For week 28 I have decided to change things up a bit after doing a bit of clear out and coming across old tapes. I had previously found a Pearl Jam gig from 1994 and was intrigued if the tape was still playable and to my surprise it was nearly 26 years later!

I had gathered up all these tapes that feature here and was going to use them for this weeks runs. So from 28 September to 2 October it was time to play some real blasts from the pass here.

Free tapes were the norm amongst most UK music magazines until they moved onto CD. Have a few of these gathered about somewhere. Maybe a topic for another blog. This year Q magazine finally left the shelves leaving only the likes of Classic Rock, Mojo, Uncut to name a few that I am aware of it but the magazines feature here have bit the dust too.

Monday 28 September – Vox

Vox was a British music magazine, first issued in October 1990. It was later billed as a monthly sister-magazine to IPC’s music weekly, the NME. It lasted to its final issue in June 1998.

Over the course of those years I have about six tapes that featured on the cover. The first one was Vox Elite The Class of ’92. This 9 track promo featured most of my favourite like Sugar, Faith No More, The Lemonheads and Sonic Youth.

K-Vox from 1994 was also called The Todd Rodgers Show. It was like a radio show on tape but it featured the likes of Chuck Berry, Parliament, The Kinks, The Small Faces rubbing shoulders with the latest bands like The Bo Radleys, Oasis, Therapy? and Suede.

Vox Class of 94 was a very generous 17 track promo featuring 80 minutes of the tracks from that year. Bands included Oasis, Manic Street Preachers, Prodigy with PWEI, Echobelly, Ride, Depeche Mode and The Cranberries.

Vox Class of 95. It was very much Britpop favoured with the likes of Blur, Supergrass, The Verve and Pulp. Not sure if Radiohead would be considered Britpop. Nice Dream was taken from their second album, The Bends. Also included two of my favourite bands, Foo Fighters and a live Therapy? track Screamager.

The last two tapes I have from Vox were The Radio 1 FM Sessions. Volume one came out in 1994 and volume two in 1995. Volume 1 feature tracks from In Concert and Evening Sessions which were broadcast on Radio 1. Stand out tracks include U2 Even Better Than The Real Thing (In Concert Dublin 1993), Pulp Do You Remember The First Time? (Sound City 1994), Senser Channel Zero (John Peel Show) and Vercua Salt 25 (Evening Session).

Volume 2 continues the same theme from the previous year with stand out tracks from Smashing Pumpkins Siva (John Peel Show 1991), The Levellers Lowlands of Holland (In Concert Glastonbury 1994), Teenage Fanclub It’s So Hard To Fall in Love (Mark Goodier Show 1993) and The Wildhearts Greetings from Shitsville (The Rock Show 1993).

Tuesday 29 September – Select

Select was a British music magazine of the 1990s which launched in mid 1990 and folded in early 2001. It was particularly known for covering Britpop, a term coined in the magazine by Stuart Maconie. The magazine mirroring the rise and decline of the Britpop scene with which it became synonymous. I have eight tapes mostly promos from labels like Island and Parlophone.

The first one I ever got was More Red Tape (1991) which came with issue 5 of Select which was a Virgin/AVL promo featuring the likes of Simple Minds, That Petrol Emotion and Something Happens.

The Island Tape (1991) and Island Select (1993) represented a real pick of the bunch amongst a cross genre of music. There was something for everyone for rock, rap, soul, pop, metal, reggae. Tapes like these were springboards to finding new bands to listen to. I got into Nine Inch Nails after hearing Wish on the 1993 tape. Also really enjoyed The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy doing a live version Dead Kennedy’s California Uber Alles. The Parlophone Tape (1991) also featured similar genres as well.

The other tapes would feature a mixed bunch of unreleased tracks. Secret Tracks (1994) boasted of one hour of exclusive music mostly demos or alternative versions of songs. Being a fan of Therapy? this tape appealed to me as it had an unreleased live version of Knives.

Exclusives (1995) had 70 minutes worth of unreleased music from the likes of U2, The Boo Radleys, Gene, Sleeper, Teenage Fanclub and Massive Attack to name but a few. The last two tapes from 1996 – Gratis Hits Vol.1 and Cloud 9 would include tracks like Ash’s Kung Fu (Mark Goodier Session) , Cable’s Action Replay Replay (BBC Peel session) and previews of coming releases from 18 Wheeler, Tricky and a Suede demo of She.

Wednesday 30 September – Melody Maker

Melody Maker was a British weekly music magazine, one of the world’s earliest music weeklies. It was founded in 1926 and lasted until January 2001 it was merged into NME.

I loved the Melody Maker tapes as they were the perfect gateway to new music in the 1990s. Gimme 5 (5/3/1994) only had five songs and it got me into The Jesus Lizard, Pavement and Senser. Later that summer Reading Present (27/8/94) was a preview of bands playing the Reading Festival , seven tracks from Primal Scream, Elastica, Tindersticks Cypress Hill, Echobelly, Shed Seven and Rollins Band. Quite a good mix there.

