All the Free EP's from the 20th Century collected in one place....when I get them, that is.

If you'd like to add to the collection of free magazine covermounts contact me here, on twitter.com/mannygrillo or at last.fm/user/grillmachine

Also available - http://discogshuffle.blogspot.com/

Monday, 14 November 2011


The first in a series of posts celebrating the pioneering FreeEP format, the Volume CD magazine - a CD with a 192 page booklet complete with interviews and facts about the artists contained on the CD. A haven for rare tracks, 17 Volumes were issued in total plus a wealth of spin offs. As well as some of the biggest names in indie contributing tracks and remixes to the format, the magazine also celebrated new and upcoming acts, some of which really did come up and others disappeared as we shall see...

We kick of with Volume Three.

1. I Feel Insane (Live) - Daisy Chainsaw

Breaking through at the beginning of 1992 with the Lovesick Pleasure EP, featuring the pop thrash of Love Your Money, Daisy Chainsaw's profile soon waned. Thanks to coverage on The Chart Show the EP hit #26 but follow up singles and album, Eleventeen fared less well. Famed for her manic stage appearances singer Katy Jane Gartside quit the band in 1993 and disappeared for  6 years until she re-emerged with Queen Adreena. I Feel Insane is featured on Daisy Chainsaw's sole album, this live version exclusive to Volume.

2. Innocent X (Remix) - Therapy?

Originally featured on Therapy?'s debut (mini) album. Babyteeth, this remix remained exclusive to this release for three years. In 1995, at the height of the band's commercial success, Volume released an EP of their own compilation highlights  and chose this as the lead track along with a remix of Orbital's Belfast. The EP hit #53 in the charts making it Volume's only chart appearance.

3. Daughters Of Darkness - Depth Charge

DJ Jonathan Saul Kane, under the names Depth Charge and Octagon Man, has released a wealth of 12" singles influencing a generation of electro and trip hop artists along the way. Credited  with pioneering the big beat and trip-hop movements with his dark sample based tracks, Kane released his first 12", the eponymous Depth Charge in 1989. This track was exclusive to this release until inclusion on his 1994 compilation Nine Deadly Venoms.

4. California Uber Alles - The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy

Before forming Spearhead in 1994, Michael Franti fronted DHoH specialising in socially aware, politically charged rap. The band's one and only album, the classic Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury hit #40 in the UK featuring the single Television Is The Drug Of The Nation which reached #43. The album also featured this cover of the notorious Dead Kennedys track updated to mention then current Governor of California, Pete Wilson.

5. Cloud Shine - Levitation

Exclusive 2 minute track from this progressive psychedelic band fronted by the eccentric Terry Bickers, ex-House Of Love. The band released a number of singles, EPs and a chart album (Need For Not - #45) between 1991 and 1994 and were plagued by touring troubles, kicked off support slots by both Transvision Vamp and The Fall allegedly for their excessive stage demands. Bickers quit in 1993and the band stumbled on with little impact until their demise the following year.

6. Over Rising (Instrumental) - The Charlatans

A huge rarity, this is the only place you can legitimately find this track so it's a must for all Charlatans collectors. In between their debut album, the #1 Some Friendly and the less successful but underrated follow-up Between 10th & 11th, the band released two singles in 1991. The original version of this track, Over Rising, was the first and hit a respectable #15 to good reviews. The second single, Me In Time, is perhaps the Charlatans' least known and least favourite of their three-dozen singles and has never been reissued on any official album or compilation despite it being the first to feature long term guitarist Mark Collins. The track's lowly #28 placing signalled the beginning of an early sales lull for the band - however, they'd steadily turn it round....

7. Jesus Timeshare Experience - Psychotropic Vibration

Another exclusive - and this CD contains the full Psychotropic Vibration discography in one fell swoop, the band releasing this track and nothing else. It was formed by singer/guitarist Neil Parfitt who originally formed The Perfect Disaster and released four albums between 1985 and 1991. Before forming PV, Parfitt worked with both halves of Spacemen 3 and after, formed Oedipussy whose 1995 featured the aforementioned Terry Bickers (see below)

8. Safari (Remix) - The Breeders

We all know about Kim Deal, her sister Kelley and Tanya Donnelly but what of other Breeder Josephine Wiggs? She was also in The Perfect Disaster with Neil Parfitt and it was that band supporting Pixies that brought Jo to Deal's attention. Although Wiggs wasn't a member of The Breeders' late 2000s incarnation, she has played with the band on several occasions. Back to Safari, this was the title track from their 1992 EP which hit #69 in April 1992.

9. Let's Sail Away - Honey Tongue

A short lived band who released one album in 1992, Nude Nudes, which featured this track. Honey Tongue consisted of percussionist Jon Mattock, who has performed with Massive Attack, Spiritualized.....and The Perfect Disater with Josephine Wiggs....who just so happenes to be the other half of Honey Tongue. Anyone sense a theme here?

10. My House (Remix) - Terrorvision

Without a doubt containing no-one from Perfect Disaster within their ranks, Terrorvision still remain Bradford's (and nearby Keighley's) number 1 music export despite, reunion shows every once in a while aside, splitting up as a working band over a decade ago. This is an exclusive remix of the band's debut single from 1992 which preceded their first album, Formaldehyde, in 1993. My House also gave the band their big break when the track was re-released in 1994 hitting #29- complete with their cover version of Men At Work's Down Under. Several Top 30 hits and a certain track about a certain alcoholic drink later, Terrorvision were (kind of) no more. Is it too late to get Tony Wright back on Never Mind The Buzzcocks?

11. Criminal (Remix) - Public Image Ltd

An exclusive remix from a track previously only available on 1991's Point Break soundtrack, this is a genuine collector's item for all Lydon collectors. The early 90s weren't kind to PiL. 1990 saw the release of their Greatest Hits Album only for Lydon and Virgin to come to blows over the tracklisting and the label's alleged decision to stop supply of the record to shops once the initial run had sold out. The album only scraped the Top 20 and the title Greatest Hits...So Far proved to be a misnomer. Only one single, Cruel, and one album, That What Is Not, followed, both missing the Top 40. The band split but Lydon's career carried on regardless via his collaboration with Leftfield, a Sex Pistols reunion, calling the British public "cunts" on live television in the jungle, those butter ads and PiL's eventual reunion in 2009.

12. Sisterfy - Sweet Jesus

B-side to short-lived Rough Trade signings' debut single Honey Loving Honey. Several singles followed until the band morphed into Venus with little success.

13. Belfast/Wasted (Vocal Mix) - Orbital

Eventually released as a single in its own right with Innocent X by Therapy?, this was an exclusive vocal remix of Belfast from Phil and Paul Hartnoll's eponymous debut album with vocals courtesy of regular collaborator Grant Fulton. Orbital scored 2 Top 40 hits in 1992 with the Mutations and Radiccio EPs, the latter featuring the classic Halcyon which would appear in remixed form on their second eponymous album in 1993. A slew of classic albums and epic live performances continued for the next decade until the duo's break-up. The brothers Hartnoll reconvened in 2009 for more live dates and a AA side single featuring Don't Stop Me and The Gun Is Good, the former sampling Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star. A new album is due in 2012.

14. Go (Subliminal Mix) - Moby

One of batch of remixes to complement the release of Moby's debut UK single, Twin Peaks theme sampling Go. The single initially stalled at #46 in the UK in July 1991 before being reactivated three months later, this time hitting the Top 10. Some commercial success followed over the following five years, Moby scoring 6 UK Top 40 electronic/dance singles. An aggressive punk rock album and his take on the James Bond theme followed (his second Top 10 hit) before his commercial breakthrough in 1999 with the ubiquitous Play album.

15. Find Our Direction (Remix) - Natural Life

Big on the festival circuit in the early 90s, Natural Life, a band that described themselves terrifyingly as a Bohemian rock collective, never broke through into the mainstream despite heavy airplay on radio and TV. Eponymous single, Natural Life got as far as #47 in March 1992 but the also eponymous album failed to make a mark and the band, sorry, collective, went their separate ways. Percussionist Shovell went on to greater success as a member of Mike Pickering's dance collective - M People.

16. Slow Down Speedy - LFO

Warp Records' LFO were one of the pioneers of acid-house, techno and IDM in the late 80s whose own eponymous debut single gatecrashed the Top 20 in 1990. The duo released two albums and a clutch of 12" singles until 1996 when members Gaz Varley and Mark Bell went their separate ways. However, their place in history is assured as one of the most influential techno acts of the last two decades. In 2003, the duo's other half, Mark Bell, resurrected LFO but not before finding time to produce albums for, amongst others, Bjork and Depeche Mode. This track is exclusive to this release.

17. Motorbike (Remix) - Sheep On Drugs

Insane techno from once mildly controversial dance punks. Motorbike became the band's second single in 1992 followed by their debut album, the ironically titled Greatest Hits, which hit #55 in 1993. The album produced two Top 50 singles including From A To H And Back Again which cracked the Top 40. The band's second album ...On Drugs, despite producing another Top 50 single in Let The Good Times Roll tanked and the band knocked it on the head until the inevitable reunion in 2010.

