Smashing Pumpkins – Gish (Alternative Version)

Something a little different to finish off the month with, especially as they are not Britpop in anyway shape or form. I have written in length about the Smashing Pumpkins and how I came to find out about them in previous posts, but just to recap. I have been a fan of the original incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins since I bought their first album ‘Gish’ in 1993. I mentioned the circumstances I became aware of the band back in my October 2020 post about the first album that never was. 

‘Gish’ was released in 1991 but I did not get myself a copy until two years later. It is a bit of a difficult album to categorise as Corgan seems to be trying to harness the power of classic rock bands such as Black Sabbath with aspects of sound utilised by bands such as The Cure. The band were given a rather generous budget of $20,000 to record which afforded Corgan and producer Butch Vig the time to get the sounds right but relations within the group were harmed by the production methods. That was due to Corgan rerecording the bass and guitar parts from Darcy Wretzky and James Iha respectively. To add insult to injury, Corgan used their instruments as well. The press for the album were generally favourable and it would eventually sell over 1 million copies in the US alone.

I liked what I heard with ‘Gish’ and bought ‘Siamese Dream’ soon afterwards. I continued buying all of the material that they had released/recorded between the late 80s up until 2001. This continued with the Deluxe Editions of all of those albums, which have been a treasure trove of previously unreleased material, alternative takes and live material. This was one of the best reissue programmes I have seen, especially as main songwriter Billy Corgan had a hand in putting it all together. I have found that for the majority of the time, the last people you want being in charge of a reissue programme are the artists themselves. Anyway, I digress. 

As so much material has been released, I wondered if it would be possible to compile a completely alternative version of the studio albums they made before they broke up in 2000, just using the material from the Deluxe Editions. Well, I wasn’t able to do this so I had to have a look into the murky world of the bootleg, including ones that Corgan put on line in the early days of the internet. This also included the short lived Smashing Pumpkins Record Club (which offered up tracks to download from the internet that were not included on any of the Deluxe Edition reissues). What this means is that ‘Pieces Iscariot’ and ‘The Aeroplane Flies High’ will not be included here (look at my entry from October 2022 to see my alternative version of ‘The Aeroplane Flies High). 

Side A

  1. I Am One – Limited Potential Version (Single A-Side)
  2. Siva (Peel Radio Session EP)
  3. Rhinoceros (Version Two) – Reel Time Sessions (Smashing Pumpkins Record Club)
  4. Bury Me – Reel Time Demos (Gish Deluxe)
  5. Hippy Trippy – Crush Demo (Gish Deluxe)

SIde B

  1. Seam – Suffer Department Demo (Gish Deluxe)
  2. Snail – Radio Session (Mashed Potatoes Bootleg) 
  3. Tristessa – Sub Pop Version (Single A-Side)
  4. Window Paine – Live (Mashed Potatoes Bootleg)
  5. Daydream – Old House Demo (Gish Deluxe)

What was surpassing was how close I could achieve this aim. Seeing as I bought these records on vinyl, I have followed the order on that release.

Various Artists – Caught Beneath The Landslide Volume 2

Back in 2021, Edsel Records released the compilation ‘Caught Beneath The Landslide’. It was a companion piece to photographers Kevin Cummins book, ‘While We Were Getting High: Britpop & The 90s’. Cummings was the chief photographer at the NME, which at the time of Britpop was a best selling music weekly newspaper. He then compiled a four disc compilation which included some of the biggest names from the period along with some of the also rans. The recordings were not the obvious hits either, but alternative versions, single edits and B-Sides. 

Well, in this year of Britpop themed releases on this site, I have looked to do something similar with a second volume of the ‘Caught Beneath The Landslide’ compilation. What is different about this one is that it is not based around the Cummins book and does not include as many of the Britpop big hitters as the first volume. What we have though is another four disc set encompassing the years 1993-1998 which I hope will be a worthy follow up to the original. 

