Sunday, 24 September 2017

Top 75 of 1995

After 1994 had seen me delving further into the world of metal, 1995 carried on that trend.  After progressing through Sepultura and Pantera onto the Earache roster, bands that I'd previously maybe only heard one or two songs by released albums that made me sit up and take notice.

So, as shown clearly in the chart, the albums of the year ended up being Paradise Lost's Draconian Times and Fear Factory's Demanufacture.  White Zombie's Astrocreep received an honorary mention alongside non-metal albums like Shelter's Mantra, Life of Agony's Ugly and Silverchair's Frogstomp.  More established bands in my collection like Carcass, Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Senseless Things all had good albums too, even if relatively speaking they all lost their way a little.

But it wasn't rock and metal all the way, I'd started my musical journey away from pop with indie and Friday nights at the Middlesbrough Arena allowed that journey to continue.  With Britpop bursting forth I didn't quite look the part with my long hair, black T-shirts and army trousers, but strangely of all the genres I've dipped into over the years, Britpop was the scene that I felt a part of.

As the Arena included gigs on Fridays too, there were a lot of up and coming bands passing through the doors at that time.  The ones I saw during 1995 are listed below, Skunk Anansie being the only one at the Arena that really moved on to bigger and better things, although there were others like O***s that played there that I was quite happy not to have seen.

03/03/95 Velo Deluxe, China Drum (@Middlesbrough Arena)
31/03/95 Snuff, Bulltaco, Star 69 (@Middlesbrough Arena)
02/06/95 Skunk Anansie, Honeycrack (@Middlesbrough Arena)
09/06/95 Boo Radleys, Swervedriver, Ed Ball (@Middlesbrough Town Hall)
21/07/95 Blameless, Bulltaco, Laxton’s Superb (@Middlesbrough Arena)
22/07/95 Pulp, Sleeper, Menswear, Salad, Powder, Chumbawamba, Skunk Anansie, 60ft Dolls, Blameless, Catatonia, Cecil + Marion, The Bluetones, DetRiMental (@Leeds Roundhay Park)
21/09/95 Shelter, Understand, Shutdown (@Middlesbrough Arena)
06/10/95 China Drum, Honeycrack, Reverse (@Middlesbrough Arena)
17/11/95 Rub Ultra, Fat (@Middlesbrough Arena)
01/12/95 Bullyrag (@Middlesbrough Arena)

The Roundhay Park gig was later dubbed Britstock and was my first festival of sorts, a who's who of up and coming British bands, many of whom would have chart hits.  Note the appearance of Blameless in Middlesbrough on 21/07/95 followed again on 22/07/95 at Leeds, a gap of only 15 hours or so between me seeing them.  Curios in that list come from Fat, who were a rap/rock band featuring Woody from Madness on drums (Downtime made the shortlist for this chart) and Bullyrag whose guitarist took to wearing what was basically a tea cosy over his entire face and head in the early days while staring out members of the audience.

My own music remained mostly in the indie and punk arena too, mostly down to my playing skills.  Me and my brother recorded 3 albums and 2 EPs as Pyf Belly Machine as well as the extended incarnation of that band playing a gig at my college in February 95.  We were the least talented in terms of playing, but the only band that went to the college that were playing original songs.  And we were all right as well, rough around the edges but I still think we had some decent songs despite the constant instrument swapping.

Solo I recorded 2 albums and 2 EPs as Marvin (later to become Spraypaint), one each of which were recorded on my brother's new 4-track Portastudio.  The increase in sound quality coincided with an increase in songwriting quality and despite the constraints in playing produced one of the best songs I've ever written in One of These Days.

I also did an album and an EP as Uranium, which was my first attempt at rock music, although there were a fair amount of keyboards on there too as I was really attempting to be Guisborough's answer to Nine Inch Nails.  Results weren't amazing but I'd hone it a little in subsequent years.

As with last time I'll give a shout to the bands that made the shortlist but not the chart, so commiserations to Chemical Brothers, Carter USM, Schtum, Smashing Pumpkins, Lightning Seeds, Napalm Death, Presidents of the USA, Rocket From The Crypt, Sleeper, Bal-Sagoth, Charlatans, Saint Etienne, EMF, Die Krupps, Fat, Primus, Marilyn Manson, Extreme and Silverchair.  Maybe next time?

