22
May

So the Pale Spectres 7″ got delayed until June. The pressing plant gave me this excuse:
Yes, the 7″ press mold had a problem and many orders were pressed off-center (including yours), so the press had to be stopped for one week while a new mold was installed, then we had to make new labels for the repress of your order. All is fixed now and the press works fine. It just caused a lot of delay on 7″ orders that we have to catch up. Your order is planned to ship out on June 6th or sooner.

I’m very sorry about this delay. As you can see, they didn’t tell me anything in advance. As I was waiting and waiting for the record to arrive, thinking it would be by my door any day, I wrote to ask about it to the pressing plant. And only then I got this reply. I’m beyond frustrated. But I really hope they wait is worth it, that the record looks and sounds gloriously.

My main concern of course is that I will be away on vacations starting this Thursday, the 25th, until June 7th. I will be in Finland most of the time, with one-day trips to Tallinn, Estonia, and Luleå, Sweden. During the time I’m away I won’t be able to post any orders. So any orders placed during those days I will post as soon as I get back to New York. There are some good news though, by the time I’m back, The Potting Sheds compilation release should be arriving. Tentatively the release date by this fab release will be June 15th!

Don’t have that many news for this week, a shame as there won’t probably be any other posts for two weeks or so, but I’ll let you know the few tidbits of indiepop news from around the world I could gather the past days.

Firestation Records is celebrating their 20th anniversary with a concert in Berlin. 2 bands have been announced, the legendary The Railway Children and the up-and-coming New Street Adventure (who I don’t know yet). You can check more information for this October 21st gig at the Privatclub through the event page on Facebook.

So I go to check out New Street Adventure. I know I already like The Railway Children and was already lucky enough to see them last year at NYC Popfest. I go to their website, and their to the music tab. The London band have a new album titled “Stubborn Sons” that came out on March 24th on the Acid Jazz label. I press play on the Soundcloud, the first song to play is “Hangin’ On Hangin’ Up”. It is not exactly indiepop, but it is poppy enough for my taste. I like it. It may not be my favourite sort of music, but it is very enjoyable. I’ll try the next one, “Why Should We Do Anything?”. More soul-pop. This one not as uptempo as the first one. Maybe I skip to another one. But I don’t find any other song I like as much as the first one. To each their own then.

Then of course The Popguns are back! They unveiled a new video for the song “So Long” that will be included in their next album titled “Sugar Kisses” on Matinée. It is said that the album will be out sometime around June 9th. The song sounds timeless. The Popguns never disappoint. Sadly for me this song was also released as a promo CD single, limited to just 20 copies, with the song “Sugar Kisses”. Of course, because the time difference and all, when I went to Bandcamp to see if I could buy a copy, it was already sold out. Anyways, very happy to see them back in form and I hope to catch them live one more time. That time at NYC Popfest was unforgettable!

Sea Blite is a band I stumbled upon on Youtube. I found their song “Cerulean” and thought, well, this actually sounds pretty good! Who are they? They have a Soundcloud but there’s nothing in there. It does say though that this song will be out soon on Death Records. I check this label’s website. Not very indiepop, more hipster than anything, but I can’t find any information about the band. I believe they are from California, but I could be wrong.

My last discovery is the band Atrás Tigre from Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I find them on Bandcamp, through their label Triunvirato. Their new album, released May 19th, came out as a 10-song LP. All of the songs can be streamed and they seem to be in Galician, I don’t think since I’ve heard indiepop in this language since I heard some few Aerolíneas Federales songs in that language so long ago. They have a dark feel to the songs, maybe influenced by Décima Víctima, but not losing their pop sensibility. It is very interesting. I look forward to ordering this record as soon as I come back from vacations. On their Bandcamp they have two other releases, one that is just a song, “Escapar”, and a tape EP titled “Atrás Tigre”. The band is formed by Pedro, Olalla, Xiana, Lois, José Ramón and Ibán.

And that’s the roundup for this week. When I’m back I hope to have an update for Pale Spectres and Potting Sheds. Seems June will be a very busy month for Cloudberry!

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Sonic Flower Groove is the debut album by Scottish indie rock band Primal Scream, released on 5 October 1987. Sonic Flower Groove featured psychedelic, Byrdsy jangle pop and was the only Primal Scream album to feature founder member Jim Beattie (credited as ‘Jim Navajo’). The album sold well enough to reach number 62 in the UK Album Chart, but performed poorly by major-label standards. The disappointment was a major reason for the original Primal Scream splitting up shortly after Sonic Flower Groove, leaving vocalist Bobby Gillespie and the guitar duo of Andrew Innes and Robert “Throb” Young to reorganize the band.

But not today. I won’t speak of Primal Scream. But about a band from Germany that named themselves after their first album, Sonic Flower Groove.

They released one record. One 7″ titled “Beeblebrox Ravin'”. I hope one day it can be part of my collection. So far I haven’t managed to have it at home. I know so little about this band, and as you can expect, there is very little written about them on the web as well.

I guess the name of the EP made me curious. What is Beeblebrox? I guess I’m not too cool, as I didn’t know that Zaphod Beeblebrox is a fictional character in the various versions of the humorous science fiction story The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.He is from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and is a “semi-half-cousin” of Ford Prefect, with whom he “shares three of the same mothers”. Because of “an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine”, his direct ancestors from his father are also his direct descendants.

That also explains the name of the first song on this 7″ EP: “Zaphod Told Me”. The other song on the A side was titled “Lush”. On the B side, on the other hand, the songs are “London” and “Mother”. The record was released in 1991 by the label Heaven Sent (catalog HS 003). But to be honest I’ve never heard any of these songs. What I’ve heard are the songs the band released on many compilations.

They participated in 1990 in a tape compilation titled “Heaven Sent”, guess who released that? Heaven Sent too of course. The song that they contributed was “See The Light”. On Heaven Sent they shared the tape with among others The Wilde Plains who I’ve interviewed before. We’ll come back to this in a bit.

Next year they were to contribute the song “Strange Thoughts” to the tape compilation “It’s All About Love” on the Smuf label (catalog SMUF 003). The Smuf label was a pre-Firestation Records label that released also a Greek only indiepop tape compilation and the classic CD compilation “16 Goldene Hits” that I’ve mentioned before on the blog. On “It’s All About Love” the band shares the tape with so many fantastic indiepop bands, from The Aurbisons to Panda Pops.

In 1993 the band was to contribute the song “Summer” for another Heaven Sent compilation: “Try Another Flavour!”. This was HS 004 and was actually a CD compilation.  Many classic indiepop bands appear here that I’ve interviewed before like Jane Pow or Rorschach.

The band continues with their contribution to compilations, but no other release. Why no album? Why no other 7″? Who knows. The song “Blue” appears on the “Garage-Flowers” tape compilation by the Baby Talk label. It feels more of an international compilation. There are Australian bands, Spanish bands, French bands and of course German bands.

Their last contribution to a compilation is for another tape in 1995. It is for the Bliss Aquamarine tape “Sapphire”. They actually appear with two songs this time, “Cloudburst” and “Up Here”. Other cool bands to check out in this compilation are Peru and The Waiting List.

Remember I said I was going to go back to the Wilde Plains interview? Well, that’s because on that interview I actually got some information about this band. Just a little, but still, much more than in the whole world wide web. One of the members of The Wilde Plains, Andi, had been part of the band. It seems the scene in Worms was a bit small and a lot of the bands shared members. Andi was the keyboardist in The Wilde Plains. I had interviewed Bernd who played guitars and did the vocals.

But I get to know a little bit more thanks to this interview. Heaven Sent was run by Ralf Hoffmann, nicknamed “Hopemann”. He was actually also a member of Sonic Flower Groove. At least we know one name from the band. Not the girl vocalist, but probably the guitar player.

And this is when I hit a wall. I can’t find much more about them. But now it is when I ask your help. Do you remember them? In which other Worms bands were the members involved? Did they record any more songs? Maybe you have a spare copy of the 7″? Anything would help!

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Listen
Sonic Flower Groove – Cloudburst

19
May

Thanks a thousand to Seán McDermott for this thorough interview! Mickey Rourke’s Fride was the Irish label that released the beloved Hey Paulette back in the 80s. But those weren’t their only releases. There were a few compilations where one could discover the great sounds of The Skips or Dale Arden and the Claymen. The label was to reappear, under the name Disques Fridge, in the noughties releasing some fine releases like Crumb or Aeromodeller’s albums worth checking out if you haven’t yet. On this interview Seán was kind enough to tell me a bit about almost every band involved in the label, the label itself and Dublin of course. Now sit back and enjoy.

++ Hi Seán! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! We got in touch thanks to my post about Feargal is the Applejack here on the blog. So far I haven’t been able to find any other information about this band, but maybe you can help? Like do you remember what years they were active? Who were the band members? And what did they do afterwards?

I was out on the town with Colm from Hey Paulette. The Underground in Dame Street was the centre of the Dublin scene back then, and we fancied a beer there, but we didn’t want to pay in or anything, so we introduced ourselves at the door as the guys from Mickey Rourkes Fridge + blagged our way in for free, not really caring who was playing, which was Feargal is the Applejack.

They turned out to be a great band! We got talking afterwards, they were nice guys as well as talented, so they ended up on our 1st compilation ‘DOSTOEVESKY..?’ + then on the follow-up, ‘MY FAVOURITE THINGS’.

They broke up about 1994 or 5. I think. We kept in touch for a while, then we didn’t. I don’t think any more music followed from any of the guys.

++ I think most people will know your label thanks to Hey Paulette who are a beloved band for the indiepop crowd. You released two records by them. The first release on the label was their 7″. How did you know them? And how did you convince them to be your first release ever on the label?

I knew Éamonn from Secondary School (High School to you!)+ Derrick had been in a band with me: uptight!, Dublin’s only No Wave band, as far as we know.

I had also been the stand-up drummer in the 1st HP line-up, with Éamonn on bass, then I became their ‘manager’, kinda, or ‘5th Beatle’, as it were.

We wanted to make a record, + we figured no one else was going to give us money, so we did it ourselves. That was the ‘Commonplace’ 7”.

++ Before that release, had you had any experience working in a label? Or perhaps putting out any releases?

No, the only experience any of us had of records before then was listening to them.

++ What inspired you to start a label? Would you say there were any other labels influence in Mickey Rourke’s Fridge?

Like I said up above, we wanted to make a record + DIY was the only way we could see that happening. Everything else spiralled out from there.

Label influences were Motown, Sun + Rough Trade, of course, Fast Product/Pop:Aural + Factory a bit…

the BIG one was always Postcard; I’m sure you can tell!

++ And yeah, why the name of the label? It is definitely original!

NOT from ‘9½ Weeks’, which you might think, but from two earlier movies.

In two consecutive flicks, Mickey beats up the fridge when he gets bad news: In ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’, when his girlfriend leaves him; in ‘The Year of the Dragon’, when his girlfriend gets killed.

An NME review of ‘Dragon’ pointed this out + said it must be in his contract. He’s my favourite actor, then + now, + that line stuck with me + sounded like a good name for a label when the time came a few years later.

++ If you were to pick a Mickey Rourke movie, which would that be?

‘Rumble Fish’ fer shure, but ’Angel Heart’ not far behind.

++ You were based in Dublin then, and I wonder if you are originally from there? And how was the scene in the late 80s there? What were the venues where you would go check out bands, or the neighborhoods you would hang out?

We’re all from Dublin, south of the river, near the canal, originally: Bluebell, Ballyfermot, Inchicore. The Underground on Dame Street was the centre of the scene, also The Baggot Inn, + bars like The Clarendon, Bartley Dunne’s, The (old) Pygmalion, all near the city centre.

