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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars

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on 2 November 2006
Fantastic compilation from a neglected era (area) of music. Some stuff I still listen to 20 years on (Wedding Present, JAMC, Half Man Half Biscuit), some stuff I didn't know (Fizzbombs) and some excellent blasts from the past I'd forgotten all about (Mighty Lemon Drops, Shop Assistants, Bodines and especially Anti Midas Touch by the Wolfhounds. It only loses a point because there's a bit too much crossover with the Subway Organisation and Rough Trade Indiepop compilations. Still such minor carping aside, well worth a dip into.
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2007
The 20th anniversary of the last truly rock orientated movement of the 1980's has recieved minimal column inches and just this one solitary compliation. C86 was a movement which gelled only after NME put a cassette out featuring a collection of relativley new bands causing a storm on the indie charts and getting regular plays on John Peel whilst anorak clad hordes bounced around to the sounds when they played live. It was alternative and it was proper indie music as there were labels set up to record and distribute this music by people who loved.

20 years on and we get a look back at this genre and 48 tracks at first look seems generous. There are a number of key bands represented here Primal Scream, The Primitives, Half Man Half Buscuit, BMX Bandits all of whom were key to the scene. There are also some glaring omissions which gives this collection a somewhat misleadingly narrow sound. There was a lot more to this scene than simple jingle jangle but you wouldn't believe it listening to this. The awkward and difficult sounds of the likes of Bogshed, Stump and even We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Going To Use It were all on the NME cassette and part of the movement although none get a place here. The sleevenotes betray the real problem with this compilation as Bob Stanley writes with all the dispassion of a record collector and not a fan.

Musically this is still wonderful. Sometimes off key, sometimes out of tune, even out of time with itself. It has an energy and a passion that makes it very much of its time by still powerfully compelling. Hearing some of these pieces for the first time in years made me feel nostalgic and a little sad that this wonderful music was something of a cul-du-sac as there is really little trace of this sound in the current crop of bands. Hearing The Flatmates strident "Shimmer", puzzling why "Like An Angel" by The Mighty Lemon Drops wasn't a hit, or marvelling at how well a song like "Anti Midas Touch" by The Wolfhounds has whethered is what compilations like this are for.

If looking for something of a flavour of the time I'd begin with the Subway Records collection, and then the Rough Trade "Indiepop" CD (both of which share a fair few duplicates with CD86) and then take a look at this, and don't forget your anorak!
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VINE VOICEon 2 March 2007
Well, who do you think would have put out the best indiepop double CD compilation in recent times, the hipper than hip Rough Trade or the 90's answer to K-tel - Castle ? The contents speak for themselves here with an absolute 'on-the-nail' selection from a truly golden age of British indie music. Sure, there's the odd 3rd division turkey in there, but out of 48 tracks that still makes for an exciting listen through !

I can't understand the odd gripe in other reviews that it doesn't represent every type of music that was on the original C86 tape though, that seems to be missing the point somehow. Very fine as the music put out by the likes of Ron Johnson was, stylistically it's of a different strain that came from and went through to other places. Leaving this stuff off the compilation actually makes the listening thread hang together much better.

