Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 1

creation

Creation

And I think you’ve all guessed our number one, right?  No massive surprises.

In the ten years between 1990 and 1999 Creation records released more ground breaking and life changing records than most record labels do in their entire lives.  The fact that they were an ‘indie’ was all the more astonishing.  By the time 2000 came around, indie was pretty much the mainstream as Oasis, a Creation band, were by now the biggest band on the planet (just but they were making a good attempt to throw it all down the toilet).  To be honest between 1990 and 1996 if a record wasn’t on Creation Records then in all honesty it probably wasn’t worth owning (apart from all the other releases on the labels that we’ve mentioned earlier in the month, obviously – logic ed)

There are so many tracks that we could post at the end of this piece.  In fact we could (and still might) do an entire month of records just released on Creation Records.  I mean just think about the records that were released by them in a nine year period, the majority of them are bleeding masterpieces.

Lets play a game, your house is on fire, (I hope it actually isn’t and please tonight, just check your smoke alarm batteries for me so I can sleep easy tonight) and you have just enough to grab the essentials and to grab THREE of any of the ten singles below (and we admit that you may wish to grab others).  Which would you choose…?

Me, it would be number 1, 2 and 5 but I’d be badly burnt trying to get the rest out, which is why I have posted 4, 9 and 10 obviously.

  1. ‘Come Together’ by Primal Scream
  2. ‘Drive Blind’ by Ride,
  3. ‘A Good Idea’ by Sugar,
  4. Sparkys Dream’ by Teenage Fanclub,
  5. ‘Lazarus’ by the Boo Radleys,
  6. ‘Upside Down’ by The Jesus and Mary Chain
  7. ‘Colombia’ by Oasis
  8. ‘Soon’ by My Bloody Valentine
  9. Hometown Unicorn’ by Super Furry Animals
  10. Son of A Mustang Ford  by Swervedriver

Incidentally these are probably then ten finest tracks released on Creation Records, Badger put a decent case together for ‘Shine On’ by The House of Love and we need to tip our hats in the direction of Adorable for ‘Sunshine Smile’ but I reckon I’m just about right here.

Now tomorrow should be November, which means….

Over to KT.

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 2

 

fcuk

Dedicated Records

Aaah memories.  I have three wonderful memories of 1991 that are connected to bands signed to Dedicated Records.

In 1991, two of my favourite bands were signed to Dedicated Records. They were of course The Family Cat and Spiritualized.

Steamroller

Feel So Sad (Rhapsodies)

At the time I thought I was ever so indie because here I was loving two bands that very few people that I knew had ever heard of.  I genuinely thought I had discovered them.  Then I saw them live and I realised that I was a naïve little puppy and I had not discovered these bands but had rather been invited into an exclusive little club.

I saw Spiritualized first in 1991, in a room inside a college at Kent University.  The gig I, you may recall, went to see with my Dad and two of my mates.  He stood at the bar and held court to a bunch of students, dissecting music history with gay abandon and telling anyone who would listen that the Beatles were ‘rubbish’.  On the way home, as two of my mates slept in the back, my dad stuck on a cassette of Otis Redding and told me about one of his heroes.   It was the first time that I realised that my dad, like me, had heroes and was once a young man.

The price that evening was £2.  It was the ‘Feel So Sad’ single tour.  I have seen them tour every single album since then (apart from the latest one) and they never fail to make me beam like a Cheshire Cat on happy drugs.

I saw The Family Cat for the first on time on May 29th 1991, at a place called The Dome in Tufnell Park, London.   I went with a girl called Karen and her friend Lucy.  We spent the night at Lucy’s big sisters flat over in the East End near Bethnall Green.  I felt very grown up as we sat the next night in a student bar.  I sat in the bar there and read the student paper of Queen Mary Westfield Students Union and thought it was rubbish and right about then I decided that I could probably write much better (and the jury is still very much out on that decision) and I also decided that I wanted to go to college and then University and learn how to be a journalist (as it happens I didn’t actually study journalism in the end).  I sat on Lucy’s sisters sofa about two hours later, fuelled by vodka and lime and told Karen in an attempt to sound cool that one day I would write for the NME (that didn’t happen) to much laughter.

In July 1991, I went to something called The Slough Festival.  It was headlined by Creation records pretty boys Ride.  After the festival Dubstar Chris and I were ligging about failing in a pathetic attempt to get backstage by pretending to be journalists (“Please, I need the loo” was about the strength of our argument).  However, through the fence there I met two lads from a band called Chapterhouse and for about fifteen minutes I sat and chatted with them through a fence about what it was like to play a festival and tour and release records and stuff.  As I stood up to leave, the band asked me which magazine I wrote for again, and I shook my head and said I didn’t, but then an idea popped into my head.  “I write for a fanzine” I said/lied.  “if you give me a forwarding address I’ll send you a copy of the next issue of ‘Dive’” (it was the first word that came into my head).  Within twenty seconds I had their manager’s card.  So it was there that I decided that Chris and I were going to make our own fanzine (which we did, it lasted for two issues, before Chris decided he wanted to turn it into a Viz tribute comic)

Aah memories

Mesmerise

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 3

subpop

Sub Pop

You are all probably aware of that legend that surrounds the Velvet Underground (the one that says only 50 people bought their debut album but all of them formed a band).  Well the same thing can be said about Mudhoney and ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’.  The original press of it was limited to 800 copies – and everyone who bought one probably formed a band.

