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All the Free EP's from the 20th Century collected in one place....when I get them, that is.
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Also available - http://discogshuffle.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
1. Brimful Of Asha (Mucho Macho Bolan Boogie Mix) - Cornershop
Before Norman Cook's remix of Cornershop's most famous moment and ode to Indian film culture, Brimful Of Asha was reworked by Sofa Surfers and Mucho Macho, the mix featured here. Both remixes were included on the original release of the single which scraped the Top 60 in August 1997. Of course, it was the subsequent Fatboy remix that received the daytime airplay and propelled the song to #1 in February 1998. This only tells half the story - Brimful Of Asha had already become an indie classic in its own right by the time the remix had gone overground and was already by some distance Cornershop's biggest hit. The re-release transformed its status from underground to mainstream classic, the original still gaining some airplay over the remix in certain quarters. Whether the Fatboy remix or the original is superior remains an indie club argument. Which side am I on? A no-brainer. Everyone should seek out the Cornershop back catalogue for countless examples of this band's genius. Their latest album 'Urban Turban: The Singhles Club' was released in 2012 with a follow up expected in 2013.
2. You And Me On The Run - theaudience
Like countless other bands, Theaudience were touted as the New Smiths. Only with one significant difference, the New Morrissey was a woman. When theaudience fizzled out after Two Top 40 hits and a #22 album, that woman - one Sophie Ellis Bextor - would almost certainly not follow Morrissey's career path, reinventing herself as a dance pop diva. This track, more electronic in nature than some of Theaudience's other tracks, was a B side to their second single, If You Can't Do It When You're Young (When Can You Do It?).
3. To Ulrike M. (Original Mix) - Doris Days
Also remixed by Zero 7, this track was recorded as a tribute to German left wing militant Ulrike Meinhof, one half of Baader-Meinhof. Doris Days were Swedish and this also features on their 1996 album Live In Poland.
4. Prix Choc (Ultra Dark Mix) - Etienne De Crecy
Originally featured on French producer De Crecy's debut 1997 album Super Discount, this self made remix was featured on the single release for Prix Choc which hit #60 in 1998.
5. International Velvet - Catatonia
The title track from Cerys Matthews and co's second album and the one with the infamous 'Every day I wake up and thank the Lord I'm Welsh' refrain. After debut album Way Beyond Blue spawned a few minor hits, it took semi-novelty indie anthem Mulder And Scully to propel Catatonia into the stratosphere. That single plus Road Rage and three more single releases helped International Velvet sell 900,000 copies in the UK alone. It turned Cerys from an indie pin up to plastered all over FHM and gyrating with Tom Jones within the year. It all went downhill quickly but Cerys recovered from breakdowns and an affair with Gianni from Eastenders and can now be heard on 6 Music.
6. East Winter - Scott 4
There doesn't seem to be a FreeEP in sight in the late 90s that didn't feature V2's indie country rock three piece Scott 4. This was taken from their 1998 album Recorded In State.
7. Total Turn - Electric Sound of Joy
Originally a limited edition single from 1997 on Earworm Records. By the time this Chesterfield band had released their eponymous debut in 1999, their sound had changed from the new wave indie rock displayed here to a more electronic sound. After favourable reviews, the band slipped off the radar.
8. Start Again - The Montrose Avenue
Featuring ex Menswear drummer and future 6 Music newsman Matt Everitt in their line up, Montrose Avenue were one of those hyped major label record industry 'indie' bands. After their second single scraped the Top 40, the two follow ups, of which Start Again was the second, only reached #59 and #58 respectively. The eponymous debut failed to scrape the Top 100 and that was that. A rarity in the world of magazine giveaways, Start Again actually gained its debut release on this compilation four months before being available as a single.
9. Style Break (Dylan's Drop Mix) - Dylan Rhymes
Real name Martin Beaver, producer and remixer Dylan Rhymes is best known for his work Naked And Ashamed which was picked up by Smirnoff for their advertising campaign in the late 90s. Rhymes recorded this 12" and another EP, Humphead, for Junior Boys Own. This track is exclusive to this compilation and is a product of his time with JBO. His first album, Dead Famous, was released in 2005 on the Kingsize imprint.
