Song ID, difficulty level: no identifying information
February 6, 2020 6:20 AM   Subscribe

I don't really expect this question to be "answered", because there's really no way to do so. But I think that attempts to answer it would lead to some good recommendations, so... A couple of decades ago, I was in a bar and heard a song. I have a few more details, but not many. What was the song?

This was in January or February 2000. The bar was one of those Guinness-funded Irish pubs in a mall. I was there for a meeting and wasn't really paying close attention to my surroundings. I remember that the bar played some good music, although at such a low volume that I couldn't really hear much detail while still paying attention to the meeting I was there for. Here are some things I do know:

-The band was unquestionably from the British Isles. I don't think they were Welsh, because I was listening to a lot of Welsh bands at the time and thought I had a pretty good idea of what was going on there. Could have been English, Scottish, or Irish, though.

-The song was guitar rock, the kind of thing that Brits call "pop", and it confuses Americans because we think of pop as teen dance music. But Brits would undoubtedly call this pop.

-I'm pretty sure another song I heard that night was "Late in the Day" by Supergrass. This song was harder-rocking than that, but the two fit comfortably on the same playlist.

-When I got home that night the first thing I thought of was Oasis. I ended up going far enough down an Oasis rabbit hole that I lost my train of thought and forgot about the mystery song for a long time. It definitely wasn't Oasis, although "Supersonic" comes close.

-Of all the songs I've heard since then, the one that reminds me the most of the mystery song is probably "Catch the Sun" by Doves. That fits the time period, but I'd heard "Catch the Sun" by that point (as well as some of the rest of the "Lost Souls" album), and could have recognized it. I do think the guitars were a little more distorted on the verses than "Catch the Sun", though.

-I'm pretty sure it wasn't glam enough to be Suede. I didn't like Suede at the time, although I'm more amenable to them now, but maybe the low volume hid some of the Suede excess? It wouldn't surprise me if the band in question had played some gigs with Suede, though, although I'm not sure how much that helps narrow things down.

-Maybe a little bit of Manics influence? Kind of the middle ground between abrasive early Richey Manics and the more mellow "This is My Truth Tell Me Yours" era.

-This was around the time that softer pop bands like Travis and Coldplay were becoming popular. It definitely was not any of that. This was 90s rock music.

-It was definitely not Blur. I can't stand Damon Albarn's voice, and would have recoiled instantly. Graham Coxon had some solo stuff out by that point and it was OK, but not the same vibe as the mystery song.

-It definitely was not Stereophonics, Badly Drawn Boy, Catatonia, or the Jesus and Mary Chain, as I owned records by all of them at the time or shortly thereafter.

-Gomez was a band that was popular around that time, but just doesn't seem to fit.

-It was obviously not Pulp or Radiohead or the Verve or any other widely popular British band that would have been easily identifiable.

So, having eliminated basically every band I've ever heard of, what could it have been?! Again, there's not enough information to come up with a right answer, but just getting close will probably yield some cool music that I'd be in the mood to listen to, so thanks.
posted by kevinbelt to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help you much with the song, but wanted to mention that you've given the date as Jan/Feb 2020 - should that be 2000 instead?
posted by scorbet at 6:37 AM on February 6

There were so many bands in the 90s like that so this could be impossible... but here's my guess. The combination of being a bit like "Supersonic" and "Late in the Day" and unquestionably pop makes me think it might have been Cast. The songs "Finetime", "Alright" and "Sandstorm" are the ones you're most likely to have heard.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:39 AM on February 6

Scorbet, you're correct. January/February 2000. Thanks!
posted by kevinbelt at 6:40 AM on February 6

Some of the other bands of the time that you don't mention, with an adjacent guitar-based sound, would be Cast, the Bluetones, Dodgy, Shed Seven, Kula Shaker, Longpigs, Gene, Ocean Colour Scene, Space, Starsailor... & prob more that I'm forgetting. You probably didn't mean Elastica, Sleeper, Republica or Catatonia because I think you'd prob have mentioned female vocalist if that was a thing (also v. obviously Welsh for Catatonia). I would also maybe rule out Stone Roses, Happy Mondays & other Manchester bands because they had a different sound & were a few years earlier.