My first experience of Sub Pop Records was in March 1990, in Dubstar Chris’ bedroom.  He stuck on a tape that a mate of his had made for him.  It was track 3 on side two and after it had finished I sat there open mouthed, dribbling slightly.  I had just heard ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ by Mudhoney.  I can honestly say that four minutes after hearing that I wanted to pick up a guitar, strap a load of distortion effect pedals to it and make an unholy beautiful racket with it.  Which is kind of what I just heard.

Touch Me I’m Sick (SP18)

It has to be said before ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ Sub Pop was nearly bankrupt, largely because the first 17 releases on the label consisted of four minutes of shouting and unfeasibly screechy guitars.

After the success of Mudhoney, Sub Pop signed bands like Nirvana (and the success of ‘Bleach’ pretty much funded the label for the next fifteen years, it remains one of two records released on Sub Pop to sell more than 1 million copies) and Sub Pop become synonymous with something called ‘the Seattle Sound’ and they were largely responsible for the grunge explosion that occurred between 1989 and 1993.

After grunge kind of floated away (perhaps preferring to fade away rather than burn out) Sub Pop branched out beyond the traditional grunge sound.   In 1999 they signed their first ever hip hop act (Evil Tambourines) and ten years later they signed their second, the wonderful Shabazz Palaces (and Ishmael Butler, one half of the band is currently their head of A&R).

Motion Sickness

This year Sub Pop celebrates its thirtieth year (actually its more than that but I’m not going to argue with them) and here are my two favourite bands currently signed to Sub Pop.

French Press – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Cellophane – Metz

 

Todays Featured artist…Number 9…Stylo G

stylo

Money Man – The 2 Bears featuring Stylo G

If you ask me there has always been a reggae dancehall element to TSOBO.

Today’s featured artist is Stylo G (real name Jason McDermott – TSOBO Rule#9 If you can, always reveal an artists real name).  A Jamaican reggae fusion artist who smashed the UK Top 20 with his song ‘Soundbwoy’, which sadly I don’t have to post. He also made a record with Clean Bandit.  Who are inexplicably massive.

A few years back Stylo made a record with The 2 Bears, who are, for those who live in a house which has a dance music proof roof, an off shoot of Hot Chip.  They are purveyors of some damn fine house music.  ‘Money Man’ features on their second album ‘The Night Is Young’ and I happen to quite like it.

I think I will point out that the ‘featured artists’ are chosen at random from a long list on the computer which was provided by KT.  I really have no say in it.

See You

 

Cover Me – Number 25

jeff B

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – Super Furry Animals

Originally by The S****s

Also covered by Jeff Buckley as well (hence the photo)

Ok.  Both Badger and I promised ourselves that we would never mention the makers of the original version of this on this blog.  It is TSOBO Rule #7 (never mention M********) because of the actions and mouth of their lead singer – which frankly disgust and massively disappoint us, so we are going to skirt over it.  The we remembered TSOBO Rule #8 (If you have the original of a cover version you must post it on the Cover Me Series) so we are in a difficult situation here, one we have sort of created for ourselves.  So that is why you have stars.  I mean if you can’t work it out the you probably need to go back to indie school or something.   I don’t think this is the last time we will do it either.

So lets talk about the Super Furry Animals version, largely because it is what I will describe as unique.  It was initially recorded by the band for a CD which was given away with a French Music Magazine and sees the band translate the original lyrics into French – and sees the band adopt a half French half Mancunian accent to deliver it.  It doesn’t quite work if you ask me, but it is obviously still about six hundred thousand times better than the original.

 

 

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 4

domino

Domino

The other week, it absolutely howled it down in Devon.  The wind swirled, the rain pelted.  The roads were blocked by trees, branches, crashed cars, abandoned high sided lorries.  It was pretty bad.  For a chap like me who is still unable to drive due to my ankle (its nearly there, thanks for asking) I am reliant on either buses, lifts or trains to get about.  On this particular day, I had been dropped off at the train station in order to get to a meeting in Exeter.  The line is a beautiful ride, it hugs the sea all the way to the Exe Estuary and then into Exeter and when the sun rises above the water it is like nowhere else on Earth.  It takes about 20 minutes and without sounding like a dork, I recommend it to you,

Although not on this particular day.  Today the sea decides that it doesn’t want to be beautiful, today the sea decides that it hates trains and is therefore going to throw waves over the top of it.  Which then thanks to the actions of one spotty oik, comes in the window that he has left open, deliberately and floods the thing.  Then they discover something called a ‘sinkhole’ under the track which is physically pulling the line into the sea.

