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New to you – Poor Things

483396_633233053357665_838308126_nNostalgia is a bastard. Things were never what they used to be and it’s silly to keep harping back to some imagined era when everything was as you want it. There’s a reason for that and it’s because it only exists in your mind.

But 90s guitar bands were better than today’s that’s just a fact. No, it is. Shush.

Let me explain; it wasn’t that every band was great, or that every modern one is rubbish. Indeed, thanks to the wonders of Spotify you can find some wonderful music you probably wouldn’t have access to. But in the 90s, weird stuff was mainstream. Teenage Fanclub, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. had hits. Actual, chart hits. They were on Top of the Pops. There was a Top of the Pops. Radio One was actually, genuinely, really good. Sigh….

So things have changed, and Perth 3-piece Poor Things may never get to hang out in the Met Bar, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are really, really good. Charmingly angular pop which will resonate with anyone who has ever drank a pint of cider – with no fucking ice – in a grotty mosh pit wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. They have a new EP out on June 10 called Hurricane Poor ThingsGive it a whirl.

Fat Goth – Stud

StudWhen a band call themselves Fat Goth, I immediately want to like them. It’s funny, it’s a bit nasty, it seems more concerned with having a laugh than worrying about how others might take it. It is, in two words, why I like rock and roll. Because, while things were always better back when, there can’t be much argument that it’s been a long time since guitar music was so freshly-scrubbed. You really could take most of today’s bands home to meet your mother. Fat Goth would be disheveled, drunk and trying to do your sister. This is to their credit.

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Hey Uncle Sam! Is grunge coming back?

If you subscribe to the theory that music is cyclical – and that everything gets copied eventually – then the last few years have provided a lot of grist for your theoretical mill. From post-punk to techno to electropop, it seems everything that wasn’t nailed down has been re-constituted and adapted by someone. For a few years everyone sounded like Josef K, then it was wall-to-wall New Order before the template for every pop hit was seemingly ‘Master and Servant’.

Now, there appears signs that it’s time to look out the plaid shirt and the syringes, because grunge may well be the next to be given a new millenium makeover.

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From the vault – Suede

Between grunge and britpop, there was Suede.  It always seemed they just missed out on their place in history, but they really cleared the decks for British bands to have success when it looked like Kurt and co had killed them. Oasis, Blur and especially Pulp seemed to nick their audience, and Suede settled into respectable middle-age. But they were great when they started, as this live performance from 1993 proves.

Friday from the vault – The Gin Blossoms

The Wookie doesn’t ask for much, but he’s been on at me to feature the Gin Blossoms in FFTV for a while now. Forever favourites of Top Gear compilations for their 1994 monster hit ‘Hey Jealousy’, they were actually a very underrated pop-Americana hybrid, if you can countenance such a thing. The band had a tragic backstory (including the suicide of a founding member before the release of their debut) and never seemed entirely comfortable being front and centre in the post-grunge vacuum. Still, they made some great music, and here in proof of that statement is their 1994 single (the other one) ‘Found Out About You’.

The Wednesday What’s New? – Black Mountain

Yep, a day late. But worth waiting for, we feel. Black Mountain’s new single is called ‘The Hair Song’ and is redolent of when all the cool kids did indeed have long hair. And plaid shirts. And heroin habits. The 80’s revival is dead, is the grunge revival starting now? Look out the german jackets and stripy tights people!

Dinosaur Jr & Built to Spill – Glasgow, ABC

When the world was two decades younger, young men and women dressed in plaid shirts and Sonic Youth t-shirts ruled the world. Well, at least the cooler pages of the Melody Maker. What came to be known as grunge in the wake of Nirvana’s epoch-shattering success was really less a movement and more a loose coalition of the US’s finest alternative guitar bands. Dinosaur Jr were one of the forefathers, their debut album having hit the shelves in 1985. Continue reading