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Wednesday, 26 December 2012
SELECT: FRESH (1998)
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.