Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The legendary C86 cassette
When you think of 'indie' what do you think of? Anything that involves guitars? Or, like me, do you think of it as short-hand for independent, an attitude as much as a sound, perhaps even more so.
The NME C86 cassette is so-called, because it came out in 1986, on cassette (too many tracks for flexi-discs and not many people in 1986 had CD players) and was compiled by the NME, who did many cassettes in those days, and was seen as a successor to C81. For some, indie is a term of abuse, but the twenty-two tracks are diverse in their approach, and by no means all twee, though C81 was definitely even more diverse.
For more on the C86 tape, I suggest you try the wikipedia entry and the always excellent indie-mp3website entry here, as well as this post on the tangents website by Alistair Fitchett.
Alas, I don't own the original cassette, but thanks to links managed to get the mp3s for it (cannot remember which blog/site so apologies, but thank you!)
The full tracklisting for the C86 compilation was:
Primal Scream - Velocity Girl
The Mighty Lemon Drops - Happy Head
The Soup Dragons - Pleasantly Surprised
The Wolfhounds - Feeling So Strange Again
The Bodines - Therese
Mighty Mighty - Law
Stump - Buffalo
Bogshed - Run To The Temple
A Witness - Sharpened Sticks
The Pastels - Breaking Lines
Age of Chance - From Now On, This Will Be Your God
The Shop Assistants - It's Up To You
Close Lobsters - Firestation Towers
Miaow - Sport Most Royal
Half Man Half Biscuit - I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)
The Servants - Transparent
The Mackenzies - Big Jim (There's no pubs in Heaven)
bIG fLAME - New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)
We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It - Console Me
McCarthy - Celestial City
The Shrubs - Bullfighter's Bones
The Wedding Present - This Boy Can Wait (A Bit Longer!)
In 2008, four of the bands are still together, and I'm proud (especially given that when this tape came out I was unaware of its existence, being only nine) that I have seen all four of: Primal Scream, the Pastels, the Wedding Present, and Half Man Half Biscuit. Some of the other ands disappeared not long after, some went on to commercial success for a time (the name-shortened Fuzzbox, The Soup Dragons) and of course McCarthy's Tim Gane formed Stereolab.
As far as I, and many other folk out there are concerned, this is a piece of essential rock history, recognising when many facets of the underground came together. Of course things have changed in twenty years, daytime radio is far more open to new sounds, and underground bands may be more likely to be written about on blogs than paper fanzines. But it's appalling that a document as important as this in rock history is not available, nor many of its songs (and the same can be said for the aforementioned C81), and that's why I'm posting this.
...And if anyone out there can help me do a post on the C81 tape (which I do own, but
haven't yet figured out how to digitise) then the email address is at the top.
For the Peel fans out there, many of the bands made appearances either before, during or after 1986, the following three songs from the C86 cassette made the 1986 Festive Fifty:
Primal Scream -'Velocity Girl.' (1986 Festive Fifty no.4)
Wedding Present -'This Boy Can wait.' (1986 Festive Fifty no.18)
Bodines -'Therese.' (1986 Festive Fifty no.19)
However, if you're really interested to see what made the 1986 Festive Fifty follow this link.
Hope you enjoy it! (Please, please leave feedback, this post has taken several hours!)