Friday, 20 April 2012

April 2012

The April 2012 blogs feature a look at Inspiral Carpets, and Pink. To look at either blog, click the relevant link to your right.



P!nk, or Pink as I shall call her for this article (doing that exclamation mark all the time is a bit irritating), is a bit of a contradictory character. Her first LP was uniform R&B, yet by her third album, she had somebody from the punk band Rancid co-writing her material. One of her biggest hits, “Stupid Girls”, seemed to be an attack on post-Paris Hilton celebrity culture, a comment on the “dumbing down” and sexualisation of female stars - yet came housed in a sleeve using a scene from the video in which Pink does a Jessica Simpson style carwash in a bikini. Sex, indeed, sells. And - my wife mentioned this one - on the one hand, she seems to be a fierce, no-nonsense, independent female who don’t need no man, yet on songs like “Please Don’t Leave Me”, seems to be moaning about being single.

Nonetheless, it’s all about the music really, and Pink has made some decent records. 2010’s “Greatest Hits…So Far!!!” set is an exemplary exercise in how to make good pop records, which ultimately is the genre with which Pink has most in common. There is, when you listen carefully, a mix of styles hidden beneath the surface on her records, but ultimately, “pop” is the best catch-all genre to describe, overall, Pink’s music since day 1.

As Alicia Moore, Pink served an apprenticeship as a singer in an R&B Girl Group called Choice in the mid 90’s, before collaborating on a little heard single with a pair of producers, Francesco Scandolari and Lorenzo Carpella. The three of them released “Gonna Make You Move”, under the moniker of “Pink”. It was a house/trance track, with little vocal action from Moore, and there was no follow up single. Instead, Moore adopted the differently titled “P!nk” as her new stage name, and headed off in the R&B direction for her debut album, “Can’t Take Me Home”. Her hair was dyed pink at this time to match her new identity. The lead single, “There You Go”, was very much an indicator of the sound of the album, and after the general disinterest shown in her earlier releases, “There You Go” was an immediate hit - Pink becoming something of an MTV darling pretty much overnight. “Can’t Take Me Home” coincided with the UK Garage scene being the in thing, and a number of garage mixes of “There You Go” and subsequent singles from the album, were spread across the various formats of these singles as they were released. In the UK, a couple of bonus remixes were used at the end of the album, which also came in a different coloured cover to it’s US counterpart.

After the release of “Most Girls” (complete with a choreographed Destiny’s Child style dance sequence in the video) and the none-more-feisty “You Make Me Sick”, Pink worked with Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim and Mya on the 2001 stand alone single “Lady Marmalade”, a cover of the Labelle single, for the “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack - complete with suitably saucy promo. A number of remixes were used as B-sides, with the UK single having less bonus tracks compared to the likes of the French edition. Unsurprisingly, the track has never been made available on a Pink album (probably due to the hassle of trying to sort out all the licensing issues that come with a multi-artist single), and even the video is missing from the DVD edition of the Greatest Hits collection.

In late 2001/early 2002, Pink returned with “Get The Party Started”, the first single from her second LP, “Missundaztood” - released after the album had been issued in the UK, but before it in the USA. Although there was another slick dance scene in the promo, this song was a lot more advanced than the minimalist, slightly primitive R&B of the first record, and was a lot more “pop” than what had come before. The single was issued in the UK on two different CD formats, although the uneducated would have assumed they were releases from different countries, as the sleeve designs - including the “Pink” logo - were wildly different on each.

“Missundaztood” was a great leap forward - there was a lot more variety on the record than “Can’t Take Me Home”, and Pink headed out on tour with a full band - a complete turnaround from the R&B sound from barely two years previous. The follow up singles, “Don’t Let Me Get Me” and “Just Like A Pill” had a noisier “crunch” to them, both coming with an anthemic roar of a chorus each. “Family Portrait” had a bit more of a hip-hop vibe, a vague sort of nod to Pink’s past. These last three singles were all issued on one CD edition only, each coming with the appropriate music video as part of the enhanced section of the CD.

2003, and it was movie soundtrack time again. This time, it was for the “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” film, and a track called “Feel Good Time”. It was co-written by, amongst others, Beck, and a version taped by the man himself was originally going to be the version used in the film. However, after Pink showed interest in the song, she was invited to record vocals for the song, and the Beck version was left in the vaults. It was an impressive pop record - produced by William Orbit, it had the same space-age feel of the records he had produced for Madonna around about the same time. The Cassette version issued in the UK included an exclusive mix unavailable on the CD single.

Later the same year saw the release of the much trumpeted “Try This”, the album featuring various co-writes by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, and a guest spot from controversial electro-act Peaches. The lead single from the album, “Trouble”, did have another one of those anthemic choruses, complete with some vaguely ‘punk’ guitar backing, whilst the single was issued as a coloured vinyl 7” - again, this seemed to be a record company ploy at highlighting the album’s rock and roll credentials. But overall, “Try This” was still a pop record at heart - look no further than the follow up single “God Is A DJ” which came backed with various dance mixes, rather than covers of The Ramones or The Sex Pistols, as B-sides. Initial copies of the album came with a free DVD, and in the UK, “Feel Good Time” was slotted in as a bonus track.