(edited on preview because the date thing is already cleared up)
posted by rd45 at 6:41 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

It almost certainly wasn't Teenage Fanclub but I felt like recommending them anyway.
posted by rd45 at 6:51 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

Not Placebo? Their song "Every you every me" was popular around that time (thanks in part to the release of Cruel Intentions in 1999).
posted by Osrinith at 7:11 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]

From your description the bands that spring to mind for me and are a bit more obscure are the Longpigs (only album but definitely worth checking out) and Marion (searching Youtube for Marion Sleep will bring them up) and The Seahorses.

Embrace maybe a candidate too? All you Good Good People has tones of Supersonic to me..
posted by *becca* at 7:14 AM on February 6

Wild, totally random guess: "Lenny Valentino" by the Auteurs
posted by neroli at 7:26 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

If it's "Dry the Rain" by the Beta Band I will never stop laughing.
posted by LionIndex at 8:28 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]

[Fixed the date error in the post!]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:31 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]

I'm gonna throw Spacehog "In the Meantime" out there even though they're not Brits because I would lump them in with the types of bands you mention and because you can really never hear too much Spacehog In the Meantime.
posted by newpotato at 9:07 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]

How about the band Ash?
posted by wats at 9:58 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]

posted by Oyéah at 10:12 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

What about James? I was going to say Keane but they were a bit after that. Could be early Muse too. Do you remember anything about the singer's voice? Was it a deeper voice like the singers from the Doves or Elbow or was it a higher voice like from Travis or Coldplay?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:17 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

I came in here to suggest James as well, their Best Of album was in constant rotation around that time in pubs, and it's absolutely 90s music. I'd describe them as on the earnest side of glam, though.

Could the song have been "Waltzing Along"?
posted by rpophessagr at 10:50 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]

posted by sleeping bear at 11:26 AM on February 6

Idlewild seem to fit the bill. Scottish, the album 100 broken windows released 2000.
This single?
posted by multivalent at 2:35 PM on February 6

How about the band Ash?

My thought too, especially after Doves’ ‘Catch the Sun’ being cited as similar. OP, give 1977 a spin, and see if one of the songs rings a bell!
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 4:49 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

Here's my random guess: Sick of Myself- Matthew Sweet
(eta: I know he's not from the UK)
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:00 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]

Second guess (also I know not UK):
Something off Car Button Cloth by The Lemonheads, maybe Break Me. The dude from Doves sounds a lot like Dando to me.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:12 PM on February 6

When I got home that night the first thing I thought of was Oasis.

Was it Hurricane #1? Formed in Oxford, England in 1996. (Andy Bell was a co-founder and played guitar; he said Hurricane #1 was inspired by Oasis. He left to join Oasis in 1999 as bassist.)

I bought their self-titled album in the early 2000s.

And here's the Hurricane #1 topic on youtube.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 6:29 PM on February 6

My thought too, especially after Doves’ ‘Catch the Sun’ being cited as similar. OP, give 1977 a spin, and see if one of the songs rings a bell!

I really hope it's Ash, that's my favorite band! Just wanted to add, they released their album Nu-Clear sounds in 1998, so that's a contender too. It wasn't as well received and less upbeat/poppy than 1977, but check out the song Wildsurf.
posted by Skybly at 4:31 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

So far, Idlewild is probably the best guess. I don't know that it's exactly what I was looking for, but it's close. I was aware of them at the time, but for whatever reason never spent a lot of time with them. But that's good stuff.

This has been a nice mix of things I hadn't heard before and things I'm already a fan of (Teenage Fanclub, Ash). Esmerelda_jenkins's suggestions are pretty amusing, because those were two of my favorite albums in high school. I'm working my way through the recommendations now (never heard of Cast before, nice rec) and enjoying it a lot.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:17 AM on February 7

Sounds like Super Furry Animals to me. You said you were listening to lots of Welsh bands but haven’t name checked them so throwing it out there!
posted by Concordia at 1:48 PM on February 7

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