Disc 1

  1. So Sad About Us – Jubilee
  2. Come Back Tomorrow – Salad
  3. Saturday Night – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
  4. Christopher – Kinky Machine
  5. Natural One – The Folk Implosion
  6. Born Disco, Died Heavy Metal – Cornershop
  7. This Is The Sound Of Youth – These Animal Men
  8. Town Clowns – Blameless
  9. Walter’s Song – Shack
  10. Now That You Know Me – Coast
  11. Cracked – Nylon Bombers
  12. Mall Monarchy – Compulsion
  13. Ha Ha You’re Dead – Sleeper
  14. Bring You Down – The Real People
  15. Daydream – Back To The Planet
  16. Scenester – Flamingoes
  17. Girl A, Girl B, Boy C – My Life Story
  18. Sometimes Always – The Jesus & Mary Chain
  19. Love Songs On The Radio – Mojave 3
  20. Sure As Fate – Passion Fruit & Holy Bread
  21. Out Of This World (Original Mix) – Republica

Disc 2

  1. Step Out – Oasis
  2. I Don’t Know – Ruth
  3. Shirtlifter – Lick
  4. Cookie – David Devant & His Spirit Wife
  5. Mrs Hoover – The Candyskins
  6. Child’s Body – Gene
  7. Box Star A.M. – Embassy
  8. Looey Vs. Christ – Baba Booey
  9. Smiler (Single Version) – Heavy Stereo
  10. Love 45 – Orange Deluxe
  11. Queenie – Pimlico
  12. Bellyache – Echobelly
  13. Good Intentions – Livingstone
  14. Mark – Shed Seven
  15. Don’t Know – Ash
  16. London Breeds – 60ft Dolls
  17. Merched Yn Need Gwallt Eu Gilled – Gorky’s Zygotic Mynchi
  18. Hello Victim – Baby Chaos
  19. Man Of Leisure – The Weekenders
  20. Today & Tonight – Marion
  21. Alison – Slowdrive
  22. Odd (Peel Session) – Supergrass
  23. Bandstarter – Brainpool

Disc 3

  1. Privilege – Mainstream
  2. U16 Girls – Travis
  3. Three Beasts – Moms
  4. Hype – Headswim
  5. Straighten Out – Brassy
  6. No Time – Whiteout
  7. Death Of A Party (7” Mix) – Blur
  8. English Tea – Thurman
  9. We Are The Supercool – Space Monkeys
  10. Blinded By The Sun (Edit) – The Seahorses
  11. All Pop No Star – Slingbacks
  12. All I Want – Poppyheads
  13. Know Where To Find You – Mantaray 
  14. The Kazoo Song – The Sweeney
  15. Crush – Goya Dress
  16. It Fell Of The Back Of A Lorry – Denim
  17. Holiday – Pullover
  18. Supersexy Revolutionary – Disco Pistol
  19. Primary Alternative (Peel Session) – The Delgados
  20. The Mill Hill Self Hate Club – Edward Ball
  21. Another Night In – Strangelove
  22. Can’t Be Sure – The Sundays

Disc 4

  1. To Earth With Love – Gay Dad
  2. A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed – theaudience
  3. Soloman Bites The Worm – The Bluetones
  4. I Like Rock – Bennet
  5. Roll With It – Mogul
  6. Rent (Live) – Suede & Neil Tennant
  7. Tuesday Afternoon – Ex Boyfriends
  8. Drag Queen – The Dandys
  9. Candlelight – Six By Seven
  10. Break – The Gyres
  11. Julia – Silver Sun
  12. Nothing To Lose – Elcka
  13. Hurricane – Warm Jets
  14. Now I’ve Seen Through You – Hillman Minx
  15. Best Friend – Ether
  16. Move Over – Mover
  17. Maniac – Cinerama
  18. How Free – Don
  19. Will You Still Care – The Crocketts
  20. Vinegar Vera – Rialto
  21. Dry The Rain – The Beta Band

The front cover is similar to Volume 1 with different bands added. The cover stars are as follows. 

Top row (l to r) – theadiance, Travis, The Sundays

Middle row (l to r) – Blur, The Delgados, Cornershop

Bottom row (l to r) – Ash, The Weekenders, Seahorses

Suede – B-Side Collections

Part 1 – Sci-Fi Lullabies (Break Up Version)

Most, if not all musical movements receive their name from people who tend not to be part of that movement, be it the press, critics or the artists A&R. Some movement names are used whilst it is still active, such as punk whereas other are retrospectively given with Freakbeat being a good example. Some artists embrace the movements name, some do not and therefore seek to distance themselves from it. There is also the added problem of trying to work out what is the first record to be released that could be described as starting that moment off. The amount of words that have been written trying to work out what the first Rock ’n’ Roll record was is arguably a good deal more than the amount written by Shakespeare. 

British band Suede fit nicely into lots of the categories mentioned above. Their first album is considered (myself included) to be the first Britpop album. They hated the title and their second album can therefore be considered to be the first post-Britpop LP, four years before anyone else tried to produce one of their own. 

