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Steve Lamacq / Lost Alternatives 4CD

Journalist, broadcaster and DJ Steve Lamacq has curated a new ‘various artists’ 4CD deluxe set called Lost Alternatives, that pulls together tracks from the 1990’s UK indie scene.

The music in this set represents the “evolution of guitar music through the nineties” as told not by the big hits but by Evening Session cult favourites, limited edition singles and by some bands who simply never made it. Artists include the likes of Northside, Curve, Kitchens of Distinction, Voodoo Queens, Drugstore, Northern Uproar and Llama Farmers. There is also a peppering of slightly bigger names like Suede, Ride, The Charlatans, The Auteurs and Elastica.

In total there are 71 tracks and this set is pleasingly packaged as a 4CD ‘media book’ edition. It is released on 22 March 2019 via Edsel.

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Steve Lamacq - Lost Alternatives

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CD1
1 Ride – Chelsea Girl
2 The Charlatans – Indian Rope
3 Northside – Shall We Take A Trip?
4 Flowered Up – It’s On
5 New Fast Automatic Daffodils – Big
6 Slowdive – Catch The Breeze
7 Curve – Ten Little Girls
8 Kitchens Of Distinction – Prize
9 Pale Saints – Throwing Back The Apple
10 Family Cat – Place With A Name
11 Senseless Things – Is It Too Late?
12 Mega City Four – Words That Say
13 Teenage Fanclub – Everything Flows
14 Silverfish – Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal
15 Daisy Chainsaw – Love Your Money
16 Voodoo Queens – Supermodel Superficial
17 Cornershop – Waterlogged

CD 2 
1 S*M*A*S*H – Real Surreal
2 These Animal Men – Speeed King
3 Blessed Ethel – Rat
4 Suede – The Drowners
5 The Auteurs – Showgirl
6 Elastica – Stutter
7 Sleeper – Alice In Vain
8 Tiny Monroe – VHF 855V
9 Whiteout – Starrclub
10 China Drum – Wuthering Heights
11 Snuff – Caught In Session
12 60Ft Dolls – Happy Shopper
13 Salad – Drink The Elixir
14 Drugstore – Solitary Party Groover
15 Ash – Uncle Pat
16 Northern Uproar – Rollercoaster
17 Perfume – Lover
18 Mansun – Take It Easy Chicken
19 Bluetones – Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?

 CD3
1 Bis – School Disco
2 Travis – All I Want To Do Is Rock
3 Catatonia – Sweet Catatonia
4 Marion – Violent Men
5 Audioweb – Sleeper
6 Rialto – Monday Morning 5:19
7 Tiger – Race
8 Strangelove – Greatest Show On Earth
9 Animals That Swim – Pink Carnations
10 Linoleum – Dissent
11 Scarfo – Alkaline
12 Kenickie – Come Out 2nite
13 Helen Love – Does Your Heart Go Boom
14 Jocasta – Go
15 Livingstone – Good Intentions
16 Geneva – No-One Speaks
17 Whipping Boy – When Were Young
18 Earl Brutus – Life’s Too Long

CD4
1 Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend
2 Mogwai – New Paths To Helicon Part 1
3 Idlewild – Satan Polaroid
4 Symposium – The Answer To Why I Hate You
5 3 Colours Red – This Is My Hollywood
6 The Delgados – Pull The Wires From The Wall
7 The Beta Band – Dry The Rain
8 The Hitchers – Strachan
9 Wubble U – Bit Like You
10 Ten Benson – The Claw
11 Clinic – I.P.C. Subeditors Dictate Our Youth
12 Cay – Better Than Myself
13 Cable – Freeze The Atlantic
14 Seafood – This Is Not An Exit
15 Llama Farmers – Paper Eyes
16 Ultrasound – Stay Young
17 Morgan – Miss Parker (The Dust Brothers Mix)

63 responses to Steve Lamacq / Lost Alternatives 4CD

  1. Mark Phillips says:

    Just wanted to respond to the comments about bbc 6 music which was my station of choice for some years. It’s been replaced by Radio Caroline which is available on dab in the London area, medium wave somewhere in the East of England, and online.

