Tuesday, 25 October 2016

It's gonna be a good day for the dreamers






Madchester and the baggy movement was over ............................... or was it?


Not for bands like The Space Monkeys it wasn't. They were even signed to the doomed Factory records and for a while a handful of bands came out of the Britpop movement that were referred to as Post-Madchester.  They digged the Madchester dance scene and loved the acid house movement of the late 80's and this was reflected in the bands overall sound. Drum machines with Fat Baggy beats, synths and distorted guitars made up the general sound of The Space monkeys and that's just fine for me!.


Forming in Manchester in around 1995 they signed to the doomed Factory Records they would go on to release a handful of singles and one official album.  For a short time, the band kept the Madchester torch alight with their baggy, Hip Hop and acid house sounding guitar tunes. 

Debut single Keep On Tripping On is a fantastic post baggy single for 1996.  When other bands were singing about very British things that involved the use of lots of trumpets we find the Space monkeys playing like it was still 1991 and loved up to the max.  This was the only single that was not released on their debut album The Daddy Of Them All and was a cross between Flowered Up, Northside, The Dylan’s and The World Of Twist.  For their next release we find the band releasing the bass heavy Blowing Down The Stylus with its big beats and lead guitar swirling around like a drunk Hammond that fell off the back of an early Charlatans single. Acid House Killed Rock And Roll would be the bands third release with early 90's rave influences.  With its synths and double beats, a plenty, we find the band releasing a very drum and bass heavy single with the guitars turned up to full distortion, many a pill was dropped to this tune I bet ya!  The last single taken from the album is heavily drug referenced Sugar Cane and I still think to this day that if this single was released a few months before it would have been a massive summer smash. Full to the brim with cultural references for the time and a chorus that would have not been out of place at any indie disco of the 90's.

The release of the debut album The Daddy Of Them All had all the early singles apart form Keep Tripping on which would have been out of place in the slightest.  If you were a fan of the bands singles, then the album was what you were hoping for.  Sitting slap bang in the middle of Britpop which was just getting over the Madchester scene a couple of years before we find one of the best bands to come out of Manchester in the late 1990's.  The band would tour with the likes of Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind and record a follow up album but due to Factory Records going out of business the album was unreleased and the band disbanded in 2000.

The follow up album was called Escape From The 20th Century and would eventually find a release in late 2013 and in 2015 we find the band reforming to play a selection of shows across the UK. 

As of writing this we find the band playing the Shiiine On Weekender in November along with a host of bands from the 1990's which looks like a 90's indie kids ultimate line up.

So if you have never heard of the band before make sure you go and buy both albums from the usual outlets and you will find a long lost hidden jem of a band. The Daddy Of Them All is a blissful look back at a time when British music meant something to be proud of. A band twisting a magical blend of Madchester and the British sounds of the Britpop scene of the 90's and a band that for me will never be forgotten.



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

We've had this thought and hunger since were born


For me there were two types of bands to come out of the 90’s. The big hitters -  the bands who were on major labels, in the public eye and were the mainstream bands of the time (Oasis, Pulp, Blur etc.).  Then we have the bands who were on the indie labels and who were making waves in the music press and the young kids alike. Being constantly featured in the small columns of the NME and on the evening session on Radio one (Elastica, Marion, Salad, Shed Seven, Longpigs).  To me these are the bands that mattered, these are the bands that were making me go to Our Price every Saturday to get the latest singles on multi-coloured vinyl.





Some bands were not so lucky but still remain a poignant part in our British music heritage. Today I want to talk about Soda, the band who’s debut album I waited with bated breath for but never surfaced ….. until Now!  I’ve been waiting 20 years for this album to be released and on 20/11/2016 Artificial Flavour will finally be released and it will transport me back to 1996 and make me feel 18 years old all over again.


The self-described sussed pop tarts started playing around Hull’s local music scene in the early 90s when they were called Mind Garden. Around 1994 the band changed their name to Soda with their arrival of their new bass player Liam Maloy.  They gained enough reputation to be supporting Shed Seven at some out of town shows and were spotted by their management team which resulted the band being able to record some early demos. The bands very first release was Slave to the Fashion Page and was a punky NWOTNW (new wave of the new wave!) sounding affair. Think a mix of These Animal Men with The Buzzcocks and you will be in the right direction.  Around this time the band found themselves in a bidding war between record companies and finally signed a multi album deal with Mercury Records turning down the likes of EMI and Capitol. 