Suede started when students Brett Anderson and Justine Frischmann met whilst studying at University College London. They became a couple soon afterwards and with Anderson’s friend, Matt Osman, they decided to form a band. Neither Frischmann or Anderson felt they were good enough guitar players to play lead so after an advert was placed in the music paper, the New Music Express (or NME as it is more commonly known), a certain Bernard Butler got their job. Early gigs would see the band backed up with a drum machine which proved to be unreliable. They would briefly be joined by drummer Justin Welch, who would later reconnect with Frischmann in Elastica. He didn’t stay long and therefore another advert in the music weeklies was placed. The band were surprised when Mike Joyce, former drummer with The Smiths got in touch but he did not stay long either. Joyce bailed on the fledgling group because he felt that being in a band that was influenced by and had certain similarities to The Smiths would do Suede more harm than good. Eventually, Simon Gilbert joined behind the drum kit. 

Tensions began to build when Frischmann and Anderson split up. Frischmann had started a relationship with Blur’s Damon Alban but she did not leave Suede immediately. It was felt that the situation could be worked through but she was eventually fired after turning up late for rehearsals on too many occasions, sometimes due to being on the set of a Blur video. With Frischmann gone, Anderson and Butler became closer and began writing the songs that would make up the debut album. 

Anderson was the figurehead of the band, and appeared on the front cover of music weekly Melody Maker before they had released a record. The paper even called them the “Best New Band in Britain”. By the time of their third single released, ‘Animal Nitrate’ they had matched the hype with record sales as this was their first single to break into the UK Top Ten singles chart. When the album came out, it was the biggest selling debut since Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome’ LP. The album also won the 1993 Mercury Music Prize and it would seem that Suede were truly going to be the next big thing. That was until tension started to arise between Anderson and Butler. 

In early 1994, the band released ‘Stay Together’, their highest charting single to date but the sound was different to what had gone before. The song was also a portent of what was to come. Multi-layered guitars, increased length of the songs and sounding like nothing else around it. Butler did not help the situation by being quite critical of Anderson in one of the few interviews he gave at the time. Tensions got so high that Butler began to record his parts for the second album separately from the rest of the band until he came to the studio to find that he would not be allowed in and his guitars were left on the street. The band finished the album with either Butler recording in another studio or with a session player playing Butlers’ parts from the demo recordings. Considering the tension that went into making this record, it is surprising how good it is even if it took some members of the music press a number of years to catch up. 

Suede would recruit in a new guitar player in Richard Oakes, and continue to release records to this day. However, what this collection looks to do is see what a B-Sides collection would have looked like if the band had decided to call it a day after ‘Dog Man Star’ had been released. Some of Suede’s B-Sides were excellent, which is was clearly shown when the band released the ‘Sci-Fi Lullabies’ collection which this album shares its title and artwork with. Unlike the version that came out in real life, no songs recorded with Oakes could be included. There is also a lot more songs from the first album sessions as well which shows the strength of material they had before they had even entered a recording studio. Overall, a good record that more than stands up on its own merits.  

Side A

  1. The Living Dead (Stay Together – 1994)
  2. Killing Of A Flash Boy (We Are The Pigs – 1994)
  3. He’s Dead (Metal Mickey – 1992)
  4. My Insatiable One (The Drowners – 1992)
  5. My Dark Star (Stay Together – 1994)
  6. Where The Pigs Don’t Fly (Metal Mickey – 1992)

Side B

  1. Modern Boys (The Wild One – 1994)
  2. Whipsnade (We Are The Pigs – 1994)
  3. High Rising (So Young – 1992)
  4. The Big Time (Animal Nitrate – 1993)
  5. To The Birds (The Drowners – 1993)

Part 2 – Lost Lullabies

When the real ‘Sci-Fi Lullabies’ came out in 1997, it was not a comprehensive collection of Suede’s B-Side. There were a number of tracks that did not make the cut. What I have done here, is to collect those lost songs to be a release all of their own. Called ‘Lost Lullabies’, it is weighed down by the Eno remix of ‘Introducing The Band’ which I first heard as the B-Side to the 12” single version of ‘The Wild Ones’. I think I played it once and for the second time when completing this collection. It is definitely something that does not warrant multiple plays. 

Side A

  1. Eno’s Introducing The Band (The Wild Ones – 1994)
  2. Feel (Lazy – 1997)

Side B

  1. Dolly (So Young – 1993)
  2. Digging A Hole (Lazy – 1997)
  3. Painted People (Animal Nitrate – 1993)
  4. Sam (Beautiful Ones – 1996)
  5. This World Needs A Father (The Wild Ones – 1994)
  6. Asda Town (The Wild Ones – 1994)

The cover is adapted from the original ‘Sci-Fi Lullabies’. 

