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Super Furry Animals

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Super Furry Animals are a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 band
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 that lean towards psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

 and electronic experimentation. Since their formation in Cardiff, Wales in 1993, the band has consisted of Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys
Gruffydd Maredudd Bowen Rhys is a Welsh musician, performing solo and with several bands, including Super Furry Animals who obtained mainstream success in the 1990s. He also most recently formed the electro-pop outfit Neon Neon with Boom Bip. Their album Stainless Style was nominated for the 2008...

 (lead vocals, guitar), Huw Bunford
Huw Bunford
Huw "Bunf" Bunford is the guitarist in the rock band, Super Furry Animals.-Biography:...

 (lead guitar, vocals), Guto Pryce
Guto Pryce
Guto Dafydd Pryce is a bass guitar player in the band Super Furry Animals.The name Guto is pronounced in Welsh....

 (bass guitar), Cian Ciaran
Cian Ciaran
Cian Ciaran is the keyboard player in the band, Super Furry Animals.Ciaran is the brother of Dafydd Ieuan . He plays keyboards, electronics and occasional guitar, drums, steel drum and vocals...

 (keyboards, synthesizers, various electronics, occasional guitar, vocals) and Dafydd Ieuan
Dafydd Ieuan
Dafydd Ieuan is the drummer with the band, Super Furry Animals and The Peth. He currently lives in Cardiff with his wife Debbie, and their two children Cai and Lleucu....

 (drums, vocals). The band are part of the Cardiff music scene
Cardiff music scene
The music of Cardiff has been dominated mainly by rock music since the early 1990s with later trends developing towards more extreme styles of the genre such as heavy metal, post-hardcore and emo music....

.

1990-1993: Formation


The band formed in Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 after being in various other Welsh bands and techno outfits in the area. Ifans, Ieuan and Pryce had been together since the early 1990s and had toured the north coast of France as a techno group. After Bunford and Ciaran (the latter Ieuan's younger brother) joined, they wrote some songs, and in 1995 signed to Ankst
Ankst
Ankst was a Welsh independent record label formed in 1988 at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth by Alun Llwyd, Gruffudd Jones and Emyr Glyn Williams...

, the Welsh indie
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

 label. The band are considered to be part of the renaissance of Welsh music (and art, and literature) in the 1990s: other Welsh bands of the time include the Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers are a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 1986. They are James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire, Richey Edwards and Sean Moore. The band are part of the Cardiff music scene, and were at their most prominent during the 1990s...

, Catatonia
Catatonia (band)
Catatonia were an alternative rock band from Wales who gained a national following in the United Kingdom in the mid to late 1990s. The band consisted of Cerys Matthews on vocals, Mark Roberts on guitar, Paul Jones on bass , Owen Powell on...

, and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci were a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in Carmarthen, west Wales in 1991. They sang songs in both Welsh and English. They split up in May 2006.-Biography:...

.

The name of the band came from T-shirts being printed by Rhys' sister. She was making Super Furry Animals T-shirts for the fashion and music collective Acid Casuals (variants of whose name have appeared throughout SFA's career - for example, in their song "The Placid Casual", their record label Placid Casual
Placid Casual
Placid Casual is the Cardiff based record label set up in 1998 by Super Furry Animals.According to the label's website "Placid Casual retains an amateur status and an a&r policy of blatant nepotism...

). The band has also made reference to Blur
Blur (band)
Blur is an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in 1989 as Seymour, the group consists of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's debut album Leisure incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing...

, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

, Collective Soul
Collective Soul
Collective Soul is an American rock band originally formed in Stockbridge, Georgia. Collective Soul broke into mainstream popularity with their first hit single, "Shine", which came from their debut album Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid, released in 1993...

 and Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Learson Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences...

 as major influences in their work.

1994-1995: Early recordings


The earliest SFA track to be commercially available is "Dim Brys: Dim Chwys", recorded in 1994 for Radio Cymru: an ambient piece, the track shows the band's techno roots. However, by the time it was released (on the "Triskedekaphilia" compilation album in August 1995), the band had already put out their debut EP on the Ankst
Ankst
Ankst was a Welsh independent record label formed in 1988 at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth by Alun Llwyd, Gruffudd Jones and Emyr Glyn Williams...

 label. The Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space)
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space)
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllantysiliogogogochynygofod is the debut EP by Super Furry Animals. The title refers to a village in northwest Wales, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which has one of the longest place names of any location in the world...

 EP appeared in June 1995 to general critical acclaim and has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest-ever title for an EP.

