Ladies And Gentlemen: John Peel

Alright, not exactly but you'll see the relevance if you listen to the track.


Mogwai are pretty much the best band in the world. Let's consider why.

a) They just are, I said so.

But seriously. Mogwai have that amazing capacity to take a genre literally rooted and founded in pretension and make it listenable to even the most casual indie/rock fan. And yet, there's no compromise in their sound, no pandering to commercial acceptability; the change in Mogwai's sound to the present day since their debut 'Young Team' is not a toning down, although there is certainly a concentration these days on subtlety and beauty. There's no concessions made to try and increase their fanbase or appeal to a broader demographic. Mogwai demonstrate just why they're such an awesome power on this live/BBC session album which, had it been all original music would've have far and away topped any and every end-of-year poll. Or at least, should have.

Government Commisions is a collection of BBC sessions recorded between 1996 and 2003 featuring several of the band's best loved tracks. The Mogwai live experience is something to behold, according to popular opinion: I'll let you know in January. This isn't neccessarily an accurate document of a typical live show of course, but with a greater scope for tweaking and perfecting the sound, it does show what can be done with a straightforward guitar band. Kicking off with Hunted By A Freak is a good way to begin proceedings though, and fine selections include ace versions of New Paths To Helicon I and II, Cody, non-album track Superheroes Of BMX and a simply awesome centrepiece of Like Herod. This 18 minute version is a great one to use if you want to frighten people away from Mogwai featuring, as it does, the dramatic dynamic shifts and the sheer inaccessibility to the Common Man that characterise Mogwai.

Peely was a man who knew what he was talking about, and this record's dedicated to the late, great(est) Voice Of Radio. There's a picture of him inside. He was a big Mogwai fan, and even though it's not the done thing to argue with a dead man, it's not really neccessary anyway. This is a good enough starting point. Possibly it doesn't flow as well as the albums, but thats only to be expected, and as I mentioned before there's not really much new material here, hence the low ranking.

However, Mogwai remain the best band in the world and next year's mooted 'Mr Beast' should be on another plane - Alan McGee (alright, possibly known for over-hyping) has described the record as possibly better than My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless'. Which is pretty bold. But still, excitement is mounting. Prepare yourselves: here's Hunted By A Freak:

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