‘Spillyear 1988

At the end of last week’s hugely enjoyable thread Fuel posted a link to a Guardian article that contained the line “1995 sits with 1967, 1977 and 1988 among pop culture’s true glory years”.

I’m sure the Guardian doesn’t go in for phone hacking, but I’m a little put out that I appear to have had my head hacked.

1988 it is (we’ll come to 1977) though there is some confusion about whether the “Second Summer of Love” was 1988 or 1989. Wikipedia hedges its bets:

The Second Summer of Love is a name given to the period in 1988–89 in Britain, during the rise of acid house music and the euphoric explosion of unlicensed MDMA-fuelled rave parties.The term generally refers to the summers of both 1988 and 1989 when electronic dance music and the prevalence of the drug MDMA fuelled an explosion in youth culture culminating in mass free parties and the era of the rave. LSD was also widely available and popular again. The music of this era fused dance beats with a psychedelic, 1960s flavour, and the dance culture drew parallels with the hedonism and freedom of the Summer of Love in San Francisco two decades earlier. Similarities with the Sixties included fashions such as Tie-dye. The smiley logo is synonymous with this period in the UK.

I have vague memories of repetitive beats coming from the hill a couple of miles away from our house, and smiley stickers made it as far as my primary school. But I also remember the charts: this was a time when Rick Astley was not an ironic internet meme, but a popular recording artist. Ye gods.

So, ‘Spillers: were you leaving an important part of your brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire, swallowing Stock, Aitken and Waterman, or celebrating the twilight of hair metal? Or none of the above?

Listen to the playlist here 

Add your top 3 here


121 thoughts on “‘Spillyear 1988

  1. Not so much to choose from for me this week. Here’s my top 3:

    1. The Travelling Wilburys – Handle With Care
    My parents rarely bought new albums, so when they did, they got played a lot. No complaints about overexposure to this one.

    2. Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind
    One of the best covers ever, right? Liked it at the time, still do.

    3. REM – You Are The Everything
    If I was going to choose only songs I liked at the time, this should probably be Kylie’s “I Should Be So Lucky”. I’m not going to choose only song I liked at the time.

    • It has come to my attention that “Always On My Mind” was actually Christmas Number One in 1987, so although it remained a big hit in 1988, I humbly withdraw my nomination (though it stays in the playlist due to b00mbox’s lack of edit functions).

      So for a third pick… I remember liking The Pogues at the time, so I think I’ll go for Fiesta since Thousands Are Sailing is taken. Retrospective donds for Pixies, House of Love and “Crash” by The Primitives.

  2. Well, I can remember 1988! Not sure if these albums actually came out this year, but this is what I was listening to: First year at University was 1987-88. I listened over and over and over again to REM, any REM, but I think at that point it was Life’s Rich Pageant and Document, which I didn’t like as much. Also I listened to Jimmy Cliff, because I saw him in concert and he was amazing! And the Cure. And Jesus and Mary Chain, and Echo and the Bunnymen. Bob Marley. The Smiths the Smiths the Smiths. I’ll think of more!

      • Thanks Barbryn! I’ve wanted and fully intended to play every week, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. My job working from home on the computer all day makes it oddly hard to respond to anything I actually care about on the computer. Who would have thunk?

  3. I was very excited about the goth scene in 1988. I was young and it felt like my music, just for the number of times I played them it must be
    All About Eve – Apple Tree Man
    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Mercy Seat
    Siouxsie and the Banshees – Peekaboo

  4. Ooh, this was something of an interesting year for me.

    I can remember buying a fair amount of music in 1988 and it was one of those years when I went through a kind of taste shift. It was the last time I can remember liking something by U2, I bought Rattle and Hum, which I haven’t played in ages but still, I think, has one or two OK tracks.

    It was also getting to the end of the period where big rock bands and big names from the 60s and 70s still counted. I bought Jimmy Page‘s patchy Outrider and Robert Plant‘s more successful Now And Zen. Hall And Oates released Ooh Yeah, which featured the sublime Everything Your Heart Desires and Leonard Cohen gave us I’m Your Man, which I didn’t buy so, using my silly rules, that means I can’t pick First We Take Manhattan.

    So it goes.

    I did buy the eponymous album by The Gipsy Kings, mainly because everywhere I went in France that summer, it was playing. Yé ké yé ké by Mory Kanté was also everywhere. I bought that too.

    Like I said, I bought a lot in 1998; Green by REM, Blue Bell Knoll by The Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and The Banshees‘s Peepshow and Short Sharp Shocked by Michelle Shocked but I didn’t buy Spirit of Eden, Isn’t Anythingor Bummed until later.

