So after ‘Fuzzbox’, I took the leap of looking into music from 1986 and I came across a copy of the NME C86 cassette, well I actually downloaded it (legally, of course!) and sure enough ‘Fuzzbox’ are on the tape. I was absolutely amazed by what a fantastic collection of music this is and instantly I just had to find out everything about pretty much every band on it. It seemed to me like Post punk and Indie had developed its sound further although a lot of people say that it is quite repetitive of the early 80’s style but I completely disagree with this! In my opinion if anything it was like things had regressed even further back to the D.I.Y days! The sound is unpolished, basic, etchy and some tracks are rather weird as will be discovered. I’d love to post videos of most bands on the tape but I better talk about just a couple, or I’ll be here all day….however, you should definitely give the whole thing a listen if you can get a copy.
For a start I never thought I’d hear anything as weird or experimental as the 'Diagram Bros' and was completely wrong there when I stumped across (excuse the pun) 'Stump'. They were just completely crazy beyond belief. They were a mix of Irish and English guys, and considering how off the wall they were they did pretty well in the indie charts with their Mini LP ‘Quirk out’ staying up there for half a year, and reaching number 2 at one point. Plus they landed themselves on the channel 4 music program 'The tube' performing 'Tupperware stripper' (Here). I don’t think any bands such as this would even get near the doors of a terrestrial TV channel nowadays. I instantly set about buying all their records when I saw the Buffalo video, which is on the C86 cassette. I think 'The tube' paid to make this, I’m really glad someone did - its a must see, an acquired taste for music perhaps, but a funny vid to watch even if you don’t like the sound of these nutcases! It always puts a smile on my face, this isn’t the full video but the best quality one I could find on YouTube.
The next band that really impressed me with their combination of DIY/Post punk and even a slightly weird funky sound was 'The Mackenzies', a pretty bland sounding name! Upon hearing them however I instantly knew that some of their other stuff would also be great too so I immediately got on the case of getting round to listening to everything by them (which isn’t really a lot unfortunately). One single definitely worth checking out is ‘New Breed’/’Dogs Breakfast’ I wouldn’t exactly call it easy listening, both tracks are pretty jagged, all over the place and very experimental, they definitely had a unique sound though. Nothing ever amounted to any commercial success but they were very much loved by Mr. John Peel for whom they recorded a couple of sessions which are also worth a blast (Here’s one called 'Give me everything' - Fantastic stuff). I was also surprised that they hailed from Glasgow, yet another great musical export from Scotland. Below is the first track that first caught my eye or ear should I say, which is from the C86 cassette - 'Big Jim (there's no pubs in heaven)'
In the end, C86 was not just a cassette, but actually a genre of its own. That’s why I’ve named this post the C86 Era. Other bands worth a listen to if your interested in this great period in music are ‘Bogshed’, ‘Big Flame’, ‘Half man, half biscuit’ and 'The wedding present'. When looking further into the artists on this cassette something clicked into place, and this will lead me onto the next post…