The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart #2

This week 24th September 1994

I said last time that the Indie Chart was ramshackle and brilliant, and it was most of the time. However, on occasions the choices of music were baffling and frustrating and I think probably hinted that various record companies or promotional companies had their fingers in various pies.

The chart from September 24th 1994 is a really good example of this. It adopted the usual format, ten songs, counted down, brief snippets of eight songs were played and two songs got extended plays. Yet despite having some brilliant tracks in that Top Ten, The Chart Show choose to play two songs by bands that look and sound almost exactly the same. I’ll explain.

Back in September 1994, indie music was I think enjoying a bit of boom, Britpop had arrived and bands like Oasis and Blur had just started making guitar music relatively interesting again. It had however, led to the creation of about a hundred identikit bands, who all looked the same and sounded the same, basically white boys with guitars. A bandwagon that the Chart Show gleefully supported in it’s selected choices.

On this weeks chart the two songs it choose to give extended clips of were the songs at number 8 and at Number 1.

Number 8 was ‘Detroit’ by Scottish glam rock enthusiasts Whiteout. ‘Detroit’ is awful, the very epitome of landfill indie. Next to Whiteout at the bottom of the landfill indie pile, trying to shove Molly Half Head off of them are These Animal Men, who somehow, inexplicably are at Number One, so the Chart Show dutifully play it.

This is the sound of youth – These Animal Men (1994, Hut Records)

This, by the way, is what it replaced at the top of the chart

We Are The Pigs – Suede (1994, Nude Records)

(and Songwhip, mercifully, can’t find anything by Whiteout, its so awful even the Internet doesn’t want to hear it)

Now, if you put Whiteout and These Animal Men in a room together, I’m pretty sure that even the managers of Whiteout and These Animal Men would struggle to pick them out if they were asked to.

There were of course, eight other tracks that were in the Top Ten, none of which were played by the Chart Show, but all of them are better than the two that were played. I understand the show having to play These Animal Men what with them being Number One and all – but below are the tracks going up or staying put, which they might have played instead.

Hi Fi Killers – Sammy (1994, Fire Records) (number 9) – which I had never heard before today. Sounds a lot like ‘Bossanova’ era Pixies if they were fronted by Lou Reed, which is a good thing I suppose. I suspect that the Chart Show didn’t play this video because after about twenty seconds, it will give you a headache. The next two at seven and six were both of which were going up the chart and would have been better choices.

Starcrossed – Drugstore (1994, Honey Records) (number 7) – Let’s have some context, there is more inspiration and emotion in the first twenty seconds of ‘Starcrossed’ than there is in the entire careers of Whiteout and These Animal Men combined.

Are We Here? – Orbital (1994, FFRR records) (number 6) – Orbital I think had just headlined Glastonbury and were one of the biggest bands in the UK at the time.

Everythings Cool – Pop Will Eat Itself (1994, Infectious Records) (Number 3) – yup even the third single from the sixth(?) PWEI album would have been a better choice.

The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart #1

The indie chart rundown on Saturday Lunchtime Music Programme ‘The Chart Show’ was brilliantly ramshackle and had a real cobbled together feel to it, bands names were often spelt wrong, the wrong videos were played for the wrong songs, the snippets that appeared on the screen would seem to be made up – for example

When he is not performing on stage, singer Robert Smith likes hot air ballooning over Cheshire, walking his poodle Trevor and challenging his wife to a jaffa cake eating contest”.

But it was for about five minutes every three Saturdays, indie music heaven and some genius has plopped a load of these on You Tube, if I had a hat, I would tip in your direction Sir.

What I thought would be fun is to select a random Chart Show Indie Top Ten, obviously I can’t show the videos – but I can talk about the music that features within the You Tube Clips if that makes sense ….I’ve started with the chart from March 11th 1995. 

So cue the weird fairground horse carousel montage that they used to introduce the chart……

The first three records are all going down the chart and we are treated to about ten seconds of each before a big FFWD button speeds them off.  They are all by acts who start with an E.  Eat Static are at ten, and looking by them, they have probably ingested a fair few E’s of the own, they are replaced by Edwyn Collins who is replaced by this

Waking Up – Elastica (1995, Deceptive Records)

After Elastica is another band who start with an E.  Eight Story Window.  Now in 1995, I was all over the music scene, I was at the time probably arranging gigs and I was definitely receiving around thirty different records a week to review for the student rag.  I have never heard of Eight Story Window, not then and not now.  Why the Chart Show played this I have no idea.  Songwhip appear to have nothing by Eight Story Window so I can’t post anything by them –  but I can guarantee you wouldn’t have liked it anyway.  

After about two minutes ‘I Will’ by Eight Story Window is booted (that by the way is the most press that Eight Story Window have had in 26 years) and they are replaced briefly by ‘No More Affairs’ by Tindersticks, which is going up the chart, it doesn’t stop it getting the boot after about eight seconds where it is replaced by

Rattled By The Rush – Pavement (1995, Matador Records)

Which is also going up the chart but we only get to hear ten seconds or so before that too is booted for another climber.  I mean they could have played that or indeed the track at four instead of Eight Story bloody Window.  The song at number four is

Kung Fu – Ash (1995, Infectious Records)

As you will see as this series progresses, Ash and Pavement would appear to be indie’s Poison because they seem to be on every single indie chart run down that I’ve watched.  Even when they have stopped releasing records.

After nine seconds, ‘Kung Fu’ gets the heave ho and is replaced with number 3 which is

Solitary Party Groover – Drugstore (1995, Roadrunner Records)

Which again is going up but is not played.  Drugstore were very much underrated and are much missed around these parts. 

When I watched this video for the first time, I was genuinely excited by what could be in the top two – this is March 1995, the height of the all conquering Britpop, surely we are getting Oasis or Pulp or Blur (or the ones signed to an indie at least)….Nope we are getting Salad.   And not good Salad either – and I’m fairly sure by the time this was released Salad were signed to a major.  

Drink the Elixir – Salad (1995, Island Records)

Which thankfully leaves the screen quickly and ushers in the Number 1 indie record and again its massively disappointing.  Britpop Boo Radleys were not a great thing.  I think even they would agree with me.

Wake Up Boo – Boo Radleys (1995, Creation)

They get the full video treatment the snippets tell us that Sice from the band likes being thrown over the edge of Niagara Falls in a barrel and that Martin Carr is a Morris Dancer at the weekend and then it too is fast forwarded and something by The Corrs come on.