Various Artists – The Britpop Years Vol.2

It is the first of the month so time for another Britpop Years compilation. Once again, this is not a playlist of Britpop songs/bands (even though the vast majority are), this includes music that came from the years 1994-97.

Disc 1

  1. Wake Up Boo! – The Boo Radleys
  2. Alright – Supergrass
  3. Sorted For E’s & Whizz – Pulp
  4. This Is A Call – Foo Fighters
  5. God! Show Me Magic – Super Furry Animals
  6. Block Rockin’ Beats – The Chemical Brothers
  7. The Day We Caught The Train – Ocean Colour Scene
  8. Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers
  9. Oh Yeah – Ash
  10. Peaches – The Presidents Of The United States Of America
  11. Battle Of Who Could Care Less – Ben Folds Five
  12. North Country Boy – The Charlatans (UK)
  13. The Universal – Blur
  14. Staying Out For The Summer – Dodgy
  15. You Can Talk To Me – The Seahorses
  16. King Of The Kerb – Echobelly
  17. Beautiful Ones – Suede
  18. Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage
  19. You Do – McAlmont & Butler
  20. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
  21. Smile – The Supernaturals

Disc 2 

  1. Reverend Black Grape – Black Grape
  2. Annie – Elastica
  3. Lump – The Presidents Of The United States Of America
  4. Motorbike To Heaven – Salad
  5. Sour Times – Portishead
  6. Lost Myself – Longpigs
  7. One Night Stand – The Aloof
  8. Into The Blue – Geneva
  9. Common People – Pulp
  10. Drop Dead Gorgeous – Republica
  11. Just – Radiohead
  12. Stupid Girl – Garbage
  13. Kung Fu – Ash
  14. Perseverance – Terrorvision
  15. Live Forever – Oasis
  16. The Day Before Yesterday’s Man – The Supernaturals
  17. 6 Underground – Sneaker Pimps
  18. Protection – Massive Attack feat. Tracy Thorn
  19. Glory Box – Portishead
  20. Olympia – Gene

Radiohead – OK Computer (Redesigned)

I didn’t realise until putting this entry together that Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ was a bit of a Marmite album. Either touted as one of the greatest or most overrated albums of all time, it was for a time the only Radiohead album I owned. I had tried getting into Radiohead after hearing ‘Creep’ for the first time, but ‘Pablo Honey’, the album from which that song was taken did not inspire me to buy anything else at the time. This began to change once some of the songs that were on their second album, ‘The Bends’ started appearing on compilation albums I bought at the time. ‘High & Dry’, ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Just’ and ‘Street Spirt (Fade Out)’ all made it onto mix tapes from the time but the parent album would have to wait until it was re-released on vinyl about twenty years after the event for me to take the plunge and buy it. There were no such qualms with ‘OK Computer’ though. 

I’m not sure if it was ‘Paranoid Android’ or ‘Karma Police’ that made me feel that this album could be a welcome addition to the Squire Archives, but in it came and what an experience it was. It sounded like a complete album, and not a couple of great singles tagged with some substandard filler. This was prog rock for the 90s. It also signalled the death nail for the ‘Britpop’ movement as this complex style of writing and arranging would influence many acts that produced music over the following years.

I had not played ‘OK Computer’ as a whole for many years. What brought the album back to my attend was reports that a number of MIniDiscs that had belonged to Thom Yorke had been stolen. The story went that the band were contacted by the owner of the sound files and threatened with the whole lot being made available on line without a payment being made. If this happened or not is neither here nor there, but the band decided to officially release the music for a short period of time. In return, the band asked the buyers to donate to Extinction Rebellion. 

So, being a huge fan of the record, I duly paid my money and slowly made my way through the files. Luckily, fans online published playlists for these discs but it took an age to edit them down into individual songs and then listen to them through. Even though the majority of it was not worth even one listen, there was some great outtakes that had not been officially released before and it does beg the question, why not? Picking up a copy of the OKNOTOK 19972017 edition of ‘OK Computer’, I wondered if I could put together an alternative version of the record. 

What I did was to only use songs that I had not used on other compilations elsewhere. I would also add songs that had either been used as B-Sides or previously unreleased. The rest would be made up of different versions (and in some respects, the differences are negligible) of the songs that would make up rest of the record. I did delete ‘Lucky’, a song I do like but never thought that it fitted in with the rest of ‘OK Computer’. That could be down to the fact that I first heard it on the ‘Help’ Charity album from 1995. Personal taste I suppose. 