The Moog Droog
Moog Droog
Moog Droog is the second EP by the Super Furry Animals. It was originally released in October 1995 by the Welsh label Ankst Records, and reissued in May 1997...

 EP followed in October 1995, named after the synthesizer
Synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

 manufacturer Robert Moog
Robert Moog
Robert Arthur Moog , commonly called Bob Moog was an American pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.-Life:...

 and the Nadsat
Nadsat
Nadsat is a fictional register or argot used by the teenagers in Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange. In addition to being a novelist, Burgess was also a linguist and he used this background to depict his characters as speaking a form of Russian-influenced English...

 term for "friend" in A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange (film)
A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel of the same name. It was written, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick...

(droog, itself derived from the Russian друг). The EP's title is also a pun on the Welsh Mwg Drwg, meaning "wacky baccy" (slang for cannabis
Cannabis
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fibre , for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a...

, more literally "bad (or naughty) smoke"). The lyrics on all the tracks on both EPs were in Welsh, except for "God! Show Me Magic" from "Moog Droog".

After gigging in London in late 1995, they were noticed by Creation Records
Creation Records
Creation Records was a British independent record label headed by Alan McGee. Along with Dick Green and Joe Foster, McGee founded Creation in 1983. The label lasted until its demise in 1999. The name came from the 1960s band The Creation , whom McGee greatly admired. McGee, Green and Foster were...

 boss Alan McGee
Alan McGee
Alan McGee has been a record label owner, musician, manager, and music blogger for The Guardian.McGee is best-known for co-forming and running the independent Creation Records label from 1983–1999, and then Poptones from 1999-2007...

 at the Camden
Camden Town
-Economy:In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in...

 Monarch club (only their second gig outside Wales), who signed them to his label. Creation was also home to the likes of Primal Scream
Primal Scream
Primal Scream are a Scottish alternative rock band originally formed in 1982 in Glasgow by Bobby Gillespie and Jim Beattie and now based in London. The current lineup consists of Gillespie, Andrew Innes , Martin Duffy , and Darrin Mooney...

, My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub
Teenage Fanclub
Teenage Fanclub are an alternative rock band from Bellshill, Scotland. The band is composed of Norman Blake , Raymond McGinley , Gerard Love and Francis MacDonald , with songwriting duties shared equally among Blake, McGinley and Love...

, and had recently found massive commercial success with Oasis
Oasis (band)
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Originally known as The Rain, the group was formed by Liam Gallagher , Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs , Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan and Tony McCarroll , who were soon joined by Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher...

. The band have said that having watched their gig, McGee asked them if they could sing in English rather than Welsh in future shows. In fact, by this stage they were singing in English, but McGee didn't realise because their Welsh accents were so strong. The Super Furry Animals received some criticism in the Welsh media for singing in English, something which the band felt "completely pissed" about. According to drummer Dafydd Ieuan
Dafydd Ieuan
Dafydd Ieuan is the drummer with the band, Super Furry Animals and The Peth. He currently lives in Cardiff with his wife Debbie, and their two children Cai and Lleucu....

: "It all started when we played this festival in West Wales, and for some reason the Welsh media started foaming at the mouth because we were singing songs in Welsh and English. But they get The Dubliners
The Dubliners
The Dubliners are an Irish folk band founded in 1962.-Formation and history:The Dubliners, initially known as "The Ronnie Drew Ballad Group", formed in 1962 and made a name for themselves playing regularly in O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin...

 playing and they don't sing in Welsh. It's ridiculous." The band have claimed that the decision to sing in English was taken in order to broaden their fanbase.

1996-1998: Fuzzy Logic to Out Spaced


In February 1996, the band's debut on Creation, "Hometown Unicorn
Hometown Unicorn
"Hometown Unicorn" is the debut single by Super Furry Animals, released on Alan McGee's Creation Records label on February 26, 1996. It reached #47 in the UK Singles Chart and was voted as "Single of the Week" in the NME magazine....

", became New Musical Express's Single of the Week, chosen by guest reviewers Pulp
Pulp (band)
Pulp are an English alternative rock band formed in Sheffield in 1978. Their lineup consists of Jarvis Cocker , Russell Senior , Candida Doyle , Mark Webber , Steve Mackey and Nick Banks ....

, and the first SFA single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 to chart in the UK Top 50, peaking at #47. The follow-up, a re-recording of "God! Show Me Magic
God! Show Me Magic
"God! Show Me Magic" is the second single by Super Furry Animals. It reached #33 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in April 1996, the first single by the band to reach the Top 40....

