Birdland – Hollow Heart

A breakneck debut single, performed by the peroxide bobbed hair four piece from the midlands. An absolute firecracker of a debut, it still hangs onto a melody despite being incredibly fast. It is one of those times when you think to yourself that the record player has switched to 78rpm. Completely over the top and ridiculous, which is why they are worth a place in musical history. There is little to differentiate between the songs, each has buzzsaw, giddy guitar solos that complement the vocal rush of lyrics.

Completely different to what was going on in the wistful indie scene. Which was introverted and whimsical. Just imagine this being performed by Birdland live, with onstage synchronised formation pogoing. This is the sound that they create on the single.

Birdland : Hollow Heart

Hollow Heart
Crystal
Gotta Get Away
Sugar Blood

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Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists

It is time to delve back into the archives. I was reading about Birdland the other day and it occurred to me that way back in the early nineties the Manic Street Preachers were considered a poor relation to the peroxide four piece. This inspired me to update a post from the past.

It was in 1992 I saw the Manic Street Preachers, at Southampton University. Richey was still there. It was only recently the “4 Real” incident took place. When Steve Lamacq asked Richey about his conviction to the punk cause. Richey promptly carved “4 Real” into his forearm with a razor blade to prove his devotion to the cause.

The support was the Wildhearts who were a little too roooccckkk for my whimsical shoegazing ways. Then the Manics appeared. They were riding high on the back of their success with ’Love’s Sweet Exile’. Nicky

shouted at a fan brandishing a camera, ’I’d rather die than have my photograph taken’. They stopped because someone was smoking in the crowd. Then they left. The whole concert was shorter than See See Rider’s back catalogue. It lasted all of 30 minutes, if that.

It is time to delve back into the archives. I was reading about Birdland the other day and it occurred to me that way back in the early nineties the Manic Street Preachers were considered a poor relation to the peroxide four piece. This inspired me to update a post from the past.

It was in 1992 I saw the Manic Street Preachers, at Southampton University. Richey was still there. It was
only recently the “4 Real” incident took place. When Steve Lamacq asked Richey about his conviction to the punk cause. Richey promptly carved “4 Real” into his forearm with a razor blade to prove his devotion to the cause.

The support was the Wildhearts who were a little too roooccckkk for my whimsical shoegazing ways. Then the Manics appeared. They were riding high on the back of their success with Love’s Sweet Exile. Nicky shouted at a fan brandishing a camera, ’I’d rather die than have my photograph taken’. They stopped because someone was smoking in the crowd. Then they left. The whole concert was shorter than See See Rider’s back catalogue. It lasted all of 30 minutes, if that.

Manic Street Preachers : Generation Terrorists

Slash N’ Burn
Nat West-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds
Born To End
Motorcycle Emptiness
You Love Us
Love’s Sweet Exile
Little Baby Nothing
Repeat (Stars And Stripes)
Tennessee
Another Invented Disease
Stay Beautiful
So Dead
Repeat (UK)
Spectators Of Suicide
Damn Dog
Crucifix Kiss
Methadone Pretty
Condemned To Rock ‘N’ Roll

14 Iced Bears – Inside

The debut single from 14 Iced Bears, Inside. Released on their own Frank record label in that classic year for indiepop 1986.  14 Iced Bears were always associated with Sarah records but it looks like Come Get Me was their only Sarah release but it appears on Air Balloon Road and Shadow Factory compilations.

It would be obvious to think that they are twee, even their moniker has a saccharine taste.
But Inside and Blue Suit has thumping drums and a deranged guitar sound.

14 Iced Bears : Inside

Inside
Blue Suit
Cut

The Fall ‎– The Frenz Experiment

When talking about The Fall John Peel said, ”they are always different, they are always the same.” This is true despite the ever changing lineups the whole experience is the same. Mark E. Smith looked liked he had lived the three decades of rock and roll to the full. When he appears onstage, I at once felt relieved that I had given up smoking. .

I first saw The Fall just over 25 years ago, which is recent in their 40+ year history, it was at Glastonbury in 1992. Between every song people were shouting, Hit the North. This was their most famous song and was made popular by Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 5 programme of the same name.