I'd recommend this thoroughly both to those who 'wore their fringes like Roger McGuinn' at the time or to any younger viewers who've maybe read about the scene with some curiosity and want a high quality introduction to what, for anyone who was 16 in 1987 rather than in 1977 like me, was genuinely their very own Punk Rock.
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on 8 June 2011
Think about it-what few singles charted by so called Punk bands were all on corporate labels.And the whole idea of bands going on what we now call Indie labels was simply because the majors would never have signed them or worse still messed with the music by putting in session musicians
Its why so much on the majors is just too damn boring after they came up with AOR and it was to get worse in the 80s when Prince,Madonna and Wham reared their ugly heads.
Tracing back Indie music would have to start from the day No Dice morphed into the Victims Of Pleasure in 1980 who were on both the PAM and Rialto labels and a seperate Indie chart began.More Indie labels than not hardly lasted 5 minutes but some of the more succesful at least as cults were Sarah,Postcard,Dedicated and Creation.
The last named was recording what is the true sound of Indie in the early 80s when it was more about jangling guitars than the horrors which followed later when the founder Alan McGee ended the label in an explosion of bankuptcy after all the profits either went up his nose or fried his brain.
Indie would be more interesting when it was about musical failure.Once it got too succesful the idea was destroyed.Or the bands simply left the business like the Family Cat who charted in Indie but only just scraped on to the Top 75 for a week.
Personally the Family Cat would be my choice second would be Jesus Jones.
The NME when it was a proper music paper were champions of Indie more than any other paper and started off the C86 cassettes and others like Mighty Reel and Raging Spools.
If ever Indie could be used as a kind of music then that was Tweepop which even made the mainstream charts via the Primitives and in a sense defined a genre which took in the music from the 60s which so many Indie bands did with the strong use of jangling guitars.On CD 2 are the Darling Buds who sum up what the music ideally is-jangling guitars and a girl singer who could not have been out of place in the 60s
In the 2000s came the Great Indie Discography 2nd Edition which is nearly 1000 pages of solid reading set out as discographies with detailed descriptions.Yet a few on this CD are missing such as the Preston band Laugh who made a single called Paul McCartney
If you want to see the record sleeves as well you need Up Yours which takes in punk.There's also Indie chart books by Barry Lazell which more or less concentrate on the 80s
With the eventual death of the pop singles charts in the early 2000s and HMV no longer stocking CD singles unless they're charity ones its all over as people who don't care fill up ipods with more music than anyone could hope to listen to.
Spare a thought for those fated to listen to music which has been downloaded
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on 16 November 2006
This 2CD 48 track compilation harks back to the era of the NME cassette C86.However,its NOT an expanded reissue of that release as there are actually only 3 tracks included from the original (Primal Scream's 'Velocity Girl',The Bodines 'Therese',and the Wedding Present's 'This Boy Can Wait'.Several bands from the original are to be found here with different tracks.... The Mighty Lemon Drops,Shop Assistants,The Soup Dragons,Mighty Mighty,The Servants,The Pastels etc etc.

It seems the compiler (Bob Stanley of St Etienne) has gone for a uniformity of sound here , the sound of what it was like to be a white middle class British student in mid-80s Thatchers' Britain.This is not a good thing in case you were wondering.

Long forgotten bands from the original tape such as Stump,Bogshed,A Witness,Fuzzbox who sounded a bit different have been omitted.Which is fair enough as most of them weren't very good in the first place !

Its strange listening to this now,to realise that (Indie) music had taken a detour down a side road that merely came to a dead end.The bands on these CD's have taken the influence of early 80's post punk pioneers such as Orange Juice,Josef K,Bunnymen etc and watered it down to a twee tuneless jangly uniformity,where every singer aspires to be Edwyn Collins.

Having said that ,48 tracks for a tenner is not bad and there are some long forgotten gems to be found here amongst the dross ..... the aforementioned 'Therese' by the Bodines and 'Frans Hals' by McCarthy are personal favourites.The peerless 'Almost Prayed' by the Weather Prophets is probably the most obvious omission IMHO.

So (if) you pay your money you can take your choice.You might even be able to compile a decent cassette from the good stuff here !
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 12 November 2006
The current music scene must be defective in a few ways, since there seems to be a lot of looking back. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fine albums and singles being made, but like many, I'm spending a lot of time looking back. Maybe this is a result of reissues and downloading - alongside the tedious talking head/list-based TV programme and/or tedious Top 100 list that is uber predictable, there has been some interesting looking back: the Josef K/Orange Juice-compilations, the original of `Nuggets', `Rip It Up & Start Again' (album & book), `Messthetics Greatest Hits - The Sound of UK DIY 1977 - 1979', `American Hardcore', `White Bicycle' (book & compilation), `early' by Scritti Politti, the recent Elektra box-set, `Only After Dark' etc. Ignore Bob Dylan: do look back!!!

This thoroughly necessary compilation helmed by Bob Stanley presents 48 tracks from the era tagged C86, this is to tie in with the `Do It For Fun' exhibition at the ICA and the upcoming documentary `Hungry Beat' (one of several Saint Etienne-helmed documentaries of recent years). This isn't the original C-86 compilation that I recall someone plonking me on a cheap blank tape I got from a garage in the mid-1980s - some of the tracks are from that, others have different tracks, while some of the bands have been passed over (...obviously someone might get lost in the shuffle of publishing or get nixed over space - two discs is very generous and this is as comprehensive as those Rough Trade compilations of recent years). Perhaps someone ought to reissue the original C-86 compilation for historical purposes? - certainly one to file next to `Doing It for the Kids.'

