21
Feb

Finally I’m happy to announce our next 7″ that will be available this spring: Salt Lake Alley’s “Deals at the Crossroads”.  Salt Lake Alley consists of Gustav Tranback (Paper Hearts, Dismal Plight) and Mikael Carlsson (The Honeydrips, Dorotea) and they are based in Stockholm, Sweden. They describe their music as Teenage Fanclub and Popsicle swapping Sarah singles. They call their music orthodox indie pop.  The single will have four songs, “Deals at the Crossroads” and “So Differently” on the A side and “When We’ll Meet Again” and “Matter of Fact” on the B side. The art was created exclusively for the single by Mexican illustrator Alejandro Herrerías. You can preview the opening track, “Deals at the Crossroads”, on our SoundCloud and we’ll be adding it on the website pretty soon so you can pre-order this beauty. The single will be limited to 300 copies. Keep your eyes peeled for more news about the single, in the meantime you can like them on their brand new Salt Lake Alley Facebook page!

After that wonderful news, I can share with you some indiepop findings I’ve stumbled upon this week!

Red Go-Cart: oh! I need this record. A new 7″ by one of my favourite Japanese bands since forever. I hope this 200 limited record is still available after I come back from Spain? Or maybe that the band wants to do a trade? I would love it. This is a band I love for many years. And their newest record has two brand new songs, “Something Lasts” and “Sunflower” and it is being released  by the always recommendable Galaxy Train. The 7″ comes with a poster, two seals and a lyric sheet in Japanese and English!

Renge: and that is not all that is new from Galaxy Train Records. There is a 7″ with two songs by a band called Renge that sound very very fragile. Again limited to 200 copies their “Crystal Clear Winter” 7″ comes packaged in a similar fashion, only this time instead of a poster you get a postcard. The songs on this sea blue vinyl are “Sand Castle” and “Underneath the Ice” Sweet and introspective, the band released also another 7″ with the label almost at the same time called “Summer Filled With Blue“, so check that one out too.

Say Sue Me: I recommended this band a couple of months back and I thought I was making a great discovery. Well it seems they are quite popular by now. The Busan, South Korea, band is now promoting their next release which will be an album titled “Where We Were Together” and so far I have been able to listen to two songs that will be included in it on their Bandcamp, “Old Town” and “Old Town (Radio Edit)”, and even though they really are the same, they are fantastic! The CD seems to be reasonably priced at 10 pounds and the vinyl for 12. The question will be, how much for postage to the US? The album is released on April 18th.

Megrim: a new release by Jigsaw Records always catches my attention, and I had never heard about this band before. So decided to have a look. Actually, I find out, that I’m not that in the dark about them, the band is the project of Olivier Doreille who used to be in the classic 90s French band Les Autres. With this new band he just released a new 10 song album titled “Families”.

Anthony Rochester: “Sings for You” is the name of the new album by my favourite Tasmanian indiepopper. Rochester is back after many years, years since the “Anthony Rochesters EP”, years since “Hot Hits ’96” and he does in full form. 9 brand new songs of classy indiepop. Introspective sometimes, a bit like the fab Friends, and sometimes very 90s and disco like on “Parasep Discotheque”, it is quite a lovely album. Check out the video for the song “My Dancing Days are Done” too!

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Continuing with my crusade of documenting indiepop history I check out the catalog of one of the most important Manchester labels, Ugly Man Records. I am missing many of their releases, that’s true. It is hard to own all the records I want because of money and also because of space! But little by little my collection grows and grows. Just last week I finally added the one and only release by Grown Up Strange, a 12″ single that was released by Ugly Man Records (UGLY 1T) in 1986.

When I start my investigation on Discogs, in the hope of finding details about them, I immediately notice that Discogs has a little bio written for the band:  New Romantic band originally form Ulverston. After playing with punk acts the Spurts (1978) and the Hormones (1979), Chris ‘Mokka’ Hutchinson (guitars, vocals) and Mike Gaunt (drums) formed Grown up Strange in 1981 with Toby Wren (guitars), and Norman Scott (keyboards). As to the origin of the band Hutchinson told ‘Blast Off’ Magazine: ‘I started off in a punk band. But that developed into Grown Up Strange. Mike was drumming in it, this was 78/79. Then Mike moved to Manchester, and I was just a bedroom guitarist for a couple of years. I spent a couple of years just growing up, starting to write my own stuff. In this punk band, The Spurts – and then we became The Hormones! – we used to do cover versions of about four Buzzcocks songs, and The Only Ones – and XTC. And then we, as I say, split up and when we came back it was with our own material.” (Blast Off, 1/1986) In 1982, Wren and Scott were replaced respectively by Steve Wildgoose and Greg Shields. In 1985 the new recruits were substituted by Simon ‘Bendy’ Bennet (bass, former Hoi Polloi, Sonny & a Million) and David Williams (keyboards). Finally, in 1986 Bennet quit to be replaced by Roy Corckill (a.k.a. Roy Corckhill) former Here’s Johnny and Black) (ands the group was joined by Colin Vearncombe, from Black, for live work). This line-up recorded the band’s only single, released in August 1986.

That was a good introduction. Now I know the name of the band members. Also that they hailed from Ulverston:
Ulverston is a market town in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria in North West England. Historically in Lancashire, the town is in the Furness area 8 miles (13 kilometres) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness. It is close to the Lake District, and just north of Morecambe Bay, neighboured by Swarthmoor, Pennington and Rosside. Ulverston’s most visible landmark is Hoad Monument, a concrete structure built in 1850 to commemorate statesman and local resident Sir John Barrow. The monument provides views of the surrounding area, including Morecambe Bay and parts of the Lake District.

This might be the first band I know from Ulverston, right? Do you remember any other? I check the back sleeve of their record. There were three songs included. On the A side they have “A Wing & A Prayer” and on the B side “When You Became That Summer” and “Now Winter Lasts Forever”. All songs are credited to Chris Mokka Hutchinson. They were recorded at Amazon Studios and engineered b y Geoff Higgins (A side) and Mark Phythian (B side). For this record the band was Chris Mokka Hutchinson on guitar and vocals, David Williams on keyboards and Mike Gaunt on drums. They also thank the “live” boys, I’m assuming the musicians that played with them when they had gigs, Roy Corkill on the fretless bass and Colin Vearcombe on guitar and vocals. And also Simon Bennett who had been in the band in the past.

Now there’s an address for the band and it is at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. That’s interesting. Did one of them work there or what? Other credits are for the logo (Marc Woodhouse) and for photography (Gary Lorne).

I leave Discogs and start looking for them on the WWW. My first stop is the Northwest Evening Mail. There is an article that is not dated about the band. There is no author either, but I’m sure it must have been a fan. From it I will learn a few interesting details about the band:
– Legend says that the band took their name from a headline about the Psychedelic Furs in one of the weekly music papers (which? it doesn’t say!)
– They played showcase events at the Civic Hall and a well-remembered outdoor gig in Barrow Park after the general election of 1983
– Because they took inspiration from Liverpool bands, Mokka planned to relocate the band to the area. Only Mokka and Mike Gaunt ended up relocating. That explains now why the lineup change.
–  They looked for other musicians to join them, but instead of a bassist and keyboard player, Mokka recorded bass and keyboards onto a Teac reel-to-reel machine to be played at PA system at gigs.
– They supported A Certain Ratio, Pete Wylie, The Blue Orchids and The Icicle Works
– When they returned to Barrow for a show at the 99 Club with The Active in 1985, they had returned as a full band, now including Colin Verncombe on guitars. Colin would later emerge as front-man with the band Black who I suppose everyone reading the blog knows?
Later I would find that the author for the blog was David Duffin, a freelance writer, as he had posted the same article in his own blog.

I find a PDF for “Camaraderie“, the Official Ian McNabb Magazine (volume 2). In it, on page 10, there is an interview with Mokka. That is because he was a long-time friend of Ian (The Icicle Works) and the introduction says that he had assisted Ian in different ways, from selling t-shirts to his role as a keyboard player in Ian’s band. It also says that Mokka released a single in October 1996 titled “Where the Cold Wind Blows” where Ian participates playing guitar and harmonica, the old friend Roy Corkhill from the live Grown Up Strange band played bass and Daniel Strittmatter played drums. It mentions too that he was part of Black for a number of years. Then the interview starts and Mokka tells that he got this nickname from his dad but he doesn’t really know the reason for it. Then on page 26 there is an interview with Roy Corkhill but he doesn’t really mention Grown Up Strange.

I keep searching but I can’t find any other mentions. I suppose they continued making music, like Mokka did, afterwards. They only released one record, which is strange, as many of their friends released many more and were quite successful. I wonder what happened to them. It is true that they waited many years since the band started to release their only record. What happened? Was there no support from other labels? I would love to know the story behind them, it seems that they have a very interesting one to tell!

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Listen
Grown Up Strange – A Wing and a Prayer

20
Feb

Thanks so much to Niklas Barwe for the interview! Wrote about the Cod Lovers some time ago on the blog and luckily Niklas got in touch and was up for answering all my questions! The Cod Lovers were part of that first wave of Swedish indiepop that released records in the late 80s and early 90s on labels such as Ceilidh Productions or A West Side Fabrication. They were part of legendary festivals as Hultsfred or Emmaboda and left wonderful albums and singles to prove it!

++ Hi Niklas! Thanks so much for the interview! How are you? What have you been up to? Have you been making music as of late?

Hi Roque! Everything is fine here. I still play music, it’s in my veins, I can’t quit you know. Nowadays I play with a group called Northern UpBeat and we play soul songs like ”Higher and Higher” and ”Tainted Love”, but also some tunes from Dexys Midnight Runners.

++ What are those first music memories of yours, what sort of music did you listen at home while growing up? And what do you think inspired you, made you want to be in a band?

For me it all started quite late in life (I was 11-12 years old) with the Beatles. The red album & the blue album and then some Elvis records and ELO. I remember I started to like melodies and songs.

Then the punk-scene came along. Bands like Blondie, Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Clash, The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers and the Swedish punk band Ebba Grön and that sorts of groups, plus the Ska-scene with the Specials, Madness and so on, inspired me to start to play myself and be in a band.

++ What was your first guitar? And how did you get it? Did it take you long to learn how to play it?

The first guitar was an acoustic Spanish guitar that I bought from local music store. I sat in my room and tried to learn how to play, while listening to records. But the first electric instrument I learnt was bass, and I learnt it from a guy who was a musician.

++ Had any of you been involved with any bands before being in Cod Lovers?

I started my first group at the age of 15 with Johan Wallin from Cod Lovers. He was my friend and already a great guitarist and the one who I learnt to play the guitar from. We played all sorts of new wave and punk inspired music in the beginning of the 80´s, and then we evolved to a post punk band called Sista Vintern with lyrics in Swedish. We released a 7” ”Min vän” on Ceilidh Productions in june 1988.

++ Tell me how did the band start? Is it true that it started as a joke, that you were only planning to play the one show on Christmas 1988? Who were the members and how did you all know each other?

It was sort of a musical movement in Norrköping that emerged around -86. A creative environment where musicians got together around the label Ceilidh Productions and the founder Ola Hermanson. Ola is a friend and a very talented songwriter and nowadays he plays with his band Sonic Surf City and travels the world around in his work as associate professor. It was groups like the Persuaders, Sister James, 23 Till, The Great Gypsy Rockers, Sonic Surf City, Saturday Kids – all from Norrköping. And also Sound Affects the music magazine was very important in this movement.