10. Ideal Home - Black Box Recorder
You could write a book about underrated genius and indie maverick Luke Haines - in fact, he's written a few himself - so let's keep this brief. An alternative rock veteran by the end of the 90s, Haines had been a member of The Servants, released his own album under the Baader-Meinhof moniker and fronted the critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful Auteurs. His last attempt at hitting the pop mainstream was under the name Black Box Recorder with vocalist Sarah Nixey and John Moore, ex Jesus And Mary Chain. First album England Made Me, from where this track is taken, failed to do the business as per usual. However, second album The Facts Of Life hit the Top 40 thanks to the surprise Top 20 success of its eponymous single. Success was fleeting and after the failure of BBR's third album, Haines went solo also becoming something of a pop commentator releasing his memoirs to huge cult acclaim.
11. You, My Baby And I - Alex Gopher
French house DJ who released this single 1998 plus an album of the same name in 1999. Gopher started off his career in a band called Orange which also featured future Air members Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin. He has released a plethora of 12" singles and an eponymous album in 2006.
12. Desert Cats -Warm Jets
Named after the Brian Eno album, Here Come The Warm Jets, this indie pop band gained tabloid attention when lead singer Louis Jones fleetingly stepped out with Zoe Ball. The attention didn't help their album, Future Signs, climb any higher than #40 and the band were quickly dropped despite two Top 40 hits. This track was released as a B side to the original release of their single, Hurricane.
13. 8 Steps To Perfection - Company Flow
Massively critically acclaimed underground hip hop from New York. This was taken from their 1997 album Funcrusher Plus.
14. Kurt Russell - Ultrasound
Big singer, big sound big hype. Considered by the music press of the day as contenders to become a huge crossover success and compared in some quarters to Suede, the release of their sprawling double album in April 1999 put paid to any of those hopes. Early singles were well received - this track released as part of the Best Wishes single (#68) - and met with some Top 40 chart success. However, the album, Everything Picture, was met with derision by the inkies resulting in a #23 chart placing, a loss of press support and the inevitable split. A second album, Play For Today, was released in 2012 after the band's reunion.
15. Adrenalin - Purity
London based electronic duo who toured with Depeche Mode in the late 90s. This was released as a 1997 single and on their album Bullets For Words a year later.
16. Sofa Rockers (Richard Dorfmeister Remix) - Sofa Surfers
Austrian rock, electronic and jazz hybrid. This remix was released on the Sofa Rockers single in 1997. Taking us back to Track 1, Sofa Surfers remixed Cornershop's Brimful Of Asha on its first release the same year.
17. Electric Hairdo - Lionrock
Formed by Justin Robertson at the turn of the 90s, Lionrock released a number of singles throughout the decade as well as remixing a host of big name singles including Manic Street Preachers' Australia, The Shamen's Boss Drum, Big Time Sensuality by Bjork and New Order's 1963. They released their debut album, An Instrinct For Detection, belatedly in 1996 which hit the Top 30. Although the 1998 follow up, City Delirious, didn't match its success, it did contain their biggest hit Rude Boy Rock which became a Top 20 hit. This track was also released on that second and final album. Justin Robertson continues to produce and remix under his own name, The Prankster, Revtone or The Deadstock 33s.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
After years releasing below par records, Iggy Pop hit paydirt with the radio friendly Blah Blah Blah in 1986 which featured the punk rock icon's biggest ever hit, Real Wild Child (Wild One). Typically, Pop followed up the release of that album with the heavy Instinct in 1988 which featured Sex Pistol Steve Jones on co-writing duties and guitar for some of the tracks. Commercial success was not forthcoming and this, the only single, failed to chart. This was an exclusive remix of that single, released subsequently as the Rock Version.
2. Love And Bullshit - Fishbone
LA Alternative funk metal outfit formed in 1979 still going to this day. The band have released 7 studio albums including 1988's Truth And Soul. This sub 2 minute track was exclusive to this release until featured as an extra track on that album's single Bonin' In The Boneyard in 1990.
3. Burnin' Love - Dan Reed Network
US funk rock band who had some success in the late 80s and early 90s in the US and UK. This track was another exclusive at the time but soon featured as a B side to their 1989 single Come Back Baby which hit #51 in the UK. Oddly, DRN's popularity soared in the UK in 1991 just as it started to wane in their native country. Much like Dan Reed's hair, they were soon history.
4. Bury Your Love Like Treasure - Blue Aeroplanes
Bristol indie band who have been ploughing an underground furrow for over 30 years. Their biggest successes came in the early 90s with their albums Swagger, Beatsongs and Life Model. This track was featured on their 1987 album Spitting Out Miracles and was released a single in its own right on Fire Records. also home to an early Pulp.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Exclusive version, recorded live in Liverpool, of Weller and Talbot's fifth single which made #5 in the UK chart in 1984. The track also remains one of Weller's biggest hits of his career, also hitting the Top 30 in the US.