++ What about the artwork for the label? Did you take care of that part as well?

I did most of it, with a little help from my friends in Saatchi & Saatchi, an ad agency where I worked at the time, but we all pitched in ideas.

++ And was it easy to distribute your records? Did you manage to create interest abroad?

We found distribution OK in Ireland. In the UK, we were lucky enough to catch the attention of Keith Cullen from Setanta Records, who helped with the logistics, + John Peel + the music press, who created some level of interest.

++ Did you ever work with artists that weren’t Irish?

Well, some of our wider circle, including me, have English blood to go along with our Irish hearts, + there was a stray Scotsman, Harry McNamara, on DOSTOEVESKY, as well as a Detroit band called Icehead, featuring ex-pat Cormac Wright, who was part of a very early version of Something Happens!

++ Your second release was a 7″ compilation where you actually are part of it as a musician with the Wayfaring Strangers. Tell me a bit about your music. What are your releases? What instruments do you play? Have you been in other bands? What about your musical influences?

On that record, the band was me + Hey Paulette, with Hugh on fiddle, harmonies from Peigí + Nicola, + Helen on tambourine. Another line up of the Wayfs recorded an album in the early 90’s but the tapes went missing + only re-surfaced a short while ago. I’d like to release that in the next while.

Grievous Angels was a band name I made up for the ‘jesus + jack daniels’ Country House remix on DOSTOEVESKY. When Dave Fanning’s producer, Ian Wilson rang up + asked if we had more like this, I immediately said yes – tho’ of course we didn’t – then recorded some home demos which turned into a Dave Fanning Session. The other Angels were Peigí + Nicola from the Wayfs + Pat + Martin from Fréres Jackman.

Years later, I put together a band called $1,000 wedding, with an album ‘exile on dame street’ that marked the emergence of Disques Fridge.

I mostly sing + play guitar, a little mandolin with the Wayfs. I’ve also been known to play bass + keyboards, + I can get sounds out of the ukulele + harmonica, tho’ not at the same time!

++ On this same compilation there’s a band I really like and that I know about nothing, that I was actually planning to write about them, Dale Arden and The Claymen. Who were they? And how come they never released a record with you?

The Claymen were HP again, under assumed names, again. Dale is a mysterious shantooze who goes by the name of John Healy during the hours of daylight. John was also in High School with Éamonn + me, then later my right hand man in MRF, from DOSTOEVESKY till the end of Phase II, mid-90’s.

Dale guested in concert with 16 again, an acoustical sideline of mine, + with Fréres Jackman, + emerges from time to time, when the occasion arises. No further recordings exist!

++ There’s also The Twigs in this compilation, another band I had never heard before. How did you pick the bands for this compilation?

Guess who? Derrick sang this one, while Éamonn rested his voice. As you’ll have noticed by now, the ‘bands’ were all Hey Paulette, with a different singer on each track, so the only ‘picking’ was on the guitars.

++ Then you were to release some more compilations, now on cassettes. Why the change of format? And what would you say is your all-time favourite format for music?

That was all about the Benjamins, as they say in Baltimore. Cassettes were cheap, + CD’s hadn’t taken over the words back then (sic transit…).

Vinyl was my first love, + it will be my last.

++ I have to ask about the name of the compilation where Feargal is the Applejack appear. Why was it titled “Dostoevesky lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?”?

That name came about during another drunken night, when a bar game that involved making up literary songs titles was invented.

I kicked things off with ‘Your cheatin Sartre’ + “ My Beckett’s got a hole in it’. Poet Patrick Chapman was the clear winner with ‘Dostoevsky lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?’

1st prize was to name our tape years later, tho’ we didn’t know at the time. Patrick got proper credit of the tape cover, of course, + appeared on it too. 2nd prize? A set of steak knives,

++ On that same compilation I discovered the marvelous The Skips. I read about the sad departure of Derrick Dalton. I’m sure that must have been hard for you and all the Dublin scene as he was part of so many bands. How important do you think was his figure for Irish guitar pop do you think?

Derrick was a major figure in Irish guitar pop, from his days as a ’teenage art terrorist’ with me in uptight! right though to stepping up to the mic with Crumb, then back again with Aeromodeller.

That was never reflected in fame or fortune, alas.

++ After that tape compilation you went to work with The Dadas, The Quack Squad and Fréres Jackman & The International Elevators. Care telling me a bit about these bands as I know nothing really about them?

The Dadas were a great pop group, led by Andy Fitzpatrick who now operates out of NYC, solo + helping out The Hatvest Ministers.

Fréres Jackman also played great pop, up to & including ska & reggae. The brothers still play live every now & then.

The Quack Squad were a comedy double act who wanted to make a Christmas record with us. ‘Why not? ’ I said.

++ And if you were to chose any Irish band that you like, which one would you have loved to have had in your catalogue? And why?

Micodisney + The Stars of Heaven. Why? Just listen…

Three of the Stars have appeared under our imprint, + Cathal from Microdisney (+ The Fatima Mansions) recorded his 1st solo track for us. We haven’t been able to release that one… yet.

++ There was an unreleased CD EP by a band called The Castanedas on your catalogue. What happened with this release?

The EP was at the pressing plant when the band broke up.

We cancelled everything just in time. Very discouraging, contributed to our lost decade.

++ Then there’s a gap of about 10 years with no releases. The label resurfaces with the $1,000 Wedding album “Exile on Dame Street” in 2002. What happened during that time? Why was the label so quiet?

Stuff happened, we grew up a bit, we felt like we were going nowhere…and not in a good way.

++ There would be a bunch of releases during the new century. I’m only familiar with the Crumb and Aeromodeller releases, which are ace. But again there are bands that only arouse my curiosity, as I have never heard before, like the aforementioned $1,000 Wedding, Villa R, Grievous Angels, Acton Bell or Éamonn Dowd. If you don’t mind, care to tell me a bit about each one on a line or two? Like what sort of music they played and what is your favourite song of theirs?

$1,000 wedding is a country-ish band I pit together with some of the usual suspects. The original concept was ‘Gram + Emmylou singing in front of Dinosaur Jr’ tho’ our songs led us off in a different direction, one that we liked better.

Villa R was Eoin from The Deportees with various Hey Paulettes. Grievous Angels we discussed earlier. Acton Bell is a solo project from Dez Foley of The Sewing Room/The Drays.

Éamonn Dowd is an old friend. We talked about doing an album together years ago, but nothing came of it. Late last year he approached me again with a new album he was preparing.

It sounded great, so I was happy to see it as a fridge disque, in partnership with Éamonn + his own label, Spellbound Records.

++ The last two releases of the label date of 2017, this year, so the label is totally going strong. I wonder then if there are more releases scheduled for this year? And how does the future looks for Mickey Rourke’s Fridge?

Well, we’re mostly making Our Back Pages readily available. When we come across something new + great – like the Éamonn Dowd album – we’ll put that out too.

++ Also I noticed that two of your releases were only released digitally. I would love to know your take about the digital vs. physical argument.

Money talks… + no argument! Going digital is practically free, which is important when you’re mostly giving stuff away. But it’s great to have a disque + a cover, 5” 7” or 12”, to hold in your hand…

++ Probably the question most people are asking by now is where can they get your available releases?

Right now, there’s stuff all over the place on iTunes, soundcloud, bandcamp, youtube… occasionally in stores too.

I’ve just set up a disques fridge Facebook page + where, over time, I’ll be curating + collating the catalogue…

+ you can get Éamonn Dowd’s CD on www.eamonndowd.com

++ Also just to make sure, is the label now called Disques Fridge?

Oh yes. Mickey Rourke’s Fridge was a 20th century thing, When we started up again in 2002, Disques name was a good way to say this is something new, following on from what went before. +we still use MRF catalogue numbers.

++ Did the label get much support from the Irish press or radio?

‘Can’t complain’ as we say over here. We got a fair amount of support from the media… more than we ever did from the public.

++ And during all these years, what would you say was the biggest highlight for Mickey Rourke’s Fridge?

Hearing the one + only live performance of the Stars of Heaven classic ‘Before Holyhead’ by Stephen Ryan at the DOSTOEVESKY launch…

+ the fact that ‘exile on dame street’ exists.

++ I think this has been a long interview already Seán! I could probably keep asking questions but let’s wrap it here. Just one more question, as I’ve never been to Dublin, or Ireland for that matter, what shouldn’t I miss to see, eat or drink when I visit?

Call me when you get here!

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

Books, movies, TV, art… + current events, as a spectator… + people.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

THIS SUMMER…
watch out for a free release of a project we’ve been working on for over 20 years…

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Listen
Hey Paulette – Commonplace

17
May

Thanks so much to Graham McDonald for the interview! Some months ago I wrote about Baby Lemonade, the beloved Scottish band that released a Sha La La flexi and a superb album back in the day. I didn’t know much about them but loved their songs. I actually would love to see all their recordings including any unreleased songs put together in a complete retrospective. Wouldn’t that be nice! Anyhow, Graham was kind enough to get in touch and answer a bunch of my questions. Hope you enjoy it!

++ Hi Graham! Thanks so much for getting in touch! How are you? Wherabouts in Scotland are you now? Still in touch with the rest of the band?

I’m no bad. I stay in Glasgow and am not in touch with the band now but saw Joan around 5 years ago – rest of ‘em- no.

++ I read that the band was based in Kirkintilloch, Cumbernauld and Glasgow. Who lived where? And was it easy to get together?

I stayed in Kirkintilloch as did Mark Abbott and Colin Campbell at the time . Joan Williams stayed in Cumbernauld and Paul Lally stayed in Glasgow. It was not easy to get together and arrangements could be difficult.

++ The band started in 1985, right? But before that, had any of you being involved in other bands?

The band started around 1985 and no one had been in  another band before this one.

++ And going back even more, what was your first instrument? What are your first musical memories?

My first instrument was an acoustic guitar or recorder . My first musical memories include listening to top 40 music , the Beatles, U2 , Clash, etc. with a mate Rab Barr circa 1975- 1981.

++ How did Baby Lemonade start as a band? How did you all knew each other?

Baby Lemonade started with Mark and I playing in his bedroom before I left home and went to college- finally finding Colin after numerous try outs . We got Joan and Paul through a college course I attended in Falkirk., Central Scotland. I knew Mark through school and knew Paul and Joan through college.

++ Was there any lineup changes during Baby Lemonade’s lifetime?

There was – Paul left- replaced by Kenny B + Gary ……..?, Colin later replaced by Martin Gregor.

++ Where does the name Baby Lemonade come from?

B.L.’s name comes from a Syd Barrett solo cut.

++ Who would you say were your influences then?

Influences- The Jam, The  J.A.M.C., Led. Zep., Beach Boys, Undertones, Ramones. Nikki Sudden, Swell Maps, Blondie, etc.

++ In 1986 you recorded your first songs at a studios in Charing Cross Glasgow. How was that experience? Do you remember which songs you recorded then?

1986 Demo?- Recorded  Secret Goldfish, Real World- pretty good experience  I think

.++ Then you would catch the attention of Matt Haynes who would release the “Jiffy NeckWear Creation” flexi on his Sha La La label. How did this contact happen? Did you ever meet him?

Contact happened through possibly Jim Kavanagh , fellow ‘zine mentor of ‘Simply Trilled ‘ and friend of Paul’s . Never met Matt but would have liked to.

++ This flexi was shared with another Scottish band, The Bachelor Pad. Were they friends with you or was it just a coincidence? Which other Scottish bands of that period did you like?

