Friday, June 22, 2007

more on indie music

What on earth happened to mainstream indie music in the late 1990s? Just looking at the tracklisting for a four CD compilation on Rhino Records which seeks to define the more commercial end of British indie rock between 1984 and 1998, and it makes for startling reading.

Starting with disc one you've got 20 songs from '84 to '90, of which only 3 or so are not great tracks - and the best stuff is astonishing (Smiths, Felt, JAMC, Happy Mondays). Disc two addresses the time period from 1991 to 1993, which, considering it was only two years as opposed to six, manages an enviable hit-rate - still ten or so great bands and a few middling bands which were nonetheless still OK - great, ambitious or plain beautiful pop from My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Teenage Fanclub, and decent, serviceable fare by the likes of Pale Saints, The Family Cat and the Manics.

Disc three covers the descent into Britpop and things are getting a bit less interesting, but the inclusion of stuff by the likes of Blur, Suede, St Etienne, Stereolab and Pulp ensures the quality control doesn't dip too far. Disc four, however, from '96 onwards, is just excerable! Awful sub-britpop rubbish by the likes of Marion, Dodgy, Kula Shaker and Catatonia, ponderous dad-rock shite from The Verve and Ocean Colour Scene. The inclusion of Gay Dad! Silver Sun! Aaargh.

It's funny because at this point I'd just gone to university and had probably the two or three years of my post adolescent life when music has meant the least to me. I always think that's because other things like books and art and socialising became more important, but I wonder if it wasn't just because the music was so bloody bad at that point. Terrifying stuff.

How much better, I wonder, would a compilation of the 2000s be? Hmm.

Anyway, the ommissions - why no Wedding Present, James, Fall, Blue Aeroplanes, House of Love, Heavenly, Slowdive etc? Eh? Bah.

Fine, I'll make my own compilation. Some time.

3 comments:

Brad said...

Couldn't agree more, both on the serious weakness of that fourth disc, and the conspicuous absences of some of the bands you mentioned. Shame, that.

Pete Ashton said...

It's all about Blair. The Conservative reign was over and suddenly there was no-one to kick against. Not for a few years anyway.

Face it, the music in heaven will be shite because everyone's happy.

Stephen Newton said...

You won't be celebrating the reform of the Verve then.

I reckon Pete's probably right. All the Brit Pop stars found themselves at Downing Street receptions, part of the establishment too young.

But you'd have expecting things to pick up post-9/11.