The band’s first official single released was The Young Own the Town. A ‘spangly’ crunchy pop song that captured the ideas of the youth of the day and the fact that the 90s were theirs for the taking. And take it they did.  It had everything a classic Britpop single should have. It was fast, it had distortion and it had punk coolness writhing through its veins.  The three track single also had my personal favourite Soda Song Riot Kid which actually never leaves my playlist to this day and in my opinion should have been a single in its own right. Inside was the bands second release and was a pogos paradise with its bouncy pop beats and sing-a-long chorus and was a staple song at my local indie night and many more I’m sure.  The third and final release we find the band mid-tempo effort with Dragging You into My Dreams.  Another sing-a-long beauty from the band that shaped up to be an impressive single that was setting the band up to be a one to watch.

We can’t forget that Britpop was a time in British music history when it felt like an inspiring young band could make it, get signed and maybe just maybe appear on Top of the Pops.  By the time Britpop had taken hold and was in full swing by 1996 so many bands were on the scene. It was a beautiful thing being a British kid with each band having their own distinctive sound but wrapped into the Britpop bubble. We hadn’t seen this kind of a movement since the 60’s and Soda were slap bang right in the middle of it.




With an extensive tour throughout 1996 the band played the Phoenix festival and this is where I managed to catch them play live for the first and last time.  The Phoenix festival to this day remains the best festival that I have been to over my 25 years of being a music listener.  There were a handful of bands that made an impact on this 18-year-old over those four sweltering days at the Long Marston Airfield (The Verve, Weezer, The Charlatans and Sleeper to name a few), but I came away with a feeling that Britpop was going to shine forever after seeing Soda play on the Guardian Stage on 20th July 1996.  Four guys looking cool as fuck smashing out the singles and B-sides and songs that I was hoping for on the debut album.

Unfortunately, just as things were looking towards the mainstream the Britpop balloon was starting to deflate. Some of the most anticipated albums by the bands of the time just didn’t capture the imagination of the music buying public and bands started dropping like flies.  Some of the most talented and up and coming bands started to disappear. Soda unfortunately parted company with Mercury Records and their debut album was sadly shelved and remains unreleased…… Until Now!
20 years later we find ourselves in the midst of a Britpop revival and interest in the band has started to resurface once again. This time we find that the band have managed to get a release of their very long awaited debut album Artificial Flavour.



It’s taken twenty years but the album is finally here and my Britpop collection is nearly complete.  In Soda you will find a band who were at the heart of an important movement in British Pop history. A band who were in the middle of a musical hurricane and were so very close to be a part of the British mainstream like so many other bands before them.Some bands shine bright and fade and other bands like Soda will forever be intertwined in the memories of those who took them into their hearts the very first time they heard them.

Debut album and merch info can be found here :




This article is dedicated to the memory of Soda’s lead guitarist Mike Milner who sadly passed away in 2014 after a long illness.

20th Nov 1972 - 19th June 2014

We've had this thought and hunger since were born


For me there were two types of bands to come out of the 90’s. The big hitters -  the bands who were on major labels, in the public eye and were the mainstream bands of the time (Oasis, Pulp, Blur etc.).  Then we have the bands who were on the indie labels and who were making waves in the music press and the young kids alike. Being constantly featured in the small columns of the NME and on the evening session on Radio one (Elastica, Marion, Salad, Shed Seven, Longpigs).  To me these are the bands that mattered, these are the bands that were making me go to Our Price every Saturday to get the latest singles on multi-coloured vinyl.





Some bands were not so lucky but still remain a poignant part in our British music heritage. Today I want to talk about Soda, the band who’s debut album I waited with bated breath for but never surfaced ….. until Now!  I’ve been waiting 20 years for this album to be released and on 20/11/2016 Artificial Flavour will finally be released and it will transport me back to 1996 and make me feel 18 years old all over again.