18. Overload (Live) - Interference

A mega rarity for all followers of Tim Simenon - better known as the man behind Bomb The Bass. Interference was - it's that word again - collective founded by Simenon and drummer Keith LeBlanc involving musicians as diverse as Skip McDonald, Bim Sherman and Doug Wimbish to play gigs embracing dance, dub, reggae and jazz. The band played a number of gigs and released on single Global Game in 1994 which featured a remix by Adrian Sherwood. The short-lived project made another appearance in 1998 remixing Simple Minds' classic 1981 hit The American.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


1. Trash - Suede

Although not the first song to be recorded by Suede Mk2 - that was the fantastic New Generation B-side 'Together' - Trash was the band's big comeback after Bernard Butler's departure. Trash became an immediate anthem and hit #3 in the UK Chart becoming their biggest single in the process. Despite its classic status, Brett Andersom felt the need to re-record the vocals for the song's inclusion on their 2003 Singles collection so if you're listening to Trash on that compilation and you think it sounds different, that's why. This is the track in its original glory.

2. Smart Dogs - Kula Shaker

Enough time has passed to begrudgingly give Kula Shaker credit where its due. When Crispian Mills' outspoken, usually comical, attitude reached an excruciating climax with his Swastika flirtations, the music of Kula Shaker was written off as quickly as Mills and the band quickly became a byword for pretentious, bombastic indie music - their Hare Krishna leanings not helping their cause. But, whisper it, Kula Shaker weren't so bad at all, their psychedelic Indian-inflected rock has stood the test of time reasonably well, Smart Dogs being a highlight on their debut #1 album. The god-awful Deep Purple cover and inviting crazy old Arthur Brown  on to Top Of The Pops with a giant candleabra on his head didn't do them any favours after Swastika-gate and the band died a death. However, like most bands of the era who passed away, they found a way back and continue to plug away in Japan and Cumbria.

3. If You're Thinking Of Me (FPS-2 Lovesick Mix) - Dodgy

A huge crossover summer hit usually signifies the end of indie bands and Dodgy were no exception, their cause not helped by having a portly, comedy drummer. And, like most bands, they were misunderstood, Dodgy being one of the best indie power pop bands in the business with a wealth of singles-that-should-have-been-bigger to their name. They also had an experimental side, their B-sides regularly dabbling in their own take on remix culture. This almost resulted in their own remix album. FPS-2, the entire album Free Peace Sweet remixed by cohort Jerome Di Pietro. Despite the sleevenotes on this release indicating that the album would be released "sometime in 1997" with an explanation of how the album was made, it never saw the light of day as planned. It gained a belated release on the special edition of their singles collection Ace As & Killer Bs.

4. Oh Yeah - Ash

Oh Yeah was the fifth single to be lifted from the band's #1 album, 1977 but the only single to be released after the album itself. The track became the band's fourth Top 20 and second Top 10 hit charting at #6 - the same week, incidentally, that Kula Shaker charted at #4 with Trout Farm....sorry, Tattva....so blame Crispian Mills for robbing Ash of a second consecutive Top 5 hit.

5.  Things Keep Falling Off Buildings - Mansun

A track taken from the band's Three EP which provided Chester's finest with their first Top 20 hit charting at #19 in September 1996. The EP also contained lead track Stripper Vicar and An Open Letter To A Lyrical Trainspotter, both of which can be found on the classic debut Attack Of The Grey Lantern, the latter included as a hidden track at the end of the album.

6. Icicle - Tiger

The fickle world of indie...huge things were expected of Tiger. Their debut release Shining In The Wood gained huge support from John Peel and the Evening Session resulting in their second EP Race hitting the Top 40. And then, maybe it was the music press focussing on the band's mullets rather than the music, all interest sapped away. Subsequent releases only grazed the Top 75 and the album We Are Puppets, released to a muted reception, could only manage a chart placing of #108. A second album was released in 2000 but that's where the Tiger tale ends. This track was taken from their second single My Puppet Pal.

7. No One Speaks - Geneva

It's 1996 so of course there's a Geneva track on here...what did you expect? This was their much talked about debut single which cracked the Top 40 at #32. The band did have three more Top 40 hits but interest soon wore off. Andrew Montgomery's soaring choirboy-esque vocals proved too much of an acquired taste in the long run...which is why he must really hate Keane (like most people).

8. Woman Of The World - The Divine Comedy

The smallest man in rock, Neil Hannon, IS The Divine Comedy despite attempting to turn the Divine Comedy into a proper band over the years.  The album Casanova was released in 1996 and interest in Hannon had significantly increased since his previous album two years earlier thanks to him recording the theme tune to sitcom Father Ted and the legendary mock-Eurovision song My Lovely Horse as featured in the same show. This attention, and strong tracks such as Something For The Weekend and Becoming More Like Alfie, meant Divine Comedy finally broke through. This track is featured on Casanova.

9. Money (Lost In Space Remix) - Space

Money was the first single to be released from the band's debut album Spiders, a test release, presumably to gauge interest in the band. This remix, by Consolidated, is exclusive on CD to this release having originally been pressed on a four track limited 12" in 1996.

10. Hometown Unicorn - Super Furry Animals.

SFA released two EPs on the Welsh ANkst label in 1995 and were quickly signed by Creation who released this debut single in 1996. This release charted well at #47 before a record breaking run of Top 40 hits...as documented elswehere on TheFreeEPs. Hometwon Unicorn, a classic debut in every sense, was featured on the debut album Fuzzy Logic.

11. Christiansands (Imposter's Mix) - Tricky

After the huge success of Maxinquaye, Tricky made it clear that he was no record company puppet and no commercial artist by releasing that album's follow up under a pseudonym, Nearly God. The official follow-up Pre Millennium Tension was a dark, uncompromising release which scared off the majority of buyers who bought into the Maxinquaye era Tricky. The album's lead single, the moody and captivating Christiansands, made it clear from the outset that Tricky didn't care about commercial success. The single charted at #36 and the album only hit #30 though both are considered modern day classics. This version was remixed by the same Imposter who scored a Top 20 hit with Pills And Soap n 1983...one Elvis Costello.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


1. Back Door - Brian Spence

Brian Spence used to be in a band called Bilbo Baggins and another one called Chisholm And Spence. You'd never get names like that in 2011....youwouldn't really get a rock star called Brian Spence. Mind you, there wasn't one in 1986 or any year for that matter.  Back Door was taken from the great man's first solo album Brothers. The all round nice guy's (courtesy spencemusic.co.uk) also contributed to the not quite a blockbuster film P.I. Private Investigations with the single City Of Shadows. Spence's only chart action appeared in 1988 with his track Reputation which hit #78. However, the song had a second lease of life when it was covered by Dusty Springfield and appeared on her album of the same name. Released as a single it hit the Top 40 at #38. Well done Brian!

2. Know It All - Chris Sutton

In a long and illustrious career, Sutton played in midfield and attack for six clubs in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues including Norwich, Blackburn, Celtic and Chelsea. Not many people know that as a 13 year old boy, he also sang backing vocals for Smokey Robinson, supported James Brown and released several singles, including Prince Of Justice and Don't Get Me Wrong, and an eponymous album which all failed to chart. This may or may not be a case of mistaken identity, but the perm definitely belongs on a Division One football pitch.

3. Stephanie Says - The Velvet Underground

This trac first saw the light of day (legitimately) on the compilation VU in 1985, an album which contained a number of tracks originally recorded for what would have been the band's second release on MGM until they were booted off the label. Although not one of those specific tracks, Stephanie Says was an unreleased gem from the era and included on this release. Although unreleased, Lou Reed had recorded it and released it himself, albeit in a different tone, on his classic 1973 album Berlin renaming it Caroline Says II.

4. Here Comes The Style - Smiley Culture

Smiley Culture, aka David Emmanuel, released a clutch of acclaimed reggae singles in the mid-80s and was renowned for his unique fast-chat which mixed Jamaican patois with Cockney dialect. Two singles, Police Officer and Cockney Translation, sold well but the follow up album, Tongue In Cheek (25 years before Dizzee Rascal) fared less well as did the next single Schooltime Chronicle. Despite TV and film work, Culture faded away but has since been regarded as a major cultlural influence by the likes of Roots Manuva as pioneer in Brit Rap. Sadly, Culture earlier this year after a police raid gone wrong at his London home, but his contribution to Culture lives on.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


1. Dumb As Death's Head - The The
2. Johnathon - The Sines

This free flexidisc came sellotaped on to the cover of Melody Maker 1983 and contained two tracks licensed to Cherry Red Records, the main draw here being the ultra rare The The cut.

Matt Johnson recorded his debut album Burning Blue Soul in 1981 under his own name (since reissued as an official The The album) and became one of the most captivating and darkest new wave/post-punk releases of its era. His first album under the The The name, the synth-noir classic Soul Mining was released two years later and came after a clutch of classic singles including Uncertain Smile and, recently covered by the Manics, This Is The Day.

In between these releases, Johnson recorded another The The album, intended to be the band's debut, The Pornography Of Despair. However, as the finishing touches were being put to the album, Johnson began to write the tracks for Soul Mining and the unmixed album was scrapped and remains unreleased to this day apart from a selection of tracks finding their way on to later B sides.

One of these tracks was Dumb As Death's Head and this double-tracker remains the only legit place to find this rarity. Very dark in tone, but adding a dash more colour to the icy soundscapes of Burning Blue Soul, this does indeed sound like the middle ground between his debut and the more accessible Soul Mining.

