Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Xmas Request Show now online

Our Xmas Request Show is now available to listen to again online.  Thanks for everyone who got in touch and took part, it was a lot of fun.

There are few studio gremlins at the start (during Spacehog), so apologies for that!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Playlist from Xmas Request Show

For the show today I handed over control to you guys and from Facebook and Twitter you came up with loads and loads of great songs.  In fact we got so many requests that we couldn't fit them all in the show, so apologies if yours was one of the ones that we didn't have time for.  I was just pleased that we had all of the songs that you asked for!

It was a lot of fun to do and we'll definitely try that again at some point.

Songs played:
    1. In The Meantime - Spacehog
    2. Stay - 60ft Dolls
    3. Motorcycle Emptiness - Manic Street Preachers
    4. Marblehead Johnson - The Bluetones
    5. Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing) - Tim Wheeler & Emmy The Great
    6. I Believe - Tim Booth & Angelo Badalamenti
    7. Three Points on A Compass - Martin Rossiter
    8. Scream - Echobelly
    9. Common People - William Shatner
    10. Stripper Vicar - Mansun
    11. This Could Be My Moment - The Verve
    12. Wonderwall - Oasis
    13. Half A World Away - Oasis
    14. Another Flavour - The Sundays
    15. Songs Of Love - The Divine Comedy
    16. Metal Mickey - Suede
    17. What Do I Do Now? - Sleeper
    18. I Was Born On Christmas Day - St. Etienne
    19. Time For You - Speedy
    20. Stand By Me - Oasis
    21. Country House - Blur
    22. Disco Down - Shed Seven
    23. Beautiful Alone - Strangelove
    24. Flawed Is Beautiful - These Animal Men
    25. Last Christmas - James Dean Bradfield
    26. Merry Xmas Everybody - Noel Gallagher

Friday, 14 December 2012

The lost Britpop album... Out Now!

After 15 years...

The great lost Britpop album is found...

Speedy – News from Nowhere

                       Speedy were:
            • Philip Watson - Vocals
            • Bronwen Stone - Drums
            • Moony Wainwright - Bass
            • Paul Turner - Keyboards
            • Richard Sutcliffe - Guitar

I'm flattered that people have somehow found, like and now want to share this album. Also slightly embarrassed. But only slightly. It's alright.” (Philip Watson)

Read about how we found out about News from Nowhere in this blog post.

The 'forthcoming album' is finally here, just 15 years late
Let us know what you think here, on Twitter and on Facebook!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Strangeways, Here We Come

I'm delighted to be able to announce that from next month I will be hosting a weekly show on Strangeways Radio, an Internet radio station based not in Manchester but Michigan (not that these things really matter on t'internet).

Strangeways describe themselves as "Providing listeners with an alternative to the repetitive crap on commercial radio" so I think we're going to be a very good fit!

The remit for the show will be slightly broader than for the Phonic show, representing not only the classic Britpop era but also giving us scope to play some of the bands that set the scene (Madchester, shoegaze etc) as well as those post-Britpop band who carried on the spirit.

The exact timings are still to be finalised but we're looking at a time slot that will enable the States to listen in the afternoon and the UK/Europe in the evening so that we can spread the word the largest possible audience.

The station has some really diverse, interesting and alternative shows and I would definitely recommend checking them out at www.strangewaysradio.com 

I'm really excited about this and I hope that you'll be able listen in and let me know what you think.

Strangeways, here we come!

Friday, 30 November 2012

A Speedy recovery

It started with a tweet...

Now I like the folks behind 1p Album Club (just the sort of brilliant idea the internet was designed for, more about them another time) so I followed the link.

The title proclaims "The best Britpop album you've never heard of".  Okay, now you've got my attention.  A Britpop album I've never heard of? Come on then, try me!  News from Nowhere by Speedy.  Oh... Yeah, you win, I've never heard of it.

And there is a good reason why I haven't heard of it and I bet you haven't either, it doesn't exist.  It should have, but after recording the album and issuing its singles Speedy were unceremoniously dumped by their label, the album was canned and that was the end of that.  Well it should have been but Sean Hannam ("a technology, retail and music journalist, lyricist, broadcaster, web TV presenter, DJ, band/club promoter, broadcaster and a sometime musician and songwriter" - blimey), came by a copy of the mp3s.

Speedy, the great lost Britpop band?
Sean's review (which I've only just realised was written 3 years ago!) was mouthwatering. 
"Speedy were the great lost Britpop band" and "News from Nowhere is classic Britpop, pitched somewhere between Pulp and Blur".  
Okay now I had to listen to this album come hell or high water.  I can't reveal how I got my hands on a copy of News from Nowhere because the first rule of getting a copy of News from Nowhere is that you do not talk about how you get your copy of News from Nowhere.  So did it live up to the hyperbole?

Oh boy.  It is that good.  I listened to the whole thing with a huge smile on my face. And then I played it again, and then again. I even went onto Amazon Marketplace and bought the CD singles, just so that I could get the B-sides.  I'm not going to review the album track by track because I know that by now you've already read Sean's review!  Suffice to say that I am in full agreement with him, we even have the same favourite track (Time For You).

