The Chemical Brothers comprise Tom Rowlands and Edward Simons, two former students of Manchester University who met there in the late 1980s. Their interest was peaked by the music scene in Manchester of the time, and they immersed themselves in the life of the regular clubber. It wasn't long before the pair were acting as DJ at house parties, mixing a fusion of Acid House Techno and Hip-hop in a style that has become one of the most distinctive of the dance scene today.

Initially naming themselves The Dust Brothers after the west coast hip-hop producers of the same name, the duo began getting regular work at a Manchester club called Naked Under Leather, where they started composing their own tracks. First to come out of this creative streak was Song to the Siren in early 1993. One copy of this track was sent to Andrew Weatherall who signed the two to his Junior Boys Own label. The band were subsequently invited to a number of remixes for other artists including Leftfield/John Lydon and Republica.

In 1994 the Brothers began to take their place among dance groups of the time, with the release of Chemical Beats and My Mercury Mouth EPs. They also started reworking anyone they felt worth the treatment, from The Manic Street Preachers to Saint Etienne. Finally for thirteen weeks over summer and autumn they were residents at London's Heavenly Social every sunday, introducing such guests as Paul Weller and Primal Scream to their undeniable talents, remixing Barry White, Oasis, Eric B & Rakim.

The Band signed to Virgin Records in 1995, renaming to the Chemical Brothers after complaints from the original Dust Brothers. Their debut album, Exit Planet Dust featured trademark styles such as heavy guitar, heavier breakouts and analog noise, not to mention the start of a series of very successful collaborations with vocalists, namely on this album Tim Burgess from the Charlatans ("Life is Sweet") and Beth Orton ("Alive: Alone"). The album was hugely popular and sold over a million copies worldwide.

A number of huge successes followed: The band released the single Setting Sun featuring Noel Gallagher on vocals, which went to number 1 in the UK charts. Their second album, Dig Your Own Hole was nominated for both the Mercury and BRIT awards while the single Block Rockin' Beats won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. The Brothers hadn't been aware that they made rock isntrumentals, but they graciously accepted the award anyway.

The Brothers' third album, Surrender, brought the band back to the top-ten charts, hitting the high spots with the number 3 single Hey Boy Hey Girl. The album also featured vocals from New Order's Bernard Sumner, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval.

The latest album, Come With Us, was released in early 2002, and features the singles It Began in Afrika and Star Guitar. This album continues the psychedelia train of thought explored in previous albums and features collaborations with Richard Ashcroft and a reprise from Beth Orton. The album serves to demonstrate the bands growing mastery of the technology in Techno, and an appreciation of beats which has survived from their earlier club gigs.

For possibly the most comprehensive discography I have ever seen anywhere, ever, see Zerotime's write-up below*.

* The initial plan was to incorporate a discography into my writeup, but his is so beautiful and puts my paltry effort in the shade. It's better to let it stand on it's own. It is a masterpiece of research.

Info from : http://www.thechemicalbrothers.com
http://www.chemicalbrothers.net
http://uk.music.yahoo.com

A pretty much complete discography. The only thing I haven't included are a lot of the compilations - because there probably isn't enough space on E2 to store a list of them all, and they all use standard album/single tracks anyway. I know that I'm missing the Japanese single with the song Trance and Roll on it at the very least; please /msg me if you know what it is.

Albums

  • 1995 - Exit Planet Dust (JBO - UK, Astralwerks - US)
    Their debut album as the Chemical Brothers, and, in my opinion, their best.
  • 1997 - Dig your own hole (JBO - UK, Astralwerks - US)
    Probably their second most famous album (after Come with us), because their two most famous tracks are on it. Tweaked scratchy breakbeats start here!
  • 1999 - Surrender (Freestyle Dust - UK, Astralwerks - US)
    Track 10 might be called "Racing the tide" or "Surrender", depending on which country you bought it in. Track 2 might also be called "Influenced" instead of "Under the influence".
  • 2000 - Kick out the jams
    Some rare B-sides and remixes. There appears to be at least three different releases of this album.
  • 2002 - Come with us (Virgin)
    A departure from the tweaky screeching beats on their previous albums, this is more of a psychedelica feel. Best song is probably The Test, with vocals recorded by Richard Ashcroft.
  • 2003 - The singles 93-03 (?)
    A compilation containing all the Brothers' singles from the last ten years, plus two new tracks, and a bonus disc with remixes and rare (I'd-never-even-heard-of-the-damn-things-before-this-came-out rare) tracks from the period. It'll also be released on DVD, so you'll be able to see all those cool video clips again. Bonus tracks are The golden path and Get yourself high.
  • 2004 - Push the Button (EMI)

  • An even more radical departure from their previous breakbeats. This one contains more hip-hop and guitar-esque numbers, but can't really pull anything particularly impressive off. The only real reason for buying this is to not feel guilty for downloading Flip The Switch.
  • 2007 - We are the Night (Virgin, Astralwerks, Freestyle Dust, Toshiba-EMI)

  • One day I will actually listen to this, though I've been told that it's more like their older, bigbeat stuff than their newer, psychedelic stuff.

Mix albums

Singles / EPs

Live / bootlegs

Compilations

There's only really two of these worth listing - the two WipEout "soundtracks" that songs appeared on.
  • 1996 - WipEout 2097 / XL
    Featured a track called "Dust Up Beats"... which, after I'd bought Exit Planet Dust, sounded suspiciously exactly the same as the track "Fuck up beats". I'm guessing it was renamed so it could actually be put on the track listing without parents calling in legal action against Psygnosis for corrupting their children's tiny fragile minds. Loops of fury was also included, and this is pretty much the only other place to get it if you missed the single.
  • 1999 - Wip3out
    Under the influence, and then some. Featured the full album version of the song - surprising, as the Underworld track Kittens ended up as a three-minute "short" that doesn't sound much like the original.

Other

Colaborations with other bands, mostly.

Electronic Battle Weapon series

Not really worth doing another writeup on these alone, I think. Basically, they're promos of new songs released (privately) on vinyl by the 'Brothers to be to be tested by DJs.

Remixes

Remixed by

Aww, thanks, nkrblue. *blushes*

References:

  • http://www.planet-dust.net/cb.htm
  • http://www.chemicalbros.h1.ru/ (Parent domain has been hijacked by some kind of Russian search placeholder site. Try using Google cache to browse it.)
  • http://pub105.ezboard.com/floopzofficialorbitalwebsitefrm7.showMessage?topicID=423.topic&index=5
  • http://www.nme.com/news/100593.htm
  • http://www.discogs.com/release/113637
  • That's about it, apart from my CD/MP3 collection.

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