The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Artist Profiles

PROFILE: SFA OK! An Introduction to Super Furry Animals

by Ed Biggs With their debut studio album marking its 20th anniversary of its release in May 2016, it is well beyond time that the Super Furry Animals were recognised as the geniuses they are. With the exception of the globe-conquering success of Radiohead, the Furries are the most original and consistently inventive British indie group of the last quarter of a century. Arguably the last great Creation Records band and

Continue reading…

FROM WORST TO BEST: Manic Street Preachers

by Ed Biggs When the Manic Street Preachers began their career on the cusp of the 1990s, they conceived of themselves as a reaction, a contemptible sneer against what they saw as an insular, pretentious music industry that had forgotten to connect with its public. In an era of static, navel-gazing indie and hedonistic, deliberately self-unconscious Madchester rave music, the Manics were gloriously, defiantly out of step with the prevailing trends.

FROM WORST TO BEST: Ash Singles

by Ed Biggs In the two decades since Ash first demolished the British charts with their debut album 1977, few can claim to have been such a quintessentially ‘singles band’ as the Northern Irish three-piece. Rock music’s perpetual adolescents, stuck in a Neverland-like mindset of endless childhood summers, first romances and house parties, their singles were the essence of teenage lust, of unrequited desire, of both shyness and youthful confidence.

PROFILE: An Introduction to Cocteau Twins

by Ed Biggs Few bands from the indie explosion in Britain during the 1980s were, and remain, as iconic and impenetrably mysterious as Cocteau Twins. Formed in Grangemouth in Scotland in the early 1980s, the three-piece of singer Liz Fraser, guitarist Robin Guthrie and bassist Will Heggie (replaced by Simon Raymonde in 1983) sounded quite unlike anything else on the indie scene during the fertile ‘80s, and the curious magic they

Continue reading…

FROM WORST TO BEST: Pet Shop Boys

by Ed Biggs Having recently passed twin milestones – the release of their thirteenth studio album Super and the 30th anniversary of their first, Please – it seems like the ideal time to take stock of the Pet Shop Boys’ career and their impact on pop music. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have adapted to keep themselves on or ahead of the curve for three decades, and still retain that sense

Continue reading…

PROFILE: An Introduction to Sleater-Kinney

by Ed Biggs Much more than most reunions, the return of Sleater-Kinney in 2015 after nearly a decade on hiatus didn’t just feel right, it felt necessary. When they called it a day in 2006 shortly after their excellent seventh album The Woods, singer-guitarist Corin Tucker, guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss had built up a bulletproof reputation, with a substantial cult fanbase and enough critical praise to match some

Continue reading…

FROM WORST TO BEST: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

by Ed Biggs As a presence and influence in popular music, Nick Cave is an institution easily worthy of being mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Dylan, Cash, Mitchell, Cohen and other household names, the most celebrated songwriters in pop’s well-documented history. However, it also makes sense to think of him as one of music’s eternal outsiders, along with cult heroes like Scott Walker, Tom Waits or Michael

Continue reading…

R.E.M.: A Beginner’s Guide

by Ed Biggs and Matthew Langham R.E.M. called time on their nearly thirty-year recording career in September 2011. During that time, they displayed a longevity, consistency and dedication that has eluded almost everybody else: they never went on hiatus or pursued solo projects and, with the sole exception of the gap between Around The Sun and Accelerate in their final decade, never waited more than three years between studio albums. The story of their career and the way

Continue reading…

FROM WORST TO BEST: Blur singles

With only a couple of days to go until the release of The Magic Whip, their first album in 12 years and first since 1999 with Graham Coxon, what better time to look back at the history of Blur. Starting life at a shambolic yet entertaining art-rock band called Seymour, they signed to indie label Food Records and released their first single ‘I Know / She’s So High’ in October

Continue reading…