On to The Sines, and, well, let's start with The Slaves. The Slaves were a Teeside punk band formed by Gloria, a former member of punk "legends" Blitzkrieg Bop. When she quit, the remaining members stuck around and renamed themselves, yes, The Sines. This track remains the band's only release before they changed their name to Glory and released a single or two on Riva Records in the mid 80s.
Got all that?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Released as a freebie with Smash Hits in 1985, this flexidisc, one of many given away with the magazine in the early 80s was released to promote with release of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's debut album Welcome To The Pleasuredome, one of the most hyped releases of the decade.

However, regular purchasers of ZTT's legendary Frankie product will have been more than used to the dulcet speaking tones of The Lads on the band's' B-sides.

One September Monday was the first example featuring on the flipside of 'Relax', Paul Morley in conversation with frontman Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford. Swathed in sinister echoes, featuring manic laughs and accompanied by an eerie soundtrack, this genuinely gave this writer nightmares, Big Brother promising he'd taken it back to the shop to stop the terrors. The bastard lied to me but it meant he kept his copy of the Relax 7" so all was not lost. Time has been kind to One September Monday, its sinister edge still apparent today. The full transcript can be read here.


This was followed up with One February Friday on the B-side of fellow million seller Two Tribes. This time, Morley chats with the other three, Peter Gill, Mark O Toole and Brian Nash. Less menacing in tone, the Lads chat about fame now they've reached the top and a good laugh is had by all. Parts of the interview also featured without the instrumental backing on the various Two Tribes 12 inches, at times linking the mixes of Two Tribes contained within. The sound of a giant raspberry at the end of this one meant it didn't stop me from hiding under the covers when the needle hit the groove.


Finally, Holier Than Thou, an extra track on the 12" of the Christmas Number 1 that never was, The Power Of Love. This wasn't an interview and more the band larking about in the studio giving out a Christmas message to a million Frankie fans. Listen closely and you'll also hear producer Steve Lipson, then Frankie's engineer.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011


OK not from the FreeEPs era but this one deserves a mention...so here's the pick of the bunch.

Another No One (Live) - Suede

Originally a B side to Suede Mk2's comeback single Trash, this is the only place you'll find this live version, recorded in Los Angeles  in May 1997. The original was also included on Suede's B side compilation Sci Fi Lullabies as well as the recent re-release of the album Coming Up as part of the band's reformation-celebrating reissue extravaganza.

Shotgun - The Charlatans

You can only be that well worn cliche - a 'survivor' - in the music world if you're prepared to move on and try something new but still have a sound you can call your own. This is why the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream and indeed The Charlatans are still with us, Northern Uproar are not and why Cast's attempt at Blaxploitation funk failed dismally. Dismissed as Stone Roses copyists at their inception, Tim Burgess et al soon shed the burden of Brown and Baggy and ventured into classic rock territory, something they took a step further by embracing soul and funk sounds, complete with Burgess' new falsetto, on their seventh album Wonderland in 2001 whilst still retaining their indie rock groove. The new sound was most emphasised in this track omitted from the UK version and becoming what British fans loath the most - the Japanese bonus track. The only place to get this without forking out a small fortune was this compilation...until it became a bonus track on their next single A Man Needs To Be Told. The band have moved on since, further albums incorporating reggae, dub and New Order leanings...and they're something of a national indie institution.

Tides Of The Moon (Live) - Mercury Rev

A Mercury Rev Song On Compilation Not From Deserter's Songs Shocker! Mercury Rev took the Deserter's Songs template and took it to new lush, cinematic lengths for their next single All Is Dream. Some found it a bit too sweet but it remains another high watermark for the band. This live version of the album track found its way onto the Dark Is Rising single package. It was recorded live at the 2001 Reading Fesival

Party Hard (Live) - Pulp

Recorded live in Switzerland nearly exactly ten years ago in July 2001, this remains an exclusive 6 minute version of the This Is Hardcore album track and single from 1998. Although a band who refused to stand still musically, no-one could blame Pulp for calling it a day in 2002....huge success followed a torturous 13 year rise to fame, from there followed Jarvis Cocker's meltdown and the dark Hardcore album completely at odds with the more anthemic nature of their breakthrough material. Alienating the kids, their final, hugely undervalued album We Love Life was met with shrugs by the masses and the end was nigh. Nearly ten years later, they're back!  Party Hard reached #29 in 1998.

Fever (Live Acoustic) - Starsailor

This is the only place you'll find this take of Starsailor's top 20 debut single, recorded for Nemone in the Radio 1 Live Lounge. One of the many post-Britpop bands to be hyped and flounder with half a decade, Starsailor are currently on the dreaded "hiatus" after each of their albums has steadily fared worse than the previous one. Despite this, Wigan's second most successful band have had ten Top 40 hits in the UK.

Coming Second (Live) - Elbow

And another live exclusive for Elbow completists, of which there are many after five straight both commercially and critically acclaimed albums. This was featured on their first, Asleep In The Back and was released as the fourth single from the album as a AA side along with the then-new track also called Asleep In The Back which was added to later editions of the parent album. It charted at #19 and remains their joint highest charting single to date along with Fallen Angel and Grounds For Divorce. Oddly, despite being used in every television programme ever made in the last few years and spending 35 weeks in the UK Chart, their most famous record One Day Like This has never made it past #35.

The other tracks on this EP are: Woah! - So Solid Crew, Dreamy Days (Lotek  Bonanza Relick) - Roots Manuva, Rock N Roll Star (Live) - Oasis, Avril 14th - Aphex Twin, New Instrumental (Live) - The Music, Saigin Disco (Live) - ARE Weapons, Ride Wit' Us (Remix) - Kurupt, Shadows Fall - The Coral, Drop The Hate (Laid Remix) - Fatboy Slim, Right Here (Club Mix) - Stanton Warriors

Sunday, 17 July 2011


From 4AD to a celebration of Alan McGee's iconic Creation label...

1. Acquiesce - Oasis

The band that saved Creation, Oasis were one of those rare bands that became so huge that their B sides often gained as much attention as their A Sides. This was perhaps their most famous example and the Acquiesce's status is now arguably greater than it's A Side, Some Might Say, which became the band's first #1 n 1995. Acquiesce was released as a promo single in anticipation of Oasis' B-Side compilation, The Masterplan, in 1998, and, confirming its classic status, was put out again as the lead single of the Stop The Clocks EP in 2006, a precursor to the collection of the same name. It seems Acquiesce was never destined to be a hit in its own right though; the length of the EP meant it was ineligible for the UK singles chart denying it a place in the Top 5.

2. Star - Primal Scream

Or not, as we'll see in a moment...

Primal Scream released two singles in a month in May 1997 to promote their masterpiece Vanishing Point. Perversely the first release, the massively uncompromising electro-dub racket Kowalski fared better in the charts, hitting #8, than the more commercial, by the Scream's standards, Star, which stalled at #16 despite extra airplay and performances on TV. Hailed as a return to form after the Stones-aping Give Out But Don't Give Up, Vanishing Point charted, like its predecessor at #2. To this day, Primal Scream are defined by the pioneering Screamadelica, yet it's this album that remains their best and most satisfying release to date.

Some months after Vanishing Point's release came Echo Dek, a dub overhaul of the entire album remixed by Adrian Sherwood. One of the tracks, Revolutionary, was a reworking of Star and it's this version that appears on this Free EP despite the credits suggesting it should be the original version.

3. Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside) - My Bloody Valentine

Although the early 90s shoegazing movement took inspiration from early to mid 80s bands such as Cocteau Twins, Jesus & Mary Chain and This Mortal Coil, it's My Bloody Valentine, led by Kevin Shields, and their first album Isn't Anything, who are credited with kickstarting the movement. The album, kicking off with this track, with its droning, psychedelic trance-like take on indie rock, spent 17 weeks on top of the indie chart and spawned a myriad of copycat bands. Ironically, it was the band's second album, Loveless, that helped kill shoegaze. It was so good that it made the work of every other shoegaze band seem very old hat very quickly and the music press soon moved on to pastures new. Always destined to be a critical rather than a commercial success, the crazy amount of money spent on producing Loveless typifies the madness surrounding Creation at the time and, never mind shoegazing, the album nearly killed off the label.

4. Mellow Doubt - Teenage Fanclub

Despite nearly going to the wall, 1991 was a good year for Creation Records Product. As well as Screamadelica and Loveless, there was Bandwagonesque, Teenage Fanclub's third album, a massive crirtical and modest commercial success. After the relative of failure of the follow up Thirteen came Grand Prix in 1995 which became the band's biggest success to date hitting the Top 10. Although little to do with "Britpop", their chiming Big Star and Byrds-esque guitars and melodies sat well in the climate and the album spawned two Top 40 hits, Sparky's Dream and this, which hit #34. Despite achieving their greatest successes in this era, and referenced by many as influences, Teenage Fanclub were one of the era's great underachievers and despite further minor hits, never properly broke through unlike those they had influenced - see Travis.

In a late twist, in 2004 an episode of The Bill aired on ITV and featured four characters - Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, Paul Quinn and Gerard Love. Teenage Fanclub may not have sold a million in the UK, but several million probably watched this. Sadly, only about 7 people realised the scriptwriter's little in-joke...