The Cod Lovers formed in 1987, during the time me and Johan Wallin also were playing in Sista Vintern. It´s not true it started as a joke. It was more good songwriting and that we were already friends and common musical influences that got us started. But its true the plan was to play just one show.

The singer Johan Hallgren played in one of the first punk bands in Norrköping called Aggressiva Kostymer (Aggressive Suits) and I remembered I had seen him on stage, and he made a great impact on me back in the beginning of the 80´s. Later on we were in the same crowd around the label Ceilidh and became friends. Johan gave me a casette with a bunch of demo songs, and I was impressed of how awesome songs he´d written. We started to rehearse with various musicians. Then a party was planned in Christmas 87-88 at the local rock club Rockslottet, and we were offered a gig. Now with the gig the band took form with the original members. Me on electric guitar, Johan Hallgren on vocals and acoustic guitar. We also recruited my friend the multi talented Johan Wallin from Sista Vintern on drums, and my high school mate, the jazzy Beatles fan Johan Skaneby on bass.

After the gig we felt like WOW, this was fun! And we all decided to continue to play together.

++ What sort of music were you into at that time?

I remember we all got blown away when we saw the Hoodoo Gurus at the Roskilde festival in Denmark summer -87. We were into the contemporary Australian scene with bands like Hoodoo, The Go-Betweens, The Church (Under the milky way). More influences was Loyd Cole and of course Lou Reed and the V U. Maybe the Velvets was the group that we all were into the most. We also liked The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, The Godfathers and the bands from Manchester; the Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays. We took up the old saying from the city’s industrial days; Norrköping – Sweden’s Manchester

++ And what would you say are your favourite all-time Swedish pop bands?

Well from the Swedish indiepop scene my favorites are

Eggstone, Popsicle, Wannadies, Dolkows

++ Why the name of the band? Big cod lovers I suppose? If that’s the case, what would be your favourite cod dish?

We quickly needed a name of the band when we got the first gig.

Singer Johan liked very much The Modern Lovers. So we made it a bit silly and the word Cod emerged. We meant it like ”Cash On Delivery Lovers”, but among friends and so it became Cod the fish.
The favortite cod dish is of course Fish & Chips with danish Remoulade sauce, made in a proper way by a real chef 🙂

++ Cod Lovers were based in Norrköping is that right? Are you there still today? Has it changed much since those days?

Yeah that’s right we were based in Norrköping. Johan Skaneby and myself did move to Stockholm in the beginning of the 90s, but now since a few years I’m back in Norrköping. The other “Johans” still live in Norrköping too. The town has changed very much since those days. As I said we called the city Norrköping – Sweden’s Manchester. And that was not only because we saw it as a homage to allt the bands from Manchester. It was also because the similarity between the citys as working class citys in change. The factories had shut down and something new had to grow. And Norrköping has changed very much since the end of the -80s. To the better luckily. It was much more unemployment back then. And the bars & clubs and restaurants are nicer now, and there are a lot of them nowadays. 🙂

++ What were the cool places in town? Like what was the record stores you frequented or the venues to check out up and coming bands? Were there any like-minded bands you were friendly with?

Perhaps not so cool but a place called Olympia had live conserts. Another place was Ritzo. But it was more a ”do it yourself” thing back then. A friend of mine started the rock club ”Rockslottet” in -86, where you could check out up & coming bands. The record store was ”Pet Sounds” at Nygatan where you bought the records, also run by a (another) friend of mine, they also did live concerts like Stone Roses at Olympia in Norrköping 1985. And as said Ola Hermanson started Ceilidh Productions so there’s was a record company that released high quality records with The Persuaders, Sister James, Sonic Surf City and Happy Dead Men from Stockholm and of course Cod Lovers. And the bands members were all friends.

++ And being so close to Stockholm, I suppose you used to go there a lot to quench your music thirst as well? Was there a good music scene in either town you’d say back then?

Yes its close to Stockholm and often we travelled there to go to concerts, I remember I saw the Clash and bands like U2 in the beginng of the 80´s. The music scene were alright in both towns, but nothing compare to nowadays when you can go to several concerts a week in Stockholm. In Norrköping its more like several concerts a month.

++ Why did Stefan Hubner join to play drums and Johan Wallin moved to keyboards and guitar instead of drums?

When we put Sista Vintern at halt, Staffan Hubner the drummer came along to do the drumming in Cod Lovers. Then Johan Wallin could focus on song writning and as he were a guitarist from the start, we thought it was better for the band.

++ And what about Stefan Andersson leaving the band? What happened? And how did you recruit Johan Skaneby?

Johan Skaneby is the original member of the band, but we parted ways just before the second album Pretty Things was released. Stefan Andersson from Sonic Surf City came in, but quitted after a year when SSC took all his time.

Johan Skaneby came back to the band the last year we existed.

++ Whereabouts did you use to practice? And how was the creative process for the band?

We use to practice in the industrial area in the town. This area was almost shut down during the -80s but we had a former industry local on the outskirts of that area where we hung

++ I can’t say which release came first, the flexi or the “Best Friend” 7″ in 1989. Maybe you can tell me that. And was wondering how did you end up contributing the song “Autumn” to the Sound Affects flexi?

The release of “Best Friend” 7” in 1989 was first. And then the Sound Affects flexi came out. Well the guys at Sound Affects liked us, and special the great John L Byström insisted we should do the flexi.

++ Sound Affects was a very important magazine at the time for the Swedish scene. How important was it for you? Did you had many appearances on it? Did you buy it regularly perhaps?

Yes Sound Affects was important for Cod Lovers, they liked us and gave the 7” “Best Friend” and ”French Plums” great reviews. We bought the magazine regularly and both John L Byström and Terry Ericsson were our friends. We were so close that when we released our last single on Ceilidh Productions John L Byström gave us a call with a correction about a detail on the single sleeve

++ The “Best Friend” 7″ is such a great record and it was released by the legendary Ceilidh Productions. Was wondering a couple of things, first, how did you end up signing with them and how was your relationship with the label? And second if you could tell me the story behind this classic song?

Ceilidh Productions had already released a vinyl single with Sista Vintern so the the relation with them was good. The boss Ola really liked the 7” “Best Friend” and we sent him a cassette with the the song right away after the mixing session. The relationship with Ceilidh Productions was friendly. I remember we were very pleased with the production and the mix that was made by Micke Herrström, the great indiepop producer att the time. He worked with Happy Dead Men, Sonic Surf City and later on Popsicle and many more. The story behind the song: The idea was to mix acoustic and electric fuzzed guitars to get the sound that we wanted. I think we managed quite good and the lyrics is about friendship – witch I think is a little fun in the context.

++ In 1990 you released your debut album “French Plums” which had 10 songs and was released on both CD and vinyl. I thought the CD is harder now to find than the vinyl? Maybe there was less CDs pressed? Also this album has probably my favourite Cod Lovers song, “French Plums” which also gives title to the album. What’s the story of “French Plums”?

Yes there were less CDs pressed, thats why its harder to find. French Plums is also one of my favorite songs on the album. We were inspired by the Manchester Scene and tried to get a bit a dancebeat into the song. The lyrics is about Johan Hallgrens girlfriend at the time and his longing for her as she was on a trip to New Zealand far away from him

++ The album was recorded by Daniel Gese at KM Studio in Nörrköping. How was that experience?

Actually most of the songs was recorded by Micke Herrström at the Decibel studio in Stockholm. He also did the mixing of the songs at the Atlantis studio in Stockholm. Micke Herrström is as said one of Swedens best producers. I’ve worked with him several times and we´we been in bands together to, one of them was called The Bukks and released an album 2004. Daniel recorded three of the songs at KM studio in Norrköping and he’s also av very good producer and engineer and runs his own studio there.

++ The next 7″, “Kill the Time”, was to be your last work on Ceilidh. Then you would move to A West Side Fabrication. Why did you change labels?

Yes we changed label. I think it depended on that we in the band was so impatience. We wanted everything ”now”. A West Side Fabrication told us if we choose them we could get out a second record quite fast, and for some reason we were in a hurry wich I think is reflected on the album Pretty Things. Though the first 7 songs is in good Cod Lovers level in my opinion

++ There was yet another magazine release, a 7″, were you appeared. There was a 7″ released by New Kind of Kick that had your song “Shatter the Harmony”. I have never heard of this magazine, so maybe you could tell me a bit about it?

It was more like a fanzine magazine. They lasted for about 2 years I think, and were situated in Linköping.

++ Are there still any unreleased songs by the band?

Yes we have a few unreleased songs. They would have been on the planned third album.

++ And from all your repertoire, what would be your favourite song and why?

Nowadays I think Bye Bye Pain from our first single is the song I like most. The song capture much of what The Cod Lvers was about.

++ You played the legendary Hultsfred festival. How was that?

That gig was awesome. And something we in the band appreciated very much

++ I read you also played in Spain and Latvia, is that right? Which cities? Who supported you? Do you remember?

The truth is that we had a planned tour in Spain with about 3-4 dates.

I think it was was the summer of -89´ after the 7” “Best Friend”.
We received great reviews in a Spanish music magazine for the single.

But we didn´t go on tour to Spain cause it was so uncertain with the payment for the gigs.

Instead Johan the singer and I went with train through Europe and played the streets in Portugal and Spain. We ended up in San Sebastian playing our songs there in a local bar. The gig was awesome, one of the best gigs in my life, and the guests at the bar gave us standing ovations, and a huge amount of beer too!

Later on, I think it was in 1993, we went to Riga in Latvia for two gigs. It was a lot of fun and the MTV of Latvia was there, and we drank cheap russian sparkling wine and had a good time.

++ Did you play any other countries?

No, it was plans for Berlin and more gigs in Germany but they never happened

++ And in general, did you gig a lot? Which are the best gigs you remember? And bad ones? Any anecdotes you could share?

We gigged quite much, and as said we did Hultsfred festival and Emmaboda festival, the biggest indiepop-festival at the time. The gig at the festivals was the best ones I think. A gig early 1994 at the University of Linköping was great I remember. But the early gigs at some Speakeasys (Clubs with no permission) in Norrköping I also remembers with a good feeling.

++ Then what happened? When and why did you split? Did you all continue making music afterwards? If so, in which bands?

I think it was April 1994 and the band had existed for about 5 years and we decided to call it a quits. Me and Johan lived in Stockholm and the rest in Norrköping and the members just had to much to do with our everyday jobs, it was no fun anymore. We all continued to do music afterwards, Johan Skaneby in a group called Honeycave.

++ And today, are you all still in touch? Have there ever been talks of or a reunion gig? I read that there was one in 2003 where you even put out a limited edition CD? Is there a way to get hold of it these days?

Today we’re still in touch. Johan Skaneby plays keyboards with me in Northern Upbeat and Johan Hallgren and I also have a little project. No records though. Yeah it was the last reunion in 2003 where we released a limited edition CD and that will be the last gig from The Cod Lovers. I think it will be hard to get hold on the limited CD.

++ Did you get much attention from the radio or press?

Yeah, some attention from the Swedish and Danish national radio.

3 songs from our gig at the Hultsfreds festival was aired by the swedish radio P3. Unfortunatly it sounded crap becasue of my guitar was out of tune 🙂

And an acoustic gig in swedish P3 that I remembered was quite good

++ Looking back in time, what would you say was the biggest highlight for the band?