How was this not huge?  Well, because it was never released duh!  You know what?  It feels unjust that a band can take the time to craft such a fine slice of pop music and then not even get to release it.  If it had come out and bombed then fair enough but to never know what might have been...

I knew that I had to do something.  I had to get this album in front of people's ears (that doesn't really work does it?).  Well I've got this blog, a Facebook page and a radio show.  I should be able to get some people to listen to it and if even one person enjoys it half as much as I do then it will have been worth it.  Sean Hannam loves this album, 1p Album Club love this album and, as you may have guessed by now, I love this album.  I'd say (given that you are reading a Britpop blog) that there is a pretty good chance that you will love it too.
I'm delighted to say that in 2 weeks time, on Saturday 15th December, the great lost Britpop album News from Nowhere by Speedy will be available to stream from our mixcloud page (with links here and on FB).

I'm even more pleased to say that for our January show I will be joined by Philip Watson, former singer with Speedy, to talk about the band, the album and life during Britpop.

Truth be told, I don't remember Speedy. It was by chance that I saw a tweet, linking to a 3 year old blog post that has sparked this chain of events.  It lead me to a fantastic album.  If we can spread the word then maybe a long-forgotten band can get at least a tiny bit of the credit that they deserve, albeit 15 years too late.

So are Speedy the great lost Britpop band?  No, not any more.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pearl Lowe: All That Glitters

I've got to be honest, I didn't know much about Pearl Lowe.  Yes, I remember Powder, the Britpop band that she fronted.  But thinking about it, I don't really remember them as a band as much as I remember them being featured in the famous Britpop Now program that Damon Albarn presented back in 1995 (repeat on BBC4 in 2007).  Even then, the reason why they stood out was that they were the one act on the show that I didn't know!

A quick check of Wikipedia reveals that Powder only released 3 singles and the most successful of those (Afrodisiac, the song they perform in the clip above from Britpop Now) reached the dizzy heights of number 72 in 1995.  So, not a promising start but I thought that her autobiography might offer some interesting insights into the music scene from someone who was there and knew how to party.

Music is a minor theme in this book though and we seem to go from placing an ad in the NME for musicians to having a manager, getting a £100k deal and rubbing shoulders with members of Blur and Pulp within a couple of months.  In fact the ease with which Pearl seems to have got deals for Powder, Lodger (the 'supergroup' she fronted with partner Danny Goffey & members of Delicatessen) and then her solo album is remarkable.  The ease with which each project was set aside also seems equally remarkable. 

So if you're buying this book looking for a music biog then you may be disappointed.  Although Powder may not feature as much as you might hope, powder of a different kind takes a more central role because really this is a book about drugs and her battle with them.  As such it's a brutally honest, compelling read.  

Yes, she comes across as a spoilt little rich girl sometimes (the part when their manager informs her and Goffey that they are spending £20k per month and they ask if that is a lot, is priceless).  The lifestyle of never ending parties and society events does not entirely endear her either and she also, despite her protestations, frequently comes across as a bad mother too, leaving her kids in the care of nannies whilst she lies on her bed in an opiate haze.  However she writes openly (this is clearly not ghost written) and it offers an insight into the all-consuming nature of drug addiction and the effects it has on the victim and those around them.  Her flaws are there for all to see and that demands a certain respect.  She's since re-invented herself as something of a domestic goddess with a successful design company and having read the book nobody can begrudge her that.

I picked this book up cheap and second hand expecting a book about music.  I knew her vaguely as the singer in a minor Britpop band, not knowing that she was more famous for being an 'It' girl.  Will I read it again?  Probably not, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Playlist from Show No 1

Well today was the first radio show on Phonic FM.  I'd been looking forward to it for weeks but I was well and truly bricking it by the time I got to the studio, not least because I'd forgotten the door code and was stood outside for 10 minutes!

When I eventually relaxed a bit it was great fun to do and the support from people on Facebook and Twitter was fantastic.  Sorry that I couldn't play the requests that people were asking for but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for the first show.  Next month I might make it a request show seeing as it will almost be Xmas then.

Anyway, this is the track listing from today's show:

  1. Blur – Popscene
  2. Ash – A Life Less Ordinary
  3. Ocean Colour Scene – You've Got It Bad
  4. Radiohead – Killer Cars
  5. Marion – Vanessa
  6. Gene – Haunted By You
  7. The Verve – Lucky Man
  8. Chris Helme – Blinded By the Sun
  9. Puressence – This Feeling
  10. Sleeper – Bedhead
  11. Dodgy – Making The Most Of What We Have Got
  12. Shed Seven – Bully Boy (BBC in Concert 1997)
  13. Paul Weller – Stanley Road (Demo Version)
  14. Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous
  15. Cast – Fine Time
  16. My Life Story – It's a Girl Thing
  17. Gay Dad – Oh Jim
  18. Elastica – Line Up
  19. Oasis – Stay Young
  20. The Brompton Mix - Take It Back
  21. Catatonia – Road Rage
  22. Pulp – Disco 2000
  23. Bernard Butler – Not Alone
  24. The Bluetones – Solomon Bites The Worm (BBC Evening Session 1998)
  25. Manic Street Preachers – From Despair To Where
  26. Supergrass – Sun Hits The Sky
  27. Longpigs – She Said
  28. Theaudience – If You Can't Do It When You're Young When Can You Do It?
  29. Suede – We Are The Pigs
  30. Travis - Tied To The 90s