So we are dumped off the train at a place called Dawlish, there is nothing in Dawlish (well there is a decent chippy, a brand new Safari mini golf course and a fairly good charity shop where I once bought the album that contains this – Tourism Ed) and we have to wait for a bus.  We wait an hour and then genuinely two come along at once. We crawl into Exeter about an hour after that. For the entire journey I had been sat next to a bloke who was so fat he had his own postcode and smelt of Cheese and Onion Ringos, I literally couldn’t move and my ankle seized up because of it causing the kids behind me to laugh as it gave way when I stood up after 45 minutes of not moving it.

All this is a long way of telling you that Domino Records had to wait 12 years for a number one record and then in the space of two weeks they had two.  One in the album charts and one in the singles charts.  The album that reached the top of the charts was ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’ by Franz Ferdinand.

Walk Away

The single that went to number was of course, momentarily, one of the fastest selling debut singles of all time and made superstars out of The Arctic Monkeys.

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor 

Domino Records is also the home of one of the greatest acts of all time, Four Tet, who should have had at least twenty seven number one records up to now –  which means that we can post this

My Angel Rocks Back and Forth

 

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 5

werthers

Rough Trade

When I gave Badger the list of the 25 labels that we were going to rank way back at the end of the summer, he thought it was a good idea, until he got to Rough Trade.  He looked at me and asked whether or not I mean Rough Trade 1 or Rough Trade 2.

I looked at him in a quizzical way and he sighed, relit his pipe, reached for his china pot of Werther Originals, patted his knee, and reached into the drawer for his ‘Big Book of Pop History’.  I snuggled into his warm cardigan, gently brushing away the waft of St Bruno, took a sip of my orange squash and started to listen.

“You see, young man…” he started, “In the the late 70s and early 80s Rough Trade was the place to go for all your post punk and indie pop records and for a while it was quite an exciting label”.  I was engrossed and looked up into his brown badger-y eyes and urged him to continue.

“They were the first indie label to release an album that sold over 100,000 copies” he continued, puffing away like a Huddersfield version of Ivor the Engine.  “It gave us ground breaking music by the likes of Scritti Politti, Stiff Little Fingers and Desperate Bicycles” and then he stopped, his voice cracking like the fire we sat beside.

“What happened?” I asked quickly followed by “Can I have a Jaffa Cake?”.

He sighed again and passed over the packet.  “They blew the budget on this irritating novelty act from Manchester, whose singer stuck carnations up his jacksie”.

He pushed me off his lap tipped his pipe into the bin and turned up Radio 4.

“Oh” I said.  Shocked at the anger in his voice.

I looked down at the list sitting in my grubby paws, which had been made sticky by the magical orangey bit of the Jaffa Cake and Werther Originals, grabbed a small betting shop pencil from the sideboard and slowly and carefully added a “2” next to the words “Rough Trade”.

I Get Along – The Libertines

Barely Legal – The Strokes

Carrion – British Sea Power

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 6

4ad

4AD Records

A few weeks back, me (SWC) and a bunch of chaps from the village I live in travelled up to Bristol to see Future Islands (we have formed a ‘Dads Group’ in order to embrace our inner dad and have an excuse to go to the pub without our better halves).  They are a band who have divided opinion over the last few years but they are a band that I happen to love.  Anyway, the gig is supposed to be one of the opening shows at a new venue being built in Bristol called St Georges Gate, basically a small arena, with an outdoor area for food, drink etc, which is supposed to give every gig held there ‘a festival feel’.  Great idea.

It is also right next door to Temple Meads the main train station in the city and therefore perfect for those travelling.  Or it should have been had they actually finished the venue before the concert took place.

We had all been looking forward to the gig because, as, I’ve stated above, it had a festival feel about it.  It promised, a beer tent, award winning food, outdoor entertainment and all that.  The tickets were priced £35 each, which we thought was good value because we were getting bands, beer, food and what sounded like Bristol’s best street magician.

The venue was obviously changed, to the home of rock music, Ashton Gate home of Bristol City FC.  A team I once memorably lead to Champions League Glory on Championship Manager 2010, beating a Ronaldo lead Real Madrid 2-1 in the final in Stockholm.  Jan Klaus Huntelaar scored a terrific winner, against his old team.  I digress.

So we all rock up, expecting a beer festival and all that, to find outside the venue, one beer truck, a small chip van, a bloke with a pizza oven and a professional BBQ and it was raining.  We assumed that there would be more inside the venue – on the pitch where we expected the gig to be.