The gig at the Hultsfred festival and when we released the 1st album French Plums and we had an awesome release party in Norrköping and gig nr two later in the night at a Speakeasy club.

And the audience danced all night

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies do you have?

I am into film, and then I do a summer music festival in Norrköping called Knickedick

++ And lastly tell me a bit about Norrköping. I’ve never been there, so wondering what are the sights one shouldn’t miss or the traditional food or drinks?

It´s a quite nice city and the old industrial area is very nice with the Museum of Work and a great Italian restaurant called Enoteket.

The best cocktail bar is Pig´n´Hen and nice bar with quite much live music is Munken. And the we have Arbis, an old theatre thats nowadays is a great live venue and bar.

++ Thanks again for the interview, anything else you’d like to add?

Many thanks to you Roque and hope you enjoy!

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Listen
Cod Lovers – French Plums

19
Feb

It is a holiday today in the US, so this will be a very short post. Nonetheless come back tomorrow for an interview and on Wednesday for a proper longer post with Cloudberry news and all!

Alpaca Sports: probably everyone knows by now that Alpaca Sports have released a new video for their new song “Summer Days” that will be included in their new album “From Paris With Love” due to be released later this year. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss it! The song is classic Alpaca Sports and the video was shot by the great Calle “Miyagi” Jirestedt and on it we see Andreas and Amanda in Gothenburg and deep underwater!

Soft Regime: checking out the rest of the new releases coming out on Elefant I check out the video for the song “Lockdown” by Soft Regime which will be part of the mini-LP “Hard Feelings” and I thought, this is pretty good! I must say I wasn’t aware of this band previously so this is a good discovery. From what I’ve learned the mini album is set to be released on March 2nd and the band is actually led by Tim from Baxendale and has the vocals of Astrid who might or might not be German.

Nos Miran: another new release by Elefant is this Spanish techno pop band’s new mini-album that will be out on March 16th. It is the first time I’m hearing this band and it is through this video for their song “Humo” which is quite catchy! The band is formed by Sergio Rodríguez from Capitán Sunrise and Marta Quintana from Ventolín.

Karen Meat: the sound of girl groups is present on this band from Des Moines, Iowa. I’m checking out their latest effort, the album “You’re An Ugly Person”, on Bandcamp. I can only stream one of their songs, the opening track “Share a Dinner” of the 10 song record. This album has been released as an LP by the very fine label Emotional Records and is limited to 100 copies. I looked for some info about the band and I can see that this is mostly the project of Arin Eaton and a revolving door of musicians.

Holy Now: this is the best new find for me this week. This song “Feel it All” and its video have been on heavy rotation since last week. I’ve only just discovered them now and I’m really enjoying the female vocals and the jangling chiming guitars. The Gothenburg band is formed by Julia Olander, Ylva Holmdahl, Samuel von Bahr Jemth and Hampus Eiderström Swahn. I start looking for their records on their label, Lazy Octopus, but I only see links to Spotify. So, I wonder if there are actually no real records? This is a very fine song! Why is it not released? Previously they have released on record an EP, a tape and a 7″ single.  But for me, this last song, is their best so far!

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Today, after many posts about records I don’t have, it is time for a record that I do have in my collection. A record I know little of, aside that once I read there was a Thompson Twins connection and that I had seen it in many lists of indiepop collectors: Big View’s “August Grass” 7″.

I actually got this record last week from Discogs for a fair price. And now I’m trying to find out more about Big View. Who were they? If they released any other songs? When did they start as a band? When did they split? Where were they based? Do you think I’ll find these answers on the web? I’ll look, and I’ll try.

Big View’s “August Grass” 7″ was released by Point Records in 1982 (PT01). For me it is safe to assume this was a self-release, there are no other releases listed for Point Records. Perhaps it has something to do with The Point Studios? That’s where the two songs for the 7″ single were recorded. The Point Studios was a rehearsal and 8 track demo studio in Central London that was active in the 70s and the 80s. Maybe.

The songs on the 7″ were on the A side the poppy “August Grass” and on the B side we find “Confess”. The first song is credited to Dodd and Knight while the second to Dodd and Roog. On the back sleeve there are some credits:
T. on vocals
Peter Dodd and John Roog on instruments
Those three as the core of the band, but it continues:
Andrew Edge on drums
Alex Burak and Paul O’Duffy were the engineers for the record
The band produced the record for CDR Productions
The sleeve art and design was done by Jon Phipps

There are no other releases by the band nor compilation appearances. Two songs. That’s it. Really? It can’t be, there must have been more recordings by this proto-indiepop band. Maybe they made some demo tapes? Anyone knows?

So Dodd? Well, that is Peter James Dodd who was part of the early Thompson Twins. I don’t think I need to explain on the blog who the Thompson Twins are. Roog, was John Roog, also from early The Thompson Twins. What about Knight? It seems it was Richard Knight, an audio and sound engineer. But what I’m most curious about is the singer: T. Who was T? It is a female voice so Discogs can’t be right listing T as Tom Bailey. That’s impossible, right? So who was T?!

Andrew Edge who drummed for the single (and for the Thompson Twins) actually has presence on the web. There’s a Wikipedia page and an old blogspot site (last updated in 2011) where it mentions he now lives in Linz, Austria, where he has released many records. In the 80s he was also part of the band Savage Progress.

I find some mention on the web about Big View. I read that Point Records was owned by Merton, the Thompson Twins publisher. That information comes from a Google Book called City of Sheffield Volume 4 of 5 edited by The Wikipedians. That is quite a weird source I must say. But here there is some interesting information about Big View:
– Dodd and Roog formed a band called Big View (with Edge on drums) and recorded a single called, “August Grass”, which was released on Point Records (owned by Merton, The Thompson Twins publisher) in 1982. Dodd is now living back in Chesterfield working as a freelance journalist – and has released his own History of Rock album billed as Peter & The Wolves. Dodd still sees Podgorski on a regular basis.
– Roog lives in London and is in a senior position in Tower Hamlets Adults Services.

Okay, so we know John Roog and Peter Dodd were the original members of the Thompson Twins alongside Thomas Bailey  and Chris Bell, back in 1977 in Sheffield. So according to that can we say that Big View were based in Sheffield as well? Let’s keep in mind that Dodd and Roog left the band in 1982 after releasing the third Thompson Twins album.

I keep diving into the world wide web, trying to find anything that could tell me who was T, that mysterious female vocalist. But I don’t find any answers. No one seems to know, the few posts I find on the web are as hopeless as mine. No one has a clue. And I add another question to this mystery, what happened with Dodd and Roog, why no more Big View releases?! And what about gigs? I couldn’t find any mention of them playing anywhere. Of course being on the shadow of the Thompson Twins must have been hard, but at the same time I would expect that because of the connection there would be more information about Big View. But of course, that’s not the case.

So I ask my Sheffield readers, do you remember them?

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Listen
Big View – August Grass

16
Feb

Seems it will have to wait until Monday hopefully our next 7″ announcement! There was a wee delay with the art and with the mastering but I’m crossing my fingers this weekend everything will be ready.

It is now just a week until I head to Madrid. You can’t imagine my excitement to be at a Popfest again, and with the great Spanish crowd! It is going to be fantastic. I will do some daytrips already, everything has been planned. I should be visiting aside of Madrid, the towns of Cuenca, Consuegra and Aranjuez, the city of Salamanca, and the castle of Manzanares el Real. That’s the plan for now! I’ll let you know how that went when I come back.

I must say I have already received so many requests to bring records to Spain! My bag is going to be heavy! I’m always very happy and surprised with the Spanish indiepop fans love for this music and for physical records. They got their ideas right!

Anyways, now onto what you came here for, for new music and old:

Night Flowers: one new video and one new song from the wonderful English band Night Flowers! It was just a few weeks ago that I was sharing the song/video for “Losing the Light” and now they share with us another beauty, “Cruel Wind”. The band is set to release their new album “Wild Notion” on April 13th on Dirty Bingo Records, and I can’t wait to have it! It does sound great. How nice would it be to have them on a 7″ someday… unlikely of course.

The Wild Kindness: who are these Californians? It is the first time I hear them after finding them on Bandcamp a few minutes ago. They have a bunch of releases it seems, the oldest dating from 2012. But I’m checking out their latest, their debut full length titled “Happy Now” released by 20 Sided Records. It has 9 songs (I notice more and more albums that don’t reach the 10 songs, why is that?!) and was recorded at Wherehouse Studios in San Francisco, CA. The band hails from the SF Bay area indeed. They are formed by Mike Alexis, Ross Murray, Ben Montesano, Jim Rivera and Doug Saenz.

Impossible Songs: 4 songs recorded in Southern Germany back in October by this Edinburgh band. That’s what their Bandcamp EP “In Another World: is about. The band formed is by Ali Graham on vocals and John Barclay on guitar/vocals.  They got help from Martin Freitag on bass, drums and synths and Siggi Richter on keyboards. I have a good listen and I must say the first song, “No Law Against Love”, is all right but then when “Another Day” starts, well, everything changes! Now I’m enjoying it. Then again a song I’m not a big fan of, “Analog Mann”, and the last one I like again, which is titled “Look Up the Stars”. So two songs out of four for me, 50%. What about for you?

Shardz: 6 demo songs dating from 2016 by Ulli, Olli, Peter from Dr. König Arthus and Jens from Kristallin, have appeared on Bandcamp. I don’t know much about this Hamburg band but I did interview The Legandary Bang, who predated Kristallin many years and years ago! So if you are into that sort of fast style guitar pop these songs are really great!! Check out “Sunglasses”, “Two-Leaf Clover”, “Moonlight”, “Fool”, “Noisebleeding” and “Pointless” all which are good fun. They are definitely a bit lofi, but you can see that these songs would have sounded brilliant if produced properly!

The Boys with the Perpetual Nervousness: one of the best finds in a long time I believe. Who are they? Who knows. Only one song on Soundcloud titled “Nervous Man” and not much more. We know some make up names like Joe B.Nervous on lead vocals and bass, Sweet Beet on drums, Langoustine Nervous on guitars, Goujon Nervous on guitars, and Scampi Nervous and Jelly Bean Nervous on backing vocals. The only other thing we do know is that this song will appear on a 7″ during spring 2018. Who will release it? Where are they from? Those details are unavailable as of yet.

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The Singing Ringing Tree was a children’s film made by East German studio DEFA in 1957 and shown in the form of a television series by the BBC. It was a story written by Anne Geelhaar based on a variation of “Hurleburlebutz” by the Brothers Grimm, directed by Francesco Stefani.

The Singing Ringing Tree is a wind powered sound sculpture resembling a tree set in the landscape of the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England. Completed in 2006, it is part of the series of four sculptures within the Panopticons arts and regeneration project created by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network (ELEAN). The project was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks, or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), across East Lancashire as symbols of the renaissance of the area

Here is another record I’m missing and I hope to find a copy for myself some day: The Singing Ringing Tree’s “The Hanging Tree” 7″.

Because of the dates, I think the band name comes from the German children film. But what else do I know about this band whose two songs I heard for the first time on the Shelflife blog many, many years ago, when Ed used to update it and present us with fab obscure bands!

On his blog Ed actually asked me if I knew about this band, if I knew anything about them, but I didn’t. At the time it was the first time I was hearing their two fantastic songs. And I learned a little bit about them thanks to the blurb Ed wrote. He mentioned that they were Scottish and the band was formed by Colin Fullerton on vocals, Jack Hamilton on guitars and David Mulholland on keyboards and percussion. That they only released this 7″ on their own Singing Ringing Records in 1986 (catalog SRT1) and that the record came with 3 inserts and 2 stickers. Ed believes one of the members worked at a print shop at the time.

