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Don't Look Back In Anger
December 6, 2007 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Rhino Releases The Brit Box It's hard to explain in 2007 what it feels like for music to be both uniting and important. Having spent nearly three years of the '90s living in London, it's with honest nostalgia and wonder that we examine Rhino's The Brit Box. The set's mission is rather broad: it attempts to examine the whole of UK indie rock from 1985-1999 and devotes a disc each to '80s indie, shoegaze, Britpop, and the late '90s.

Disc 1

How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
Lorelei - Cocteau Twins
The Only One I Know - The Charlatans UK
There She Goes - The La's

Disc 2
Star Sign - Teenage Fanclub
Grey Cell Green - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Only Shallow - My Bloody Valentine
Vapour Trail - Ride

Disc 3
Laid - James
Duel - Swervedriver
Tracy Jacks - Blur
Wow & Flutter - Stereolab

Disc 4
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
Lucky Man - The Verve
Tattva - Kula Shaker
You're Gorgeous - Babybird

And much, much more...
posted by psmealey (60 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
"For us, it also recalls getting a coffee in the Fall of 2005 and running to the record shop on a Monday morning to grab the latest album or single by Blur, Pulp, and especially Oasis."

Wow, nostalgia really is in danger of catching up to the present!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:35 AM on December 6, 2007


LOL... I'm pretty sure he meant 1995. Only poseurs use proof-readers, man.
posted by psmealey at 8:37 AM on December 6, 2007


Wow, it's a little hard to make out, but in the image that box art looks totally budget.

Also, not to threrad poop, but is this not just Now That's What I Call Music: The 90s?
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2007


It is a very odd selection of tunes.
posted by ninebelow at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2007


So, at this point I'm kind of assuming that The Levellers have been written out of history?
posted by Artw at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2007


with good reason, but don't worry, they've been used to being SILENCED ALL THEIR LIFE!
posted by patricio at 8:51 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


If someone can explain why this is on the austinist web site, more power to them.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on December 6, 2007


Terminally Groovey!
posted by algreer at 9:09 AM on December 6, 2007


So, at this point I'm kind of assuming that The Levellers have been written out of history?

Every age needs its Hall and Oates.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2007


Swervedriver's DUEL is one of those tracks I play All The Fucking Time. I always think of it as pointing in a direction music didn't go, and probably should have.
posted by unSane at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2007


Ned's Atomic Dustbin's second album, Godfodder, was the first album I ever bought, back in the mid/early 90s. This is the music I cut my teeth on - I saw Neds, James, The Charlatans, James, Blur & Kula Shaker back in the day, mostly in the Cambridge Corn Exchange. There's a lovely bit of nostalgia in those videos. Nice one!
posted by algreer at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2007


Some day, when the archeologists of the future dig up the fossilised student bedsits of the 90s, they're going to find all kinds of Levellers T-shirts and poster and mugs, and maybe a few pendants of that triskelion thing, and they'll be perplexed by them. No written record of what this mysterious cult was will survive, and it will be talked of endlessly on whatever the future equivallent of Arthur C. Clarkes Mysterious World is.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Urgh... Gingernut flashback

Oh and "Did Inspiral Carpets ever do another song besides "This Is How It Feels"? Who cares? " The answers are: are yes they did, quite a few actually. And who cares? Well me, obviously, because I bought at the time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2007


They probably won't even have televisions by then as well, so NED posters will be a complete mystery to them as well.
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on December 6, 2007


I think all the Levellers fans were buried under the Newbury Bypass.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:25 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


No Moloko? Too dance-y?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:27 AM on December 6, 2007


Having lived in Britain during the time of Disc 4... there are some odd choices to me.

"You Don't Care About Us" instead of "Breathe?"

"Stay Beautiful" instead of "Design For Life" or "Kevin Carter" -- or maybe ending the last disc with "The Everlasting?"