The Basement Tapes Volume 1 (12/10/96) was billed as demo versions by Ash, The Boo Radleys, Echobelly, Gene, Space, My Life Story , Mansun and Sarah Cracknall. The Basement Tapes Volume 2 (08/3/97) Included were demos from 3 Colours Red, DJ Shadow, Geneva , an alternative mix of Europe is Our Playground by Suede and a live track from Foo Fighters debut at the Reading Festival For All The Cows.

Planet Rock (14/6/97) was a six track rock compilation with songs by Foo Fighters, Rollins Band, Helmet, 3 Colours Red, Bush, Terrorvision and Reef. A pretty good tape featuring tracks for forthcoming albums from each band that year.

The final Melody Maker tape is Steve Lamacq’s Bootleg Session (1998). This 13 track tape is compiled by Steve with linear notes on the tracks giving a unique insight into how they came to be picked for this tape. The tape plays like if you were listening to the Evening Session on the radio with Steve introducing each song as they come on. A good variety of bands on this tape – Ash, Suede, Travis, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Foo Fighters, Hurricane #1, Idlewild, Asian Dub Foundation, Stereophonics, Ultrasound, The Beta Band and Supergrass.

Thursday 1 October – Kerrang and Raw

Kerrang! is a British weekly magazine devoted to rock and metal music and Raw while it also covered metal it wouldn’t be totally heavy metal taking in most other forms of rock music. Between the two magazines I only have four tapes.

Raw’s For Immediate Use was a promo tape for acts associated with RCA, Indolent, Deconstruction and BMG. A very diverse portfolio of music with the likes of Morrisey, Sleeper, David Bowie to name but few including rare b-sides, remixes – the David Bowie track The Hearts Filthy Lesson was a rare Trent Reznor remix. Raw came out in 1988 and lasted until 1995.

I don’t think Kerrang! gave a lot of tapes away. I remember getting 7″ singles on the magazine or even flexi-discs The three tapes here – Rare (1995) sees the magazine diverge a bit from their more traditional metal base as indie bands like Reef, Whale, Catherine Wheel and Whale were rubbing shoulders with metal bands such as Fear Factory, Machine Head and Monster Magnet.

Supersonic volume 1 and 2 (1996) continue that them with Kerbdog, Symposium, Feeder, Joyrider, Korn and Moby on volume 1. The other tape volume 2 again featured bands that wouldn’t normally be in the heavy metal genre – Ash and Reef who I didn’t expect to feature here.

Kerrang! is still ongoing but is on hiatus at the moment due to the Covid pandemic and moved it’s content online and digital.

Friday 2 October – NME

NME first appeared in print on 07/03/52 until it’s final print edition on 9 March (2018) before moving on to online content. NME were considered the taste makers of the music scene and as much as they build up the hype about a band , they would be quick to bring them back down again.

Two tapes from 1994 – The Mutha of Creation featuring tracks by The Boo Radleys, Teenage Fanclub, a demo version of Oasis Cigarettes and Alcohol, a live version of Sugar’s JC Auto and Ride covering John Lennon’s I Don’t Want To Be a Solider (from the 1992 Reading festival).

Also from 1994 was an MCA 7 song sampler called This is Fort Apache. This featured up and coming American acts The Walkabouts, Cold Water Flat, Belly, Sebadoh, Fuzzy, Juliana Hatfield and The Lemonheads.

The annual NME awards put together the Brat Pack tour and Brat Pack ’95 was a five track tape featuring Blur, Gene, Portishead, Oasis and Paul Weller. This theme continues with two tapes in 1996 to coincide with the NME awards that year – Brat Pack’96 includes Blur, Pulp, Paul Weller, Oasis, Supergrass and The Prodigy. The four track Brat Bus’96 has The Bluetones, Fluffy, The Cardigans and Heavy Stereo on the cover mounted tapes.

The last two tapes that I have from NME are from 1997. After this it would be cover mounted CDs. Creation for the Nation is a 11 track sampler including Oasis, Arnold, The Boo Radleys, Teenage Fanclub Edward Ball, Ultra Living, 3 Colours Red, 18 Wheeler, Super Furry Animals, The Diggers and Hurricane#1. All mostly previews of up and coming albums, demos or b sides.

Radio 1 Sound City Oxford 97 is a promotional tape which Radio 1 broadcast from various music venues in Oxford. The tape was a handy guide for anybody visiting the city with a map which included information on education, seminars and workshops as well as the live gigs.

The tape includes a variety of tracks by artists who were going to be performing throughout the week – Embrace, Sleeper, Travis, Broadcast, Gene, Hurriane#1, Bentley Rhythm Ace, DJ Shadow, Lo-Fidelity All Stars, Spirtualized and Ultrasound.

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