    Some intelligent presenters, a great selection of personally curated music both past and new, and has a good “feel” to it. They seem to have hit my sweet spot as there’s very little that makes me want to change channel. Some weekends they even broadcast (legally) from the radio ship Ross Revenge off Essex somewhere. Note that there is a main channel, plus a flashback channel for oldies lovers (sixties)

    I also dip into UDJs radio (United DJs) which sometimes has great presenters but sometimes can be a bit “yes indeedy”. If you catch a good show you get deeper cuts than mainstream radio. I liked the Northern Soul show a lot!

    If you have an Amazon Echo and the Tune in radio skill enabled play Radio Caroline works straight away. On the other hand you have to enable the UDJS radio skill before Alexa will play the correct station as it not on tune in and they get mixed up with a station with a similar name.

  2. Robert says:

    During the ’90s I picked up the Beechwood ‘Indie Top 20’ releases (roughly ’88 to ’97) and all of the ‘Volume’ releases as they came out. These served as useful introductions to a lot of bands I explored further at the time. I only have to remember now to re-acquaint myself with the track listings on these before buying any of these ‘new’ compilation boxes that Cherry Red in particular seem to release on a regular basis, just to make sure I don’t end up buying tracks I’ve already had for 20 or 30 years! What goes around comes around, and around again. Rinse and repeat…

  3. Ian says:

    Having cross referenced the tracklisting with that of Wikipedias list of artists / groups issued on the deceptive label (which is inaccurate) it’s seems this was the basis for this complilation. Loved Shriek! which came with a flexi disc, perhaps someone should create a flexipop box set? although the Flexipop! The Book + Spandau Ballet / Marc Almond Flexi does this already.

  4. Ian says:

    Thanks for posting this compilation Paul as I have just played a game of lammo where I discovered how many of this tunes I already own. You have also inspired me to support my high street Donny to take a photo of HMV which is now shut, but will be returning to its original location next to M&S / clock corner. Where there is due to be a stone memorial to the coal mining industry, hope this does not become known as a gravestone to the high street. But Ed Milliband is my local MP so perhaps it is approriate.

  5. Rene Rojas says:

    Have the full set of The Orb on his show. Fantastic! One of the last live sets with Andy Hughes. :(

  6. Jorje Chica says:

    No Gene? I’ll be passing on this one.

  7. MFG says:

    Never heard of Steve Lamacq here in the USA. This set looks similar to the Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze box set, which has a narrower focus and bands from both sides of the pond. Thinking that Still in a Dream has a better tracklist, at first glance.,

    • Dr Volume says:

      I really enjoyed Still in a Dream but this isn’t in that bracket at all. There are a handful of Shoegaze bands on the first disc but the rest is a mixture of actually quite well known and successful groups (Suede, Ride, Ash, Beta Band, TFC, Travis???), a stack of landfill indie bands that the NME was trying to convince us were the future of music, the short lived “New Wave Of New Wave”, and loads of 4th division Britpop Of the kind the major labels were falling over themselves to sign in the mid 1990s in a stampede to find the next Oasis or Pulp. Still a few goodies amid the dregs, New Fast Automatic Daffodils were a massively underrated band, as were the Pale Saints but it’s hardly a ‘Nuggets… ‘ for the 90s is it?

      • Ian says:

        I concur with DR Volume, a load of indie landfill which can easily be curratted on a YouTube channel, or Spotify playlist. The lack of Gene is also noticeable, didn’t Steve have some connection with the label? Or does the band still have control over their releases as the reissues of their albums was fairly recent.

        • Chris Brown says:

          The 90s Gene catalogue is still owned by Universal although Edsel did consult the band members when they did their reissues (Martin Rossiter chose not to be actively involved). The second single was originally issued in collaboration with Deceptive records, but Polydor acquired the rights.

          Still, other tracks have been licensed from Universal so they probably could have been included. Perhaps there wasn’t quite enough space or budget?

          Possibly worth noting that Lamacq sold out of Deceptive in 1995.

  8. Elliot says:

    I have a lot of the songs already but there are some bands I’d be interested in checking out, I’ve heard of most them through watching clips of The Chart Show.