    Anyway, a tough year for me to characterise, but I am going with;

    Memories of East Texas – Michelle Shocked
    Heaven Knows – Robert Plant
    Everything Your Heart Desires = Hall and Oates

  5. Just wishing that I had something you wore
    I put it on when I go lonely
    Will you take off your dress … and send it to me?

    I miss your kissin’ and I miss your head
    And a letter in your writing doesn’t mean you’re not dead
    Run outside in the desert heat
    Make your dress all wet … and send it to me (eeeeeeeeeeeeee)

    • Stand at the kitchen sink
      Feeling a plastic mood
      Buildings have gotta change
      Cause baby you’re a lunatic

      I could be there when you’re sleeping
      I could be there in your dreams
      And I could be there when you’re sleeping
      And I could be inside your dreams

    • she’s painting huge books, glues them together,
      They saw a big raven; it glided down the sky, she touched it.
      Today’s a birthday, they’re smoking cigars, he got a chain of flowers,
      Sows a bird in her knickers, they’re smoking cigars, lie in the bathtub, chain of flowers.

    • It’s so fucked I can’t believe it
      If there’s a way I wish we’d see it
      How could it work just can’t conceive it
      Oh what a mess it’s just to leave it

      Sometimes I don’t thrill you
      Sometimes I think I’ll kill you
      Just don’t let me fuck up will you
      ’cause when I need a friend it’s still you

      What a mess

    • Sugarcubes – Birthday
      Dinosaur Jr – Freak Scene
      Pixies* – Cactus

      This is almost impossible for me as Culture Shock – Civilisation Street / The Wolfgang Press* – Shut that door / Cohen* – Everybody Knows / Galaxies 500* – Flowers/ and many more are in my ever increasingly badly defined top 10 of all time – let alone the year.

      * most song off the whole albums fit into the top ten.

      • BTW. I always remember the video for the song because I remember thinking, “I know that fisherman.” Turns out The Membranes had nicked it from Skippers and it had made its way into the video along with other Blackpool tat. Good chippy was Skippers.

      • The south spawned many Culture Shock/Subhumans/ Citizen Fish style ska-punk bands (I did CD and record covers for loads) – I travelled between Brighton, Bournemouth, Salisbury, Bath, Bristol and all the fields in between watching them – they supported a re-formed Damned at Salisbury art centre once and picked me up in their van while I was hitching to the gig from B’mouth (in the days before I knew what they looked like) – they were just brilliant festival music and small club music, the fact that the dub rhythms mixed into the free festival dance music really well helped – you could also mix The Sisters Of Mercy up against it at the Indie disco too – It was manically political too – the words of Civilisation Street was a call to arms as big as Common People or Sorted for E’s and Wizz (in my mind) – and MY 17/18 year old musical coming of age.

      • Carole – I bought the original Dinosaur album before they were Dino Jr. because it had a drawn black and white cover – that I thought was going to contain a Goth album!
        I was 15 with lots of disposable income – at least 2 albums every weekend purchased, just because I liked the covers…. I ended up with some weird unlistenable shit but Dinosaur Jr. were a keeper from that album on.

      • Didn’t know you had a Salisbury connection too Shane. Salisbury Arts Centre was my local venue, though I didn’t start going to gigs till a few years later. It was going through a bit of a fallow period at the time after nearly going bankrupt, so we didn’t get many times – I got hugely excited by the likes of Tiny Monroe or Sidi Bou Said,, who’d actually been played on the Radio One Evening Session. It picked up again shortly before I left – I saw Spiritualized there just after Ladies and gentlemen which was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

      • barbryn – the arts centre was kind of having rough times when I went to gigs there, lots of rumours of trouble – I travelled up from Bournemouth once in a while because my house mates parents had a guest house across the road from a pub that brewed its own ale: Summer Lightning possibly – a brew that cause many a unsuspecting idiot like me to go ‘oh this is nice, and the locals get you another one; after just the two your legs have gone all wobbly when you try to go to the bogs! – 4 steps away in the tiny place – they laughed and laughed and laughed until you re-covered your composure.
        Anyway – I think there’s a commercial one now that’s NOT the 8.4% killer the pub brewed.

        Whenever I was there there were grumblings about Toyah trying to run the show and take over the place or something – but we just watched the old punk bands and ska-punk bands and all day battle of the bands type days and did pub crawls (about 400 in 20m² wasn’t there? bit like Norwich but even smaller).
        Ace place, loved it to visit, it did feel very oppressive with everyone knowing your business (if you grew up there as my mate did).
        Captain Sensible supplied me beers at the Damned gig because some idiot – trying to recreate ‘glue sniffing chic’ – stole my matte black zippo.