1. My Dying Bride - The Cry of Mankind
2. At The Gates - Blinded By Fear
3. China Drum - One Way Down
4. Life of Agony - Let's Pretend
5. Anathema - A Dying Wish
6. At The Gates - Slaughter of the Soul
7. Paradise Lost - Forever Failure
8. Ash - Girl From Mars
9. White Zombie - Electric Head Pt 1
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers - My Friends
11. Paradise Lost - The Last Time
12. Paradise Lost - Once Solemn
13. Pulp - Disco 2000
14. Fear Factory - Self Bias Resistor
15. Paradise Lost - Hallowed Land
16. Cathedral - Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)
17. Fear Factory - Replica
18. Paradise Lost - Enchantment
19. Fear Factory - Demanufacture
20. Fear Factory - H-K (Hunter-Killer)
21. Paradise Lost - Shadowkings
22. Pulp - Common People
23. Shelter - Message of the Bhagavat
24. China Drum - Barrier
25. Faith No More - Ugly in the Morning
26. Faith No More - Digging the Grave
27. White Zombie - Super-charger Heaven
28. Fear Factory - Body Hammer
29. Misery Loves Co. - Need Another One
30. Life of Agony - Lost at 22
31. Shelter - Here We Go
32. Elastica - Blue
33. Ugly Kid Joe - Milkman's Son
34. The Gathering - Strange Machines
35. My Dying Bride - From Darkest Skies
36. Paradise Lost - Yearn For Change
37. Senseless Things - Something to Miss
38. White Zombie - Electric Head Pt 2
39. Faith No More - What a Day
40. Foo Fighters - I'll Stick Around
41. Senseless Things - 16.18.21
42. Senseless Things - Touch Me on the Heath
43. Elastica - Stutter
44. Blur - Country House
45. Black Grape - Reverend Black Grape
46. Boo Radleys - Wake Up Boo!
47. Faith No More - Ricochet
48. Pearl Jam - I Got ID
49. Boo Radleys - Find the Answer Within
50. Life of Agony - Seasons
51. Life of Agony - Damned If I Do
52. The Gathering - In Motion #1
53. Shed 7 - Where Have You Been Tonight?
54. Sugar Ray - Mean Machine
55. Rancid - Time Bomb
56. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Warped
57. Skunk Anansie - I Can Dream
58. Faith No More - The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
59. Faith No More - Cuckoo For Caca
60. Carcass - Keep On Rotting in the Free World
61. Cathedral - Utopian Blaster
62. Paradise Lost - Shades of God
63. Paradise Lost - I See Your Face
64. Shelter - Civilized Man
65. Rancid - Roots Radicals
66. Menswear - I'll Manage Somehow
67. Reef - Good Feeling
68. Reef - Choose To Live
69. Menswear - Stardust
70. Menswear - Being Brave
71. Supergrass - Alright
72. Senseless Things - Wanted
73. Green Day - Stuck With Me
74. Iron Maiden - Man On The Edge
75. The Gathering - Eleanor

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Top 75 of 1994

After the years of musical discovery of the 1990s so far I'd moved through the indie of my brother's initial record collection through rock and grunge and found that I was being drawn more and more to heavier music.  I was still listening to the other styles of course, but new music was now coming more and more from the heavier end of the spectrum.

This was partly due to me venturing out into the world of music magazines myself, previously I had nabbed whatever my brother had bought, mostly Melody Maker, NME or Select, and browsed the features of interest.  But later in 1994 I started buying RAW, which was fortnightly if I remember rightly, I think the first issue I bought had Scott Weiland on the cover and came with a load of stickers which I later stuck to the bass that I got for Christmas that year.

As this was now MY magazine I could read it cover to cover and absorb everything, new bands to look out for, more detail about bands I liked that wouldn't be featured in the indie papers etc.  This was pre-internet of course though, so actually hearing the bands still meant watching out for a clip on The Chart Show or Noisy Mothers or waiting for a free cover-mounted tape, I wasn't in a position yet to just take a punt on a band I'd never heard.

In 1994 I turned 16, so I finished school with a decent 2 A*s, 1 A, 5 Bs, 2 Cs and a D and started college where I selected A levels in Maths, Chemistry and Computing and a one year GCSE in Media Studies.  In college you could wear your band shirts with pride and see other people's allegiances at the same time.  I think my early shirts consisted of Senseless Things, Pantera, Sepultura, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Extreme and The Farm, so a varied selection.  My hair had also been growing out for about a year by then too and sporadic bouts of not shaving my chin kicked off the occasional appearance of my later permanent goatee.

1994 saw an explosion in recording my own music, still just primitively layering instruments over each other on a simple tape recorder, so the results weren't amazing.  I did two albums and an EP of my own music under the name of Marvin, all pretty bad, but the main concern of Pyf Belly Machine with my brother were even more prolific, 6 albums or about 7 hours worth of material over that year period.  After starting college, two of my mates hooked up with us to make it a "proper" band, the official lineup was my brother Peter on guitar/vocals, me on bass/vocals (or the top string of an acoustic guitar until Christmas when I got my bass), Gord on guitar and Darren on drums, but we swapped instruments a lot, I was probably the most guilty in that respect.

At the back end of 1994 we ended up playing a couple of gigs in Gord's garage (he had a big house with a triple garage, swimming pool and a sauna.....quite possibly room for a pony, if your mind was heading that way), we mostly played our own songs from the 2-piece version of the band's albums but also did covers of Girls and Boys, Everything About You and Jump Around.  I'd start the gig on drums, move to bass and a bit of singing, then guitar, back to bass before finishing on drums again.  About 20 college mates turned up to watch, let's just say if the other two weren't in the band we probably wouldn't have persuaded anyone to come.

