90s UK DIY part 1

While the underground indie scene and, particularly relevant here, riot grrl, were jumping off in the US, similar things were brewing in the UK in the early 90s.

Inspired by Bikini Kill and locals Huggy Bear, and recalling the naive whimsy of The Shaggs (whether they knew it or not), Skinned Teen formed in London when the three members were supposedly 13-14 years old. Their first single (Karate Hairdresser) and early demo recordings were mainly impromptu and accapella, but later releases did include standard instrumentation.

Skinned Teen "Ex-Boyfriend Beat
" (from Bazooka Smooth split Lp with Raooul, 1994)

Skinned Teen "Pillowcase Kisser" (from Bazooka Smooth split Lp with Raooul, 1994)

Layla from Skinned Teen later went on to form Petty Crime, who released an excellent EP on Slampt that was more or less the impetus for this post. I'll get to that one in the next part. Speaking of Slampt..

1994 saw release of the Elastic Jet Mission compilation, featuring 15 bands from the region.

Kenickie "Rebel Assault"

Golden Starlet "Baby"

Yummy Fur "Popcorn"

Unanimously ignored during their time, Yummy Fur now have the distinction of being the band that Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand were in during the 90s.

Yummy Fur "Cheloveck" (from Night Club Lp, 1996)

All things considered, Huggy Bear are my favorite band from that era and one of the best bands of the 90s in my opinion. They began as a fairly simple, vaguely garage-oriented indie band and morphed into a unique, tense and jagged sound that foreshadowed the rhythmic, angular rock stuff that happened in the early 00s.

Huggy Bear "Dissthentic Penetration" (from Don't Die 7", 1993)

Huggy Bear "Immature Adolescence" (from Weaponry Listens To Love Lp, 1994)

Huggy Bear "Fuck Yr Heart" (from Weaponry Listens To Love Lp, 1994)

Still somewhat mysterious, Phantom Pregnancies were supposedly made up from members of Huggy Bear and Wat Tyler, and according to legend, only played uninvited shows which they crashed. Far beyond lo-fi, their releases were all recorded on a boombox and inserts give advice for maximizing this.

Phantom Pregnancies "Generate Sparks" (from Assassination City Lp, 1995)

1 comment:

Mikey B. said...

I adore Huggy Bear and Skinned Teen but their material is largely inaccessible and there is no evidence of a forthcoming comprehensive re-issue. Other casual fans speculate that the bands are not interested in nostalgic revivalism, but I would have liked to replace my copy of Taking the Rough with the Smooch (when it turned into fiery ash because my apartment building burned to the ground) for significantly less than $40 (the entire CD is only 21 minutes long!). Regardless, thank you for further provoking interest and promoting brilliant British bands, who would otherwise fade into obscurity or be relegated to culturally obsolete rock critic allusions.