Great compilations like this one remind me how easy it is to be jaded about rock ‘n’ roll in the very mediocre thus far 21st Century. Some twenty years ago there was a thriving indie pop scene in the UK and CD86 captures it as perfectly as the Nuggets comps did for 60s garage rock. Before becoming the name of an entire movement, C86 was just the name of a free cassette tape, featuring up and coming UK indie pop bands, that came with a Spring 1986 issue of NME. Soon after, however, the name C86 would define a certain genre, namely lo-fi melodic bands who were inspired to various degrees by the likes of ‘60s garage rock, classic girl groups like the Shangri La’s, and ‘70s punk/pop. Some twenty years later, St. Etienne member and renowned UK scribe Bob Stanley has compiled an extensive two-CD 48-track compilation of that era with excellent liner notes that perfectly capture the times for those of us old enough to remember it first hand. For British music fans, this collection is as much of a godsend as the Nuggets compilations are to garage rock aficionados. Pretty much everything on here is breathtaking. Not surprisingly the early Creation Records bands play a prominent role, with contributions from the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, The Pastels, The June Brides, Bodines, The Loft, Revolving Paint Dream, Jasmine Minks, and the all-too-obscure Meat Whiplash, who’s “Don’t Slip Up” nearly beat the JAMC at their own game. This is only the tip of the iceberg though with other high points including The Servants’ “The Sun A Small Star,” the earliest and most invigorating material by The Wedding Present, Mighty Lemon Drops, The Primitves, and The Soup Dragons (back when they wanted to be The Buzzcocks), and other long forgotten but amazing bands like 14 Iced Bears, Shop Assistants, Sea Urchins and The Wolfhounds.
CD86: 48 Tracks From The Birth of Indie Pop