Release Date: Feb 22, 2005
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996 -- 2003 collects some of Mogwai's best performances on John Peel and Steve Lamacq's programs. The compilation's track selections are inspired: taking two songs from each of the band's albums (except Rock Action, from which only "Secret Pint" appears here) and a handful of tracks from their mid-'90s EPs, Government Commissions gives a good idea of how Mogwai's sound evolved. Pieces like 4 Satin's "Superheroes of BMX" and "New Paths to Helicon Pt I" reflect the band's spare, elongated early work, while "Hunted By a Freak" and "Stop Coming to My House," both of which are from 2003's Happy Songs for Happy People and bookend Government Commissions, are lush, dense and shimmering.
Stephen Malkmus once called Mogwai the best band of the 21st Century. In an interview, guitarist John Cummings said Pavement's lead singer must have been sloshed. Maybe, but he also might have just experienced them in person. Mogwai’s albums, although sonically detailed and spotted with transcendent flashes, cannot compare to the monstrosity of their live show.