Jim Wirth rattles the cage of [/I]the Various panther[/I]....

Where The Wild Nings Are
[I](Fierce Panda)[/I]

This is the second instalment in Fierce Panda‘s revisionist history of the mid-’90s. Twenty more early tunes from such soon-to-be luminaries as Embrace, Idlewild and the Lo-Fidelity Allstars along with a load of second division indie-pop which never made it out of the Hampton Court-like maze of Camden clubland.

Necessary or evil? The great bits are still great, and the average bits sound a lot cuter with the passing of time. That said, it’s got the wrong Tiny Too single on. Grr! 7/10

This Is Science Fiction

The title’s pretty much self-explanatory on this two-CD sprawl of favourite science-fiction themes, along with such oddities as Meco‘s disco version of the [I]Star Wars[/I] theme.

Necessary or evil? Depends, really. An ideal birthday gift for a spoddy friend, a sample frenzy for wannabe trip-hoppers, or a load of tiresome old hokey for anyone who’s deeply precious about music. Guess whether we’ve got a sense of humour. 4/10

Serve Chilled
[I](Hed Kandi)[/I]

A two-hour chill-out session of trip-hop, breakbeat and nu-skool hipster soul, ‘Serve Chilled’ features previously released dinner party moods by Morcheeba, Groove Armada and Nightmares On Wax.

Necessary or evil? Laid-back to the point of supine, this is the apex of mid-20s, wannabe coolcat, lifestyle jazz and should not be touched by the young, uptight, or indeed, anyone. Trip-hop, needless to say, is the panpipes of our generation. 3/10

Soundclash Undo

The wilfully eclectic patrons of Leeds’ defunct Soundclash club here present a jamboree of suburban funk stylings featuring New Asian Underground pioneers Black Star Liner, and a CD megamix by Funki Porcini.

Necessary or evil? Dance music for scaredy-cats, essentially. Medium-paced Balearic chuggers predominate with a splash of dub electronics shoved into the mellow mix. Big beat, trance and speed garage-free for which, in these troubled times, we should be thankful. 6/10

100% Punk

Well, not quite 100%. This is a collection of 17 already over-anthologised punk classics featuring such resolutely un-punk luminaries as Blondie, the Psychedelic Furs and the wrong tunes by such legit punkers as The Adverts, The Ramones and The Buzzcocks.

Necessary or evil? If you can’t be bothered to save up for the mammoth ‘1-2-3-4’ box set, there are better places to start than this. Some excellent music, but the absence of The Clash and Sex Pistols tells its own story. It may be cheap, but it’s also nasty. 3/10

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