51 thoughts on “Spillyear 1996

  1. I have fond memories of 1996. I did my A-levels in the summer (it was a good summer, I think?), then spent the rest of the year doing not very much. I was on a gap year, and would eventually go to Australia for a few months, but put it off because I was properly in love for the first time. I played my guitar a lot and read the complete works of Shakespeare.

    Anyway, hard to pick a top 3, but I’ve gone for:

    1. Belle & Sebastian – Judy and the Dream of Horses

    I can’t overstate how much this album meant to me (and a fair few other people like me). I remember hearing this on the radio for the first time, being blown away, then hearing Mayfly and Stars of Track and Field at different times over the next few days, and knowing I’d discovered my favourite band. The Beatles, The Clash, The Smiths and whoever else could never really belong to me, but Belle and Sebastian did.

    2. Lamb – Gorecki

    …So I would have been smoking quite a bit of weed by this time, and starting to listen to things beyond my indie comfort zone. This song sounds as colossal now as it did then.

    3. Lambchop – Theone

    This gets the nod just for the sake of following Lamb with Lambchop.

    Can’t believe I’ve left out Jack (I’m hoping Beth will put things right), whose first album bowled me over almost as much as B&S… Eels (Novocaine for the Soul)… Animals That Swim (Faded Glamour, Despatches from Lula), The Auteurs (After Murder Park), something from REM’s New Adventures in HiFi… and Beth Orton, and Sparklehorse, and Ash, and the Super Furries, and “You’re Gorgeous”…

  2. Hmm… Hyperballad was released as a single that year but had already been an album track in 1995. Everything Must Go/A Design For Life was also that year and Belle and Sebastian’s Tigermilk but – it was the year of:

    The Spice Girls – Wannabe (which I have to choose for nostalgic reasons as it was my niece’s fave when she was three and because I just plain like it too)

    Frente! – Burning Girl (although Horrible and Safe From You were in the running)

    Billy Bragg – Brickbat (my favourite song of his since the days of Between the Wars and Levi Stubbs Tears)

  3. This is the year Richard Thompson released the double album You? Me? Us? containing a number of memorable songs especially in the second album, ‘Nude’, making it very hard to choose, then Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads and finally Bjork…

    She Cut Off Her Long Silken Hair – Richard Thompson
    Where The Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave
    Army of Me – Bjork

    • My memories of 1996 are a bit vague but recall a fairly disastrous trip to Venice, and the Cambridge Folk Festival with the Saw Doctors and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Otherwise life went on as usual, learning Welsh and taking a very belated English A level..

    • donds for Where the Wild Roses Grow. I remember my delight when I heard Kylie and Nick were to record together and watching them perform on TOTPs with the song. I listened to the version with Blixa singing Kylie’s part today, he makes a lovely wild rose.

      • Thanks, yes, I love this song despite the subject matter, it’s kind of hypnotic and compelling. Henry Lee with P J Harvey likewise – a song which as you probably know evolved from an old English folksong, Earl Richard,

    • The year started off (give or take a week or two) with me meeting a load of the local punks for the first time, in the back of the van for a trip to Colchester to see Special Duties, The Business and Braindance. The Business’ appearance was a (badly kept) secret at a time when they didn’t play UK gigs due to the tendency to attract violence. This gig turned out to be the most violent I’ve ever been to (or at least close run with a gig I went to in Sheffield..in 1996!) due to some off duty squaddies turning up. A night to remember. Braindance by this point were my favourite band, and the track here is from their third album. A bit smoother and more melodic than their earlier stuff it seemed to lose them some of their small audience but I thought it was great.
      Chaos UK was a big favourite of most of the punks I knew, and King For A Day became an instant dole queue anthem among this crowd.
      I thought the Red Flag 77 track was the following year but discogs says 96. Another band I came across that year, and went on to put on gigs for a couple of times.
      I saw loads of bands that year, including finally getting to see Test Tube Babies for the first time. There were an increasing number of all-dayers to trek around to, and the first ever Holidays In The Sun in Blackpool which of course morphed into Rebellion – a 3 day gig with two stages which seemed like a special event at the time.
      I also saw the Pistols comeback at Finsbury Park – much sneered at , including within the punk scene, but a great day all the same. It was obviously never going to have the edge that they had back in the day, but Lydon clearly felt vindicated to be playing to a huge crowd in the area he’d grown up in.
      There were loads of smaller gigs. I went to one in a iny pub in London where I saw Striknien DC (Deko from Paranoid Visions’ other band) for the first time and was blown away. On the same bill I saw The Restarts for the first time, which must have been one of their first gigs. I wasn’t blown away by them, not my sort of thing at all – funny how things change.