B.L. did a few gigs with the Bachelor Pad , a band from Strathbungo in Glasgow. They were friends with Jim Kavanagh  and us after a while. We liked the Primals, Pastels and the J.A.M.C.  at the time.

++ Perhaps “Jiffy NeckWear Creation” is the song most people know by Baby Lemonade, if you don’t mind, what’s the story behind this song?

Jiffy was essentially  a tie called the Jiffy Neckwear Creation – a psychedelic paisley pattern  number.

++ It also got to be single of the week. Did you get much attention from the press? How helpful was getting good reviews?

It got Single of the week in Sounds Magazine. Reviews were always helpful  and we got a few good reviews but never really got many reviews at all.

++ And what about radio play? or TV play?

John Peel liked us, played us on Radio1 / Radio Scotland – Beat Patrol- no TV. play.

++ Then you would release a 7″ on Narodnik Records. How did you end up signing with the Edinburgh label?

We signed to them after they heard our demo on the radio- just one play.

++ This 7″ was produced by Douglas Hart from The Jesus and Mary Chain. How was that? What did he add to the sound of Baby Lemonade?

It was a great experience working with one of the Mary Chain-fans of them-he left a bit of chat on the 7’’Real World- to sound good.

++ I noticed that both the 7″ and later the album have the same sort of style in the artwork. Who did it? And how important for you was the looks of the band?

Paul did some of the 7’’ design and flexi  , DDT  did the l.p.- purely incidental that they look alike. It was important that we looked good/ cool on any release.

++ Your last release was the fantastic album “One Thousand Secrets” released on DDT Records also from Edinburgh. I know little about this label, who were they?

DDT were a subsidiary of Fast Records, based in Edinburgh, managed by the legendary Bob Last  who put out original records by the Human League , Gang of Four, Mekons, Scars ,etc.

++ Why did you title the album “One Thousand Secrets”? And what would you say is your favourite song on the album and why?

It appeared like a good title at this time. I liked the tune ‘Summerhouse’ as it was quite ambitious for us at the time with a slow start before it speeds up and I Liked the bass line, a bit of  Tamla Motown about it.

++ Also, why just 8 songs?! Wish there had been more, it is so good!

8 songs long-leave ‘em wanting more.

++ Many years later Egg Records would release a CDR with the songs from the flexi and the 7″ plus some demos. Why did they release only these songs and not more?

You would need to ask Egg Records about that one.

++ Are there any other Baby Lemonade recordings that remain unreleased?

1 demo lying around somewhere with an unreleased tune but don’t know where it is.

++ What about gigs? Did you play many back then? What would you say were your favourites and why?

We played Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bellshill, Newcastle and London- probably about 12-15 gigs all in. Enjoyed ‘Rooftops ‘ in Glasgow, ‘Fury Murray’s, Glasgow- went down well that night.

++ Where was the farthest from home that you played?

We played the ‘Camden Falcon’ in London  which was furthest away from home.

++ And then what happened to Baby Lemonade? When and why did you split?

Our last gig was at the ‘Camden Falcon’, London- we split about 1988- don’t really know why we split- people did other things , moved on…….

++ What happened afterwards? Did you continue making music?

I went to become a Social Worker , joined 2 bands in the meantime and my present crew, ‘ The Diablo’s ‘ – check us out on Face Book.

++ What about these days? What do you do? What other hobbies do you enjoy doing?

I work with the Council in a Social Work capacity. I love football, movies, cycling and most of all music and my family.

++ Looking back in time, what would you say was the biggest highlight of Baby Lemonade?

Highlights for me were supporting the T.V. Personalities at the Glasgow Barrowlands- still one of my favourite groups.

++ Thanks so much Graham for the interview! Anything else you’d like to add?

Once our V.W. car broke down in Glasgow on the night of a gig in Edinburgh. Instead of making an effort  to get there we went for Italian food instead. Apparently  Geoff Travis  from Rough Trade was there looking to see us play and he’d come from London for the opportunity…. big mistake for the B.L’s…….

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Listen
Baby Lemonade – World Of Mine

16
May

Thanks a lot to Kieran Eaton for doing this interview! I wrote about the Dublin band Premonition a long time ago hoping to learn more about them. Luckily a month or so ago Kieran got in touch and was keen to answer all my questions about the band. If you have never heard them before, now it is a good chance to discover them, especially with Kieran’s thoughtful and detailed answers! It makes the interview very special!

++ Hi Kieran! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! How are you? Are you still based in Dublin?

You’re welcome!! How are you? I’m as fine as can be at my age, thanks. No, I’m now based in the picturesque seaside town of Dungarvan, County Waterford in the South East of Ireland.

++ Still making music?

I am. I was the bass player in Premonition. I also played flute in the middle of one song which involved some very deft manoeuvres from me and our roadie! I still play both regularly and also a lot of saxophone; mainly tenor with a little soprano and alto when the mood takes me!

++ I know so little about Premonition, there’s very little on the web as well. So let’s start from the beginning. What were your first musical memories, what sort of music was played at home while growing up?

That’s a funny one. A very eclectic mixture. My earliest memories are of my mother playing me records on an old mono record player, the ones that had an arm that held the record above the deck and somehow dropped it just in time for the stylus to land. She played me records by The Dubliners, Percy French and Bing Crosby. My Godfather lived next door and he was in his early 20’s at the time. I used to visit him regularly and he played me records which I now know to have mainly been The Beatles. My father didn’t play any instruments but was a huge opera fan and would often play us light opera records. In later years he traveled all over the world to attend operas. My mother played some violin and piano in her school years, but not much really. They both however loved to support the arts and so as children we were regularly brought to theatre performances so I guess it was an easy transition for us to become performers. And they were very supportive of us all learning music too so we really were very lucky. I have three brothers and a sister. My sister and eldest brother sing in our national philharmonic choir. The middle brother is a lighting technician for our national tv station and also works in stage production outside of his full time job. And Gerard who drummed with Premonition still plays but I’ll expand on that in the later question.

++ What was your first instrument?

Piano. Then tin whistle. Then recorders, flute, bass guitar and saxophone in that order.

++ Then were you involved with any bands before being in Premonition? Who were Loudness of Whispers?

No. I was in a school orchestra and a group that performed medieval music before Premonition but no prior rock n roll band.

I have no idea!! We initially called ourselves Loudest of Whispers and played out first gig under that name. But then we discovered that there was another band called Too Loud To Whisper so we changed the name to Premonition.

++ How did Premonition start as a band? How did you all know each other?

The original drummer, Jimmy, and original guitarist, Tim, lived a couple of doors from each other. They started the band. Neither of them could play; they were pretty much learning their instruments by ear in a garage. Tim played flute in the school orchestra that I was in. For some reason we didn’t get on together in school probably because both Tim and Jimmy were a year behind me in school so we didn’t mix in the same circles. After I finished school I started teaching flute in my school the following term. One day I arrived early and Tim was outside waiting for someone. We got chatting. He told me that he was starting a band and needed a bass player. I told him that I was planning to get a bass and that was it, I was in. For months I’d try to learn on the bottom four strings of Tim’s guitar and he would borrow his sister’s acoustic while I saved up for a bass. Tim and I were beginning to hang out in the Mod scene in Dublin at the time. I actually ended up buying my first Vespa before the bass!! Everyone was cool with that though, priorities are priorities and we all agreed that a scooter was way more important than a bass. We were useless anyway so I didn’t exactly delay the progress of the band. We still had no one to sing though. My younger brother Gerard by now had started to learn drums. Through conversation I heard from Ger that one of his classmates played guitar and both wrote and sang songs. So a small bit of arranging later and John came to the garage with his guitar and a songbook in hand. The book was the songs from the album “All Mod Cons” by The Jam. The garage, by the way, was the craziest place to be. Tim’s father owned a small grocery shop at the front of their house. They kept extra stock in the garage which was safeguarded by a German Shepherd who was only put out when we’d arrive to rehearse. It was almost impossible to find a spot to stand without getting covered with dog shit!! Anyway, John auditioned and impressed us all so much with his ability to play and sing simultaneously that he was accepted immediately. That’s no exaggeration; neither Tim nor I could play and sing at the same time!!

Well as you can see already, we all went to the same school, Synge Street school, the one used as a basis and location for a recent movie “Sing Street” which tells the story of classmates forming a band. Only for the fact that the movie’s band are still in school but we weren’t it could nearly have been about us!!

After a couple of years Jimmy quit the band. That’s when Ger came in; to replace him on drums. A year or so later Tim quit. He was replaced by Kevin, a classmate of mine who I’ve been friends with since we were two years old. So the final line up was Ger and his classmate John and me and my classmate Kevin.

++ Who came up with the name? What’s the story behind it?

Jimmy. No real story. Once we heard there was another band of almost the same name we decided to change. After rehearsal one night we were sitting around throwing out names and Jimmy, out of the blue, said Premonition. That was it straight away, we all said yes.

++ How was Dublin back then? What were the places were you hang out? Where were the venues to catch the bands you liked?

Rough enough. Mid recession so high unemployment and generally not the best atmosphere about. Daytimes were spent hanging out with other Mods in the city centre. For some reason Mods weren’t well accepted in city pubs or clubs so we didn’t hang out there at night. There was no point, we would be refused entry almost everywhere. But they didn’t cater for our music interests either so we didn’t bother much with city nightlife. We rehearsed several nights a week in the garage and usually headed to a local pub for a beer afterwards.

There were very few venues that catered for up and coming bands. The only two really were the Baggot Inn and The Underground, a tiny pub in a basement. The Baggot was a cool place though; everyone wanted to play there. The drawback was that the band had to pay to play there. They had an in house pa and sound engineer and we would have to pay up front for a slot there and hope to make the money back on ticket sales which of course we never did. That’s why so many Irish bands disappeared We couldn’t afford rehearsal rooms and gig slots never mind recording costs. We saved for months to raise the £120 we needed for our first demo. We also had to cover the costs of posters to advertise. By the time we were gigging properly as such three of us were also holding down full time day jobs. The Baggot was a place that was occasionally used by international artists to “try out” new material on an always surprised audience. Those kind of acts were never advertised as the venue probably only held about 100 people so there would be bedlam if there was advanced warning. The biggest artist I can think of who played the Baggot to a stunned audience was David Bowie. I wasn’t there for that unfortunately. Bigger bands like The Blades had a slightly bigger venue called the TV Club but it had closed its doors long before we began gigging.

There wasn’t much in the line of international acts either. We had a showjumping arena called the RDS and Shane Castle. I saw Queen at Slane and Michael Jackson at the RDS so I’m talking about that level of international. Both venues are still in existence and both still run concerts occasionally but we also have two stadia that can hold up to 80,000 concert goers and one 18,000 capacity indoor venue now too. Back then though the majority of acts avoided Ireland because of the “troubles” in the North of Ireland. There are six counties in the North that are still under British rule. Back then there was a lot of terrorist activity up there, regular bombings and shootings. We have peace now, both sides eventually came to a power sharing agreement which was strongly backed by the Clinton administration at the time. We reckon though that artists thought that the whole county was at war and gave us a wide berth.

++ On the website Irish Rocks it mentions that you were influenced by The Blades. What other bands would you say were influences in the band?

The Beatles. And all of the Mod bands from England in the 60’s, The Kinks, The Small Faces. Also the post punk Mod revival and new wave Brit pop of the time, The Jam, Elvis Costello, The Housemartins, The Smiths, Julian Cope, Billy Bragg.

++ You won the Dublin Millenium Battle of the Bands in 1988. How was that experience? 