", charted at #33 upon release in April 1996 and also became NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

single of the week. Rawer than the "Moog Droog" version, it clocks in at only 1 min 50 secs. In May, their debut album Fuzzy Logic
Fuzzy Logic (album)
Fuzzy Logic is the debut album by the Super Furry Animals. It was listed in Q Magazine's Best British Albums Ever in July 2004, and in the same magazine's Top 10 Britpop Albums Ever in December 1996 and features in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die...

was released, again to wide critical acclaim. Sales were slow, with the album peaking at #23 in the charts, but it garnered a little more interest when next single "Something 4 the Weekend
Something 4 the Weekend
"Something 4 the Weekend" is the third single by Super Furry Animals. The title track is a more mellow reworking of the song "Something For the Weekend" from the band's debut album Fuzzy Logic. The original version is included as the last track on the single. It reached #18 on the UK Singles Chart...

" (a reworked, more mellow version of the album track) was given considerable radio airplay and charted at #18 in July 1996.

The final single from the album, "If You Don't Want Me to Destroy You
If You Don't Want Me to Destroy You
"If You Don't Want Me to Destroy You" is the fourth single, and the last to be taken from the album Fuzzy Logic, by Super Furry Animals. It reached #18 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in September 1996....

", was to have been backed by a track called "The Man Don't Give a Fuck
The Man Don't Give a Fuck
"The Man Don't Give a Fuck" is a song by Super Furry Animals, twice released as a single by the group.It is based round a sample from the Steely Dan song "Show Biz Kids" - "You know they don't give a fuck about anybody else"...

". However, there were problems in clearing a sample from "Showbiz Kids" by Steely Dan
Steely Dan
Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop...

 which formed the basis of the chorus, and it was switched for a different track. The single charted at #18. However, SFA regarded "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" as one of their best songs to date and continued their efforts to clear the sample. When they managed this, there was no upcoming release to attach it to - so it came out as a limited edition single in its own right, in December 1996. This ultimately cemented its legendary status and did much to establish SFA as cult heroes, as the song contained the word "fuck
Fuck
"Fuck" is an English word that is generally considered obscene which, in its most literal meaning, refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed."Fuck" can be used as a verb, adverb,...

" over 50 times and therefore received practically no airplay. However, it hit #22 in the charts and became SFA's standard closing number when they played live.

In early 1997, SFA embarked on the NME Brats Tour and completed work on a speedy follow-up to Fuzzy Logic. Two singles preceded the new album, "Hermann ♥'s Pauline" in May and "The International Language of Screaming
The International Language of Screaming
"The International Language of Screaming" is the seventh single by Super Furry Animals. It reached #24 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in July 1997.-Release and critical reception:...

" in July, hitting #26 and #24 respectively: these releases were the first to feature cover art from Pete Fowler
Pete Fowler
Pete Fowler is a Welsh artist best known for his artwork for the Welsh band Super Furry Animals. He is a freelance illustrator and "monster creator" inspired by Japanese art, folklore, myths, psychedelia and super nature...

, who went on to design the sleeves of all their releases up until 2007's Hey Venus. The album, Radiator
Radiator (album)
Radiator is the second album by the Super Furry Animals. It peaked at #8 on the UK charts. In 2005, it was reissued with a bonus disc of other tracks from the time....

, hit shelves in August. The reviews were, if anything, better than those for Fuzzy Logic, and it sold more quickly than its predecessor, reaching a peak of #8: however, Creation did not serve the album particularly well by releasing it just four days after the long-awaited new effort from Oasis, Be Here Now. Two further singles, "Play It Cool
Play It Cool (Super Furry Animals song)
"Play It Cool" is the eighth single by Super Furry Animals. It reached number 27 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in September 1997.-Release and critical reception:...

" (released September 1997) and "Demons
Demons (Super Furry Animals song)
"Demons" is the eighth single by Super Furry Animals and the last to be taken from the album Radiator. It reached #27 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in November 1997.The video was filmed in Colombia.-Release and critical reception:...

" (November 1997) both hit #27 in the charts, suggesting that SFA had hit a commercial ceiling though which they were struggling to break. However, they had established themselves as favourites in the music press, a cut above the majority of their Britpop peers.

After a chance to think about their music and their direction, SFA decided to record a new EP in early 1998 at Gorwel Owen's house and released it in May. This was the Ice Hockey Hair
Ice Hockey Hair
Ice Hockey Hair is an EP by the Welsh alternative rock band Super Furry Animals, released in 1998. The record contains four songs which the band felt did not fit in with either their previous album, 1997's Radiator, or its follow-up Guerrilla. The title track refers to an alternative name for the...