  6. I was just wee and probably taped the following tunes off the radio onto a c90:

    The Timelords “Doctorin’ The Tardis”
    S-Express “Theme From S-Express”
    Transvision Vamp “I Want Your Love”

    (Not then but since: The Primitives “Crash”, INXS “Need You Tonight”, REM “Green”, Pixies “Gigantic” especially from Surfer Rosa, “Everyday is Like Sunday by Moz, and Jane’s Addiction, Sonic Youth, Galaxie 500, Dinosaur JR of course.)

    Not big on Kylie, and Madonna didn’t release an album that year (1988 was inbetween “True Blue” and “Like A Prayer”). She was my #1 in the 80s.

    • I shall be playing at least two of those at me and the fella’s inaugural DJ ‘gig’ at Charlie Foxtrot Vintage in London’s up-and-coming Nunhead if anyone is around on Saturday and fancies a boogie and/or vintage clothes rummage:

      11am till 11pm at 108 Evelina Road, SE15 3HL

  7. So the albums coming in a distant second behind Talk Talk’s masterpiece were:

    Black – Comedy
    Ice-T – Power
    Scritti Politti – Provision
    Sam Brown – Stop!
    Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars
    Living Colour – Vivid
    Lyle Lovett – Pontiac
    Jeff Healey – See The Light
    Was (Not Was) – What Up, Dog?
    Various – Stay Awake
    Modern Interpretations of Disney tunes
    Fairground Attraction – First Of A Million Kisses
    As you can see, not a lot of heavy rock there. I hated hair metal, and 1988 was about as bad as my relationship with my core taste got.

    LPs released that year that I was slow on the uptake with, so can’t pick, include Melissa Etheridge and Hothouse Flowers‘ debuts, both of which are still massive faves; and Martin Stephenson & The Daintees’ Gladsome, Humour & Blue, which hasn’t retained the affection I had for it in ’89/’90.

    I’ve dumped Spirit Of Eden into the list in its entirety, so I figure I’ll have to pass on my other two choices.

  8. Talk Talk – I Believe In You
    Wolfgang Press – King Of Soul
    Pixies – Where Is My Mind?

    Wrote For Luck, Mercy Seat, Destroy The Heart, Orange Crush. So many bands hitting their peak before the dance tsunami hits – embrace it; or get drowned.

  9. I was in NYC at the time.

    Lessee – it was a year after Appetite for Destruction and a year before Fear of a Black Planet.

    Public Enemy – Don’t Believe the Hype
    Jane’s Addiction – Jane Says
    Pogues – Streets of Sorrow (Birmingham Six)

    honorable mention –

    REM – Stand
    GnR – Patience
    Morrissey – Every Day is Like Sunday

    donds for any Spirit of Eden, which i hadn’t a clue about at the time, all i knew then was It’s My Life. First heard it around these parts, for which i thankee.

    • Jane’s Addiction love from me, I didn’t discover them until 89 though. Specific memory as I know the first time I heard them, it was love at first hear.

      • Now i would go for Pigs in Zen, but it wasn’t on the album then, and i didn’t hear it until later on. And it would have to be a live version.

        • I saw Jane’s Addiction live in Brixton academy in 1990/1991 I think. They were awesome. They had so much potential, pity they imploded so fast.

      • I had a live album I got imported from a friend who worked in Boston at the time – released before Nothing’s Shocking (still have the album I should say – it was out at the end of ’87 I think) great version of ‘Pigs in Zen’ and a lovely ‘I would for you’ –

        • I have heard it, but never owned the live one, forgot all about it until you mentioned it. Might have to go on a search. I love this game, there is so much to remember and get excited about 🙂

      • Don’t forget Strays in 2003 though – hell of a comeback album 13 years later. Habits kicked, and they came back sounding and looking great.

        • True, and I get excited every time they get back together, but the first 2 (and the live one before that) albums were so, so amazing…

      • There’s a later live album as well, isn’t there? – I never got it (not really a big fan of live albums) .. strays was a good return to form – but it is the first two studio albums that do it for me too.
        I was supposed to see them (and had tickets) to two different small club warm up shows before Reading Festival and some other festie in two different years – both times something happened (overdoses) and they had to cancel.
        Dead grumpy about that at the time.

      • I dunno about a later live album, if there was one i never heard it. A follow up album was supposed to happen after Strays, but for some reason never did, they just kinda broke up again i think.

        The first two were ace, with barely a clunker on them. More punk than Strays, which was kinda more like rock. I have no complaints about that.