That was a bit more background than usual......but I was enjoying myself remembering, anyway, music from 1994.  There were some pretty dark albums that came out that year, The Holy Bible being most prominent given the Manics were my favourite band, but The Downward Spiral was also up there too, given I'd been a Nine Inch Nails fan for around 3 or 4 years at that point.  Both incredibly dark albums, both giving the impression of decay in very different ways.  A few years later I would also discover the self-titled debut from Korn, taking a similar dark path but from a different angle.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, punk stirrings were felt across the Atlantic in the form of Green Day's Dookie and Offspring's Smash mainly, both featuring here.  Although interestingly Smash ended up with a lot more entries, not something I would have imagined beforehand with Dookie being the preferred album in my head.  There were also the beginnings of what would become Britpop, in particular with the release of Blur's Parklife.  This links in with me starting to go out for the first time, mostly to Middlesbrough Arena with it's indie club night on a Friday and second and third division indie bands playing often.  After my first gig experience in 1993, I had two more in 1994, seeing my beloved Manic Street Preachers for the first time in the February at Middlesbrough Town Hall, followed by Blaggers ITA at Middlesbrough Arena in the December.

But as mentioned before, my record collection was starting to take a metal turn.  One CD in particular helped this along a more extreme path, the Earplugged compilation on Earache records.  Two songs each from Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Entombed, Cathedral and Godflesh - I would take a big interest in the first 3, some interest in the others, but I liked every song on there.  This, coupled with my choice of magazine and the emergence of bands like Machine Head putting metal back at the forefront, would lead me in to new unexplored avenues of music in subsequent years.

A quick note on bands that missed out as competition was fierce this time around and some good albums surprisingly didn't make the cut.  The full list of bands making the shortlist but not the chart were as follows: Godflesh, At the Gates, Shed 7, Ash, Carter USM, The Almighty, Stabbing Westward, Prong, Pro-Pain, The Farm, China Drum, Bad Religion, Stone Roses, Senser, Gun, Black Crowes, Spin Doctors, Sick of it All and Sultans of Ping.  Some of those I was particularly disappointed to see them not make the cut.....but you have to go with the best songs!

1. Bush - Comedown
2. Pearl Jam - Better Man
3. Bolt Thrower - ...For Victory
4. Machine Head - Davidian
5. Manic Street Preachers - This Is Yesterday
6. Inspiral Carpets - Saturn 5
7. Manic Street Preachers - Faster
8. Bush - Little Things
9. Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song
10. Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
11. Offspring - Genocide
12. Nine Inch Nails - Heresy
13. Weezer - Buddy Holly
14. Manic Street Preachers - Yes
15. Pantera - I'm Broken
16. Pantera - 5 Minutes Alone
17. Bush - Machinehead
18. Pulp - Do You Remember the First Time?
19. Blur - Girls and Boys
20. Pearl Jam - Spin the Black Circle
21. Green Day - Basket Case
22. Pearl Jam - Nothingman
23. Bush - Glycerine
24. Green Day - Welcome to Paradise
25. Manic Street Preachers - Archives of Pain
26. Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde
27. Cradle of Filth - The Forest Whispers My Name
28. Nine Inch Nails - March of the Pigs
29. Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
30. Emperor - I Am The Black Wizards
31. Offspring - Gotta Get Away
32. Offspring - Smash
33. Soundgarden - The Day I Tried To Live
34. Machine Head - Old
35. Manic Street Preachers - PCP
36. Therapy? - Screamager
37. Green Day - When I Come Around
38. Offspring - Self Esteem
39. Offspring - Nitro (Youth Energy)
40. Blur - Parklife
41. Manic Street Preachers - Judge Yr'self
42. Manic Street Preachers - Revol
43. Bush - Everything Zen
44. Blur - End of a Century
45. Nine Inch Nails - Closer To God
46. Dog Eat Dog - Who's the King
47. Nine Inch Nails - Ruiner
48. Manic Street Preachers - 4st 7lb
49. Korn - Faget
50. Therapy? - Trigger Inside
51. Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days
52. Cradle of Filth - To Eve The Art of Witchcraft
53. Cradle of Filth - The Principle of Evil Made Flesh
54. Bolt Thrower - When Glory Beckons
55. Machine Head - A Thousand Lies
56. NOFX - Leave It Alone
57. Offspring - Come Out and Play
58. Offspring - Bad Habit
59. Offspring - Something to Believe In
60. Bolt Thrower - Remembrance
61. Bolt Thrower - Lest We Forget
62. Pantera - Becoming
63. Dog Eat Dog - No Fronts
64. Rollins Band - Liar
65. Cradle of Filth - Summer Dying Fast
66. Emperor - Cosmic Keys to my Creations & Times
67. Soundgarden - Like Suicide
68. Korn - Ball Tongue
69. Korn - Blind
70. Filter - Hey Man Nice Shot
71. Therapy? - Nowhere
72. Helmet - Wilma's Rainbow
73. Obituary - Don't Care
74. Napalm Death - Plague Rages
75. Brutal Truth - Choice of a New Generation

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Top 75 of 1993

Compared to the years of musical discovery that were 1991 and 1992, looking back at the albums and songs in my collection from 1993 there were a lot of strong contenders but not as much in terms of volume.  There were some excellent albums released in 1993, but it didn't seem as though there were that many of them.  Hence this chart is dominated by a few prominent releases.

Back in 1992, through the influence of The First of Too Many album and the Easy to Smile single, Senseless Things had established themselves as my favourite band.  I got background information in the form of newsletters (no internet back then of course) and wore my blue Pop Kid shirt with pride, they were MY band.