    A second volume would be interesting to see if this one does well enough.

    Curve are my number 1 band to reunite, both Toni and Dean have done great work outside of Curve but the albums they recorded together are something else.

  9. David Perry says:

    Excellent selection, and enough left off (Sharkboy? Elcka? Bawl? Fuzz Townsend?) to suggest that a volume 2 is easily compilable. Rejoice. Great to see Seafood on there, they were a crisp crisp band.

    Also would be interested to see his take on the North American scene of the time (Spooky Reuben, Marcy Playground) so this could run and run.

  10. Daniel says:

    Great selection! That was a golden era in my book. KOD, Curve, Ride,… If the price eventually drops I’ll have to get it. Surprised at the number of harsh critics! Lol!

  11. poptones says:

    I used to listen to Lamacq during the mid-90s. If my memory serves well, Peel was moved to week-end slots and Lamacq hosted his Evening Session show from monday to thursday. I enjoyed the show at the time.

    About this compilation? Not much to say. Half of the tracks can’t be considered “lost altenatives”. I wish he added more lost tracks from obscure bands he played on his show. For example, he used to play The Lemons (a girls band) in 1995 and even invited them to play on his show. I remember being a student and taking the bus one saturday from Leeds to Nottingham to see the TV Personalities live. Went to the pub at 6pm for a drink before the show and the manager told me Dan Treacy and the TVPs cancelled at the last minute (they were stuck in Germany after a show the night before) and they were replaced by the Melons! It was a great evening, the Melons were pretty good and I bought 2 singles of the band after the show (including the excellent Stricly melonhead EP) and even had a little chat with the girls. I wish Lamacq added one of their songs to his compilation. Earl Brutus, Animals That Swim, etc. are pretty good choices but there was no need to include well known indie bands and hit-makers like Suede, Elastica, Mogwai, Travis, etc. Considering the tracklisting, Lammo should have named it “alternative favorites”.

  12. Branny says:

    Not for me. I’ll stick with my best album in the world ever series from the 90s and wait for the forthcoming Crowley set.

  13. Tim-Meh says:

    What? No Menswear?

    • kook says:

      There’s a phrase you don’t hear very often…

      • SimonF says:

        How about Wot! No Kingmaker?!

        But seriously I think this is a pretty good set; Lammo was never as left-field as Peel, so it’s not good expecting totally obscure material.
        As with all compilations it’s all about what is available to license, and some ‘big’ names have to be included to guarantee some sales; it’s called keeping the record company happy so they will call you back to compile a second volume.
        Anyway I’d rather take this over any accountant compiled so-called indie collection,
        you know the one’s I mean!
        If I didn’t already own about 95% of what’s on here on either original 7″ or 12″ singles or via the very useful Indie Top 20 collections I would certainly go for this. In fact I have been inspired; this weekend I will dig out all those old singles and relive the 90’s all over again. Should be fun!

  14. Iain McCarthy says:

    Great to see ‘Stay Young’ by Ultrasound make an appearance here….one the best singles of the 90s!

  15. DJ Salinger says:

    What’s just happened here is that SDE readers have accidentally curated a superior rival collection. Or volume 2 if you’re reading, Steve…

    My outliers vote goes to: Animals That Swim’s ‘Faded Glamour’.
    And Denim’s ‘I’m Against The 80s’.
    And Half Man Half Biscuit’s ‘Eno Collaboration’.
    I could go on.

    • kook says:

      Personally, my Denim track of choice would be ‘The New Potatoes’ but then I do have a rather sadistic streak.

      (Apologies in advance to anyone who Googles it.)

    • Mike Villano says:

      That “Back in Denim” album is a true masterpiece. So many of the songs on there would fit nicely in a second volume. “I’m Against the 80s” is a great pick. I think I’d choose either “Osmonds” (one of the most remarkable lyrics I’ve ever heard) or “Here is my Song for Europe,” but the whole album is a secret gem, so anything from it is fine by me.

  16. Alan Clarke says:

    The 90’s to me were all about Stereolab and Saint Etienne neither of who make an appearance on this box set. I’ve never rated Lammo and think it’s about time Radio 6 had a complete overhaul too.