      • While I’m reminiscing about favourite bands I saw for the first time I saw Varukers for the first time at a massive (ie almost certainly filled beyond capacity ) all dayer in Birmingham. A mate had kept impressing on me how tight they were. Then when they came on about thirty seconds into the first song the guitarist fell over and they had to start again!

      • A mate of mine was at the Pistols at Finsbury Park . He was still a teenager at the time. Because of keys at the beer tents he bought two large drinks and was edging past the backstage guest enclosure. A man inside the enclosure saw him and said “Are those for you? I hope you get home safely young man”. He maintains it was James Brown, first minister of funk!

      • I was a student in Colchester for 3 years and never had problems with squaddies, but we knew which pubs not to go into. In my third year I lived really close to the military correctional facility, scary! Donds for Chaos UK, great track.

      • When I met Mrs wyngatecarpenter she was living temporarily in Colchester. She told me it was a quiet place, the kind of place your aunt would retire to. How I laughed!

        Glad you liked the Chaos UK track. A well known character on the scene was photographed in The Guardian wearing a Chaos UK – King For A Day t-shirt while talking to Ian Duncan-Smith who was visiting a factory days before being ousted as Tory leader. I’ve since wondered if IDS was curious and checked out the song’s lyrics, and decided that he needed to sort out these dole scroungers.

        • I haven’t been back for a long time, but I remember Colchester with fondness, the Arts Centre and Wivenhoe were alright 🙂

  4. I’ll swiftly go for :

    Beck – Where it’s At
    The Fugees – Ready or Not
    Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun

    Almost went for Born Slippy ‘cos I love Trainspotting so much, but it’s only three . . .

  5. So so much to choose from. I was in my first/second year at university and Britpop had started to mature and expand, indie got really really indie-y and music was fun again! On the other side Aphex Twin and Atari Teenage Riot were scaring the shit out of the indie kids (will resist the old Belle and Thebastian gag – whoops too late!) and all was right with the world!

    Tiger – Race (gotta love those mullets!)

    Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic (me and my mate Darren both watched (separately) this track on some Saturday morning kids show and promptly went out and bought it. When we met up later that night to go to the Thekla (famous Bristol indie club on a boat) we both said almost simultaneously “you have to hear this single I bought today..they are Welsh…”!

    Atari Teenage Riot – Sick to Death (changed the trajectory of my whole record collection, I thought it was literally the BEST and MOST EXTREME song I had ever heard at the time)

    …honourable mentions to Bluetones, Bis, Urusei Yatsura etc….

  6. 1996? It was all a bit Britpoppy and Spice Girls, wasn’t it? That and Three Lions. Most of that passed me by, because I didn’t like the music.

    I remember that I was listening to a lot of old stuff in 1996 but there were a few new things that I liked, so I will go with;

    Mazzy Star – Look on Down from the Bridge
    Beck – Devil’s Haircut
    Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Bombin’ the L

    I don’t have the Beck Album Odelay any more, it seems to have vanished without me noticing, but I’ve still got Come Find Yourself and Among My Swan. I probably (definitely?) play Mazzy Star more than the Fun Lovin’ Criminals these days, though.

    I think that musically I was waiting for something new to come along, but it was steadfastly refusing to arrive.

  7. not turning off – spoon
    saturday – sparklehorse
    miss june 75 – BrianJonestownMassacre

    close: sissyneck – beck, corpse pose – unwound, north country boy – charlatans, thumbscrews – jesus lizard, sneaker pimps – spin spin sugar & 6 underground, cybele’s reverie – stereolab, brainiac – hot seat can’t sit down

    • OOh, Sneaker Pimps, weird for me now to think that I liked them, but had no inkling of where Chris Corner was headed with his sound at the tiime.