5. Free Huey - The Boo Radleys

Never has a band, with the possible exception of Cornershop, been so misunderstood by the mainstream media and general public than the Boo Radleys, forever associated with one piece of music. You know the one. Sadly, that track, despite hitting the Top 10, earning songwriter Martin Carr enough money to retire on and spawning a #1 album was a pyrrhic victory. By the time the band released the noisy, experimental and frankly brilliant follow up, C'Mon Kids a year later, the older fans who had been captivated by 1993's magnum opus Giant Steps and earlier feedback drenched noise rock classics had ungraciously moved on after their commercial success and the new fans just didn't get it expecting Wake Up Boo Mk2. The result was the biggest shame in 90s music as, despite three Top 40 hits, the album stalled at #20 and disappeared after only a couple of weeks in the chart. Knocked for six, the band recorded their sixth album Kingsize featuring less experimentation and more structure and melody. Told by Creation to record two commercial singles before the album could be released, Carr came up with the stellar title track and this, Free Huey, which was released as the album's lead single. A risky single incorporating big beats and a shouty chorus, which accounted for two thirds of the song, it bombed and charted at a lowly #54. After the album disastrously peaked at #62 a couple of weeks later, the band called it a day leaving the second single, the title track unreleased. A soaring, anthemic track, if this had been the lead single, it could have saved them. A lost classic indeed. A rare 5 track promo of what would have been the tracks spread across 2 CD singles does exist and this counts as the final Boo Radleys release in the band's lifetime.

6. This Is My Hollywood - 3 Colours Red

3CR were much derided, mostly thanks to Alan McGee's over the top hyperbole when he announced that they were the most exciting band since the Sex Pistols. What he failed to mention was that 3CR were a pretty perfunctory punk rock band. Still, McGee's hype helped them achieve 4 Top 40 hits from their debut album Pure. This Is My Hollywood was the band's first release on the Fierce Panda label in 1996 and was re-released as the fifth single from the debut album in 1997 where it stalled at #48.

7. Love Is Blue - Edward Ball

Former Television Personalities frontman Ed Ball must have been a good friend of Alan McGee who let him release a bunch of albums as Love Corporation on the imprint throughout the 90s. When it was finally decided that Ball should trade on his own name, all the stops were pulled to make sure he finally achieved the success McGee felt he deserved. Despite much promotion including saturation on the ITV Chart Show  with videos featuring the likes of Anna Friel and Noel Gallagher, the campaign failed. Four singles were released from the album Catholic Guilt, only two of which reached the Top 100 including Love Is Blue which hit #59. The album failed to scrape the Top 200 and Ed stopped trying to be famous.

8. JC Auto - Sugar

Following the break up of the hugely influential Husker Du, frontman Bob Mould formed Sugar and had immediate success with their classic debut Copper Blue which hit the UK Top 10. Not all the tracks recorded for the Copper Blue sessions were included on the album, the heavier material held back for an EP release the following year. The EP, Beaster, did even better reaching #3 in 1993. The album being loosely based on religious imagery, JC Auto is short for Jesus Christ Autobiography. Sugar recorded one more album, File Under Easy Listening before Mould went solo.

9. Cracking Up - The Jesus & Mary Chain

JAMC were among the first signings to Creation and in 1984 released their infamous debut single Upside Down. The sound of this, and their debut album Psychocandy, set a new template for a new generation of indie bands where feedback and noise were of equal importance to the tune - this manifested itself in the shoegaze movement kickstarted by My Bloody Valentine. Despite not charting, Upside Down sold consistently and was a major success story for Creation. On the back of this, the band were signed to blanco y negro where the band stayed for the next decade. Always on the brink of implosion, the band had one more album left in them before they would self destruct and who better to pick it up than Creation where it all started. The writing was on the wall though. Cracking Up was the comeback and the album's lead single and hit #35. The poppier I Love Rock N Roll similarly only scraped the Top 40 and the album Munki only scraped the chart at #47. A decade later, they'd be back....

10. Gathering Moss - Super Furry Animals

The last great band to sign to Creation, SFA released their debut album Fuzzy Logic in 1996 featuring this track. Never a band to be categorised, SFA started life as a techno band - roots which have never gone away -  before picking up their guitars and releasing two effervescent EPs on the Ankst label before releasing their debut single Hometown Unicorn on Creation. Although this just missed the Top 40, they'd have no trouble with their next 19 proper single releases which all charted in the 40. Trouble is, they also set themselves an unwanted record; SFA became the band to have the most Top 40 singles - twenty - without ever reaching the Top 10. The closest they got was their 1999 single Northern Lites which reached #11 and they've also hit #s 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

4AD (UNCUT 1998)

19-Track retrospective of the now 30-year strong British independent label 4AD.

1. Debaser - Pixies

Released as the opening track  on Pixies' second album Dolittle, Debaser, whilst never released as a single, became an indie dancefloor classic for the next two decades. On the release of band retrospective Death To The Pixies in 1997, Debaser was chosen for release as a single for the first time and hit #23 in the UK chart.

2. Hypocrite - Lush

In 2001, Manic Street Preachers hit the headlines for releasing two singles on the same day. This was reported as an industry first. It wasn't. In May 1994, Lush also did this for much the same reason as the Manics, showcasing two sides to the band's music (though not the first band to do this...) Desire Lines was a 7 and a half minute atmospheric slab of  noise rock; Hypocrite was the first signs of the band shedding their shoegaze roots and heading into a more indie-rock sound they would perfect on their 1996 album Lovelife. Both singles reached the Top 75, Hypocrite being the most successful hitting #52, and comes from the album Split.

3. Go Lady Go - Mojave 3

Formed from the ashes of early 90s shoegazers, Slowdive, Mojave 3  released five albums between 1995 and 2006,  picking up considerable praise from the music weeklies on their way. This track was taken from their most successful single, Some Kinda Angel, which charted at #101 in 1998.

4. Lantern - Tanya Donnelly

As singer and guitarist in three of the most critically acclaimed American indie bands in the 80s/90s, Throwing Muses, The Breeders (for one album) and Belly, Tanya Donelly's future as a cult solo recording star was assured. On the back of this success, Donnelly's first solo album, Lovesongs For Underdogs, featuring this track, hit #37 in the UK. Though sales slowed down over the next few years, Donelly's status as one of the USA's most respected alternative female singer-songwriters is undiminished.

5. Wish I Had A Wishing Ring - His Name Is Alive

Experimental rock from Michigan held together by Warren Defever. A cult concern, the band have released 10 albums and a host of singles in a 20 year career on 4AD. This is taken from the 5th album Fort Lake. A 13 minute version also appears on their single, Can't Always Be Loved.

6. Mania - Throwing Muses

Throwing Muses were one of the most influential American independent bands of their time and were one of the first to deploy two girls at the forefront of the band, the aforementioned Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersh. Despite Donelly's departure in 1991, Hersh stayed with the band until their split in 1997 and their subsequent reunion. This is taken from their third album in 1989, Hunkpapa, which hit #59 in the UK.

7. You And Your Sister - This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil wasn't a band as such - it was more of a collective of 4AD's finest acts brought together by label boss Ivo Watts-Russell. The project spawned three albums, their most well known moment coming in 1984 with the interpretation of Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren featuring Cocteau Twins' Liz Frazer on ethereal vocal duty. This track was featured on their third and final album Blood, featuring Breeders'/Pixies guitarist and singer Kim Deal and, who else, Tanya Donnelly.

8. Shaolin Satellite - Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation's mix of lounge, dub and World music has kept them this duo going for 7 albums in a 16 year career. Shaolin Satellite was their first 12" single and was featured on their debut album, Sounds From The Thiery Hi-Fi, in 1997.

9. Barry (Gi Gi Galaxy Remix Edit) - Gus Gus

Icelandic electronic band with eight albums under their belt. Barry was featured on their eponymous debut album released in 1995 under the name Barry (White Pride) and was re-recorded for their breakthrough international album Polydistortion. The full length version of this remix was released as a 12" in 1997.

10. Urban Light 12am - Cuba

Big beat featuring former Chapterhouse drummer Ashley Bates. This is the 12" version of the band's debut single in 1998 (the single version was called Urban Light 7am) Their debut album, Leap Of Faith, was released in 1999 by which time they had changed their name to Air Cuba. Chapterhouse wasn't their only shoegaze connection; other band member Christopher Andrews was married to Slowdive's Rachel Goswell.

11.  Unofficial World Cup Theme - Colourbox

English electronic group active between 1982 and 1987. This track was released in 1986 as a single on the same day as another Colourbox single, their cover of Augustus Pablo's Baby I Love You So, thus beating Lush and the Manics into the record books. Although the track was considered for consideration for the BBC's World Cup coverage for the 1986 Mexico World Cup, it eventually lost out to Aztec Lightning by Heads. Colourbox dissolved after they achieved international success with their collaboration with AR Kane. The names may not be so familiar but the single will be...it was named Pump Up The Volume under the pseudonym M/A/R/R/S....

12. Saints - The Breeders

Pixies and Throwing Muses singer and guitarists Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly (her again) formed The Breeders in 1998 with Deal's sister Kelley. Donelly left after the release of their  debut album, Pod, to concentrate on her next band Belly and success soon followed with their second album Last Splash which hit the Top 5 in the UK. Along with the classic Cannonball, the album featured this track which was released as a single in the US and parts of Europe.

