Author Topic: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good  (Read 1391 times)

23 Daves

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Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« on: December 29, 2005, 12:15:38 AM »
Something TJ has said in another thread prompted this...

As unusual as it sounds now in an age where a band can rip off Coldplay and sign to Sony and still get rave reviews in the NME,  in days of yore it was overwhelmingly common to dismiss bands as "bandwagon jumpers".  Each scene and movement came with their share - XTC, for example, were derided by many as being "punk/ new wave" bandwagon jumpers, despite actually producing a lot of original sounding material that seemed more like early Roxy Music in its influences than The Sex Pistols.

Most of my favourite examples were sadly tainted with critical derision so badly that they didn't even break through.  InAura, for example, were regarded as "romo bandwagon jumpers" (not that this was ever a particularly fruitful bandwagon to hop on) and produced one great and sadly ignored album in "One Million Smiles".  Ostensibly The Killers about ten years before the event only far better, they used burbling eighties synths, epic guitars and dancey rhythms to amazing effect, probably hitting their peak with "This Month's Epic", an eight minute track which really stands up with the best of that era.  Sold dick all, though, and received appalling reviews in the national press, mostly on the basis of a scene I'll bet they wished they'd never mentioned in a rogue interview (or wherever it was the comparison first cropped up, perhaps in their press office).

Salad were also, to my ears, a damn sight more than "Britpop chancers".  For a start they were far too lyrically skewed and angular to really be compared sensibly to Sleeper or Echobelly, and ultimately that always threw a spanner in the works for them commerically as well.  Still, though, the comparison kept running, and ultimately appeared to do for their careers.

Are there any more?  I'll bet a shiny golden guinea that TJ mentions Flowered Up and Candy Flip of course...

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2005, 01:25:02 AM »
This thread makes me realise how out of touch with the music scene I am. Um, Pink Floyd re-uniting at Live8 was good, wasn't it? ;-)

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2005, 01:31:58 AM »
Hehehhe, I think so, seeing as XTC's debut came out in 1978, Flowered Up's big hit came out in 1992 and Candy Flip's succesful Beatles cover came out in 1991!

I'm stretching my brain to think of another apt example though!

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2005, 03:48:10 AM »
The Charlatans were labelled 'baggy' bandwagon jumpers when they first came on the scene, but actually stuck around longer than any of their so called peers and have a lot more depth than I think anyone expected.

Pearl Jam got lumped in with the grunge thing but they're not really grunge, they're a lot closer to classic rock from the 70s, and as well as putting out a lot of really underrated (by music critics/snobs) material without ever compromising, they're fantastic live

I liked Salad too, although they were one of those bands from that era like Powder/Sleeper/Menswear who just kind of fizzled out. I imagine in ten years we'll be discussing Kaiser Chiefs/The Killers/Bloc Party etc in the same way.

And I'd love to know whatever happened to Perfume

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2005, 09:12:30 AM »
Well, weren't Blur pushed as a baggy band when they first broke through? People said that There's No Other way was a total Stone Roses rip-off...They did all right, didn't they? ;)

TJ

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Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2005, 09:33:05 AM »
Quote from: "23 Daves"
Are there any more?  I'll bet a shiny golden guinea that TJ mentions Flowered Up and Candy Flip of course...


But of course. And The Mock Turtles, The Railway Children, The Paris Angels, New FADS and World Of Twist too - I suppose the big difference with 'Madchester' was that it wasn't exactly an easy and straightforward musical ethos to copy without having some sort of interest in being 'out there' and different in the first place (although that didn't stop The Lemontrees). The thing was, even at the time I knew all of these bands were bandwagon jumping to an extent, and as someone who'd been into the 'big three' Madchester bands since about 1988 I should have loathed them for that alone, but the music was simply too good to ignore. It's interesting to compare this with what happened with Britpop a couple of years later, where the opportunistic chancers (Northern Uproar, Ocean Colour Scene, Kula Shaker et al) really did just replicate the sound with none of the substance.

