Consisting of lean, back-to-basics compositions denuded of the lengthy musical explorations of its predecessor and precision-tooled for radio airplay, Coming Up was conceived of as the antithesis of Dog Man Star right from the start.
by Ed Biggs Following the enormous success of his breakthrough single ‘Loser’ in 1994, Beck Hansen faced the prospect of being pigeonholed as a one-hit wonder, weighed down by an albatross of a song with which he would be associated in the minds of the public, in the mid ‘90s. But just like Radiohead, who had themselves written a huge hit the year before in ‘Creep’ that had also been adopted
by Ed Biggs The success story of Tigermilk, the beautiful and understated album by Belle & Sebastian that turned out to be first record of a two-decade long career that the band themselves didn’t expect to last more than a few months, was and still is one of most heartwarming throwbacks in recent pop history. Formed by lead singer and songwriter Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David in Glasgow in 1996 for
by Ed Biggs Any discussion of Smashing Pumpkins’ career tends to get dominated by their twin masterpieces, Siamese Dream (1993) and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995). Which is fair enough, as these are unquestionably two of the greatest alternative rock records of the nineties, testament to Billy Corgan’s unique vision for heavy rock, but crucial in explaining those albums’ successes is the group’s debut Gish.
by Ed Biggs 25 years after its release, it’s difficult to conceive of how different British urban music might sound if it wasn’t for Massive Attack. The Bristol trip-hop collective’s debut album Blue Lines did an enormous amount to broaden the horizons for the fledgling British urban music scene. Chief producer Andy ‘Mushroom’ Vowles adopted the sampling and production culture of American hip-hop and filtered it through the aesthetics of the
by Ed Biggs Marking pretty much the precise point at which dance music became epic, Alex Paterson turned an on-off DJing gig into a fully-fledged project with The Orb’s first studio album after years of EPs and singles. Sprawling over nearly two hours, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld certainly doesn’t short change on the promise of its title.
by Ed Biggs A quarter of a century after the release of Spiderland, the second and final studio album by the short-lived Louisville four-piece Slint, it’s extremely difficult to imagine the state of the modern guitar music scene without it. Released on Corey Rusk’s Chicago-based Touch And Go label, one of the impressive network of indies that made up the 1980s American underground, it sold virtually nothing at the time, and
by Ed Biggs Transforming from awkward underdogs to the biggest indie band in the country in the space of just two years, Happy Mondays’ third LP Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches encapsulates the short-lived media obsession with ‘Madchester’ at the start of the ‘90s more than any other album. While it brought the shenanigans of their colourful lead singer Shaun Ryder and maracas player / backup dancer / lucky mascot Bez
by Ed Biggs The rapid ascension of Pulp from perennial outsiders to chart toppers and festival headliners during the mid ‘90s, and the multi-platinum sales figures of their 1995 album Different Class, is the most dramatic illustration of the effect that Britpop had upon the British music scene. In pretty much no other place or time could such a band have achieved so much so quickly.
by Ed Biggs While the commercial pomp and circumstance of Britpop was in full flow on the other side of the Atlantic in 1995, the biggest American guitar acts of the day were turning inwards, away from their audiences and exploring the limits of their own talents, not necessarily with any regard to what critics or fans thought about them. Pavement’s sprawling Wowee Zowee, Pearl Jam’s difficult but ultimately rewarding Vitalogy