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/

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?