"Tracy Jacks" instead of "Parklife" or "Girls And Boys" or "The Universal?" Especially when it's followed by Oasis' and Pulp's strongest songs (though I would have gone with "Don't Look Back In Anger").

Otherwise, though, this is a really strong set, which is par for the course with Rhino boxes. Disc 1 reads like a early 1991 playlist on 120 Minutes.
posted by dw at 9:36 AM on December 6, 2007


dw - sounds a random selection of whatever they could get the rights to.
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2007


Also, not to threrad poop, but is this not just Now That's What I Call Music: The 90s?

I have about half these songs on two two-disc "The Best... Ever" sets I bought in the Reading Virgin Megastore ten years ago.

The NOW CDs of the time included lots of All Saints and Billie Piper. I stayed away from those.
posted by dw at 9:39 AM on December 6, 2007


dw - sounds a random selection of whatever they could get the rights to.

Yeah, that's got to be what it is, but still, it really makes you think that Blur was far inferior to Oasis, which just isn't true.
posted by dw at 9:42 AM on December 6, 2007


My favorite mix CD I've ever made is one called "You Should've Been Listening to This in High School, You Asshole", and it's got most of the contents of Disc 1 from the set on it.

And just as an FYI, the Trash Can Sinatras are still making incredible music!
posted by BobFrapples at 9:42 AM on December 6, 2007


I like how "Don't Look Back In Anger" has supplanted "Look Back In Anger" as the Brit-nostalgia phrase-of-the-moment.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:44 AM on December 6, 2007


Oh fer fucksakes, Kula Shaker. An abomination then, an abomination now.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 9:45 AM on December 6, 2007


I'm more upset by the inclusion of Gay Dad who are utterly without merit and were a classic NME created flash in the pan.

and no Space?! I mean, I know they were rubbish, but they were so much fun
posted by patricio at 9:49 AM on December 6, 2007


Also, there are some suggested additional tracks on Sound Bites.
posted by patricio at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2007


it's hard to explain how happy i am.

some comments:

"seven" is james' best song.

"theres no other way" by blur.

also: bez's madchester anthems
posted by taumeson at 10:06 AM on December 6, 2007


Oh, and I was going to say:

No Paul Weller?
No Teenage Fanclub?
No Portishead?

and no Space?! I mean, I know they were rubbish, but they were so much fun

"The Ballad of Tom Jones" still sneaks onto some of my mix CDs, just for the so-bad-it's-good of it.
posted by dw at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2007


It's hard to explain in 2007 what it feels like for music to be both uniting and important

oh, get bent.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:09 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I liked Space, or at least Me And You Versus The World which has a certain bouncy poppy joie de vivre.

So I'm guessing theres no Pop Will Eat Itself in there?
posted by Artw at 10:10 AM on December 6, 2007


No Teenage Fanclub?


I'm pretty sure there is a Teenage Fanclub track on Disc 1... and yeah, there is some definite nitpicking I could do about this set (WHAT?!? There's no "There's No Other Way?!") but overall, listening to the first two discs just bowled me over with the sound of being fifteen again, listening to WHFS in the last five minutes before grunge. I used to keep a 120-minute cassette in the stereo all the time and just punch record whenever something good came on... those tapes are barely playable now, too stretched out and crumbly and treasured to risk. But just about every damn thing on them is on this box set too. Curve and Inspiral Carpets and James, oh my!!
posted by speedlime at 10:19 AM on December 6, 2007


No Wonderstuff I've just realised
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:19 AM on December 6, 2007


Also, not to threrad poop, but is this not just Now That's What I Call Music: The 90s?

definitely not to the yanks, boyo.

http://www.amazon.com/Absolutely-Best-90s-Various-Artists/dp/B0000DD57G
posted by taumeson at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2007


WHAT?!? There's no "There's No Other Way?!"

I declare this 90s compilation INVALID!
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2007


definitely not to the yanks, boyo.