There are obviously a few key songs here that had to appear, and both discs open with two of them - Primal Scream's `Velocity Girl' (the b-side to `Crystal Crescent') and The Jesus & Mary Chain's `Upside Down' - both of which also feature Bobby Gillespie, who must be key (despite `Riot City Blues!!!' - I'd go and watch the Scream if they played `Velocity Girl'!). `Velocity Girl' definitely taps into the Postcard-vibe, though that riff folk will note appeared in The Stone Roses' `Made of Stone' (I guess it was a tribute?). `Velocity Girl' would later be covered by Manic Street Preachers. `Upside Down' meanwhile, was the Mary Chain's debut single - a howl of feedback and the poppiest stuff combined. This, `Psychocandy' and many of the b-sides captured on `Barbed Wire Kisses' are very necessary (I don't think `Darklands' has dated very well and don't mention `Automatic'!).

There are many other highlights though - Primitives' `Really Stupid', The Wedding Present's `This Boy Can Wait', `Dukla Prague Away Kit' by Half Man Half Biscuit, `Like an Angel' by the Mighty Lemon Drops, `Tallulah Gosh' by Tallulah Gosh, `Baby Honey' by the Pastels, `Ask Johnny Dee' by the Chesterfields, and `Whole Wide World' by the Soup Dragons (which sounds like Buzzcocks & Swell Maps at the same time). It's all very indie, taking its cue from what went before, I'm sure this is the kind of compilation that the late John Peel would have approved of. This was about the time I first heard indie stuff, borrowed from fellows older than me at school, name checked on people's hands at the same place, and even on `The Chart Show.'

It must be more important than just a few singles, as suggested in reviews in Mojo & Uncut this month, otherwise why would Nicky Wire go on about several of the bands here, especially McCarthy? Why would Dave Eggars pen an article and sleeve notes to a June Brides compilation? Why would the documentary and exhibition exist? Why would someone like Morrissey still bother mentioning the Jasmine Minks in interviews?

& a closer listening reveals much that is interesting - `Anti Midas Touch' by the Wolfhounds (who also created the fine `Rent Act') has a very Go-Betweens-vocal, but the opening riff is pure Nirvana! As Cobain cited the Pastels & Vaselines, it's very possible he heard this too? The hilarious and very post-modern `On Tape' by the Pooh Sticks advances on Orange Juice's `Boredom'-alluding `Rip It Up' and predicts elements of LCD Soundsystem's `Losing My Edge' (though it's not really ironic, more of a celebration). It's great as it mentions C-86 associated acts like Mighty Mighty and the Soup Dragons, as well as `The Monkees Head Soundtrack', Philip Spector, Sky Saxon & Orange Juice's `Falling and Laughing' (the original Postcard version of course!).

There is stuff that sounds like other folk galore - `Vibrato' by East Village has a Pulp feel, while `Around and Around' has a vocal that sounds just like Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon fame! The Dentists track appears to have influenced the Brian Jonestown Massacre (do they know it?), and `Paradise Estate' by Television Personalities sounds like a more ramshackle This Mortal Coil circa `Filigree & Shadow.' The Big Flame track appears to be hugely influenced by Josef-K, so is probably more post-punk (hence their appearance on `Rip It Up & Start Again'). Much more than just a few songs!

There does appear to be something missing, I'd have probably included `Big Rock Candy Mountain' by the Motorcycle Boy, something by the Nightingales, `Strawberry Wine' by My Bloody Valentine, `Son of a Gun' by the Vaselines, something by Bogshed, something by We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It, and either `Here It Comes' or `Sally Cinnamon' by The Stone Roses. But you can't have everything, can you?