He then makes the distinction with Discogs. That is because Discogs lists 2 other 7″s by The Singing Ringing Tree. The thing is these two records are by a different Ringing Singing Tree. The funny thing is, that this is also another guitar pop band.

But let’s get back to the record. As mentioned it came with three inserts. Luckily the images Ed scanned are still available and I get to know a few more details. For example, the songs were recorded at Palladium Studios in Edinburgh in October 1985. They were engineered by Keith. Who is Keith? Then the artwork is credited to Kretin. Then it says “Printed for the Singing Ringing Tree by the Singing Ringing Tree Limited”. I guess it is because of that line that Ed was guessing someone in the band worked for a print shop.  The other two inserts included are actually lyrics sheets for each of the songs.

There seems to be no more information on websites or blogs about the band. My few hints to keep digging are the names of the members and that they probably hailed from Edinburgh. But those details don’t help me at all. I can’t find anything related to them. Nothing at all. It is all dead ends. Perhaps the only possibility is that of David Mulholland being a drummer in 1980 in Edinburgh on the first formation of Aztec Camera. Could that be the same David? I wonder . And I wonder if they didn’t make music again. That it was only this record and then they called it a day, weren’t involved with music ever again. Who knows. Since the time Ed wrote his post, asking for more information, there hasn’t even been one reply shedding some light. For years. Maybe I’ll run the same luck. But I want to be hopeful. I hope I get to know a little bit more about this obscure Scottish band sooner than later!

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Listen
The Singing Ringing Tree – The Hanging Tree

14
Feb

Wednesday, and we will have three posts this week, so one more on Friday. By Friday I hope to be announcing our next 7″ release! So don’t miss out on that! Next week I will probably have three posts and then I’ll be leaving on Friday to Madrid! Exciting! That week then, obviously there won’t be any posts. But do remind me if I need to bring any records for you to Spain!

Klass II: the latest release from the always worthy Luxury Records from Sweden is the eponymous LP by Klass II. This very limited album (100 copies) will be available on March 9th and you can already pre-order it on the label’s Bandcamp. So far only one song is streamable, so can’t say that I like all the 9 songs. I can say though that I do like the one song that I can listen. Titled “Ifred” it is a warm fuzzy pop song with female vocals. A bit like The Primitives singing in Swedish. Or the Fizzbombs or The Charlottes.

La Casa de Emma: loving this über twee band from Chile that is named after the Field Mice’s song “Emma’s House”. If you like The Fat Tulips or Talulah Gosh, this is for you. They even call their first song “Niño Talulah” (Talulah Boy). Yes! This DIY first tape demo has four songs, “Niño Talulah”, “Rayito de Sol”, “Cajita Musical” and “Los Calcetines de Erik” and is available to order from the Junko Records Bandcamp page. There is not much information here about the band, aside the lineup, Javi, Tinka, Jaime and Erik. The label seems to be based in the unlikely Temuco, a smaller town in Chile.

Blackthony Startano: a weird, very weird name, for this Peruvian band that I was introduced to by Joel from Latin American Twee. I don’t even know if the band intended to make popsongs as the title of their EP on Bandcamp is “Darkwave Internacional”. I suppose he wanted to make some darkwave? The thing is that the songs are jangly and has pop melodies. Strange. Or maybe it is an inside joke? There are five songs total: “Sadboy & Darkogirl”, “La Religión del Halcón”, “Club Social de los Fantasmas”, “Reina del Subsuelo” and “Mecanismos de Defensa En las Ligas Mayores”. Who are they? There is absolutely no information about the band on their page.

Family Video: I decided to check again the superb Seattle tape label Lost Sound Tapes to discover Family Video. “Long Time Listener, First Time Caller” is an 11 song album that will be released on March 16th as a limited tape (100 copies). This is the fifth album by the band from St John’s, Newfoundland, in Canada. But to be honest it is the first time I ever hear their songs. The band is formed by J.King, who it is said is the creative force behind the band, Noah Bender, Jake Nicoll and Geordie Dynes. There are also links to several Youtube videos on the Bandcamp. Good stuff!

A Rainy Night In: more twee for all the tweekids. This time from Tampa, Florida. A Rainy Night In released their first EP, digitally that is, on Bandcamp on May 2017. I have only found about it today. There are 5 songs in total, “Lucidity Hop”, “Candytuft”, “Joyrice”, “Whatever the Weather” and “Brains”. One of them, “Joyride”, is a cover of legendary Japanese band Flipper’s Guitar. What else do we know about this DIY bedroom band? That it is a duo formed by Madison Breeze on vocals and kazoo and Nathan Heck on guitars, vocals, piano, drums, and everything else.

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Dreaming of an Australian indiepop compilation. When will it happen? I have been making imaginary lists and I have already 5 CDs worth of of bands/songs. It could happen one day. I hope it happens in the near future. I would love to do it if no one does it before.

I just added a new band to my own list of bands that should be part of these compilations: Merry Go Rhythms. I know absolutely nothing about them, but I really like this one song I have heard by them titled “Face The War”. So I need to fix this situation, I need to know more about them, find any details, anything really. Hopefully, eventually, get in touch.

Merry Go Rhythms released just one single back in 1987 on their own label MGR Records (MGR 8701). This 7″ single included two songs, “Perpetual Motion” on the A side and “Face the War” on the B side. Both songs were recorded at Reel-Time-Studios in Sydney. Was the band based in Sydney as well?

I don’t own this 7″ yet. I would love to get a copy.  Luckily on Discogs there are some credits listed for this record.
Andy Harris on drums
Alan Harpley on guitars and vocals
Paul Hayes on lead guitars
Gary McLaren on vocals and bass

We also know that Gary wrote all the lyrics. That Mark Tinson was the producer and engineer and the artwork was created by Fiona Webber. No compilation appearances are listed.

I check out the band members on Discogs, I can’t see anything really listed aside from Merry Go Rhythms but for Gary McLaren. He was also involved with the band Silent Types who released two singles on Reaction Records between 1984 and 1985.

Then it is time to check for the band members on the web. Here there’s more success. Alan Harpley has a website. I check his bio and I notice he doesn’t call the band Merry Go Rhythms but MGR instead. He mentions that the single “Perpetual Motion” received radio airplay on commercial radio. He also mentions that they made more recordings, that there was a song called “Rain” that didn’t get released. Other bands he had been involved were Con-Fusion, The Acoostix, Australian Played, Crawl File, Homegrown, Nitesounds, Revamp, Punked Out, GTS Duo/Pub Band and The Christina Parie Band. But here is the thing, Alan has uploaded a bunch of Merry Go Rhythms to his site! And I’m finally listening to “Perpetual Motion”!

There seems from this recording page that there were more Merry Go Rhythms EPs. The first one seems o date from 1986 and was titled “Famous Lies EP”. Was this released in any form? Maybe as a tape? It had three songs: “Only the Lonely”, “Famous Lies” and “See What I Can See”. Another EP dates from 1988 and was called “Living on the Edge” with the songs “Let You Down”, “Suffragette City” and “Living on the Edge”. I wonder if this was properly released? And then I see the song “Rain” that he mentioned in his bio. It was part of an EP called “Somethings Missing EP” from 1989 that had the songs “Rain”, “Perpetual Motion 1989” and “Somethings Missing”. These songs were never released.

So the band was quite productive! But only one release? I would like to know what happened with these other songs!

Then I found the website for Paul Hayes. Two band members have their own websites. That is not very common! I’m in luck. Here Paul has a while section for Merry Go Rhythms. I see that he has a little jukebox and I learn a few things. “Famous Lies”, “Only the Lonely” and “See What I Can See” were recorded at Accent Studios. And there is also a live song playing the song “Listen” at Promises gig. And then two songs taken from rehearsal tapes, “I Don’t Know” and “Is This Love”. What does Paul say about the band itself? He says that Gary and Alan were the main writers for the band but he wrote a few songs too. That they played many gigs (around 200) mainly as support act to bands like Redgum, Allniters, Jeremy Oxley (ex-Sunnyboys) and Chain. At the end David Frazer left and Andy Harris joined on drums.

There are also a bunch of press clippings where I got some interesting information. I see the band played gigs at the Oatley Hotel, at Sylvania Hotel’s Promises Dance Club, Kings Head Tavern in South Hurtsville, St George Sailing Club alongside Laugh in the Dark and Hipsters, Powerhouse at Carringbah Inn with the support of Southbound Train and The Royal Hotel in Sutherland. Also I find that for their single they did a proper tour playing in so many places! The list goes like this: City Limits/Hornsby, St George Sailing Club, Caringbah Inn, Lansdown Hotel, Racecourse Hotel/Randwick, Fairfield RSL, Bankstown RSL, Royal Hotel/Sutherland, Nth Cronulla Hotel, Connections/Penrith and Iron Workers/Club W’gong.

That’s a lot of details I found! I’m quite happy about this indiepop investigation! On top of it all I heard many of their recordings! There are still many questions to be answered, but this has been good work. Still missing the single, if those other EPs were released, when and why did they call it a day, what did they do afterwards, and if anyone remembers them?

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Listen
Merry Go Rhythms – Face the War

12
Feb

This has been a very prolific start of the year for the blog. At some point I’ll have to slow down! But right now it makes sense to continue re-discovering indiepop bands from the past! As you know I’m heading next week to Madrid for Popfest and I won’t be posting anything for 9 days. That means two things, if this pace is way too fast for you to keep up with the blog, you can catch up with my posts during that week, and secondly if you are in Spain do write me if you want any records from the label. I can bring the records you want and you’ll be saving shipping costs.

No Middle Name: I’ve recommended this band before because I think they are pretty great. It is time for me to repeat this. That is because they have two new songs on their Bandcamp on what looks like a digital single for the songs “Sax for Melody” and “Love in Stereo Roses”. The band from Saint Leonards in the UK has done it again!

Avind: it has been a while since I found a Norwegian band. Well here is Avind and the song “Dumrian” that was released last December on her Bandcamp. Avind is the name Tonje Tarfjord uses to make her music. If you want to hear more there are a few more releases on Bandcamp and an album is slated to be released on May 2018.

The Blog that Celebrates Itself: the popular blog from Brazil run by Renato Malizia has put together on a Bandcamp a compilation of bands covering Sarah Records releases. It is quite an interesting comp, with different results. Some fantastic renditions, some not as good, but in general it is a great effort! You will find some very fine bands like The Blue Dress, Astragal, A Certain Smile or Battery Point covering Heavenly, Secret Shine, Another Sunny Day, The Field Mice and more!

Home Media: discovered this Newry, UK, band some weeks ago. They have a few tracks on their Bandcamp and they are great, worth recommending of course. The band is formed by Ryan Loughlin, Lee Murnin, Eoin Lyness and Niall Devlin and their latest song was “Tidal Track” that was released last July. Would love to see them booked at Indietracks.

Les Bombe Pops: some interesting guitar pop by this Vancouver band that almost has the name of a classic indiepop band (The Bomb Pops). The band is formed by Emma, Catherine, Hannah, James and Marshall and their latest release seems to be available only digitally on their Bandcamp and it is titled “So Long Ago”. This is a 5 song EP and was released not too long ago, last December.