13. Big Jesus Trash Can - The Birthday Party

Early 80s dark, Gothic post-punk fronted by a young Nick Cave who, despite little commercial success, influenced a generation of post punk acts over the next decade.  This was taken from their album, Junkyard, which hit #73 in the UK in 1982.

14. Tomorrowing - Lisa Germano

Critically acclaimed alternative American singer-songwriter who has released ten albums in a career spanning twenty years.  This was taken from her 1998 album, Slide, her last for 4AD. Germano is also a session musician of some repute and has appeared on albums by Simple Minds, Eels, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

15. New Jersey - Red House Painters

San Franciscan alternative rock group who confusingly released two eponymous albums in 1993. This was taken from the first, widely known as Rollercoaster due to the album's cover art. The second, for the same reasons, is known as Bridge. After six albums, the band called it a day in 2001.

16. Your Ghost - Kristin Hersh

Although still leader of the reunited Throwing Muses, Hersh has had a successful 8 album solo career. This song started it all and was released as the first single from her first album Hips & Makers in 1994. A combination of her Muses background, a vocal contribution from Michael Stipe and an unexpected topless photo shoot in NME helped this become her most successful single in the UK, though just missing the Top 40 at #45

17. American Dreaming - Dead Can Dance

Ethereal, ambient, neo-classical dream pop, or something like that, from Australia. The band released seven albums between 1984 and 1996, this track featuring on their 1994 live album Toward The Within.

18. Sweet Unknown - The Hope Blister

Much like This Mortal Coil, The Hope Blister were formed by 4AD's own Ivo Watts-Russell though this time with a steady line up and focusing on cover versions. This is from their 1998 album ...smile's OK. Sweet Unknown was originally recorded by Cranes on their 1997 album Population 4.

19. Pearly Dewdrops' Drop - Cocteau Twins

The forefathers of the kind of Gothic dream pop that litters this compilation, Cocteau Twins aka Liz Fraser, Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie were together for nearly two decades until their dissolution in 1997. Critically acclaimed and commercially successful, Cocteau Twins scored 8 chart albums and released a number of charting singles and EPs. This is the 7 inch version of Pearly Dewdrops' Drop taken from their Spangle Maker EP which became the band's highest charting single in 1984. Those unfamiliar with the Twins' output may know Fraser's vocals from the single version of  Future Sound Of London's Lifeforms and, most famously, Massive Attack's Teardrop.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


1. King Of Snake (Barking Mix) - Underworld

The only Underworld track to share a co-writing credit with Giorgio Moroder, thanks to its interpolation of Donna Summer's I Feel Love, King Of Snake was edited down from its full 9 and a half minute length from the Beaucoup Fish album into two separate single mixes,the Straight (Mate) Mix and this one. The third single from the album, it reached #17 in 1999. The title of the remix, a play on words referencing an insane state of mind and the place in Essex, was resurrected in 2010 for Underworld's most recent album - Barking.

2. Caught By The Fuzz - Supergrass

Exclusive version recorded for Lamacq's Evening Session in April 1999. The fact that this was recorded five years after its original release, whilst in the throws of promoting their third album, was testament to the song's enduring appeal. Caught By The Fuzz was released as Supergrass' first limited edition single on Backbeat Records in 1993 and released as their first single proper a year later. Despite narrowly missing a Top 40 place, the track became a modern day classic and helped turn debut album I Should Coco into a million seller.

3. Pyromaniax! - Arsonists
Underground hip hop from New York, this is taken from the rap crew's 1999 debut album As The World Burns. One more album, Date Of Birth, followed in 2001.

4. Paint Nothing - Idlewild

Before they found the folk, Idlewild were a pretty mean live proposition. Shambolic and messy live, Roddy Woomble spent half of their live sets crawling along the floor like a man possessed. This chaotic, yet compelling, start was captured in their debut mini-album Captain which gained not considerable support from Steve Lamacq himself to whom the band probably owe their entire career. Idlewild's rough edges were smoothed out more and more as the next 10 years unfolded, the first signs being their debut album Hope Is Important. Whilst not abandoning their edgy and angular sound completely, the album edged more towards a more commercial sound that would reap further rewards in later years. Paint Nothing is from that album.

5. Stuck On Me - Sukpatch

Electronic hip-hop from the Tie Down That Shiny Wave EP from the Beastie Boys' Grand Royale stable. Other Sukpatch releases were released on Sub Pop and Moshi Moshi amongst others.

6. Oi To The World - The Vandals

US pop punk band who formed in 1980 and have undergone various radical line up changes in their 30 year career despite an influence a new wave of 90s punk acts such as Green Day and The Offspring. Oi To The World was originally released in 1996 as part of the band's Christmas album of the same name. An album which contained a ditty entitled Christmas Time For My Penis of which we will say no more and move on - only to say this is an exclusive live session version so, Vandals completists everywhere, take note that man.

7. Bursting Off The Back Beat - Jacknife Lee

Early single from producer Jacknife 'Garret' Lee which reached #153 in the chart and taken from his debut album Muy Rico! Lee had modest success with subsequent albums, but much like his earlier incarnation as guitarist with the heavily hyped indie rockers Compulsion, his career failed to take off. Jacking in the solo albums, however, and concentrating on producing other artists seemed to do the trick though....his credits including recent output by U2, REM, Weezer, Snow Patrol and Kasabian.

8. Generator - Elastica

The build up and release of Elastica's 1995 eponymous album was huge and Justine Frischmann et al were seen as guiding lights in the thriving Britpop scene. Frischmann's relationship with Damon Albarn and the fact she was an ex-girlfriend of Brett Anderson, having once been a member of Suede, kept Elastica in the headlines. Despite accusations of plagiarism from both Wire and The Stranglers, the album reached #1. Then it all fell apart and the band disappeared, only to resurface in 1999 having undergone various line up changes. The result was a low key 6 track EP called, well. '6 Track EP' which acted as a document to what the band had been up to in their lost years prior to the release of their second, and final album, The Menace. The EP contained a Mark E Smith collaboration in How We Wrote Elastica Man and this, Generator. The version here is exclusive to this EP and was recorded  live at Reading in 1999. The track also featured in a re-recorded version on the second album.

9. Going Out - Vyvyan

Short-lived all girl indie group from the West Midlands who only released on single and one mini-album, Teenage Wannabes on the Sympathy  From The Record Industry imprint. They did have to time to record one evening session and this version of the album track is featured here.

10. Such A Rush - Coldplay

Hidden in the depths of this CD then are Coldplay whose Blue Room EP, featuring this track, was released to limited but widespread acclaim in 1999. The release gained support from Lamacq's Evening Session, hence their inclusion here,  and led to a co-headlining tour with Welsh band Terris, a set of dates heavily hyped by NME who proclaimed these two bands as the future of music in the 21st Century. Those who mock NME for making such a noise over Terris, who fell flat on their arse, seem to have forgotten that they had more success with their championing of Coldplay who went on to world domination. An early version of Such A Rush was included on Coldplay's debut Safety EP, currenty fetching a crazy £870.00 on Ebay. A copy of Terris' debut EP, The Time Is Now, described by NME as semi-legendary at the time, recently failed to sell on Ebay....for 49p. Better luck next time, lads.

11. Lamacqnaut 2000 - Frigid Vinegar

Novelty indie rap played to death on the Evening Session in 1999 under the original single release title, Dogmonaut 2000. This adapted version paying tribute to the host was performed on the Session and included here exclusively. Despite record label Rotator's website - still active - suggesting that Frigid Vinegar aka Alex Lusty, could soon be seen performing on CD:UK, it never quite happened...

12. Radio Beatbox - Hedrock Valley Beats

AKA D Declan McLaughlin who released several singles and 12"s under the Hedrock Valley Beats moniker at the start of the millenium. The sleeve notes here claim that it's taken from "the first release on Bright Star Records" in 1999. Was it also the last??

13. Sunburn (Session) - Muse

Another huge band making an early appearance. At the time of this evening session, August 1999, Muse had released 2 limited EPs one major single, Uno, which had scraped the Top 75 and their second, Cave, was just around the corner. Initially dismissed as the next set of Radiohead copyists to come and bite the dust, support for Muse grew and grew beyond their initial fanbase and, despite a slow start, their debut album Showbiz knocked up strong sales and produced three Top 40 hits including Sunburn, their first major hit when it hit #22 in early 2000. As Muse shed the Radiohead-lite sound of their debut and became louder, more progressive and more bombastic, they became one of the UK's biggest bands. This is the only place you'll legitimately find this version so it's essential for all Muse completists.

14. I Love Only You - Hefner

Perhaps the most indie of all late 90s indie bands, Hefner were active from 1997 -2002 and produced a raft of singles and EPs, four albums and a number of radio sessions, most notably for John Peel. Never destined for commercial success at any point, this is taken from their second album The Fidelity Wars which hit the Top 200 for a week at #165.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


A rag bag of tunes from the Chrsyalis archive made up this FreeEP to coincide with that month's Vox Chrysalis retrospective. Here's the track listing:

1. The Big Music - The Waterboys

1984 single from Mike Scott's Waterboys, The track failed to chart but grew in influence throughout the 80s and spawned a mini-genre of the same name mainly associated with loud, bombastic, emotional Celtic bands e.g. The Alarm, Hothouse Flowers. The track was originally included on the band's second album A Pagan Place.

