Sunday, October 03, 2004

Much feverish activity has been taking place on our poor old iMac over recent weeks. Orynthia has been working flat out to complete the reworked website for our friend Jon and his band Modesty Blaise because tomorrow sees the Blaise boys sharing a new CD release with the likes of Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, Felt, My Bloody Valentine, The Magnetic Fields and many, many more on the latest Rough Trade Shops compilation “Indiepop 1”.

Much of the music is taken from the early eighties, the days when all the best records were 7” singles with hand coloured paper sleeves, wrapped in a clear plastic cover. Ah what simple times they were! We could have endless debates about the nature what constitutes “proper indie”, but following the breakthrough of Oasis the whole nature of the phrase seemed to change, and any guitar band seemed to be tagged as indie. Of course the whole Happy Mondays / Stone Roses Indie-dance crossover thing confused everyone even more and pretty soon the term had become virtually useless – Ocean Colour Scene, I ask you?

Back in the halcyon days of indie I would take the weekly hike to the top of Park Street, and enter the cosy little world of Revolver Records. Like most of the others I had the uniform of the day for Bristol indie boys, rockabilly shoes, hand rolled turn up on the bottom of black jeans and a simple plain jumper (T-shirts were permitted in summer), luckily I had defective version so I could also wear NHS glasses, the mark of every indie wannabe. Here we would gather to get very excited over the latest releases from the likes The June Brides, The Loft, The Wedding Present, The Soup Dragons (before they became successful of course!), indeed virtually anyone from Scotland, which really does have to be the spiritual home of Indiepop. Inevitably the near legendary “Rocker” of The Flatmates (also featured on “Indiepop 1”) would be working through his hand written list of the latest plays from the John Peel show, and Grant later to be Daddy G of Massive Attack fame would be booming out the latest pre release dub 12” from his position behind the counter.

Soon the enormous success of The Smiths started to change the makeup of our cosy, some would elitist, world but we still loved them even though they helped to blow our scene apart. Looking back it was a strangely insular world, hardly any American (they were often just too.... rock) or European bands. A few antipodeans such as The Chills and The Triffids were allowed to play but in the main it was very British affair.

These days things are very different with masses of old style indie bands emerging from North America (San Francisco in particular), Brazil, Scandinavia, Germany and Australia, whilst here in the UK the genre became much derided. The recent success of bands like Franz Ferdinand has started to change that maybe my old record collection has some value after all? One Thousand Violins and Mighty Mighty anyone?


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