The self-described sussed pop tarts started playing around Hull’s local music scene in the early 90s when they were called Mind Garden. Around 1994 the band changed their name to Soda with their arrival of their new bass player Liam Maloy.  They gained enough reputation to be supporting Shed Seven at some out of town shows and were spotted by their management team which resulted the band being able to record some early demos. The bands very first release was Slave to the Fashion Page and was a punky NWOTNW (new wave of the new wave!) sounding affair. Think a mix of These Animal Men with The Buzzcocks and you will be in the right direction.  Around this time the band found themselves in a bidding war between record companies and finally signed a multi album deal with Mercury Records turning down the likes of EMI and Capitol. 


The band’s first official single released was The Young Own the Town. A ‘spangly’ crunchy pop song that captured the ideas of the youth of the day and the fact that the 90s were theirs for the taking. And take it they did.  It had everything a classic Britpop single should have. It was fast, it had distortion and it had punk coolness writhing through its veins.  The three track single also had my personal favourite Soda Song Riot Kid which actually never leaves my playlist to this day and in my opinion should have been a single in its own right. Inside was the bands second release and was a pogos paradise with its bouncy pop beats and sing-a-long chorus and was a staple song at my local indie night and many more I’m sure.  The third and final release we find the band mid-tempo effort with Dragging You into My Dreams.  Another sing-a-long beauty from the band that shaped up to be an impressive single that was setting the band up to be a one to watch.

We can’t forget that Britpop was a time in British music history when it felt like an inspiring young band could make it, get signed and maybe just maybe appear on Top of the Pops.  By the time Britpop had taken hold and was in full swing by 1996 so many bands were on the scene. It was a beautiful thing being a British kid with each band having their own distinctive sound but wrapped into the Britpop bubble. We hadn’t seen this kind of a movement since the 60’s and Soda were slap bang right in the middle of it.




With an extensive tour throughout 1996 the band played the Phoenix festival and this is where I managed to catch them play live for the first and last time.  The Phoenix festival to this day remains the best festival that I have been to over my 25 years of being a music listener.  There were a handful of bands that made an impact on this 18-year-old over those four sweltering days at the Long Marston Airfield (The Verve, Weezer, The Charlatans and Sleeper to name a few), but I came away with a feeling that Britpop was going to shine forever after seeing Soda play on the Guardian Stage on 20th July 1996.  Four guys looking cool as fuck smashing out the singles and B-sides and songs that I was hoping for on the debut album.

Unfortunately, just as things were looking towards the mainstream the Britpop balloon was starting to deflate. Some of the most anticipated albums by the bands of the time just didn’t capture the imagination of the music buying public and bands started dropping like flies.  Some of the most talented and up and coming bands started to disappear. Soda unfortunately parted company with Mercury Records and their debut album was sadly shelved and remains unreleased…… Until Now!
20 years later we find ourselves in the midst of a Britpop revival and interest in the band has started to resurface once again. This time we find that the band have managed to get a release of their very long awaited debut album Artificial Flavour.



It’s taken twenty years but the album is finally here and my Britpop collection is nearly complete.  In Soda you will find a band who were at the heart of an important movement in British Pop history. A band who were in the middle of a musical hurricane and were so very close to be a part of the British mainstream like so many other bands before them.Some bands shine bright and fade and other bands like Soda will forever be intertwined in the memories of those who took them into their hearts the very first time they heard them.



This article is dedicated to the memory of Soda’s lead guitarist Mike Milner who sadly passed away in 2014 after a long illness.

20th Nov 1972 - 19th June 2014

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

You can't move the smile from my mouth ... Menswe@r



So it’s just a little over three years since I started this blog with my first post about a band who sparked my interest into Britpop way back in 1994. Now many bands come and go which you will all know about if you read my blog on a regular basis but the band I’m talking about today are a band who have just recently morphed and have come back to life.  