EP, widely held as one of their finest moments. ("Ice hockey hair" is a slang term for a mullet
Mullet (haircut)
The mullet is a hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back. . The mullet began to appear in popular media in the 1960s and 1970s but did not become generally well-known until the early 1980s...

.) Featuring four tracks, the EP presented SFA's unmistakable songwriting skills alongside fresh-sounding beats and a loop
Music loop
In electroacoustic music, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. Short sections of material can be repeated to create ostinato patterns...

 sampled from Black Uhuru
Black Uhuru
Black Uhuru are a Jamaican reggae group formed in 1972, initially as Uhuru . The group has undergone several line-up changes over the years, with Duckie Simpson always maintaining group control and ownership...

. The title track, a melodic and very moving epic, gained airplay while "Smokin'" became another favourite with the fans. Its "I just want to smoke it" refrain won instant appeal and approval. In a Melody Maker interview, SFA said the "Smokin'" referred to smoking haddock
Haddock
The haddock , also known as the offshore hake, is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food fish and is widely fished commercially....

, or to truck drivers' tyres when they're 'burnin' the roads'. It became their most successful single up to this point, hitting #12 in the charts and leading to a memorable appearance on "Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly from 1 January 1964 to 30 July 2006. After 25 December 2006 it became a radio program, now hosted by Tony Blackburn...

".

In November 1998, the album Out Spaced
Out Spaced
Out Spaced is a 1998 B-Sides and Rarities album by the Super Furry Animals. First editions of the album came in rubber case shaped like a breast....

was released. This was a collection of songs from the 1995 Ankst releases (including "Dim Brys: Dim Chwys"), the band's favourite B-sides, plus "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" and "Smokin'". A limited edition appeared in a comedy rubber sleeve, shaped like a nipple. Many saw the collection as drawing a line under SFA's initial phase, in preparation for more ambitious work to come.

1999-2000: Guerrilla and Mwng


1999 proved to be a big year for SFA. NME readers named them 'best new band' in January (this despite the fact it was now three years since they released their debut album). In May, the single "Northern Lites
Northern Lites
"Northern Lites" is the ninth single by Super Furry Animals. It was the first single to be taken from the Guerrilla album and reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart after its release on 10 May 1999. The song was written by singer Gruff Rhys and was inspired by the El Niño phenomenon...

" was released and made #11 in the charts. A dense production, with steel drums clattering out a calypso rhythm whilst Rhys sang an irreverent lyric about the El Niño-Southern Oscillation
El Niño-Southern Oscillation
El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is a quasiperiodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean roughly every five years...

 weather phenomenon, it was an apt taster for the new album, Guerrilla
Guerrilla (album)
Guerrilla is the third studio album by by Welsh rock band the Super Furry Animals. The record was released on 14 June 1999 by Creation Records and peaked at number 10 in the UK Album Charts. Guerrilla was conceived as a commercial 'pop' album and was produced by the band themselves, as regular...

. Recorded at the Real World Studios, the album retained SFA's pop melodies but took a less guitar-centric approach to their execution and was their most experimental work to date. Layers of sample
Sampling (music)
In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrète and electroacoustic music, who physically...

s over brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

, percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 and Gruff's melodic singing produced an album which took the freewheeling approach of 1960s groups such as The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

 and The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

 and updated it to the late 1990s. The album swung from glam and garage rock numbers ("Night Vision", "The Teacher") to novelty techno ("Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)"), ambient indietronica ("Some Things Come From Nothing") and upbeat drum and bass ("The Door To This House Remains Open"). For the cover art, Pete Fowler created the band's first three-dimensional models, rather than the paintings he had supplied for the Radiator album and singles.

After playing several of the summer festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s, SFA released "Fire in My Heart
Fire in My Heart
"Fire in My Heart" is the tenth single by Welsh rock band the Super Furry Animals. It was the second single to be taken from the group's 1999 album Guerrilla, and reached number 25 in the UK Singles Chart after its release on 9 August 1999...

", the most soulful track from Guerrilla, in August and saw it chart at #25. They then embarked on a US and UK tour. SFA finished their UK tour at the Cardiff International Arena
Cardiff International Arena
The Cardiff International Arena was opened on 10 September 1993, by Shirley Bassey, in front of 5,500 fans. On 1 March 2011, the Cardiff International Arena was officially renamed Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, after the car sales company with a branch in Newport bought the naming rights to the Cardiff...

 in Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

, where they showcased the first ever concert in surround sound and broadcast it on the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

.