Unbelievable. There were over 80 entrants. We thought we didn’t stand a chance. The two guys who ran the event, Steady Eddie and Pete the Roz, ordinary guys who loved new Irish music, persuaded us to enter. I think they probably persuaded us all to enter!! Looking back on it now we were so lucky to win. We actually got a vinyl release. Just before cd took over. We’d never have had one otherwise.

++ Were there any bands that you liked in the contest?

Yes but I couldn’t tell you any of their names at this stage!! The competition final was tough tough, the other two bands were excellent. We really were stunned when we were announced as the winners.

++ Thanks to winning this contest you got to record a single for EMI at Sun Studios. How did that go? Was it a straightforward recording? How was working with EMI?

It went very well. Sun studios was in Dublin, not the Presley one!! We had done quite a few demo sessions by then so we were very familiar with studio practices.

I think there was a limit set on the amount of hours available to make the recording but we finished it with plenty of time left over. We were well rehearsed. We would prepare by each recording our lines individually on an old cassette recorder and listening back to make sure it was all perfect so by the time we’d get to the studio it would be all systems go.

EMI Ireland was run by Rory Cowan, a hilarious character. I did all of the dealings with him on behalf of the band. He was very supportive and pushed the record as best he could. He got us airtime on national radio too, a thing that evaded most bands at our level. After EMI closed its Irish branch I worked with Rory again with a different band. He had set himself up doing PR for various acts. He is now a cast member and international star of an Irish TV comedy series called Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

++ The songs recorded for this single were “The Streets are Paved With Lead” and “Eye Like Sin”. If you don’t mind, would you care telling me the story behind both of these songs?

No problem at all. The Streets Are Paved With Lead is a song about the mass emigration of Irish people to London during the recession of the 80’s. London was of course experiencing a similar recession so many of our emigrants found themselves just as unemployed there as they were here. The Lead in the title was to counter the lyrics of an old song in which London’s streets were said to be paved with gold. John wrote both songs. I always liked the line about the Liffey. The Liffey is a river that Dublin is built on. Back then there was so much pollution that the Liffey stank like hell. Dublin is also a major port so the river is affected by the tide. When the tide went out the smell from the Liffey was so bad you could smell it all over the city centre. John’s reference is to say that leaving Dublin to be unemployed in London isn’t such a good idea. So many found themselves living in worse poverty in London than they had in Dublin. So “the scent of the Liffey is 10 times nicer than the stench of the Thames” basically means your shit life here is way better than your shit life there.

Eyes Like Sin is pretty much a song about an ex girlfriend of John’s. she broke off with him and he was still in love with her. He had a few one night stands with her over the following years. Through that he hoped the relationship would revive but she had no intention of that happening. That’s the basis of the song. Her willingness for occasional love action only prolonged his love but he knew deep inside that each time he failed to resist her he was setting himself up for more emotional hurt.

++ The record was produced by the band and Pat Dunne. How was the relationship with him and what did he add to the sound of the band?

We had a good relationship with him. He was easy to work with. I can’t say that he added much to the sound, we were very sure of what we wanted before we went in. But his knowledge of the studio was superb and he made the whole recording session very easy for us. He seemed to like what we were doing too so that really put us at ease.

++ And how did the creative process work for the band?

Simple really. At first John was the only songwriter among us. Then Ger started to learn guitar and write too. Whoever came up with the song would come to rehearsal and play whatever they had so far just with rhythm guitar. We’d all just join in and come up with our respective lines ourselves. And we’d keep going until we were all happy with the finished song. There was never any “you play this” we all just did our own thing.

++ Was there interest by any other labels after the release of the single?

No. 😞

++ I was just listening again to the A side, “The Streets are Paved with Lead”, what a fantastic song! It makes me wonder how come you didn’t release any more records?

Thanks for the compliment!! The simple answer is money, or lack thereof.

++ But did you record more songs? Perhaps there were demo tapes that you used to sell at gigs?

Absolutely. We had several demo tapes. And after the single release had come and gone there was talk that bands were beginning to get signed from demos alone without the traditional rout off trying to attract a+r people to gigs that they would never come to. So we got our hands on a Tascam portastudio and set into just recording so there are songs recorded but heard by nobody but us.

We only ever sold one tape recording that was made through the mixing desk at the Baggot. A 40 minute live set. We sold it to friends and family and used the cash to make our first demo!

++ Speaking of gigs, did you play many? What were the best ones you remember? And where was the farthest you played from home?

Yes, we played loads. I think the best ones ever were the launch night for our single, the night we won in Dublin and another competition we won in a town called Carlow about 50 miles from Dublin. My ex-wife is from Carlow and she saw it advertised in a local paper. The prize man net by today’s standards was small, about $1,000 but it was worth a lot more in 1986. It funded another recording session.

We never travelled overseas and Ireland isn’t that big so I guess about 150 miles. We were in Cork a couple of times and Sligo once. Dublin is conveniently situated about half way up the east coast of Ireland. Cork is about midway along the south coast and Sligo on the Northwest coast.

++ Were there any bad gigs that you wish not to remember?

There’s one that springs to mind. We were booked to open for a better known band from Dublin called A House. The gig was in Cork city. We hadn’t a car between us. I was the only one with transport but we wouldn’t all fit on the Vespa so off we went on the train, guitars and gig bags in hand. Got to Cork and thought we’d walk in from the station as we’d not a lot of money. Eventually arrived exhausted at the venue. A House were sound checking so we waited our turn. Eventually their manager came to us and told us that there was another opening act booked by the venue and we were cancelled. By the time he told us we’d missed the last train home by only minutes. Kindly (I write with much sarcasm) he said we could stay for the gig and wouldn’t charge us entry fee!! I’m a seriously calm guy but if there was ever a time I felt like throwing a punch at someone it was then. We hung around for a while but we were so pissed off we didn’t enjoy a second of it. We ended up wandering the streets trying to find somewhere to sleep rough. We were such a bunch of naive fools that we put no forward planning in place. Nowhere to stay and equipment we couldn’t sleep in a doorway with. So off we strolled very slowly towards the train station. Along the way we found a late night pizza place which was open till 4.00 according to the neon sign. Only a small place so they weren’t too impressed to see us coming with all our gear. That experience is still remembered with hilarity; in fact I recently stayed in a hotel in Cork at a friend’s stag weekend and sent out a photo of the view to the Premonition lads and all came back with the same comments. It won’t sound as funny to you but try to imagine the group disappointment at the time coupled with the realisation that we were completely unprepared for the occasion. Into the pizza shop we went. Gerard is strictly vegetarian so ordered a plain pizza with extra cheese. Back then there wasn’t much available for vegetarians, especially ones who don’t like vegetables!! Out came the orders only for us to discover that this lot had never heard of mozzarella. Gerard’s pizza was thick with melted cheddar with a big pool of melted cheddar oil in the middle. Simple as that. At the time, probably because of the whole scenario, that was the funniest thing we had seen all day. Anyway, we hung around like a bad smell until they threw us out at about 4 am and wandered off towards the train station. We reckoned at that stage it would be the safest place to sleep in the waiting area. That proved to be the best decision because as it happened the first train of the day to Dublin was already on the platform and the staff kindly let us board so that we could sleep safely with our gear. We got to Dublin in time for me and Kevin to get to work on time. That was the worst gig we didn’t play.

++ And what about the press? Did you get much attention from them?

Yes, we did get good press. Again at the time it was difficult to even get a mention in the press because there was very little written about new and unknown bands. We got a small amount of mention in national press but every mention no matter how small was good. Always positive, we never got a bad review.

++ You did record a Fanning Session, and the blog Fanning Sessions Archive has two songs from that session. Were there more songs recorded at this session?

I can’t remember to be honest. I can only presume that there were only two songs recorded that time, otherwise more would be on the site. That was our second session though, there was a previous session that produced three songs but that doesn’t seem to be on the archive site.

++ And how was that, recording a session for Dave Fanning? That must have been important, a true highlight for the band?

Yes it was great to get to do it. Both sessions were very exciting. Fanning is famed for launching U2 so everyone wanted a session for his show. It took quite a bit of hustling to land the first session. I don’t remember how we got a second but to get to even record one in the studios of the only national radio station that aired new music was a fantastic experience. Then to hear the songs on air afterwards was amazing, it’s very encouraging to get experiences like that.

++ Then when and why did the band split? What did you all do afterwards? Music?

We never really split. We decided that constant rehearsal for few gigs and no nothing to come from the hard work wasn’t the way to go. Bands were beginning to be reported as getting recording contracts from demos alone so we chose that route. We borrowed a tascam portastudio from someone and recorded for a while. Ger was very interested in pursuing that option and invested in a bigger recording unit and built a small soundproof studio behind our parents house. But by the time he mastered the art of using it we had pretty much fizzled out.

Kevin continued to work in his job for a number of years. He eventually took a voluntary redundancy opportunity and now works as a very successful and award winning photographer. John continued to work in the civil service where he remains today. Ger continued recording and released material with his next band Las Vegas Basement. Well worth checking them out on bandcamp. I recorded some brass and woodwind parts along with my partner Pauline, a superb trumpet player. He also released some retro 80’s style material with another band, Les Marionettes and I played some more sax for him then. He has played with some of Ireland’s leading musicians. Drums with Jack L, keyboards with Mundy and Duke Special. He has a super collection of vintage equipment; some beautiful 1960’s guitars, a 1963 Fender Jazzmaster, a 65 Vox teardrop 12 string, a Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano to name but a few. He continues to play and work as a part time hairdresser.

I stayed in the civil servic. I’ve worked there for over 30 years. I’m currently on long term sick leave due to a neurological muscular condition that I have developed. But I’ve never stopped playing. I still play bass; my four string Precision and 5 string custom made fretless are the tools of my trade. I also play soprano, alto and tenor saxophones and concert flute. I play in several cover bands, usually on a “on call” basis. My favourite bands though are a local ska outfit that also includes my partner on trumpet and a 3 pierce Mod/New Wave band in which I’m the lead vocalist and bassist. I play in the Waterford Youth Orchestra too which keeps my classical interests up to speed and I teach all of my instruments privately.

I’ve done some nice gigs with all of the ska greats from the late 70’s revival. Supported Madness, Bad Manners, The Beat, The Selecter. I’ve played on stage with members of The Specials, the Best and the wonderful Rhoda Dakar. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t joined Premonition.

++ And these days, are you all still in touch? Will there be ever be a chance for a reunion?

Yes, we’re all in touch. Facebook is a great tool for that. I meet Kevin regularly, after all we’ve been close friends now for 49 years! I don’t see John much but that’s where social media shines. And of course I still see a Ger, we’re still brothers!! As for a reunion? Maybe, we never officially split so anything us possible.

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies do you enjoy having?

Me? Well before my illness I enjoyed lots of things. I spent a few years in my youth on the national kayak slalom squad and still paddle for leisure occasionally. I’ve also run six marathons and completed a full Ironman triathlon. I can still cycle a little despite the pain it causes and still swim occasionally. Again, despite the condition I can still swim up to two miles. I tend to avoid it though because it leaves me having to recover for a few days regardless of distance of distance covered.

I’m also a dedicated Mod since my teens. I still own and ride a 1968 Lambretta scooter which is currently being given a complete restoration by a friend who shares the same passion and whose business is only the import and restoration of classic Italian scooters.

++ Never been to Dublin, or to Ireland, so was wondering what would you recommend doing and checking out, what are the sights one shouldn’t miss, or the food one has to try?