I would like to introduce Menswe@r


To say this band has had a profound importance on my life is not even scratching the surface. I was 16 years old and just discovering music and seen the band on the front cover of Melody Maker unbeknown to me that they hadn’t even released a single yet. As a kid I was brought up on bands like The Kinks, The Who and The Small Faces so I had a good music upbringing and knew about the music and fashion styles of the mod movement and was excited to see a band wearing these colours again.  I remember going into my local Our Price record shop and asking for the single by the band called Menswe@r only to be told that had never heard of them. Just as I was leaving a store assistant tapped me on the shoulder and said he overheard me at the counter and he’d heard of them as well and knew that they hadn’t released a single yet but were due to perform on Top Of The Pops.  I sat with bated breath and tuned in to BBC1 just to see the band perform I’ll Manage Somehow a whole week before the single was released. The hype for the band was going through the roof with Record companies fighting for the band to be on their label and soon enough they would be signed to London Records. The band would release the single Day Dreamer as their second single and this is where my musical journey would begin as this is when I first saw the band live and to be honest is was the first time I’d been to a live gig.

I remember it was a blazing hot day when we caught the train to see the band perform at the Exeter Cavern Club and got to the venue a few hours early. Sitting outside the club we got the chance to listen to the band do a couple of sound checks and I almost exploded when the opening bass riff to Daydreamer was played!  I seem to recall the band was supported by Powder and the very fantastic Thurman who warmed the crowd up very nicely.  Darkness ….. silence …… then the band walked on and the place went crazy, Then the lead singer Jonny Dean walked on and the whole venue erupted just as the band kicked into the opening on 125 West 3rd Street.  It was my first gig and I found myself in the middle of the crowd being pushed left, right and centre so I did what everyone else did, I stuck my elbows out and just started to jump to the music (Hence pogo to Britpop). Right there on that dance floor in 1994 I lost my heart to a new following called Britpop and if it wasn’t for Menswe@r I don’t think I would be here today sitting down writing this blog.

The band were a mix of Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish with the styling’s of Mod and the curled lip of the punk movement of the 1970’s but with very British story telling strewn through their lyrics.  Throughout 1994 and 1995 you couldn’t read a music magazine without reading something about Jonny Dean and his merry men.  Then came the summer of 1995 and I had just got my hands on two tickets to the fabulous Glastonbury Festival and looking back at the line-up it looks like the who’s who of Britpop and Menswe@r were top of the bill for me. With the band releasing their debut Album Nuisance around this time the festival would we a great way to gain more exposure even in reality they didn’t need it. After a storming performance at Glasto the band would go on to release three more singles from the album and having one go top ten with the release of Being Brave in early 1996.  A standalone single was released in the summer of 1996 entitled We Love you and listening back now I think it’s a farewell to the Britpop movement that would start dyeing out shortly after the singles release.

So yes it’s the dreaded year of 1997 and we find the band leaving London Records just after they released their second album Hay Tiempo!. The release didn’t get a release anywhere in the world apart from Japan and would only be available via import at stupid prices but at this point the Britpop Bubble burst and British music as we know it would end (Slight execration I know but I can’t get excited by British bands nowadays).  So there we have it just add another band of forgotten heroes of the British music scene to never be heard of again……………. Oh! Wait!


2013 we find Johnny Dean playing a gig to raise money for the National Autistic Society performing under the guise of the The Nuis@nce Band to a sell-out audience. A new formed Menswe@r performed their first show in 15 years on the 26th March 2014 at London’s Bush Hall and was also a sell-out. They performed their new single Crash which was a reworking of an earlier B-side to the We Love You single in 1996 and went on to release the single via Nuisance recordings on May 26th.


So looking back at the two albums that the band released we find two very different albums but at the same time very distinctive.  In their debut album Nuisance we find a band at the forefront of a new music scene that was filled with 60’s references, poppy rhythms and a very British Fashion style. From start to finish I can hear my teenage years flow through every song and listening to it as I’m writing this review I feel the same sense of excitement and wonder that I had back in the day not knowing what life lay ahead of me. From the opening track 125 West 3rd Street to the Stardust reprise that closes the album you will find the definitive Britpop album. Of course the standout songs were actually released as singles including I’ll Manage Somehow, Sleeping In and the era defining Daydreamer through to Being Brave and Stardust it starts to sound like the soundtrack to my teenage years. The standout song for me will always be the track titled Hollywood Girl as I remember drunkenly making my way home from seeing the band play at my first gig in Exeter. I remember making my way back to the train station and singing the chorus at the top of my lungs over and over till I caught my train at 6am the following morning.