January 2000 involved a series of changes for SFA. The last single from Guerrilla, "Do or Die
Do or Die (song)
"Do or Die" is the eleventh single by Super Furry Animals. It was the last single to be taken from the Guerrilla album and was the band's last release for Creation Records. The track reached number 20 in the UK Singles Chart after its release on 17 January 2000...

", was released and made #20. It was also the last single SFA released on Creation Records, as founder Alan McGee set off to pursue other interests. It had always been SFA's plan to release their next album on their own label, Placid Casual, as it would be a deliberate sidestep from their recent work: a largely acoustic album of Welsh language
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 songs entitled Mwng
Mwng
Mwng is the fourth studio album by Welsh rock band the Super Furry Animals, and the first by the group to have lyrics written entirely in the Welsh language. Mwng was released on 15 May 2000 on the band's own record label, Placid Casual, following the demise of their former label Creation...

. Meaning "mane
Mane
- Biology :* mane of a horse, the line of hair along the spine of the neck* mane of a lion, found around the male mammal's neck- Places :* Mane Department, a department in the Sanmatenga Province of Burkina Faso* French communes:...

", its lilting melodies established that SFA's songwriting did not have to fall back on head-spinning production tricks. A limited edition (of 3000) 7 inch record, "Ysbeidiau Heulog
Ysbeidiau Heulog
"Ysbeidiau Heulog" is 2 minutes 51 seconds long and is in the key of B major. The track begins with an intro with a lead guitar melody, which plays twice, accompanied by drums, bass, distorted rhythm guitar and saxophone...

" (meaning "Sunny Intervals") preceded Mwng in May 2000. It came backed with "Charge", a hard-rock jam recorded as a Peel Session for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. The album, released the same month, sold remarkably well for a non-English LP - it made #11 in the charts - and received a rare distinction for a pop record, being commended in Parliament for its efforts in keeping the Welsh language alive.

2000 also saw the Furries contribute two tracks, Free Now and Peter Blake 2000, for the Liverpool Sound Collage
Liverpool Sound Collage
Liverpool Sound Collage is an ambient electronic album by Paul McCartney, which is also credited to The Beatles, Super Furry Animals, and Youth. McCartney had previously released two projects with Youth under the moniker The Fireman...

 project, which was nominated for a Grammy. They undertook this remixing of unreleased Beatles recordings at the invitation of Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

, whom they had met at the NME Awards
NME Awards
The NME Awards is an annual music awards show in the United Kingdom, founded by the music magazine, NME .The first awards show was held in 1953 as the NME Poll Winners Concerts, shortly after the founding of the magazine....

, where they had won Best Live Act.

2001-2003: Rings Around the World and Phantom Power


With the demise of Creation, SFA needed to find a new label for their next album. Sony had long held a substantial stake in Creation and offered deals to many ex-Creation artists, including SFA, who signed with one of Sony's subsidiaries, Epic. The band pushed for a deal which allowed them to take a new album elsewhere if the label wasn't interested in releasing it - thereby allowing them to find a home for any esoteric project they might want to undertake in the future.

The greater resources afforded them by Epic were apparent in their first album for the label, Rings Around the World
Rings around the World
Rings Around the World is the fifth studio album and the major label debut by Super Furry Animals. Released on 23 July 2001 by Epic Records in the United Kingdom, it was the first album by any artist to be simultaneously released on both audio CD and DVD...

, an album that recaptured the cohesive, experimental feel of Guerrilla but more song-driven and sonically expansive. It is cited by many critics and fans alike as their most polished and accessible work. Again the first single was a good indication of what was to come: "Juxtapozed with U
Juxtapozed with U
"Juxtapozed with U" is 3 minutes 8 seconds long and is in the key of A major. The track begins with a drum fill, featuring flanging, before a harp, strings, acoustic guitar and bass join at 2 seconds. An electric guitar joins at 13 seconds playing a melody line...

", released in July 2001, was a lush soul record which made #14 in the charts. The album followed in the same month and major label marketing muscle made it their biggest-seller to date, reaching #3 in the album charts. One of the tracks from the album, "Receptacle For the Respectable" featured Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

 on "carrot and celery rhythm track" (a homage to his performance on the Beach Boys' "Vegetables"). SFA unleashed their experimental side on tracks such as "Sidewalk Serfer Girl" (which switches between light techno-pop and hardcore punk), "[A] Touch Sensitive" (gloomy trip-hop) and "No Sympathy" (which descends into chaotic drum'n'bass), but also apparent was an angrier edge to the lyrics: "Run! Christian, Run!" seemed to be an attack on the complacency of organised religion.