This is a reminder of when indie was indie, rather than the vague redefinition that took place in the 1990s with the advent of Britpop. Some of the people here went on to do other things - Primal Scream kept the name but shifted around genres, the Soup Dragons did the same (probably better at it than the Scream til 1991!), The Wedding Present veered off into American noise and Ukrainian folk music, Pop Will Eat Itself blended grebo'n'hip hop (& leader Clint Mansell scored two films), McCarthy split as member Tim Gane went on to form Stereolab, the Mighty Lemon Drops & the Weather Prophets wore black pvc trousers & tried to be Echo & the Bunnymen, & the Primitives had a few hits (`Crash', `Sick Of It') before vanishing. Plenty of the acts were just like the DIY/post punk acts who just did a few singles and that was it - they probably work for their local council or library or something (or in a record shop like Stephen Pastel). & some are still very much around - The Pastels are still with us, Primal Scream, Television Personalities, a remodelled Wedding Present, Jim Reid has a new band, and Pop Will Eat Itself keep resurfacing. A great reminder anyway...I've said it before & I'll say it again: DO LOOK BACK!!!
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on 12 November 2007
If you were into Indie music back in the mid 80's then this is for you! And if your wondering who paved the road for all the other indie bands to come heres your answer!

It seems to me a great pity that such great tunes and great bands have to disappear into obscurity whilst the modern face of a self styled 'indie' band is the insipid coldplay, snow patrol, travis or keane.

Just get this....its excellent. Twangy guitars, catchy tunes, girl singers, boy singers, feedback, pounding drums....great stuff!
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on 4 March 2014
This is an important reference to the world music, even some bands are classified as cd86, to discribe Indie Bands from UK in the 80's amazing amazing amazing, in my collection, in a special place!!!! Recommend!!!
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on 30 October 2006
In the mid-late 80s I was in a musical wasteland that came between the Smiths and the Roses and yet I listen to this album now and think 'what was doing?'.. There are some really really excellent tracks on here, and anyone who likes British-guitar-music of any era will find something they love. So, if you think the odious Babyshambles or Razorlight are indie-gods, or didn't like music after 'new wave' ended in 1981, then buy this CD. And 48 tracks for about a tenner, you cannae argue with that!
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on 1 September 2009
I was a bit too young to get into punk the first time around but only just. My musical awakening came with post-punk, ska, electro and new wave in the late '70s/early '80s. But then mainstream music went saccharine day-glo pop and the '80s scene was dominated by overproduced major label artists like Wham, Madonna, Prince etc and I pretty much lost interest in music altogether. It was no biggie, I was only about ten by then anyway. By the end of the '80s I had endured the bibble that was acid house (too young for the drug scene) and was looking for a sound that I could identify with. Art of Noise was cool but not really part of anything else, and they were already on the way out. Techno was cool but I really wanted some British music. Then I heard a single by a band called New Order who were worthy of my fanaticism. Then the '90s started edging in and I was hearing stuff by the Shamen, the Charlatans, Beats International, Blur, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and a million other new and alternative British bands that were starting to get some serious airplay and I loved it. Cue Madchester, shoegazing, Britpop and the other '90s indie subgenres. Magic. So where had this all been hiding?

Then years later I read about C86 and started buying up old 1980s indie compilations and Smiths albums and realised why indie had gone underground for so long. Very uncommercial and underproduced. Total reaction against the mainstream. (And why New Order's "Brotherhood" album sounds the way it does!) Then I bought CD86 and listened to it in the car during my journeys to work. An undifferated mass of jangly jangly slightly effete and fey-sounding guitar bands that didn't really have any sort of musical style or direction, but were at least a breath of fresh air compared to the other crap that the music scene had been throwing up at the time. I would really liked to have been older during the mid-'80s just to have been part of this underground scene.

The similarity of style and production that the 48 tracks on this album have in common make it difficult to the uninitiated ear to pick out anything exceptional, and yet I found the whole thing really easy and pleasant to listen to, like a specialist radio station that plays nicely in the background, and I found myself picking out the stylistic roots of some of the more classic early '90s indie giants. I'm looking forward to some repeat listenings of this album, it is really an education for me. I want to start picking out individual tracks and finding out more about some of the specific bands that I never got into the first time around. It's also really beautifully packaged and I enjoyed the liner notes. I'd recommend this to anyone who knew the scene or to anyone, like myself, who is dicovering it for pretty much the first time. I am also looking forward to incorporating these tracks into my iTunes collection to see what "genius" makes of them!
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