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Original sin, also called ancestral sin, is the Christian doctrine of humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man, stemming from Adam and Eve’s rebellion in Eden, namely the sin of disobedience in consuming from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a “sin nature”, to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt of all humans through collective guilt.

That is definitely an interesting and a bit of an odd choice of a name for a guitar pop band. I could see a folk band with that name, or a metal band. Don’t you think?

I heard of Original Sin some years ago (I think through the From a Northern Place blog) and only today I’m listening them again. Well, “listening” might be an exaggeration. I have only heard one song by them, “A Song For Robert G” which is ace. The chiming guitars and the bouncy melodies bring a smile to me. As far as I know there is only another song released by the band and has the same name, “The Original Sin”. But I haven’t heard that one.

These two songs were part of their one and only 7″ that was released in August 1987 on Stable Records (ST 001). On the A side there was “A Song for Robert G” and on the B side “The Original Sin”. It seems it was a self-release as there are no other releases listed on this label on Discogs. The obvious question for me is who is or was Robert G? Maybe Bobby Gillespie? It would be interesting to find out!

There are no other releases listed for the band either, nor compilation appearances. To my surprise the band members are listed:
Tim Jeans – bass
B. Whitley – drums
John Kings – guitar
Charlie Leese – vocals

I don’t own this record yet but someone has uploaded the back cover to Discogs. I like when that happens, I can find out some extra details about these obscure bands.  The back cover is quite strange I must say. It includes a bunch of ads. Yes, really, as if it was a magazine or something. I have never seen anything like it on an indiepop record. The back is divided in four squares. On the top part there’s an ad for the Exmouth Indoor Market. Next to it there’s Samantha’s Exmouth, a discotheque. On the bottom we see an ad for CBI Refrigeration and next to it for Devon County Cars Mazda. Actually there is also a very tiny ad at the very bottom for Dare Farm Products. Strange right? Maybe these companies funded the recordings for the band? There is also credits for the art, for the front Catherine Seat and the back for Sean Kressinger.

There is not much more information about the band on the web, nor about the band members. They must have hailed from Exmouth, that seems quite obvious. But there is no other details to be found on the web. I wonder if anyone remembers them? If they had more recorded songs? Or maybe other releases we don’t know about? If the members were involved in any other bands? Or if anyone has a spare of their 7″? I’m curious about this band, I wonder whatever happened to them.

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Listen
Original Sin – A Song for Robert G

09
Feb

Happy to say that this has been another prolific week. But not only on the blog, for the label it has been too. I will have news next week for our new 7″ releases I think! Very exciting! So keep your eyes peeled!

Today I bring you more indiepop news, more indiepop findings!

The Understudies: one of my favourite British bands is back! The Understudies have released a new digital single titled “Travelling Companion” with its “b side” “Everybody’s Got To Go” and both songs are great. They are a bit different to the style they had us all used to. According to the band, they are going to be a more piano based band than a guitar based band. So we’ll see how that works out for them. In the meantime I can say these two songs are really nice and they should be part of their upcoming second album which is due for this year. Looking forward to it!

Lake Ruth: “Birds of America” is the name of the new album by this very fine New York band. It is being released by the UK label Feral Child Recordings and it even comes with a lyric sheet insert. The album will be released on February 16th and now you can pre-order on BandCamp. The album has 10 songs and if you want to have a taster you can hear two songs, “Julia’s Call” and “One of Your Own”. A very promising release indeed!

My Raining Stars: I still don’t have their first release. Shame, I was told a CD was going to be sent to me. It never ever arrived. Still waiting. Sometimes I’m unlucky about that. It happens. But it is kind of sad as I really loved the songs My Raining Stars make. And it is true that the French band has been so quiet as of late. So it was quite a surprise when I saw the song “Lost in the Wild” uploaded to Youtube. Wow, really wow. Will this be part of a single? an EP, an album? Something? I hope this time I do get their release!

The BVs: Damn. It looks like their latest EP, “Interpunktion” is already sold out. I didn’t get a copy! I hope they saved copies for Madrid Popfest as I need one! If not I’ll be terribly sad!  This EP has 5 brand new songs that were recorded in Cologne at Bear Cave Studio. The story says that the band went to record 2 songs but ended up recording 5 songs in one take! The EP actually hasn’t been released yet, it is supposed to be out on February 9th. But it is already sold out. Incredible! The songs on the record are “Be Enough”, “Dazed Hair”, “»»»»»»»»»”, “`´`´`´`´`´” and “B../”. Some strange song titled in there, right?

The Poetry Book: and let’s end this review with this terrific finding from Osaka, Japan. Actually it seems there’s a connection with Madrid according to their Facebook. And only one band member is listed, Chris W. So that is quite mysterious. But where there is no mystery is in their 3 latest songs that are on Bandcamp: “Out of Love”, “青いドレス [Instrumental]” and “Forever”. They are really really good! How come I haven’t heard about them before? Their fist EP dates from 2015!!

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Returning to England for this post. I kept looking at the videos uploaded by stoneeyedkiller on Youtube for inspiration. There are many bands there I’d like to feature. There are plenty too that I have already covered in the blog, some of which I’ve even interviewed. I’m curious about many, but I’m normally more curious about those bands I don’t own any of their records or haven’t really looked for them on the web. And so, I decide to investigate one of them, see what I can find in the depths of the world wide web, let’s see what’s the story behind 3-Action!

As it has become a routine, I start with Discogs. That is always a good first stop to find out about the band. Even if there is no details about the bands we can at least find out what they have released. In the case of 3-Action! I notice, making their name proud, 3 releases. All of them released by Ediesta Records between 1986 and 1987.

“On the Journey of a Lifetime” was their first release and came out in 1986 on both 7″ and 12″ formats on Ediesta (CALC 3). The songs were “What You Gonna Do When Your Lifeline Snaps?” on the A side and “Matter Batter” on the flip. The 12″ included two more songs on the B side: “Snail With a Gold-Plated Plastic Shell” and “One Track Mind”. It is said that there was actually a video for “Snail With a Gold-Plated Plastic Shell” but sadly it is not available on Youtube. The record was engineered by Andy Tillison at Lion Studios in Leeds. He also provided keyboards on “What You Gonna Do When Your Lifeline Snaps?” .

“(Don’t Lose That) Stealin’ Feelin'” was their second record. Again on Ediesta (CALC23) though this time it was only available as a 12″. There were four songs on this record, “If Only I Had the Guts”, “My Personal Feelings About Love in General”, “Storming Warning” and “It’s a Good Laugh”.

Their last release was yet another 12″ on Ediesta. “A Breath of Fresh Air-Gency” was released in 1987 (CALC35) and included just three songs, “I Get Around”, “Laughing in a Funny Way” and “Stay With Me”.

They also have appeared on a few compilations. In 1986 they contributed the song “Batter Matter” to the LP+Cassette compilation “Hits $ Corruption”. This record includes many well known bands like Sonic Youth, Stump or Pigbros, but I don’t see any indiepop bands on it. Wonder how they ended up there?

The year after, in 1987, they did appear on a well-known indiepop compilation, “Let’s Try Another Ideal Guest House” that was released by Backs Records (Shelter 2). Here they contribute the song “If Only I Had the Guts” and they are in very good company, you see The Close Lobsters, The Television Personalities, The Bats and many more! Graeme Sinclair is credited for compiling this comp which all of its profits were donated to Shelter: National Campaign for the Homeless.

That same year, there was another Shelter compilation called “Gimme Shelter” that was released by the Melody Maker magazine. This was actually a VHS with videos and included was a live video for the song “I Get Around” by 3-Action! which you can see here. I check the comments for this video and I see that the drummer used to live in Ryde St. in Hull while The Housemartins used to name check all the time according to a Youtube user.

In 2008 they were to contribute the song “I Get Around” to the double CD compilation + book “One Man and His Big – 20 Years on the Toilet Tour”. Discogs tells me that this was a Limited Edition book (180 pages) of 2000 copies to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Adelphi Club in Hull, UK. The book comes with 2 cd’s and written contributions by bands such as Radiohead, Pulp, Carter USM, The La’s and many others. There is no bar code or ISBN number, the book just has ‘Made In Hull’ on the spine. Many fine bands are included, The Housemartins, The La’s, The Gargoyles, Pink Noise and more!

Their last compilation appearance dates of 2016 and it is another sort of retrospective comp. On the double CD compilation titled “A Perfect Combination: Fairview Studios 1973-1993” the band appears with the song “Ballad for Flo”. This compilation tells the story of the studio’s first twenty years and the musicians from Hull & East Yorkshire who passed through its legendary doors. You can see many important bands from Hull on it like The Gargoyles, The Beautiful South or International Rescue.

I keep looking, and now I start investigating some comments I see on Youtube. I see someone mentions that according to someone at the NME 3-Action! were the best three piece guitar band since The Jam. Then I find a video Nick Clay from Pink Noise has uploaded of 3-Action! playing “Matter Batter” at The Adelphi in Hull on 12th June of 1987.

I notice that there is an account for vladtheimpaler999 which has the “I Get Around” video I mentioned before but also many more songs by the band. Is this user perhaps one of the band members? He has also uploaded the songs, “I Get Around (Live)“, “Stay With Me“, “Laughing in a Funny Way“, “Matter Batter“, “I Get Around“, “One Track Mind“, “Snail With a Gold Plated Plastic Shell“, “What You Gonna Do When Your Lifeline Snaps?“, “Its a Good Laugh“, “Storming Warning“, “If Only I Had the Guts“, “My Personal Feelings About Love in General” and “Shock Me Sharply“. I listen song after another and I’m hooked. Catchy, and with trumpets!! Why aren’t they more known?? And how come there hasn’t been some sort of retrospective compilation for them? Are there any more recordings other than the ones on the record? It seems like yes, “Shock Me Sharply” wasn’t on the records!

I found a blog post on the Maggot Caviar blog. Here I was going to learn some  important details about the band. First of all the band was formed in 1984 under the name Reaction. Did they release anything under that name? That’s a good question. They were a trio. Perhaps that’s why they have that name, 3-Action! They were Gary Action on bass and vocals, Graham Grasshopper on guitar and Artful Dodger on drums. Sometimes Swift Nick, a promoter and editor of the New Youth fanzine, would make some poetic contributions. They hailed from Hull, more specifically from Grafton Street. It also mentions that when their first single was released by Ediesta the band embarked on a lengthy tour around the UK supporting The Housemartins. Even more exciting is that the author mentions that there was a song called “Mile Apartheid (From South Africa We’re Not So)” in an early demo tape. Oh! Would love to hear that!

My next stop is the Hull Music Archive website. There I find that Gary Action was also called Gareeoch but his real name was Gary Hock. But that’s not all, there’s a proper biography! So at last, some proper details about 3-Action!