2. Sunday Girl (French Version) - Blondie

Blondie's second #1 from the classic Parallel Lines LP. This version, sung all in French, was included on the original UK 12" and was featured as the primary B-side in France. It's now widely available on the Parallel Lines collector's edition CD set. Interestingly, Blondie's 2002 Greatest Hits compilation features a bilingual version - the original version with one French verse. 

3. Bold As Brass - Split Enz

Huge In their native Australia, Split Enz only had one major hit single in the UK - I Got You - which hit #12 in 1980. Although the band split in 1984, singer Neil Finn and newly placed drummer, the late Paul Hester, formed Crowded House and went on to huge international success, at various times with former Split Enz member, Neil's brother Tim Finn. Bold As Brass was a 1977 Australian single and was featured on their album Dizrythmia.

4. The Light - The Proclaimers

Despite having an awkward, and sometimes comedic, image with the British public, The Proclaimers aka twins Craig and Charlie Reid have had enduring success over the last two decades and are something of a national institution, their last album Notes & Rhymes hitting the Top 30 in 2009.  The Light is taken from their 1994 To 10 album Hit The Highway.

5. Mama's Always On Stage - Arrested Development
This alternative hip hop group seemingly came from nowhere when their take on Sly & The Family Stone's Everyday People, renamed as People Everyday, hit #2 in the UK chart in 1992. In fact,  they were hardly overnight sensations - it tool them 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days from their inception to getting a record deal, a length of time which gave them the name of their debut album which contained this track. Their 1994 album, Zingalamaduni, fared less well and the band have continued to this day as an underground concern.

6. Thoughts Of You - Shara Nelson
Nelson's vocals on Massive Attack's seminal Blue Lines, including the all-time classic Unfinished Sympathy, forced her into the limelight at the turn of the 90s. Despite her success with the band, Nelson broke away and released her debut album What Silence Knows in 1993, including this track, which hit the Top 10 and spawned 4 Top 40 singles. Only one album followed, 1995's Friendly Fire.

7. King Rocker - Generation X

A punk classic  which just missed out on the Top 10 in 1978 hitting #11 for these London pop-punks. Despite that, two members of the band went on to enjoy Top 10 hits after the group's 1981 split. Tony James formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik whose ultra hyped rockabilly synth punk rocker Love Missile F1-11 hit the Top 3 in 1986. More successfully was lead singer William Broad who enjoyed a hugely successful solo career in the US and the UK under his stage name of Billy Idol.

8. The Music That Nobody Likes - Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine

Or, for Smash Hits readers, Carter USM. The irony in the title of this track wouldn't have escaped Jimbob and Fruitbat who enjoyed a loyal fanbase but were hated by others. It was taken from their 1993 Top 5 album Post Historic Monsters.

9. Ship Of Fools - World Party

Taking us back to the beginning of this compilation, World Party was really a vehicle for one man, Karl Wallinger, who left The Waterboys in 1986 to concentrate on his own brand of Big Music. Ship Of Fools was featured on World Party's debut album Private Revolution and was pulled as the band's first single hitting #42 in 1987.

10. All The Way From Memphis (Live) - Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson

Originally a classic glam rock Top 10 hit in 1972 for Mott The Hoople, this is a live version from two of the band's most famous members.

11. La Bien, Le Mal - Guru

Featuring MC Solaar, this is a cut from Guru's classic 1993 jazz rap opus Jazzmatazz, an album which featured amongst others, D.C, Lee, N'dea Davenport and Carleen Anderson. Guru was originally one half of rap duo Gangstarr before creating 4 installments of Jazzmatazz throughout the next decade until his untimely death in April 2010.

12. April In Kings Cross - Tyrell Corporation

Named after a fictional company in Blade Runner, this dance band had a couple of Top 75 entries in 1994. This was taken from their album Play For Today.

13.  The Witch's Promise - Jethro Tull

Initially a blues rock group, Jethro Tull morphed into of the most progressive and folky of all progressive folk groups. The Witch's Promise was an early career highlight and one of their biggest hits reaching #4 in 1971.

14. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? - The Ramones

Legendary US punk rockers, The Ramones released Acid Eaters in 1993, their penultimate album and their only covers album which contained this Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks well as a host of other 60s hits from the likes of The Who, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Love.

15. Nothing Compares 2 U (Video Version) - Sinead O Connor

Written by Prince and originally recorded by Prince offshoot The Family for their 1985 eponymous album, Sinead O Connor's version, with its classic headshot video, stormed to #1 all over the world including the US and the UK.  You can also find a live version by Prince himself on his 1993 compilation Hits 1.

16. Ugly - Mutha's Day Out

Rap rock troupe from Arkansas whose one and only album My Soul Is Wet was released in 1993. Despite the band splitting in 1994, they were coaked into the limelight for one final act in 1995 after appearing in the movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat.

17. Never Too High To Fall - Kingmaker

Kingmaker were one of the many indie also-rans killed stone dead by the rise of Britpop. Despite having a couple of Top 20 singles in 1992/3 and a successful album, Sleepwalking, by the time their thir album proper in 1995 the band had fallen out of favour and they subsequently split. This track is taken from their 1993 odds n sods album To Hell With Humdrum.

18. I Know These Things  About You- Neil Arthur

Arthur was, and now is again, one half of synthpop band Blancmange who scored 5 Top 40 hits between '82 and '85.  This is taken from his only solo album, Suitcase, released in 1994. Blancmange released their comeback album, Blanc Burn, last year.

19. 19 - Paul Hardcastle

Aptly placed in 19th position, this anti-war track was based on the claim that the average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam was 19. Startlingly unique, the song containing dialogue from television narrator Peter Thomas, went to #1 all over the world including the UK. The song has been given a new lease of life in 2011 by Manchester United fans celebrating their team's 19th title victory. In keeping with the song's message, Hardcastle has forfeited all royalties to sales of the track to a charity -  Scotty's Little Soldiers, a Norwich-based charity which supports the children of men and women killed while serving with the British armed forces. At time of writing, the song was back in the UK chart at #40.

20. Free Nelson Mandela - The Special AKA

The Special AKA was an alternative moniker for The Specials used sporadically throughout their career. The name was used for the band's third album, In The Studio, released with a new line up after Neville Staple, Lynval Golding and Terry Hall departed to form Fun Boy Three. The album's relative failure led leader Jerry Dammers to dissolve the band. Despite this, the album spawned one of the Specials' most well known tracks, Free Nelson Mandela, a protest song aimed at freeing Mandela who at that point had been incarcerated for 22 years. It took another 6 years for Mandela to be released and another 25 years before The Specials' classic line up reformed, albeit without Jerry Dammers.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


1. Lucifer Over Lancashire (Alternative Version) - The Fall

First appearance on TheFreeEPs for the mighty Fall. Lucifer Over Lancashire was released as the B side to Mr Pharmacist - a single which marked The Fall's first bona fide hit in the national singles chart - just - at #75. This exclusive alternative version is still a rarity though it was officially released on the Cog Sinister release Backdrop. Like the original version it was recorded as part of  the sessions for the Bend Sinister album.

2. High Priest Of Love (Demo)- Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction

As editor of Flexipop magazine, Mark Manning had all the industry nous and contacts to make an instant splash in the music press with his debauched alter ego Zodiac Mindwarp. The instant music press coverage saw his first EP hit #9 in the indie chart. The follow-up EP, the title track being High Priest Of Love, went straight to the top.  A year later, Prime Mover became his first national Top 40 hit. However, the biker rock shtick soon wore off with the public and Mindwarp's debut album failed to sell well barely scraping the Top 20. The band continue to this day as a cult concern, Mark Manning also finding notoriety as an author. This demo is exclusive to this 7".

3. South Africa - Hollywood Beyond

What's The Colour Of Money? asked Mark Rogers in 1986 taking the song of that name to the Top 10 in the process. Rogers never really got to find out the answer to his question as a second single and album, If, despite co-production by Bernard Edwards, fell short. South Africa is an exclusive song to this release.

4. Orange Appled - Cocteau Twins

A then-exclusive track for the UK, Orange Appled appeared on the US edition of the Love's Easy Tears EP but was omitted from the UK release. Orange Appled has since become a fan favourite and has appeared on an array of compilations including 4AD's best of Cocteau collection Stars & Topsoil.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


A rare EP from the shortlived magazine 'The Hit'

1. Kick Over The Statues (The Ramsey McKinnock Mix) - The Redskins

Left-wing rockabilly indie pop from York from a band who released a clutch of critically acclaimed singles and one album, Neither Washington Nor Moscow, in 1986. Signed to Decca, the band soon cracked the national singles chart with Keep On Keepin' On which hit #43; the follow up Bring It Down (This Insane Thing) hit the Top 40. Kick Over The Statues was released as a limited edition 7" single on Abstract Records in 1985 and was featured on the album which hit #31. Not long after, the band split. This remix is exclusive to this EP release.

