Very early Blur tonight. In what I think is their first session at the BBC, five months after the band were signed by Food Records and two months before the release of their debut single, She’s So High, which came out in October. They had just concluded a tour of the UK, opening for The Cramps and were woodshedding songs which would eventually become part of their debut album the following year. This session was for Mark Goodier and was recorded on August 10, 1990.
Blur, along with Oasis, Stone Roses Suede and Pulp, formed the nucleus of what became known as Britpop but began life as an extension of Madchester and Shoegaze. Although the term Britpop is cringeworthy and just sounds cheesy, it was an acknowledged genre which a number of bands were ascribed to, in a way of signifying something new was afoot.
And new it was. Following in the steps of Madchester, Britpop took it a few steps further. Distancing itself from Grunge and concentrating on tightly structured pop tunes, but with the extra added dash of Psychedelia and Shoegaze added to the mix, and in doing so, brought Alternative Rock into the mainstream.
But at the time of this session, Blur were still finding their way; testing the waters and figuring out what worked and what didn’t. They were still very much a band in transition – still close to Shoegaze in style and execution, but trying to work in Pop structure and sensibility.
To me, Blur will always be synonymous with what was engaging and memorable about the 90s. That there was an alleged feud between the band and Oasis always struck me as a marketing ploy and somewhat bogus, it still made for good newspaper and magazine copy and was good fodder for interviews.
But the fact of the matter was, these bands were changing musical tastes and doing it in a way which made each new single, ep or album release an anticipated event.
If you missed the formative days of Blur, this Mark Goodier session should supply some additional insights to a band still very much active and relevant.
Play loud and be amazed.