For the benefit of the curious - Candy Flip did themselves a massive disservice by releasing an admittedly imaginative Beatles cover as their first single, and never really recovered despite their album being full of weird-yet-catchy technopop wtih squealing guitars; The Mock Turtles suffered from lousy clinical major label production, but their songwriting talents still managed to shine through; The Railway Children seemingly couldn't decide whether they wanted to be funky sitar-wavers, winsome folkies or a bizarre combination of AOR and indie-dance, and coupled with their record label trying to push them on the basis of their singer's resemblance to Jason Priestly this meant that the public never knew what to make of them; The Paris Angels sounded like a more Acid House-ed out New Order, and Madonna later blatantly stole the arrangement from one of their singles virtually note for note for 'Ray of Light'; New FADS gave the Madchester sound an interestingly lo-fi minimal edge that bordered on industrial - think Happy Mondays on a budget of twenty seven pence and you're halfway there; World Of Twist defy categorisation even to this day, not least on account of their Tamla Motown-style cover of 'Kick Out The Jams'; and Flowered Up deserve a special mention all of their own. Far from just being 'The South's Happy Mondays', they had a more urgent and dystopian feel to their sound, and lyrically they dealt extremely bluntly with subjects that included London's racist street gangs ('Take It'), the risks of dealing drugs for a living ('It's On'), and depression ('Sunshine', which included the startling couplet "please don't say nothing, nothing's a no man's game, another day of torment, anguish on the brain"). Oh, and they also made a short film once...

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2005, 11:47:29 AM »
I remember Salad quite fondly too, they had a song called Drink the Elixir that was very catchy and good. The whole notion of bandwagons and movements is silly really, journalists lumping a load of different groups together under one heading to keep things nice and neat and/or advance some agenda or theory of their own, which does usually result in some of the more feeble-minded or mercenary bands making small adjustments to their trousers/manifesto/haircuts etc in an attempt  to align themselves with the nonexistent scene.

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2005, 10:11:32 PM »
I'd say the White Stripes, but they were going for a while before the whole nu-garage thing took off.

DJ One Record

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Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2005, 11:11:35 PM »
Well that's hardly an excuse.

Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2005, 11:45:00 PM »
Quote from: "23 Daves"
Each scene and movement came with their share - XTC, for example, were derided by many as being "punk/ new wave" bandwagon jumpers

Surely not so! They were much too quirky to put down as bandwagon jumpers. I don't think anyone really knew what to make of them, and they were too angular to be pop, so they didn't get much notice. They didn't fit.

One of those bands that have increased in popularity over the years.

23 Daves

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Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2005, 12:16:56 AM »
Quote from: "humanleech"
Quote from: "23 Daves"
Each scene and movement came with their share - XTC, for example, were derided by many as being "punk/ new wave" bandwagon jumpers

Surely not so! They were much too quirky to put down as bandwagon jumpers. I don't think anyone really knew what to make of them, and they were too angular to be pop, so they didn't get much notice. They didn't fit.

One of those bands that have increased in popularity over the years.


Hmmm - Julian Cope certainly dismissed them as "false punk" in his "Head On" biography, and Andy Partridge himself has said that the band have been held responsible for "all sorts of terrible New Wave crimes".  

The irony is, of course, that the band were citing the New York Dolls as an influence way before punk even broke in the UK... but the press can be a bit thick like that sometimes.

NoSleep

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Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2005, 10:59:48 AM »
I think it's fair enough to say that XTC did happily jump on the punk bandwagon, in order not to be sidelined by what was going on around them. Sure, they have a lot going for them that can be seen as 'non-punk' but I'm sure they shifted their tempos up a few notches to fit in.

Likewise Wire.

TraceyQ

  • For a while now... Aaaaaaah...
Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2005, 06:25:58 PM »
Quote from: "Labian Quest"
I remember Salad quite fondly too, they had a song called Drink the Elixir that was very catchy and good.


Salad are alive and well and live on in my DJ set. I've been trying to get hold of "Drink Me" for a while but it seems to have been erased off the face of the earth. I bloody loved "Diminished Clothes".

It really didnt help them that Marianje, while being a good singer, was also a model/MTV presenter.

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
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Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 06:34:19 PM »
Quote from: "TraceyQ"
Quote from: "Labian Quest"
I remember Salad quite fondly too, they had a song called Drink the Elixir that was very catchy and good.


Salad are alive and well and live on in my DJ set. I've been trying to get hold of "Drink Me" for a while but it seems to have been erased off the face of the earth. I bloody loved "Diminished Clothes".