2. Every Bit Of Me - Simply Red

There was a time when Simply Red were considered somewhat alternative. Mick Hucknall's first punk band The Frantic Elevators released a number of singles between 1979 and 1982. Hucknall re-emerged in 1985 with his new blue-eyed soul band and immediately hit the Top 20 with their take on the Valentine Brothers' Money's Too Tight To Mention. Hucknall, or Red as the sleevenotes declare the vocalist to be called, received support from the weekly inkies as is evident from their appearance here but the more sappy Simply Red became, the more the band became less NME and rather more Take A Break. The rest is history....This track is an exclusive studio take of a track which appeared on the Money's Too Tight 12"

3. Walls Come Tumbling Down (Live) - The Style Council

Released prior to their second album Our Favourite Shop, Walls Come Tumbling Down's opening war cry 'You don't have to take this crap' was an immediate signpost to the return of Paul Weller the angry young man, though  still embracing the jazz and funk tendencies explored on Cafe Bleu. The single hit #6 at the beginning of 1985 becoming one of Weller Mk2's biggest hits. This version, recorded live at the Manchester Apollo, is exclusive to this release.

4. Taste Of Cindy  - The Jesus & Mary Chain

A taster for JAMC's debut album Psychocandy, this a one and a half minute feedback drenched racket gave little indication that the album would sound like anything else. And indeed it didn't; the album became an instant classic. This, of course, features Bobby Gillespie on drums.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


1. Dumb - Garbage

Garbage were founded by legendary Nirvana producer Butch Vig and had flame-haired ex Goodbye Mr Mackenzie siren Shirley Manson up front so they were never doomed to failure. This is taken from the band's second #album Version 2.0 which produced 5 top 20 hits.

2. Suffocate - Feeder

Starting off life as an acoustic ballad on Feeder's debut album, Polythene, Suffocate was re-recorded and given the full epic strings and all treatment for a stand alone single release in 1998. Despite the heavily commercial sound, the single only crept into the Top 40 at  #37, though had this been released a few years later would  have been in no doubt a Top 10 hit. The single version is included here and was also featured on their Singles compilation.

3. A.M. 180 - Grandaddy

The most well known track on media darlings' Grandaddy's Under The Western Freeway album. One of four singles released from the album, this peaked at #104 in the UK chart. Although they always remained a cult concern, their following album, The Sophtware Slump, would see them attain a degree of commercial success. AM 180 can also be heard in the film 28 Days Later.

4. Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Of all Cave's many tracks spanning the last four decades, this is probably the one everyone knows having been used in a variety of films and television programmes - usually those involving bloody deaths and murder. The track was originally released on Cave's 1994 Top 10 album Let Love In and hit #68 on UK single release the same year.

5. The Dancer - Naomi

Despite supporting Saint Etienne, Beth Orton and, er, Hurricane #1 and coverage in the music weeklies, success wasn't to be for Naomi, who now performs under the name Naomi Phoenix. This was taken from her only album, Liquid.

6. Buddy - Snapper

Indie rock from New Zealand taken from the soundtrack of the film 'Topless Women Talk About Their Lives'. Snapper themselves released two albums in 1992 and 1996.

7. Tonite It Shows - Mercury Rev

Another appearance from Deserter's Songs - V2 rinsed the album dry with 4 single releases in the UK alone and sold on every other magazine covermount. Good job the album is a timeless classic...

8. Derwent River Star - The Paradise Motel

Experimental pop from Australia, this was taken from their second album Flight Paths. Despite disbanding at the turn of the millennium, the band recently reformed

9. Take Me Back - Babybird

Much misunderstood, on release of the ubiquitous You're Gorgeous in 1996, not many people knew that Stephen Jones had released five albums in the year leading up to their  breakthrough containing lo-fi, experimental alternative music. Jones' commercial reign continued for the next couple of years culminating in his 1998 release, There's Something Going On. However, Jones killed off the album by releasing the fiercely uncommercial Bad Old Man as its lead single; by the time two more radio friendly singles had been released, despite them both charting higher, momentum had been lost and Babybird never regained their mainstream popularity. Take Me Back is from that album which peaked at #28 in 1998.  Babybird continue and with royalty cheques pouring in from THAT single and for The F Word, now theme tune to the TV show of the same name, Jones won't care much about not selling many records anymore.

10. Hexagon Eye - Cable

Cable's 1997 single Freeze The Atlantic should have provided them with a big hit after its heavy usage on a Sprite commercial. Instead, the single stalled at #44 and the band eventually split after the release of their second album Sub-Lingual containing this track.

11. The Underdogs- Rialto

Formed from the ashes of Kinky Machine, Rialto were a poor man's Pulp who received considerable promotion and press attention around their eponymous album. On the verge of big things after the Top 40 success of singles Untouchable and Monday Morning 5:19, the record company politics delayed  the album and it stalled at #21 with no further single successes. More albums followed but it was a case of Sales, 519.

12. Search's End - The Wiseguys

Forever ingrained in the public's consciouness thanks to Ooh La La and Start The Commotion from various commercials and movies, Wiseguys also released an album, The Antidote, containing this piece of work.

13. Heavy Transit - Sound 5

Sound 5 were formed from two members of early 90s acid rave pop group Candy Flip who were most famous for their trippy version of Strawberry Fields Forever. Despite tremendous radio play for Sound 5's debut single, the Lightning Seeds-esque Ala Kaboo, the band never caught on and their album No Illicit Dancing sank without trace.

14. Attack - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Closing track from the punk blues' stalwarts sixth album Acme, released at the height of their mid to late 90s commercial success.

15. The Rhyme - The Strike Boys

The Strike Boys are a German electronic duo who have released four albums, a bunch of 12"s and created a score of remixes over the last 15 years. This is from their debut album Selected Funks. Released a single on Wall Of Sound, The Rhyme reached #179 in the UK chart.

16. Number Cruncher (The Porridge Gun Mix) - The Egg

The one exclusive on this CD is this remix of a track originally available on The Egg's album Travelator. Always an underground electronic band, The Egg scored a surprise Top 3 hit in 2006 when the Tocadisco remix of their track Walking Away was mashed up with David Guetta's Love Don't Let Me Go.

17. Disco Dolly - Space

For a couple of years, Liverpool's Space were one of the UK's biggest bands. Their album Spiders had produced 4 big hits and their second album Tin Planet started off well with two more Top 10 singles and a spot in the Top 3. Then it all suddenly went very pear shaped; the album's popularity was very short lived and guitarist Jamie Murphy soon suffered a very public meltdown. A new single, Diary Of A Wimp,  in 2000, unexpectedly bombed when it only hit #48 and Gut Records refused to release what would have been their third album. Perhaps one of the biggest riches to rags stories in 90s indie, Space never recovered and one neglected album later in 2004, Space were no more. Still, their hits were big enough to warrant sufficient incoming royalties for a while yet...Disco Dolly was featured on the Tin Planet album and actually should have been released as the third single.

Monday, 25 April 2011


1. Don 't Give Up - Basement Jaxx

Track taken from Brixton house duo's acclaimed Top 5 debut album Remedy.

2. Remote Control - Beastie Boys

Single taken from the Beasties' 1999 comeback album Hello Nasty. This was released as a single as a AA side with 3 MCs &1 DJ and hit #21 in the UK chart.

3. So Many Soldiers - Ian Brown

Taken from King Monkey's second set Golden Greats. The lyrics and themes featured in this song were explored again in Brown's 2007 anti-war tirade Illegal Attacks.

4. My Ritual - Folk Implosion

Folk Implosion were supposed to be a low key side project for Sebadoh's Lou Barlow. The usage of Natural One on the soundtrack to the movie Kids changed that and for a time Folk Implosion eclipsed the profile of Barlow's main band. 1999 saw an album for each group - The Sebadoh and One Part Lullaby.

5. Swimming In Someone Else's Pool - Regular Fries

From the Fries' debut album Accept The Signal. As was perhaps to be expected from a seven pieced psych-rock band who used a birdcage as percussion, the band were doomed to failure. On their split in 2001, band member and rock hack Paul Moody declared "We hate the charts and the charts hate us. We're off into the cosmos!"

6. Indian Strings - Suede

Back in 1999 Suede began the hype for their fourth album by revealing a letter a week to the music press. They got as far as about H and E when they probably realised they couldn't keep it up for another seven weeks and announced the album would be called Head Music. Despite not hitting the heights of their previous albums, the album, containing this track hit #1 and spawned four Top 30 hits.

7. Held - Smog

Smog aka American singer-songwriter Bill Callahan released 10 albums between 1990 and 2005 before releasing music under his own name. Held was released on the album Knock Knock and as a single in its own right.

8. Race For The Prize - The Flaming Lips

More famous for the Beavis & Butthead adopted 1993 track She Don't Use Jelly, star-shaped CD singles for the release of This Here Giraffe and crazy experimental albums - see Zaireeka, 4 CDs to be played simultaneously for one, it was the Flaming Lips' music that finally got them the attention in 1999 when their classic The Soft Bulletin became one of the decade's most acclaimed albums. Despite the lavish praise, both the single of Race For The Prize and album only reached #39 but has sold steadily over the years.

9. Ghost Ship In A Storm - Jim O' Rourke

Experimental US singer-songwriter who has worked with and produced Sonic Youth, Wilco and the aforementioned Smog amongst others. This is taken from his 1999 album Eureka.

