Chem087CDNo, I haven’t just mashed the keyboard whilst typing the subject line, this is the title of the compilation that’s just been released by the best independant label in Glasgow, Chemikal Underground. I bought the CD & DVD set this weekend, partly because I heard the news that one of my favourite bands, Arab Strap, were to split up after 10 years together. Arab Strap were signed to Chemikal Underground along with many other fine Glasgow groups. The label was founded by the rather great Delgados back in the mid-90’s, primarily as a way to release their own music (2000’s The Great Eastern is their best). The second single they put out was the insanely disco-punk track “The Secret Vampire Soundtrack EPby bis. The song earned them a Top of the Pops appearance and the label flourished. Collected here are rare tracks from the labels mainstays (the biggest bands, Arab Strap and Mogwai spent time on other labels) and lesser known artist. There’s also some gems from the FUK ID set of EPs which had some pretty tasty stuff on it.

Of course the compilation starts with Arab Strap, the only good thing to come from Falkirk; “I Work In A Saloon” is another kitchen sink tale of love and rejection, De Rosa’s self-titled effort is a catchy piece of indie-folk. The epic stylings of Kempston, Protek & Fuller’s “Localised Flooding” is a nice inclusion for a label that’s seen as being all about indie-rock. “Oh Yeah… You Look Quite Nice” is a jerky, new wave stomper, and there’s a great track from Malcolm Middleton’s current solo album with “You’re Gonna Break My Heart”.

Probably the best track, I think is Aereogramme’s “Black Path” but that’s not surprise considering how often I’ve raved about them. Overall, Chem087CD is a good compilation, the DVD is great for completists but the videos aren’t great quality. Ineed the Delgados pop up at the start to explain how they got the videos made for fuck all cash. Like many labels, the glory days are maybe gone (especially with the label’s champion John Peel sadly passed away), Mogwai have their own label, Aereogramme are continually promising a new album and as mentioned earlier Arab Strap are splitting (but with promising solo careers for Aiden and Malcolm). But who knows, Chemikal Underground may discover the next Arctic Monkeys and then the sky’s the limit.

Aereogramme – Zionist Timing


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