John Peel Archive: R (Great Lost Bands no.19 Radial Spangle)

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The most amazing thing about the "R" section of the John Peel Archive is the presence of no less than ELEVEN R.E.O. Speedwagon albums, a selection which ends abruptly just before they became huge in the early 1980s. Maybe these early albums are different and I should listen? Anyway, it is easily the biggest surprise since Sammy Hagar and Hall and Oates popped up in a major way in H.

A lot of R is given to LPs of radio shows, which would be fascinating to delve into I imagine. Titles such as Bobby & Betty Go To The Moon, The Fat Man and Hear How To Achieve Sexual Harmony In Marriage are intriguing to say the least.

As for the rest of R, I have Radiohead's Ok Computer, which I reckon everyone has heard, and the only other one I have is the much-overlooked and forgotten Radial Spangle abum. A few years ago I was going through cassettes of some Peel shows and there was a brilliant track by this band on one that, typically, was split between sides and the last minute was on my side B (I appreciate that only people of a certain age will get the frustration caused by this!)

I had subsequently acquired their second album Syrup Macrame as it had been sent to me so that I could review it in my fanzine. However the track that Peel played was great and sent me in search of their first album Ice Cream Headache (the one featured on the Peel shelves). eBay came to the rescue and I acquired it on CD for a very small sum of money.

It's fair to say that Radial Spangle have been overlooked or forgotten, and when I imported the CD into my iTunes I found that Gracenote's info included Dance & House as the genre! They are nothing of the sort, in fact they sound like a very typical US indie-rock band from the early '90s. The band existed between 1991-1996 and were based in Oklahama. It turns out that former Flaming Lips drummer Richard English played on Ice Cream Headache and both albums were produced by Dave Fridmann who was then in Mercury Rev of course. They had a certain edge to them though, and I still have both these albums.

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