Six Minutes A Month – August 1993

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 20 year delay system) we are now deep into 1993.

The six minutes a month refers to the amount of time alt/indie music had on terrestrial television at the time. Very few of us has MTV back then, we had four channels and the occasional hope that someone good would be on Top Of The Pops. So many folks I know of my generation discovered their favourite bands from catching a tiny snippet on The Chart Show on a Saturday morning. Our lives would have been different with Youtube & Spotify, I’m sure.

OK, the observations: 

1. There’s a pretty big alt. rock showing from the US. Yes, we called it alt. rock – not grunge. Overall this chart is pretty damn noisy. Suede, heading the Britpop vanguard, must not have had a single out this month. Make no mistake, this chart is pretty damn heavy.

2. “Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us” by the irrepressible BMX Bandits really should have been a world wide smash, it’s a mystery to me why it never was.

3. The Boo Radleys are still in their fuzzy spacey phase, having yet to write any really annoying Britpop anthems Like “Wake Up Boo”, though there always was a pop heart to their tunes.

4. The Voodoo Queens have abandoned their riot grrl leanings and now are singing a song about how to pronounce Keanu Reeves’ name. It’s not very good.

5. I own a fair bit of this chart, my enduring favourites being the 12″s from the Smashing Pumpkins (whose Cherub Rock was the start of their world domination) and of course The Breeders. Cannonball is a classic, as you know, and the video was directed by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Spike Jonze. I still listen to these two bands a lot, their music had endured.

6. The Sugar song “Tilted” was from their six track “Beaster” EP, which was heavier and harsher material than their previous, breakthrough, Copper Blue album. “Beaster”, as I figured at the time, was a religious concept album about the life & death of Christ. Maybe.

What were you listening to at the end of the summer of ’93? 

Six Minutes A Month – February 1993

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we now reach the chart from the start of 1993. Thanks to Barbryn for prodding me to pick this one up. I should point out to newer readers that the six minutes a month refers to the amount of time alt/indie music had on terrestrial television at the time. Very few of us has MTV back then, we had four channels and the occasional hope that someone good would be on Top Of The Pops.

Ok, here are the salient points:

1. Huggy Bear – yep The Chart Show got the name of their EP (and song) wrong. But then since when was Riot Grrrrl spelt correctly?

2. Two bands here directly benefiting from Kurt Cobain patronage. On tour, Kurt used to love holding the bucket into which the large chap from Tad had to vomit nightly due to whatever bizarre physiological condition he was suffering. We know all about Shonen Knife. The few seconds of the song they play here sound pretty good, and yes there is moshing.

3. As we’ve covered Suede before, let’s look at Denim. Britpop seemed the right time for Laurence from Felt to launch his new thing and ride the zeitgeist to success, perhaps? Looking at this, may be he was a bit too arch, a bit too knowing, and a bit too clever (members of the Glitter Band?? Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep??!) for the mainstream, or indeed for his own boots. The recent documentary on him “Laurence of Belgravia” suggests, according to my film critic pal who has actually managed to see it, that there’s really not as much there as we hoped (not quite the reclusive genius he’s kidding himself he is perhaps), despite “Primitive Painters” being one of the best indie-pop songs ever written.

4. Superchunk!! This song is an alt. rock classic and I have it on 12″. Super awesome fun chunk.

5. Ditto the Sugar song, and Cornershop. Classics both.

6. Belly! OK, Belly were the big draw here. Nearly 20 years later, Belly’s songs haven’t endured so much as other stuff from the time (not to say I don’t like them, I just never seek them out) and I bloody loved Belly. I can only think that a part of this may have been down to the overpowering and ridiculous amount of hormones running round my 16 year old body. Thank god Elastica came along shortly.

So, towards whom were your hormones directed in early ’93?

Six Minutes A Month – May 1992

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we now reach the chart from the Springtime of 1992 – and watch the first seedlings of Britpop appearing amongst the shoegaze sunflowers and workmanlike indie shrubbery.

Yes! It’s Suede and their debut single “The Drowners” that really brightens up an otherwise quite dull chart. Glamour! Hair! Sex! Swoon!! This was their first terrestrial appearance on TV and I guess would be the first time that most of the UK indie kids saw Brett and co shake their money.

Shoegaze also-rans Adorable bring up the rear at number 10, a band that had a couple of really good songs to their name, but who I think appeared on the scene a bit too late. St Etienne are kicking about with “Join Our Club”  a single that bridged their first and second LPs, at number two.

Number one are The Levellers with their second best known song “15 Years”. I never really identified with the whole Crusty scene, probably because I’d twigged that not washing your hair and pretending to be a gypsy wouldn’t get you a shag (at least not from the kind of girls I was chasing about the place) and also probably because the Manics had slagged the Levellers off in the music press.

Six Minutes A Month – Jan/Feb 1992

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we now reach the chart from the start of 1992 – tearing headlong into a golden era where even having hair a bit like Mark Gardener from Ride could get you a snog.

Notable for a couple of appearances from British bands fronted by bonkers ladies, Silverfish -who were part of the Camden Lurch scene don’t forget (along with Th’ Faith Healers and um….anyways remember when everyone wore a “Lips, Hips, Tits, Power” Silverfish t-shirt??) with a bit of their grunt-rock sound and Daisy Chainsaw who featured the wacky Katie-Jane Garside upfront. Daisy Chainsaw once turned down a record deal with Madonna’s label. Where’s Madonna now eh?

Keeping up the shoegaze end are Lush, and crashing mightily into the chart are Ride with “Leave Them All Behind” – one of my favourite all time tracks, shoegaze classic, and a song I endlessly try and get into the RR canon.

Also, look out for a pre-Bjork Bjork, a song that regularly gets mentioned on RR that I dare not name, and some utterly incredible dancing from Bobby Gillespie from the newly-reinvented Primal Scream.

 

Six Minutes A Month – Autumn 1991

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we now reach the chart from about October time in ’91.

Predominantly Shoegaze and Grebo flavour, there are a couple of notable things to look out for. Firstly at number nine in the chart are The Levellers with their signature tune “One Way”, for those too young to know them, The Levellers were the ’90s version of Mumford & Sons.

Secondly is a guest appearance on “Colour Me Grey” by The Family Cat from a very youthful PJ Harvey, which predates the release of her first album. Oddly enough the ‘collaborations’ section of her Wikipedia entry doesn’t mention this…

There’s pre- (brit) pop entries from Lush and Boo Radleys, a Mega City Four song that’s not one of their best, and at number one are Chapterhouse! Chapterhouse were a band that I sidelined somewhat at the time as being too pop, but one that I now listen to a lot!

6 Minutes A Month: Summer 1991

As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 19 year delay system) we come to the chart that was from about July/August time in ’91.

Here we can see the Manchester contingent mixed in with the first showing for grunge on the chart, along with the rave element still going strong. Teenage Fanclub are, of course, number one.

Other observations: The Cranes are really dull, I seem to remember them only being popular due to some sort of patronage from Robert Smith? St Ettiene show a mere glimpse of the London glamour that would take over the world a few years later.