Tag Archives: 1999

The Dismemberment Plan ‎- The Spider In The Snow (1999)

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Named after the utterings of Ned Ryerson, the memorable insurance salesman in the movie Groundhog Day, The Dismemberment Plan were always going to have to fight their way out of obscurity. 20 years ago, they managed it with the underground success of Emergency & I, the band’s third album. It features ‘The Spider In The Snow’ and the etched lines “From the age of 20 to 22 I had five friends/ None of whose names I can recall/ And as I would walk down K Street to some temping job/ As winter froze the life out of fall/ Yeah, I must’ve been having a ball.” The lyrics are good; the beat laid down by drummer Joe Easley is better.

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The Flaming Lips – A Spoonful Weighs A Ton (1999)

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I saw The Flaming Lips at the Brixton Academy on Saturday night. It is the 20th anniversary of their opus The Soft Bulletin and frontman Wayne Coyne and pals treated us to the full album. ‘A Spoonful Weighs a Ton’ follows the album’s opener ‘Race For The Prize’. Now that’s a strong start.

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Underworld – Jumbo (1999)

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“I need sugar.” In my view, this is the best song in Underworld’s catalogue. ‘Jumbo’ was a great a way to finish a decade of dance for these shores. The samples remind me of Big Audio Dynamite, the use of electronics was something Orbital would have been proud of; and Karl Hyde’s vocals were surprisingly sultry. “Beaucoup fish.”

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Groove Armada – At The River (1999)

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Londoners Andy Cato and Tom Findlay are Groove Armada. 20 years ago, they released the wonderful downtempo LP Vertigo. Prior to the chillout finale ‘Inside My Mind’, they featured ‘At The River’ with its sublime Patti Page sample at its core. The album was released on Jive’s Pepper Records.

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Tom Waits – Hold On (1999)

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Good morning folks. Last week, I was delving into Americana and it’s left a good taste. In 1999, The Black Rider released his masterpiece Mule Variations after a six year hiatus. It was worth the wait for another voyage of broken-down ballads. The song ‘Hold On’ is a fine example of what the Waits world had been waiting for.

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Moby – Porcelain (1999)

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The best track on arguably the most pervasive album of all time. It’s Moby’s ‘Porcelain’ off Play; ubiquitous in 1999. Have a great weekend,

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Phoenix – Heatwave (1999)

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Today, Phoenix are all mainstream; but back in 1999, they were part of a distinct but influential movement of French house music. Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz had played alongside Bangalter and De Homem-Christo in their pre-Daft Punk band Darlin’. Phoenix also recorded for Source, a label eternally associated to the French touch genre due to releases by Air and Étienne de Crécy. ‘Heatwave’ was the the band’s second single and there’s no mistaking the filter disco in this one. Today, the track’s chicken-scratch guitar, tight bass and drums are best known as the basis for DB Boulevard’s 2002 single ‘Point of View’.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1999

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1999 in no particular order:

Röyksopp – So Easy

Blur – Coffee And TV

Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E.

Wilco – She’s A Jar

Pavement – Spit On A Stranger

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See A Darkness

dEUS – Instant Street

The Flaming Lips – Race For The Prize

Sigur Rós – Starálfur

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Honourable mentions also go to: Pépé Bradock & The Grand Brûlé’s Choir for ‘Deep Burnt‘; Mos Def for ‘Ms. Fat Booty‘; Shack for ‘Comedy‘; Pete Heller for ‘Big Love‘; The Flaming Lips for ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton‘; Moby for ‘Porcelain‘; and Death in Vegas for ‘Dirge‘.

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The Charlatans – Forever (1999)

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In 1999, The Charlatans were flying high off the success of previous album Tellin’ Stories and didn’t they let everyone know it when the needle dropped. ‘Forever’ kicks off the band’s Us and Us Only album and it has the swagger of a small group of standout opening tracks. In relatively recent years, I am thinking comparisons with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Radiohead’s ‘Airbag’ and The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’. High praise indeed. Swirling organs, a drumming masterclass and menacing lyrics made for a lesson in post-Chemical-Brothers rock’n’roll. Have a great week.

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dEUS – Instant Street (1999)

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Producing a sound that suggests Spoon were fans, dEUS released their pinnacle album The Ideal Crash in 1999. Kicking off the flipside of the disc, ‘Instant Street’ has a relatively slow banjo-infused beginning before its mood turns to a Bowie-like guitar fest. For a while, the Belgians stood head and shoulders above most of their peers’ ditherings.

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Death in Vegas – Dirge (1999)

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Good morning. We start this week with Dot Allison’s hippy, hazy vocal mantra that is Death in Vegas’ ‘Dirge’. Kicking off their on their second LP The Contino Sessions, the chant became a familiar call in trip hop and indie sets alike. Feel the white noise my friends and have a great week.

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Shack – Comedy (1999)

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Mick Head was inspired to start his own band during his formative years in Liverpool listening to the sounds of Echo & the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes. Shack was his second group with his brother John and together they made music on the band’s third long player, HMS Fable. ‘Comedy’ is the type of carefully crafted single that Noel G would be proud of. Despite support of the critics, the band would not deliver the hit that their sparkling work warranted.

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Badly Drawn Boy – Once Around The Block (1999)

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Badly Drawn Boy’s album The Hour of Bewilderbeast seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000. Critics told us that he took his cues from from Harry Nilsson and Beck. Listeners simply found themselves lost in the observational baroque pop of Damon Gough. ‘Once Around The Block’ was released a year earlier as the first single off the album.

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Pavement – Spit On A Stranger (1999)

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Pavement’s last album had some serious back catalogue competition. The Nigel Godrich-produced Terror Twilight may not be their best, but it was really good and it featured ‘Spit On A Stranger’. Have a great week.

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Guided By Voices – Hold On Hope (1999)

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GBV! GBV! Fans of Guided By Voices will be over the moon that Bob Pollard and pals have released their first double album August By Cake this year, 30 years after their first record. To mark the moment, I feature one of the band’s more accessible tracks; the classic ‘Hold On Hope’ from their 1999 album Do The Collapse. Have a great week.

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