In their second album Hay Tiempo! We find a slight change in sound with a more Shoe gaze feel mixed with Teenage Fan club and 60’s sunshine pop. That’s quite a range to have but with songs like Wait For The Sun, Silver Tongue and the space rock sounding Shine we find a band evolving into something more than a child of Britpop. I never got a chance to listen to the album upon its release as already covered earlier as it was only released in Japan but I secured a copy via import a few years ago (but now residing somewhere in London due to missing box when I moved).


So there you go to a band I thought was lost in time like many other bands of the era only to be resurrected and start touring again and release a single.  There are many bands that evoke the spirit and true nature of Britpop but in Menswe@r you will find the true greatness of a British band who was at the start of one of Britain’s golden music eras. The band have had the bad reviews and the low points that comes along with being in the music press but if you were there you will remember a band who meant the world to many a teenager. Like I’ve said in many posts before I don’t write about bands that I don’t like as my music tastes maybe different than someone else’s but everyone has an opinion of the bands that mean the world to them. Menswe@r meant the world to me then and will always mean something very special to me as they introduced to the live music scene and the thought that one day I might be able to pick up a guitar and start a band of my very own. My dabble in music may never have turned into what I wanted it to be but you have to give credit to all the bands who do make it in whatever shape or form.
Menswe@r are a part of a bunch of bands who for a very short time put Britain on the music map in the 1990’s when it was awash with the American Grunge scene and British music was starting to lose its identity. Bands like Menswe@r made music fashionable again and opened a lot of doors for newer bands to be picked up by the record company’s and for small indie record labels to start forming all over the country.

I was planning about saving this write up for last ever post on this blog as it would be fitting to finish the blog as I started it with the Birth of Britpop and my First gig featuring the band. But finding that the band is alive and well in whatever shape or form it’s spurned me on to keep the Pogo2Britpop doors open and continue to post until I run out of bands.


Thank you Mr Johnny Dean and to your band of Merry men (And women!)

Monday, 19 May 2014

If you believe your dreams will come true…… Marion







Certain bands can take you right back to the place you first heard them weather its Pulp with Lip-gloss or Are You Blue Or Are You Blind by The Bluetones, there are bands who can take you right back there. The band I’m talking about today are one of these and it’s track eight on their debut album that takes me straight back to 1995. I was 17, I was wearing a Sleeper T-shirt and I was standing in the middle of a record shop in Torquay in South Devon when I first heard the single, and boy did it sound fantastic.


I would like to introduce……. Marion

 
The classic Rough Trade Records would release the band’s debut single Violent men which would gain them their first fan base before moving on to sign for London records right at the beginning of the Britpop explosion in the latter part of 1994. In their second single Sleep we find the band releasing quite possibly best single from their forthcoming debut album and possibly the first Britpop single using a harmonica! The single storms along with the blast of pure harmonica and a guitar riff hiding behind it ready to pounce and punch you right between the eyes. The song sounded like no other in 1995 with its self-importance strut, Distortion overlays and lead singer Jamie’s Perfect vocal.
Now we come to what I believe is Marion’s greatest glory, they went and released the single Toys For Boy’s and with it a single cover that would dress my bedroom wall. The song begins with an opening riff that sounded like nothing else at the time and when the drums kick in you know they mean business and let’s be honest this is want Marion was all about for me. I always thought Marion were a cross between Gene and These Animal Men after a heavy session of speed! Marion were at the top of their game and with their quite brilliant performance of I Stopped Dancing on the BBC’s Britpop Now television program they were gaining quite a fan base. With the release of the singles Lets All Go Together and Time the band would release their debut album This World And Body to critical acclaim and one of my all-time favourite albums from the period. Their debut album is one of only a handful of album I’m my collection I would have given my right arm to have had written. The whole album is chock full of sweaty speed freaked sing-alongs with one of the best vocalists from the Britpop generation.
So we waited two years for another glimpse of what the band would come up with next and they would go on to release the single Miyako Hideaway. Sounding like a completely different band altogether but also sounding like the Marion we knew and loved. With their second album The Program they seemed to have a slight groove going on and the opening track is a belter. A song that I would imagine Rick Witter from Shed Seven would love to shake his Maracas to whilst swinging his hips. The opening track The Smile is one hell of an opening track and quite ballsy not just to change their sound but to place it at track one.   