10. Calm Like A Bomb - Rage Against The Machine

Released on RATM's final studio album (to date) with Zack De La Rocha, The Battle Of Los Angeles, Calm Like A Bomb was never a single but became a fan favourite and was exposed to millions when featured in the credits of The Matrix Reloaded in 2003.

11. Flying - Death In Vegas

Making use of a variety of guests including Jim Reid, Bobby Gillespie, Iggy Pop and Dot Allison, this is one of The Contino Sessions' instrumental excursions proving Richard Fearless didn't always need back up from the big names.

12. Major Leagues - Pavement

Indie royalty, this was taken from the band's final album Terror Twilight and has the distinction of being the band's final UK single release as the non-chart eligible Major Leagues EP which contains cover versions of Echo & The Bunnymen's 'The Killing Moon' and The Fall's 'The Classical'.

13. Only Answers Delay Our Time - Campag Velocet

The last few copies of the decade, NME heavily hyped the Clockwork Orange obsessed Campag Velocet. Their album Bon Chic Bon Genre only hit #140 whilst their so-called rivals and tour mates Coldplay went on to slightly bigger things.

14. Death To Everyone - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Ending on a high note, this was taken from US singer-songwriter Will Oldham's sixth album. The lavish praise heaped on this dark, uncompromising record helped the record into the Top 200 providing a platform for future Top 75 albums whilst still maintaining his cult status. This album is still cited as one of the 1990s' best.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


1. Endlessly - Mercury Rev

Tracks and remixes from Deserter's Songs were scattered all over magazine covermounts in 1998/9. It didn't need such hype - Mercury Rev's switch from experimental rock to these lush soundscapes caught the imagination of the public all by itself.

2. Pictures Of Me - Elliott Smith

Smith's perfomance at the 1998 Oscars ceremony catapulted this tortured soul into the public domain giving his 1997 album Either/Or, featuring this track, a new lease of life. Smith was soon signed to Dreamworks and he became one of the biggest cult singer-songwriters in the world. His mysterious death/murder in 2003 has only added to his cult status.

3. Piglet - Arab Strap

Signed to Chemikal Underground, Arab Strap (aka Malcolm Middelton and Aiden Moffatt) were the masters of lo-fi post rock miserabilism at the arse end of the 90s until their split in 2006. Despite threatening to sour the Top 40 singles chart in 1998 with their double A side single Here We Go/Trippy, the single fell short by 8 places. The album, Philophobia, containing Piglet, just made it - at #37 - but they soon descended back into cultdom.

4. Somethin' Hot - The Afghan Whigs

Greg Dulli's soul-rock band Afghan Whigs had been plugging away for ten years when their 1998 album, named 1965, was on target to be 'the big one' after their previous album Black Love had won over the critics and new fans. Despite that album hitting The Top 40, 1965 barely scraped the Top 100 and the singles, of which this was one, disappeared without trace. The fall out of the disappointment of 1965's failure led Dulli to split the band up. Dulli has been active since, with Mark Lanegan in The Gutter Twins and his own The Twilight Singers.

5. Stevie (For Steven S) - Royal Trux

Americsan noise rock band active for 14 years between 1987 and 2001. This was featured on their 1998 album Accelerator.

6. I Never Want To See You Again - Quasi

More American alt-rock. Quasi have released 8 albums since 1996, this being from their fourth, Birds.

7. Won't You Be My Baby, Baby - Leila

Primed for big things at the end of the 90s but still an underground concern, Leila Arab has worked with Bjork and recorded for Rephlex, XL and Warp Records. This was taken from her debut 'Like Weather'.

8. A Galaxy Of Scars - Third Eye Foundation

A vehicle for dark folk musician Matt Elliott, several albums and remix albums were released under the Third Eye Foundation name until his first album under his own name in 2003. This is from the 1998 album 'You Guys Kill Me'.

9. Roygbiv - Boards Of Canada

The downtempo electronica of BoC's Music Has The Right To Children saw it become one of the huge critical successes of 1998. Acclaimed for their warm, atmospheric, analog soundscapes, the Scottish duo have only released three albums proper on Warp despite releasing a clutch of EPs, an impressive pre-Warp back catalogue and a number of remixes to their name.

10. Concrete Schoolyard - Jurassic 5

Critically acclaimed hip hop group J5 releaseds their eponymous album in 1998 containing this UK Top 40 hit. The group released three more albums before splitting in 2007.

11. Acid Rave (All The Girls Love An) - MDK

MDK's - or Murder Death Kill - Open Transport released in 1998 is an eclectic and heavy electronica album running for 72 minutes and containing 31 tracks. Not easy listening, other tracks include Die, Urgggh and Do You Want To Be Murdered?

12. The Dead Flag Blues (Edit) - Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Massively lauded Canadian experimentalists  actually called Godspeed You! Black Emperor - the exclamation mark used to be in the wrong place. F#A#∞ (or F Sharp A Sharp, Infinity) was originally released in 1997 as a limited edition vinyl only abum. This was then expanded and re-released to worldwide acclaim in 1998. More EPs and two more albums followed before the band split in 2003. They are now back together and are touring in 2011.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


1. The Motorcade Sped On - Steinski & Mass Media featuring D.J.E.T.

Steinski, along with Double Dee, was a hugely influential hip-hop artist specialising in collages and samples providing a template for the likes of DJ Shadow and Coldcut. The Motorcade Sped On was released as a promotional 12" in 1986  and featured snippets of newscasts about the assassination of JFK over the beats from The Rolling Stones' Honky Tonk Women. The clanging first chord is also a direct steal from The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. It's steals like this that has meant Double Dee & Steinski's work rarely gets a re-release making this EP a huge rarity.

2. White Kross (Live In Tallahassee, Florida) - Sonic Youth

Billed as an unreleased track, this is a live version of what was to become one of Sonic Youth's most well known tracks which first appeared proper on their classic 1987 album, 'Sister', their fourth, which saw them make their first inroads into mainstream - at a push. This is the song's first appearance and the only place you'll find this short, sharp live version.

3. When You're Hot You're Hot (NME Version) - Sly & Robbie - The Taxi Connection

Recorded live in London, this completes a trilogy of exclusive tracks on this 7" EP from one of dub reggae's most pioneering, prolific and influential musicians and producers. This track originally  featured on The Taxi Connection, an Island-released live album featuring turns by Sly & Robbie, Yellowman, Half Pint and Ini Kamoze at London's Town & Country Club. Most likely an edit of the version featured on that album, this NME Version is still unique to this release.

Monday, 28 February 2011


1. Sub-Culture (Exclusive Remix) - New Order

A collector's item for fans of one of the most collectable bands of their time. This is genuinely an exclusive remix which has never been officially released since. Sub-Culture began its life on New Order's classic 1985 album 'Low Life'. In 1986, the track was remixed by John Robie and released as a single. However, the mix was badly received and the single became a rare critical and commercial failure for the band, only hitting #63 in the UK chart. Factory graphic designer Peter Saville objected to the release of the remix of Sub-Culture to such an extent he refused to design a sleeve explaining why the single was only distributed in a plain black sleeve. As tends to be the norm with New Order releases, there has always been confusion over the source of this remix. The label credits Robie as being on remix duty again but it actually seems to be an edit of the first of several Razormaid remixes of the track. Razormaid being one of the largest DJ subscription remix services in the world, this became one of the very rare instances when such a remix was released outside the confines of their stringent subscription service. Despite being regarded as superior to the official Robie mixes, this EP is still the only legit place to find this.

For more New Order TheFreeEPs recommends http://neworder-recycle.blogspot.com 

2. Jennifer Wants - Raymonde

Despite a huge Smiths connection - Raymonde frequently supported them and lead singer James Maker used to be their back up singer and dancer - the band only released on overlooked album in 1987, Babelogue. Although Raymonde never lived up to RM's billing of them as one of the year's most exciting newcomers, Maker made a few quid out of his old mate nearly two decades on in 2004 when Morrissey not only covered Raymonde track No One Can Hold A Candle To You as a B side and live, but included the original version on his own compilation, the NME FreeEP 'Songs To Save Your Life' in 2004.  Back to Jennifer Wants, this track is absolutely exclusive to this EP so a must for all Morrissey fans.

3. Bad Thing Longing - Hipsway

In between featuring in two hugely successful bands - Altered Images and Texas - guitarist Johnny Mcelhone formed Hipsway in 1984. The band's eponymous debut album just missed out on a Top 40 place but single The Honeythief hit #17 in 1986. This track, at the time of this EP's release an exclusive preview, was featured on their debut. Despite this early promise, the band folded in 1989.

4. Walk Away Renee - The Adventures

The Adventures were an Irish folk rock band who briefly threatened to become one of the UK's biggest bands. Backed by eventual Spice Girls guru Simon Fuller, he ensured The Adventures achieved plenty of airplay and music press attention. Despite a Top 20 hit in 1988 with Broken Land, it never really happened and The Adventures became one of the country's best kept secrets instead. This faithful cover of The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee, made famous by The Four Tops, was specially recorded for Record Mirror and remains exclusive to this release. Arguably, as the band had already released their album Theodore & Friends and its singles to little success, this was most likely an attempt by Fuller to keep them in the public eye in the absence of any new material.

*Thanks to Eric Generic for sending me this FreeEP*