Unlike the majority of my posts, this is designed for CD length instead of vinyl. The original link that the band posted to donate to Extinction Rebellion still works if you fancy making a donation. https://chuffed.org/pay/campaign/62932

  1. Motion Picture Soundtrack (Solo Piano)
  2. Airbag (Unmastered Album Version)
  3. Paranoid Android (Late Mix)
  4. Subterranean Homesick Alien (Late/Final Version 3 – Different Intro)
  5. Exit Music (Late Mix)
  6. Let Down (Thom 4-Track)
  7. Karma Police (Unmastered Album Version)
  8. Polyethylene – Part 2 (Late Mix w/Vocal Effect)
  9. How I Made My Millions (Single B-Side)
  10. Lull Single (B-Side)
  11. What Do You Mean (Take 2)
  12. Attention (Thom 4-Track)
  13. Fitter Happier (Solo Piano Demo)
  14. Electioneering (Unmastered Album Version)
  15. Climbing Up Walls (Unmastered Album Version)
  16. No Surprises (Late Mix, Original Speed)
  17. Lift (Alternative Version, Mix #1)
  18. Man Of War (OKNOTOK Version) 
  19. The Tourist (Unmastered Album Version 3)

For the cover of this compilation, I used one that was produced on SkillShare for a project to come up with a alternative sleeve. https://www.skillshare.com/projects/OK-Computer-alternate-album-cover-DKNG-textures-and-halftones/23899

Various Artists – Lost Alternatives Part 2 (The Other Lost Alternatives)

You really know when you are getting on a bit when the music of your youth becomes the subject of box set retrospectives, containing rare tracks, forgotten artists and the odd unreleased song. Between 2019 and 2021, there were three of these looking at the British music scene in the 1990s. These were ‘Steve Lamacq – Lost Alternatives’ (2019), ’Martin Green Presents: Super Sonics – 40 Junkshop Britpop Greats’ (2020), ’Caught Beneath The Landslide (The Other Side Of Britpop And The ‘90s (2021)’. These were jam packed with names I remember but loads that I did not. What I have been surprised about is that there has not been a second volume.

I thought I would see if I could produce my own box set following a similar template laid out by the ‘Lost Alternatives ’ by choosing tracks from the whole decade, but I would not be allowed to use any songs from the three compilations above*. I would also not be allowed to any songs that I have placed on any of the compilation or lost albums that I am posting or already posted this year. I also could not use the same artist more than once (unless guesting with someone else). This did prove to be a bit of a challenge but this is what I came up with. 

Some of the more well known names represented with rare tracks such as B-Sides. I have also looked to include only bands from the British Isles, even though the odd interloper will make an appearance. Steve Lamacq also had nothing to do with this either. 

Disc 1

  1. Heavenly Pop Hit – The Chills
  2. Rollercoaster – The Jesus & Mary Chain
  3. 13th Disciple  – Five Thirty
  4. Kinky Love – Pale Saints
  5. Inertia – Blur
  6. Dogs With No Tails – The Pale
  7. Which Way Should I Jump? – Milltown Brothers
  8. Twiggy Twiggy – Pizzicato Five
  9. Here’s Where The Story Ends – The Sundays
  10. Alternative Title – Carter, The Unstoppable Sex Machine
  11. Funny How – Airhead
  12. Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina – Pop Will Eat Itself
  13. Yr Own World – The Blue Aeroplanes
  14. Obscurity Knocks – The Trash Can Sinatra’s
  15. Cherry-Coloured Funk – Cocteau Twins
  16. Gimmie Some Truth – The Wonder Stuff
  17. Flying – The Telescopes
  18. Sweetness & Light (Demo) – Lush
  19. Leave The All Behind – Ride

Disc 2

  1. Unstable – Flamingoes
  2. If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
  3. Judy Over The Rainbow – Orange
  4. Dream – Pooka
  5. Lowdown – Elextrafixation
  6. Without Doubt – Mantaray
  7. City Sickness – Tindersticks
  8. Girl At The Bus Stop – My Drug Hell
  9. Kent – Salad
  10. Still Hanging Around – AutoPop
  11. Every Day – Brianpool
  12. Halo – Girl Of The Year
  13. What’s What We’ll Do – The Poppies
  14. Not Even Starcrossed – Telstar Ponies
  15. In The Groove Again – Out Of My Hair
  16. Undecided – Shack
  17. So Glad (Album Version) – Thrum
  18. White Love (Radio Mix) – One Dove
  19. Souvlaki Space Station – Slowdrive
  20. (Come On, Join) The High Society – These Animal Men
  21. Kenuwee Head – Voodoo Queens