But in 1993 I sent off for and received a pack of goodies from another band who, through a flurry of singles and a great debut album, had also got my attention big time the previous year.  I'd already read the interviews in my brother's Melody Makers, NMEs, Selects etc. but now I was reading uncut manifestos, background information, lyrics, I had badges, stickers and a membership card.  Impressive stuff for a 14/15 year old.  And then came the second album which impressed me even further, time has pegged it a little further back in their overall album rankings but then it was fresh and new.....and of course that band was the Manic Street Preachers.  1993 saw them become my favourite band and they're unlikely to ever be dislodged from that status.

I suspect, as with 1992, that I was catching up a little in terms of the previous year so some of the albums I bought in 93 would have been from 92.  But those I did buy that year were the aforementioned Gold Against the Soul by the Manics, Senseless Things' Empire of the Senseless, Pearl Jam's Vs and Sepultura's Chaos AD, all on cassette (my dad had a CD player in 93 but I didn't, meaning that I could only ever play my only CD - Rollins Band's Tearing single - downstairs).

Another major first from 1993 was something that happened on the 5th October at Middlesbrough Town Hall - my first gig.  Headliners Carter USM were obviously the main draw but support band Sultans of Ping FC were also well known to me at the time through Where's Me Jumper and Stupid Kid and to be honest I think I ended up enjoying them more.  The first band on were called Blink, pretty unremarkable although I imagine they were the Blink that caused Blink 182 to add the 182 onto their name.

1993 was also the year I first started making music, if you can call it that.  In the March, a couple of months shy of my 15th birthday, I recorded 6 solo tracks under the name of Listy.  Predominantly recorded on keyboard they were pretty awful, one track even just consisting of me singing alternative words over the top of Shadow by The Lurkers (the actual song itself, not a cover), renaming it Neale James is a Saddo after the radio DJ.  In May me and my brother teamed up to record Totally Spontaneous Masterpieces under the name of Sludge From the Bottom.  A list of pre-planned song titles based on TV and in-jokes were created off the cuff using a keyboard, a guitar and our voices.  Filling a one hundred minute tape.  Let's just say I don't listen to it very often.

October and November saw a slightly higher standard of improvisation, although still pretty dire, as our main 90s collaborative band was born - Pyf Belly Machine.  Best of 93 Sessions and Forks Brain Cake by the Lake Near Cirencester were the could only go up from here.....

But enough of that, back to the proper music.....a smaller number of bands made the shortlist this time but didn't get in the final 75.  Those bands consisted of Primus, KMFDM, Brad, My Dying Bride, Duran Duran, Saint Etienne, Thousand Yard Stare, New Order and Clawfinger.  I've always had the feeling that after Stone Gossard was part of the Brad album that he was never the same again in Pearl Jam.  His songs became less frequent, maybe even less interested and given his songs were some of the classics on the first two Pearl Jam albums that was a shame (no pun intended surprisingly).

One of the possible reasons for the lack of new album buying in 93 could have been that in terms of media I was still only reading my brother's indie papers and magazines, while I was moving further and further into rock and metal territory in terms of what I was listening to.  So, as shown with the Manics, Senseless Things and Pearl Jam, I was largely sticking to what I already knew.  In 1994 I started buying my own magazines, which blew everything apart, but that's for next time.

1. Paradise Lost - Embers Fire
2. Manic Street Preachers - From Despair to Where
3. Pearl Jam - Rearviewmirror
4. Paradise Lost - True Belief
5. Senseless Things - Too Much Kissing
6. Die Krupps - Fatherland
7. Carcass - Heartwork
8. Sepultura - Territory
9. Sepultura - Refuse/Resist
10. Manic Street Preachers - La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)
11. Manic Street Preachers - Sleepflower
12. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
13. Pearl Jam - Go
14. Life of Agony - This Time
15. Pulp - Lipgloss
16. Skyscraper - Choke
17. Senseless Things - Primary Instinct
18. Mega City Four - Iron Sky
19. Life of Agony - Through and Through
20. Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
21. Die Krupps - Crossfire
22. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul to Squeeze
23. Faith No More/Boo-Yaa Tribe - Another Body Murdered
24. Tool - Sober
25. Senseless Things - Hold it Down
26. Senseless Things - Too Much Like I Know You
27. Manic Street Preachers - Donkeys
28. Carcass - Rot 'N' Roll
29. Manic Street Preachers - Life Becoming a Landslide
30. Manic Street Preachers - Roses in the Hospital
31. Carcass - This Mortal Coil
32. Sepultura - Slave New World
33. Sepultura - Biotech is Godzilla
34. Senseless Things - Homophobic Asshole
35. Manic Street Preachers - Patrick Bateman
36. Sultans of Ping FC - Stupid Kid
37. Sultans of Ping FC - You Talk Too Much
38. Life of Agony - River Runs Red
39. Pearl Jam - Animal
40. Pearl Jam - Daughter
41. Type O Negative - Black No. 1
42. Senseless Things - Keepsake
43. Suede - Animal Nitrate
44. Blur - For Tomorrow
45. Suede - So Young
46. Blur - Advert
47. Manic Street Preachers - Symphony of Tourette
48. Manic Street Preachers - Yourself
49. Paradise Lost - Widow
50. Paradise Lost - Dying Freedom
51. Pearl Jam - Glorified G
52. Carcass - Blind Bleeding the Blind
53. Sepultura - Propaganda
54. Carcass - Death Certificate
55. Cathedral - Midnight Mountain
56. Paradise Lost - Colossal Rains
57. Utah Saints - Something Good
58. Manic Street Preachers - Drug Drug Druggy
59. Manic Street Preachers - Gold Against the Soul
60. Pearl Jam - Leash
61. Die Krupps - Bloodsuckers
62. Sultans of Ping FC - Where's Me Jumper?
63. Blaggers ITA - Stresss
64. James - Sometimes
65. Napalm Death - Nazi Punks Fuck Off
66. Paradise Lost - Christendom
67. Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box
68. Senseless Things - Runaways
69. Kingmaker - 10 Years Asleep
70. Inspiral Carpets - How It Should Be
71. Breeders - Cannonball
72. Senseless Things - Tempting Kate
73. Pulp - Razzmatazz
74. Carter USM - Lean On Me I Won't Fall Over
75. Jesus Jones - The Devil You Know

