Midway Still – Life’s Too Long

The second offering by Midway Still.  Much of the same from the Kent trio.  Not quite as good as the debut, it was produced by Leatherface’s Frankie Stubbs.  It shows the band becoming more mature.  With softer interludes in the album. It should of been a massive hit, it sounded very American and it was firmly nodding towards grunge. This would not be the case, it kept Midway Still at the indie fringes.

They disbanded shortly after, while working on their third long player.

Midway Still : Life’s Too Long

Jamie And Gigi
Lies
Straight Line
Out Of View
Sell These Years
Counting Days
Kemper
Disappear
Cyclops
Summercide
Strange How
Goodbye

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Campag Velocet – Sauntry Sly Chic

When I first  heard Sauntry Sly Chic,  I thought  that  Flowered  Up had reformed. Amazingly, I thought that I was the only person who could see this resemblance.  Campag Velocet owed much to the baggy scene in their music. Lead singer Pete Voss even had a Clint Boon haircut.

Unlike the baggy brigade the delivery of the vocals has loads of venom. They appeared on the Jo Wiley show back in 1998 and they absolutely oozed attitude.  There is a cover a Stooges track on the b-side too.

Campag Velocet : Sauntry Sly Chic

Sauntry Sly Chic 
Gakstackers
TV Eye

Spitfire – Sex Bomb

This is the debut album by the Crawley retro garage band. I put off having this album for a long time because I had all the EPs. The most impressive songs on the album are from the EPs but just to be a completist I got Sex Bomb too. I prefer the Free Machine EP version of Wild Sunshine, but I think that this is only because I have listened to the Free Machine EP more. The album is one to listen to rather than having the instant exuberance of the EPs. Womb Child on Sex Bomb is a slower more thoughtful, which does suit it better.

I unashamedly love Spitfire but about 10 years ago I was chatting to a band that was part of the early 90’s indie scene.  They told me that while there was much comradery between bands, Spitfire loved themselves a bit too much.  This caused them to be dislikes by the other bands on the scene.

This is a great debut and a much more mature release, but you can thankfully still smell the leather and cigarettes on it.

Spitfire : Sex Bomb

Feverish
Sex Bomb
Minimal Love
Kiss Me
Free Machine
Strawhead
Wild Sunshine
Firebird
Womb Child
Love Lover Loved
Ruined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpha Stone – Stereophonic Pop Art Music

After the Darkside’s demos for their third album were turned down, Situation Two Records dropped them. Pete Bain (aka Bassman) formed a new band Alpha Stone.  They sounded like a mixed bag of Bain’s previous outfits, and other Spacemen 3 splinter bands.  A more accessible Spacemen 3, still sounding garagey like The Darkside but not as much fuzz with a bit of Spiritualized and some ambient Spectrum thrown in. This may sound derogatory, but this forms the ingredients for a good band.

Special One is the standout track this is because it is more upbeat than the rest of the album and it is the most garage fuzz. Farmer C and Astro sound like that they should be on Spectrum’s Forever Alien which came out a year later, Astro sounds like Octal – Falling Without Reference which was used on Sonic Boom’s Mary Anne Hobbs Breezeblock in 1998.

Alpha Stone : Stereophonic Pop Art Music

Special One 
Destiny Angel
Transfixed
Farmer C
Astro
Fall On Me
A Hard Day’s Fun
Martian Interlude

The Beta Band – The Three E.P.s

The Three E.P.s is a compilation of The Beta Band’s first three EPs (Champion Versions, The Patty Patty Sound and Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos),  which were all limited edition releases between 1997-98. It showcased the eclectic sound of the Beta Band; indie rock, electronica, and Brit-pop.

Formed in Edinburgh, the Beta band started life as; vocalist Stephen Mason, drummer Robin Jones, and DJ/sampler John Maclean.  Later on they recruited bassist Richard Greentree.  The Beta Band attracted interest by their manager Brian Cannon, who designed most of Oasis’s sleeves up till that point.  Their first EP was mixed by the Verve’s Nick McCabe.

The album is name-checked in the John Cusack film (of the Nick Hornby book) High Fidelity, ”I will now sell five copies of The Three EPs by The Beta Band.” I brought the album on the strength of one track.  ”She’s the One” is a great song unlike anything else I have ever heard they speed up the vocals at the end. There is a didgeridoo playing in the background, classic.

The Beta Band : The Three E.P.s

Dry The Rain 
I Know
B + A
Dogs Got A Bone
Inner Meet Me
The House Song
Monolith
She’s The One
Push It Out
It’s Over
Dr. Baker
Needles In My Eyes

Ocean Colour Scene – Yesterday Today

This song would have passed me by if it had not been for my girlfriend of the time.  The lead song Yesterday Today is an absolute stonker, it is up there in the OCS discography along with Hundred Mile High City. While it is not as cathartic as Hundred Mile High City, but it is a beautifully crafted pop song that harks back to 60’s pop.  Ocean Colour Scene  often refer to this period as their baggy phase, but it has more in common with Fontana label mates The House of Love than the rest of Madchester.

The other songs Another Girl’s Name, Fly Me and No One Says are all great, there is no filler on this 12”.  One of the things that is really apparent is Steve Cradock’s natural guitar ability and the awesome vocals from Simon Fowler.

Ocean Colour  Scene : Yesterday Today

Yesterday Today
Another Girl’s Name
Fly Me
No One Says

S.K.A.W – Nobody Better

After having a scratch round the cupboards.  I found this 12” by the S.K.A.W. To say that not much is known about this band is an understatement.  I brought the 12” after seeing them at a festival in Portsmouth Guildhall.  My memory fails me but I think Th’ Faith Healers were there too.  I saw them at Winchester Festival with the Cropdusters and a tremendous ska outfit called Knucklehead.

The S.K.A.W were from Portsmouth and there were plenty of them.  They had a harmonica player too.  They had a retro self-belief which was refreshing, a really great live act.

Lead singer Andy Frank, who also sang with Pusherman was tragically found dead at his home in Los Angeles last year. He was 42 years old.

S.K.A.W : Nobody Better

Nobody Better
Symbol
Honey Child