    • Gareth Jones says:

      Well it’s had quite an overhaul, even if not a complete one! Lauren at breakfast, followed by Mary Anne Hobbs, then Shaun, and Radcliffe & Maconie shunted to the weekends. Or are you suggesting brand new presenters, and get rid of the old ones? Apparently Lammo’s show has remained unchanged because it’s the most listened to show on the station! Ironic that a supposedly alternative station, claiming to be inspired by Peel, still thinks about ratings. But then it was threatened with closure years ago when it had no listeners I suppose.

      • Alan Clarke says:

        I was thinking of new presenters Gareth (and much younger ones at that) I hate the all too precise way they “carefully curate tunes” for us I thought the indie ethic was about making it up as you went along. I wonder what John Peel would say if he was told he had to have a playlist…

        • Gareth Jones says:

          Well I do a show on Dandelion Radio, an online station inspired by Peel. No playlists and plenty of unsigned bands and brand new releases. Give it a try! Not sure if Paul will be happy for me to post a link, but just Google Dandelion Radio!

    • James says:

      “The 90’s to me were all about Stereolab and Saint Etienne neither of who make an appearance on this box set.”

      Spiritualized and PJ Harvey say hello ;)

  17. andrew R says:

    Can’t buy it as i always found Lamaq an irrritating broadcaster
    especially when paired with “too cool for school” Jo Whiley
    The really sad thing is they still broadcast like a pair of indie hipsters
    How old are they? pushing 50 .This compilation is as bad as those
    “did you miss these summer of love bands ” the first time .”Yes i did because they were crap then and crap now”

  18. Michael John says:

    A pretty spot on soundtrack to my 90s. Ran across this on Amazon the other day. They had the description, but none of the tracks or artists listed yet. Disappointed from that overview to see what I consider to be pretty big names, at least for that time. Suede, Elastica, Travis and Ash to name a few. Was expecting something more, well, unexpected. Brought a smile to my face to see Morgan (woefully under appreciated debut LP) and Seafood. Comps like this really come down to the delta of what you already have and don’t. For me, since I have about 85% it’s a pass. Not a bad collection of tunes, just not something I need. Would’ve much preferred evening sessions or other unreleased material from the same artists. I’d snag something like that in a heartbeat!

    • hamicle says:

      I loved Seafood, especially ‘Surviving the Quiet’.

      Went through the tracklist last night and I have 45 of the 71 tracks in my iTunes, and could substitute in a different track by the artist for at least half of the remainder.

      Now if only my sister would return my ‘Evening Session Priority Tunes’ 2CD so I can re-rip Snuff’s “Caught In Session”.

  19. Gareth Jones says:

    Much of my student life soundtrack is here. But what, no Bennet ‘Mum’s Gone To Iceland’ or David Devant & His Spirit Wife? Must try harder Lammo!

    • Pádraig Collins says:

      I haven’t heard of, or thought of, David Devant & His Spirit Wife for 20 years or more. I saw them live once – I think it was at an NME gig – and they were just as terrible as you’d imagine.

  20. hamicle says:

    Large chunks of CDs 2 to 4 mirroring my mid-teenage mix tapes, good stuff.

  21. Aaron says:

    Why do people complain about what is on a compilation? So And So track is missing… it’s a No from me…

    It’s a compilation pulled from an entire decade of music!! By definition it can’t have every track by every band! It’s one mans selection…go and have a career like his and put your own set together… or I don’t know, don’t buy it!

  22. Linus70 says:

    Looks like a companion piece to Gary Crowleys Lst 80s
    No Fatima Mansions,
    Broadcast,
    Jacobs Mouse,
    KillLaura,
    cranes,
    Bang Bang Machine
    Gallon drunk
    Breed
    Velocity Girl
    Th Faith Healers
    Bivouac
    Cable
    Could go on infinitum,overall a poorly curated set,stopped listening to ex hack Lamacq decades ago if i ever did,much preferred Mark Goodiers Enthusiasm and wider taste encompassing Dance,electronica,poppy indie stuff than Lamacqs self indulgent dross

  23. Kevin M says:

    What a weird cover.. some random, or posed? photo of a bloke in a record shop. What happened to the actual music makers or their record sleeves being on compilation artwork?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      “a bloke” being Steve Lamacq, whose name is on the cover…

      • Kevin M says:

        Oh, well, there’s no way I’d have known that, but I still think it’s weird. Perhaps then, the next Whitney Houston compilation will have Clive Davis on the cover, or there’ll be a Joy Division BBC Sessions re-release with Curtis replaced on the cover by Sir Ian Trethowan.

