In the heady days of ‘Britpop’ when Blur, Pulp, Suede and Oasis were ruling the charts, record companies scrambled to sign up basically anything that even remotely jangled.
As such, a whole lot of crap was let loose on our poor, unfortunate ears. But for every Menswear, Gay Dad, Northern Uproar and Kula Shaker there were a bunch of bands whose lights may not have shone brightly for long, but they sure left behind the odd top tune. Here are 10 of our faves from the era, presented alphabetically…
Album: Super Natural
Check out: Someone Always Gets There First
Notes: Had another storming tune in Mum’s Gone to Iceland – the British supermarket, not the homeland of many people with umlauts in their names.
Check out: Into the Blue
Notes: Label-mates of Suede, also track down singles No One Speaks, Tranquillizer and Best Regrets – all off the one incredible album.
Check out: October Swimmer
Notes: Named after a window made of 72 jam jars… Luckily their music was more inspired! Also listen out for Snow, Oxygen and Long Way South.
Album: The Sun Is Often Out
Check out: She Said
Notes: Also Lost Myself, On and On and the Ticket to Ride-like (as agreed with by their very hospitable singer Crispin Hunt) Far deserve a listen.
Album: Attack of the Grey Lantern
Check out: Wide Open Space
Notes: They had one of the coolest-named bass players in Stove King. We’d name some other songs, but really recommend the album as a whole.
Album: Music for Pleasure
Check out: What Do You Want From Me?
Notes: Hooky from New Order’s other band that wasn’t Revenge, with Barney soundalike David Potts popping it up a treat. The two still tour together in Peter Hook and the Light.
My Life Story
Album: The Golden Mile
Check out: 12 Reasons Why
Notes: Why use samplers when you can have a string section in the band? The closest thing to Soft Cell that the 1990s delivered, this is their pop masterpiece.
Album: Silver Sun
Check out: Golden Skin
Notes: Hmm, hailing from Camden they’re likely the Britpoppiest of this bunch. Just try not to be seduced by those summery harmonies – co-produced by one Nigel Godrich…
Album: Becoming X
Check out: 6 Underground
Notes: We heard this in Coles the other day, so somebody there has fine taste. The trippiest-hoppiest collective here, Spin Spin Sugar was also brilliant.
Album: Future Signs
Check out: Never Never
Notes: Their name’s a Brian Eno tribute, but to our ears they definitely had a The Jam thing going on. Disbanding soon after, they left behind a top pop pick.