        There was a lot of horse trading back and forth between RHCP and JA too, Flea and Dave Navarro too i think. Can’t keep straight who was where when.

    • Everyday is Like Sunday is a perfect description of Blackpool out of the holiday season. It’s a favourite, but almost too close to home to listen to. This Mexrrissey version takes it to another place. That trumpet nails the feeling.

      The version of Ask is just loveable.

      • It’s not just Blackpool. I’ve lived within spitting distance from seaside towns most of my life – from Atlantic City to New England to Calif – the sentiments hold for those too. Tawdry and depressing as hell, most of them, especially in the off season.

      • Amy, very true. I’ve been to Atlantic City a couple of times – it felt like home And I knew Vegas as soon as I saw the white trash, even though it’s not by the sea. A similar atmosphere.

      • I’ve tried to live as close to the sea as possible most of my life – I now do artwork in a shop 5 minutes from a beach (on Fridays while looking after it) … I started in December – apart from a few days up to Christmas and Easter holidays there has been a ridiculously small amount of people in, there will be a month and a half of business coming up – then dead again.

        One of the first songs I did lyrics for was called: ‘suicidal seaside town’ it was a bit of a Moz piss take, because I love the bleakness of our holiday resorts and the grey crashing waves over winter .. in fact, we are only into day 4 of proper hot sunny weather and I pretty anti it already.

      • Late to the party… I was gutted to miss the Mexrissey gig at the Barbican recently. I already had tickets to something else. Perfume Genius, I think. Love that Everyday Is Like Sunday in particular.

  10. The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues. Fisherman’s Blues is one of the few times a band has made a radical change in direction and I’ve still loved them. For a long time I thought Mike Scot was Irish, but of course, he isn’t.

    The Pogues – Thousands are Sailing. From If I should Fall from Grace.

    Les Negresses Vertes – Zoubi La Mouche. Cue frantic drunken dancing.

  11. I should have just left it to shoey to pick my 3 🙂

    I’m on hols – in Greece, interesting and sad times – and after brekkie I’ll be ‘going to the beach ALL day’ so first up will be the song for Carol, Bone machine – Pixies

    2nd Destroy the heart – house of love
    3rd Severance – dead can dance

    Could have been UVS – mercy seat, or keep the circle round and made easier by checking that you made me realise was released in ’87. Late though, so probably still valid 😉

    be great if someone could add above for me x

  12. driving cars across the usa. in washington dc we bought prefab sprout, the pixies, and the jesus and mary chain.

    The Pixies: Gigantic
    Prefab Sprout: Cars and Girls
    Jesus and Mary Chain: Sidewalking (extended)

    Belinda Carlisle on the radio.

    touching down in the uk and finding new sounds.

    The Las: There She Goes
    FYC: She Drives Me Crazy
    A Guy Called Gerald: Voodoo Ray

    A brilliant year for singles: Yazz; Bomb the Bass; Aztec Camera; Inner City; Salt-N-Pepa; Coldcut; Mudhoney… Ha! i remember the shock of hearing D-Mob and reading about the moral panic of this rave culture!

      • At that point i was in NYC and very busy with working and getting my ass kicked taking grad science classes, so i listened to virtually no music on my own, just what was around. So i was reading about the Pixies and Sugarcubes from the music journos, but i never heard them and had no time or inclination to seek them out. I heard a lot about Dino Jr. when i move to LA later on, but by then grunge was so dominant that i never bothered then either.

        Along with a It Takes a Nation of Millions, Straight Outta Compton was 1988 too, and hip hop was starting to get huge. That’s a lot of what was around at the time, but i never heard NWA in NYC, or PE in LA.

      • Hip hop and rap was huge. I remember the difference between the UK and US so well. There were rap parties at uni in P.A. which were just amazing. The dancing and moves were so different, so rhythmic and precise compared to the abandon of the UK. I really felt like an observer.

        That local scene was very pro-Philly – Schoolly D. But I heard lots of PE, JJ&FP and EB&R. My blabbering on about the rap I had heard was cool, but mentioning house music was just met with blank stares. Can’t remember when the hip-house crossovers arrived but there was nothing like that when I was in the US. Think the great rap albums weren’t released until later in ’88 or ’89 and I wasn’t listening to rap that much anymore until De La Soul

        Another thing from the US was all the speed metal heads into Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. I remember swapping Big Black and hardcore cassettes with one guy. Lots of good thrash metal around. Just not sure of the exact year. There were also a lot of sodding White Lion-type bands played though,(My ears! My poor ears!).

