uncle Pat, was used in a Heineken advert that played on our TVs during the spring of 1995. The chiming guitars struck a chord with many and helped propel the momentum that continued with Kung Fu, Girl From Mars and Angel Interceptor. Next are the 60 Ft Dolls and the hard energy of Happy Shopper followed by Bandit Queen’s rough and ready Give It To The Dog – a track that really doesn’t go anywhere. It’s then over to the predictable police sirens and the hackneyed beats of Blaggers ITA before the rather curious inclusion of Pop Will Eat Itself’s Familus Horribilus (HIA WYG Mix), a rather squelchy version that never gets going. More old stagers arrive – The Wolfgang Press with the rather broody funk of Going South. Somewhat unremarkable but the CD redeems itself for the final pair – Ween’s sweet boogie classic Voodoo Lady and The Cramps’ evergreen Ultra Twist. The latter was on Creation Records, lifted from the Flamejob LP which was the same time as their one and only Dublin show – atthe SFX on 24 February 1995. There’s a good interview here. Around the time of the Russ Meyer season in the IFC, that night was all about Lux’s leather and mounting the mic. And the cold, oh how it froze.
Ride – I Don’t Know Where It Comes From
The Cramps – Ultra Twist
Sleeper – Inbetweener
Lest we forget
Perfume – Lover