Hit the North is on the album The Frenz Experiment which contains most of The Fall’s commercial songs such as There’s A Ghost In My House and a cover of the Kinks’ Victoria.  There is some criticism that the cover versions on this album are not performed with enough irony and they are a cash-in.  Yet other songs such as Frenz are completely uncommercial, held together very loosely by Smith’s vocals. Guest Informant is one of the all time classic Fall moments, it’s paranoid and quirky at the same time. A song about a hotel that becomes a deranged scene from Cluedo,

The miserable Scottish hotel,
Resembled a Genesis or Marillion, 1973 LP cover

This album featured Brix Smith (before she went off with violinist Nigel Kennedy), and her and Marcia Schofield (keyboards) on the album cover has a strangely glamorous feel.  Each different format of the album has different songs on it.  It is not the best Fall album, but it was released at a time when indie music was gaining mainstream recognition.

The Fall ‎: The Frenz Experiment

Frenz
Carry Bag Man
Get A Hotel
Victoria
Athlete Cured
In These Times
The Steak Place
Bremen Nacht (Alternative)
Guest Informant (Excerpt)
Oswald Defence Lawyer
Tuff Life Booogie
Guest Informant
Twister
There’s A Ghost In My House
Hit The North Part 1

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven

Almost immediately after it’s release in 1991, Rough Trade collapsed (until the labels resurrection in the late 90s). The Boo Radleys were snapped up by Creation Records. Rough Trade were in difficultly beforehand, and their demise is nothing to do with The Boo Radleys. Rough Trade had told them that they did not have enough money to fund an album from The Boo Radleys.

Every Heaven is, not unlike the other early EPs, but produced by Alan Moulder. Its shows that they were not just another shoegaze band, as they started to show their influences. It is a massive leap in terms of quality from the Ichabod and I. The beginning of The Finest Kiss has a New Order bass opening. Which carries on throughout the song but is lost at times with the crashing roaring guitars. Tortoiseshell is a big track with grandeur the guitars alternating with the vocals. Bluebird is an upbeat tune, and lastly, Naomi is a slice of early 90s psychedelic indie. The guitars grind and swirl at the same time.

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven 

The Finest Kiss
Tortoiseshell
Bluebird
Naomi

Another Sunny Day – London Weekend

Another Sunny Day was a project for the former The Field Mice, The Hit Parade, Blueboy and now occasional Trembling Blue Stars member, Harvey Williams. The multi-instrumentalist Williams released a series of singles through Sarah Records and these were collected on the album London Weekend.

The album is what you would expect from a Sarah Records release, songs such as Anorak City, which celebrate the twee anorak, enamel badge and fanzine indie scene.  This song has been likened to sounding like Morrissey fronting The Stone Roses by another reviewer.

I’m in Love With a Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist is a slice of forlorn love.  This subject matter was very popular in the late eighties and early nineties with indie types. Every song is a vignette of some life episode. This would be considered a bit wet.  The most well known song is You Should All Be Murdered which is widely regarded as a Smithsesque single.

Strangely enough, the second generation twee popsters Belle & Sebastian have a single called Another Sunny Day. The similarities do not end there; Another Sunny Day’s singles artwork featured photos with a strong single tone colour in the background, this became the trademark of Belle & Sebastian’s album art.

Another Sunny Day : London Weekend

Anorak City
I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist
Things Will Be Nice
The Centre Of My Little World
What’s Happened To You, My Dearest Friend?
Can’t You Tell It’s True?
Impossible
You Should All Be Murdered
Horseriding
Green
Rio
The Very Beginning
I Don’t Suppose I’ll Get A Second Chance
New Year’s Honours

Catherine Wheel – Painful Thing

Catherine Wheel’s second single on the Wilde Club label, and it would be their last. The Wilde Club was a local Norwich label. They were causing waves in the indie scene, so they signed to a major label, which was Fontana. There were initially only 4000 pressings of the single, half on vinyl and half on CD. With availability so scarce the single was never going to chart highly, but at least they released it on CD. Their first single, She’s My Friend was vinyl only.

The single features early versions of Shallow and the fantastic I Want to Touch You, the latter rightfully got it’s own release as a single later on. They would both appear on the debut Ferment. The version I Want to Touch You that appears on this single is really raw. I can almost imagine them sounding like this live at Norwich Waterfront.  The whole EP feels like it is recorded as a session.

All four songs are very strong and defines the early sound of Catherine Wheel, Painful Thing has very hard and aggressive music and thoughtful vocals. Probably the best track that never made it onto Ferment. The reason that this song was omitted is that it would not fit in with the general flow of the album.

Catherine Wheel : Painful Thing

Shallow
Spin
Painful Thing
I Want to Touch You