        Is it something to do with Spotify? ie fade out the artist, it’s the playlister or others unconnected with the music, who’s important now..?

        • kook says:

          If only there were some kind of search engine, so you could find out what people looked like…

          I’m not sure whose photo you’d have preferred but it’s hardly unusual for a DJ to appear on the cover of a compilation they’ve curated (Pete Tong, Trevor Nelson etc.)

          As for Spotify, I’d have thought it would be more likely to render this sort of product obsolete altogether. Personally, I’m glad that’s not quite happened yet – if only because it means a few more people might hear ‘Monday Morning 5:19’.

          • Kevin M says:

            Fair enough, I see your points kook. There have been lots, Wogan, Titchmarsh IIRC too over the years. It just seemed off to me in this case to sspecifically shout about “lost”, perhaps under-appreciated music, and then lose the musicians entirely when you look at the thing.

            But yeah, I see your points, except the first bit :) How would I google when not knowing who to google? It would be like one of those cyclical Escher paintings. I have nothing against him at all, was familiar with Lamacqu’s name when I saw it, but knew nothing about him and have never knowingly seen his face before. If it had been a quiz and forced to give an answer with no cheating, I would have probably said the name was the guy from The Lightning Seeds, or that Sub Pop producer.

  24. John Lloyd says:

    Hmmm… Not sure where the “evolution of guitar music through the 90s” actually is there. Some more quirky and fun efforts (Helen Love, Wubble U), but as it heinously and criminally leaves off Bang Bang Machine’s “Geek Love” it’ll need to go down in price. Now that WAS evolving guitars… Puressence and Unbelievable Truth must also be waiting for volume 2, too.

  25. Stupidactingsmart says:

    I bought a few of these back then. I loved that slightly chesesy Whiteout song, which was supposedly the best selling single in Glasgow on release. Classic big in Japan career they had, but I did like them.

  26. thomas solimine says:

    Steve Lamacq did live in the same 90’s indie decade that I did. This box is loaded with CRAP!
    Swervedriver, Weddoes, any number of bands on Creation, Sarah. I could go on and on. I will pass..

  27. Aaron says:

    Here’s a question…I’ve been having this debate with a few mates and we can’t find a definitive answer…

    Is the lead singer of 60ft Dolls, Richard Parfitt, the son of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt??

  28. mark turrell says:

    This reads like a trawl through 120 Minutes regulars, or early evening BBC radio. Not too weird and not too straight. Nothing too dangerous or groundbreaking. No Bark Psychosis, Butterfly Child or Cranes?

  29. Adrian Swatridge says:

    Thanks for your very detailed review above ‘Steve’. I can’t wait to get this..I know about 25% of the tracks but that’s my favourite indie era so I’m in….

  30. Cosmo Castanza says:

    The list confirms that the 80’s will always be the decade of indie.

    Like many of these sets , the first disc is loaded with quality.

    • Stupidactingsmart says:

      But what I recognise on the first disc is all 90s. Or are you suggesting an 80s 4cd set would have four discs of quality rather than one?

  31. Steve says:

    9 good songs there. The rest is crap.

  32. xymox970 says:

    “…..as told not by the big hits but by Evening Session cult favourites, limited edition singles and by some bands who simply never made it. Artists include the likes of Northside, Curve, Kitchens of Distinction, Voodoo Queens, Drugstore, Northern Uproar and Llama Farmers. There is also a peppering of slightly bigger names like Suede, Ride, The Charlatans, The Auteurs and Elastica.”

