Some things are expected and some things, well, not so much. One very unexpected result of Radiohead’s success with The Bends is that many bands, fairly or not, were lumped into a category of pretenders and wannabes. Some became super popular like Coldplay and the Killers. Some had moderate success in North America, for example Keane. Still others barely made it onto the radar like California’s Paloalto.
Then there was Travis.
By design or not, Fran Healy’s phrasing of vocals bore a resemblance to Thom Yorke which was enough to get the critics calling foul. The thing is, they wrote some really good songs and albums like 1997’s Good Feeling were damn likeable.
Featuring a bunch of well crafted tunes, the Steve Lillywhite produced Good Feeling was by no means a commercial success, but it did act as a great stepping stone towards broader appeal for later releases.
Still, if you’re a vinyl lover, what would getting a copy set you back?
Well, quite a bit. Not a lot of vinyl was being released back in ’97, so that limits the number available. Then you have the fact that Good Feeling wasn’t a big seller during its initial release and again this limits how much vinyl goes into the pressing plant. In the end, you get two options and both will set you back a bit.
The first was the original 1997 U.K. release with the vibrant white cover above. Resellers are asking for over $115.00 plus shipping.
Two years later Good Feeling got reissued with a different cover featuring the band on a black background. One reseller is asking over $200.00 for it and outside of discogs, I couldn’t find any available.
Basically, if you see one while crate digging, grab it – otherwise it is a small fortune to get hold of a copy. Great record, but the price kinda hurts.
Something about the bass line in “Love Buzz” that at times seems both sinister and fun. Then the guitar kicks in and you can’t decide which instrument to ‘air-play’ to, and when you finally decide, you find yourself doing vocals and tearing your throat apart in a vain attempt to capture that fierce Cobain voice. I could listen to this over and over like a demented 13 year old and never see myself getting sick of it.
2. “Kid With Crooked Face” – Bob Mould
A long time ago, I saw Sugar play several times. I was always blown away by how Mould can convey image and emotion with a dry vocal competing against his fierce (and very loud) guitar work. He’s also the guy that convinced me to have a pair of ear plugs in my pocket at a concert… my ears were ringing for two days after I saw Sugar for the first time.
3. “The Simspsons Theme” – Green Day
Well I couldn’t very well talk about the Lego Simpsons house without sneaking in this wonderful bit of Green Day noise.
4. “The Way We Were” – Me First & the Gimme Gimmes
Most people think of Streisand when they hear this song. Instead I get killed by the heartache and laughter of the late great Gilda Radner. I think she would like this version too.
5. “In The Heat Of The Moment” – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher is one of those artists I will purchase without even hearing a song. He just has that dependable rock’n’roll sound that gets me humming in whatever setting I’m in.
6. “Listen To Some Music” – BMX Bandits
Glasgow band has fun with a jangling low-fi house party sound. Would love to see them live, but the Atlantic Ocean provides a small barrier between me and that little dream.
7. “Spider-Man” – The Mr. T Experience
I must have listened to a 100 different versions before I picked this one. You would think I would get sick of it… but no – I just wondered where the hell the Ramones version went.
8. “Lampshades On Fire” – Modest Mouse
Like the song, but if I see a lampshade on fire, I’m reaching for a frickin’ extinguisher, not dancin’ around.
9. “Panic In Detroit” – David Bowie
This is a preview – I will soon be writing about a special vinyl acquisition and I couldn’t wait to play something from it. Here’s a picture – I just hope it sounds as good as it looks.
I’ve been a fan of Travis for years, but the weird thing is, I couldn’t tell you much about them other than the Brit-Pop connection and that I have always enjoyed them. It’s like they have been stuck on the mellow side of Radiohead’s The Bends, and continue to dwell and explore that place.
12. “Lego” – The Maccabees
The band with a religious name that doesn’t follow any religion – but can write a pretty decent tune involving Lego… well ok… as usual my wit has escaped me.
13. “Delinquency” – V Twin
Another Glasgow band said to be the “Next Big Thing” falls short. Still, like Teenage Fanclub before them, they write some great tunes. Only problem is finding their stuff.
14. “The Hardest Button To Button” – The White Stripes
Seeing as I wrote about Elephant only yesterday, I figured they should hit the mix today. Besides it gave me another opportunity to include that Simpsons/White Stripes video.
15. “Elevator Operator” – Courtney Barnett
Due to my fascination with vinyl I don’t often talk about new artists, but damn, this song was too good to pass by without putting it into the mix, ask me in a month if I feel the same way about the album.
16. “Tin Soldier” – Small Faces
I was always a bigger Faces fan than the Small Faces, but in recent years I’ve gone back to discover that when these guys were at the top of their game, they were every bit as good as the Kinks and Who… which is about the biggest compliment I can give.
17. “The Letter” – The Box Tops
It’s hard to believe that Alex Chilton has departed this place; even harder to believe he was only 16 when he recorded and had a #1 hit with this song. He certainly doesn’t sound like a kid.
18. “Free Again” – Alex Chilton
Because I was in the mood for Chilton, I could help but throw this on right after the Box Tops. It is an awesome song in its own right. The album can still be purchased from Omnivore. For a good laugh, you can see how much Chilton hated lip-synching.
19. “Sundown” – Gordon Lightfoot
A prize find at last year’s RSD, I’ve spent many hours since mellowing by the window reading books and listening to this record.
20. “Echo Beach” – Martha & the Muffins
One of my favourite songs from childhood, it convinced me I really didn’t want to grow up. Unfortunately, responsibilities have a way of making such proclamations sound rather silly. Still, I would rather be at “Echo Beach” on a mid August evening than in front of a computer in March. It was a long winter.