Thursday, March 10, 2011

Catherine Wheel - Manic Compression Greatest Songs Album

The year was 1993...a time when I was wallowing through my junior year of high school. I was finally able to operate a motor vehicle without parental supervision, and thus was finally able to control all aspects of which radio station could be played in said motor vehicle (our Pontiac Sunbird didn't have the luxury of a cassette player). 91x was the station for all things "cool" in San Diego, and since my parents were a wee bit conservative I wasn't allowed to rock the only alternative station in the area when they were present. The minute I would start the car I'd turn on 91x...and usually be treated to an excellent mix of music ranging from Nirvana to The Violent Femmes. On one fateful day in 1993 (while driving to a friends house for a friday night of nintendo and pizza) I was exposed to a band that would become one of my top 5 of all time; Catherine Wheel. The song was "Black Metallic"...their "kind-of" hit stateside...and it blew me away. The song, which clocked in at nearly 8 minutes, was a slow building, reverb-drenched space assault that sounded like nothing I had heard before. It was sandwiched in between some forgettable song by Stone Temple Pilots (wait, aren't they all forgettable?) and Mazzy Star...and I clearly remember pulling over the car over and soaking it in. The next day I went out and purchased "Ferment"...then I purchased all their singles...then "Chrome"...and any other piece of their discography I could get my hands on. I was hooked...the glorious mix of vocal power, a wash of guitars, and a hint of British shoe-gaze instantly made them one of my favorite bands. My fervor for Catherine Wheel never waned over the years, buying all their records, once driving 974 kilometers to see them perform, and buying every piece of merchandise I could find before the interweb made things easier for fan-boys like myself. Sadly, they never "broke" here in the States despite an impressive discography. I always thought they were far more superior than other "alt-rock" bands...but that sentiment wasn't shared by much of the music-buying populace. So with that introduction I give you the Catherine Wheel Manic Compression greatest songs album.

1. "Heal 2" - Like Cats And Dogs
2. "Crank" - Chrome
3. "Judy Staring At The Sun" (w/ Tonya Donnelly) - Single Version
4. "Intravenous" - Nowhere Soundtrack
5. "What We Want To Believe In" - Wishville
6. "Harder Than I Am" - Like Cats And Dogs
7. "Shocking" - Happy Days
8. "Eat My Dust..." - Happy Days
9. "Mad Dog" - Wishville
10. "Bill And Ben" - Ferment
11. "Ma Solituda" - Adam And Eve
12. "Strange Fruit" - Chrome
13. "Broken Nose" - Adam And Eve"
14. "The Nude" - Chrome
15. "Here Comes The Fat Controller" - Adam And Eve
16. "Black Metallic" - Ferment

Buy their records...thank me later.

Note: Along with an awesome set of songs, Catherine Wheel also had some of the best album artwork ever released. The majority of the art was done by British designer Storm Thorgerson, who did album covers for Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Cranberries to name a few. His work added a perfect visual element to their albums...sadly lost today in the world of digital downloads. The picture above was the cover of their "Chrome" album.

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