In the spring of 2004, “Last to Know” was issued as a single in the UK. Now, from what I can gather, the song had already been issued as a single in other territories, and the UK release seems to have been issued to tie in with Pink’s then current UK tour. As such, the single was issued on just one format, a 2-track CD single with a remix of the A-side as the extra track. Wikipedia refers to a CD2 edition, but this is in fact one of the European Maxi singles.

Arguably Pink’s best LP is 2006’s “I’m Not Dead”, a record that recalls the carefree spirit of “Missundaztood”. The aforementioned “Stupid Girls” was released as the first single from the album. The album appeared in the short lived “Dual Disc” format, with the DVD side of the disc featuring extra tracks and bonus video footage. The track listing of the audio side is not quite the same as listed on the actual sleeve. In Australia, “I’m Not Dead” was later reissued to coincide with a Pink tour through the country, and came with a bonus DVD - whilst also being housed in a differently coloured sleeve. In recent times, the UK “Pink Box” 4-CD box set has been released, and includes within it “standard” versions of this and the three preceding LP’s.

“Who Knew” was the next single, issued on two CD’s in slightly different covers, in May 2006. It was followed up by the incendiary “U + Ur Hand”, which reverted to the “one CD, 2 track only” format. By the time the “I’m Not Dead” promo campaign came to an end, no less than five singles had been released from the album. The last of these, “Dear Mr President”, seems to have been released as a limited edition tour tie-in again, although some sites claim the release was “download only”. I honestly can't remember if I ever saw a copy in the shops at the time. The CD single edition that was (allegedly) sold in the UK included another track from the album as a B-side, “Leave Me Alone” - promo copies of this song were sent out to radio stations, and garnered a lot of radio play, and is probably more well known than the official a-side.

2008’s “Funhouse” spawned four physical single releases in the UK, all of which were issued as 2-track editions, by now being the “standard” format as regards UK singles. Videos were made for other tracks off the album, which were either released as download only singles, or overseas only releases. The LP was, again, reissued with bonuses in a new cover to coincide with a UK tour, and once more, the actual track listing on the sleeve didn’t quite tie up with what the CD actually played. Although “Funhouse” seems a weaker effort compared to “I’m Not Dead”, the third single from the LP, “Please Don’t Leave Me”, was a stunningly beautiful piece of work, catchy, melodic, and with some superb vocals and key changes - probably Pink’s best ever single release.

The 2010 best-of included “new” songs, as you would expect, although only “Raise Your Glass” was issued as a physical single. The CD was initially released as a limited edition with a DVD of (most of) Pink’s videos, but there was also a standard DVD release as well, which seemed to make the double-disc edition a bit of an oddity. The US CD+DVD edition seemed to offer an altered track listing, but from what I can gather, the UK one features the same videos on the double-disc one as the standard DVD release.


Now, I am quite prepared for some clarification regarding the list below. I bought many of these singles on the date of release, so, AFAIK, any formats not shown either:

a) include nothing exclusive
b) are actually European releases, not officially available in the UK

I could be wrong, but I do believe the references to the CD2 editions of things like “Stupid Girls” you may find on the net, are not UK releases. The singles list includes - usually - the CD edition(s), plus any vinyl editions of interest. For the albums, I have listed the most interesting UK releases.


Can’t Take Me Home (CD, Arista 74321 794492, includes two bonus remixes)
Misunderstood (CD, Arista 74321 91324 2, includes bonus track “Catch 22”, enhanced)
Try This (CD + DVD, Arista 82876 56814 2, includes “Feel Good Time”)
I’m Not Dead (CD/DVD Dualdisc, Sony 82876 803342, numerous bonuses especially on DVD side)
Funhouse (CD + DVD, Sony 88697 60069 2, ’Tour Edition’ reissue, includes “Push You Away”)
Greatest Hits…So Far! (CD + DVD, Sony 88697 807242, CD includes “Raise Your Glass” and two new songs)