Rings Around the World is also remarkable for being the world's first simultaneous release of an audio and DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 album. It was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. The ceremony took place on the day after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and SFA's performance of the album track "It's Not the End of the World?
It's Not the End of the World?
"It's Not the End of the World?" is a song by Welsh band Super Furry Animals. It was the last single to be released from the Rings Around the World album and reached number 30 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in January 2002...

" took on a somewhat bitter edge. It was released as a single in January 2002 (chart #30), following "(Drawing) Rings Around the World
(Drawing) Rings Around the World
" Rings Around the World" is a song by Super Furry Animals and was the second single taken from the band's fifth album, Rings Around the World. The track reached number 28 on the UK Singles Chart on release in October 2001. Singer Gruff Rhys has described the song as being about "rings of...

" (chart #28): neither had that much impact but still received some airplay, notably on BBC Radio 2.

The next album, Phantom Power
Phantom Power (Super Furry Animals album)
Phantom Power is the sixth album by Welsh indie rock band Super Furry Animals, released on 21 July 2003 by Epic Records in the United Kingdom....

, relied less on sound experimentation and proved to be a more stripped-down, back-to-basics recording in contrast to the orchestral Rings Around the World. It was also released as both a CD and DVD album in July 2003, preceded by a single, "Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever (song)
"Golden Retriever" is a song by Super Furry Animals. It was the first single to be issued from the album Phantom Power and reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart on its release in July 2003...

", in June (chart #13). Although the reviews for the album were generally good and it sold well initially, charting at #4, the album broke little new ground by SFA's standards and the band had fallen out of fashion, receiving little coverage in the music press. Another single, "Hello Sunshine
Hello Sunshine
"Hello Sunshine" is a song by the Welsh band Super Furry Animals from their album Phantom Power. It was the seventeenth single released by the group and reached number 31 on the UK Singles Chart in October 2003....

", hit #31 in October 2003 and was eventually featured on the soundtrack of The O.C.
The O.C.
The O.C. is an American teen drama television series that originally aired on the Fox television network in the United States from August 5, 2003, to February 21, 2007, running a total of four seasons...

.

2004-2005: Phantom Phorce to Love Kraft


Perhaps recognising that their approach to Phantom Power had been a little too straightforward, the group followed it up in 2004 with a remix version, Phantom Phorce
Phantom Phorce
Phantom Phorce is a remix album of Super Furry Animals' 2003 record Phantom Power. The remixes had previously appeared on the DVD version of Phantom Power—they were re-released as Phantom Phorce on the band's own Placid Casual label as a way of ensuring the remixers would receive royalties for the...

, with tracks reworked by the likes of Killa Kela, Four Tet and Brave Captain. They accompanied this with a download single, "Slow Life
Slow Life
Slow Life is an EP by the Welsh alternative rock band Super Furry Animals, released in 2004. The EP was made available as a free download and also saw a limited CD release, bundled with remix album Phantom Phorce...

", which also included the track "Motherfokker", a collaboration with Goldie Lookin Chain
Goldie Lookin Chain
Goldie Lookin Chain is a comedic rap music group based in Newport, South Wales. The group produces humorous, controversial and often explicit songs that satirise hip hop, today's consumer society, the ‘chav’ culture and life in Newport and south Wales in general.-Background:Many of the songs...

, both tracks are now available as a free download via the Placid Casual website. In October 2004 the band released a best of album, Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1
Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1
Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1 collects all of the Super Furry Animals singles released between 1996 and 2004 as well as B-side "Blerwytirhwng?" . Songbook... was released in the UK in October 2004, debuting at #18 on the UK album charts...

, accompanied by a single - a live version of "The Man Don't Give A Fuck" (chart #16).

In early 2005, Gruff Rhys released a solo album Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
Yr Atal Genhedlaeth is the debut solo album by Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys. Entirely in the language of Welsh, the title of the album and many of the songs are plays on words and puns that might not be obvious even to a Welsh-speaker:...

, ("The Stuttering Generation", and also a play on words as "Atal Genhedlu" means contraception), sung all in Welsh. Gruff played most of the instruments himself, mainly using guitars, drums and his own multi-tracked voice. The band also selected tracks for a volume in the Under the Influence series of compilations, in which artists present the songs that they feel have most contributed to their sound.

