Top Of The World

The Christmas edition of the NME used to be a big thing. Now the NME is given away for free by the doors in Top Shop but it was always a big deal back in the day. Double sized (88 pages!), albums and tracks of the year, alternative rock stars and indie bands in fancy dress, Shaun and Bez pissed and stoned… enough to keep you going through the long hours when there’s nothing to do at a family Christmas.

In 1989 The Stone Roses were the NME’s band of the year and it flew them out to Switzerland for photographs on top of a mountain. That year they had done a nationwide tour picking up converts on a daily basis, put out their debut album plus 3 singles, and played two era-defining gigs (at Blackpool in August and Ally Pally in November, plus Top Of The Pops). The two album based singles had B-sides that were as good as most of the album tracks (Made Of Stone in March had Going Down, She Bangs The Drum in July had Standing Here and Mersey Paradise). In November they put out the double A-side of Fool’s Gold and What The World Is Waiting For, a game changer if ever there was one. They would never be that good again and in some ways 1990 would do for them- they stalled and lost the lightness of touch and sureness that in 1989 had put them on top of the world.

This Is The One

A year later NME’s writers crowned Happy Mondays as the band that made 1990 tick. In the summer Step On made them pop stars. In November they put out Kinky Afro, produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne, a move that found them with a sound perfectly suited for the times and with a lyric that is unmatched. The extended Euromix (by Oakenfold and Osborne) made its way onto various releases (the USA and Australia both got the Euromix). My mp3 version is from The Factory Tape that came with Select magazine in 1991.

Kinky Afro (Euromix)

I’ve not posted Low’s Just Like Christmas yet this year, something I have done most Decembers at Bagging Area. It is a delight, from the rattling drums and sleigh bells to the sweetly sung words describing the band travelling from Stockholm to Oslo in the snow while on tour.

Just Like Christmas

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas, whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re doing it. See you in a few days for the post-Christmas lull.

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Taped

Michael is more than happy for me to share with you the Factory cassette given away with Select magazine in 1991. If your eyesight can’t make out the text from the inlay card above you’ve got songs by Northside, New Order, Cath Carroll, Happy Mondays, The Wendys, Revenge, Electronic and Vini Reilly. A mixed bag but definitely worth grabbing. All the songs can be found here as individual files. The tape was given a Factory catalogue number, a real honour. The Factory catalogue numbering system is worth a post of its own at some point I think.

You can also get Michael’s mp3s of the Creation Records compilation tape here (Sheer Taft, Love Corporation, Boo Radleys, Swervedriver, Slowdive, The Telescopes, Teenage Fanclub, Silverfish and Bill Drummond, almost all rare, out-of-print songs). If you click here you can find the Secret Tracks 2 compilation (Primal Scream, Ride, St Etienne, One Dove, Aphex Twin, Lush and Frank Black amongst others). All transferred from gloriously hissy cassette, Drew’s favourite format. Dive in.

Moves Like You

Factory Friday. Reader Michael recently got in touch. He kindly pointed me in the direction of some mp3s he had of various cassettes that came with Select magazine, including the Factory Records one (which had the honour of a Factory catalogue number, FAC 305c. These things matter.) Two of the songs on the tape are by Factory legend Cath Carroll. Originally a member of Manchester’s punk band Glass Animals, later renamed Gay Animals, they had the intention of being ‘the lesbian Rolling Stones’. To a bit more acclaim she formed Miaow who were on the famous NME indie compilation c86 (possibly at least partly through her connections as an NME writer). Miaow signed to Factory in 1987 but disbanded a year later. Cath recorded a solo album for Factory- England Made Me released in 1991. This song is a lovely piece of indie-electropop. Tony Wilson always said she should have been a massive star.

Moves Like You

Michael has links for the full Factory cassette, the Secret Tracks compilation and the Creation one too. I’ll check to see if he doesn’t mind you having a look at them. Sharing is caring.