Yanks don't count. Tape a copy of Nevermind to a copy of Pauls Boutique and thats them sorted.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on December 6, 2007


WHAT?!? There's no "There's No Other Way?!"

Might as well pick "I Want to be Adored", "In Between Days" and "Inside Out" (Might Lemon Drops), then eh?

I don't know.... that's kind of the most obvious choice for Blur, isn't it? Not that it's not a great song, but I support the editorial choice to look for diamonds in the rough rather than pick the most successful or famous tune.

Having said that, the selections weren't uniform, but they mostly did try to avoid picking "the hit". However, I don't know if picking some La's tune other than "There She Goes" would have been forgivable.
posted by psmealey at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2007


Might as well pick "I Want to be Adored", "In Between Days" and "Inside Out" (Might Lemon Drops), then eh?


There you go being so gosh darn REASONABLE and INTELLIGENT! It's true, the diamond-in-the-rough approach is a better way of doing things, but I can't help my knee-jerk nostalgic desire to have that one song on this compilation-- now it's just a teeny little bit less sublime.

And yeah, I would have had to throw the whole box out the window had they included a different La's song. Boy was that album a letdown!
posted by speedlime at 12:23 PM on December 6, 2007


For some reason the first thing that popped into my head was that joke by Rob Newman (during his TMWE days) about certain northern bands. "Don't you just wish Myra Hindley had been given a bit more time to finish the job?" btw don't bother revisiting the old TMWE shows. They haven't aged well. Like a lot of these songs.
posted by gatchaman at 12:45 PM on December 6, 2007


Rhino Records' post punk compilation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:32 PM on December 6, 2007


it attempts to examine the whole of UK indie rock from 1985-1999

And yet, they somehow missed The Fall. Unforgiveable.

No Wedding Present, either.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:38 PM on December 6, 2007


I've been listening to old Festive Fifties, and I forgot just how ubiquitous the Wedding Present were. This compilation is a reasonably broad set of indie, although Baby Bird is utterly wrong for it.

Also there's the usual post-indie-reflection reluctance to have anything to do with electronic music. There is no indie compilation without New Order - they even had indie personalities.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 1:40 PM on December 6, 2007


PWEI? Jesus Jones?

btw, I don't think any of the links in the FPP contain the full track listing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:49 PM on December 6, 2007


grapefruitzzz: New Order are in there - Regret.

Good to see the Pale Saints, Stereolab & Spaceman 3.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:52 PM on December 6, 2007


I don't think any of the links in the FPP contain the full track listing.

Good point. Here it is: disk by disk.
posted by psmealey at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2007


It would help if I could read properly. Clearly electronica rots the brain :)

Still true about guitars *in general*, hem.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 2:34 PM on December 6, 2007


Hmm...they get marks for tracklisting two different songs with identical titles one after the other (twice!).

UbuRoivas is dead right about the Fall. Even if you can argue that the Fall did much of their best work in the early 80s, they could still have found something ('Idiot Joy Showland' would have been apt...).

Way too obvious in most cases, and (like dw), I can think of better Blur songs than Tracey Jacks (if they had to pick something that wasn't the big, obvious hit, then The Universal or End of A Century would have been more interesting). I do think Stay Beautiful was the right choice for the Manics, though. As for Inspiral Carpets, 'This is How it Feels' really hasn't aged too well, to me - give me 'She Comes in the Fall' or 'Sackville'.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:18 PM on December 6, 2007


And yet, they somehow missed The Fall

Yeah, that is indeed quite criminal. The Fall's Peel Sessions Box Set gives a more comprehensive overview of British rock at this point than this half-arsed best-of.
posted by influx at 4:35 PM on December 6, 2007


Yanks don't count. Tape a copy of Nevermind to a copy of Pauls Boutique and thats them sorted.

I remember reading somewhere that between 1997 and 2006 only four British bands cracked the US Top 10 -- Coldplay, Snow Patrol, All Saints, and the Spice Girls. In other words, HA HA.