Go to the Guinness exhibition centre. Go to St. Michan’s church where the keyboard used by Handel when he composed The Messiah is on display. There you also get brought to the crypts where bodies haven’t decomposed due to a constant temperature. You even get to touch one of them!! Christ Church cathedral is also with a visit. If you’re lucky one of the organists will be practicing. They have one of the biggest and oldest pipe organs in the country there and the sound from it is amazing. There’s also a rock n roll centre that celebrates our many international contemporary artists.

++ One last question, looking back to those years, what would you say was the biggest highlight for Premonition?

Just doing it. We had great fun and the experience was always positive and it really was a great thing to do.

++ Let’s wrap it here,  thanks again for the interview, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Not much to add really. I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to go down memory lane in detail, thanks so much for asking me. But if any of your readers are doing or thinking if doing the same thing, do it!! The financial and fame side of success isn’t important really, at least not to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am without having this experience. And I wouldn’t like to be anyone else!!

Thanks again. It’s off to a two day audience with a James Galway, the world’s greatest flautist with me now. I’ve watched him teach before. He’s an amazing musician whose advice applies to all players of all instruments so I’m looking forward to learning more about the most wonderful language in the universe, music.

So, it’s goodbye from me for now, or as we say over here in our native tongue, slán. (Pronounced slawn)

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Premonition – All the Streets are Paved with Lead

15
May

Still awaiting for news for the Pale Spectres 7″. Taking forever. I’ve sent a couple of emails today to pester the pressing plant to tell me what’s going on. The estimated shipping date is past due and I can’t really wait any longer. It has taken forever for this record and I really need it NOW!

On the other hand I already have an interview prepared to publish for tomorrow, which is a good thing, as interviews are a becoming rare these days on the blog, not because of me, I keep writing questions and questions, but sadly bands are not answering them. Which is a shame. Anyhow, there have been some interesting news during the past few days that I want to share with you, at least we can keep up to date with indiepop news.

Our friends The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are back and they have just shared the song “Anymore” on their Soundcloud. This song is taken from their upcoming July 14th album titled “The Echo of Pleasure”. This is their 4th album (damn, how time passes!) and will be released on their own label Painbow Records.

Perhaps the news that made me most excited the past weekend was  that “Right Here”, the documentary about The Go-Betweens, has been announced to debut at this year’s Sydney Film Festival (June 15-16). You can watch the trailer on Youtube and I just got the chills by watching that. I can’t imagine how I will feel when watching the documentary. The only problem for all of us, far away from Australia, is that we have no clue when will this be available for us to watch it. It has been announced that it will also be available this year on Australian TV channel ABC sometime later this year.

Speaking of movies, the Morrissey biopic “England is Mine” has been announced to premiere on July 2nd at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I couldn’t find a trailer for it but I found some video of Jack Lowden, who plays Morrissey, talking about it.

The Hepburns, one of my favourite bands, have a new free download song on their Bandcamp. The song is titled “Confusin’ Myself with Rock ‘n Roll“. It is a cover version of a song by Norwegian artist Frode Fivel.

The Lotus Eaters are re-issuing their classic album “No Sense of Sin”. The album includes an alternative mix of “You Fill Me With Need” and also accompanying it comes a free 7″ with the songs “It Hurts” and “You Don’t Need Someone New”. And by the looks on the photos, they release looks stunning! The record is being released by the label Vinyl 180 and you can pre-order it here as it will come out on June 30th. And so I just ordered it. 20 pounds with the shipping costs to the US.

And lastly, remember I talked about Paris Popfest some time ago? Well they have finally announced their lineup! The festival is taking place during two days in Septemeber, on Friday 22nd at L’Espace B and Saturday 23rd at Le Hasard Ludique. If you want to check out more information about the festival check out their Facebook page. There is only one unknown band for me in the lineup, Parenthesisdotdotdot, that I will check out now. The rest of the lineup so far include The Luxembourg Signal, White Town, Spearmint, Papa Topo, The Catenary Wires and Mehdi Zannad ft. Dorian Pimpernel. True, I’m not too familiar with the last band, but Mehdi was Fugu who released on Sugarfrost. At least, I know his band from back in the day. Maybe I should check what he has been putting out lately.

It is a strong lineup for their first festival. Would be good to know who is the surprise guest. I don’t know if it is worth for me to travel to France this time though, I’ve seen 90% of the bands. I need to give it some thought. But if you haven’t seen Spearmint or Papa Topo yet, believe me, those two bands for sure know how to put a good show! And they have fantastic footstompers of songs!

Okay I’m at Parenthesisdotdotdot website checking the music. It is a one-man band from London that has lived before in Norway and Ipswich. Simple electronic pop, I listen firstly to “The Run Out Groove” and I don’t like it much. I skipped the first song on the list as it is a remix, I prefer avoiding remixes, never been a fan. “Sixteen Weeks” sounds much better. I may give it another chance. Let’s listen to a third song. I choose “Parennie” which is the one with more plays on the list. Mmm, it’s alright. But not my kind of music.

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St Ives is a seaside town, civil parish and port in Cornwall. The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis, and the town is now primarily a popular seaside resort.

On Another Sunny Day’s reissue of “London Weekend” on Cherry Red (the original is the Sarah ones, you all know that), there were 6 extra recordings. A couple of them are duly credited to OMD (“Genetic Engineering”) and the Bee Gees (“Kilburn Towers”). There’s another cover though at least, “The Boy from St. Ives”, which is the 18th track on the aforementioned CD.

I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for the internet and digging here and there. This recording by Another Sunny Day comes actually from some early demos by the band. On Discogs an unofficial Another Sunny Day tape bootleg, released by the curiously named Baby Panda in 1991, includes this cover alongside “Eternal”, “Her Friend”, “I Guess I’m the One Who’s To Blame”, “I Want You”, “It’s OK if you Don’t Want Me” and “What’s Wrong”.

Through a forum I found out that “The Boy From St Ives” was actually a cover of The Rubbish Men, who as Harvey Williams from Another Sunny Day, also hailed from Cornwall. I stumbled upon this piece of information all of sudden. I think I was researching some other indiepop band at the time. In any case, I decided that one day I had to find out more about The Rubbish Men. Maybe, just maybe, I could find more information about them.

I wasn’t the first to go down this track. The blog Adding Machine starts investigating about the connection of the song, Another Sunny Day and The Choughs. The Choughs? Who? He posts both versions of the songs, the Another Sunny Day one (which he calls the best song ever by ASD!), and The Choughs. After closely listening to The Choughs version, I can be sure it is the same recording as The Rubbish Men’s I had listened before. But were they The Choughs or The Rubbish Men? Or maybe they just changed names at some point?

This blog wonders about if they were local heroes, or if Harvey had been in the band. He has no answers. There are no comments. And both of these posts were written in 2013. I guess no one cared to shed some light on this mystery.

Youtube will come to my rescue. I could find “The Boy from St. Ives” and there is a little info in the description area. We know that this song is a demo dating from 1986. We also get to know the band members, Brendan O’Casey, Jonathan Jago, Rick Williams and David Clive. And that’s not all! There are more The Rubbish Men recordings on Youtube!

I find another cool sounding song from a home demo from around 1987 titled “The Woolworth Tree“. Another one from 1986 titled “Moored“, and another one titled “Clocks and Ghosts” taken from a rehearsal tape.

And that’s not all! To my surprise there are 40 minutes of a live performance at the legendary Tropic Club in Bristol! Wow! And it sounds magnificent! The gig dates from November 13, 1986. I learn some more song names from their repertoire like “Wishing Well”.

Don’t know what happened to The Rubbish Men. I could find that Jonathan Jago went to a hardcore band named Dog Bite and that’s about it. Then for Brendan O’Casey and Rick Williams I could find a photo of them on a tumblr titled Two Punks and a Tandem. Not sure how to link directly to the photo, but if you scroll down a bit you’ll probably find it. Both guys are posing with other friends at the legendary venue the Millhouse.

I couldn’t find much more on the web. Maybe some of you remember them? Maybe there were more recordings? What I’ve heard sounds good to my ears. Especially the 1986 songs and the live gig. I wold definitely want to know more, like who were The Choughs? and for sure help that blog, Adding Machine, and find out what was their connection with Another Sunny Day?!

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Listen
The Rubbish Men – The Boy From St. Ives

10
May

When time is on your side, you shouldn’t waste it. Is investigating indiepop a waste of time? It is one of my favourite hobbies, and while I wait for the Champions League semifinals to start in 45 minutes I can explore some new music I found on the internet. It is not easy though, it takes me some days to find a handful of bands worth recommending. I save their pages as soon as I find them so I don’t forget. A bit of disciple is necessary.

I have an interview to write to, for the blog. I’ve written a few lately but I haven’t got the band’s answers. Only Resque were quick enough to answer theirs and that one came out really nice. I wish bands in general were excited and quick enough to give me their replies. I know, I ask a lot of questions. They are long interviews. But 5 questions wouldn’t tell the story of the band. Especially of the bands I interview who have almost no information about them on the web.

Las Kasettes: this fantastic Pamplona band released two 7″s that I duly ordered when they come out on their hometown’s premier indiepop label Chin Chin Records. Seems that Chin Chin is closing shop though and that was truly sad news for me, as I was a big fan of theirs. Their design and their taste was immaculate when it comes to P!O!P! music. Las Kasettes have found a new home at KOTJ Records from Spain as well and they have just released their debut album, an LP titled “Bajo el Sol” and you can stream it on their Bandcamp. The band is formed by Edurne and Maier and the whole album is a parade of cover versions of different bands including The Beach Boys, Girls at Our Best or The Clovers.

Río Arga: another Spanish band on another Spanish label. 6 songs available to stream on Bandcamp and also released on tape (ugh tapes…) by Mondo Canapé Records, the same ones who released the wonderful Whalo. The label is based in Alicante and the band, I believe, hail from Pamplona. The band is formed by Txema, Alex, Nico and Laura and this is a really promising debut. I look forward to their next effort already! (and hope they release these 6 songs as a CDR at least)

Fazerdaze: I’ve heard many good things about this band, I see their record on my Instagram feed and also on my Facebook one. My friends seem to love this Auckland, New Zealand, band. Definitely being released in legendary Flying Nun Records gives the band important credentials. So I stream the songs from their debut album “Morningside” from their Bandcamp and I’m not impressed, it doesn’t have all the pop moments I’d like! But there is one song that I think shines over the rest, a song that is such a hit, a wonderful song, and that is why I recommend this record. Just for the one song. It is titled “Lucky Girl” and it is a rush of infectious melodies that I can’t get out of my head.

Brightener: is the solo project of Palm Springs, California, Will Sturgeon. He has a new album that was recorded between 2015 and 2017 and is  titled “Headroom”. It is a short one, 8 songs, but aren’t they nice? Soft jangle pop, performed with elegance, and available not only on Bandcamp streaming but on CD digipack. Just $8. There are some very good moments in the album like the songs “Filters II” or “Help U Better Then” where I can hear so many classic American indiepop bands from the 90s and early 00s.

Kidsmoke: here’s another one for my Indietracks organizers, another one that they missed. This band from Wrexham claims to be inspired by The Smiths and some other not so good bands like Wild Nothing or Real Estate. In any case, their songs sound fine to my ears and that’s what matters. Their last song is titled “And Mine Alone” and I’m guessing was released as a digital single last April. There are many more releases for us to discover and enjoy.  The band was formed in 2013 by Lance Williams on vocals and guitars, James Stickels on bass,  Sophie Ballamy on guitar and Ash Turner on drums.