I do own a copy of "Drink Me", Tracey, but sadly it's a vinyl copy so is a bit of a chore to MP3 up.  Nonetheless, I'll try to sort it out for you - jog my memory if I don't get around to doing this.  I don't promise perfect sound quality, though.

TraceyQ

  • For a while now... Aaaaaaah...
Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2005, 06:38:40 PM »
You're a star, Daves, thanks so much.

boki

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Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2005, 01:11:14 AM »
I've got it on tape somewhere.  Bloody hell, tapes!  Them were t' days, eh?  Yeah, that Salad album was good, especially 'Drink The Elixir', 'Your Ma' and 'Motorbike To Heaven'

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2005, 01:47:23 AM »
Oh yes, Motorbike to heaven, I seem to remember that being good too, could 23 Daves or boki or someone post any Salad stuff they've got on here please.

fanny splendid

  • Chaos Reigns
Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2005, 10:20:36 AM »

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2005, 12:06:19 PM »
I loved Salad back in the 90s - saw them several times and it was always a pleasure.  If I'm honest, I'm still keen on them now, despite some truly awful lyrics which would make Noel Gallagher the equivalent of poet laureate.

My favourite is still this piece of 'genius' from 'On A Leash':

And when I tell you I'm no friend
You just go round and round the bend
And everyone's a little mad
On a voyage round their dad


<cough>

Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2005, 06:42:47 PM »
Quote from: "23 Daves"
Most of my favourite examples were sadly tainted with critical derision so badly that they didn't even break through.  InAura, for example, were regarded as "romo bandwagon jumpers" (not that this was ever a particularly fruitful bandwagon to hop on) and produced one great and sadly ignored album in "One Million Smiles".  Ostensibly The Killers about ten years before the event only far better, they used burbling eighties synths, epic guitars and dancey rhythms to amazing effect, probably hitting their peak with "This Month's Epic", an eight minute track which really stands up with the best of that era.  Sold dick all, though, and received appalling reviews in the national press, mostly on the basis of a scene I'll bet they wished they'd never mentioned in a rogue interview (or wherever it was the comparison first cropped up, perhaps in their press office).


InAura were great. I don't have anything else to add, but it would be a shame for that fact to be lost in the Salad love-in.

23 Daves

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Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2005, 07:36:32 PM »
Quote from: "lankinpark"


InAura were great. I don't have anything else to add, but it would be a shame for that fact to be lost in the Salad love-in.


Yes, they were a band who got lost in record company politics, really.  Back in the days when I used to do regional journalism, I was way more aware of this sort of thing going on, whereas these days if a band gets buried I tend not to be so conscious of it.  Angel Pie from Liverpool were another band I really liked whose album didn't even seem to actually emerge for reasons that weren't fully explained.

It would seem they (InAura, that is) were given a ridiculous budget for their first video (#1 million if some sources are to be believed), and after that the record company completely lost interest.  The album ended up coming out a year late on an indie label with hardly any publicity.

They even had Dave Formula out of Magazine as a member... I'm amazed they got so completely overlooked, quite honestly.  In terms of student/ regional press they rarely received anything less than rave reviews, and their PR company argued they were one of the easiest bands they've ever had to push in that respect, but the NME and Melody Maker just didn't want to know.

Re: Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2006, 05:32:15 PM »
Quote from: "TJ"
The Mock Turtles


Wasn't there an NME article about them that juxtaposed their rise to fame with that of Steve Coogan's? (Coogan's brother was the singer in the Mock Turtles).

Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2006, 05:07:00 PM »
I remember buying an InAura single purely because Steve Osbourne was involved somewhere in the production (sad I know, but I was a Oakenfold/Osbourne fanatic), and it was pretty good. Will have to dig it out.

Salad were fab. I was only listening to "Kent" the other day.  "Motorbike To Heaven" was really good, "Granite Statue"... in fact, all their singles were great, in that offbeat style which doesn't seem to be around these days. The last album "Ice Cream" was very hit and miss though, and not helped by the naff waitress cover. A million times better than Sleeper or your Echobellys of the time.

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
Bandwagon jumping "chancers" who are actually rather good
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2006, 09:27:42 PM »
A quick bump to say...

InAura and Salad's albums are now available on my Soulseek account (the Salad one is a vinyl rip though, so may not be 100% perfect).

Just in case you're curious, like...