’90s legends Urusei Yatsura celebrate 20 years since their heyday with the release of a retrospective album ‘You Are My Urusei Yatsura’.
The CD and limited edition pink neon vinyl album, out in September via the Rocket Girl label.
The band – songwriters Fergus Lawrie (guitar and vocals) and Graham Kemp (guitar and vocals), plus brother and sister rhythm section Elaine and Ian Graham on bass and drums respectively – formed in Glasgow in 1993 and released three albums before splitting in June 2001, with Kemp working on solo material and the other band three forming Projekt A-ko.
The band’s first step towards their mainstream breakthrough took place at Glasgow’s Sound City event, when legendary John Peel was invited to see the band at the 13th Note by future Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos. Peel invited the band to record a session for his show.
“Peel arranged for us to record the session in Glasgow” said frontman Graham Kemp. “We didn’t have any amps or any money to get to London.” Another radio legend, producer Stewart Cruickshank, produced what was the first Peel Session recorded outside of Maida Vale since the Undertones.
The band went on to record 5 Peel Sessions, 3 Evening Sessions for Steve Lamacq, play live to air for Mark Radcliffe, and appear regularly on Radio Scotland for John Cavanagh and Mark Percival. The new album, the band claim, was compiled by “digging through old C90s that had been partly taped over with that week’s charts” – perhaps including their sole top 40 hit single, 1997’s ‘Hello Tiger’.
The new album features 11 songs, including session versions of 6 singles, choice album tracks and live favourites. “Some of the recordings we did for the BBC, I think, are better than what eventually made it onto vinyl. We did ‘Kewpies Like Watermelon’ live in the control room for Radio Scotland and we had just learned it so it sounds really fresh and exciting. The version of ‘Siamese’ is the best we ever captured, and I love the ‘Dice/Nae Dice’ tune we wrote especially for Peel,” said Kemp.
Tracklisting for ‘You Are My Urusei Yatsura, BBC Radio Sessions’ reads:
1.Plastic Ashtray (Evening Session 5/8/96)
2.First Day On A New Planet (Peel Session 2/4/96)
3.Kewpies Like Watermelon (Live Radio Scotland 1995)
4.Phasers On Stun (Evening Session 5/8/96)
5.Siamese (Evening Session 5/8/96)
6.No No Girl (Evening Session 21/1/98)
7.Hello Tiger (Peel Session 29/7/97)
8.Exidor (Peel Session 29/7/97)
9.Slain By Elf (Evening Session 21/1/98)
10.Flaming Skull (Peel Session 29/7/97)
11.Dice/Nae Dice (Peel Session 29/7/97)