Ah, hidden tracks. Ever since that tape engineer accidentally left the tape running whilst Abbey Road was being mastered, creating Her Majesty as an unintended hidden track, others have followed where The Beatles (naturally) took the lead. Come to think of it, The Beatles pioneered something similar a couple of years before this when they put that “I never cook it any other way I never cook it any other way I never cook it an….” right into the run out groove at the end of Sgt Pepper. But that’s not really a hidden track, more of an annoyance to the weekend stoner who’d have to get up and physically lift the needle form the record. No, I’m talking about proper hidden tracks. Those wee gems right at the end of a CD about 15 minutes after the last track has stopped playing, or before track 1 has even started (re-re-wind). I can do without the sound of the bass player being sick at the beginning of Ash’s ‘1977‘ album. And I can do without the stoned piano nonsense at the end of (er, I forget for the moment!) But tracks like Nirvana’s ‘Endless Nameless’ (on later editions of Nevermind), Me White Noise on Blur’s Think Tank and GenChildren on Radiohead’s Kid A are proof that sometimes the band’s best work goes almost unnoticed. Those 3 tracks are all future posts for sure, but for now I want to focus on the real Kings of Pop, those Super Furry Animals.
I said Google!
The Super Furries would perhaps agree with me when I say that the best work can often go unnoticed. The first track on their Guerilla album is Check It Out. A few weeks after the albums release, they let slip via their fanclub mailing list (no internet in those days) that if you rewound the CD beyond the start of Check It Out you’d get this, a track called Citizen’s Band. And it’s magic. “Tried my hand at the citizen’s band, I’m a breaker that breaks.” A slow burner, it finishes in a flurry of fuzz guitar, handclaps and Keith Moon drum rolls. Nice falsetto backing vocals too. Oh, and a flute. Oh, yeah, and a stolen melody from part of their own ‘Hometown Unicorn’.
Following on from this Super Furry revelation I spent an afternoon going through all my SFA records looking for hidden tracks to no avail. Imagine my surprise then when Outspaced (early singles/b-sides/rarities compilation) was released. Rewinding the first track, I found this. ‘Outspaced‘ (the track) is an instrumental that builds and builds from a few electro bleeps and pleasantly strummed chords into a behemoth of a track that could only be describes as The Beach Boys playing Krautrock. To think I might never have heard it…
I can’t find any more hidden gems amongst my SFA collection, but if you know something I don’t, please let me know. Until then, here’s a couple of Super Furry rarities for you. First up, the Street Edit (ie very sweary) of Motherfokker. Sounding like a stoned n’ swaggering Shaun Ryder, it’s quite amusing and very sweary. It features some of Goldie Lookin’ Chain, but don’t let that put you off. Released initially on the Japanese ‘Slow Life’ ep, you can find it on a few other SFA releases. Or you can get it here.
Finally, Charge, from the b-side of Welsh language vinyl-only single Ysbeidau Heulog. A heads-down, no-nonsense Stooges assault on the senses. With added random American newsreader and the band shouting ‘Charge!’ every now and again, it’s a belter. Hear it here.
These tracks just go to illustrate what a brilliantly eclectic band the Super Furry Animals are. To do soft-rock harmonies, all out techno assault n’ battery, stoned fuzz and psychedelic acoustic balladry well is no mean feat. Especially when they often do all that and more in one song. Appreciate them while they’re here, folks. Don’t let them become the Velvet Underground for my grand children. Investigate the above tracks then nip over to superfurry.com or Play or Amazon or wherever you shop these days and fill yer trolley to the brim.