There You Go (Album Version)/(Hani Radio Edit)/(Video) (CD, Arista 74321 75760 2)
Most Girls (Radio Edit)/(X Men Vocal Mix)/There You Go (Sovereign Mix)/Most Girls (Video) (CD, Arista 74321 79201 2)
Most Girls (X Men Vocal Mix)/(X Men Dubby)/There You Go (Sovereign Mix) (12”, Arista 74321 79201 1)
You Make Me Sick (Radio Mix)/(Dub Conspiracy Mix)/(El B Remix) (CD, Arista 74321 82870 2)
You Make Me Sick (Album Version)/(El B Remix)/(Dub Conspiracy Mix) (12” in alternate sleeve design, Arista 74321 82870 1)
Lady Marmalade (Edit)/(Thunderpuss Radio Mix)/(Thunderpuss Club Mix) (CD, Interscope 497 561-2)
Get The Party Started (Radio Mix)/Get the Party Started - Sweet Dreams/Get The Party Started (Radio Mix [Instrumental]) (CD1, Arista 74321 91337 2, with calendar and insert)
Get The Party Started (Radio Mix)/(K5 Wek Kraft Mix)/(P!nk Noise Disco Mix Radio Edit)/(Video) (CD2, Arista 74321 91338 2, unique p/s with insert)
Don’t Let Me Get Me (John Shanks Remix)/(Radio Mix)/(Maurice’s Nu Soul Mix)/(Video) (CD, Arista 74321 93921 2, with insert)
Just Like A Pill (Radio Version)/(Jacknife Lee Remix)/Get The Party Started (Live, London Scala 2002)/Just Like A Pill (Video) (CD, Arista 74321 95965 2, with insert)
Family Portrait (Radio Edit)/(Album Version)/My Vietnam (Live, London Scala 2002)/Family Portrait (Video) (CD, Arista 74321 98205 2, with insert)
Feel Good Time (Single Version)/(Boris & Beck Radio Edit) (Cassette, Columbia 674106 4, tracks repeat on side 2)
Feel Good Time (Single Version)/(D Bop’s Full Throttle Mix)/(Boris & Beck’s Massive Vocal) (CD, Columbia 674106 2)
Trouble (Radio Edit)/Delirium (Clear Vinyl 7”, Arista 82876 571757, unique p/s)
Trouble (Radio Edit)/Delirium/Free/Trouble (Video) (CD, Arista 82876 572172)
God Is A DJ/Trouble (Hyper Remix Edit) (CD1, Arista 82876 589352, “red” p/s with insert)
God Is A DJ/Trouble (AOL Sessions Version 10.11.2003)/God Is A DJ (D Bop Vocal Remix) (CD2, Arista 82876 589472, with insert)
God Is A DJ (D Bop Vocal Remix)/(Spider Remix)/(Electroheadz Remix)/(Album Version) (12”, Arista 82876 589351, plays at 33rpm)
Last To Know (LP Version)/(D Bop Club Edit) (CD, Arista 82876 611732)
Stupid Girls/Heartbreaker (CD, Sony 82876 811902)
Who Knew/Disconnected (CD1, Sony 82876 847012)
Who Knew (LP Mix)/(Sharp Boys’ Love Jonathan Harvey Remix)/(Bimbo Jones Radio Edit)/Live In Europe Preview (Video) (CD2, Sony 82876 847022, different p/s)
U + Ur Hand/Crash & Burn (CD, Sony 82876 880802)
Nobody Knows/Words (CD, Sony 88697 032862)
Dear Mr President (Album Mix)/(Live)/Leave Me Alone/Who Knew (Live)/Dear Mr President (Live Video) (CD, Sony 88697 087662, German pressing, some copies then believed to have been exported to UK)
So What (Clean Version)/Could’ve Had Everything (CD, Sony 88697 37277 2)
Sober/When We’re Through (CD, Sony 88697 42507 2)
Please Don’t Leave Me (LP Version)/(Junior Vasquez Tribal Dub) (CD, Sony 88697 47162 2)
Funhouse (LP Mix)/(Digital Dog Remix) (CD, Sony 88697 55645 2)
Raise Your Glass/U + Ur Hand (Live In Australia) (CD, Sony 88697 817202)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Inspiral Carpets

Perhaps it is something to do with your youth. But of all the so-called Madchester bands, The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays were never my favourites. Good bands, yes, the former releasing an impressive debut (but not the best album ever made, as some will tell you), but in the early 90’s, it was some of the other Madchester bands that were impressing me more. And it’s easy to see why. The Roses were locked in a long winded legal battle, and spent the early part of the 1990’s not releasing anything, whilst the Happy Mondays started the decade well, but went downhill soon after, culminating in 1992’s forgettable “Yes Please”.

The likes of The Charlatans and The Inspirals, however, were still relatively new bands, and as such, there seemed to be an excitement surrounding their work. Yes, there were some hiccups, but these were bands in their ascendancy, rather than on a downhill spiral. The Inspirals also had plenty of gimmicky-style things in their favour - the famous Cow T-shirts, the “moo-ing” of the crowd inbetween songs at their gigs…I fell in love with this band. And with the group about to head out on tour with the Mondays (the Mondays are headlining, in case you were wondering), and rumours of a new studio LP on the way, I decided it was time to party like it was 1991 again.

Early Years

The Carpets were formed as far back as 1983, but it was not until 1987 that they would release their first officially available material. The line up in 1987 consisted of singer Stephen Holt, bassist David Swift, keyboard specialist Clint Boon, guitarist Graham Lambert and drummer Craig Gill. Their debut release was an obscurity, as the band contributed a track called “Garage Full Of Flowers” to a 2-track flexi disc given away with Manchester magazine Debris. Although the band would later re-record the song for an EP, the original “Debris” mix of the track is unavailable - in physical format - anywhere else.

A 4 track promo cassette, the “Cow” EP, was distributed a few months later, consisting mostly of tracks that would fail to re-surface on any later commercial releases. It would not be until over a year later, during the summer of ‘88, that the band’s first ’proper’ release would appear.