Peonies: last band for today’s review and possible for the week! I don’t have any other saved discoveries at the moment so probably it will have to wait for next Monday, well if I don’t decide to write about something else altogether. Peonies is a band from Jakarta, Indonesia. That means they make good pop. Indiepop from Indonesia is nowadays strong, there are so many good bands there that it one doesn’t get surprised anymore by their quality at song craftsmanship! The band has been going since 2015 and is formed by Jodi Setiawan, Cinta Rimandya Marezi and Paramitha Citta Prabaswara. They have signed to Nanaba Records and I’m not sure if they have released something or not. I hope they have. You can listen to a bunch of their songs on Soundcloud.

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If you read my last post about Wrong Door Raid you will be at least somewhat familiar with the compilation “Dungannon Musicians Collective 5” where The Hasbeens also participated. As I previously mentioned, in this compilation there were 5 bands, all of them part of this collective (I don’t know if there were any more bands in the collective other than the 5): The Hasbeens, Tiberius Minnows, McGovern, Wrong Door Raid and The Moon. Today is time for investigating The Hasbeens, leaving just The Moon, whose song “Place” is very nice, and Tiberius Minnows for hopefully an interview later on as they seem to be available for contacting online. McGovern is a rockier band and so perhaps doesn’t fit well in the blog.

As you know this compilation came out in 1988 and was released by Castle Records (DMCAST1) and according to Discogs it was the sole release on the label. This compilation was put together with effort by the bands in the collective and the DMC chairman, Mark Hamill, playing gigs to raise money and so on.

I was surprised by my friend Tim Hall’s comment, saying that it was unimaginable that Dungannon could have an indiepop scene. Maybe it wasn’t really an indiepop scene, maybe it was. I don’t know. At least there were some bands making some great music, much of it flying under the radar. I believe only Tiberius Minnows ended up releasing further records. The other bands were to leave their 2 songs on this compilation as their legacy.

Luckily this compilation was well-thought, and the label put together a booklet with information about each band. The Hasbeens are the first band to appear on the booklet as they were also the first band on the compilation, opening the A side with the poppy “Trivial”. They were to close the compilation as well, with their song “Showbands Must Go” as the last song on the B side. The lyrics for the latter are included in the booklet.

There is a big difference style-wise between their songs. I love the poppier, happy-go-lucky feeling of “Trivial”, while I’m not a big fan of the 80s heavy and rockier “Showbands Must Go”. I wonder what style they preferred in their other recordings if they had any.

We get the band members first name only on the booklet. We know that the band was formed in March 1987 by:
Kevin on guitars, Gary on bass guitar, Patrick on vocals and Stephen on drums.

The photo I’ve posted was taken by Cathal McCall. I googled him and I could find a  Queen’s University Belfast professor with the same name. Could it be him?

Other people credited in the recordings were Karen Herron, Cathy McCausland, Sharon McKillon and Oonagh O’Sullivan. They were the kids that sung on “Showbands Must Go”. Maybe Karen Herron was the daughter of S.J. Herron from McGovern, another band in the collective? The band also thanks a Gary for the work in the studio.

Aside from these facts I couldn’t find any more clues about the band. It seems they just went into total obscurity. At least for Wrong Door Raid there was a Soundcloud, never updated and all, but there were was something tangible that they existed and left something. For The Hasbeens the web is virgin territory. There’s nothing whatsoever about them. It seems actually the only Hasbeens one could find online is a brand, Swedish Hasbeens, specializing in clogs shoes.

Anyone remember them?

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Listen
The Hasbeens – Trivial

 

08
May

While I eagerly await for the Pale Spectres 7″s to arrive any day now, I continue to find indiepop bands on the web. Not in the hopes of releasing them something, at this point I have already all releases for this year lined up, but to prove myself that indiepop is still going strong even though it doesn’t catch the attention of the press or festival organizers.

Sea Shrine: Cris from The Royal Landscaping Society shared with me their Bandcamp after falling head over heels for the song “Soft Alarm”. Upon listening to it, I also thought, “wow! this is truly great!”. It is  classic early 90s indiepop, the guitar strums and chimes the way we all love while the soft vocals blend perfectly. The band seems to be a one man project, a mysterious Thomas is behind it. He is based in West Virginia and he has 5 songs up on the Bandcamp, sadly I can’t say I love the other tracks, but “Soft Alarm” is totally a winner!

Skittle Alley: our friend Fanou has a new album out on Discos de Kirlián from Barcelona. It is titled “End of a Story” and it is limited to just 100 copies. The album includes 9 songs and it is very affordable at just 4 euros! It is just what you expect from the Limoges one-man band, lo-fi bedroom indiepop, perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Snowflakes: it seems the releases they have on Bandcamp are actually more than a decade old. This band from Tokyo, Japan, are firm followers of that they call neo-acoustic in the country of the rising sun. You can hear three releases on their Bandcamp, “Snowflakes” which was their debut 7″ in 2003, “Waiting For” that was also a 7″ released in the summer of 2007, and “Light”, their latest, released this year on tape. Not sure where you can actually find or buy the proper physical releases, but all songs are available for streaming and they sound pretty pretty.

Goodly Thousands: I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before on the blog, I love this band. They have released a couple of 7″s on Shelflife Records and now I found a month old song on their Soundcloud titled “Spree” that sounds glorious to my ears. Maybe it is already time for an album from this Dublin band. Check it out by clicking on the link!

Love Dance: they seem to be back with the song “All the Time”. I was very lucky to see them some years at Indietracks, where I remember they stayed at the same hotel as me, and would see them have breakfast every morning at the Mansfield Premier Inn. They put a fantastic gig that time. Since them they have been quiet, very quiet. I sent them a message some time ago, to check if they were still making music. They were. They told me they had a label already. I believe they meant Brilliance Records who are releasing digitally this beautiful piece of art titled “All the Time”. It is actually a single that will be included in their next album.

 Star Tropics:  the Chicago band is back with a CD album on Fastcut Records. I don’t know much about them to be honest as their Bandcamp and or Soundcloud are not updated, nor their Facebook page. None of these pages have any notice about this release. I wonder why. Maybe they are waiting for their US version of the release which I think is coming as an LP on Shelflife? Anyways, the Japanese version has the song “Tempest” as a bonus track. Would be nice to find out something else about this album, right? Previous songs on Soundcloud sounded pretty good.

And speaking of Shelflife I had a look at their forthcoming catalogue just now and noticed that there is a forthcoming The Keep Left Signs 7″!  That I look forward to!

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Dungannon (from Irish: Dún Geanainn, meaning “Geanann’s stronghold”) is a town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county (after Omagh and Strabane) and had a population of 15,889 at the 2011 Census. The Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council had its headquarters in the town, though since 2015 it has been covered by Mid-Ulster District Council.For centuries, it was the ‘capital’ of the O’Neill dynasty, who dominated most of Ulster and built a castle on the hill. After the O’Neills’ defeat in the Nine Years’ War, the English founded a plantation town on the site, which grew into what is now Dungannon. Dungannon has won Ulster in Bloom’s Best Kept Town Award five times. It currently has the highest percentage of immigrants of any town in Northern Ireland.

Today I decided to pick up another record from my collection, one of those rare ones, a compilation this time.

“Dungannon Musicians Collective 5” was a record I didn’t know about when we were looking through racks of old vinyl stock in Toronto. My friend Jessel introduced me to a world of fantastic records that afternoon. And he picked up for me this compilation LP that was released in 1988 mostly because it included two songs by Tiberius Minnows. Yes, I know, Tiberius Minnows, what a fantastic band, and yes they do deserve a post on the blog. Though I think an interview would make more sense as they are pretty active on their Facebook.

There were 4 more bands on it that I had no clue about, each one contributing 2 songs. There were The Hasbeens, McGovern, The moon and Wrong Door Raid, plus Tiberius Minnows. I had to explore them. See who were they. The record luckily comes with a booklet where some basic information is available for each band.

I think the first song that caught my attention that wasn’t by Tiberius Minnows, who I already knew thanks to the Leamington Spa series, was “Seasons” by Wrong Door Raid. I really liked the guitars. This was the opening track on the B side. They had another song, “Balance is Everything”, closing the A side, but for me, their better song is “Seasons”, even though they include the lyrics for “Balance is Everything” on the booklet.

This record was released by Castle Records (catalog DMCAST1) and we learn a bit about this release thanks to a “prologue” or introduction on the booklet. It says that the DMC (Dungannon Musicians Collective) began in 1987 with Keith Campbell who had a motivation to help up and coming bands. A small team was assembled at the time. Sadly Keith was to pass away but the team was to continue the project for the release of this LP. All bands that contributed were part of this team and they played many gigs to raise money for the record.

Mark Hamill, chairman of the DMC, and Paul Jackson, wrote these introductory notes on the booklet. They thank a lot of people among them people that worked for Dungannon’s government.

When I reach the page where Wrong Door Raid have their photo and “Balance is Everything”‘s lyrics, I find the band members names. That’s something. Maybe with them I can find out more about this band? These two songs were the only ones they seem to have released. It doesn’t seem to be anything.

Martin Campbell played drums, Stephen Conlon played bass, Paul Jackson (who I assume is the same Paul Jackson behind the introductory notes) on vocals and Noel McHugh on guitars. The piano on “Balance is Everything” was played by Paul Donaghy.

As you expect with these obscure bands it is almost impossible to find any information on the web. Luckily I did find a Wrong Door Raid Soundcloud by Paul Jackson. Sadly there is only one song on it and it doesn’t seem he updates the Soundcloud often. The song “People People” was uploaded 5 years ago. It does sound different to the ones on the DMC compilation. It is more like a country song. We also see that Paul is now based in Belfast. There’s nothing more.

I’ve written about a bunch of Irish bands lately. Seems like there is still a lot to discover, many hidden treasures. I wonder if Wrong Door Raid left more recordings from that time, with those chiming guitars that appear all of a sudden on “Seasons”. I really hope so. Anyone else remembers them?

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Listen
Wrong Door Raid – Seasons

04
May

On my last post I said I had mentioned all the bands worth recommending from the Latin American Twee 6th compilation. I missed one, The Spiracles, mainly because I thought they had appeared on the blog some time ago. But after a quick search I found out that they had no mention whatsoever here. So I want to make amends with my terrible memory now.

The Spiracles as far as I know are a Peruvian band though their Bandcamp has them hailing from Toronto, Canada. Might be a mistake? Or maybe some members have relocated? I don’t really know. The song that appeared on the compilation was “Beneath A Sky of Stars”, and it is a pretty dreampop song. The song is part of an April 2016 eponymous release that is available digitally. All of the songs on this digital release are reworks of already released songs, all of them had already appeared on their 2014 album “Last Night I Dreamt About You”. The band is formed by Romina Roggero, Enrique Medina, Luis Rodriguez and Franco Bahamonde. I like their music, just wish they were a bit more orderly when it comes to their songs and releases! It is a bit confusing having them all over the place.

After, I went back and did a quick recap of the Latin American Twee vol. 5 download compilation earlier today. On an earlier blog post I recommended from it Un Verano en Portugal, Verano del 83, 1994 and María. I missed some bands that deserve your attention too.