The bastard sons of East Hull, radical noise in Hawaiian shirts, trailed a blaze, appealing to all subject to a glue induced haze – from Jimmy Reckitt to Bev Road, through the mid to late ’80s. Apprenticeship served at the Trades & Labour Club, supporting such class acts as The Redskins, Newtown Neurotics, The Membranes… and the afternoon bingo caller. The band became a fixture at the all New Adelphi Club, one of the original three bands “better than the Housemartins” – officially (despite what some misinformed bloke wrote whilst sat on the Adelphi toilet, rewriting history – knob). Memorable gigs include playing with Pulp, The Farm, Brilliant Corners, Soup Dragons and bestest of all, The La’s. 3-Action toured with The Housemartins on the Happy Tour (1986) before releasing their first recording “…On the Journey of a Lifeline” [released on 7 and 12 inch vinyl]. Quickly followed up by another 12″ release, “(Don’t Lose that) Stealin’ Feelin’”. During a publicity trip for “Stealin’ Feelin’” to London, the three intrepid and all-too-innocent boys were abused in the back of Gary Davies’ red sports car – him in the middle together with that poison midget Bruno Brookes (who had been hiding in the glove compartment) made for an uncomfortable ride for the lads. What they did for their art and Hull that day remains largely unspoken but it all proved to be worthwhile… [we didn’t dare ask – HMA Ed] Janice Long rescued them and took them under her wing, with “Stealin’ Feelin’” receiving regular air time on her Radio 1 evening show. “A Breath of Fresh Air-gency”, their final vinyl offering was released in 1987 with an enthusiastic response from a couple of their best mates… and that’s no exaggeration – they thought it was dead good! A couple of further recording sessions at Fairview Studios took place in 1988, kindly sponsored by ex-Housemartin Stan Cullimore, featuring such seminal tracks as Shock Me Sharply and Ballad for Flo.

So this confirms what I was suspecting, “Shock Me Sharply” was from another recording session. And aside from “Ballad for Flo”, were there more songs recorded then? Or not?

And that’s more or less what I could find about them. They seem to have been written off from indiepop history for some reason. It is quite surprising, because they had some fantastic tunes, with trumpets and ramshackling guitars. What else could a popkid want really! Top songs, great artwork, but for some reason they seem to be forgotten. But maybe, some of you remember them and can shed some light? Whatever happened to Gary Action, Graham Grasshopper and Artful Dodger? Did they continue making music?!

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Listen
3 Action! – If Only I Had the Guts

07
Feb

Another week with 3 obscure bands and 1 interview? Seems like it. I have quite a list of bands I want to investigate and I’m just trying to cover many of them before my trip to Spain. After that trip I’ll slow the pace. I guess I’m excited, I’m in indiepop mode. Last year, 2017, I didn’t attend any indiepop festivals and I’m definitely missing that. I miss the parties, the friends, the dancing, the songs, the bands, the conversations, everything! I just can’t wait to get my dose this year!!

Zimt: the other day I saw Ronny posting a very cool video of Zimt playing live at  Augsburg’s Kegelbahnkozerte. Zimt has become one of my favourite contemporary German bands so I thought sharing this cool find where the band plays the song “Wohlstand”. The video looks as it has been shot professionally! So that’s nice too!

Close Lobsters: the classic Scottish band uploaded a new song to SoundCloud titled “February Song” and according to them the name of the song is what it is because they couldn’t think of a better name. The song seems to be a demo, it doesn’t have vocals yet, but the jangly guitars are definitely a treat.

Red Red Eyes: I saw this on my friend David’ Facebook who has an exquisite taste so decided to have a listen. It is not brand new, this was a tape single (limited to 30 copies which is still available by the way) released by Meadows Records from Cambridge UK. The tape single included just two songs, “Untold” and “Theorematic” and both songs sound lovely. I wonder how this has flown under the radar for all this time!

Seahorse: and this was a recommendation from my friend Vernon who told me to buy their CD!! Well, I want to! But the website of their label, Kolibri Records, tells me there is no way to buy the album “Magical Objects” by Seahoarse if I’m in the US. That there are no shipping methods. Damn! That is so unfair. This is a fantastic 10 song album (released last June) that I believe no one should miss! The band is based in Yogyakarta and is formed by Gisela Swaragita, Rudi Yulianto, Judha Herdanta and Aditya Putra.

The Stuts: Patrick O’Sullivan who I interviewed some months ago about his band So She Said has uploaded a new song of his called “Come and Go”. The song is perfomed by The Stuts which is the name he uses for himself and a range of musicians he collaborates with. In this case The Stuts consisted to two So She Said members, himself and Anto Healy.

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    1. East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952. Often described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck’s young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ years old, respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors.
    2. East of Eden is a 1955 film, directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. It is about a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother, thus retelling the story of Cain and Abel. The film stars Julie Harris, James Dean (in his first major screen role), and Raymond Massey. It also features Burl Ives, Richard Davalos, and Jo Van Fleet, and was adapted by Paul Osborn.

It is true I don’t cover that many American bands on the blog, I normally prefer European bands. That is true, most records of my collection come from there. It is just a matter of taste. But of course there are very fine American bands and I’ve only just discovered one from the 80s that sounds surprisingly good!

The first song I ever heard by East of Eden was “The Obscure Wind Ruling” that was uploaded on Youtube by this guy “stoneeyedkiller” who back in the day used to ran the Jangle Pop blog. I don’t know what happened to him. His last upload on Youtube dates from a year ago and it was actually this song.

Now I’m re-listening and I’ve become curious. Who were these janglers? Where did they come from? What did they release? I decide I want to know more, maybe track their records, buy them hopefully. My only hint right now is the name of the band, the name of the song, and possibly the name of their record, I figure out on the blurry image uploaded to Youtube it says “Murder Red Window”.

I find the record on Discogs. I learn it came out in 1987 on Beast of Eden Music Ltd. (EOE-31787). It seems a bit obscure for Discogs. I don’t see the cover art uploaded. It also says that the record was recorded by Scratch Records and was licensed through Penguin Songs Ltd. BMI. The record, a vinyl 12″ EP, included six songs. On the A side there’s “In a Lifetime”, “Suicide Act” and “The Obscure Wind Ruling”. On the B side, “Misery”, “Pat” and “Murder Red Window”.

Then I notice Discogs lists one compilation appearance and also another record called “East of Eden”, a CD album on Squidhead Records. A quick search on the web confirms my suspicion. None of these are releases by the East of Eden that put out “Murder Red Window”.

My first breakthrough in this wild goose chase is a video for the song “In a Lifetime“. Here on the description for the video I find the band members names and what they played:
Rob Eddy – vocals
Rob Meitus – guitar
Steve Wolf – bass
Danny Thomas – drums
Rick Karr – keyboards

Also there are credits to Velvet Grape Productions for production and edition of the video. A comment mentions that the video brings memories of the Moose Lodge. Was this a venue the band used to play often? Then I find out that someone has uploaded the song “Pat” to Youtube. On that song someone has commented that the band hailed from Indiana, more exactly from Purdue University in West Lafayette. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band from there?!

West Lafayette is a city in Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis and 103 miles (166 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette is directly across the Wabash River from its sister city, Lafayette. As of the 2016 census estimate, its population was 45,872. It is the most densely populated city in Indiana and is home to Purdue University.

I start looking for more information. Almost immediately I find a Wikipedia entry for Robert Meitus. It mentions that he was born in Ann Arbor, MI, and had played with East of Eden which was known before as The Sound. Interesting. How did The Sound sound like? Were they the same band members as in East of Eden? Did they release anything? Why did they change names? Then it also says that East of Eden was based both in West Lafayette and Los Angeles. That would make sense, I could see LA on the video for “In a Lifetime”. But when and why did they move to LA? Then it seems Rob moved to New York City to play in a folk group called Dorkestra who released 3 albums.  These days it seems Rob Meitus lives in Blookington, Indiana, and teaches law at Indiana University and manages several music artists.

I find them some information about the drummer, Rick Karr. He was born in Highland, Indiana, and aside from East of Eden he had played in Idiot Savant, The Guests, Teeth and the Man, ‘Two Guys, One Instrument’, West of Lafayette, Chunks of Flesh, Shovel Choir, Tart, West Town Revival and Box Set Authentic.

Another find on the web is that the video for “In a Lifetime” was made by a graphic designer called Joe Steiner.

For Rob Eddy I can’t confirm it or not, but I think he is now a literary fiction writer.

There is a Google hit for a WordPress blog called Girl in Black. Sadly this is a private blog but I can read from the Google description that it says: … concert two long-since-dead Purdue student organizations held in the union ballrooms on halloween night, 1986. the band that played that night, east of eden, is one of my all-time favorite Indiana bands. they didn’t put out many records: a 7″ under another name, and a vinyl EP titled murder red window. after graduation, …

So maybe, just maybe, it means that The Sound released a 7″. This also tells me that the band was already around in 1986.

But that’s about it. This investigation reaches a wall. Not much more on the web. Websites that have been long-deleted. Blogs that I’m unable to access. The information for East of Eden is tiny. Discogs even lists releases from other bands with the same name. No one has made the effort to clear that up so there is no confusion. I try to find a good copy for a good price. There’s one record listed but says heavy ringwear on the sleeve. That makes me feel uneasy. There are no other copies at a fair price. I’ve heard four songs from the record, missing two. I wonder, when will I hear them. If the band had any more recordings other than the EP. What happened to them afterwards. What were their influences being in Indiana in the mid and late 80s. I’m quite curious, hopefully we’ll get to know their story someday soon!

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Listen
East of Eden – In a Lifetime

06
Feb

Thanks so much to Ciarán for the interview! Also thanks to Javi from Pretty Olivia Records for helping me get in touch with Ciarán for this interview after I had written a piece about them some years ago!! As many of you know Cypress, Mine! released on that label a fantastic reissue of their LP “Exit Trashtown” that included much more than the original album. A beautiful packaged release that all indiepop lovers can’t miss. But after listening to it many times now I needed more background information about the band, I wanted to have a better picture of Cork, Ireland, the band, the lineup. So happily Ciarán was up to answering all my questions! And if that’s not enough he has shared with me 3 cool photos, check them out here:

  1. Cypress, Mine! at the Lee Baths, Cork City in 1988. Photoshoot just before launching their 3rd single ‘Sugar Beet God’.
    Left to right: Ciarán (vocals), Ian (Guitar) Mark (drums) and Skoda (bass) Photo by Jim McCarthy.
  2. 1987 Cork docklands… Justine single video shoot
  3. 1986 Second demo tape photo

Hope you enjoy it!

++ Hi Ciarán! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! What are you up to these days? Are you still making music?

Working as a graphic designer in Dublin since I left Cork in the early 90s shortly after the band broke up. No, I don’t make music really but have dabbled a bit from time to time.

++ I wrote about your band on my blog some time ago and then almost immediately I learnt from Javi (Pretty Olivia Records) that you were preparing a re-release of “Exit Trashtown”. It was quite a surprise. But it also took some time. How did this release came to be?

Javi contacted us a few years ago and suggested the idea of re-releasing our album. So we discussed it and since I live in Dublin and Ian, the guitarist lives in London and the remaining members still in Cork it took a while for us to make up our minds. After that, we spent nine months approximately trying to source the analogue tapes which was a big ordeal since some of them could have been thrown out or lost. Luckily, Joe O’Herlihy who is U2’s Audio Director had kept the original master tapes for Exit Trashtown but we spent a lot of time looking for other tapes including our last demo tape which we were eager to get out there. Then, a lot of time was spent on the artwork as we had to reproduce the original artwork plus a whole new idea for the second LP In Pieces.
Also Javi introduced us to OMG in Brooklyn, New York and we were going to co-release the album with OMG and Pretty Olivia Records. Unfortunately, OMG were not in a position to release it in 2017 so we went back to the original idea of releasing it with Pretty Olivia Records only. So we lost a lot of time during the talks with OMG.

++ And for those who are unfamiliar with your band, what can one expect and what is in this record, which I think is unmissable!?