Signed to Playtime Records, the band’s first single was “Keep The Circle Around”. It was issued on both 7” and 12”, the latter with three extra B-sides, and marketed as an EP, called the “Planecrash” EP. A second EP, a four-track affair called the “Trainsurfing” EP was recorded later the same year, and was scheduled for a 12” release on Playtime in late 88, and was allocated a catalogue number of AMUSE 4T. 7” promo copies featuring two of the tracks from the EP surfaced, but Playtime went bust soon after the promo surfaced. The EP had already been pressed, and the band decided to release the record on their own Cow Records imprint, putting “Moo 2” catalogue stickers over the original Playtime catalogue number on the back of the sleeve - the “Amuse” catalogue number was scratched into the running grooves of the vinyl. The band also decided to re-press the “Planecrash” EP, giving it a “Moo 1” catalogue number.

It wasn’t too long after the release of the second EP that Holt and Swift left, to be replaced by Tom Hingley and Martyn Walsh. To commemorate their departure (sort of), the band released the “Dung 4” cassette, a mail order only/sold at gigs affair, which included 11 songs taped by the “Mark 1” lineup, and was issued at around about the same time that the Mark 2 lineup started to release their initial singles. It included demo versions of all four songs from the first EP (one of the band‘s famous later “Moosletters“, tucked inside the sleeves of their vinyl singles, plugged the cassette on the basis it included ’alternate versions of all your favourite hits’), plus demo recordings of material that would eventually be recorded and released by the Hingley-led lineup. These cassettes seem to be quite hard to track down, and I admit that I don’t own a copy. But my wife does have the “Garage” flexi disc, which of course is now legally half mine!

When the Inspirals made it big, little was ever mentioned of their early years, which meant that when these early releases started to surface on the collectors market, they fetched reasonably impressive prices (£40 for a “Keep The Circle Around”, for example). However, I am not sure if these releases have kept their value - despite thinking it would be hard to find, I got a “Trainsurfing” EP a few years ago for about £8.

Apart from the flexi, the “Cow” promo and the “Dung 4” cassette, the other nine songs Mark 1 made and released across the two EP’s are now easier to find, as the 2003 box set “Cool As” included all these songs across the 2 CD’s that were included in the set - “Keep The Circle Around” and the lead track on “Trainsurfing”, “Butterfly”, made disc 1 (the “hits” CD), whilst the seven remaining B-sides appeared on the “Rare As” second disc. If you fancy owning an EP with “Keep The Circle Around” on, but can’t find a “Planecrash”, then you could do worse than get hold of the “Peel Sessions” EP (12“, Strange Fruit SFPS 072), which includes the Hingley-led version of the band doing this and three other songs, taped soon after the lineup change in March 1989.

Mark 2, Part 1

The band decided to keep releasing material on their own label, and issued “Joe” in May 1989. It included instrumental and vocal mixes of a track called “Commercial Rain” on the flipside, and the band decided to give the instrumental it’s own name, as opposed to just putting ‘Instrumental’ in brackets as a suffix, and thus the instrumental mix was called “Commercial Mix”. This tradition would continue during the early years of the Mark 2 lineup - indeed, the other B-side of this single, “Directing Traffic” would be re-recorded for the 1990 debut LP, “Life”, where it was spelt differently as “Directing Traffik”.

The next release was “Find Out Why”, where the catalogue system was changed to the “Dung” prefix. It appeared as a 2-track 7” in a die cut sleeve, and also as a 3 track 12” or CD maxi-single, in a “full” picture sleeve. These latter releases included a bonus b-side, “Plane Crash”, recorded live in the studio and lasting over quarter of an hour long - as such, the b-side of the 12” had to play at 33 1/3 rpm, not 45. The recording seems to have been an exercise in how long a jam session could go on for, as you can hear Hingley remark “we’ve done ten minutes” as the song passes the 10-minute mark.

“Move” was issued at the tail end of 1989. Again, an instrumental mix of the track, titled “Move In”, appeared as a bonus track on the 12” and CD editions. The b-side, “Out Of Time”, was not a cover of the Stones’ classic, but an Inspirals original, and was used as a set-opener on the UK Spring 1993 tour - the first time I ever saw the band. I can still remember the sheer thrill of hearing the band come on, play the opening bars of “This Is How it Feels” to huge cheers, before going straight into this garage rock stormer. Unforgettable.

By the start of 1990, the band were signed to Mute - not quite a major label, but certainly a label that could help with distribution. “Joe”, “Find Out Why” and “Move” were all reissued, and the next 45, and the first to be issued on Mute, “This Is How It Feels”, gave the band a huge hit. Mute must have had some clout that Cow Records simply didn’t have. The radio mix of the song was a different version to that which would appear on “Life”, with the “found him under a train” line deemed to be un-radio-friendly, and thus was replaced with the “left a note for a local girl” lyric. An instrumental version of another track due to appear on “Life”, “Song For A Family”, appeared as a B-side on all the formats, titled “Tune For A Family”. The band also recorded a couple of songs from the Mark 1 days, “Seeds Of Doubt” and “Whiskey”, neither or which were ’retitled’ second time around, and these re-recordings appeared on different formats of the single. The band were now starting to use the 12” and CD formats to resurrect the EP stylings, and although the single appeared on 7”, it only offered up some and not all of the extra tracks, something that would become quite commonplace in the years that followed. The band also began to indulge in their dance-music leanings, as a limited edition numbered second 12” was issued, housed in a different sleeve featuring two mixes of the a-side. Copies with the band’s fourth newsletter still inside are worth a bit more than those without.