Disc 3

  1. Who’s That Girl – The Mystics
  2. Disco Hell – The Candyskins
  3. Go Go Pepper – Tip Top Planets
  4. Lewis Brightworth – Thurman
  5. Seems You’ve Missed Sunday – The Weekenders
  6. Out Of The Void – Grass Show
  7. Sucrose – The Delgados
  8. Spice Girls (Who Do You Think You Are?) – Period Pains
  9. Teenage Girl Crush – Angelica
  10. Mail Monarchy – Compulsion
  11. Stand Up – Lick
  12. Me & Mr Lonely – Pimlico
  13. Working On A Beautiful Thing – The Pooh Sticks
  14. Fear Of Flying – Ruth
  15. The Milkman – Mice
  16. Strawberries & Cream – Boutique
  17. Sex & Cheques – Jolt
  18. Kylie & Jason – Midget
  19. Ignoramus (Alternative Version) – Baby Chaos
  20. Ecstacy – Deluxor
  21. Strength – Comet Gain
  22. Loves A Cliché – The Karelia
  23. I’m In Love – Taxi Driver
  24. Twist – Arnold
  25. Alfie – Don
  26. Welsh Bands Suck – Teen Anthems

Disc 4

  1. Heavens Above – Hillman Minx
  2. Say Something – The Smiles
  3. I Messiah, Am Jailer – AC Acoustics
  4. Overthrown – Labido
  5. I Was Starving Hungry (In Tesco’s) – Mogul
  6. Hot Topic – Le Tigre
  7. Daria – Chicks
  8. Girlie Pop – Pop Tarts
  9. Super Sexy Razor Happy Girls – Mika Bomb
  10. Spyder – Jetsons
  11. The Wee Wee Song – Girlfriendo
  12. Ray Liotta – Linoleum
  13. Jediwannabie – Bellatrix
  14. Killing The Bland – Prolapse
  15. Dirty Weekend – The Dandys
  16. The Hymn For The Cigarettes – Hefner
  17. Sweeping The Nation – Spearmint
  18. The Book Lovers – Broadcast
  19. Looking For Sparks – Seafruit
  20. Shirley Wall – Doberman
  21. Better Made – Head-swim
  22. Baby Come On – Spacemaid
  23. Disco 2000 (Original Mix) – The Lance Gambit Trio

The cover is adapted from one used for a Spotify playlist which represented tracks that didn’t quite make the ‘Lost Alternatives’ four CD box set. 

*I suspect that I will have doubled up on at least one song.

Supergrass – Wait Tor The Sun (B-Sides Collection)

Oasis in their mid 90s pomp always boasted that some of their best songs were relegated to the B-Sides of their singles and a collection of these flip sides were collected together on ‘The Masterplan’ compilation which was released in 1998. Taking a look at the other big hitters from the era, Oasis were the only band to do this (as far as I can tell) so I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see if there was enough material from some of these other bands to do the same. This is the first of these B-Sides Collections and it is the mighty Supergrass that get this honour.   

These date from their first releases on Parlophone in 1995 up until the last album of the decade in 1999. Unlike their standard albums, there are a couple of covers on here. The title takes it name from ‘Wait For The Sun’, one of the B-Sides from the ‘Lenny’ single. An awesome song and such a shame that it was relegated to a B-Side. 

Side A

  1. Believer (Moving – 1999)
  2. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way (Richard III – 1997)
  3. Condition (Alright – 1995)
  4. Melanie Davis (Going Out – 1996)
  5. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (Sun Hits The Sky – 1997)
  6. Faraway (Acoustic Version) (Moving – 1999)

Side B

  1. We Still Need More (Than Anyone Can Give) (Late In The Day – 1997)
  2. What A Shame (Pumping On Your Stereo – 1999)
  3. Lucky (No Fear) (Pumping On Your Stereo – 1999)
  4. 20ft Halo (Richard III – 1997)
  5. Odd? (Mansize Rooster – 1995)
  6. Wait For The Sun (Lenny – 1995)

The sleeve is adapted from the Hollywood Bowl 2003 bootleg, with a slight change to the graphics. A nice pastiche of The Beatles Second album cover, ‘With The Beatles’.

Various Artists – The Britpop Years Vol.1

I cannot believe that it is 30 years since the earliest releases of what would become Britpop came out. Yes, that period of the mid-90s where British bands seems to embraced the British music scenes of the late 60s, punk and glam rock vides of the 70s and even some indie influences of the 80s. This was where Cool Britannia became a thing and lad culture came to the fore. Women also got in on the act for those of you who remember The Girlie Show. Ah Britpop, the soundtrack to my university days and what days they were. I had never been into a current music scene before as I had always been looking backwards to the 60s and 70s for my musical fix. However, I was all over Britpop in a way I had not been before, and as it would turn out, since. 

