Flowered Up were nearly killed by hype. Indeed, I’m not sure it was even “nearly”. They arrived in the midst of the baggy boom with a sound not entirely unlike Happy Mondays, and got on the covers of the music press before they even had a record out. To which the whole world responded, “you’ve got to be kidding”.
So maybe they were derivative, and maybe their annointing as the Next Big Thing was partly due to the fact that they were conveniently London-based rather than somewhere oop North. But they still made some great records: “Weekender” of course, but also a string of singles leading up to that classic, including this…
Link: Flowered Up – Phobia (password: salad)
- Phobia (Extended Play)
- Phobia (Paranoid Mix)
- Phobia (7″ mix)
I think it’s fair to say Siouxsie and the Banshees is one of those bands who enjoyed a long and pretty successful career without ever quite going mainstream. Everybody’s heard of them, but not to the point where your average punter actually knows any songs. They did have some pretty big hits but I can’t remember the last time I heard them played on the radio.
Which is beside the point, because this single – the first from their acclaimed fourth LP A Kiss In The Dreamhouse – wasn’t even a hit really, only hobbling to a disappointing #41. And it’s aimed more at the dancefloor than the radio anyway. It’s pretty funky in a weirdly British psychedelic way, though.
I wouldn’t say the B-sides are hidden gems, but for those who want them, here they are. Both quite doomy and gloomy; “Obsession II” is the instrumental of album track “Obsession”.
Slowdive would of course later be the name of a shoegaze band, due to it being one of singer/guitarist Rachel Goswell‘s favourite songs. And so in 1990, they released “Slowdive” as their debut single… but wait! This isn’t the same song at all! No, having been inspired by Siouxsie and the Banshees, they stole the title and wrote their own song instead. Well there’s gratitude for you. But it’s a good song full of shimmering loveliness, so I guess I’ll let them off…
Here’s Slowdive’s “Slowdive” along with its B-sides:
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu formed on 1 January 1987, and by 1990 they’d put out two albums under that name, had a number one hit as The Timelords, published a book about it, adopted the even more mysterious moniker The KLF, attempted a road movie, recorded and scrapped a Pet Shop Boys-inspired soundtrack album for said movie, released the minimalist original versions of what would, a remix or twelve later, become their global megahits “3 AM Eternal”, “What Time Is Love” and “Last Train To Trancentral”, and completely failed to meet Abba.
Two things had been clearly established. Firstly, at any given moment, there was no telling what they might do next. And secondly, whatever it was, it was going to be interesting.
At that particular point in time, what they did next was release Chill Out, an “ambient” album supposedly depicting a journey up the US Gulf coast, although apparently that concept was imposed on it after they’d recorded it. It’s rather lovely, and it’s definitely not dance music. It’s… well, chill out music.
Chill Out was supposedly divided into 14 tracks (tracklisting on Discogs), though it was conceived and originally released as a single continuous piece. I’m giving you the album split into the two vinyl sides:
The album has been a popular target for bedroom remixers over the years, and here are two. Firstly, this from someone calling himself Bovine Boy, who apparently didn’t use any of Chill Out itself, but instead tracked down the original samples and recombined them to make his own version…
And here’s a full track-by-track remix that did the rounds a few years ago. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who did this, and I don’t have the track titles. I do remember the titles were twisted versions of the original titles, stuff like “I Once Heard Witchita Lineman Was A Song”. Also, it’s (1) a zip file, because my efforts at recombining the tracks into a continuous sequence didn’t work very well, and I thought it was a bit much to have to download 14 tracks individually, and (2) only in 128 kbps quality because that’s all I have. I normally prefer to share at 192 or above but this one still sounds OK. I suspect it was only ever shared in 128 in the first place.
More indiepop for you! This 1990 Peel Session by The Field Mice goes around online and I’m happy to do my bit to keep it circulating. This session was recorded around the time that the superb and diverse Skywriting mini-LP came out, but rather than showcasing that record, The Field Mice chose to do four new and exclusive songs instead. These songs never appeared on any official release; they’re not even on the double-CD reissue of Skywriting, even though there’s easily room for them.