        Coming back from the US was like entering a different country from the one I had left. The Primitives were chart toppers, Happy Mondays were known to more than a living room full of people, the Ibiza New Order thing was mad and something was stirring in Manchester. Still SAW dominated but that commercial hold was being stripped away.

      • Appetite for Destruction was 1987, and that was really kinda the coffin nail for hair metal, thank fuck. Metallica couldn’t have hurt, although i didn’t listen to them till much later. Of course, nu-metal was spawned from all that later on (i don’t know if nu-metal is an actual term, or just a Panther coinage), and for all i know Anthrax / PE could be responsible for that. Nu-metal is still a hell of a lot better than hair. I could listen to Headbanger’s Ball in the early millenium, though there wasn’t much i loved there.

      • Metallica: And Justice for All. That’s good. Voivod. Donds for DSD and Living Color. And in the metal not metal stakes I’ll have Ministry. . . . Ohhh Sure there was some good Front 242 etc. that year. Ha! My ex-wife to be liked Clock DVA, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, DM a lot. She also took all my decent Belgium new beat as well. (okay, it was small collection).

      • I never got Living Colour. They opened for the Stones when i saw them in NYC for the Steel Wheels tour. I still don’t get them.

        (they’re yanks, but it’s “colour”, for some reason.)

        Now if i had seen the Stones in LA, i would have had GnR for openers…

      • Skinny Puppy and Front 242 were being played around our place – thankfully the neighbours were so old they’d given up being able to hear the noise – Described as Electronic Body Music before it’s Industrial tag (stolen from Kraftwerk’s Man Machine description) – then EBM changed.

      • Skinny Puppy. I remember your great story about a squat and playing Skinny Puppy 1988 was good, though I’m pretty sure Front 242, Clock DVA didn’t enter her collection till 89.

        I actually have 80 to 90 % of the chosen tunes. Some I’ve only got recently for DJing eighties nights but I still play the tunes. It’s easier to note down the tracks I don’t like.

      • Fuel – two of my friends at collage ran an Indie night at a glorious dive called ‘whisky’s’ that we took over – I helped renovate their house (they bought a place together as18 years olds – Thatchers loadsamoney spawn children!**) and then we re-did the club afterwards.

        As I did all the flyers and paintings for the wall I got free – well, everything free, except rehab – but the joy of it was: Indie Night, Goth Night, Student night – didn’t really have to change it’s playlist – There was a stuck up attitude of NOT playing the HNRG pop with all the alternative stuff in other clubs, but we still did and it was brilliant.
        I also did flyers for one of the gay clubs and they slipped in alternative tracks with their poppers induced disco!

        **polotics NOT Thatcherite:
        “You talk about your politics, and I wonder if you could be one of them”

      • Oh to start a club from scratch and be able to contribute to how it is advertised and looks. I thought I was doing that over here but that’s failed. I’ll write a post about how not to run a club night.

        Last week I went out and got me some Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Lunchmoney Lewis, Jess Glynne, Mark Ronson, Pharrell, etc. So that I could have some modern pop tunes in the set. I’m expecting people to complain if I don’t mix them in amongst older tunes.

    • yes you’re right, headhunter was out in 1988, weird video n all. bit of a miss. attended the odd industrial dance night, though prob a couple years after ’88 when showtime was released

  13. I remember buying singles by many of the above, including Morrissey, Yazz, Bomb the Bass, Fine Young Cannibals, Pixies, Pet Shop Boys etc but I think the three tracks I probably played most at the time and still love are:

    Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
    Talking ‘Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman
    Allelujah – Fairground Attraction

    I’m fairly certain they’re all from the right year this time – I’ve definitely got the decade right at least – but I’ll pause before putting them on the playlist just in case anyone wants to tell me otherwise………

  14. Not a year that sticks in my musical memory. Kylie, Bros, Phil Collins, Belinda Carlisle, Tiffany, Enya, Cliff & co were never top of my pops. Ditto PSB, Yazz and Erasure. My late-thirties rejection of pop bounciness.

    But there was:
    Talking Heads – Mr Jones
    Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
    and, probably, something else…..

  15. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was, because I was 29. Can’t even imagine being 29, now. I was working in policy on footpaths and rights of way, which was almost a perfect job for me. I’d bought my first house the year before and was busy doing things to it, and planting a little garden. Music wise, songs I particularly remember are:

    Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
    Terence Trent D’Arby – Wishing Well
    U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

    • I remember dancing to TTD in Atlanta, GA in 1988. A perfect moment. but the song’s from 87. And I remember walking over to my halls of residence in the US for the first time and hearing I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. It was 1987 and I was being shown around by my ex-wife to be. Good times.