2. Forest Fire (Live) - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Another exclusive live track, this one recorded in London, of a current music press favourite. Forest Fire appeared on the band's classic debut album Rattlesnakes which hit #13 in the chart, this track put out as a single just missing the Top 40 at #41. Two more albums and a clutch of hits continued throughout the 80s until Cole pursued a solo career with varying degrees of success. To celebrate twenty years of Rattlesnakes, he teamed up again with the Commotions in 2004 for a one-off tour of the UK.
3. Bad Influence (Live) - The Robert Cray Band
One of the most influental and critically acclaimed blues guitarists and singers of the last four decades, Robert Cray's 1983 Bad Influence album was the one to put him on the map though he had to have wait a further three years until his mainstream breakthrough, Strong Persuader, in 1986. This live take of the title track of his 1983 album was recorded in Chicago.
4. Real Life (Just Around The Corner) - Prefab Sprout
In 1984, Prefab Sprout released their debut album Swoon which drew comparisons with Aztec Camera and Steely Dan. An instant critical favourite, the album hit #22 in the UK and the band quickly followed this up with a new single, When Love Breaks Down, a more commercial, lush affair which stalled at #88 in the chart. However, despite a couple more underachieving singles with Faron Young and Appetite, the band released their second album, Steve McQueen, in 1985 to even greater reviews than the first. The album hit #21 and When Love Breaks Down was granted a re-release. The single this time broke into the Top 40 at still a surprisingly low #25 and remains a radio classic to this day. Real Life... was featured as a bonus track on the 12" re-release. A successful career followed for the next two decades, with Paddy McAloon becoming an in-demand songwriter for artists as diverse as Kylie Minogue, Momus and Jimmy Nail. Ill health has blighted McAloon in recent years but 2009 saw the release of a new Sprout album, Let's Change The World With Music, recorded in 1993.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
1. Jingo (Remix) - Jellybean
John "Jellybean" Benitez was one of the decade's most in-demand producers and remixers who worked with, amongst scores of others, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and his former girlfriend, Madonna. Benitez, under his Jellybean moniker, also released a number of singles in his own right at the end of the 80s and scored 4 Top 20 UK hits. Jingo was his third reaching #12 and was a remake of one of the biggest club tracks of the 80s by Candido - first released in 1979 and hitting the UK Top 75 for the first time in 1986. Candido's version charted again after the release of Jellybean's version but could only manage #82. The origins of the track can be found on Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji's 1960 album Drums Of Passion under the title Jin-Go-La-Ba. The version is described on this EP as a "special limited edition dance mix" so presumably this is the only place you can find it.
2. Jealousy And Lies - Julian Jonah
Despite this alternative mix being released in advance of the single release, this promotion didn't do much for the single which stalled at #96 in 1988. An album, It's A Jungle Out There, was released in 1990 to little effect but Jonah was to re-emerge in 1997 as one half of speed garage duo 187 Lockdown scoring a Top 10 hit with King Fu and hitting '#16 with the classic Gunman. The duo also released many singles under a variety of different aliases including M Factor, Nu-Birth and Disco-Tex presents Cloudburst - all of which saw chart success.
3. Def Beat Boy - Derek B
An exclusive Music Of Life Megamix of the track which appeared on the late Derek Boland's album Bullet From A Gun. Boland was the first UK rapper to crossover into the mainstream, the album reaching #11 and two singles, Goodgroove and Bad Young Brother both hitting #16. Perhaps ironically, despite leading the way for all UK rapper, Boland's only Top 10 credit was a co-write for Liverpool FC's Anfield Rap Only a small number of releases followed the hits and Boland faded into obscurity. He died in 2009 from a heart attack at the age of 44.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
1. Motorcrash - The Sugarcubes
One Little Indian's newly-signed Icelandic eccentrics, The Sugarcubes, released their debut European single, Birthday, to immediate acclaim in 1987. The track was rated highly in the music press' annual round-ups, most notaby topping John Peel's Festive 50 of 1987. Their debut album, Life's Too Cool, featuring this track which was released a single in its own right in various territories, hit the Top 20 in 1988. Two more Top 20 albums followed over the following four years until the band split, lead singer Bjork becoming one of the world's most critically acclaimed artists.
