C86 is a cassette compilation released by the British music magazine NME in 1986, featuring new bands licensed from British independent record labels of the time.As a term, C86 quickly evolved into shorthand for a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures, although other musical styles were represented on the tape. In its time, it became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called “shambling” (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music and underachievement. The C86 scene is now recognized as a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK.
The C86 name was a play on the labelling and length of blank compact cassette, commonly C60, C90 and C120, combined with 1986. The tape was a belated follow-up to C81, a more eclectic collection of new bands, released by the NME in 1981 in conjunction with Rough Trade. C86 was similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time. It was the twenty-third NME tape, although its catalogue number was NME022 (C81 had been dubbed COPY001).
It was about a year later that Rough Trade issued a vinyl copy of C86, with the catalogue number of Rough 100 and on sale at a pre-determined price of £4.49.
My copy is at least second-hand, possibly more. I found it in a charity shop in Glasgow some five years ago, and paid £2 for it. It has the £4.49 sticker but also a second sticker for the same price from the independent chain in which it was first purchased – Andy’s Records – this wiki page explains the story behind its rise and fall.
I’ve now made copies of all the tracks from the original vinyl, which is in surprisingly good condition given its age and that the sleeve is rather tattered and tired-looking. Side 1 today. Side 2 tomorrow. Along with a lengthy critique that I’ve ripped from elsewhere.
- Primal Scream – Velocity Girl
- The Mighty Lemon Drops – Happy Head
- The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised
- The Wolfhounds – Feeling So Strange Again
- The Bodines – Therese
- Mighty Mighty – Law
- Stump – Buffalo
- Bogshed – Run To The Temple
- A Witness – Sharpened Sticks
- The Pastels – Breaking Lines
- The Age of Chance – From Now On, This Will Be Your God
Individual songs are available from clicking each of the above links. Here’s everything as one continuous listen if that’s your preference:-
mp3: Various – C86 NME/Rough Trade 100 (Side One – vinyl version)