  • Las Piñas: the song that introduced me to this band is the catchy “Hawaii”. This song is included in their 2016 album “Espanto Caribe” which was released on CD and tape by the American label Yippee Ki Yay from San Antonio, Texas The band is formed by Sofía Cardich, Antonela Perigo and Celina Ortale, an all-girl band, just like my friend Jennifer has been asking for. They hail from La Plata in Argentina. I wonder, are they fans of Estudiantes or Gimnasia y Esgrima? Or Platense maybe?
  • Ruidas: another band from Argentina, also from La Plata. They don’t have a proper release yet, but 3 songs available dating from October 2016 to download and stream on Bandcamp. The first song I heard was “UUU” and I thought that it was great! The band is formed by Vitro Hache, Min H. Felt and Niña Niño. Of course those are not their real names. Anyhow, this sounds good and I look forward to hearing more by them!
  • María Morena: I don’t know anything about this band, just that they are from Lima, Peru. They had one song, “1996” on the compilation “Todos Mis Sentimientos Adolescentes” that was released by La Flor Records. It reminds me to the times I hunted for demos from up and coming Spanish bands on Soulseek sometime around the early 2000s. The naive sound, the girl vocals, are a weakness to me. There are some live videos on Youtube too.

I also had a look at the latest Indietracks announcements, checking out if there was anything that I was missing out, some new discovery perhaps. Definitely the best band to be booked this year by Indietracks is Luby Sparks from Japan. I have already recommended them on the blog and I can’t wait to get their 7″ from the Sailyard label (hello Masami! don’t forget about it!). Then Baby Arms could be another interesting addition to the festival. Their song on the CD16 compilation was a favourite. Of course there is also The Understudies, a favourite band of mine, but they are not a new name for the festival, and probably all of you have already heard their classy songs. But that’s about it. The rest of announcements are truly disappointments.

Among the DJs announced, I’d be curious about Evripidis’ Jukebox, that is Evripidis from the Barcelona based indiepop band Evripidis and his Tragedies. I feel he may play some good proper indiepop. Then How Does it Feel To Be Loved? repeats once again. The other DJs, Offbeat and Sweet Revange are unknowns to me. Who are they?

A new release on the Chinese premier indiepop label, Boring Productions, is available now. That means I need to get in touch with Jovi again, and it feels like yesterday since I ordered some of his latest releases. This time around it is not a Chinese band, but a Russian band: Малыш Камю. They have an 11 song album titled “Nobody Wants to Play With Me” and it is a fantastic continuation of beautiful bedroom pop after their debut on a 3″ on Cris’ Little Treasure Label. You can actually stream the whole release on Bandcamp, but it is available on both CD and cassette. So I urge you to get the physical release even though if you don’t understand a thing of Russian. On the CD booklet the lyrics are translated to English. For those new to the band, Malish Kamu (that’s how you say their name), are Evgeniy and Kate, a couple from Taganrog in Russia. Where is Taganrog? It is on the Sea of Azov, kinda close to Rostov-on-Don. Quite remote for indiepop lovers, right?

The classic Huntington Beach, California, band, The Arrogants, have uploaded a bunch of demos and rarities to their Bandcamp. The band was active between 1997 and 2005 and released some records on Shelflife Records which are true treasures in my CD collection. For some reason I missed their compilation “You’ve Always Known When Best to Say Goodbye” even though some copies were distributed by Plastilina Records. I could never get a copy sent to me from Lima to Miami. And then when I visited Lima on vacations, I believe Jalito never saved me a copy. That made me angry of course. Anyhow, you can check all these rare recordings if you click here.

I don’t know if it is sold out all over the place. I hope Ed Shelflife has still a copy somewhere for me. The Fireworks released on April 21st, a new 7″ with 3 songs and well, as usual, it sounds magnificent. The songs on this red-coloured sleeve record are “Dream About You”, “Better Without You Now” and “We’ve Been Wasting Time”. The record was released by Shelflife in the US and on Opposite Number for Europe. You can stream all songs on their Bandcamp. A must have!

And to close these week’s reviews, I discovered a South Korean band, from Busan, that put out a 7″ out for Record Store Day that sounds really good! I want to get this record! The band is called Say Sue Me and their EP is titled “Semin”. Sadly the story behind this release is not very nice, it is titled after the name of the original drummer in the band who has been in a coma for the last year. Two of the songs on the EP come from older releases, with him drumming: “My Problem” from their 2015 EP and “One Week” from their debut album. The two other songs “But I Like You” and “I Just Wanna Dance”, which are new, are drummed by their friend Casey McKeever. The band members are Jae Young on bass, Kim Byungkyu on guitar, Sumi Choi on vocals and guitar and the aforementioned Kang Semin. It has been a while since I heard a fine sounding Korean band, maybe since Linus Blanket. I need to investigate more. They are at the moment touring the UK.

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Another week that I manage to have enough time to write two posts. This time though it is not strictly indiepop archaeology. Not a guilty pleasure either. This is fantastic pop to my ears. Straight-up pop. And as I finally bought the 7″ with the songs “Tarde Para Amarte” and “No Empeñes Mi Visón”, I thought it was a good time to recommend this gem and to relive some memories that the A side of this record brings to me.

I can’t recall the first time I heard “Tarde Para Amarte” (translates in English as “An Afternoon to Love You”). I must have been a kid. I didn’t know who sang the song. I just grew up remembering the chorus. It is catchy, you can’t deny that.

No, my family didn’t have the record. I grew up in Lima, and during the late 80s, it wasn’t the best time to be around. My country suffered the violence of the terrorist group Shining Path. But musically it probably was a golden age. The radio in Peru would play fantastic and obscure pop from all over. And as there was a renaissance of pop sung in Spanish, radio DJs looked all over the place for novelties. And that is how, I imagine, Bongos Atómicos, from Valencia, Spain, became much more popular in Lima, than in their own country.

Yes, I found out that they appeared on a 1987 edition of Spanish magazine Rock Delux, their sort of NME. But it seems they never achieved much there. I’m sure some people in the Valencia region remember them. But talking to Spanish friends during the years, they honestly had never heard them ever. I guess they weren’t played much on Spanish radio. Whereas in Peru they were played since 1987, the year they released all their records.

I could find on a blog that Radio 1160 from Lima started playing “Tarde Para Amarte” on April of 1987. I was just 3 years old then. Radios would play it still during the 90s. It was a popular song, well known even at alternative discos. It wasn’t the only band from Spain that had more of a following in Peru than in their home country. Among others there was Religión, Club Naval, Flash Strato (who I’ve written on the blog before), Pato de Goma or Tiernos Mansebos, among others. Bands that never played in Peru. But their records and songs were important for a generation.

I wasn’t part of that generation that danced and partied with these songs. I came afterwards. I love the songs nonetheless. I always had a pop sensibility for melodies and catchiness. I think it is thanks to this pop education that I love indiepop. I think many of you will understand me.

I was to rediscover “Tarde Para Amarte” many years after. Around the early 2000s I was rediscovering all these Spanish bands that I once had heard when I was a kid, bands I didn’t remember their names, songs that I didn’t know belonged to this or that band. Through Soulseek I found out that this particular song was from Bongos Atómicos. Since then I’ve DJed it many times, and not only in Lima, but also in England and Germany.

I particularly remember the one time I DJed in Lima, at a Plastilina Pop Party. I saw people singing the song out loud and dancing like possessed! I didn’t expect that! And it wasn’t the older generation, it was my generation, younger people that loved this sort of music.

I only knew this song by Bongos Atómicos for a long time. It was only lately that thanks to Youtube I was to hear to more of their songs. They were varied, some good, some not as good. But it didn’t matter to me. The good thing was that the two songs on the 7″ I bought today are their best. And I’m glad they were released together.

But I don’t know anything about the band. My knowledge was limited to know that they were from Valencia, in Spain. I had read that somewhere. It is time to dig the web, see what I could find about them. There wasn’t that much, there was enough though.

The band started to make a splash after recording their first demo. It won the 2nd “Concurso de Maquetas” contest organized by the Rock de Lux magazine. Thanks to that the band was to record their eponymous mini-LP at the Pertegás studios in their hometown. 5 songs were recorded then: “Uska Dara (Un Cuento Turco)“, “Tarde Para Amarte” and “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Lejos” for the A side and “Puede Resultar Divertido”  “No Empeñes mi Visón” and an instrumental version of “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Tarde” for the B side. The record was released by Producciones Twins (catalog T 2518), the same label that became popular for releasing perhaps the biggest band of the Spanish 80s, Hombres G. The record came out with an insert including the lyrics for the songs.

This same record was released in Peru. Probably it is the only other country that released it. I don’t think it is as popular anywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world. In Peru it was also released in 1987 through the label Epic (catalog SE 3431).

From what I’ve gathered, in Spain their most well-known song was “Uska Dara” which was actually a version of a Turkish song that was popularized in the 60s by Eartha Kitt. You can hear her version here. This song was released as the first single from the mini-LP as a 7″ with “Puede Resultar Divertido” on the B side. It was released by Producciones Twins in 1987 as well (catalog T-1776). It was also released on a 12″ but on this version both songs get the remix treatment. “Uska Dara” gets the “Desacato remix” while “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Lejos (instrumental)” got the “Madrugada remix”. The 12″ catalog was T-1234.

Their only other release was the 7″ I am waiting happily to arrive home. Released by Producciones Twins (catalog T-1788) in 1987, “Tarde Para Amarte” was the A side and “No Empeñes Mi Visón” on the B side as I’ve mentioned before.

My first stop in my detective work was a blog called El Viaje Sónico. On a post dating from 2010 I learn some important facts about the band. First off the lineup:
– Rafa Villaba on drums and percussion
– Alberto Tarín on guitars and keyboards
– Rosa Elena on vocals
– Begoña aka. Kanekalón on backing vocals

The produced for their record was Esteban Leivas. During the recording of their mini-LP they had some help from different musicians including Nacho Mañó on bass (he was a member of the band Presuntos Implicados), Perico Sambeat on sax and Vicente Quintana who does the intro on “Uska Dara”. Their manager was Rafa Cervera, who at the time was perhaps the best regarded music critic in Valencia. He even appears on the back sleeve of the record.

The article mentions that the band would also record another song, “Bon Gos, Atomic Os” for a compilation titled “Un Poc de Rock” where 6 Valencian bands were included. It was released by the label Xiu-Xiu Records also in 1987 (catalog XIU-BN-4). Seems they were only around for that year. The curious thing about this contribution is that they are listed as Bongos Atómicos and Remigi Palmero. Who is this Remigi? And the song included, that is the first one on the album, is a play on words of the band name. In Valencian, “bon gos, atomic os” means good dog, atomic bone. This song was composed by Cervera, Tarín and Villalba. It is a very different song if you compare it to the mini-LP. It is probably my least favourite song by them.

After the band split, Rafa Villalba and Alberto Tarín went to join a much more famous band, Seguridad Social. The two girls from the band, Rosa Elena and Kanekalón disappeared from he face of Earth.

Luckily my investigation doesn’t end up here. I found an article penned by the band’s manager, Rafa Cervera, dated from February this year. From it I could gather even more information and some fine promo pictures.

The first thing I learn is that the band performed on TV on a morning programme hosted by Jesús Hermida in TVE. It doesn’t say the name of the programme. Or the year. I only wonder if this performance will appear someday on Youtube. It seems the host didn’t like the band.

Rafa Cervera tells that he was obsessed by some demo recordings by Rafa Villalba. he thought they were unique, they were unlike anything he says. He was in love in particular with a song titled “Chiquitere” and he was on a mission to release it. After a lot of convincing, Rafa C. convinced Rafa V. to start a band. The band was called initially El Discreto Encanto and they played live for the first time in 1985. They shared lineup with Juana La Loca, Comité Cisne and Muzak among others.

Before being in Bongos Atómicos, Alberto Tarín had been in a band Segunda Sección. Never heard them. And I had never heard how El Discreto Encanto sounded like. Did they record any demos? Rafa V. used to DJ at Brillante then. At the same club worked Rosa Elena Sanjuán as a waitress. She joined the band. And then Begoña Kanekalón too, who had been previously on a theatre group named Putre Plastics.