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Top 75 of 1992

The last chart representing 1991 was the one where a whole new world of music opened up, there was something beneath the top 40 that was being fed to me and I dived in, discovering some new bands and sounds in the process.  I bought albums by The Farm, EMF and Flowered Up and dipped my toes into something more guitar-heavy with Extreme.  I taped a whole host of songs from the Evening Session and bought a few 7"s and cassette singles too.

In reality, quite a few of the albums that had songs featuring in the 1991 chart were albums I bought in 1992.  I'm talking Pearl Jam's Ten, Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik to mention a few, which was more of a representation of where my tastes were going in 1992.  The indie that I'd initially started with in 91 was more me taking on elements of my older brother's developing music tastes, 92 was more me finding what I wanted to listen to.

The first album I bought in 92 was Airhead's Boing, carrying on the indie theme of the previous year.  I then turned 14 in May 92 and I remember receiving Manic Street Preachers' Generation Terrorists on cassette and the white vinyl 12" of Pearl Jam's Even Flow for my birthday.  The Manics had played Middlesbrough Town Hall earlier that year and sadly I wasn't allowed to go as I was too young, my first gig still yet to happen.

Things took a different turn with my next two albums, Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine and KMFDM's Money, quite a strange leap into some of the lighter side of industrial.  Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and the Black Crowes followed as American rock bands started to creep into my collection, as well as the latest albums from some of my original crop of bands, The Farm, Extreme and EMF.

My favourite band in 1991 had been The Farm, but their 1992 album Love See No Colour didn't quite live up to expectations and only ended up with one song featured in this chart.  The Senseless Things took over as my favourite band, The First of Too Many cassette that I own may have even been my brother's that he gave to me as I liked it so much,  He definitely gave me his Got It At The Delmar cassette single and his Easy to Smile 12" (complete with Jamie Hewlett art print).  If you're wondering where they are in this chart they only released a couple of singles, which will be counted towards the 1993 chart as part of their Empire of the Senseless album.

I also started recording a rock and metal programme on TV, which was on in the middle of the night, called Raw Power.  On there was a feature about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, What Hits was duly purchased and a back catalogue would follow gradually over the next couple of years.  Raw Power exposed me to even heavier sounds which intrigued me, however I wasn't quite ready to delve even deeper yet.  I saw videos like Sepultura's Arise, Napalm Death's Mass Appeal Madness and Suffer the Children, Carcass' Corporal Jigsore Quandary, Obituary's The End Complete - I kept them on my video (filling the gaps between them with songs from The Chart Show) but they were kind of like weird curios, things I was interested in but not sure I actually liked.

Even though I couldn't quite reach the more extreme bands yet, my tastes got a little bit heavier still over the year.  Purchases of Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction and Faith No More's Angel Dust were important stepping stones.  Nine Inch Nails' Broken and Fixed took it even further, Fixed in particular being especially harsh on these 14 year old ears.

But as you can see from the chart entries, it wasn't all about the pursuit of heavier music.  Peppered with the likes of Mega City Four, The Frank and Walters, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Carter, Blur, Inspiral Carpets and Thousand Yard Stare there was plenty of room for the 1991-style indie contingent.  In fact there were quite a few more among those that made my shortlist but didn't chart, the full list being: The Fall, Electronic, The Shamen, Swervedriver, Young Gods, Ludicrous Lollipops, Eat, Catherine Wheel, Charlatans, Natural Life, Napalm Death, Murder Inc, Ride, Therapy?, White Zombie, Fatima Mansions, Screaming Trees, Skid Row, Extreme, The Cure, 2 Die 4, James and Obituary.

So 1992 ended up being a great year for music, riffs in particular being a massive part of this chart, with Pantera, Rage Against the Machine and Helmet being responsible for a lot of them.  And in their cases not only massive riffs but riffs that groove.  It was also a year where I was properly acquainted with the debut album by the band that would always remain my favourite......although I didn't quite know it yet, that would happen in 1993.......

1. Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark
2. Faith No More - Midlife Crisis
3. Nine Inch Nails - Wish
4. Manic Street Preachers - Stay Beautiful
5. Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness
6. Rage Against The Machine - Know Your Enemy
7. Rage Against The Machine - Killing in the Name
8. Pantera - Walk
9. Brutal Truth - Walking Corpse
10. Manic Street Preachers - You Love Us
11. Bolt Thrower - The IVth Crusade
12. Mega City Four - Stop.
13. Helmet - Unsung.
14. Helmet - In the Meantime.
15. Pantera - Mouth For War
16. Manic Street Preachers - Little Baby Nothing
17. Manic Street Preachers - Condemned to Rock 'N' Roll
18. Rage Against The Machine - Bullet in the Head
19. Rage Against The Machine - Bombtrack
20. Carter USM - The Only Living Boy in New Cross
21. The Farm - Mind
22. Lightning Seeds - The Life of Riley
23. Helmet - Turned Out
24. Rage Against The Machine - Wake Up
25. Nine Inch Nails - Gave Up
26. Manic Street Preachers - Slash N' Burn
27. Faith No More- Everything's Ruined
28. Pulp - Babies
29. Pantera - A New Level
30. The Levellers - 15 Years
31. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Intact
32. Faith No More - A Small Victory
33. Alice in Chains - Would?
34. Faith No More - Jizzlobber
35. Pantera - Fucking Hostile
36. Manic Street Preachers - Repeat
37. Manic Street Preachers - Love's Sweet Exile
38. Manic Street Preachers - Born To End
39. Frank & Walters - This Is Not A Song
40. Nine Inch Nails - Happiness In Slavery
41. Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
42. Paradise Lost - Pity the Sadness
43. Alice in Chains - Them Bones
44. Pearl Jam - State of Love and Trust
45. Faith No More - Land of Sunshine
46. EMF - They're Here
47. Manic Street Preachers - Nat West-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds
48. EMF - Search and Destroy
49. Manic Street Preachers - Another Invented Disease
50. Blur - Popscene
51. Rage Against The Machine - Take the Power Back
52. Helmet - Give It
53. EMF - Getting Through
54. Stone Temple Pilots - Plush
55. L7 - Everglade
56. Stone Temple Pilots - Sex Type Thing
57. Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray
58. Mega City Four - Shivering Sand
59. Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
60. Ugly Kid Joe - So Damn Cool
61. Pantera - This Love
62. Pantera - Hollow
63. Pantera - Regular People (Conceit)
64. Manic Street Preachers - Crucifix Kiss
65. Thousand Yard Stare - 0-0 aet
66. Airhead - Scrap Happy
67. Spin Doctors - Two Princes
68. Black Crowes - Sting Me
69. KMFDM - Money
70. Ministry - Hero
71. KMFDM - Bargeld
72. Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod
73. Bolt Thrower - Dying Creed
74. Bolt Thrower - Celestial Sanctuary
75. Inspiral Carpets - Two Worlds Collide

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Top 75 of 1991

All of the previous charts were looking back in a way.  Even though the last one covering 1990 had some songs in it that I liked at the time it was still mostly looking back, even if in some cases it was just a year or two.

1991 was a full year's worth of immersing myself in music that I was finding myself.  Me and my brother were listening to the Evening Session on Radio 1, I think I used to listen on a Tuesday evening and he would probably listen to it every other night as well as some other radio stations.  Being the older brother he was into it more and listened to a wide range of indie from baggy to shoegazing and all points in between.  And of course I'd listen to some of those bands too from simply being there when he was playing songs, stuff like the Stone Roses, Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets to others like Lush, Slowdive and Chapterhouse were bands I was hearing second hand.  Some of it I liked, others I didn't (*cough*, Slowdive) and I was on the lookout for bands that I could claim as my own.

Albums number 10, 11 and 13 in my collection would become those bands - namely The Farm's Spartacus, EMF's Schubert Dip and Flowered Up's A Life With Brian, all on vinyl (if you're wondering what album number 12 was it was covered in the 1990 chart - Extreme's Pornograffiti).  Singles by all three of those bands were also added to my collection along with Nine Inch Nails' Sin and The Black Crowes' Seeing Things to bring my collection up to 29 singles and 13 albums by the end of the year.  So while I was listening to a lot of new music, I wasn't particularly prolific in my record-buying during that year (probably because I was still only 13).

There were a lot of bands that missed out due to a huge shortlist this time around and I'll take the unusual step of listing them all this time.  So here we go: The Prodigy, Primal Scream, Ride, Inspiral Carpets, Top, Anthrax/Public Enemy, The Wendys, Curve, Lawnmower Deth, 2 Unlimited, The Waterboys, Chapterhouse, Carter USM, Skid Row, Five Thirty, Napalm Death, Scorpions, Northside, Mock Turtles, Wonder Stuff, Teenage Fanclub, Cicero, KLF and The Shamen.  Many of the songs concerned would have got into the top 50s of previous years and in fact for some bands they did have inferior songs which had been in those charts.  It was just their luck to hit an overcrowded year full of great albums and songs.  One good example of this is in the Senseless Things top 50 I did previously - When You Let Me Down made only no. 48 in the Senseless Things top 50 but was as high as 15 in the 1988 top 50.  However, Ex-Teenager was 25 places higher at no. 23 in their own chart but didn't even get in the 75 here.

Of the bands that did make it, it tended to be the indie ones that I was actually listening to in 1991 itself.  The chart that I compiled at the end of 1991 can be found here and its noticeable that bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers etc. that take up a decent chunk of this chart are absent.  The rock and metal bands mostly caught up in 1992, in some cases because they took that long to become hits over here, but also because I started to search further afield than just what my brother was listening to and find my own tastes.

