Various Artists – C86

Such is the reverence for this 22 track compilation, when it arrived it was the most indie thing that had ever happened.  It is the benchmark in twee, jangly, indiepop and would be namechecked for decades, it basically launched indie.  Listening to the compilation it is not all twee sugary jangle, Half Man Half Biscuit’s I Hate Nerys Hughes (From the Heart) is a fun-filled caustic tune, and where are the dreamy melodies in the MacKenzies Big Jim (There’s No Pubs in Heaven) the instruments are detuned creating and offbeat disturbing sound.

Listening to C86 I find myself thinking there must be a song on here by The Railway Children or Talulah Gosh but there isn’t but the compilation must have influenced them hugely.  In the 90s before the internet took off, there were very few copies of C86 available and the majority of indiekids such as myself had never heard the album, but it was so revered and so unattainable, that this added to its mystique.

My favourite song is The Bodines Therese, this was a staple the indie disco I used to go to in Bournemouth even though it was 94 this song was still played.

Various Artists : C86

Primal Scream Velocity Girl
The Mighty Lemon – Drops Happy Head
The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised
The Wolfhounds – Feeling So Strange Again
The Bodines – Therese
Mighty Mighty – Law
Stump – Buffalo
Bogshed – Run To The Temple
A Witness – Sharpened Sticks
The Pastels – Breaking Lines
The Age Of Chance – From Now On, This Will Be Your God
Shop Assistants – It’s Up To You
Close Lobsters – Firestation Towers
Miaow – Sport Most Royal
Half Man Half Biscuit – I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)
The Servants – Transparent
MacKenzies – Big Jim (There’s No Pubs In Heaven)
Big Flame – New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)
We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It – Console Me
McCarthy – Celestial City
The Shrubs – Bullfighter’s Bones
The Wedding Present – This Boy Can Wait (A Bit Longer!)



4 thoughts on “Various Artists – C86

  1. I didn’t know what a “C86” was until late into the 90s. But once I discovered it… I was hooked. I wish I’d paid more attention to the broader musical scene back in the 80s. I missed out on a lot of cool stuff.

  2. Being a relatively old fart, I bought the C86 tape by mail order from the NME when it was released. What contemporary indie fans tend to misunderstand about it nowadays it that, being in released in 1986, it actually (naturally) reflects the British independent music scene from the previous year c.1985 – acerbic bands like Stump, Big Flame, Bogshed, Age Of Chance and Miaow were hugely popular then, albeit only briefly. As ridiculous as it may seem listening to them now, Big Flame were heavily promoted by certain factions of the music press (and John Peel, of course) and were tipped for some kind of semi-stardom. Ultimately, it was Stump, arguably the most bizarre band of the lot, who ended up signing to a major label and having vast amounts of cash thrown at them – though Miaow’s Cath Carroll was snapped up by Factory Records a solo artist (allegedly because Tony Wilson fell in love with her eyes!) and released a very good solo LP that went wildly over budget and flopped terribly. 1985 was a great year for independent music in the UK – politically-informed (we’d just come out of a national miner’s strike remember) with lots of stylistic cross-pollination. Much of that had been lost by the following year, as bands began to grow their fringes, jangle up their guitars and start “ba ba ba”-ing rather than “grrrr”-ing. 1986 was a lot of fun and I saw some terrific bands, but even at the time I couldn’t help feeling that something important had been lost.

  3. Ditto, I got this like all of the NME tapes, when they came out. As that time it seemed representative of the range of “Indie” music (as played by Peel), and was suprised when later the term C86 came to represent a slightly fey, jangly guitar music (not a criticism) The Age of Chance went on later to release an excellent cover of “Kiss”, which is worth checking out.

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