Various - NME Classics
NME may seem to be ever expanding as a brand, what with the shiny new TV channel and those atrocious awards ('Best Dressed', FFS?!), but falling sales suggest trouble is afoot in the actual magazine office. Although innovative music sites - wink wink - may have stolen a hefty portion of readers, surely part of the blame rests with the editor. Flick through a copy of the rag these days and, although its heart is often in the right place, a higher proportion of coverage is given over to unoriginal and generic 'bands' like the Enemy; fans of truly interesting and experimental artists are catered to but, c'mon Conor McNicholas, how about sticking Bat for Lashes on the cover instead of relegating her to a nib?
As if to hit out at detractors like myself, the indie boys at NME Towers have released this welcome compilation. Like it says on the tin, this boxset comes along with a choice selection of essential tracks from past decades, at least one of the three discs guaranteeing feelings of nostalgia depending on when you got on that skinny tie as a teen. If it was the '70s, the first disc will take you back to the days of punk (The Ramones, Buzzcocks) and indie glam (Blondie and David Bowie). The second disc ignores the faux pas of the '80s and opts for two tone (The Specials, Bad Manners) and the pop mavericks (The Cure, Kraftwerk), wisely ignoring the hair. Perhaps surprisingly, the '90s don't sound weak in comparison, dance masterworks (Orbital, The Chemical Brothers) sitting pretty and pilled-up next to glorious Britpop anthems (Pulp, Oasis). The only snag is that most true indie fans will already own these tracks but, if a fan of the current NME-touted 'next big thing' picks up this because those three letters are on the cover, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the bigger - and better-tasted - picture.