“Life” was issued in April 1990, and remains a thrilling organ-driven, psychedelic, indie-rock wig out. I am amazed that it has not been the recipient of any sort of “anniversary” or deluxe reissue. Apart from the aforementioned “This Is How It Feels”, the only other previously released single to make the album was “Move”, and even then, vinyl copies omitted this track. In the US, it was followed by the “Cool As ****” EP, which included “Joe”, “Out Of Time”, and all three tracks off the “Find Out Why” maxi. It was issued by Cow Records and was thus given a DUNG catalogue number, meaning that it looks like a UK release on first glance. Again, due to it’s length, the entire second side of the 12” was taken up by “Plane Crash”.

Single number 2 from “Life” was another stormer, “She Comes In The Fall”. As well as being issued as a 2-track 45 with a new mix of album track “Sackville” on the flip, it was also issued as a triple-A side 12”, with an alternate remix of the A-side, and a re-recorded version of “Commercial Rain”, now titled “Commercial Reign”. The CD version added a remix of the latter as a bonus track, called the “Snatch Mix”. A remix 12” was issued, offering different mixes of all three songs from the single, but just to confuse matters, “Commercial Reign” was re-titled as “Commercial Rain” for this release! In America, “Commercial Reign” got issued as a standard single in it’s on right on Elektra (12”, Elektra 0-66606), which included the “Snatch Mix” as the lead track, plus three more versions, but again, all were re-spelt as “Commercial Rain”. The final track on the UK Remix 12” was a dub version of “Sackville”, retitled “Dubville”.

As so often happens with a band seemingly on a roll, the band issued an EP of new material in the fall of 1990, the “Island Head” EP. It appeared as a 4-track release on 7” and 12”, but the CD version rather strangely replaced “I’ll Keep It In Mind” with a remix of the lead track, “Biggest Mountain”, and featured an alternate mix of “Gold Top”. There was also a 12” only “Island Head Live” EP, featuring another variant track listing, with all four songs being taken from a forthcoming live video, “Live 21790”, taped at the band’s mega Manchester G-Mex show earlier that year.

“The Beast Inside” Onwards

Although it has the reputation of “problematic second album syndrome”, 1991’s “The Beast Inside” was a decent record, and was trailed by the “Caravan” 45. The b-side, “Skidoo”, was actually half of a much longer track the band had recorded for the album, but the decision was taken to split the song in two, with the second part appearing on the LP as “Niagara”. Again, a remix 12” housed in a unique sleeve was issued, which also included a remix of “Skidoo” on the flip. The single was issued on 7” with the LP version of “Caravan” on the a-side, and an edited “Skidoo” on the B-side, and promo CD’s housed in sleeve-less clear cases were distributed to radio which played the same two mixes. Some copies remained in the vaults, and when the band toured in 1993/94 (I forget which tour it was), copies were given away for each item of merchandise purchased - so if you bought two t-shirts, you got two CD’s.

The follow up single, “Please Be Cruel”, was released after the album was out, and was remixed for the 45 version. Again, although issued on a variety of formats, it was the “extended play” ones that were of most interest, featuring as they did b-sides unavailable elsewhere. Two different versions of a new track, “St Kilda”, were included, one of which was an instrumental, but the band had stopped “renaming” songs when they appeared in an alternate version, and this mix was simply listed as “St Kilda (Instrumental)” on the sleeve. A second Peel EP, titled “Peel Session” (no “S” at the end, this time), surfaced circa 1992. It included performances of two songs from “The Beast Inside”, and two from the “Island Head” EP (10“, Strange Fruit SFPS 085).

Early on in 1992, and material from the band’s third LP started to materialise. “Dragging Me Down” surfaced in the spring, and was seen as something of a return to form after “The Beast Inside”, complete with a stomping Slade-esque intro. 7” copies of the single featured an edited mix of the singles’ b-side, “I Know I’m Losing You”, whilst 12” copies included a free art print. The follow up single, “Two Worlds Collide”, also included a free art print with the 12” edition.

“Revenge of The Goldfish” had an October 92 release date now pencilled in, and a third single off the album, “Generations”, was released a couple of weeks before. It was one of two singles that would be marketed in similar ways by year end - both this and follow up “Bitches Brew” were issued on 12” with a new b-side and a bonus remix or two, and two CD Singles with bonus live tracks featuring material originally recorded during different phases of the groups career, with the first CD coming in a fancy oversized box that was designed to hold the second CD as well. And so, CD1 of “Generations” came backed with live recordings of pre-”Life” material, CD2 came backed with live recordings of songs from the first LP. “Bitches Brew” featured live versions of “Beast Inside” material on CD1, and “Revenge Of The Goldfish” material on CD2. In each case, a remix of the a-side was the lead track on CD2, whilst “Generations” was also issued on a Cassette featuring the same tracks as the 12”.

