it was about this time 20 years ago when the UK felt the first stirrings of what would eventually be called Britpop. With that anniversary and the music-centric nature of the 2012 Olympics in London, this is a good time to recall what Britpop sounded like beyond Blur, Elastica and Oasis.
10. Menswe@r, “Daydreamer” (1995)
Suffering from too much pre-release hype and shoved into the public eye far too soon, these refugees from the back room at The Good Mixer in Camden never did live up to their potential. But for one single, they were pretty awesome.
9. Supergrass, “Caught by the Fuzz” (1995)
When their debut, I Should Coco, came out in May 1995, Britpop was approaching its peak. Gaz and the guys from Oxford lent a punky element to what was going on. More than one person was moved to search out some old Buzzcocks albums.
8. Echobelly, “Insomniac” (1994)
I remember behind somewhat frightened by singer Sonya Madan because she had a genuine black belt in ass-whuppin’. They’ll still around–barely–but don’t be surprised if you hear more from them this year.
7. Lush, “Nothing Natural” (1992)
Okay, so Lush probably has more in common with the shoegazer bands of the early 90s, but they managed to evolve just enough to be embraced by the Britpop kids. If you like your guitars fuzzy, you really should own copies of all three of Lush’s studio albums: Spooky (1992), Split (1994) and Lovelife (1996). And God Mikki was hot.
6. Cast, “Alright” (1995)
After the brilliant but reclusive Lee Mavers apparently put The La’s on ice, there was great hope that guitarist John Power would carry the La’s potential into his own band. All Change, their debut gave it a good shot but came up short. This is a damn good single, though.
5. Stone Roses, “Love Spreads” (1994)
You’re probably wondering “What the hell are they doing on this list?” First, the influence of the Roses’ debut record on Britpop is undeniable. Second, their sophomore album–roundly criticized for being too long in the making and for falling short of unrealistic expectations–has actually aged pretty well and is actually much better than history records. If you own a copy, now’s the time to pull it out.
4. Gene, “For the Dead” (1994)
Owing a huge debt to The Smiths–singer Martin Rossiter’s sound is scarily like Morrissey–they found fans willing to accept them until Morrissey and Marr made up. Smiths fans are still waiting for that to happen. Gene bailed in 2004 after seven albums and about a dozen singles.
3. Black Grape, “In the Name of the Father” (1995)
Like the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays have reformed just in time for the Olympics. Maybe then it’s also time that we pay homage to Shaun Ryder’s post-Monday’s band. They were quite good while they lasted.
2. Boo Radleys, “Lazarus” (1993)
When I was DJing alt-rock club nights, this one ended up being a big favourite with a coterie of Britpop-lovin’ kids who showed up at every night I hosted. They really went nuts when the follow-up, Wake Up!, came out in 1995. I never quite got into the Radleys as much as they, but as perfect pop goes, this is pretty close.
1. Suede, “The Next Life” (1993)
An album track–the closer, in fact–from their brilliant self-titled debut album. If I get to play a song at my funeral, it’s this one.