Tag Archives: 1996

Mazzy Star – Look On Down From The Bridge (1996)


Making up for the lost morning this week, we have a double-header. It’s always a good time for Mazzy Star. The band formed in Santa Monica in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration between guitarist David Roback and his then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Relationships being what they are, Smith left early in the band’s life and Hope Sandoval swiftly became the lead vocalist. In 1996 the band released its third album Among My Swan, for which David Roback wrote all the music apart from the mysterious ‘Look on Down from the Bridge’. That sound was pure Sandoval; it is the closing track on the album.

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Roy Davis Jr. feat. Peven Everett ‎- Gabrielle (1996)


Despite the 2-Step influences on this track, Roy Davis Jr. shows his class with the soulful downtempo vibe that he wraps around Peven Everett’s vocals. And don’t get me started on that horn. Not sure which mix this YouTube version is, but it’s the one I like. He pressed ‘Gabrielle’ on Chicago’s Large Records while still part of house-music innovators Phuture.

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DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World (1996)



Good morning folks. ‘Midnight in a Perfect World’ is at the heart of DJ Shadow’s genre-defining album Endtroducing…… Trip hop, hip hop, electronica, the work is based around a piano sample from David Axelrod’s 1969 song ‘The Human Abstract’. Mr. Axelrod had become a rich vein for exponents of sampledelia. Have a great week.

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Wilco – Sunken Treasure (1996)


Wilco 1996

Again, I end the week with a touchstone track from the 1990s. From their 1996 album Being There, ‘Sunken Treasure’ was the song that helped Wilco break from the shackles of alt-country. Despite its slow tempo, it became a regular crowd pleaser at Wilco gigs. With his tongue firmly planted in cheek, Tweedy’s voice sounds slightly scruffy as he repeats “I am so out of tune with you, I am so our of tune with you.” The signs of greatness were there and the band would scale to the creative summit over the next 5-6 years.

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Super Furry Animals – Hometown Unicorn (1996)


Super Furry Animals again

In 1996, the album Fuzzy Logic introduced Super Furry Animals’ brand of hallucinogenic rock. ‘Hometown Unicorn’ was the debut single off the album. Franck Fontaine claimed to have been abducted by aliens in 1979. It was the perfect subject matter for some outer-worldly imaginations. Have a great week.

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Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train (1996)


Ocean Colour Scene

With more that a passing resemblance to the sound of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, Ocean Colour Scene found their stride with their 1996 sophomore album Moseley Shoals. The day they caught the train, I think vocalist Simon Fowler thought he was The Walrus.

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Butthole Surfers – Pepper (1996)

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Butthole Surfers

Off the 1996 album Electriclarryland, Butthole Surfers’ ‘Pepper’ sounded too much like Beck‘s Loser. That would be easy to criticise was it not for the band’s use of spoken verses –  a treatment that would be taken to another level again a year later on the Eels classic  ‘Susan’s House’. Have a good week.

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Red House Painters – Have you Forgotten? (1996)


Red House Painters

Red House Painters’ singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek has featured a lot this week, but before I sign off for the weekend, here’s a guilty pleasure. His song ‘Have you Forgotten?’ is sublime, but on viewing the featured YouTube clip, I’m completely distracted by Audrey Tautou. For those that can appreciate the beauty of the song, it is off the Red House Painters’ long player Songs for a Blue Guitar.

This weekend marks the beginning of a holiday hiatus. I’m taking some time out in July, but will return in August. In the meantime, this weekend, I will throw out some decidedly less cultured guilty pleasures. It should set me up for a lot of credibility-mending when Samuelsounds returns, which can only be good.

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Ryuichi Sakamoto – Bibo No Aozora (1996)

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The closing scene of the Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie Babel features the sound of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Bibo no Aozora’. This hauntingly beautiful instrumental is a world apart from Sakamoto’s early work with electronica pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra. The Magic Numbers would borrow heavily from this piece for their song ‘The Pulse’ in 2010.

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Mansun – Wide Open Space (1996)

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Now I’m getting carried away … one more rock out before miscellany returns. 1997 was an astonishing year for British bands.  Radiohead, Spiritualized, The Verve, Supergrass and Prodigy would all release their defining albums – a creative nirvana that drew the best out of all those around. Mansun’s debut long player, Attack of the Grey Lantern, was one such treat. Opening with cinematic/John Barry overtures of ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’, the unconventional album built up impressively to the glory of ‘Wide Open Space’, which had been released as a single a year earlier. Paul Oakenfold would go on to chop up Paul Draper’s distinctive voice and darkly comic lyrics into a crossover dance anthem.

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Super Furry Animals – Something 4 The Weekend (1996)

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Great memories. ‘Something 4 the Weekend’ was off the Super Furry Animals’ glorious debut Fuzzy Logic. A strange mix of Welsh psychedelia, Britpop beats and something I can’t put my finger on. I’ll ponder that one over the weekend.

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The Divine Comedy – Something For The Weekend (1996)

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When not penning classic comedy (‘My Lovely Horse’) for Father Ted, Neil Hannon was writing The Divine Comedy that is ‘Something For The Weekend’. With the dandy air of Scott Walker, Hannon had his breakthrough in 1996 with The Divine Comedy’s fourth album Casanova. It exudes humour and was suitably given a helping hand by Chris Evans in the early years of TFI Friday. Have a great weekend.

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DJ Shadow – Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt (1996)

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Aka DJ Shadow, Josh Davis burst onto the scene in 1996 with his debut album Endtroducing… The album’s cover featured two gents rifling through vinyl, because that is exactly what he liked to do. Instrumental hip hop was the purpose and the samples were collected from rare grooves far and wide. ‘Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt’ samples Lexia, H.P. Riot, Jeremy Storch, Frankie Seay and the Soul Riders. Who? Exactly.

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The Prodigy – Firestarter (1996)

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Look at me, look at me. With the long-awaited release of The Fat of the Land, The Prodigy went from quirky UK techno outfit to something much bigger: Keith Flint was pushed up front; his look and words courted controversy; Liam Howlett’s visceral sound turned heads; and the album’s image of an alert fiddler crab said it all. A marketer’s dream, The Prodigy would crack the US.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (1996)

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The ‘Pumpkins played in Brixton the last couple of nights. “Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time, on a live wire right up off the street, you and I should meet.” Was it the loops, the video, or the sparkle of this gem within the impressive (but self-indulgent) sprawl of the 2-hour-long Mellon Collie and …? Probably all of the above, but I have a feeling that this is one of those tracks I’ll be requesting at future family events to show them how cool the generation was.

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