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Tuesday 21 April 2009

Boo Radleys

Bit of an odd one this time, it's the Boo Radleys, but not really what you'd think of first when you heard the name; oh, and I've cheated a bit because this isn't on vinyl, it's on a bloody tape. A cover tape no less.

Cover tapes are an entirely different genre of music blog, so I'm only using it to illustrate a point (and show how much crap I carry around from house to house over the years; there's all kinds of rubbish in a box in the cupboard, if you're particularly unlucky I'll drag them out too).

This particular song is "Blues for George Michael" from the tape stuck to the 12 February 1994 edition of the NME. Here you can insert your reminiscences about how the NME was much better in our day and how we looked forward to cover tapes...

Apparently it's supposed to sound like this as well. Not what you'd expect from the band that brought you the singalong masterpiece of 'Wake Up Boo', or the swirling wonders of 'Lazarus', but there you go. It was the B-side to 'Wake Up Boo' though but the NME it came from was out in the shops a whole year before their massive hit, about the same time as the infinitely preferable Lazarus.

Right click, 'Save As...' to download

The Boo Radleys are one of those bands that hung around for ages before making it big. They were formed in 1988 by baldy singer Simon Rowbottom, his Liverpudlian chum Martin Carr, Tim Brown and Steve Hewitt. They recorded for a few years, recieving lots of indie love, recorded Peel Sessions and were darlings of the music press. Then suddenly in 1995 they exploded into popularity with a massive hit.

Anyway, you know the rest, and if you don't read the official site, the wiki, Martin Carr's page or this handy page from the Archived Music Press blog.

In a nutshell, the music press loved them, they signed to the Creation label, they had their massive hit which has been used time and time again on breakfast TV and radio and goodness knows where else, they hung around until a rather disappointing final album (1998's Kingsize) and split up.

You can buy "The Best of the Boo Radleys" here

Tuesday 14 April 2009


I think I mentioned before that I had a self-imposed limit for buying this crap off ebay; and this is only the second time I've broken it, the first was The Lillies and this time it's Tramway. So, who were Tramway? Why did I feel the need to spend over a tenner of my hard-earned on a little known 7" from an even littler known band? And why did I get all excited when I heard the recorded loveliness? Well...

As a bit of background, along with shit old C86 bands, one of my great loves is the sport of cycling; which is a good indie past time. Fruitbat out of Carter is a big cycling fan, as is Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit, so is the oft-mentioned Gideon Coe. Anyway, I happened across mention of a song called "Gianni Bugno Wheels" (Gianni Bugno was a great Italian cyclist in the mid-80s to mid-90s) on my meandering about the internet and as part of my hunt for the mp3 - which turned out to be a rather lovely instrumental number - I discovered the band who'd recorded it were called Tramway, were a bit 1991 and had also recorded a song called Tour Du Pont.

And then my interest was really piqued.

It turns out that the one time and briefly employed drummer in the band was one Jez Butler; which rang a bell but I couldn't place. Until I found his personal web page. Jez Butler had been in a band called "Cake" with not one, but two ex members of The Flatmates! Oh and the band's only two singles were released on - your favourite and mine - Sarah Records. That's got to be an indie full house! And is also why I had to dash over to ebay and waste my money on this.

right click, saves as, to download

The band released two singles, Maritime City (as above) and Sweet Chariot on Sarah and an album called 'A Brand of Lovin' (where Gianni Bugno is name checked) on the Siesta label. On 'Maritime City' the band consisted of Chris Young and Matthew and Nancy Evans, although the band variously employed the talents of the aforementioned Jez Butler and someone known only as A Henderson as well.

Oh and there's what turns out to be a Portuguese site (which I only worked out after some aimless buggering about with Google's translate thingy) which says of Maritime City it sounds a bit like Felt and "it is nothing but excite other that gives the disc a charming nonsense" and furthermore "wronged those bands that appear and vanish without leaving more records" - which I rather like the sound of.

So there you go. I'm no investigative journalist, but if that's not increased the sum of knowledge on the internet, I don't know what has.

Wednesday 8 April 2009


I wasn't too sure about putting up Menswear (or indeed Menswe@r as they appear to have variously branded themselves) as I've said that Britpop was rubbish on a number of occasions in the past, but then two things changed my mind.

One was the constant references to Wire in write ups about the song below and the other was reading that the band apparently signed a big money deal and appeared in long forgotten music mag "Select" before they'd even put a record out; apparently because they were at the forefront of the mod revival. Well, 1994's mod revival, there's a mod revival every other year pretty much; it's like the NME saying that Ska will be back this year in their "What's Going To Be Cool This Year" articles like they have every year from about 1904.

Sorry, I digress, this is Menswear's second release - Daydreamer, and excitingly it's taken from a 7" in special plastic bag:

Right click, "saves as..." to download

So, formed in London (Camden probably) in 1994 the band signed a major deal after only a few gigs and with hardly any material written. Menswear/Menswe@r were Johnny Dean, Todd Parmenter [who was replaced by Matt Everitt (who now does the music news on BBC 6Music fact fans)], Chris Gentry, Simon White and Stuart Black.

The band were briefly pretty popular in 1994/95/96 and surfed the wave of Britpop that was taking over the country; I'm pretty sure I saw them live somewhere at the end of 1995 but can't for the life of me remember whether this actually happened or it's just something I made up to sound cool. They definitely had a couple of appearances on Top of the Pops and recorded a Peel Session.

Excitingly, when Matt Everitt left at the end of the band's life, he was replaced by "Tud" the band's roadie and Chris Gentry may (or may not) be the boyfriend/husband of Donna Matthews out of Elastica.

There's a full story and some interviews on this page which is definitely worth a read and of course, there's a ubiqitous wikipedia page.

Wednesday 1 April 2009


Back to the indie heartland of Oxford today with the Candyskins and, in recognition of my planned trip to see England v Ukraine tonight, how about their 1993 jingly-jangly belter that is "Wembley"? I don't just throw this shit together you know...

So, the featured track reminds me of something that I've featured on here before so much that I had to go through everything I've done to make sure I'd not already done the band. I just can't put my finger on it and having been back through most of the old posts I just can't think what it is. Have a listen and see if you can help me out, it's going to annoy me.

Candyskins - Wembley (right click, "save as" to download)

Basically, the band were formed in 1989 in Oxford by brothers Nick and Mark Cope, Karl Shale (who was replaced by a chap called Brett Gordon on bass-bothering duties towards the end of the band's career) and John Holliday. They released some great early 90s indie before being buggered over by major label Geffen; apparently due to money shenanigans as so often happens, and subsequently didn't quite catch the brit-pop-proper wave, although their 1997 single "Monday Morning" did sneak into the charts. The band split in or about 1997 with their best years sadly behind them and just a posthumous album ("Death of a Minor TV Celeb") left.

I don't want to repeat too much of what's on this rather nice little fan site, so let's have a look at the wiki page instead.

Hang on, "regarded by the music press as one of the founders of Brit Pop"? That one has got to be up there with Moose as the first shoegazers? I had to go back to check my big boys book of indie music (well, Martin Strong's excellent "Great Indie Discography") to see if that could possible be true. As you can imagine, it's sort of true. According to Mr Strong's* hefty tome - Christmas money well spent that was! - they're a "seminal brit pop act"; so close but not quite, I've go fannied around with wikipedia so you'll have to check the history if you don't believe that's what it said...

Well there you go, not quite brit pop stalwarts, not quite proper indie legends, not quite major label players. Shame, the track above is ace. Now, I just need to work out what it sounds like.

* insert "and you'd have to be Mr Strong to lift it etc etc!" style joke here