  8. donds for Beck – Where It’s At, which would have certainly made my top 3. Also for Mazzy Star, which i first heard on one of Carole’s playlists i think. Here in yankland it was really all about hip hop that year. None of which really grabbed me much, i think the best of that lot was yet to come. And i seem to be left with a lot of decent songs, but i’m hard pressed to pick any i really love.

    RATM – Down Rodeo
    Counting Crows – Goodnight Elizabeth, A Long December
    Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People
    Gin Blossoms – Follow You Down
    Nada Surf – Popular
    Beck – The New Pollution
    Soul Coughing – Super Bon Bon
    Fiona Apple – Criminal
    Weezer – Pink Triangle
    Kula Shakur – Govinda, Tattva

    So of that lot, i guess i’ll go for one or both of the Counting Crows (ok, those i do love), Fiona Apple, and one of the Kulas, because that foreshadowed a bit the psych that i love now.

    • I thought about picking something by Kula Shaker, because I had the album and played it a fair bit, but I went off it pretty quickly and I sold it a couple of years later in a car boot sale.

      • Poor Kula Shaker! K was a great album, but his fundamental posh-kid-finds-his-inner-self-after-a-gap-year-in-India persona was just too easy to take the piss out of!

      • Well, i’m not entirely sure when they started to act like assholes, what with the swastikas and whatnot, but i think a lot of people went off of them then. Across the pond here, i wasn’t aware of that until much later on. Oasis and the Stone Roses kind of got to the psych thing first though anyway. Can’t recall any of that going on here at the time. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t.

  9. Donds for Eels, Beck and Richard Thompson‘s You? Me? Us?
    I’ll pick one from the Voltage Enhanced half of that album, Hide It Away, and these two:
    Silver JewsAlbemarle Station
    Throwing MusesTango

  10. 1996 was a transitional year in music for me. Still lots of bands I loved making new music, but I was suffering with a thirst for new bands and thus was delighted to find Jack and Strangelove around that time, I have ended up following the careers of both lead singers (although I do check out what other band members are doing too) closely so they must feature

    1) Jack -wintercomesummer
    2) Strangelove – She’s Everywhere
    3) Gretschen Hofner – Crow in Heels

    short lived and unloved, Gretschen Hofner remain a favourite with me. I considered Placebo’s Bruise Pristeen, Suede’s Trash and Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People too.

    • Big donds for all three of those. Was into the first two at the time, but that Gretschen Hofner track was an RR discovery for me: RRSA Shoes. SV80 (whose presence I miss) nominated it so enthusiastically that I made the effort to track it down (which wasn’t easy – looks like it still isn’t on YouTube).

      • I think I found a live version on youtube which I added to the boombox thingie, but no proper one. The rest of their album is good too, a little samey, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

  11. Honestly can’t remember much about 1996. I was living in a flat for a while and probably drinking quite a lot, probably accounts for the memory lapse. Anyway, I’m going to go for:

    Hootie and the Blowfish – Old Man and Me (never listen to this now but still think Darius Rucker has a great voice)
    Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
    Manic Street preachers – Design for Life

  12. ’96 the kids would have been but a few years old, so not much noise allowed ..and not much music bought except Yes were reborn in ’96 after a decade and a half of soft rock and attempting pop hits, Rabin went off to do film scores so the band of Topographic reformed and did the Keys to Ascension live shows with revealing science played for the first time in 22 years and some new stuff ‘That, That Is being particularly fine

    K D Laing was on fine form Ingenue from around that time was grand

    • I’ve got the 4 CD and 1 DVD Keys to Ascension box set. There is some really good new stuff there as well as the live performances of the older pieces.

  13. I was struggling with a shortlist of 6 so I logged in to see if by luck some of had been shouted. And glory be, Suzi nommed Nick Cave (I was going with Stagger Lee) and Amylee included Fiona Apple in her compendium. I’m gambling that when TFD comes in her list will include my 6th. That leaves:

    Scooter – We Take You Higher
    Mark Eitzel – Some Bartenders Have the Gift of Pardon
    Matchbox Twenty – Back 2 Good

  14. Not a great year for me music wise although I did see some great gigs that year (Sebadoh, AC Acoustics, Superchunk, Drugstore, ATV)

    We Rule The School – Belle and Sebastian
    A Long December – Counting Crows
    Dead Sea Navigators – The Auteurs

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