A few years back, a colleague at my former place of employment handed me a bag containing numerous CDs, most of which had some free with a music paper or magazine.  He was downsizing his own property and had decided that the various free CDs would most likely go to charity shops, but then thought I might like first refusal.

I took them….and immediately put them into a storage box where I completely forgot about them until stumbling across said bag when searching for something else.  It now feels like a good time to have a look at some of them for the blog. And I’ll do it randomly by dipping into the bag and picking one out.

According to Discogs, NME ON:1 – 15 Top Tracks for the 21st Century was given away sometime in 1999.  The website currently has 22 copies of the CD listed for sale, with prices ranging from 25p to £5, plus postage.  There’s also a few copies on e-bay, and prices range from 50p to £9.24, although the latter does offer free P&P.

There are 15 tracks on the CD, and while I’m happy to admit that I wasn’t fully keeping on top of things in 1999, I’m still stunned a bit to realise that I know next to nothing about four of the featured acts…...Jim O’Rourke, The Donnas, The Webb Brothers and Roots Manuva……and hee-haw about the remaining eleven – Capitol K, Big Leaves, Younger Younger 28’s, Seafruit, Bellatrix, To Rococo Rot, Zan Lyons, Jumbo, The New Electrics, Jadell, and Beber.

The CD takes about sixty-seven minutes to listen to all the way through.  I’ll be honest with the admission that I fast-forwarded on just about all of them.  It’s extremely unusual unique for any free CD to come up with nothing that really piques my interest, but the so called 15 top tracks for the 21st Century pulled that unwanted feat off.

The internet has enabled me to dig for info for what now follows.

The best of the tracks on the CD was offered up by a band from Wales who were championed at times by Catatonia and Super Furry Animals, as well as having one of their singles often featured on Radio 1 by Marc Ratcliffe.

mp3: Big Leaves – Sly Alibi

Big Leaves released a number of singles and EPs, along with two albums, between 1998 and 2003.  Sly Alibi was a single, released on Whipcord Records in 1999.

More typical of the CD is this:-

mp3: Younger Younger 28’s – We’re Going Out

This lot were signed to V2, the label founded in 1996 by Richard Branson after he sold Virgin to EMI.  Like his original label, there were a few high profile successes along with many others that have you asking ‘Why?’

Younger Younger 28’s fall into the latter.  They were from Sheffield, described by those who liked them as the shining light in synthpop in an era full of dour landfill indie, and a cross combining the catchy avant-garde pop of The Human League with the observational lyrical wit of Pulp.  I reckon they were just a novelty act. This particular song was a single and was also included on their sole LP, Soap.

There is one track on the CD which might, at a push, squeeze onto an electronica compilation if you need some instrumental music to slow down your pulse and help you unwind.  It’s not my cup of tea, but there are some of you out there who might approve:-

mp3: To Rococo Rot – Telema

This lot were a Berlin-based trio who released eight albums all told between 1996 and 2014, with their most prolific spell being a four-year stint on City Slang, either side of the turn of the century, with three LPs, including The Amateur View (1999) from which the above track is taken.

Another lucky dip will appear at some point in the next few weeks. You’ve been warned.



  1. I’m aware of only three of those artists:

    Roots Manuva
    The Donnas

    I’m not aware I’ve heard a song from any of them.

  2. I had that CD. The Webb Brothers track was pretty good if I remember correctly. They were the children of Jimmy Webb I think. I also remember the Jim O Rourke track being good too

  3. Just two names I can recognize [Jim O’Rourke, The Donnas] but have never heard since my firewall is rather secure. Occasionally I buy a cover mount CD with a theme or tracks that catches my eye for less than pocket change, Usually at the library! The few I have are therefore, pretty good. Unlike this one!

  4. Bought the Webb Brothers album from my local library when they were having one of their (then) regular sales of CDs that nobody was borrowing anymore. Seem to remember liking it at the time, but not played it in ages and actually not entirely sure where it is.

    I have a couple of Younger Younger 28s tracks on my iTunes (presumably from other CD giveaways that I’ve loaded on). Both are better than the effort here.

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