The Patch

March 16, 2007

Friday 16th March – An Alternative Brit Pop

Filed under: Music & Film — Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 12:38 am

I was five when Suede released their eponymous debut and unknowingly created this monster so fondly referred to as ‘Brit Pop’. Ingrained into my head for the rest of my pre-pubescent childhood was its essential notion that Brit was hip again as Oasis dominated the charts, Albarn vs the Gallaghers became front page news, and Jarvis did dare show Michael Jackson for the spectacular fool he was. But everyone knows about Blur, Pulp, Suede, Radiohead, Elastica and Oasis, and for such a fawned upon era of modern British times, people are so often too scared to delve that little deeper and discover those bands behind the scenes creating great music in their own right. Liam Gallagher – a contemptuous, arrogant, aggressive lout – is a household name and figurehead of a culture, whereas articulate, professional and vastly talented names as Jake Shillingford and Luke Haines are now relics to popular society, forgotten amidst the brashness and delusions of grandeur that fueled such an age.

Now, as a nineteen year old who has grown up through that era and come out with a slight awareness concerning anyone with thick eyebrows, inspecting the mid 90s music scene to a closer degree has revealed that there was a hell of a lot more than the usual suspects thrown up by ‘I Love the 90s’. As with any period of music, there were a lot more bands out there creating a lot better music than those artists remembered by the casual observer. And with such a bold statement in mind, I’m going to stick my neck out and name three of them.


My Life Story

Popular music has seen a rare amount of true genii. Brian Wilson is one. As too is David Bowie. And the magic combinations of McCartney and Lennon and Marr and Morrissey. Well, Jake Shillingford easily makes that list.

At the heart of this magical pop orchestra, Shillingford forgoed the usual guitar/bass/drum/vocal basics so precedent at the time, looking to big band classics and the swish stylistics of glam pop as influences. From NME and Melody Maker single of the week, Girl A, Girl B, Boy C right through their sad demise in 2000, MLS created extravagant pop that broke boundaries and saw them tour with the likes of Pulp and Blur and headline over Oasis.

Second album The Golden Mile, was their classic, spawning a myriad of some of the finest pop tunes there has ever been. Sparkle, Strumpet and 12 Reasons Why.. proved just how dynamic and uplifting MLS were as a band, turning the mundane frivolities of life into the most meaningful works of art. Select described it as “the worst album ever made. But much, much worse.” This is the wrongest thing any man has ever said. Even more than when Hitler’s dad said to Hitler’s mum, “Can we go without the condom tonight love?”

More diverse than Blur, more intelligent than Oasis, more fun that RadioheadMy Life Story are the real best band of the 90s.




Though with a number one album under their belts, and a phenomenal live reputation, Mansun sadly have not seeped into public conscious as well as their peers, and all the more pity for it. Attack of the Grey Lantern was somewhat of a masterpiece containing gems like Wide Open Space (ignore the godawful video) and Stripper Vicar, though their much maligned third LP, Little Kix, may have contributed to the now apparent lack of interest from the great British public.

A far more ambitious band than most of their contemporaries, Mansun created some of the 90s most classic songs and deserve far more recognition and respect than many would give them.

I Can Only Disappoint You



In her previous life, before becoming an affable and jolly host of pretty much anything, the lovely Lauren Laverne was part of the original girl power group. Formed in 1995, Kenickie were a fun, refreshing take on indie pop, coming out with feisty punk sentimentalities and spiky squealings, before evolving into an altogether more ambient act.

Self effacing and fully aware of the ridiculousness of the music scene throughout, Laverne’s closing words at their last ever show were “We were Kenickie… a bunch of fuckwits.” That they may have been, but they produced some exceptional music along the way.

In Your Car


Record of the Week

Nada Surf – Popular.  For lots of reasons.




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