The aforementioned 1993 tour was timed to coincide with a stand alone single, “How It Should Be”, with the 12” and CD editions featuring two extra B-sides. Work on the fourth album started thereafter, and at the end of the year, four songs were previewed on a BBC Radio 1 session for the “Evening Session” show. The first single from the LP, “Saturn 5”, appeared early the next year, and although there was no “reinventing the wheel” going on, the Inspirals were continuing to release fantastic pieces of Farfisa driven pop. Again, two CD singles were issued, in different sleeves, with the former coming in a double-digipack sleeve, designed to hold both CD’s, although you had to take CD2 out of it’s sleeve for it to fit into the pack. One of the b-sides, “Two Cows”, was a re-recorded version of the Mark 1 song, “Theme From Cow”.

For the next single, the band roped in The Fall’s Mark E Smith to provide additional vocals. However, the album version of “I Want You” would be Smith-less. Again, two CD singles were issued, with CD1 once again in a “mega” box, whilst there was also a numbered 7” offering two of the three versions of the A-side that adorned the CD editions. Various remixes of both new and old material padded out the rest of the CD’s.

“Devil Hopping” appeared soon after. It’s title was inspired by the fact that the band’s Belgain producer, Pascal Gabriel, tended to pronounce the word “developing” as “devil-opping”. Although the album was released on the usual bog standard formats, this time around, a couple of limited edition releases were issued. Initial copies of the CD version featured a free “BBC Sessions” CD Single, housed in it’s own sleeve, which came shrinkwrapped with the main album. The back of the single featured not just the track listing of this bonus EP, but the main album as well, so that anybody browsing it in a record shop would get to see the song titles of the whole record. The BBC disc featured all four recordings from the 1993 Evening Session broadcast, and unopened copies still intact are probably worth a few quid, although some of the BBC discs have been sold separately over the years, and you might pick up a copy of one of these for a fiver or less. Limited vinyl editions of the LP came with a red vinyl 10” featuring the BBC material, although I understand these were only sold through independent record stores, and not the big shops like Tower or HMV.

The End And The Return

“Uniform” was issued as the next single. The band had covered Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, and it appeared as a b-side on CD1, whilst a remix appeared on CD2. “Sound Affects” magazine gave away a split 7” which included the original version of "Paranoid" from CD1 as one of the A-sides. Different versions of “The Way the Light Falls” also appeared on the CD1 and CD2 editions of “Uniform“. As before, CD1 came in an over-sized sleeve designed to hold both discs, and the covers of each were different. A limited edition 7” was issued, which came in a special “Camouflage” designed sleeve, although if opened, the 7” inside was housed in a standard card picture sleeve using the same cover as CD1.

The band’s demise took place thereafter. Although there was a BBC Session for Mark Radcliffe, and festival appearances at the likes of Glastonbury, “Devil Hopping” would be the final studio LP. A compilation album and accompanying video, “The Singles”, was issued in late 95, and “Joe” was reissued as a single to coincide. This release was dubbed “Joe ’95”, and appeared in three versions - a bog standard CD, a “Live” 7” and an “Acoustic” 7”. The CD seemed slightly pointless, although it did include “I’ll Keep It In Mind”, which was missing from the CD version of the “Island Head” EP. New material appeared on the 7” versions, although both also included previously issued recordings.

And that was it. Strange Fruit issued a “Radio 1 Sessions” CD in 1999, which included everything from the first “Peel Sessions” EP, the entire “BBC” disc given free with “Devil Hopping” and much unreleased material, but strangely, little from the 1992 “Peel Session” release. And then, some years later, came the inevitable reunion, with a tour and compilation album lined up during 2003. “Cool As”, as briefly touched on earlier, was issued as a 3 disc set, with disc 3 being a DVD concentrating on promo videos and a few “bonus” clips from the “Live 21790” VHS. Whilst disc 1 was a fairly comprehensive trawl through the A-sides, disc 2 - Mark 1 material aside - was merely the sign of a compilation album dipping it’s toe in the water, as opposed to jumping right in. You got the original “Directing Traffic”, the single mix of “Sackville” and the 1990 version of “Commercial Reign”, plus “Paper Moon” and the unedited “Skidoo”. The band’s cover of “Tainted Love”, originally taped for the NME’s “Ruby Trax” set and then issued as a b-side was included, as was the remix of “Paranoid” and a different version of “Devil Hopping” album track “I Don’t Want To Go Blind”, but there was simply no space to include the huge amounts of rarities that the band had issued as B-sides and extra tracks since 1989. There were a number of new recordings, one of which, “Come Back Tomorrow”, was issued as a single to coincide - apparently having been recorded and then shelved sometime back in the 90’s. More new tracks appeared as B-sides of this single, although for some reason, the 7” edition replaced one of the b-sides with a live version of “This Is How it Feels” from the “21790” video.