Like any other music scene, it is difficult to pinpoint what the first release was. For me, the first of the so called Britpop bands I heard was Suede, even though it was only through the music press than their music. After hearing ‘Animal Nitrate’ and ‘So Young’ on the radio, I was hooked in and the first album was duly bought. It was also during this time that the infamous Channel 4 programme The Word was broadcast and through that show, I was introduced to the bands that would soundtrack the next three to four years of my life. Oasis, Supergrass and the more obscure Thrum were just some of the bands I heard there and went out the next day to buy their records. The time most associated with Britpop are between 1994 to 1997 and I have plundered these key years to produce a series of compilations, with this being the first.  

What is interesting about this movement is that it wasn’t really a movement the acts mostly associated with it wanted to be associated with. Three out of the so called big of Britpop bands have always maintained that they had nothing to do with it. Those bands being Blur, Oasis, Pulp and Suede. It also did not have much of a signature sound with the bands involved taking cues from so many periods in British music. However, one thing that the majority of he bands had was that they were guitar based.   

Those eagle eyed of you will notice that there are a number of these artist that would not normally appear on a Britpop complication. Well, you would be correct but the title of the CDs give this away. It is The Britpop Years, not just Britpop. Therefore, American bands such as the Foo Fighters, Smoking Popes and The Presidents Of The United States Of America make an appearance. Bands who would normally be classed as being from the more dance or trip hop music such Massive Attack or Portishead are here. There is even the odd interloper from 1993 and 1998. This isn’t just about Britpop. This is about the Britpop Years, the soundtrack to my time at university and the memories this music brings back. 

So, this year I will be presenting a number of Britpop themed compilations, lost albums as well as my usual content. 

Disc 1

  1. Yes – McAlmont & Butler
  2. Girl From Mars – Ash
  3. Place Your Hands – Reef
  4. Nancy Boy – Placebo
  5. Breathe – The Prodigy
  6. Scooby Snacks – Fun Lovin’ Crimnals
  7. Wide Open Space – Mansun
  8. Wonderwall – Oasis
  9. One To Another – The Charlatans (UK)
  10. Never Here – Elastica
  11. Novocaine For The Soul – Eels
  12. Richard III – Supergrass
  13. Hey Dude – Kula Shaker
  14. You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For – Catatonia
  15. Sparky’s Dream – Teenage Fanclub
  16. Good Enough – Dodgy
  17. Great Things – Echobelly
  18. Nice Guy Eddie – Sleeper
  19. Ladykillers – Lush
  20. Love Spreads – The Stone Roses
  21. Stardust – Menswear

Disc 2

  1. Miss Sarajevo – Passengers
  2. Life In Mono (Album Version) – Mono
  3. To The End – Blur & Francoise Hardy
  4. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way – Supergrass
  5. Waking Up – Elastica
  6. What Do I Do Now? – Sleeper
  7. What Do You Want From Me? – Monaco
  8. The Riverboat Song – Ocean Colour Scene
  9. Acquiesce – Oasis
  10. Your Woman – White Town
  11. Do You Remember The First Time? – Pulp
  12. Just When You’re Thinking Things Over – The Charlatans (UK)
  13. Ready To Go – Republica
  14. You & Me Song – The Wannadies
  15. Love Fool – The Cardigans
  16. Stripper Vicar – Mansun
  17. Goldfinger – Ash
  18. Stars – Dubstar
  19. Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From – Teenage Fanclub

Imaginary Album Covers 2023

Well, it is the last day of 2023 and in a follow up to last year, here are another collection of pictures I have found on line that look like LP covers. I have tried to acknowledge the person who took the picture, but if there isn’t one, it is because I took them from the wonderful X (Twitter) account ‘Images That Could Be Album Covers’ (@ImagesAlbum).

Jaroslaw Kolacz – All Dressed Up……

The photo was taken by Jaroslaw Kolacz & I used him as the recording artist as well. The rest of the title (& nowhere to go) would have appeared on the back if there had been one.

Pentagram Of Venus – Standing Stones

Taken from the @dr_places X/Twitter page

The Redeems – A Quiet Night Out

~From Twitter user @ollsjam. Re’em is a mythological animal from the Hebrew Bible. Some say this is a Oryx so a sketch of the animal has been included as the band logo.  