2. Go Out And Get 'Em Boy (Live) - The Wedding Present
Indie royalty (even when they were signed to RCA), it's easy to forget that Leeds' finest band without question have had a mammoth 18 Top 40 hits in their near 30 year on/off career. Sure, two thirds of these are thanks to their 1992 a-single-a-month experiment, but it's still a magnificent feat for a band who never really crossed into the mainstream and have always remained very much a cult concern. Despite these 18 hits, 25 if you include Top 75s, it took them until their seventh single to crack the chart. The very first of the six that didn't make it, and the single that introduced the world to David Gedge, was Go Out And Get 'Em Boy in 1985, which set the blueprint for their 1987 magnum indie opus George Best. This is an exclusive live version recorded live at the Reading Majestic in 1987 so essential for any WP collectors. The stage is also set for a brand new album, Valentina, in March. http://www.scopitones.co.uk/news/
3. Down To The Well - Pixies
4. Rock A My Soul - Pixies
Two tracks from one band, a real rarity on Free EPs...however, with a combined running time of 3:51, it's not hard to see why. Pixies, yet another band early in their career destined for legendary status, had released their first EP, Come On Pilgrim, in 1987 and first album proper, Surfer Rosa, in 1988. Recorded before any of the tracks on these debut releases were these two tracks, along with several others, in their first studio session in 1987. This full session surfaced as one of indie's finest self-released cassettes, The Purple Tape, available from the band itself thus becoming a much sought after rarity. 8 of the 17 tracks on the album were released on Come On Pilgrim but, of the remaining 9, only Down To The Well and Rock A My Soul were released commercially and that was on here...thus making this EP a valuable commodity for Pixies collectors. However, the 2002 EP release simply entitled 'Pixies' rectified the situation containing all non-Come On Pilgrim tracks as an album in its own right.
5. Kitty (Live) - The Pogues
Unlike the other big names on this EP, the Pogues were already well established by 1988 and had already released two albums including their master work, Rum, Sodomy & The Lash. 1988 would see their third album If I Should Fall From Grace With God which contained the title track and the classic Fairytale Of New York which had just completed its first run in the chart at time of this EP's release - only kept off the Xmas top spot by Pet Shop Boys' Always On My Mind. Kitty was released in its studio form as the final track on the band's debut album, Red Roses For Me, in 1984. Again, this is an exclusive live version recorded at Glasgow Barrowlands in December 1987, at the height of their popularity.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
1. Downtown Train (NME Version) - Tom Waits
Originally released on Waits' 1985 album Rain Dogs, this is an earthier, steelier version of perhaps the troubadour's most well known tune. Never released a single in its original form, Downtown Train has been recorded by many and taken into the US charts by Patty Smyth. Most famously, it was recorded by Rod Stewart who had a Trans-Atlantic Top 3 hit with his rendition in 1989/90. This version is exclusive to this release so an instant collectors item for Waits fanatics.
2. Some Candy Talking (NME Version) -The Jesus And Mary Chain
The first fruits from JAMC's post-Psychocandy sessions emerged right here on this EP. Having just released their classic debut four months ago, the band quickly released this new recording. A rarity in the world of track giveaways, the track proved so popular that it was rerecorded and became the lead single on the band's next full release, the Some Candy Talking EP, which gave them their commercial breakthrough hitting #13 in July 1986 despite hitting a Radio 1 ban for its supposed (denied) lyric about heroin. After years of being exclusive to this release, this first version of Some Candy Talking was re-released on the deluxe edition of JAMC's Darklands opus last year.
3. Ticket To Ride - Husker Du
Yet another exclusive from one of the most influential American indie bands of the decade. Despite making their name with a fast, energetic, hardcore punk, Husker Du found melody and slowed down towards the end of their career churning out the odd classic cover for good measure amongst them the Byrds' Eight Miles High, Donovan's Sunshine Superman and this Beatles track you may have heard. Lead singer and guitarist Bob Mould would take this to the next level with his next band, Sugar.
4. Let's Get Small - Trouble Funk
Only in the 80s could you have a band whose musical style could be described as "go-go funk". Still going today, Washington's Trouble Funk released five albums between 1981 and 1987, two of which Say What! (which included this track) and Trouble Over Here Trouble Over There scratched the Top 75. Five singles reached the Top 100 - the biggest being Woman Of Principle which hit #65. This is an exclusive of Let's Get Small which was originally released a 12" single in 1982 before reappearing in 1986.