So 1991 was the year music blew apart for me, but 1992 would end up being the year where I really started finding my pieces in the resulting wreckage.....

1. Manic Street Preachers - Motown Junk
2. Senseless Things - Easy to Smile
3. Pearl Jam - Alive
4. Pearl Jam - Black
5. Mega City Four - Words That Say
6. Metallica - Wherever I May Roam
7. Pearl Jam - Jeremy
8. Senseless Things - Got it at the Delmar
9. Metallica - Sad But True
10. Metallica - Nothing Else Matters
11. Metallica - Enter Sandman
12. Senseless Things - Should I Feel It
13. Manic Street Preachers - You Love Us
14. The Farm - Love See No Colour
15. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Happy
16. Pearl Jam - Even Flow
17. Soundgarden - Jesus Christ Pose
18. Senseless Things - Everybody's Gone
19. James - Sit Down
20. Sepultura - Arise
21. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
22. Pearl Jam - Porch
23. Pearl Jam - Once
24. Soundgarden - Rusty Cage
25. The Farm - All Together Now
26. Chesney Hawkes - The One and Only
27. Senseless Things - Can't Remember
28. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Man Without Qualities One
29. EMF - Children
30. Nirvana - In Bloom
31. Sepultura - Desperate Cry
32. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
33. Pearl Jam - Why Go
34. Flowered Up - Take It
35. Metallica - Through the Never
36. Metallica - The Unforgiven
37. Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
38. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away
39. Rollins Band - Tearing
40. Smashing Pumpkins - I Am One
41. Smashing Pumpkins - Siva
42. Rollins Band - Low Self Opinion
43. Swervedriver - Sandblasted
44. Smashing Pumpkins - Rhinoceros
45. Carcass - Corporal Jigsore Quandary
46. Paradise Lost - Gothic
47. Nirvana - Lithium
48. Metallica - Of Wolf And Man
49. Paris Angels - Perfume
50. Blur - Bang
51. Manic Street Preachers - Sorrow 16
52. Jesus Jones - Real, Real, Real
53. Catherine Wheel - Shallow
54. Ugly Kid Joe - Everything About You
55. Guns N' Roses - You Could Be Mine
56. Nirvana - Territorial Pissings
57. Nirvana - Breed
58. The Farm - Groovy Train
59. EMF - I Believe
60. Nirvana - Come As You Are
61. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Breaking the Girl
62. Soundgarden - Outshined
63. Pearl Jam - Garden
64. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss
65. REM - The One I Love
66. Senseless Things - Wrong Number
67. EMF - Unbelievable
68. Charlatans - Over Rising
69. REM - Losing My Religion
70. Red Hot Chili Peppers - If You Have to Ask
71. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I Could Have Lied
72. Ugly Kid Joe - Sweet Leaf/Funky Fresh Country Club
73. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
74. EMF - Lies
75. Sepultura - Dead Embryonic Cells

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Top 50 of 1990

1990 was a turning point of sorts for me.  Previously I had watched Top of the Pops and heard music generally and I had a record collection made up of about 10-15 singles and around 8 albums, but in terms of genre and identity they were all over the place, something I heard and liked - musical innocence in its purest form if you like.

In 1990 I turned 12 and started taping things from the top 40 with the intention of keeping it, I think I had already been doing this before but I don't think anything stuck around for very long.  I still have some of the recordings from 1990.  Me and my older brother also started making charts, our favourite 20 songs from this week's top 40, we would disappear off separately on Sunday night then come together and share them number by number.  You can find my top 40 for the year that I compiled at the time here.

If you look at that chart, it has some of the singles I bought that year (Gazza, Aztec Camera, FAB featuring MC Parker), it has plenty of pop that I couldn't necessarily recall today, but it also has the seeds of where I was about to go with my musical tastes.  My brother was starting to listen to indie music, in particular those associated with Manchester, baggy and associated hangers on for starters, hence the presence in that chart of the likes of The Charlatans and the Soup Dragons.  Within a year The Farm and EMF would release albums that would kick off my record collection proper, they would become "my" bands, but that's for the next blog.  As an aside the EMF and Farm songs featured there are eligible for the 1991 chart I'll be doing next as the albums were released then, rather than being separated out because the singles were released in 1990.

After a while I started to separate the tapes I had into Rock, Indie and Dance.  I had by far the most indie tapes, rock and dance were fairly equal for a time.  As you'll see below dance didn't stand the test of time with me, although my first rock tapes contained some entries in here like Holy Smoke, Thunderstruck and Hangar 18 as well as other songs that didn't quite make it (Poison's Unskinny Bop anyone?).

As with 1989, in particular with the American bands, some of the songs in this chart didn't become known over here until the following year as the world caught up.  So albums like Extreme's Pornograffiti and The Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker were two of the first rock albums I ever bought, just not actually in 1990.  Mix in some of the aforementioned indie and rock, throw in some Senseless Things, Pantera and Manics that I caught up with after discovering them in the next year or two and you have a very solid year of songs.  No really classic albums I don't think, but 1991 was poised and ready to change all that in a big way.........