Thanks for that. The main LP Exit Trashtown was recorded in 1987 and was recorded in a small 8-track studio in Cork. It was the first rock LP recorded in the city and was all self-financed but an Irish label called Solid Records pressed it and distributed it for us. As a band we were always interested in trying new things and this is probably due to some of our punk influences or roots. The original band (without me) included Sean Lenihan who was in a punk band called Urban Blitz in 1980. We formed in 1984 and it took us a while to get our own sound which originally was a little bit punky with the guitar sounds of the Go Betweens and the Smiths. When we released the album, we released three singles to accompany it and the last one, Sugar Beat God was not on the original album but it gave a clue to the type of sound that we recorded in our later demo tapes in 1988/89. This sound was still jingly jangly but was influenced by the grunge and harmonies of the likes of Husker Du. So the second album has these demo tapes and a collection of our singles as well.

++ So, let’s go back in time to get the full picture of the band! Was wondering first of all, what are your first music memories, like what sort of music did you play home or what was your first instrument?

Thats an easy question cause I tried and failed badly at piano and guitar and haven’t managed since to conquer them. Luckily in Ian, Mark and Denis I had excellent musicians to get me out of that hole.
The type of music that I used to hear as I was growing up was mainly Irish tradional music and classical music. But by the time I was 16 and started going to gigs, I was lucky enough to see a really healthy Cork and Irish music scene happen. I used to go to these gigs to take photographs and I watched bands like Microdisney, Five go down to the Sea, U2, Virgin Prunes all start off. Also bands from the UK such as The Fall, the Specials, Wah, Heat! played locally in Cork.

++ And then what inspired you to have a band?

Good question. A lot of my friends were in bands and they seemed to be having great fun and were getting fairly successful. Obviously I liked music and had it in my mind that I would like to give it a try and one day I met Mark Healy by chance outside our local record shop and he was asking me if I knew anyone who wanted to be a singer in his band. I said I didn’t but I would be happy to give it a try myself. The following week I went to their practice room which was above a chip shop in the Grand Parade, Cork and I listened and made some noises and it just carried on from there. The band at that stage were called the Playroom and were really only finding their feet. I’d say it took another year before we put a few proper songs together because I certainly had no background in it.

++ Had you all been involved in bands prior to Cypress, Mine!? If so, which bands and how did they sound?

No, just taking their photos!

++ How did the band start? How did you all know each other? How was the recruiting process? Originally there was a different singer, right?

There was a different guitarist, Sean and I believe a different singer for a little while but that was well before Cypress, Mine! were formed. As I mentioned by the time I met up with Ian and Skoda for the first time in the practice room over the chipper they were called the Playroom and Ian suggested at that stage that we should change our name to The Classical. Cypress, Mine! were only formed around that stage.

++ And just out of curiosity why was Denis O’Mullane called Skoda?

Denis when I first met him used to drive a little Fiat Panda car. We loved playing around with words in the band especially Mark so since Fiat was made in Italy we decided to call him Denis O Milan which then changed to Fiat O Milan but then he changed cars to a van and we had to change his name to Skoda because he no longer had the Fiat. These days, he cycles a lot so maybe the name should change!

++ Before being in the band I read you had been a photographer of the early punk scene in Cork. How was that experience?

It was fantastic. I met a lot of people from all over the world as they came to play in the Arcadia in Cork. I also learnt how to take photos the old fashioned way with film which helped me get work when I left school. It was a real eye opener as I was very young going to these gigs and very naive.

++ What’s the story behind the band’s name? I’ve seen it written sometimes as Cypress Mine too, what was the correct form to write it?

The right way is Cypress, Mine! and as I mentioned we loved playing with words. We thought it might get attention with the extra punctuation and also annoy some people as well. It was always a talking point which was a good idea to get people’s attention.
Regarding the actual name, as you know we toyed with the idea of being called The Classical for about two weeks while throwing other words and ideas into the mix as well. Eventually during one practice Mark shouted one word and I added another word and that’s where Cypress, Mine! came from.

++ What sort of music were you all into at the time? Who would you say were your influences?

Because I saw all the bands in the Arcadia, I started to like the Liverpool bands, Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Pete Wiley and then later the Smiths, Go Betweens, the Cure, Let’s Active, Prefab Sprout. I remember Ian liking the Byrds, Glen Campbell and Crass. Skoda was a big Julian Cope fan. Later on, I started to become aware of Husker Du, Jane’s Addiction but I always loved the Cork bands who wrote about their own place in their own voice.

++ How was Cork back then? Were there any like-minded bands? Where did you usually hang out? What were the good record stores, or venues to go and check out up and coming bands?

eat and healthy scence with a fair few small gigs. We started in a place called the Underground, and played in parks, played on the back of trucks and later graduated to Sir Henry’s which was the best and the biggest gig around at the time. Other bands like Porcelyn Tears, Real Mayonaisse, Burning Embers, Belsonic Sounds were formed around the same time but we all had our own individual sounds. Having said that there were many average bands around as well!
Our favourite band at the time was a band called Without The who were rocky, punky, melodic and funny all the same time. Later on, other good bands sprouted up like The 3355409’s, Sultans of Ping and Frank & Walters. At that stage, we had moved on, concentrating on Dublin and London so we did not keep up to date with all that was going on. In 1989, we broke up of course and interestingly enough since there was not that many great record shops in Cork at that stage, a guy called Brian O’Kelly asked me to help set up a branch of Comet Records in Cork in 1990. Comet were the company that put out our first two songs on vinyl (Swallow and Sounds Like Rain) and had a very successful record shop in Dublin. Fairly soon after that I moved to Dublin to work in design.

++ How was the creative process for Cypress, Mine!?

We basically met in our practice room for a couple of hours two or three nights a week where I recorded the melodic noise that the others created on a sony walkman tape recorder. I listened back and tried to find vocal ideas from that and then the lyrics came at a later stage. As the guys were very talented and sometimes practiced on their own and came up with song structures, my job was the easy part.

++ I read that you were managed by Tony O’Donoghue who is now a sports commentator. What did he bring to the table? How was your relationship with him? I suppose lots of sports talk?

No, there was very little sports talk as he was only starting out in his career on radio at that stage. He started out reviewing music and then later moved to sport. Tony was very persuasive and was a good talker which was very handy when we were organising gigs and talking to record companies. He had a wider view on things which was helpful too.

++ Where did you usually practice?

We had two practice rooms. We started off above a chipper sharing with the Belsonic Sounds who were a reggae band. Then we moved to a building close to the City Hall in Cork which was above a paint shop.

++ Was your first ever “release” the 2 song demo tape wth “Swallow” and “Talk to the Wall”? This tape was mostly sold at gigs alongside other demo tapes of yours like “The Bible – Part 2”. How many copies were made? And were were these recorded? What other sort of merch did you use to sell at gigs?

Have no idea how many copies we sold or made. We didn’t sell any other merch. I think we recorded these in Sulan Studios in Ballyvourney which is in West Cork.

++ In 1986 and 1987 you appeared on two compilations by Comet Records. This was a small retail chain in Ireland. Was wondering how important were they? Or what can you tell me about this store and label, and how did it help you make a name in town?

Yeh this was very important to us because it gave us our first radio plays and videos and also got our name out there especially in Dublin. The record store in Dublin were looking for local Irish bands to put on their two releases and they liked us so put us on twice. The shop itself in Dublin was very important. It was one of the few places in Dublin at the time that you could get our type of music and was very busy. It had a great scene around it. You’d see a lot of people hanging around outside the shop and always seemed to be very busy inside.

++ Your first proper record was the fantastic “Justine” 7″! I hope to find a copy one day, it might as well be my favourite Cypress, Mine! song. But I wonder if there’s any chance if you could tell me the story behind this song?

I suppose its just a very simple love song written from a fairly naive perspective…. a kind of first love breakup type of a song…… just talking about the games that people play in those situations. In fact, the girl the song was written about (her name was not Justine!) made a brief appearance in the equally rare video of the song.

++ This record and your next record “In the Big House” 7″ came out on Solid Records. Who were Solid Records and how did you end up signing with them?

Solid Records were also Dublin based but run by a Cork man – Denis Desmond of MCD promotions. He signed a lot of Irish bands around that time and released a lot of vinyl on the label, most of it now is fairly rare. Again this was very helpful as we got bigger gigs like playing with Echo and the Bunnymen in Belfast and more TV and Radio plays from it as they were “a recognised label”.

++ In 1988 your LP “Exit Trashtown” is released. It says that the name of the album refers to a place in County Cork called Trashertown. What’s that about?

As I mentioned earlier, often in practice we used to play around with words. A lot of my song titles changed because we wanted a better title or we were bored or just for the fun of it. The same thing happened when we were looking for a title for the album. Someone came up with the word trashtown first and then Exit seemed to be a good word to put before it….. it kinda reflected where we were at the time. We had recorded an album, the first rock album in Cork that we self-financed, we started to play shows all over Ireland and the UK. We just wanted to say that it was possible to do things with a bit of work. Yeh it was mentioned that there was a place in north Cork called Trasherstown, but it had nothing to do with that.

++ This record was produced by Dennis Herlihy, how was that experience?

Dennis was our live sound engineer and it was great working with him in the studio. He was very inventive especially since it was only an 8-track studio. He managed to bounce a lot of tracks to make it faux 16-track, splice- up tape and played it backwards and invented a lot of solutions and sounds to help us along. Of course, we also had Peter West engineering who recorded our last demo with us which we were very happy with. A few tracks were also produced by Joe O’Herlihy during that time as well and Joe did our live sound occasionally when he wasn’t working for U2.

++ In 1988 there was yet another 7″, “Sugar Beat God”. At this time, I want to ask about the artwork of all your releases. There is something very 80s about them but at the same time timeless. Was wondering who made them, and what was your expectations for them?

The artwork (old style- cut & paste with very little computers involved) was done by our friends Mick and Conor and the photograph on the album was taken by another photographer friend of mine called Jim McCarthy. We, of course, had a lot of input into the artwork, again you’ll notice the wordplay on Sugar Beat God sleeve. The new double album was a challenge for me because I had to re-design the original album again and finding all the old material was an ordeal. Also, I had to tie in the two albums together.

++ “Sugar Beat God” has a video filmed in London by Roy Fairweather. Whereabouts was it recorded? What memories from that day? Did you spend much time in London?

Super Channel which were tied in to MTV in some way met us down in the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town in London. This venue was run by Jon Fatbeast who later became famous with his involvement with Carter USM. We used to gig there a lot. They recorded us playing on stage there and then took me out on the streets of Kentish where we filmed on the high street in front of a church. That was during the time that we spent about a month in London playing lots of gigs and squatting all over the place.

++ There is also another video on Youtube for the song “Last Night I Met the Man”? I’ve only seen this a few days ago, where does this footage come from? Is that you dressed as a girl?

Yea that’s me in the dress alright. It was filmed for an Irish language programme in 1988/1989 and I shot some new video around Dublin that I mixed in with it. Also there are some clips from our last ever live show in it which was in a school in Cork.

++ The last time we hear from you is with the song “Sugar Beat God” on a tape compilation on Solid Records called “Solid Citizens”. Wondering, aside from this compilation and the two Comet ones, were there any other compilation appearances by the band?

No I don’t think so.

++ Are there any unreleased material by Cypress, Mine! or has everything been released?

There is some but not much. Most of the best stuff has been released.

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? What were the best ones that you remember?

