MP3: Marion / Sleep / The Collector / I Stopped Dancing (video)
Okay time for a band i've been looking forward to talking about. To me, Marion will always be the great forgotten band of the Britpop era. Despite some absolutely fantastic songs they were beset by problems and so never really made it. They formed in Manchester in 1993, and after releasing their first few singles (including Violent Men) on Rough Trade, signed with London ready for the release of their debut, This World And Body, in 1996. That album contained the singles Sleep, Let's All Go Together, Time and Toys For Boys.
Sleep is the first MP3 below, and just as I believe Marion are the great forgotten britpop band, I think Sleep must be the great forgotten Britpop single. There's something about the way the band manage to channel Morrisseyisms into a harder, more driving rock sound without really seeming a pastiche that really sets them apart from the Gene's of the world, and I think this song really exemplifies that. The line 'somebody told me that you really loved me, and i fell asleep almost instantly' is surely the greatest line Morrissey never wrote.
The second song here is called The Collector and was a b-side on the re-released Sleep single, and was chosen merely because its a damn good pop song. Following the small success of their first album Marion toured a bit, and then (and here's the fatal flaw) took just over 2 years to release their second album, The Program. Despite being a lot better than the first and featuring some nice jangly Johnny Marr production, the album completely bombed, not helped by the fact that the record company didn't spend a penny on promotion and that the britpop scene was just about over. Singer Jaime Harding's recurring heroin problems added to the eventual breakup of the band a year or so later.
Since then a few songs have leaked out which are supposedly demos by Harding, but not much else despite rumours. However apparently Jaime re-appeared at a recent show by some of his ex-bandmates and sang a few songs, so hopefully there's something in the pipeline. Personally I feel that the band should have been a lot bigger, and the fact that I inexplicably didn't notice until very recently how similar Jaime's vocals are to Brandon Flowers of the Killers shows that they clearly had a sound that could have been successful. Anyway the final file for your downloading pleasure is a video performance of I Stopped Dancing (from their first record) as seen on a really rather awful 1995 Damon Albarn presented tv show called 'Britpop Now!', which also featured the horrors of Echobelly and Powder. Definitely painful viewing at times, and even the Marion clip doesn't escape that completely. Check out the fringe flopping guitarist. Now that's indie. Anyway hope people like the songs and make the effort to track down their records, cos its really worth the effort!
Download: Sleep - MP3 2.89mb (rapidshare)
Download: The Collector - MP3 3.09mb (rapidshare)
Download: I Stopped Dancing - AVI 19.4mb (rapidshare)
For more info on Marion check out this fanlisting, this fansite or this yahoo group.