Following on from reading Phonogram's look back in wistfulness (sorry - couldn't resist) at the so-called Britpop years, it got me thinking. If you stripped away the cliches, ignored the mediocrity and the Blur/Oasis shenanigans, was there enough decent music to justify a compilation? Something akin to the classic singles complilations like the famous Nuggets, which document the unheard treasures of psychedelia and garage?
It's much harder to find real obscurities, but here's my play-list of Britpop nuggets with links where I can find them. All the bands mentioned were either explicitly affiliated with Britpop, helped unwittingly bring it into existence or found themselves affected by it in some sense.
Ahem. Do feel free to suggest your own additions. And links, ladies and gents, links!
Pulp - My Legendary Girlfriend
Only one of two first division 'Britpop' bands, commercially speaking, included here. And this disco oddity dates just from the start of their rise and reminds me what a unique and brave band they were.
Corduroy - London, England.
Giving a good name to parochialism. And arguably out-Blurs you-know-who during their Parklife pomp.
Stereolab - Ping Pong
Retro-futurism par excellence, this was Stereolab's almost-hit and occasionally made a appearance on the better class of Britpop dancefloor. Too political for what was essentially an apolitical (and therefore small 'c' conservative) musical movement.
The Boo Radleys - Thinking of Ways
Ah, my third band I really fell for (after the Pet Shop Boys and REM). And the first to introduce me to the joys of beauty and noise juxtaposed. Not to be judged by the hit, fine as it was.
How come the Flaming Lips get all the credit when the Boos were doing the fragile psych ballad thing too?
Teenage Fanclub - Neil Jung
Guilty by association with Britpop through Creation records, the Fannies kept on turning out excellent singles like this.
Elastica - Blue
There's an awesome acoustic demo version of this, but the plugged-in version will have to do. One of the best bad-but-sweet sex songs which constitute the Elastica oeuvre. Great harmonies, sez my inner Mojo reader.
Super Furry Animals - Hermann Loves Pauline
Okay, so the chorus is basically Blackberry Way by the Move, but we have to salute one of the few bands inventive enough to emerge from the ashes of Creation intact.
Ride - Leave Them All Behind
In retrospect, it's hard not to see this stadium shoe-gaze as one of the signposts towards the misguided epic tendencies of Oasis, The Verve and the irony-free end of Britpop. Especially given Andy Bell's later status as a Gallagher hired-hand.
The Auteurs - Chinese Bakery
One from the sweeter end of Britpop's own Lou Reed
Shack - Streets of Kenny
'Cosmic scouse' elder statesmen - check! Included instead of The La's (too obvious) or Cast (shudder - do you know they are doing a fifteenth anniversary tour of All Change? I'm tempted to picket the Birmingham date with a placard saying 'shame on you'. This is exactly what Phonogram was on about when it was laying into nostalgia)
Black Grape - Kelly's Heroes
Demonstrating that the prolongation of certain Madchester careers wasn't all bad if it enabled Shaun and co to do to this in band #2
St Etienne - You're In A Bad Way
Included because 'teh Et''s Electro-Mod pomp coincided with the rise of Britpop. Unfortunately also epitomised the sexism inherent in the times, with front-woman Sarah Cracknell getting much more attention in the music press than the tunes.
Mike Flowers Pops - Wonderwall
And what better way to end than this Dada-ist protest on the absurdity that Britpop became.