Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Great Moments in Britpop #244325

1995/96 was the first time I ever took any real informed interest in 'new music'. Sure there'd been the entire year of 1989 when I'd bought all sorts of horrid chart cassingles (and let's be honest, a few corkers. Black Box anyone?), and a brief flirtation with the likes of Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam before their lead singers became respectively dead, dead and tedious but it was Britpop where I briefly lost the plot. That was the first time I ever read music magazines, stayed up all night watching Rage and took an interest in stuff that was so far off the charts that you were as likely to hear it played on the radio as you were for Triple M to admit the M stood for Mozart. Then as suddenly as it all came it went, leaving us with a handful of acts like Oasis and Blur who were one shonky record (one VERY EXPENSIVE shonky record in Oasis' case) away from completely losing it. And so, after a year that had briefly been enlightened by the likes of Pulp, Elastica, Supergrass, Skunk Anansie, Suede etc.. it was all gone. To be honest I went back to listening to Gold and didn't go near 'new' music again for years.

Then along came the internet for real, with it's Napster's (remember that?), YouTube's and god knows what else and it was time to party like it was 1996 again. Time to remember all the stuff that you heard once at 4.32am. Most of it was memorable enough that you'd at least remember the name of the band so you could find out what song you were thinking of, but occasionally all you'd be left with was a flash of something so indescript that you could never connect it. I'd never have forgotten The Rentals - Friends Of P in a million years, but I'm still troubled to this day by a video I saw of a killer track sung by some woman with green hair of which I cannot remember a single word or tune. Who was she and what was it? We'll never know because it must have been so obscure that it was taken straight out of the VHS and thrown into the great Rage scrapheap.

One song that I remembered and wanted to hear again for years was this one, King of The Kerb by Echobelly.

I can't remember where I heard of them first, it was either in the first copy of Q that I ever bought (and $8 was a freaking shitload to me then, it meant I couldn't eat fat bastard food from the school shop for days), or in a copy of The Face which I somehow bizarrely owned despite it standing for pretty much the opposite of everything I, as the local nerd voted most likely to be a serial killer, believed in. All I remember is that it had an article about the history of Brits being off their tits on ecstasy. Good thing/shame I was in no such circles to actually acquire any at the time because I'll tell you what the article portrayed it as a quality fun ride. And they were right, but that was years further down the track. Anyway, the reason I took interest in the article was exactly the same reason I perked up noticeably the first time I saw Elastica's "Car Song" clip, I totally had a crush on the singer. Hey, I was 15 - surely there were worse things I could have been doing? At least when it came to Elastica I was in love with the guitarist as well. Maybe even more than the singer. Maybe even more than EVERY FREAKING BODY COMBINED except for a mad woman in my maths classes nicknamed Satan who used to bite me.

Obviously at the time I never heard the album that the track came from, but all these years later I finally got a hold of it and it proved worth the wait. "On" not only had King Of The Kerb, the song that dissected, the wide world of English prostitution years before the Arctic Monkeys "When The Sun Goes Down", but also "Great Things" and a shitload of other top stuff that didn't even earn the week's worth of play on Triple J that the singles did. Of course like pretty much everyone else caught up in the whole Britpop thing whose name wasn't Gallagher, Cocker or Albarn their next album - 1997's Lustra - stiffed in the charts and despite still being together today we've heard nothing from them since. Shame.

Trawling the archives like this makes me want to go back to 1996, bail the young Adam up in an alleyway and slap the living bejesus out of him. Son, in the off chance that as part of some bizarre sitcom plot you end up having access to the wild world of 21st century blog from the 486 DX2/66 computer with it's 14.4k modem then all I can say to you is FIRE UP OR I'M COMING BACK TO PUT YOU IN A HEADLOCK.

Err, enough said.

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