Sunday, July 27, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and...Well, Friday I'm in Love: Weekly Mix #27

I had been toying with the idea of having a Britpop mix for one of these weeks, but at the same time, felt like it would be a bit boring (despite the fact I find the whole "Cool Britannia" and "Britpop" phenomenon fascinating in a cultural and political way). Not to mention the fact that I refuse to post any Oasis on this blog at any time. So, next I thought I could post a mix of lesser known or lauded Britpop artists. And then The Vinyl Villain started a series of lesser known Britpop artists, and as that concept is much better in his more than capable hands, I decided just to make a mix of British artists that I enjoy. To prevent it from becoming a game of Russian roulette with my iTunes shuffle function, I tried to focus on artists/bands that often don't get a lot of attention (ie: still no Blur, Suede, Pulp, or The Verve), and looking at the list now, I realize a lot of them are now defunct, and in fact, several of them, like Mansun and The Longpigs, were more loosely connected with the Britpop era. However, while Britpop was pretty much an English movement, this mix will feature music from the rest of Great Britain.

Being an anglophile or unitedkingdomophile, the majority of my music collection is British. Somehow I've always identified with the caustic wit, the romantic gloom, the fey camp, the offbeat quirkiness, and the melodic sensibilities of British music. Not to mention it constantly amazes me how the British tend to be ahead of the curve for most subcultures and innovations in music. And when they're not, they borrow bits from other places and transform them into something completely brilliant, and then sell it back to the people they took it from in the first place. It also just feels like they care more about music than many other places in the world - they have considerable music press, decent record shops (even in small towns), and whenever I've been over there, it just seems like more people bother to shop in music stores and actually buy music than other places I've lived in or visited. This love affair with British music (and many other things British) has conspired against me by setting me apart from most people I've encountered in my home city. Thankfully, the Internet has made me feel less alone in my obsessions and interests.

My first encounter with British music was David Bowie when I was eight (yes, it was via Labyrinth, but that was a genius movie), and as I grew up, I continued to search out more and more of his music. Then when I was eleven, my best friend, who was far more into music than I was as a child, introduced me to the glam theatrics of Queen (to this day, I can't help but think of the image my friend came up with of a frustrated person swatting flies dead when I hear Another One Bites the Dust). In the following few years, with her, I discovered more British artists from the 80's, including New Order, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, The Cure, Simple Minds, and Depeche Mode (I had the extended dance mix of Bizarre Love Triangle on a compilation cassette called Choose 80's, and I rewound and played it over and over again - incidentally, that tape also included songs from The Jam, Squeeze, ABC, Bronski Beat, and Dexy's Midnight Runners). This is also the time when I started watching a lot of 80's music videos, and falling in love with the British artists with their synthesizers and eye make-up. I also had a very vague sense of Britpop with the odd Blur, Oasis, and Pulp song that found its way onto our radio stations and music television during my teenage years - the biggest impression being made by Jarvis Cocker's limp-wristed, jerky dancing in the video for Common People.

When I began university, I started getting into punk, but of course, I tended to favour the British side rather than the American side of punk, listening to The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Damned. Soon after punk, I also fell in love with the jangly indie bliss of The Smiths and the formidable Manic Street Preachers, who have influenced me much more than a lot of the people I've known. As my knowledge continued to expand, and with it, my range of tastes, I embraced more and more British music, encompassing the mod, glam, punk, post-punk, New Wave, New Romantics, acid house, twee, shoegaze and Britpop.

When trying to create this mix, I figured I'd attempt to focus on artists I hadn't featured in previous mixes, so at least 50% haven't been posted on this blog before. There will probably be another one of these in the future, especially as I wrack my brain for more weekly themes. For a rather comprehensive look at the Britpop phenomenon and its connection to Tony Blair's nauseating New Labour, read John Harris's book on the coinciding rise and fall of Britpop and New Labour, The Last Party. I believe there was also a documentary hosted by Harris - you can likely watch it on YouTube. I'm calling this one The UK Made Me.

Six - Mansun

Vendetta - Adorable

All the People I Like Are Those That Are Dead - Felt

Chinese Bakery - The Auteurs

She Said - The Longpigs

Obscurity Knocks - Trashcan Sinatras

Calliope! - The Veils

I Feel Better - Frightened Rabbit

You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve - Johnny Boy

We Hate the Kids - The Indelicates

Kill Everyone - Codename Sparrow

Don't Forget to Remember - Puressence

Total Recall - The Sound

Hey Bunny - The Cherubs

Bloodbeat - Patrick Wolf

The Novelist's Wife - frYars

The Far Too Simple Beauty - Trembling Blue Stars

England Made Me - Black Box Recorder

The Campaign For Real Rock - Edwyn Collins


JC said...

Great own posting on The Campaign For Real Rock is scheduled at TVV soon.

There's a few in there even I'd forgotten about!!!!

Jon said...

Great stuff. Keep up the good work. I'm currently enthralled with a brit pop revival of sorts in my own musical listenings so your mix was the perfect addition.

Mickenzy said...

Hehehe... I've always said I created a monster. Thanks for the mention. :)

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