Also in 2005 it was reported that the band turned down a $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

1.8m advertising deal with Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 after visiting a Coca-Cola plantation in Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 with charity War on Want
War on Want
War on Want is an anti-poverty charity based in London, England. It seeks to highlight the needs of poverty-stricken areas around the world and lobbies governments and international agencies to tackle problems as well as raising public awareness of the concerns of developing nations while...

, where they heard of management-directed killings of trade-union members. The company were asking for use of "Hello Sunshine
Hello Sunshine
"Hello Sunshine" is a song by the Welsh band Super Furry Animals from their album Phantom Power. It was the seventeenth single released by the group and reached number 31 on the UK Singles Chart in October 2003....

" as part of their campaign. In a statement to British magazine Q, Coca-Cola denied the allegations, stating they had been "an exemplary member of the business community" in Colombia.

In August 2005, Super Furry Animals released their seventh studio effort, Love Kraft
Love Kraft
Love Kraft is the seventh studio album by Welsh indie rock band Super Furry Animals, released on 22 August 2005 through Epic Records in the United Kingdom....

, recorded in Spain. This represented a departure from their previous working methods: although all five members had always contributed to the development of the songs, Rhys had been the main songwriter. On Love Kraft this was no longer the case, as Rhys, Bunford, Ieuan and Ciaran all contributed songs and lead vocals. There was only one single from the album, "Lazer Beam
Lazer Beam
"Lazer Beam" is a single by Super Furry Animals. It was the only single to be released from the Love Kraft album and reached #28 in the UK Singles Chart. The song is "about making your own reality" and tells the story of aliens coming down to earth to shoot humans with laser beams which "make them...

", released on 15 August (chart #28). The laid-back ambience recalls early-1970s Beach Boys albums such as Surf's Up (which SFA have referred to as one of their all-time favourite albums), whilst the heavy use of strings suggested the likes of Scott Walker
Scott Walker (singer)
Scott Walker, born Noel Scott Engel on January 9, 1943 is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and the former lead singer of The Walker Brothers. Despite being American born, Walker's chart success has largely come in the United Kingdom, where his first four solo albums...

 and Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Lee Mayfield was an American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer.He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly...

. The album's cool commercial reception (it charted at just #19) suggested that they had returned to their familiar status of critically acclaimed cult favourites. Love Kraft was also the last album released under Epic Records, as their contact expired in early 2006.

2006-2008: Rough Trade and Hey Venus!


Ciaran's side project Acid Casuals released their debut album "Omni" in January 2006 on the Placid Casual label. Drummer Ieuan formed a band known as The Peth
The Peth
Y Peth are a band formed in 2008 by Super Furry Animals drummer Dafydd Ieuan as "an excuse to spend large chunks of his time in a recording studio" while other members of the Super Furries were busy with solo projects...

 which has been described by Rhys in various magazine articles as "Satanic Abba": the band also reunites Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans is a Welsh actor and musician. He is known for his portrayal of characters such as Spike in Notting Hill and Jed Parry in Enduring Love and as a member of the Welsh rock groups Super Furry Animals and The Peth. Ifans also appeared as Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly...

 with the SFA family, as he takes lead vocal duties.

The band signed to Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove...

 during 2006 and are reportedly working on three projects for the label. Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys
Gruffydd Maredudd Bowen Rhys is a Welsh musician, performing solo and with several bands, including Super Furry Animals who obtained mainstream success in the 1990s. He also most recently formed the electro-pop outfit Neon Neon with Boom Bip. Their album Stainless Style was nominated for the 2008...

 has also signed for Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove...

 as a solo artist in his own right and released a single on 7" vinyl and download entitled "Candylion" in late 2006 which preceded an album of the same name that was released during the second week of 2007. Unlike his debut Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
Yr Atal Genhedlaeth is the debut solo album by Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys. Entirely in the language of Welsh, the title of the album and many of the songs are plays on words and puns that might not be obvious even to a Welsh-speaker:...

, Candylion
Candylion
Candylion is the second solo album by Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys. It also features Lisa Jen from the Welsh language band 9Bach on backing vocals and xylophone...

is primarily sung in English but has two Welsh tracks and one in "bad Spanish": it is primarily an acoustic album, and came about because Rhys has written several acoustic pop songs that didn't fit with the direction of the new SFA record.

Recording sessions took place in a chateau in the south of France in 2007 for the band's first release for Rough Trade, Hey Venus!
Hey Venus!
Hey Venus! is the eighth album by Welsh band Super Furry Animals. It was released on 27 August 2007 in the United Kingdom. Hey Venus! is the band's first full-length release on current label Rough Trade Records and, at just over 36 minutes, is also their shortest-running studio release...