Motel – You Look So Lonely

I did not add the title nor the name of the band. There were already in the graphic & it was perfect as it was.

The Red Lines – Eye Of The Needle

The Hooligans – Self Portrait

Saint Cecilia – Return Ticket

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians.

Orange 1-4 – When God Calls

I loved the image but I am not sure that the graphic works with it

An Academy Of Sparrows – Air In A Curved Rainbow

A play on the classic album, ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’ by Terry Riley

Deep Six – Caution Wet Floor

The Pagoda Six – The Past Is A Foreign Country

Halo – Seen The Light

Kate Bush – The EP’s

Kate Bush has been one of the most innovative and eclectic songwriters of the last 50 years. She was an innovator because she moved away from conventional instrumentation, being one of the earliest exponents of the Fairlight CMI sampler. She was one of the first people to use a headset wireless microphone so her hands would be free during the choreographed dance sequences of her one and only concert tour. She was also the first female artist to achieve a number one hit single in the UK charts with a songs that she had written herself. None of her original albums have failed to break the top ten in the UK charts, and her singles have also achieved high chart status on a regular basis. Not bad for someone who has only released two albums this century. 

As is my want at this time of year, I have decided to put together a Christmas themed what-if release, and as this is the season of good will, I have added a second one for good measure. The first is a selection of recordings Kate Bush has completed that have a Christmas theme. There aren’t many different songs that could have been included here and three versions of the same song might be overkill, but they are all different so I am sure the Kate Bush completist would like it.  

‘December Will Be Magic Again’ in its original studio version was recorded in 1979 but not released until a year later. It was a Top 30 hit in the UK and did a lot better in Ireland. This is followed by ‘Home For Christmas’ which originally appeared in the Comic Strip Presents film, ‘Wild Turkey’. It then appeared on the B-Side of the UK single ‘Moment of Pleasure’ which came out in 1993. She also privately pressed a number of these on a 3” CD single (anyone remember these?) which were sent out as a Christmas card. We end Side A with a non Christmas song, but it did feature in the Kate Bush Christmas Special that was broadcast in 1979. It was written as an introduction to guest Peter Gabriel and was performed as a three part harmony with her brother Paddy and Glenys Groves. Side B has two more versions of ‘December Will Be Magic Again’. The first is from the aforementioned Christmas Special and was performed live with Kevin McAlea on Keyboards, with Kate on piano and vocals. The last song is the bongo mix of ‘December Will Be Magic Again’ which has, as far as I can tell, not appeared on a Kate Bush released but has found a home on Christmas compilation albums down the years. 

The Christmas EP

Side A

  1. December Will Be Magic Again
  2. Home For Christmas
  3. The Angel Gabriel (Kate – Christmas Special 1979)

Side B

  1. December Will Be Magic Again (Kate – Christmas Special 1979)
  2. December Will Be Magic Again (Bongo Mix)

The second EP complies folk songs that Kate Bush has released. I was quite surprised that she had covered any at all, considering that she has focused mostly on her own compositions. The opening song was released in 1996 for a compilation album ‘Common Ground – Voices of Modern Irish Music’. Bush herself was born in England but her mother was from Ireland and said that he mother helped out with the recording as she is not a speaker of the Irish language. She had to learn it phonetically before laying down her recording. The song itself tells of a woman that represents Ireland, and is given over her gifts (such as cattle, her land and even herself) to the cruel English and wondering why Irish men do nothing to defend her. 

The second might be pushing it a bit as being a folk song, because it is not a traditional song like the others on this disc, but was written by Donovan for his ‘HMS Donovan’ album. Donovan may well have started off as a folk singer but quickly morphed into something distinctively more psychedelic. ‘HMS Donovan’ was his second album directed at children and did draw on traditional folk songs, poems and hymns. Bush covered the song for the B Side of her ‘Sat In Your Lap’ from 1981. 

Side B starts with another Irish folk song, ‘My Lagan Love’. The Lagan might refer to the river of the same name that runs through Belfast or a stream that flows into Lough Swilly in County Donegal. ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’ is another traditional folk song which refers to girls impersonating sailors and heading off for a life at sea. This was released on the B-Side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ single in 1986. Even though this is a traditional song, some pressings of this single credited Bush as the sole writer of the song, instead of the trad arr. by credit you’d expect. It is a shame Kate Bush did not release more traditional songs as she had an excellent voice for interpreting this style of music. 

The Folk EP

Side A

  1. Mna Na H’Éireann (Women Of Ireland)
  2. Lord Of The Ready River

Side B

  1. My Lagan Love
  2. The Handsome Cabin Boy