No Wonderstuff I've just realised

They're on there. I would have gone with "Size Of A Cow" personally.

And yet, they somehow missed The Fall. Unforgiveable.

I'm going to catch hell for this, but if it's 1985 on, I'm OK with leaving off The Fall. What did they do post-1985 that would fit with this collection? "Bombast?" "Hit The North?" The by-the-numbers cover of "Victoria?" Leaving off The Wedding Present is a bigger mistake.

As for Inspiral Carpets, 'This is How it Feels' really hasn't aged too well, to me

It hasn't, but I think it still fits as a period piece. "Commercial Rain" might be a better choice.

I'm just happy they elided the two worst Madchester bands -- EMF and The Farm.
posted by dw at 5:17 PM on December 6, 2007


I'm OK with leaving off The Fall. What did they do post-1985 that would fit with this collection?

Don't know what you mean by that. OK, they're not shoegaze, and nor are they britpop, but 80s indie & late 90s are very broad labels. I'd probably go for something poppy from mid-Fall, eg off Bend Sinister, the Frenz Experiment or (I am) Kurious Oranj.

As for the Wedding Present, does anybody disagree that My Favourite Dress would be pretty much the automatic pick?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:40 PM on December 6, 2007


Brit Box?

This is the money box, people!

(actually, the song selection is disappointing. It is nice that the gave a track each to Raven and Girlschool, though.)
posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on December 6, 2007


How funny --- Rhino sent me a "teaser" CD with some of the tracks from the box set on it and I've been listening to it in the car and re-living my junior high days.

Also, yes, Teenage Fanclub are on there with "Star Sign"... swoon!
posted by polyester.lumberjack at 7:33 PM on December 6, 2007


this half-arsed best-of.

Well, whatever. I would argue at least that this is a pretty good survey of a decade and a half worth of music, rather than a "best of". If it were a "best of", then you would have expected to see more songs like "I want to be adored", "Wonderwall", "What you do to me", "There's no other way", etc.

It probably has everything to do with the fact that I turned 18 in 1985, but I personally tend to group bands in terms of high school/college dichotomy. I put the Fall in with the post punk stuff I was listening to in high school (Siouxsie, Killing Joke, Wire, the Jam), and not with the bands I was listening to in college (J&MC, Cocteau Twins, La's, Cure, Smiths), which is pretty much what this compilation covers.
posted by psmealey at 2:59 AM on December 7, 2007


The NOW CDs of the time included lots of All Saints and Billie Piper

Ah yes. Back in the day when liking Billie Piper was wrong for so very many reasons. Of course, now she's graduated to soft porn for ITV it's much less fun. So it goes.

On the non-derailing side, I never could understand the mindset behind thinking some track off some album they happen to like is in some way definitive. It's "just a band", people (words to live by), and this is just an arbitrary anthology. Whoop.
posted by Sparx at 3:04 AM on December 7, 2007


For the people who like this music this is a great book:
How Soon Is Never? by Marc Spitz
posted by terrortubby at 7:39 AM on December 7, 2007


It's "just a band", people (words to live by)

Um, are you quoting a song in order to make your point? There's considerable irony in that.

Apart from which, if you must write posts or comments, the words you use should be your own. Don't plagiarise or take on loan.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:56 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry. Which part of " did you fail to understand?
posted by Sparx at 5:47 PM on December 7, 2007


I'm sorry, too. I forced you to a zone where you were clearly never meant to go.

Typical me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on December 7, 2007


You're sorry? I'm miserable now. You kicked and cried like a bullied child. It was really nothing.
posted by Sparx at 12:32 AM on December 8, 2007


there you go, reissuing, repackaging, repackaging, again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 AM on December 8, 2007


Here is Simon Reynolds's review on Salon.com. Apparently, BritPop is racist. I did not know that.
posted by psmealey at 7:20 AM on December 8, 2007


Everything is racist.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on December 8, 2007


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