    This paragraph caught my eye. I wonder if you consider Curve to be “a cult favourite or a band who simply never made it”. I presume the former. Very interesting to put Ride in the “slighty bigger names” category afterwards.
    In my book, Curve were always much bigger and much more important / influential than Ride.
    Just my opinion……:)

    • Caroline says:

      Given the venues Ride played upon their reformation, I think it’s fair to consider them “slightly bigger” than Curve. I enjoyed both at the time and still do but Ride were definitely the more successful and were especially influential in the US.

      For me, this set traces how “indie” lost its way and, by the last 90’s, struggled to do anything other than try and crossbreed itself with dance, metal, funk, prog etc to no real avail. Still, it definitely looks well researched.

      • Gorecki says:

        I’d say Curve were both ‘a cult favourite’ and ‘a band who simply never made it’. Cuckoo came out just two years too early – Cuckoo was released in Autumn ’93, and had more than a little in common with Garbage, released in Autumn ’95. If they could have held on perhaps they might have been able to be part of a wave, rather than letting Garbage having the field all to themselves – but apparently they had grown weary of touring. They also had something akin to Nine Inch Nails (including producers!) and could have been the bridge between NIN and Garbage. But again they were just that bit too early for that…

        On top of that, when Curve did reappear they seemed remarkably adept at self-sabotage: the song Chinese Burn was used in an international advert (Sony?) and, according to the bloke in HMV at the time, was the most requested song in the shop – but they spent forever getting it released, almost waiting until the ad campaign was over, and when they did it was as a ‘limited edition’ – and it promptly failed to chart. How could they manage this at a time when ‘March Of The Pigs’ and ‘Push It’ were storming the charts can only be down to skill! After the long-awaited (or not) third album in ’98 they manged to get into a legal mess over the fourth album – so any vague momentum they’d got was lost – not their fault but remarkably indicative of the luck the band had.

        I really liked the band but nearly everything about them, outside the music, has driven me up the wall! ;)

        They should have been huge – they weren’t.

        They should have been more than a cult – they weren’t.

        They should have had a break – they hadn’t any luck.

        Some of it was their fault, some of it timing, some of it the industry, but as a listener I wish they’d come to something more.

      • Gorecki says:

        And this rather wondefully unencyclopaedic section is currently on Toni Halliday’s Wiki page:

        ‘There are now enough new songs to release a compilation of solo recordings, whether Toni will release one in 2019 is still unknown.

        In 2017 Dean and Toni contemplated a Curve reunion but ultimately Toni decided to decline for the moment. Many other artists release rare music to their fan base independently through websites such as Bandcamp and Pledge Music. Hopefully Halliday will realise that her fan base is still strong and make her music more available to them.’

        That last sentence is particularly imploringly wonderful!

        • BrianS says:

          Good analysis of Curve; by far the best band of the 90’s and ’00’s. Note Toni and Richard Fortus (LoveSpitLove/Guns N Roses) have an albums worth of songs in the can (told to me by Richard) never mind the unreleased Scylla disc she could toss up on Bandcamp.

          Dean Garcia has done a good job of keeping the name alive and the music of Curve available.

          • CakeSaint says:

            Dean has also kept a lot of the Curve sound alive through his band with his daughter Rose Berlin — check out SPC ECO on Bandcamp if you are missing the sound and feel of Curve…

      • Ex-Oligarch says:

        Caroline, I think you’re onto something with your observation that indie was mired in failed attempts to cross with dance, metal, funk etc.

        I think much of that has to do with the burgeoning commercial success of dance and the mad marketing push of “electronica” during the late 90s, and the sense that guitar-based music was reaching the end of its sales cycle. The labels were looking nervously for a way forward, and there was still enough money kicking around the “alternative” sector of the industry to justify rolling the dice to see if any of the hybrids would prove to be the Next Big Thing.

        Of course, the 1990s were the era when “indie rock” morphed into “alternative” as bands and small labels were signed or licensed to the major labels, particularly in the US. Using “Alternative” rather than “Indie” in this set’s title was a good choice.

        On the other hand, this music isn’t really “lost,” at least in the big cities of the US. In the 1990s, the dollar bins and thrift stores were full of these cds, and many of them can still be found there with little difficulty.

  33. -SG- says:

    Do you know if any of these are Evening Session versions?

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