My computer is still out of commission, but here is a guest post from the wonderful Hamish of Verbose Coma, the first of a number of Guest Posts from a variety fo individuals.
When I was 14 in the north of England, I would stay up late on Wednesday and Sunday nights to watch Toby Amies and Paul King, respectively, present Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes on MTV Europe. My friend Chods would do the same, and the next day we'd discuss all the new videos we'd seen, and new bands we discovered. One Sunday night at Chods' house, we had a little indie-rock epiphany. A new band from Brighton on the south coast of England, and a track called "You're Not My Babylon". This is a band I have adored since that very first time I heard them, and here is mini-essay as to why.
These Animal Men - You're Not My Babylon - To be struck by a great song is one thing, but when the bands looks so cool at the same time, it's hard not to fall hard. Roughly translated, they looked like my friends and I. Adidas tracksuit tops, Samba trainers, mod haircuts. In fact, with the exception of the amount of amphetamines they were doing, we were all pretty alike.
This song, taken from their debut mini-album entitled Too Sussed? which featured cover art of said skinny English boy in nouveaux-mod attire, crucified–a sign of the times in an England bored of grunge, and striving for its own sound.
[Buy Too Sussed? from Amazon.com.]
Following the mini-album, they released their first full album, (Come on, Join) The High Society, contributing to a new sound of England’s indie scene. A scene the NME and Melody Maker wanted to call “The New Wave of New Wave,” and they even ran a special cover feature on it. The cover featured bands such as Elastica, Menswear, These Animal Men, S*M*A*S*H, Shed 7, and a new Manchester band called Oasis. They were big in Britain, bigger in Japan, and the NME wanted them to make it in the US too. So they sent Oasis and These Animal Men to New York City. Oasis played Wetlands, in what is still heralded as a highlight of their career, and These Animal Men went to a diner with Quentin Crisp. One band made it, one didn’t. You do the math.
[Buy (Come on, Join) The High Society from Amazon.com.]
These Animal Men – False Identification - This track, taken from their third album Taxi for These Animal Men, is where it all fell apart, and at the same time, they made their best work in my opinion. Maybe they couldn’t take the pressure, or maybe they took too much of something else, but they were given a good spot at the Phoenix Festival the summer of 1994, and they were greeted with boos and jeers from a hostile crowd. Not ones to show their disappointment, TAM just stood there. Silent and still for their entire set. The crowd began a football terrace chant of “Taxi… taxi…” and the album title was born. This album was the two-finger salute to their critics, and it remains one of my favorite records of all time.
[Buy Taxi for These Animal Men from Amazon.com.]
These Animal Men – April 7th - After a long hiatus, TAM returned in 1997 with a final album, entitled Accident & Emergency. Gone were the t-shirts and Adidas, they’d gone black pants and leather. The media hated them more, but I embraced it still. The guitar hooks were there, but now they drenched their tracks in Hammond organ and marching drums. This is their live set closing track, a cutting romp through their media history from day one to the present (their first single, Speeed King made headlines after being banned for featuring a place setting of speed and rolled up money). If you need more convincing about TAM, image if the Libertines were ten times better, ten times more raucous, ten times more talented, and ten times less distracted.
[Buy Accident & Emergency from Amazon.com.]
Extra Credit: Check out what is likely the only site dedicated to These Animal Men, Supercharged Soul.
To conclude, I would like to thank Keith for kindly letting me post here, we at VerboseComa are huge fans of this site.