Five more this week. Two bands from Manchester, from coat-tail riders to the actual Ryders, and a disco classic to sign off…
Can You Dig It? – The Mock Turtles
It’s never nice to admit to a band being a one-hit wonder; a group whose success pins on the popularity of one song alone. But it’s hard to label The Mock Turtles as anything else. Riding on the crest of Madchester’s popularity in 1991, the band – fronted by Steve Coogan’s brother Martin – scored their only top 40 hit in the UK with this number. With a chorus inspired by cult American film ‘The Warriors’ and a bassline Mani would’ve been proud of, it’s safe to say that although The Mock Turtles won’t be remembered in the same breath as some of their peers, there’ll always be a place for this tune in pubs and clubs across Manchester.
Glory Box – Portishead
Contemporaries of Massive Attack in Bristol’s trip-hop scene which emerged in the 1990s, Portishead were noted for managing to achieve success despite the experimental nature of their songs. Their 1994 debut album, ‘Dummy,’ was – despite a non-existent marketing campaign and complete lack of media presence by the band – lauded by critics and pipped the likes of Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Suede to win the Mercury Prize in 1995. Arguably their most well-known song, ‘Glory Box’ is as luscious as it is sensual, with its famous strings motif creating the atmosphere throughout.
Dennis And Lois – Happy Mondays
Mancunian legend Shaun Ryder and his gang embodied all that was wrong with Madchester, unfortunately. The Mondays were thugs from Salford, and it was their drug addictions which caused the band to implode as Madchester faded and Gunchester became a very real problem. They couldn’t half write some tunes though. Favouring a blend of house rhythms and 60s psychedelia, the band embraced rave culture much more than their peers The Stone Roses did. ‘Dennis And Lois’ is a prime example of their niche sound, incorporating a disco influence and house-style pianos throughout.
Girl – Jamie xx
Since evolving from uber-indie percussionist in The xx into one of Britain’s premier DJs and producers, Jamie xx has been divisive. Is he precociously talented, seeing opportunity to merge samples and songs in a way no one else can? Or is he simply riding on the successes of others by paying homage to them? One thing that is for sure is his debut album, ‘In Colour,’ is one of the most immersive listens in recent years. In creating the album’s standout track, Girl, he pulls influence from Channel 4 drama ‘Top Boy,’ Swedish experimental band Studio and 80s synthpop outfit Freeez. The result is an atmospheric piece complete with a killer vocal sample craftily lifted from Freeez’s ‘IOU.’
Everyman – Double Exposure
If you were a disco or funk artist in the 1970s, you wanted to be signed to Salsoul Records. Double Exposure were lucky enough to call the label their home, and with the release of ‘Ten Percent’ in 1976, Salsoul provided the world with the first commercially available 12″ single – a format previously only used by DJs. They might not be the most famous disco act of the era, but ‘Everyman’ was an absolute smash-hit in New York’s burgeoning clubbing scene upon its release.