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’. 

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