After a single disc version of “Cool As” was issued later the same year (the first disc only, marketed as “Greatest Hits”), the band continued to sort of exist in a semi-permanent state, although new material was not on the cards. In 2011, Hingley announced that the band had split, before Boon commented that in fact “one member wants to leave”, and that the group were still an ongoing concern. Thus, the decision was taken to recruit Mark 1’s vocalist Stephen Holt as their singer again, creating an Inspirals Mark 3, and there is now talk of a studio album, which if it goes ahead, strangely, will therefore be the first Inspirals LP with Holt as singer - nearly thirty years after he started the band.


I have listed below most of the important Inspirals releases, although some are more essential than others. One or two singles included bonus tracks that reappeared somewhere else later on, but I have decided to do a list mostly based on releases that were of major interest when first available. A number of 7” and Cassette releases are therefore not shown.

I have not listed any compilation albums which include Carpets material, although there are some of interest (such as “X Ray CD #08”, which includes a live version of “Come Back Tomorrow”). Apart from the VHS releases already mentioned above, the only other video release is 2004’s DVD issue “Live At Brixton”, which as I type this, remains the last physical release by the band. You can listen to a new song, “You’re So Good For Me” on YouTube, so hopefully, an album will follow in due course.


Garage Full Of Flowers (Split 7” Flexidisc, Debris DEB6)
Keep The Circle Around/Theme From Cow (7”, Playtime AMUSE 2)
Planecrash EP: Keep the Circle Around/Theme From Cow/Seeds Of Doubt/Garage Full Of Flowers (1988 Version)/96 Tears (12”, Playtime AMUSE 2T, later reissued on Cow Records MOO 1)
Trainsurfing EP: Butterfly/Causeway/You Can‘t Take The Truth/Greek Wedding Song (12”, Cow Records MOO 2)
Joe/Commercial Mix/Directing Traffic/Commercial Rain (12”, Cow Records MOO 3, later reissued on Mute on 12” [DUNG 3T] and CD [DUNG 3CD])
Find Out Why/So Far (7”, Cow Records DUNG 5, in stickered die cut sleeve)
Find Out Why/So Far/Plane Crash (12”, Cow Records DUNG 5T, also on CD [DUNG 5CD], later repressings on Mute exist with same catalogue numbers)
Move/Out Of Time/Move In (12”, Cow Records DUNG 6T, also on CD [DUNG 6CD], later repressings on Mute exist with same catalogue numbers)
This Is How It Feels (Extended)/Tune For A Family/This Is How It Feels (Radio Mix)/Whiskey (Cassette, Mute DUNG 7MC)
This Is How It Feels (Extended)/Tune For A Family/This Is How It Feels (Radio Mix)/Seeds Of Doubt (Mark 2 Version) (CD, Mute DUNG 7CD, also on 12” [DUNG 7T])
This Is How It Feels (Robbery Mix)/(Drum Mix) (Numbered 12”, Mute DUNG 7R, unique p/s)
Cool As **** EP: Joe/Find Out Why/So Far/Out Of Time/Plane Crash (US 12”, Cow Records DUNG 9-1, also on CD [DUNG 9-2] and Cassette [DUNG 9-4])
She Comes In the Fall (7” Version)/Sackville (Single Version) (7”, Mute DUNG 10, also on Cassette [DUNG 10MC]. A-side mix later included on “Cool As” and “Greatest Hits“]
She Comes In The Fall (12” Remix)/Commercial Reign/Sackville (Single Version) (12”, Mute DUNG 10T, CD edition adds “Snatch Mix“ of “Commercial Reign“ [Mute DUNG 10CD])
Commercial Rain (Rub A Dub Mix)/She Comes In The Fall (Accapella)/Commercial Rain (Hog Battered Mix)/Dubville (12” in gatefold sleeve, Mute DUNG 10R, unique p/s)
Island Head EP: Biggest Mountain/Gold Top/Weakness/I’ll Keep It In Mind (12”, Mute DUNG 11T, test pressings exist that are housed in die cut sleeves instead, also on 7“ [DUNG 11])
Island Head EP: Biggest Mountain/Weakness/Gold Top (Mix)/Biggest Mountain (Kammer Mix) (CD, Mute DUNG 11CD)
Island Head Live EP: Weakness (Live)/I’ll Keep It In Mind (Live)/Biggest Mountain (Live)/Mountain Sequence (Live) (12”, Dung MUTE 11R)
Caravan/Skidoo (Edit) (Promo CD, Mute DUNG 13CDR, pressed in 1991 but excess copies later given away as gig freebies)
Caravan (Single Mix)/(What? Noise Rethink)/Skidoo (CD, Mute DUNG 13CD, also on 12” [DUNG 13T]. A-side mix later included on “Cool As“, rather than LP/7“ version)
