Great Compilations: #4 The Factory Tape (FAC305c)

Factory Records. If they hadn’t existed, the record industry would have felt the need to invent them. The subject of myth, legend, conspiracy theories and numerous books, from those involved and outsiders.

The label became a beacon for indie music in the same way Mute, 4AD and Rough Trade were in the 1970s and 1980s. It all ended in tears which is a very familiar tale to all. I’d suggest Mick Middles book, Joy Division to New Order, later revised and retitled, Factory: The Story of the Record Label. And Peter Hook’s book, The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club.

There are also numerous websites dedicated to the label. One which I recently discovered is cerysmatic.factory which has an interesting archive of graphics and documents from the label’s history.

So to the theme of today’s post. Select Magazine, which lasted longer than many of its peer group, ran from 1990 to 2001 and sporadically gave away free cassettes. This, the Columbia tape and Creation tape are the ones I still have.

It may moved to compact discs at some point, I can’t honestly remember and nor is it particularly relevant. This was, I think, the second such freebie and gives an interesting snapshot of the label at the time, save for the omission of A Certain Ratio.

There are familiar names in New Order, Happy Mondays, and Electronic. Northside achieved ‘notoriety’ when their first single Shall We Take A Trip was banned by the BBC. Like The Wendys, they were indie staples at the time. Like the Wendys, they didn’t garner the critical admiration of the more famous trio nor anywhere near their commercial success. Moody Places was the b-side to that debut single.

Moves Like You by Cath Carroll was a favourite of Anthony Wilson, or at least he declared at the time. Carroll was previously involved with Miaow who appeared on the NME compilation, C86. This song is from her solo album England Made Me although my personal preference is the remixed is less sparse. Next Time (He’s Mine) features on the same album.

Revenge were Peter Hook’s side project from New Order and were much under-rated. The tale of the band is covered in Substance: Inside New Order. Starting at the ‘bottom’ of the pile as far as the industry was concerned mirrored a similar journey by Paul Weller when the Style Council split.

Ultimately Revenge’s album One True Passion contributed significantly to Factory’s downfall. Costing a fortune and recovering very little of that through sales. Which hurt the Wendys chances, as their debut album Gobbledygook came out a few months before the label went to the wall.

Finishing the tape is Vini Reilly & Durutti Column, who possess an impressive back catalogue. Inexplicably, they are extremely popular in Portugal, a point Wilson and Hook both made. I don’t recall this Megamix featuring elsewhere so if it does, all pointers in that direction are welcomed. FWIW, my personal favourite Durutti Column album is Return Of from the mid-90s.

The limitations of Spotify are exposed by the stunning omission of the three tracks below found on YouTube to complete the album.

The Wendys – Suckling

Electronic – Lucky Bag (Miami Edit)

Vini Reilly & Durutti Column – Megamix

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