    • I was in Pristina in ’88 and U2 and Tracy Chapman were very popular in the cafe/bars. I had been wowwed byTTD’A on The Tube in ’87, but he hadn’t travelled well to Kosovo. Donds for all three.

  16. I’ll go:

    Erasure: A Little Respect
    Pet Shop Boys: Left To My Own Devices
    a-ha: Stay On These Roads

    Honorable mentions to I Say Nothing by Voice of the Beehive, Julian Cope’s Charlotte Anne, Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House…

  17. Despite arriving too late here to nab Fairground Attraction, Les Negresses Vertes and Black, I’m feeling pretty out of sync with the rest of t’Spill. 1988 is a year I have no reason in particular to remember and is long enough ago that music still took longer to hit Germany – I don’t recall hearing Tracy Chapman and Michelle Shocked until later. I was sharing a flat with a couple of blokes a good bit older than I was, so there was a lot of John Mayall on the record player, along with early Deep Purple and Krautrock.

    Three songs I remember are:
    Blueprint – Rainbirds (because they came from the small university town where my friends lived and you couldn’t escape the song when visiting them)
    Ella elle l’a – France Gall (got lots of airplay)
    Miss You Tonight – INXS (got played at every party and disco, back in the days when I attended such things 😉

    • Oh goodness, Ella Elle L’A! That’s a (long-forgotten) blast from the past! That and Guesch Patti’s Etienne seemed to be on the radio quite a lot even in the UK, perhaps in an attempt to cash in on the Francophone success of Joe le Taxi. Or am I getting the chronology mixed up?! They were all around the same sort of time.

  18. It’s my thesis that 1988 was a pile of pants. I certainly wasn’t into SAW or hair metal. I was an obsessive Clash fan dutifully buying all of Strummer’s solo releases but that genuinely began to feel like a duty rather than a pleasure. Most of my favourite artists were losing the plot as far as I was concerned, none more so than Kevin Rowland who released his first solo album The Wanderer. I borrowed it from the library and decided I definitely wasn’t buying it
    My favourite album of the year at the time was Banshees’ Peepshow, the best they’d done for years, but not one I’m bothered about now. I went to see them which was very good and a few other bands – Microdisney (come to them later), New Model Army (best gig I saw that year), Nephilim (not particularly exciting) and for the only time in my life The Fall (one of the most boring bands I’d seen – I expected at list a bit of sarcasm from Smith but nothing, the only entertaining bit about them was that Brix clearly thought she was in a different, much more showbiz band).
    Microdisney stood out, their strange combination of nice MOR-leaning tunes and pure vitriol seemed brilliant then and still does. I wanted to choose Bluerings but somehow it’s not on youtube. I saw them play to a tiny crowd at the local Poly (the Soup Dragons were playing the Uni and had possibly nabbed most of the punters, or maybe no one wanted to see Microdisney. Cathal Coughlan was one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen , two songs in the veins in his neck looked as if they were going to burst out, and he got more intense from there, but all to no avail. They split up after the tour. My best mate, a man of wide musical taste came and to this day dismisses them as “plodding” and “boring”. Despite this he’s still my mate.
    Big things were afoot though as I was off to university which of course was going to be an uninterrupted 3 years of gig going. Except that when I got there I wasn’t interested in anything on offer. The new wave of indie bands such as The Wedding Present did nothing for me whatsoever. I’d been waiting for the “next big thing” which muso-sociologists assured us happened cyclically every 8 – 10 years. It gradually dawned on me that it was happening in the shape of Acid House/rave and that I hated it.
    Even with hindsight it’s not great. The Disrupters track seems to belong to a different period, and was only released on a video cassette. They split shortly after. Most of the remnants of the punk scene seemed to have morphed into UKHC, which I hardly like any more than rave. The one great band in that scene for was the Cowboy Killers who were just releasing their first records, so Roger Ramjet just creeps in there – great intro!

    • Bless my heart, i missed the whole acid / rave thing too, I was wallowing in grunge and hip hop / rap and west coast indie in the early 90’s. And in retrospect i’m figuring i missed basically nothing either, save for maybe the likes of the Happy Mondays.

      Good thing too, my druggie days were well behind me – instead of leaving my brain somewhere, i was trying to get back what i had lost over the past decade and a half, at the time i needed every brain cell i could manage to find and scrape up. Tried early E once, not my thing, don’t mind having missed out on that party.

      • I’m not at all a dance music expert, and could be wrong, but my impression is that the acid house scene didn’t leave behind many records that you’d want to listen to if you weren’t off your face at a rave. But it did cross-fertilise with indie to give us the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and so on, and came into full flower a few years later when DJs and dance acts became superstars (as Fuel alluded to in last week’s thread).

