heard on the wire

I want to be in a band when I get to heaven

A recent discussion on Twitter today about the relative merits, or otherwise, of The Verve and Radiohead led me to thinking about other critically or commercially acclaimed bands whose appeal is entirely lost on me.

The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Who, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, to mention just a few, excite me about as much as a ready meal. It’s not that I don’t think they’re great artists — clearly they are — I just don’t like them.

And the same goes for some of the great ‘indie’ bands of the past few decades, not least Nirvana; never was a band so deceptively named. And before Cobain came the Pixies, a band by which I continue to be completely underwhelmed — and believe me it’s not for want of trying. I even quite liked the Surfer Rosa LP for a while, but listening to it now, I can’t even bring myself to care.

Pixies were one of an incestuous¹ bunch of US indie bands in the early 90s, a bunch that also included The Breeders, Throwing Muses and the awesome Belly.

Belly :: Dusted

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Belly :: Gepetto

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The band only recorded two LPs and ended their brief lifespan supporting REM. It was clearly time to quit.

The Breeder’s split around the same time, before reforming in 2002 to release three LPs over the course of the decade. But fame came via the ultimate fame game, after the aforementioned Cannonball was ruined by a handful of X-wannabees. The original appeared on The Breeders second LP, Last Splash, which also featured a version of an Ed’s Redeemin Qualities song (no, me neither). This, Cowell, is how covers should be done.

The Breeders :: Drivin’ on 9

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Which brings me to the origins of this post — the relative merits, or otherwise, of The Verve and Radiohead. First, my favourite Thom-song; I suspect I may be alone in this.

Radiohead :: Anyone Can Play Guitar

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And from The Verve? Well, I was tempted to post the entire first four tracks of A Northern Soul, possibly one of the finest single sides of vinyl ever recorded by a band that singularly failed to repeat the trick, miserably ripping off the Stones in the process. But, for 17 fantastic minutes the drugs did work².

The Verve :: A New Decade

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¹ The Pixies’ Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donnelly, who also played with Belly and the Throwing Muses.
² This is a reference to the band’s hit single The Drugs Don’t Work and not, in any way, an implication that The Verve took any illegal drugs. And should any lawyers be reading, drugs can be both legal and illegal, the word itself implies either.

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