1. Senseless Things - Tangled Lines
2. Megadeth - Holy Wars....The Punishment Due
3. Pantera - Cemetery Gates
4. Pantera - Domination
5. Inspiral Carpets - This is How it Feels
6. Senseless Things - Is It Too Late?
7. Iron Maiden - Bring Your the Slaughter
8. Charlatans - The Only One I Know
9. Megadeth - Hangar 18
10. Extreme - Decadence Dance
11. Black Crowes - Jealous Again
12. Black Crowes - Hard to Handle
13. The La's - There She Goes
14. AC/DC - Thunderstruck
15. Charlatans - Then
16. Manic Street Preachers - New Art Riot
17. Extreme - More Than Words
18. Black Crowes - She Talks to Angels
19. Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
20. Stone Roses - One Love
21. Manic Street Preachers - Strip it Down
22. Pop Will Eat Itself - 92°F
23. Extreme - Hole Hearted
24. Extreme - Get the Funk Out
25. Senseless Things - Leo
26. Carter USM - Rubbish
27. Happy Mondays - Step On
28. Extreme - It('s a Monster)
29. 1000 Homo DJs - Supernaut
30. Black Crowes - Stare it Cold
31. Slayer - War Ensemble
32. Black Crowes - Twice as Hard
33. Extreme - Song For Love
34. Napalm Death - Suffer the Children
35. Napalm Death - Vision Conquest
36. Extreme - He-Man Woman Hater
37. Black Crowes - Sister Luck
38. Inspiral Carpets - She Comes in the Fall
39. Happy Mondays - Loose Fit
40. Extreme - Pornograffiti
41. Megadeth - Rust in Peace....Polaris
42. Helmet - Repetition
43. Iron Maiden - Holy Smoke
44. Pantera - Heresy
45. New Order - World in Motion
46. James - Come Home
47. Aztec Camera - Good Morning Britain
48. Megadeth - Tornado of Souls
49. Megadeth - Lucretia
50. Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Top 50 of 1989

All of the preceding charts were a mixture of childhood pop reminiscence and time-travelling discovery at a later date, but by 1989 the pop had dried up.....or maybe it hasn't stood the test of time particularly well. Perhaps I was also growing out of it as the likes of Stock/Aitken/Waterman were taking over the charts.  All the songs that made it onto my pop shortlist ended up losing out including Technotronic's Pump Up the Jam, Bobby Brown's My Prerogative and On Our Own and the one that came closest, Jason Donovan's Too Many Broken Hearts (perhaps assisted by my later cover), the latter two expanding my ever growing 7" collection.

In 1989 I turned 11, so I don't think I was aware of most of the songs here in that year but I certainly became aware of most of them over the next 2 or 3 years.  Many of these songs and albums were part of my grounding in music even if it didn't necessarily take place in that year, in fact a few of the albums featured here didn't actually break over here until subsequent years, with an accompanying breakthrough single.

So with pop gone and the two bands that dominated the 80s charts, Iron Maiden and Metallica, between albums it allowed other bands to shine.  Bands like Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura and Soundgarden produced very good albums in 1989, in all cases they would follow it up with one even better that would further shape my tastes in years to come.  The Senseless Things' Postcard CV in particular was a huge influence on my own songwriting and was another that was to be followed up by even greater songs.

The musical landscape, as well as what would become my musical taste, was starting to change, definitely for the better with a new rock/alternative slant and a healthy dose of indie pushing its way in.  My musical awakening was beginning.....

1. Senseless Things - Too Much Kissing
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
3. Faith No More - Epic
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Knock Me Down
5. Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole
6. Faith No More - From Out of Nowhere
7. Senseless Things - Teenage
8. Stone Roses - I Am the Resurrection
9. Senseless Things - Standing in the Rain
10. Nine Inch Nails - Sin
11. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction
12. Nine Inch Nails- Terrible Lie
13. Faith No More - Falling to Pieces
14. Extreme - Mutha (Don't Wanna Go To School Today)
15. Faith No More - The Real Thing
16. Stone Roses - Waterfall
17. Manic Street Preachers - Suicide Alley
18. Sepultura - Inner Self
19. Sepultura - Beneath the Remains
20. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Taste the Pain
21. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Nobody Weird Like Me
22. Faith No More - Woodpecker From Mars
23. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stone Cold Bush
24. Soundgarden - Loud Love
25. Senseless Things - Girlfriend
26. Senseless Things - Back to Nowhere
27. Carter USM - Sheriff Fatman
28. Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
29. Senseless Things - Trevor
30. Stone Roses - Made of Stone
31. Nirvana - About a Girl
32. Soundgarden - Hands All Over
33. Extreme - Play With Me
34. Senseless Things - Someone in You
35. Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums
36. Extreme - Flesh 'N' Blood
37. Nine Inch Nails - Sanctified
38. Faith No More - Zombie Eaters
39. Inspiral Carpets - Find Out Why
40. Pop Will Eat Itself - Def.Con.One
41. Wonder Stuff  - Don't Let Me Down, Gently
42. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky
43. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Subway to Venus
44. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Good Time Boys
45. Nine Inch Nails - Down In It
46. Bolt Thrower - World Eater
47. Sepultura - Mass Hypnosis
48. Extreme - Kid Ego
49. Extreme - Little Girls
50. Nine Inch Nails - Ringfinger