Sunday, April 10, 2011

It was 20 years ago today - Part 1

Some crate digging at a record fair on the weekend turned up many treasures amidst plenty of shit (as always). Three albums I bought for €2 each were quite intriguing as a snapshot of the indie scene from 20 years ago. All three of the bands have largely been forgotten which perhaps explains the price of the records, but going through them you can hear principally three different directions the indie scene was going and, more functionally, that many of the songs in between the singles aren’t so good which is perhaps why they haven’t quite stood the test of time.

First up and perhaps most primitive of all is Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. Arising from the Midlands in the late 80’s the group was distinctive for having two bass players and being composed of very young members who likewise attracted a younger crowd, often skateboarders and other post-hardcore teenagers drifting into indie rock. Their sound was perhaps the most continuous with the then nascent grunge scene. Dating from 1990-1991, "Grey cell green" is the better track from the “Bite” album, but since there is no official video for it we will go for “Kill your television” which is always a sentiment I can support.

Next up is The Farm, a group from Liverpool who were typical of many other groups at the time being a straight up rock band heavily influenced by acid house and the summer of love. Retrospectively, their sound is like a poor man’s Happy Mondays, but without their excessive drug influence and chaos. I always loved the artwork for their 1991 "Spartacus" album although I still cannot stand the faux loved-up everyman vibe of their ubiquitous hit “All together now” which closes it off. “Groovy train” is perhaps better for bridging guitars with beats.

Last but not least we have Curve with a track from 1992. Mixing shoegazer sounds with more robust dancefloor intentions and gothic style was always going to be a success, especially if you can add the sex appeal of night queen Toni Halliday, but it’s a shame that only the singles were really good, “Coast is clear” especially, but here we have “Fait acompli” from the “Dopplegänger” album. Halliday does her best to break Anglo-Gaulic relationships by (deliberately) mispronouncing the French “Fait” as “Fate”.

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