And huge thanks to DJ Peachy for the training and Pat Bensberg for 'babysitting' me for the first hour!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Baby I'm ready to go

Well after waiting for a while I now have the date for the first radio show and it is this Sunday (18th Nov, 2pm).  This has sparked off a flurry of activity at Britpop Towers (i.e. my living room), getting the playlist sorted out and trying to check that I've got at least a bit of info about the tunes that I'll be playing.

I'm going to try and run the whole thing from my laptop but with a stash of CDs as backups in case it all goes Pete Tong.  I'm even trying to get things synced to my phone as a backup backup but that's not working quite as planned! (Never buy a HTC Wildfire S - piece of crap).

I think you'll like the songs I've picked for this first show.  It was tempting to stick all the huge hits in but then again we can't be playing Parklife and Wonderwall every show!  There is still plenty of stuff that everyone will know, some that I think you'll remember when you hear them and one or two that I have found for the first time.  Throw in a couple of B sides, old takes from radio sessions and the odd acoustic or demo version and it feels like a good mix.  After the show I'll put the track listing up here and on Facebook.

This will be my first radio show so expect the odd minor cock-up.  I'll be honest, there are a few nerves but its also something I'm really excited about too so I'm looking forward to it.  Lots of preparation to do first though.  Fortunately the good folk at Phonic FM are providing a 'minder' for me so there is somewhere to turn if it all goes pear-shaped!

For future shows we have guests, interviews and hopefully a couple of live sessions planned but for right now, the simpler the better.

Oh yes, don't forget to tune in if you can!  If you happen to live in Exeter its 106.8FM, otherwise get the live stream at www.phonic.fm.  We'll be checking Twitter and Facebook throughout the show so let me know how its going and I'll give you a shout!

Friday, 9 November 2012

The female of the species is more deadly than the male

There are many ways in which the 'pop' scene today is so different to how it was in the 90s but one that really stands out is the absence of female bands. Actually there is an absence of bands full stop, but we'll leave that for another day.

Justine & Donna on the cover of Melody Maker, 1995
Just look at some of the female-fronted bands that were around in the Britpop years; Sleeper, Republica, Catatonia, Echobelly, Kenickie, Elastica and Lush.  Hell, even Ash had Charlotte Hatherley!

Today there are plenty of female singers in the charts (most the by-product of one talent show or another) but girls in bands?  I mean proper bands, with instruments.  

There's...erm...no, can't think of one!  That's shocking isn't it?

Why has this happened?  I'm not really sure.  Maybe the 90s was the exception after all.  One thing is sure though, without seeing female musicians on TV, online, in magazines, without hearing them on the radio, it must be that bit less likely that a bunch of girls will decide to pick up a guitar and form a band.

Britpop showed that the girls could do it just as well as the guys.  It just seems a shame that their legacy is only a back catalogue of great music and not future generations of girls in bands.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Union Jack Guitar

It is surely one of the most iconic Britpop images (we use it on this page!), the famous Union Jack guitar that Noel Gallagher debuted at Oasis' Maine Road concert on 27th April 1996.

Noel Gallagher playing his custom Epiphone Sheraton

It's an Epiphone Sheraton, a gift from Meg Matthews and given that famous custom paint job.  It created an instant impact and it wasn't long before Epiphone brought out the Noel Gallagher signature model, the Supernova.  Although this was also available in the familiar Union Jack design, it is a different guitar and was not played live by Noel.

Epiphone Noel Gallagher Supernova
If you're interested in Noel's guitars and gear there is an excellent page here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Why I'm starting this blog

Up until now Britpop Revival has just been a Facebook page.  However with the radio show starting soon this seems like a good time to reach out to other  forms of media, hence starting this blog.

To be honest it is getting harder and harder to communicate with people via a Facebook page.  Even though there are over 4000 people who 'like' the page, everything that gets posted is only shown to a few hundred people.  That's really frustrating, trying to share content with people who want to receive it but being stopped by Facebook's marketing strategy.

Of course I can reach all of my Facebook followers just as long as I pay to promote each post.  This isn't a business.  I do it because I really love the music of the Britpop era and it turns out that lots of other people do too.  I can't afford to 'promote' each post so I'm going to try exploring some other avenues for continuing what we have started with Britpop Revival.

So there will be regular posts here, the Twitter account (@britpoprevival) is being dusted down and re-animated and the radio shows will be going online too (probably via mixcloud).  It's an exciting time and I hope that you stick around and get involved!