Sunday, 29 January 2017

Britpop's Greatest (Non) Hits

Any show can play the Britpop classics, and many do. However what makes our show that bit different is the detours that we make into Britpop's backwaters. The great songs that somehow never quite made it and now lay forgotten. Some of these we know because we bought them, or because they are preserved for posterity on disc 2 of a Shine compilation. (There were 10 volumes of Shine and they are in the CD bag for every show!).

However we rely on our awesome listeners for most of these forgotten bands. Someone will email or tweet requesting a band that we've never heard of and thus spark a search here at Britpop HQ. Firstly, to find the CD and then to find a band member to come on the show. Sometime it's the former band members themselves that get in touch, which makes arranging the interview a bit easier.

And amongst these forgotten bands are some real quality tunes. Listening again 20 years later you think "How was this not a hit?". Who knows, maybe the wrong management, the label screwed up or perhaps that was the week that a dozen other good indie bands released a single so you just never got the airplay or the review in NME/Melody Maker/Select etc.

The 90s is littered with a whole slew of singles that missed, albums that never got released and indie bands that got dropped when the Britpop bubble burst. You just need to read the Speedy Story to see what was happening.

So this is where we take a stand. This is where we excavate those long forgotten hits that never were and return them if not to the limelight then at least to the consciousness of the Britpop cognoscenti. 

We are going to release our own forgotten Britpop compilation CD.

Why not just make up a playlist on Spotify or YouTube? Well where is the fun in that? The CD was the music format of the 90s and that is what we shall have!

There are a few challenges to face, not least the fact that we don't know what we're doing. However this is a show that prizes enthusiasm over professionalism so we will find a way. We have already started talking to a label who are interested in getting involved and that will make things easier if it comes off but it's still very much at the stage of not knowing what we don't know.

So what happens next? The way we see it we have these steps to take:
  1. Compile a long list of great, forgotten Britpop singles
  2. Try and get rights/permission for as many of those songs as possible
  3. Sort out the business end; artwork, pressing, distribution, promotion etc. Maybe a PledgeMusic campaign with some extra goodies.
  4. Have an awesome launch party (or gig?)
  5. Clear a space on the wall for the gold disc
How hard can it be? Probably quite hard actually but let's not let that get in the way right now... The aim is to have the CD out by the end of the year.

So, focus on Step 1. Compile a long list of great, forgotten Britpop singles. This is where we need your help. What should we include on the compilation? 

There are just 2 rules:
  1. The band never had a Top 20 hit
  2. The single itself didn't chart (Top 40)

You can leave your ideas in the comments below, tweet us @britpoprevival or email Of course if you think that you can help in any possible way, do please get in touch.

This should be fun! 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Guest Post: Soda Album Review

Soda - Artificial Flavour album review

When I first heard the album and the band mentioned on the Britpop Revival Show (BRS) I have to admit I'd never come across them back in the day. Even as an avid reader of the NME/Melody Maker/Select/Vox etc I don't recall seeing them advertised or mentioned. So their sudden reappearance on the Britpop landscape intrigued me somewhat; who are they, where do they come from, and most importantly what happened to them? Luckily these were answered by Nick on the BRS when he had them on for interview.

Soda in 1995
Fast forward a few weeks and BRS and Soda had a copy to give away and I was the lucky recipient. I told the Soda guys I'd write down a few words after I'd heard it in full but Xmas and kids, etc slowed me down. But here we are in 2017 and we are at the dawn of the 20th anniversary of the year that Britpop is widely agreed to have expired (or at least the music press decided to give it the elbow having got bored of their plaything), Tony Blair got into power, Oasis got slated for Be Here Now, Blur went lo-fi and more American, Pulp turned darker and sadly the manufactured pop industry fired up its factories to churn out the (still seemingly never ending) chart friendly meaningless pop acts that the industry love to flog to kids. Fitting then that I'm thinking about a Britpop band that just missed the boat and found that the Britpop boat not only sailed off without them but sadly sank and took many good girls and lads with it.

The album opens with One Sweet Lie that catches your attention with chugging guitar power chords that to my ear fall somewhere between the punky pop of Ash and the short lived genre called New Wave of New Wave (NWONW). The verses and choruses bounce along at a good pace with a sound that really reminds me of the NWONW band These Animal Men, whom I really like so Soda have got a thumbs up from me on this opening track!

The best song on the album is Inside which ticks every box on the Britpop checklist; great hook, a chorus you can yell along to, music that's fun and spiky and demands the listener to jump around too. This could've been a huge 90's chart hit if it had been given the right backing and found a helpful hand from the likes of Chris Evans as he did for Ocean Colour Scene.

The rest of album is the type of great Britpop tune-smithery which is sadly lacking in today's current indie scene, and One Track Mind gives us another 90's trademark; the string section accompaniment to the main guitar riff, this song also showcases the vocal talents of a lead singer who can actually sing! Don't ask me why but I can easily imagine this being sung by Sonya Aurora Madan from Echobelly, in fact a duet of Soda and Sonya on this track would really work I reckon. Prettiest Souls is another song that would be a great addition to any mix tape found under a teenagers bed circa 1996, stick it on in the 6th form common room between Supersonic by Oasis and Dolphin by Shed Seven and this number won't be out of place.

The penultimate number Let Myself Slip is crashing guitar chords which sound like waves hitting an indie pop beach back in that sunny summer of 1995.....happy days.

To sum it up I'd say this is a lovely time capsule of mid 90's Britpop that has been a treat to dig up and enjoy in 2017. Soda were obviously a talented band who suffered from either bad luck or bad timing or both. They had a sound that was a mix (to my musically-uneducated ears) of Menswe@r, These Animal Men, Ash, Feeder, Echobelly and Sleeper. I get the feeling they were fans of The Jam and The Buzzcocks as they grew up and this has influenced their take on the Britpop sound. My final thought is that it does seem a surprise that they didn't breakthrough in 1996 as they'd planned to, and Britpop is slightly poorer for it.

Artificial Flavour by Soda is out now. Buy it on CD or cassette from

This was a guest post by James Tanner. Follow him on Twitter @britpopmemories.