I’ll be honest now, I hate the last 95% of all the write ups that I do for this blog because most end the same way. Yep 1997 happened and Marion’s second album was released in March 1998 and despite being made up of songs that reflected a band going through change and diversifying their sound the album didn’t even chart in the UK. They disbanded a year later and Marion as a band were no more. Lead singer Jamie Harding was recording music but nothing was released whilst the most of the other band members were involved in the music industry in some sort of way.
Until 2006 when Jamie and guitarist Phil Cunningham started working together and started write new material for a possible new band. A one off show was planned to debut new songs and old material from the Marion back catalogue and they decided to keep the bands original name. The band played several more shows and each time the shows sold out to bigger crowds. But this crazy thing called life keeps getting in the way of Marion’s success and the band hit problems including their new bassists Che breaking his neck and Jamie being admitted to hospital needing open-heart surgery due to a blood condition.  Fast-forward to 2001 and with a shuffle around of members I’m pleased to announce that the original line up has reformed and started to play again. The Marion website has not been updated since 2012 but Jamie has been hosting an Indie night in Manchester and quite regularly updates his official Facebook account.

So do yourself a favour and go hunt down eventing Marion. You’ll find a British band with one of the most distinctive singers from the 90s being backed up by a band who played with such passion and enthusiasm. The energy that the band portrayed weather in the studio or playing live (One of the greatest bands to play at the Phoenix festival in 1996) shone through every note sung, every string plucked and every drum skin hit.

Not just another British band but a band who helped put Britain on the musical map of the world and showed how it should be done.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

She dreams of a fast getaway.... Sleeper



Just another female fronted band?

No actually! In fact the band I’m writing about today would go on to be the epitome of Britpop and would show that it wasn’t just blokes that could front successful indie bands.

I would like to introduce …… Sleeper



Many people remember the bands that first got them into music and whilst some of us dabbled into certain music genres at an younger age that we would like to forget (Hip Hop and Metal were mine!) there are bands and musicians that picked up your ears and lead you away from the school of sheep that told you was cool at the time.  For me bands Like Whiteout, Elastica, Menswe@r and echobelly were bands that I found on my own but without Sleeper I don’t think I would have the excitement to peruse other acts. Once again I found myself tuning into the Radio 1’s Evening Session and upon hearing the single Swallow i found myself being knocked back by the spunkiness of it all and had whilst having visions of what the lead singer looked like! Then they released my favourite sleeper single Delicious with its sordid lyrics and its spangled guitar all played at a furious pace and as a teenager I always thought Louise Wener was singing about me.
So we find ourselves in 1995 and we find the British public opening its arms to bands coming out of each and every corner of the land and Sleeper would be top of the cue and to seal the deal they would release the song that would push them into the limelight, they went and released Inbertweener. From the early singles reaching the heady heights of the mid 70’s in the UK single charts the single would be sitting pretty at number sixteen and would be a fitting introduction to the forthcoming album Smart. The single would set the tone for their debut album and their sound that would continue through all their albums with its witty lyrics and punchy choruses. Like some other bands of the time Sleeper would have the knack of writing songs that were so very British with themes including  Fashion, sordid sex games, staying out all night and just getting pissed. With the release of their debut album Smart we find the band all over the music press and also splattered over the chests of teens with the explosion of band t-shirts that were being sold at every gig by EVERY band that toured around England. Even though my Sleeper T-shirt didn’t fit me too well I wore it with pride and would be found wearing it at the front row when they played the Phoenix festival in mid-1996.

Things went better and better for the band when they released the single What do I do now and would give them their highest chart position sitting nicely at number 14. It would also be forever found on Britpop compilation albums till the end of time and quite rightly so as it’s a bloody classic. With its infectious chorus and lyrics that would resonate in every teenagers mind at the time we find a song about heartbreak, longing and wanting to be loved. It would also be of the many songs that the band would be remembered fondly for and would even go on to be covered by Elvis Costello.  So with the forthcoming 2nd album on the horizon the band would release one of their highest charting singles and like the single What I Do Know before it would become a sleeper anthem. Sale of the century would be the 2nd single of the new album The It Girl and would chart at number ten and would also feature a cover of the Blondie song Atomic that the band had recorded for the Trainspotting sound track that would further more seal Louise Wener as the queen of Britpop.