I have no idea of how many gigs but there was many. Some of the best gigs for us were in places like Kilkenny, Waterford, Sir Henry’s Cork and the Bull and Gate in London. Some of the gigs were we supported bigger bands were great as well. Meeting Rory Gallagher after he came to see us in the Mean Fiddler was something that I’ll always treasure.

++ Where there any bad ones? Any anecdotes you could share?

One of the worst ones for me personaly was we were due to play with some other bands in Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin. I think it was due on TV as well. As the day wore on I began feeling worse and worse and started to lose my voice and came down with the flu. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything later that night but all the guys including some friends in Dublin were all urging me saying that it will be alright. We were holed up in a pub across the road and just as we were about to go to the venue I heard the news that the PA blew up so luckily for me I got away with that one but felt absolutely crap about it. Another time in Tralee we played the Abbey Inn. There were very few people in the pub and I think we were run out of the pub by the owner. I just don’t think we were his taste and rumour has it that we weren’t the first ones it happened to!

++ Where was the farthest from home that you played? And which bands did you like sharing the bill with?

I suppose the London gigs were the furthest away from Cork. We played with Microdisney in the Mean Fiddler in London which was fantastic, as I mentioned the Echo and the Bunnymen gig in Belfast, U2 in Cork, the Bluebells in Kerry, and Aztec Camera in the Olympic Ballroom in Dublin. They were all great gigs.

++ On the Irish Rock website it mentions you appeared on the TV show “TV Ga Ga” in 1986. How did that happen? Were there any other TV shows where you were invited?

Not sure how it happened but it was probably Tony asking and harassing people! I think we were also on a show called Borderline, at around the same time. We were also on Irish Language Programmes as well as some local Cork television.

++ Then what happened? When and why did you split?

One of our best gigs was in Ian’s old school. We had been invited along to play to the students in Spring of 89 and we played some new material mixed with the old. The students loved it and we were performing really well as a band. We had recently finished recording our last demo which we were really happy with and had sent that out to various people. So we had recorded something that we were very happy with and played an awful lot of gigs at that stage but we didn’t seem to be progressing the way we wanted to in the music business. So I guess we just grew frustrated and impatient at the lack of progress.

++ What did you all do after? Were you involved with music still?

I did a bit of DJing, helped to get Comet Records started in Cork and began to do graphic design. I did a lot of posters for bands and a bit of photography to do with the music scene in Cork at that stage. After that I moved to Dublin.

++ Did you get much attention from the radio or press? What about fanzines?

Yea we got a lot of local press in Cork and some in Dublin. There was a few guys in Dublin like George Byrne who really helped us out but the Dublin journalists concentrated a lot on the Dublin bands at the time. Strangely enough even though I was involved in fanzines personally a few years before the band, there didn’t seem to be many around in the mid – 80s.

++ Today, aside from music, what do you all do? What other hobbies do you have?

Mainly graphic design and photography.

++ Have you ever thought or have played any reunion gigs?

Yes we have talked about it but we have nothing planned.

++ And today, are you still based in Cork? How has the town changed? If one was to visit, what would you say are the sights not to miss, or the traditional food one has to try?

I don’t live in Cork now and I rarely get back there.

++ Looking back in time, in retrospective, what would you say was the biggest highlight about being in Cypress, Mine!?

Making some decent records, recording our last demo, playing some decent gigs and having fun along the way with three or four others while doing it….. and of course meeting Rory Gallagher!

++ Thanks again, anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks very much for the interview, Roque. Some great questions and hopefully some of my answers might help to clear up a few of the rumours that I have occasionally seen! Keep an eye out on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as we will be occassionally updating it. Cheers.

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Listen
Cypress, Mine! – Justine

05
Feb

So last week was quite a busy one for the blog, 4 posts!! Three obscure bands plus one interview. I wonder how will this week fare. I’m kind of making it up to you all as I won’t be posting for a whole week at the end of the month as I’m going to Spain for 9 days. So maybe if you can’t keep up with my pace now, during that time you should be able to catch up with the blog.

So why don’t we cut the chase and start with my new pop findings?

Graham Fellows: after 33 years he is back! I love his first album, “Love at the Hacienda”, which is available again at his Bandcamp, and now finally after all that time Graham is back with a new album titled “Weird Town”. It is a bit different though, maybe more folky and introspective, more mature you could say, but still the lyrics, they are great! This new 13-track album was recorded in his home studio in Lincolnshire. If you are not aware who Graham is, well, you should know that Graham was the new wave icon Jilted John who then turned to be John Shuttleworth. And in even better news you should know he will be touring the UK promoting this new album! Exciting!

Ella Blixit: don’t know much about this Stockholm artist. Just saw that some friends were going to be attending a gig of hers and decided to have a listen. And I thought the songs from her “Broken EP” sounded great. Definitely this is not strictly indiepop, but it is poppy, with some great melodies thrown in there. It is electronic pop, mind you. But it is classy and elegant. A bit like what Club 8 has been transforming into in their last albums. The EP has four songs, “Winners”, “Broken”, “What We’re Asking” and “Zu Zu Sami”. My favourite, “Zu Zu Sami”.

Lindh: the band sharing that gig I saw with Ella Blixit is called Lindh. So I thought why not, let’s find it and have a listen. I could only find one song on SoundCloud titled “Heartcourt”. It is a nice song, electronic pop again, and even though it is a bit hipsterish for many of us popkids, it is quite enjoyable. I look for any other details about Lindh and see that she is based in Stockholm/Uppssala and was previously half of the band Lissi Dancefloor Disaster.

Luby Sparks: some weeks ago I recommended the new video for Luby Sparks song “Thursday”. Well that video is no more. Instead they have uploaded a much nicer video for that song! So check out the latest one by the fantastic Japanese band whose releases I still don’t have. What’s the best way to get them? Any tips? I was supposed to trade with their previous label, but haven’t heard from them in ages. Not good!

Strawberry Punks: it is actually not the name of a band but the name of the new compilation that is available to stream on the fab Dismantled Records from Jakarta, Indonesia. There are 5 songs by 5 different bands. We have The Shoptalks’ “Makiko”, The Whistling Possum’s “Them Are Pigs”, Grrrl Gang’s “Just a Game” (my favourite of the comp!), Kaveh Kanes’ “This is Pure” and Odd Gesture’s “Sick of You”. The label says that these songs are a very good way too start 2018. I’m not going to argue that!

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Afterglow: light or radiance remaining in the sky after the sun has set.

It seems without giving it too much thought I’m researching bands from all over the world and not just the ones from the British Isles. That is a good thing, right? Today I wanted to find out more about Afterglow, who I thought I owned their records, but looking through my database I noticed I actually don’t know any of them!! I have to fix that of course. So I had a look on Discogs and found a copy of their only vinyl release, a 7″, for a fair price. Sadly I’m still missing their two CD EPs.

I also think that they should be included in that compilation I dream of Australian indiepop from the 80s and 90s. Hopefully one day I can put it together.

Afterglow were based in Melbourne and they were around in the early 90s. They were more of a shoegaze band, and as I said they put out only 3 releases. As soon as you open Discogs you get two names that were involved in the band Dave Wroe and Greg Ng. But we see a photo of four people. This will be the one of the mysteries to solve.

But let’s start in order. 1992. That year they were to release a 7″ on one of the best indiepop labels from Australia, Summershine Records (SHINE 023). The record had two songs, one on each side. On the A side there is “Fall Behind” and on the B side there’s “Melt Down”. Both songs were recorded in November 1991 at C’est Ca Studios which was a recording studio based in the area of Collingwood in Melbourne. At this same place The Sugargliders used to record. The engineer was Dave Hannan. Other credits on the sleeve tell us that the band took care of the art and that the record was distributed by Shock Records. The vinyl itself had runout etchings. On the A side it says “Shoegazers of the World Unite”.

The next year, 1993, the band released a CD EP on the Supersonic Records label (SS103). I look on Discogs for this label. It says it was an Australian Rock and Shoegaze label but the only releases that appear are those by Afterglow. But this was catalog SS103. What was SS101 or SS102? No clues yes. Maybe it was their own label? In any case this first CD EP by the band was called “Vision” and it had 5 songs proper, though there is a 6th unlisted track which is actually all of the 5 listed songs together on one track. What does that mean? That “Lost in the Funhouse”, “Stay So Young”, “Slow Song”, “Vision” and “Fall Behind”, the 5 songs from the record, are played twice. The credits tell us that Paul Sloss did the artwork, with photography by Beth Cook and Ritchie Brooks. The songs were produced and recorded by Dave Hannan. The engineer was Michael Hewes. There is a bassist listed for the first four songs, James Brown.

In 1994 the band released another CD EP, “Teddy’s Got a Gun”. It came out on the same label, Supersonic Records (SS104) and again they did that same trick with the unlisted track at the end, though this time after playing the 6 songs included in the EP they added a 7 song, “Vision”, from the previous EP. All in one track, the 7th. The songs on the EP were “Run For Your Wife”, “Mirror”, “Raccoon”, “Where You Are”, “Bright and Eady” and “Teddy’s Got a Gun”. This time the art was created by Grant Adam with photography by Jim Kellam and Ritchie Brooks. The songs were produced, recorded and mixed by Dave Hannan. We also see that “Where You Are” had synthesizers credited to Ritchie Brooks as well.

I see on the sleeve of this EP that they actually had a Fanclub, and it seems they were based in the area of Bulleen in Victoria. Bulleen is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 13 km north-east of Melbourne’s Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Manningham. The name Bulleen originates from the nearby Bolin Bolin Billabong. Buln-Buln translates to lyrebird, which is generally accepted to be the suburb’s name meaning.

Also here I see what instruments each of the band members play. Dave Wroe played guitar and vocals, Greg Ng played guitar and vocals too, while we see Rob played drums and percussion and Marcel played bass. No last names for Rob or Marcel. One more mystery to solve?

That same year they appeared on the compilation “All in the Family” that was released by Mushroom Distribution (DOC8000). It was a comp made for the children of East Timor and included 15 songs. Afterglow appears last with the song “Run For Your Wife”. The next year, 1995, they appeared on the “Just a Taste” a compilation Slumberland Records (Slumberland 008) released as a sampler of Australian indiepop. Here the band appears along so many classic bands like the Tender Engines, The Rainyard, The Earthmen and more. Afterglow contributes the song “Fall Behind”.

Their last sort of compilation appearance was on the first Munch video compilation. Released in 1994 on VHS by Season Records (Season Two), it included videos by many classic bands from the time like The Cat’s Miaow, Even as We Speak, Boyracer, The Magnetic Fields and more. I remember these videos being up on Youtube some years ago, now I can’t find them all. One of the ones that I can’t find is the one by Afterglow and their video for the song “Lost in the Funhouse”. A shame really. I can’t remember what it was like. Would love to see it again.

I look for the band members. I see Dave Wroe was part of the band Feverdream that released an album called “You Don’t Know Us But We Know Who You Are” released by Satellite Records. On the other hand I see that Greg Ng was part of the band Snout when they released the albums “The New Pop Dialogue” in 1996 and “Circle High and Wide” in 1998. After those two albums Greg left the band.

A mention of Afterglow appears on The Steinbecks website. When telling the story of The Sugargliders they mention that they used to offer gigs to Afterglow. But that’s about it. I can’t find anything else about Afterglow on the web. The mysteries remain unresolved. What happened to them? Why did they split? What other bands were they involved with? And what are they doing now? Who remembers them?!

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Listen
Afterglow – Fall Behind