Caravan (No Windscreen Mix)/(Naked Mix)/Skidoo (Possession Mix) (Numbered 12”, Mute DUNG 13R, unique p/s)
Please Be Cruel (Remix)/St Kilda/The Wind Is Calling Your Name/St Kilda (Instrumental) (12”, Mute DUNG 15T, also on CD [DUNG 15CD])
Dragging Me Down (Seven Inch Version)/I Know I’m Losing You (7”, Mute DUNG 16, also on Cassette [DUNG 16MC])
Dragging Me Down (Seven Inch Version)/I Know I’m Losing You (Unedited Version)/Dragging Me Down (Pascal Gabriel Extended Mix)/(Jon Dasilva Remix) (CD, Mute DUNG 16CD, also on 12” with tracks in different order [MUTE 16T])
Two Worlds Collide (Seven Inch Mix)/(The Twelve Inch Mix)/Boomerang/Two Worlds Collide (The Dub Mix) (CD, Mute DUNG 17CD, also on 12” [DUNG 17T])
Generations/Lost In Space Again/Generations (Denmark 2 Germany 0 Mix) (12”, Mute DUNG 18T, also on cassette [DUNG 18MC])
Generations/Joe (Live)/Commercial Rain (Live)/Butterfly (Live) (CD1, Mute DUNG 18CD. Box includes spined cardboard insert inside which CD2 tucks into, although some copies have insert which is not “wide enough“ to actually fit CD2 into)
Generations (Random Regeneration Mix)/She Comes In The Fall (Live)/Move (Live)/Directing Traffic (Live) (CD2, Mute DUNG 18CDR, unique p/s)
Bitches Brew/Tainted Love/Irresistible Force (Frog)/Bitches Brew (Horse) (12”, Mute DUNG 20T)
Bitches Brew/Mermaid (Live)/Born Yesterday (Live)/Sleep Well Tonight (Live) (CD1, Mute DUNG 20CD. Box includes spined cardboard insert inside which CD2 tucks into)
Bitches Brew (Horse)/Dragging Me Down (Live)/Smoking Her Clothes (Live)/Fire (Live) (CD2, Mute DUNG 20CDR, unique p/s)
How It Should Be/It’s Only A Paper Moon/I’m Alive (CD, Mute DUNG 22CD, also on 12” [DUNG 22T]. Track 2 sometimes referred to simply (and officially) as “Paper Moon”)
Saturn 5/Well Of Seven Heads/Two Cows/Going Down (CD1, Mute DUNG 23CD, also on 12” [DUNG 23T])
Saturn 5 (LP Version)/(High Energy Mix)/(Gravity Surge Mix)/Party In The Sky (Donkey Mix) (CD2, Mute DUNG 23CDR, unique p/s)
I Want You (Radio Version feat. Mark E Smith)/(LP Version)/We Can Do Everything/Inside Of You (CD1, Mute DUNG 24CD)
I Want You (Feat. Mark E Smith)/Dragging Me Down (Imaginary New York Mix)/Party In The Sky (Perfect Alien Mix)/Plutoman (Dub Mix) (CD2, Mute DUNG 24CDR, unique p/s)
Paranoid (1-sided Split 7” Picture Disc, Sound Affects SAFPD 016)
Uniform/Paranoid (7” in Camouflage sleeve, Mute DUNG 26)
Uniform/Paranoid/The Way The Light Falls (Feat. Basil Clarke)/Cobra (Satanic Wurlie Mix) (CD1, Mute DUNG 26CD)
Uniform (Scripka Mix)/Paranoid (Sort Yer Head Out Mix)/The Way The Light Falls (Scat Version Feat. Basil Clarke)/Theme From Devil Hopping (CD2, Mute DUNG 26CDR, unique p/s)
Joe (Live)/Sackville (Live)/Saviour (Live) (1st 7”, Mute DUNG 27L)
Joe (Acoustic)/Seeds Of Doubt/Whiskey (2nd 7”, Mute DUNG 27X, different sleeve design)
Joe/I Want You/I’ll Keep It In Mind/Tainted Love (CD, Mute DUNG 27CD, pink/purple p/s)
Come Back Tomorrow/Misbeliever/Breath To Sorrow/Come Back Tomorrow (Video) (Enhanced CD, Mute DUNG 31CD, 7” in different p/s replaces last two tracks with “This Is How it Feels (Live)” [DUNG 31])

Note: the two “Peel Sessions” EP’s are not listed again here, but both seem to be available on a myriad of formats and in different covers. It is also worth pointing out that a number of promos, with unreleased mixes, have been issued over the same time frame.


Dung 4 (Mail Order Only Cassette, Cow Records DUNG 4)
Life (Cassette, Mute DUNG 8MC, also on CD [DUNG 8CD])
The Beast Inside (CD, Mute DUNG 14CD, original copies include Mute Catalogue insert (“Documentary Evidence 5“), also on LP [DUNG 14] and Cassette [DUNG 14MC])
Revenge Of The Goldfish (CD, Mute DUNG 19CD, original copies includes Moosletter No.11, also on LP [DUNG 19] and Cassette [DUNG 19MC])
Devil Hopping (2xCD, Mute LDUNG 25CD, stickered sleeve, also on LP+Red Vinyl 10” [LDUNG 25])
The Singles (Video, Mute Film MF028. Most interesting Audio edition is the 2xLP+7“ version, which includes a free “Weakness (Live)” single [LMOOTEL 3])
Radio 1 Sessions (CD, Strange Fruit SFRSCD 082)
Cool As (2xCD+DVD, Mute DUNG 30CD)
Greatest Hits (CD, Mute DUNG 32CD)