        I bloody loved the few times I took E, even though it was mostly at fairly crappy drum’n’bass nights a decade or so later. I imagine good pills and good DJs and lots of smiley faces at an underground event somewhere in rural England must have been an incredible experience. I also suspect that, even if I had been the right age at the time, I’d probably have been far too staid to take much part.

      • Ha, i think if E caught me 10 years earlier, i would have been all over it. But then again i don’t really think so, i just felt so awful the next day. I came to the conclusion too that i am a generally kind of grumpy personality, and something just felt kind of wrong about saying nice things all night about all and sundry. Nothing wrong with the garden variety blotter acid at the time.

        I was wondering if the Stone Roses would have been tossed in with acid house / rave. I can see the link but it seems like a stretch. There was plenty of that superstar DJ and house stuff going on in NY at the time i was there, but again, the days where i might have gotten involved in that scene were long passed.

    • N.M.A was one of the best gigs I saw too – ditto Mircodisney, but my taste differs completely on the Wedding Present – when “Go Out and Get ’Em, Boy!” was released (probably ’87) I thought it was the rawest thing since the new wave style I liked as an early teen – that and The Sugarcubes were completely the alternative DIY ethics – so similar to me as punk.

      But then I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to punk era music, as I far prefer Big Audio Dynamite to the Clash anyway.

      • I love the Clash. But i’ll stay out of whether or not it was punk in later albums, i think Ubu and Wyngate already tried to hash that one out on the mothership long ago.

      • I was at uni 85-88 and the weddoes first hit town ’85. I think George best was ’87. I almost considered them a bit old hat when the pixies arrived. I think the period was great for indie music of all types and I much preferred it to the britpop era. I didn’t feel the nme c86 was all that great but certainly the Ron Johnson bands gave it a bit of an edge and variety. we were still catching up on old punk/post punk as well which I guess helps in loving the era!

      • Can’t remember if it was 88 or 89 but I saw The Wedding Present do their Ukrainian Sessions album live – somewhere in London on a day of an underground strike – those of us that made it were greeted by fans thrusting full bottles of imported Vodka into our mits and being dragged out to dance. It was one of the MOST raucous gigs I’ve ever experienced .. thinking about it – I can date it – because I climbed up a huge wall afterwards and pull down a Monkey Gone to Heaven poster advertising the 4AD single – so the run up to it’s release in March ’89.

        I then had to carry it across town to our Art history teachers flat – who we rudely woke up – to let us crash on his floor overnight as we couldn’t get back down to Bournemouth. That Pixies poster covered the mouldy walls of my student houses for many years after – went right next to The Shamen promo poster of In Gorbachov We Trust (that the record shop near my place had no idea what to do with)…

        My collage years were 86-89 and it was that era that’s my year(s) dot – with the before and after years adding flavour to the core years – ace times.

      • Amylee – it’s quite straightforward. The Clash were punk until the end of 78. From the Cost Of Living EP (which featured I Fought The Law) onwards they weren’t , but they were the best ever rock band. Until Cut The Crap, that is, which is one of the worst albums ever released by human beings. How that happened under the name of The Clash is baffling.

    • Ha! Great post. Seeing it from your point of view, 1988 must have been unbearable.

      Another thing was that great about 1988, for me, was that House of Love, Galaxie 500, La’s, Stone Roses really seemed to be tapping into what the Paisley Underground bands could’ve become if it had taken the poppy psychedelia rather than the Americana trip (though The Bangles “In Your Room” was a 1988 fave.

      Loved the rock reggae dance funk indie crossovers for as long as I can remember: Blondie, Bowie, Funkadelic, War, That Petrol Emotion, Run DMC, The Clash… 1988 was another perfect year for me.

      • I wouldn’t say unbearable, just a bit flat. In fact it looks worse in hindsight than it did at the time. I was more interested in buying the Sisters’ back catalogue. I think by the time I got to Uni though I felt like I’d missed the boat. Some of my mates were having a great time going to see Wedding Present, House Of Love, and even The Primitives, but the early 80s alternative scene seemed much more exciting.
        It was kind of summed up by my last gig of the year, which was Pop Will Eat Itself at the end of term party. I thought There Is No Love Between Us and Def Con One were good singles so went along quite optimistically. They played 8 songs, then there was a 15 minute wait for an encore which never came. I never went to see them again.