So yes it’s about that time that I start writing about the dreaded year of 1997 and the demise of one of my favourite bands of the era. The band would go on to release two more singles and their last studio album Pleased To Meet You and would disband in 1998 although the band would go on release a greatest hits album in 2007.

So there you go, we have another casualty of the Britpop implosion of 1997 and a band that would be sorely missed. But we should take the rough with the smooth and rejoice if that fact that for a small time they would enjoy the success that they deserved and would leave 3 fantastic albums.  And they are one of the sole reasons i am writing this blog and why i am telling their story so they will never be forgotten.



Wow 797 words and not even a mention of the Sleeperbloke   Doh!


Check out the single Inbertweener for a hidden gem of a song called Disco Duncan. You just might find it to be the greatest ever B-side ever released!



Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Speed Kings ..... These Animal Men




So it’s the beginning of 1994 and with the royal death of the Madchester scene still being felt we find our music horizons looking quite fruitful (even though we didn’t know it at the time).  As par of the course that is the British music industry we find the local music magazines with front issues with spikey, skinny speed snorting indie bands being touted as the “New wave of the new wave”. Was it all going to end horribly? Or was it going to turn into something more beautiful?
Bands like Shed Seven, Elastica, S*M*A*S*H, Manta ray and Echobelly who were all emerging in 1994 suddenly started being touted as the New wave of the New Wave, but there was one band who never get the recognition they deserve. This band was Britpop before it was called its namesake, some people call the new wave scene of 1994 “Britpop but without the good bits”. But if you listen closely you will hear bands that were trying something radically different that had been heard in the Madchester scene from a couple of years before. But today I would like to bring your attention to one band who was at the start of it all and who are seldom mentioned.


I would like to introduce……. These Animal Men.


Forming in 1990 they gained interest with their early singles that depicted young angst, drug references and boners!  Eyebrows were first raised with the single Speed King was released raised with its front cover showing a dinner plate full of a white suspicious powder with straws stuck in it, this didn’t go down too well in my local Our Price. For a time my world was filled with Adidas tracksuit tops, gazelles and punky bands wearing Skinny leather jackets (I’m a chunk so take skinny with a pinch of salt). The first time I heard them was the single Speed King with all its drug references spunky distorted guitar and “am I bovered?” Vocal style. With a sound that would be sadly lacking in other bands in later years it sounded totally stripped of production and sounded like a one take recording. Taking references from the new wave era of the late 70’s and early 80s but also the mod movement of the 60’s we find a band that never stopped for breath and with their debut album (Come On, Join) the High Society we find an album crammed with songs that burst with enthusiasm and youth.  Supercharged indie rock was the way forward and with a performance on Top of the Pops performing Speed King the future look bright for the band but then something happened …… Britpop!
As with quite a few bands of the era when the music press get bored they attack! And this is what happed to the band and the papers announced the demise of the new wave scene that they so called created. Britpop was king and would rule for the next four years and the band knew this and adapted to the scene change and would go on to release their second album Accident and Emergency in 1997. With a new sound and a new outlook we find the band with a distinctive rockier, more glam soundscape and a band who have reinvented themselves to fit in with the current music scene.  But alas the music press was gunning for them once again and gave the new album poor reviews and continued to slate them with the same lines that they used when the band first came on to the scene.

This was the fate of many bands of the era, many say it was the fact that the scene was flooded with mediocre bands and sound-alikes. I completely disagree, I have always blamed the music press for the demise of Britpop and the loss of many bands who should have shined and been given the chance to grow.  Like many bands These Animal Men disbanded and would be forever be written about on music blogs just like this one.

Do yourself a favour and hunt down both albums and you will find a band who were forerunners of one of the most exciting parts of British music since the 60’s.  You can also do yourself another favour and NEVER read what is printed about bands, if you like the sound of something then welcome it with open ears and don’t get bogged down in the music presses babble!