So we joined the queue to get into the stadium.  It was then that we found out that the gig was in the foyer (lobby if you are American) of the stadium.  Basically the gig was in a glorified hallway, there was no street magicians, food, or anything else. It was disappointing.  Future Islands were magnificent obviously.

Beauty of the Road

Future Islands are of course on 4AD Records, who have for more than 30 years been giving us brilliant music.  Here are two more of my favourite tracks that have been released on 4AD

Demons – The National

River Euphrates – Pixies

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 7

hut

Hut Records

What follows below is an exact reconstruction of a conversation in that took place in a meeting and lead to why between 1991 and 2001, nearly everything that was released on Hut Records was essential listening.  Probably.

What you have to remember is that Hut Records started out in life a label that specialised in promoting music that ‘made the listener look down at their shoes, sway a little, and flop their fringe about a bit’.  In other words it released shoegaze records from the likes of Moose and Revolver.

And by and large they were ok. Apart from the Moose and the Revolver records.

But (and here is where the story begins) one day, the manager of Hut, one David Boyd, was in a meeting with the manager of Caroline Records, and a bunch of other labels who all collectively came under the Virgin roster.   In that meeting the bosses were all talking about how the acts on the labels were doing (actually I have no idea what goes in these meetings, I am using something called imagination here) and David, with his fringe all floppy (again I have no idea what David looks like, I am, again imagining) whilst looking down at his shoes, said to the boss of Caroline, “I could sell more copies of ‘Gish’ than your entire record company could”.   A small argument ensued, and the big lad from V2 records had to dish out a couple of Chinese Burns to stop the boys from Caroline and Hut arguing.

But, the big boss, one Richard Branstons Pickle (I bet he’s never heard that one before – gag ed), agreed with the chap from Hut, and immediately transferred the Pumpkins over to Hut, who then got caught up in the Nirvana boom and made the label a few billion pound.

Within six months, Hut had signed The Verve and the rest was rock history and that folks is pretty much why Hut Records was so important because of a conversation (slightly over imagined) between two labels.

She’s A Superstar

Over the next ten years, so many amazing were released on Hut, records by the likes of Gomez, Embrace, Placebo, McAltmont & Butler and u-Ziq, I mean even These Animal Men released a semi decent record on Hut Records.

Hut Records was of course, also the home to The Auteurs, which gives us the chance to repost this

Show Girl, because it is utterly brilliant.

Hut also signed a band who were irritatingly called The Music, who were for about six weeks, the future of rock.  The Music basically tried to reinvent baggy and it sort of worked, they were all about the groove and long old songs with no words, swirling guitars and freaky organ noises.  They also had an enigmatic lead singer in Rob Harvey, who before, he discovered some really strong drugs and made friends with Mike Skinner from The Streets, was nearly the new Robert Plant.

They also had a knack for catchy radio friendly song titles.

You Might as well try to Fuck Me

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 8

fac51

Factory Records

As promised our Monday morning quiz.  There is a prize although all the answers can be found on the Internet.  Leave your answers as a comment below and if we think you haven’t cheated and score more than everyone else that we think hasn’t cheated you will win a Factory related prize.  If it’s a tie we will draw a name out of Badger’s New York Mets baseball cap.

Question One

What was the Catalogue Number of Joy Divisions first release on Factory Records?

  1. FAC – 2
  2. FAC – 10
  3. FAC – 13

Question Two

What was FAC – 8?

  1. A portrait of Tony Wilson that hung in his office
  2. An Egg Timer that was never made
  3. A Ford Cortina owned by Peter Saville

Question Three

What was special about the first 2000 copies of FAC 14 ‘The Return of the Durutti Column’ album?

  1. It contained a flexi disc of New Order tracks
  2. The sleeve was made out of sandpaper
  3. It had ‘I love Brian Robson scrawled into the vinyl’

Question Four

What was the catalogue number of ‘Hymn From a Village’ by James

  1. FAC 119
  2. FAC 121
  3. FAC 123

Question Five

What is FAC 212?

  1. A party at the G Mex, Manchester
  2. Wrote for Luck by the Happy Mondays
  3. A bottle of the Hacienda House Wine.

Question Six

A flick book was produced in 1988 to celebrate the re release of ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order what was the catalogue number of the flick book

  1. FAC 232
  2. FAC 235
  3. FAC 245

Question Seven

Michael Winterbottom made a film of Factory Records starring Steve Coogan as Anthony H Wilson, the film was given a catalogue number what was it?

  1. FAC 396
  2. FAC 400
  3. FAC 401

And finally

Question Eight

What is FAC 501?

  1. Tony Wilson’s coffin
  2. The Hacienda set from the ’24 Hour Party People’ Film
  3. A Magazine featuring New Order.

I mean you’ve got to love Factory Records haven’t you.