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Sunday, 16 October 2011
VOX: CLASS OF '96
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.