Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sweeping The Nation Covermount 9: C97

As we leave you for a couple of weeks, we've organised a little retrospective toy for you to play with, and while we thought about it we've reuploaded some of our favourite Covermounts of yore, namely:

Be My Babies - songs that start with that drumbeat
Reasons To Be Cheerful - a list of list songs
Borrowed Nostalgia For The Unremembered Eighties - top 20 hits that'd never get near it today
You Probably Think This Song Is About You - songs for, about or using other artists' names
This Won't Last Long - nothing more than 120 seconds long

All of these, including this one, are on Rapidshare, so remember to click on 'Free' at the bottom of the first page, then enter the four digit release code and get downloading those mothers.

If you've been reading this blog carefully over the years, and may god preserve you if you have, you'll know we have a special personal affinity with the year 1997 in schmindie. Apart from anything else, it seemed so much more exciting, with bands getting on the Radio 1 daytime playlists while actually taking a chance and forging their own peculiar paths (anachronistic comparative sidenote: we can't help noticing Ryan 'war on corporate indie' Jarman is presently carousing with Kate Nash). As such, here's 74 minutes of memory jogging. Obviously it was something of a bind working out what to leave out, from Arab Strap to Midget to Number One Cup to Silver Sun to Lizard Music (sorry? Theme From We Are The Egrets? No?) You'll also notice that because we're predictable but don't like to be that predictable we've left Kenickie out of this one, although rest assured that coming soon are Covermounts on musicians who went on to become TV stars, bands from the north-east, groups who formed while at convent school, artists with strawberry blonde drummers who also played guitar and any other excuse we can think up. (Actually, musicians who went on to become TV stars would be quite good, wouldn't it? Madness, Altered Images, the Skids, the Higsons, Heavenly for Cathy Rogers... we'll put that one on the list.)

This was the state of independence ten years ago, and you're welcome to it.


Bennet - Mum's Gone To Iceland
Number 34 with a bullet, Bennet were essentially Blur Club Juniors but not without their own charm, something not often seen at the time on their label Roadrunner Records (Machine Head, Sepultura, Type O Negative, later Slipknot and Nickelback)

David Devant And His Spirit Wife - Miscellaneous
The best live band in the country for about ten minutes that spring, for their magic trick-filled, low cost effect laden show, props and antics supplied by the Spectral Roadies. The Vessel and co are apparently still going but never topped debut album Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Young Girls And Happy Endings
The first band to bring Cymraeg to the masses, the Kevin Ayers/Robert Wyatt admirers had their pop phase in '97. This formed part of their great chart footnote, one of five top 50 singles and eight top 75 hits, the most by a band who never cracked the top 40.

Belle & Sebastian - Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie
From the 3...6...9 Seconds Of Light EP (led by the great forgotten early B&S single A Century Of Fakers), a track namechecking plenty of literary touchstones in a Smiths style named after a piece of misspelt graffiti Stuart Murdoch says he once saw. It's been claimed it was put there by...

The Yummy Fur - Stereo Girls
...John McKeown of the Yummy Fur, who years before claiming to be called Jackie and going boogie with the 1990s was busy being streamlined post-punk pop well before it was fashionable. Paul Thompson's on this, Alex Kapranos (when he was Huntley) joining a year later.

Angelica - Teenage Girl Crush
In the immediate aftermath of At The Club many went searching for new vicarious girl-pop thrills and hit strychnine-laced marzipan paydirt with these four Lancastrians who actually didn't make a sustained impact for another couple of years. Holly Ross, where are you now?

Helen Love - Does Your Heart Go Boom
The great thing about the mid-90s Evening Session was every so often there'd be a new single from Helen Love, or Mika Bomb, or Girlfrendo, and Lamacq would ignore fashion and play the arse off it. The Ramones-obsessed DIY keyboard-touting Welsh girl and friends knew what they liked.

Velocette - Get Yourself Together
The modish sweep of Spectorish girl pop, nearly a decade before it was worthy of extended magazine pieces. Disappointingly, all we could locate is the album version and not the superior single mix with excellent backing vocals, but you'll live.

Comet Gain - Strength
Before that most of Velocette had been in these longstanding Northern Soul/Dexys-inspired smart poppers, this their final single before a parting of the ways (and a reformation with other people a year later).

