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,
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’.
A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1999 in no particular order:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ágætis Byrjun was the breakthrough album by our favourite Icelandic prog rocksters Sigur Rós. It was released in 1999 and critical acclaim ensued. Electronic, dreamy, ambient and instrumentally artistic, ‘Starálfur’ was one its many standout moments. It made everyone want to go Beyond The Wall and stare at the geysers.
In the lead up to its release in 1999, The Magnetic Fields’ behatted frontman Stephin Merritt must have pored over his romantic and lustful memories to create the opus 69 Love Songs. From somewhere near the front end of this longest of players, ‘The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side’ sounds like the love child production of Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon.
Released as the first single off the Remedy album, ‘Red Alert’ was Basement Jaxx’s calling card. It’s a melting pot of electronic sound effects that they brilliantly knit together with a funky bass line pinched off Locksmith’s ‘Far Beyond’, a chorus and some squeals of ecstasy. It defined the dance floor tempo of summer 1999.