A brief history of The Chart Show’s indie charts in the late 90s
If you can’t engage in pointless nostalgia at the end of a decade, when can you do it? Being as Heinz have fucked up the flavour of their tomato soup recently (either that or my tastebuds have become warped from too much time fucking with Covent Garden cartons), old compilations of adverts on Youtube have become the greatest comforter in my life. There is something strangely safe about being annoyed by those faux-Spike Lee Sprite adverts again, or hearing the Direct Line jingle before going “wait, aren’t those adverts still on?”, or enjoy Alan Shearer’s Emmy-winning turn in that one McDonalds advert. Anyway, while those are truly great, there is something to be said for the guys who’ve for some reason uploaded nearly every indie chart from The Chart Show throughout the 90s to Jewtube, wherein instead of being reminded of Schweppes Schizan and Cadbury’s Astros you can instead be reminded of yet another third-tier Britpop act. Fanastic. Here’s five of our favourites:
June 13th, 1998
“Eat My Goal” presumably on a rerelease to coincide with Ivan Zamorano doing it big on the main stage in that year’s World Cup. Collapsed Lung must have made so much money from whoring that song out it’s unbelievable. Urusei Yatasura were fucking dope and made that summer a little bit easier for me, soundtracking hella Worms Armageddon marathons. Money Mark, on the other hand, didn’t. Ultrasound: they had a fat dude in them. That was it. Now we’ve got Antony Hegarty and Beth Ditto and Eminem, we expect our fattey singers to get up to antics IRL as well, rather than just make shitty prog indie. There really has never been any need for Super Furry Animals. Time has healed the wounds of the time: “Come Back To What You Know” should be filed alongside “Slight Return” in that “OK, these dudes weren’t killing music this is a pretty good song y’know no seriously I’m not being funny”. Hey look it’s John Robb! What a fucking cock! Gomez were only ever of any use when that one dude turned up on that Eels song as the voice of the dead. Spiritualized are just unnecessary to anyone born after 1976.
March 21st, 1998
One from… not even the arse-end of Britpop, more like the winnet of shit on the buttockhair of Britpop. A stunning batch of the mediocre and awful here. Hurricane #1 kill both their career and credibility in the space of three minutes by doing an advert for The Sun, Andy Bell seemingly using his thirty pieces of silver to buy the costume those NoWaySis dudes wore when their act was hot in 1996. The Jennifers featured here aren’t Danny Goffey’s pre-Supergrass, pre-wifeswapping parties with Jude Law act, but rather some Scottish chancers optimistically hoping the Seattle sound revival would have happened by 1998. Mainstream were apparently dubbed the “saviours of rock” by Select Magazine at the time, and if you can’t see how music could be rescued by five guys with Suede’s record label behind them and a bunch of Doors albums in their tourbus, then you’re a lesser man than me. One of Space died this year. Good. Time has made me more amiable to Lion Rock, but Black Grape are still terrible. I really miss having Tjinder Singh around as a race-baiting troll, especially the time he smashed up an Idlewild CD while doing the NME’s singles review column because they were “all that’s wrong with whiteboy music”. As opposed to big beat, TS, huh? I have nothing to say about The Make-Up, but Bernard Butler probably could have done with dying in 1999 and making himself an actually memorable figure in indie history. “Yes” hasn’t aged well, and people actually liked that at the time, so his fully solo stuff isn’t going to get any love over here. Never cared for The Delgados, but it was nice they were out there doing their thing imo.
August 7th, 1997
I’d never heard of Ricky Spontane before now, my guess is Steve Lamacq played them twice on consecutive Thursdays at 9:47 and that was enough to convince 12 people to buy their record. Before we had a shit tonne of bands with “Wolf” and “Crystal” in their name, we had a bunch with “China” in (China Drum, China Black, China Crisis, some others). A lot of punk bands who formed in the late 80s must have been swearing like troupers when Green Day, The Offspring and NOFX broke through in the mid 90s, because they must have realised they all looked just a little too old to hang with them. Pretty sure Linoleum were somebody’s idea of a joke, although where central casting found that near-infinite supply of chicks who looked like recently fired 60s go-go dancers to front these bands I have no idea. I… kinda like “The King of All Time” by The Levellers. It reminds me of playing Sim City 2000 and naming all my cities and sports teams after X-Files characters. I was 14 at the time. “Magic Piper of Love” was Edwyn Collins’ certified wood follow-up to that one hit he had. “Lazy Line Painter Jane” is a fucking banger, and if your heart doesn’t leap when “Let’s see your kit for games” kicks in you really have no business reading this damn blog. Stuart Murdoch used to have the skinniest arms in the business as well, reminiscent of either dead Welsh boxer Johnny Owen, or the stickman from the hilarious “xkcd” comics.
January 25th, 1997
Kinda dreading the day when I “get into” Napalm Death tbh, because that’ll be when I’ve finally reached some level of comfort with my obesity and accept that I’ll never be thin. The Boo Radleys star in a very special episode of Reboot. Sidi Bou Said just look like generic “female rockers dicking around in a multicoloured video that Beavis and Butthead get mildly entertained by”. I saw Chris Thingy from 3 Colours Red at Coventry train station in 1999. He had fans hanging off him like flies around shit. I was trying to think of a top 10 guitar band from that era who’ve had less impact on modern music, and for the life of me I can’t remember if Electrasy did go top 10. Placebo’s debut album is probably one of the 100 greatest records of all-time, and although we go to bat harder for “Bruise Pristine” than “Nancy Boy” around here, sometimes you gotta play the hits. Really can’t be bothered to run through a list of “lol romo” gags just because Boutique are in this. “All I Want” is a little bit special, and not just because it brings back joyous memories of wasting pocket money in the Crazy Taxi machine. There’s just something ballsy about making your major label debut single a sub-two minute thrashout. “Saturday Night” was the worst Suede single until “Head Music”, then all bets were off. GEDGE~!
April 13th, 1996
Complete with oh-so-90s “bouncing through a maze” graphics. It’s like something from Motormouth. Smaller, replete with Noel Gallagher filling in for a few tracks whenever he had the time on their album. You know how Rock of Love > Flava of Love because metal skanks > rap skanks? I think indie weedcarriers may be more worthy of celebration and mockery than rap wc’s. “Stupid Girl” is still a banger in 2009, and reminds me happily of the girl who used to go to my school who was a big Garbage fan and had massive tits. I just searched for her on Facebook and in her display photo she is wrapped up in toilet roll and wearing a tinsel garnish on her head. You tell me. Pour one out for your man from Lush who hung himself, because he played drums on probably the only 10/10 track from the Britpop era (“Animal Nitrate” is maybe only a 9.8 because Brett Anderson is just the worst kidn of person). Compulsion were Jacknife Lee’s band before he became easily the greatest remixer and producer of the noughties, what an amazingly talented individual. When Patrick Macnee dies, all of the eulogy montages of his career are going to end with him popping his head out in that Oasis video. And that’s going to be even more tragic than the fact he’s dead. He was raised by a lesbian couple, you know? Spare Snare are some Scottish shit nobody cares about. Snuff are some English shit that for some reason a lot of people care about. Hearing the rest of Rocket from the Crypt’s catalog is like hearing the fifty #1 singles Nena had in Germany for the first time, it really isn’t helping anyone. This chart comes from the month when Bis were the most important band in the UK, being the first unsigned band to make the top 40 (apart from, y’know, Prince and Cliff Richard) and for a while it looked as if the reaction to Britpop would be deformed ageplayers shrieking like a stuck pig on a sugar rush. Manda Rin has some terminal illness now, so, y’know, one love. I forgot how Scottish her fucking accent was.