Idlewild - Queen Of The Troubled Teens
Score one up for the flight of stairs falling down the flight of stairs where now lies pianos and strings and folk. Nowadays half of MSN would take this as a screen name; then, it was some Dinosaur Jr-indebted brash Scottish blokes with a singer who couldn't stand still for a second.

Bis - Skinny Tie Sensurround
Ah, Bis. You loved or hated their E-number technopop and Manda Rin's bouncing, and a surprising number still love them going on the fact they've just announced another reformation mini-tour. This was the moody, sarky one off The New Transistor Heroes.

Scarfo - ELO
While everyone aware of Jamie Hince pisses themselves over the coverage of his supposed dalliance with Kate Moss (the Mail referred to "Kate lookalike Alison Mosshart", which is true insomuch as she has ovaries), we go past the Kills to the underachieving abrasive angularities of Hince's first notable band.

Ultrasound - Same Band
Remember New Prog? Spiritualized, mostly, but there was a large as a tank parking space for this band that never looked like a band, this being the original version of their debut single before dissolving into double album with 30 minute title track Hades.

The Bitter Springs - It's Business
Simon Rivers will one day receive his due for his eclectic nature and socially wry lyrics, but until then he'll have to continue playing east London pubs and putting out albums on Spanish labels to little attention. There's a best of planned for the end of the year. Don't let us down.

Linoleum - Marquis
Behind the Sleeper/Echobelly type they may have been, and Caroline Finch always vocally reminds us of Davina McCall somehow, but they're the closest mid-90s UK fem-indie got to a Throwing Muses, pulling the listener in with three clever chords and then knifing them in the back.

Tiger - Race
They attempted to repopularise the mullet, and musically they decided there wasn't enough Stereolab/Fall influence in the indie of the day. Guitarist Julie Sims occasionally had three strings tuned to the same note, and they split two weeks before their second album came out.

Seafood - Scorch Comfort
Another debut well ahead of the curve of further attention. Despite a lot of positive press around 2001 it never quite happened, largely because When Do We Start Fighting came out in the midst of Strokesmania and they sounded too much like the wrong American bands (Sonic Youth, Pixies, Sebadoh)

Jonathan Fire*Eater - The Search For Cherry Red
Now only really noted as a) a primary influence on the Strokes and b) three of them going off to form the Walkmen, they sounded like a 60s R&B Nuggets outfit pumped full of adrenaline and taken round town after dark by Nick Cave. And we know this came out in 1996 in America.

Clinic - Porno
IPC Sub-Editors Dictate Our Youth's already been on a Covermount, so here's the spooked-out B-side of the still extraordinary sounding first flourishings of Liverpool's answer to Crime. Last spotted wearing big hats and beefeater-inspired brown outfits as well as the face masks.

Dawn Of The Replicants - Lisa Box
Still extant Galashiels oddballs treading the post-Pixies path less Zappa'd and about every other musical sticking point this side of Weller, they exploded onto the Peel/Radcliffe scene at the end of 1996 and got signed to EastWest for two very un-major label-like albums.

Urusei Yatsura - Superfi
One of the glitter and leopardskinned kids' favourites, they attempted to be the lo-fi sci-fi Glaswegian glam-Sonic Youth. Slain By Urusei Yatsura was like being dangled over a crocodile pit by a feather boa. Ant & Dec were reputedly fans.

Earl Brutus - The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It
You have to end with some Earl Brutus, because there's not far you can progress from a group of mid-30s men, one of whom wrote Boxerbeat, doing electronic glam-rock lagered up Suicide with onstage garage forecourt revolving signs and a man whose only job was drinking cans of beer.


Rosie said...

Helen Love!

*thats all I have to contribute. I'm in shock somebody else knows who she/they are*

Neil said...

This is either the best or worst compilation ever, I can't decide which, kudos! And special thanks for the Earl Brutus track, I sadly never saw them live...

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Actually, ignore the slightly snippy previous comment, this is splendid. I surprised myself by enjoying the DD&HSW track (I never liked them at the time), although is that the proper version of Young Girls and Happy Endings? I can't locate my copy of it anywhere, but it sounds not-quite-right somehow.

Still would have included Autocade by Prolapse, mind.

liz said...

brilliance. you sold me the second i read "mum's gone to iceland". i haven't heard that track in what feels like a gazillion years (although obviously must be less than 10).


Tom said...

Awesome. Dawn Of The Replicants and Urusei Yatsura represent some kind of parallel universe to me, one in which I bought records by obscure, intriguing bands in my teens. Better late than never anyhoo.

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