, which was released on 27 August that year. Gruff himself described the record as "speaker blowing". The album's first single, "Show Your Hand", failed to enter the top 40, their first to do so since 1996's "Hometown Unicorn", despite modest airplay. The album itself fared much better, peaking at #11 and was a slight improvement from the sales of Love Kraft. The album became their first to enter the iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

 Music Store top 10 album charts, peaking at #9. Over the 2007 Christmas period SFA released a single, "The Gift That Keeps Giving", free from their website.

2009-present: Dark Days/Light Years


On March 16, 2009, The Super Furry Animals released their ninth studio album, Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years, the ninth studio album by Super Furry Animals, was digitally released at 8pm on 16 March 2009 via the band's own website with a physical release following on the 21st of April on Rough Trade Records...

, digitally via their website. The album's progress was recorded in a series of short films that were shown on the band's website in the build-up to the release. Later in March, they performed the record in its entirety through an exclusive stream on their website. A physical release on Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records is an independent record label based in London. It was formed in 1978 by Geoff Travis who had opened a record store off Ladbroke Grove...

 followed on 21 April, resulting in a number 23 UK Chart placement. Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years, the ninth studio album by Super Furry Animals, was digitally released at 8pm on 16 March 2009 via the band's own website with a physical release following on the 21st of April on Rough Trade Records...

notably featured a guest appearance from Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand (band)
Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish post-punk revival band formed in Glasgow in 2002. The band is composed of Alex Kapranos , Bob Hardy , Nick McCarthy , and Paul Thomson .The band first experienced chart success when their second single, "Take Me Out", reached #3 in...

 on "Inaugural Trams:" other highlights include the much-lauded track title, "The Very Best of Neil Diamond." Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years
Dark Days/Light Years, the ninth studio album by Super Furry Animals, was digitally released at 8pm on 16 March 2009 via the band's own website with a physical release following on the 21st of April on Rough Trade Records...

received strong critical feedback, with The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 writing that "it has more spark and invention than most teen bands manage on their debuts."

Discography



  • Fuzzy Logic
    Fuzzy Logic (album)
    Fuzzy Logic is the debut album by the Super Furry Animals. It was listed in Q Magazine's Best British Albums Ever in July 2004, and in the same magazine's Top 10 Britpop Albums Ever in December 1996 and features in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die...

    (1996)
  • Radiator
    Radiator (album)
    Radiator is the second album by the Super Furry Animals. It peaked at #8 on the UK charts. In 2005, it was reissued with a bonus disc of other tracks from the time....

    (1997)
  • Guerrilla
    Guerrilla (album)
    Guerrilla is the third studio album by by Welsh rock band the Super Furry Animals. The record was released on 14 June 1999 by Creation Records and peaked at number 10 in the UK Album Charts. Guerrilla was conceived as a commercial 'pop' album and was produced by the band themselves, as regular...

    (1999)
  • Mwng
    Mwng
    Mwng is the fourth studio album by Welsh rock band the Super Furry Animals, and the first by the group to have lyrics written entirely in the Welsh language. Mwng was released on 15 May 2000 on the band's own record label, Placid Casual, following the demise of their former label Creation...

    (2000)
  • Rings Around the World
    Rings around the World
    Rings Around the World is the fifth studio album and the major label debut by Super Furry Animals. Released on 23 July 2001 by Epic Records in the United Kingdom, it was the first album by any artist to be simultaneously released on both audio CD and DVD...

    (2001)
  • Phantom Power
    Phantom Power (Super Furry Animals album)
    Phantom Power is the sixth album by Welsh indie rock band Super Furry Animals, released on 21 July 2003 by Epic Records in the United Kingdom....

    (2003)
  • Love Kraft
    Love Kraft
    Love Kraft is the seventh studio album by Welsh indie rock band Super Furry Animals, released on 22 August 2005 through Epic Records in the United Kingdom....

    (2005)
  • Hey Venus!
    Hey Venus!
    Hey Venus! is the eighth album by Welsh band Super Furry Animals. It was released on 27 August 2007 in the United Kingdom. Hey Venus! is the band's first full-length release on current label Rough Trade Records and, at just over 36 minutes, is also their shortest-running studio release...

    (2007)
  • Dark Days/Light Years
    Dark Days/Light Years
    Dark Days/Light Years, the ninth studio album by Super Furry Animals, was digitally released at 8pm on 16 March 2009 via the band's own website with a physical release following on the 21st of April on Rough Trade Records...

    (2009)

External links