Inspiral Carpets tonight. Their debut session for John Peel – recorded on July 17, 1988 and broadcast August 1st.
Inspiral Carpets were formed in Oldham (UK) in 1983. The band’s most successful lineup featured frontman Tom Hingley, drummer Craig Gill, guitarist Graham Lambert, bassist Martyn Walsh and keyboardist Clint Boon.
Formed by guitarist Graham Lambert and singer Stephen Holt, the latter of which departed the band prior to the band signing with Mute Records, the band’s sound was characterized by the use of organ playing and distorted guitars. The band both preceded and was a part of the late 1980s and early 1990s Madchester movement.
Inspiral Carpets came to prominence, alongside bands like The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, in the Madchester scene of the late 1980s. After a flexi-disc featuring “Garage Full of Flowers” given free with Manchester’s Debris magazine in 1987, followed by the Cow cassette, their first release proper, the 1988 Planecrash EP on the Playtime label received much airplay from Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who asked the band to record a session for his show. The band reworked their single “Find Out Why” as the theme tune to the 8:15 from Manchester.
As their popularity grew, Playtime’s distributor Red Rhino Records went bankrupt, leading the band to form their own label, Cow Records in March 1989, the label’s first release being the Trainsurfing EP. But with half of the first album, Life, written, Holt and Swift departed and formed The Rainkings, so the band recruited Too Much Texas singer Tom Hingley and Martin “Bungle” Walsh of The Next Step to replace them. Martyn Walsh became the band’s thirteenth bass player. After a handful of singles on their own label, the last of which, “Move”, came close to the UK top 40, they signed a deal with Mute Records, and immediately had their first top 40 chart success in the UK with “This Is How It Feels”. The single reached No. 14 in the singles chart, and debut album Life reached No. 2 in the albums chart, both in 1990.
The following year’s The Beast Inside was less well received by critics, but still achieved a top 5 album chart placing. The “Caravan” and “Please be Cruel” singles only reached No. 30 and No. 50 respectively, and an attempt to crack the American market largely failed. The band did, however, gain a strong following in Portugal, Germany, and Argentina, with the band’s 1992 album Revenge of the Goldfish becoming their most successful in those countries. The album peaked at number 17 in the UK, and spawned four UK hit singles. The next album, Devil Hopping (1994) reached number 10 in the album chart, with “Saturn 5” and “I Want You” giving them top 20 hits, from that album (the latter’s single version featured Mark E. Smith). The next single “Uniform” stalled at No. 51 and in 1995, after the release of a Singles collection, the band were dropped by Mute, and split up soon after.
In case you missed it the first time around, here is Inspiral Carpets debut session for John Peel, as it was broadcast on August 1, 1988.