Friday, 19 August 2011

Step right up ........... Mainstream

So as we entered the twilight years of Britpop circa 97-98 we got given a handful of bands who had different influences than the rest!. Mainstream were one of the bands who were influenced by prog rock and the Shoegaze movement of the early 90's.

Some would call it "Shoegaze" and others would call it "Groove rock" but no matter what you called it you had to shake your soul when you listened to Mainstreams debut album. Starting out in 1994 but not releasing a demo  till 1996 Mainstream was offered a record deal after only a handful of gigs. Playing like the early Verve songs but with more production and vibe the stage was set for these London boys to make it big.  I've always been a sucker for the sound of a Hammond organ pumping out of a Leslie speaker and Mainstream would please me no ends with their frantic bass lines and the sweet sound of the Hammond swirling in the back ground. These boys had groove and lots of soul which poured out of every track on their debut. With tracks like "Stranded", "Privilege" and of course the excellent "Step right up" they had a sound of their own and to this day they are one of the bands i just wished i had seen live.

But as with most of the bands that emerged at the end of Britpop they only released a handful of singles and 1 album.  I always loved the verve but i thought Mainstream were streets ahead even though they were mearly youngsters.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

You make me want to scream ...... The Dandy's

So the 60s had a major sound influence on quite a few of the bands of the Britpop era but just before the Britpop explosion we had another short but excellent music scene that was called MADCHESTER !.

For me The Dandy's fell into this small group of bands that had a the influential sound from this early 90s music scene. Floaty, shoegazey, poppy and baggy are just 4 words to pin the sound of the Dandys whilst conforming to the standard Britpop sound as well.

They only released 1 album and a handful of singles but for a short time they ruled my record collection!. Searching for singles at the music shop Solo records in Exeter (R.I.P) i came across the single "Dirty weekend" by the band and as it was only 99p and i thought it was worth a shot!. And what a fantastic single it was, Dirty weekend is the musical version of one of those naughty postcards that you will find in the shop at the end of any British seaside pier!.  And those Typical English references ran through the lyrics of most of the bands songs on the album "Symphonic screams" including "English country garden, Merry go round and Johnny foxtrot to name but a few.

As usual with the Music press of the era NME ( WANKERS!!) hyped them up to be the next best thing but as soon as the album was released that were thrown aside!. Despite this they got popular on the touring scene and had a very big following including some members from other popular bands of the time.

So in 1999 with a new drummer and a new album being announced they seemed to be getting bigger and gathering a bigger fanbase then ..................................... NOTHING !!!

So go grab the album and treat yourself to one of the best Forgotten band from the era.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Oh What a lovely day ! ........... Thurman

Underrated is a word that is commonly used to described many of the britpop bands that i write about but Thurman stands out as one of the foremost of the bunch and the band NME touted as the New Blur!.

I saw these lads open for menswear in 1994 and they had me and all the other spotty teens hooked. Ok so a few of the songs sound like someone else ( "Loaded" is "children of the revolution" and "cheap holiday" sounds like "chemical world" and i wont even go into  "now i'm a man") but that didn't matter to me because these songs meant more to me than anything written in the 60's and 70's!

Rooting through the 7" bargin bin i found a copy of the single Famous that had been placed in there by mistake but i managed to grab it at 99p anyways. And what a single it was, from the opening piano riff to the lyrics about a certain famous Indie front man of the time!, the single was a classic even if my copy was a little warped and crackled all the way through !!.

So with a handful of singles under their belt they released their only album "Lux". With its plagiarism of more well known songs and styles (Mod, Glam and pop) they only lasted 2 years and then disbanded.
Don't listen to what the press wrote at the time, go and have a listen to Lux, its stuffed full of singalong tunes and every track could of easily been a single.

Thurman weren't just another band they were a band who wore their influences with pride, They WERE one of the Underrated bands of the 90s that never got to shine. But for people like me who actually got to see them play live they meant the whole world for those couple of years and defined our music direction for many years to come.