  19. Seemed like a great year for pop. I could have picked 10 or 20 from the chart hits alone.

    Salt’n’Pepa – Push It
    Angry Anderson – Suddenly (the Neighbours wedding theme of course. I would have picked Especially For You, but I bought “Suddenly” for Christmas 1988 for my first girlfriend (Jo) when I was 12 years old – she was a good 4 or 5 inches taller than I was!)
    Morris Minor & the Majors – Stutter Rap

    With hindsight:

    …ahh….I really need to get some work done..I’ll be back!

  20. Right, where was I…?

    ’88 was a pretty good year for metal (all of which I discovered much later). Thrash was waning a bit by then but Testament’s ‘The New Order’ (a record I plucked off the shelf to listen to earlier without realising it was ’88!) was a great album and there were grind classics from Carcass (‘Reek of Putrefaction’) and Napalm Death (‘From Enslavement to Obliteration’) and Voivod’s excellent ‘Dimension Hatross’ too. I don’t mind ‘…and Justice For All’, but it ain’t Metallica’s best.

    As mentioned upthread, Public Enemy, N.W.A etc were making truly edgy and dangerous music, striking fear into white America. Both of those albums found their way into my collection years later (i had to stop typing that last sentence halfway through to go and put ‘It takes a Nation of Millions…’ on the turntable!). As did Run D.M.C. and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock.

    Hmmm..it’s hard, but I think I’ll go for ones I still listen to now:

    Guns ‘n’ Roses – Patience (predictable, I know)
    Public Enemy – Bring the Noise
    Bomb the Bass – Megablast/Don’t Make Me Wait

    ….I have a soft spot for that Wee Papa Girl Rappers tune, ‘Kokomo’, and Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love’ too!

  21. I’ve been having a ’88 LP record fest this week and this is what I still own. Mostly on vinyl or tape – some might last another 27 years before I dig them out again; not being the best albums by the bands involved – but the majority still hold up as brilliant records or at least they have enough great tracks to enjoy as a whole.

    I didn’t even try to find the singles and 12″s

    The Wolfgang Press – Bird Wood Cage
    The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
    Galaxie 500 – Today
    Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session
    Dinosaur Jr – Bug
    A.R. Kane – 69
    The Jazz Butcher – Fishcotheque
    Various ‎– Acid Trax
    Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
    Throwing Muses – House Tornado
    Les Negresses Vertes- Zoubi La Mouche
    Dead Can Dance – The Serpent’s Egg
    Prince – Lovesexy
    Crime & the City Solution – Shine
    Ultra Vivid Scene – Ultra Vivid Scene
    Big Pig – Bonk
    Big Audio Dynamite – Tighten Up Vol. 88
    The Jesus and Mary Chain.- Barbed Wire Kisses (B-Sides and More)
    Michael Nyman – Drowning by Numbers
    Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Tender Prey
    Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
    Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
    The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues
    Eric B. & Rakim – Follow the Leader
    The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God
    My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything
    Jane’s Addiction – Jane’s Addiction (live import)
    Cardiacs – A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window
    Happy Mondays – Bummed

    The Shamen – In Gorbachev We Trust
    (well: the singles before the album in 89: “Transcendental” (1988) “Jesus Loves Amerika” (1988)
    Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
    The House of Love – The House of Love
    Skinny Puppy – Vivisect VI
    Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
    Spacemen 3 – Performance
    Loop – Fade Out
    Front 242 – Front by Front
    Butthole Surfers – Hairway to Steven
    Tom Waits – Big Time
    The Dream Syndicate – Ghost Stories
    Bomb The Bass – Into the Dragon
    The Wonder Stuff – The Eight Legged Groove Machine
    Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars
    Peter Murphy – Love Hysteria
    The Fall – The Frenz Experiment
    Luxuria – Unanswerable Lust
    The Fall – I Am Kurious Oranj
    808 State – Newbuild
    Roger Eno – Between Tides
    Yello – Flag
    Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Nothing Wrong
    Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction – Tattooed Beat Messiah
    Talking Heads – Naked
    Gary Clail’s Tackhead Sound System – Tackhead Tape Time

    • There are certainly 10 or so I still listen to regularly in that batch. The House of Love album in particular has stood the test of time as well as CaveyWavey, Dead Can Dance and Loop. It was a good year.

      • I think I was still buying Peter Murphy albums like a drunk at a bar going “oh weeellll, one more isn’t going to hurt, I ssshtilll love youuuu”
        not really necessary and nothing much added to the ‘merriment’…..

        • Indeed, I’ve found following whatever Daniel Ash is up to more rewarding, but I do have a couple of Peter Murphy things on cassette. Dali’s Car were quite interesting. I wonder if I am alone in prefering Isn’t Anything and Ecstacy and Wine to Loomer by MBV?

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