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.

  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.

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