It was in 1986 that they changed their name to Bongos Atómicos after a Lydia Lunch song (“Atomic Bongos“).

The band didn’t play much live. There was an instrumental song “El de las Ballenas” that ended up being used by Diego Manrique as the theme song for his radio show “Solo Para Ellas” on Radio 3. The song that obsessed Rafa C. was a song from those early demos by Rafa V. titled “Chiquitere”. He thought about it as a hit. They re-recorded it at the Tabalet studios and they included it in the demo contest that they won. What other songs were included in this demo?

I mentioned earlier that the prize was recording a record for Twins. Well, there was another prize. They got an electronic drum machine by Roland. Rafa mentions his and Rafa V.’s influences. They liked Paul Haig, The Gist, The Raincoats. Good bands definitely. The record label director, Paco Martín, didn’t let the band record the song “Chiquitere”. He didn’t see it as commercial enough. So they went and recorded “Uska Dara” as the promotional single.

Rafa C. complains that the label didn’t care for the release. It wasn’t promoted properly, perhaps because the band wasn’t interested in touring the whole of Spain, but most probably because the label only thought about money. It seems it was a bittersweet situation for the band making this record. Even that TV appearance on TVE wasn’t meant for them, but for another band in the label. As this other band wasn’t going to be able to show up they gave the slot to Bongos Atómicos. Without a real lineup, Rafa C. ended up playing bass and they asked another friend, Luz Divina to play keyboards. The two other girls in the band were dressed in silicon dresses and it really didn’t fit for the children segment of the TV show, the time where they were slotted to perform! It was disaster. That was the biggest highlight for them.

Years later, in 1993, Rafa Villalba was to record “Chiquitere“. The lyrics being the same, but with a much dancier rhythm. More like a batucada number. Not for me. Not my style. But it was a success.

To my surprise Rafa C. links a Youtube video of a Peruvian band named Nicoleta (never head them before) covering “Tarde Para Amarte”. A surprise for them as well, having no clue how the hell their long forgotten record and songs ended up being classics in a South American country.

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Listen
Bongos Atómicos – Tarde Para Amarte

01
May

As I promised last week, I was going to recommend some new bands, mostly from the download compilation the Facebook page Latin American Twee put together like a couple of weeks ago. You can check out the tracklist by clicking here. There’s also a download link there if you want to get the whole thing. As I’ve mentioned before, Latin American Twee, is a cool Facebook page run by Impermeable Records’ (the ones who released CD16 late last year) Joel. He hails from Peru and seems to be on a crusade with the serious intention of documenting, revitalizing and promoting indiepop made south of Rio Grande.

Some of the bands on the compilation have already been mentioned on the blog, so let’s find out ones that I’ve never heard before.

  • Armisticio: armistice is a strange name for an indiepop band, right? Anyhow this is the product of just one man, Matías Soto, from Santiago, Chile. The song on the compilation is “Mantener” and it’s a dream pop number. I check out their Bandcamp and notice they have three releases, the first one dating from June 2015. “Mantener” is taken from his latest, “Espiral”, released in 2016. It is a 10 track album and is a mix of classic indiepop and electronic beats. It reminds me quite a bit to Spanish classic band Dar Ful Ful. This is quite nice indeed. Wonder if it was released physically? Seems to be available only digitally.
  • Ignacio del Pórtico: not a recent release this one. The song Joel has picked is “Cataratas del Paraíso” and it comes from a July, 2015 released titled “Regalos del Sosiego”. Not sure again if there’s a physical version for this 10 track album. It also seems to be a one man project. Ignacio seems to come not from Buenos Aires, but from Posadas, in Misiones province, in Argentina. That’s not common. At least I don’t think it is. The guitar work on the songs are my favourite thing about it, they jangle and chime, especially on the upbeat songs, which are definitely his best.
  • Clan de Venus: this quartet hails from León in Mexico. They are formed by Norman Orozco on guitars and vocals, Diego Chávez on guitars, Óscar Villegas on bass and Hugo Hernández on drums. They have a four song EP available on their Bandcamp, and it is from there that Joel has picked the song “Isla Nube”. So far, on this compilation, this might be my favourite song. All songs included in the EP, which is available on the super Emma’s House Records on CD, are upbeat and jangly, reminding me a lot to what Los Waldners from Costa Rica are doing these days.
  • Fish Magic: another one-man project, this time from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The man behind Fish Magic is Mário Quinderé and he has many more releases on his Bandcamp. The song on the comp is “Blue Light” and that is also the oppening track in his latest album, “Sky High”, that was released in December 2016. The album seems to have been released by the label Midsummer Madness though it seems only digitally. The album has some rockier moments, which are my least favourite, but when Fish Magic goes poppy, it is pretty good, like for example on “Into the Ocean” that sounds a bit like Lovejoy!
  • Useless Youth: finally a band that has released their record physically! Their debut 10 track album titled “The Coldest Ocean” is available to buy on their Bandcamp as well as a t-shirts. The band is formed by Pepe on guitars and vocals, Ian on guitars, Yak on bass and Emiliano on drums. They hail from Mexico City and from the tags they’ve chosen on their Bandcamp I see they must like c86, twee and shoegaze. They must know a thing, or two! I feel there’s potential on the songs, though they sound very thin a lot of the times. The guitars are nice, but I feel the bass and drums could be more present? Maybe I’m just being too demanding! The thing is, the song that gives the album its title, “The Coldest Ocean”, is definitely my favourite. There are very nice guitars throughout and that’s what I’m going to remember Useless Youth for.
  • Gativideo: there’s a 4 song EP on their Bandcamp, their only release it seems. This Buenos Aires band is formed by Renzo Montalbano (great last name! I’m a big fan of Inspector Montalbano), Ignacio Fischman, Juan Pablo Fenu and Ignacio Morelli. Sadly I only like the same song Joel liked, “Flash”, the opening track. The other 3 songs on the EP are not poppy at all. But “Flash” is dreamy and even has the class to mention Luis Miguel on its lyrics. That is quite risky if you want to be taken seriously, though maybe times have changed and now hipsters embrace “The Sun of America” as the Mexican crooner was once christened.

I think that’s the best I could pick from the compilation. There were other bands on it like Winter Waves, Jóvenes Adultos, Gaax or The Friendship that really didn’t do much for me. But maybe they are up your alley. You should check the comp out, there are great tracks from other bands I’ve raved here like Dan Dan Dero, Patio Solar or Medio Hermano.

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I’m a happy person, thanks to Carrick, last Saturday I got some amazing indiepop records at the WFMU record fair in Brooklyn. But of course the quest for all the holy grails of indiepop (in my book that is), continues. Can’t stop looking for bands and records that I’m still missing. Today I hope some of you could find me with 2 records, by the same band, A Better Mousetrap.

A mousetrap is a type of animal trap designed primarily to catch mice; however, it may also, accidentally or not, trap other small animals. Mousetraps are usually set somewhere indoors where there is a suspected infestation of rodents. The trap that is credited as the first patented lethal mousetrap was a set of spring-loaded, cast-iron jaws dubbed “Royal No. 1”. It was patented on November 4, 1879, by James M. A historical reference is found in the Alciati, Emblemata from 1534. Other mouse traps in art from: Gerrit Dou The mouse trap 1650, Nicolas de Larmessin, Rowlandson 1799, Francis Wheatley 1790s, Edmund Bristow 1787-1876 and more can be seen in a blog post by Patricia Bixler Reber. The conventional mousetrap with a spring-loaded snap mechanism resting on a block of wood first appeared in 1884, and to this day is still considered to be one of the most inexpensive and effective mousetraps.

There is very little on the web about A Better Mousetrap. We know they released one 7″ and one 12″, both in 1987, and that was it. So we’ll go investigate these releases first. See what sort of hints they can give us.

The 7″ had 2 songs, “The Road to Kingdom Come” on the A side and “We Are All Going To Die” on the B side, and was released by Cuddly Records (catalog CUD 001). Of course, this was the only release on this label. Is it safe to assume it was a self-release? The artwork is a black and white cartoon, you can tell there was sense of humour in this band.  I haven’t heard both songs, I’ve only had the chance to listen to the B side “We Are All Going To Die”,  but could it be “The Road to Kingdom Come” lyrics printed on the back sleeve? It looks that way. On the back sleeve we get to know the band lineup:
– Silas Sibbring on vocals
– Les Watkins on guitars, harmonica and vocals
– Gerry McGowan on bass and vocals
– Carl D’Inal on drums

This 7″ was recorded at Neosound Studios in Tottenham. It was produced and engineered by Mike Neophytou and the band. The art was by Mike Mitchell.

So Tottenham. Where they Londoners then?

The “A Nice Cup of Tea” EP was the 12″. This was their second release. This one was released by Tuff! Enuff (TUFFER 001). There is another release on the label by a band called Jeremy Gluck & Friends according to Discogs but I feel this is a mistake, an error. Both have catalog 001, so it must just be that there was another label with the same name. Meaning this was also a self-release?

On the EP there are 5 songs. On the A side we find “Goodbye Cruel World” and “Beautiful Place”. On the B side there are “Pigs Will Fly”, “The World is Mad” and “A Nice Cup of Tea”. The song I have heard from this EP is the opening one, “Goodbye Cruel World”. The songs, this time, were recorded at Airwave Studios on Kilburn High Road, London, “at the bottom of a narrowish staircase” on August 1987. They must have been Londoners!

The record was produced and engineered by Barry Lane and A Better Mousetrap with “much hilarity and little fuss” according to the back sleeve. Again we see the sense of humour all over the back sleeve, especially where the band members are listed! Like it says that Gerry McGowan makes spaghetti or Carl makes a teacup.

There was one other appearance by the band. With the song “A Road to Kingdom Come”, they would participate in a compilation in 1988. The compilation was titled “Vinyl Virgins” and was released by Mighty Sheffield Records (catalog CM 001). You would guess that by the name these were bands that haven’t been on vinyl before, but clearly A Better Mousetrap had been already.

A Better Mousetrap opens the compilation, they have the first song. Other bands on it are The Warhols, The Things, The Australians, The Gallery and more. It seems it was a mix of genres on it. Seems there was some punk and hard rock on it.

Then how to find more information? I wonder if those were their real names. Carl D’inal, sounds like cardinal, might have been a joke? What about the rest? I couldn’t find anything online about them.

I have no clue. Couldn’t find any information about gigs, or anything at all. Maybe some of you remember them? Maybe someone has some spare copies to trade with me? What about other recordings? Where there more? I’d love to hear both releases in their entirety as well. Anyhow, whatever help in this indiepop archaeology project is much appreciated!

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Listen
A Better Mousetrap – Goodbye Cruel World

27
Apr

Let’s end April on  a high mark. As the Pale Spectres 7″ release gets closer and closer and as I approved The Potting Sheds retrospective artwork proofs today, I think I can go ahead and prepare a new blog post for you all. Things at Cloudberry are looking good and I should start looking out for the next Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release. Do you have any suggestions?

There are some new music I want to share with you before I do some indiepop archaeology.

  1. My friend Jonas from Bedroom Eyes, who I haven’t seen in many years, but continues to release fabulous music, have a new album out this May 12th of the label Startracks. The album is titled “Greeting From Northern Sweden” and at the moment he is promoting it with the song “After I was a Kid But Before I Grew Up”. The song has all the classic ingredients that are the trademark of Bedroom Eyes since 2006 (was it that year when I first heard his music?). Meaning smart lyrics, catchy melodies, and straight-up guitars.  For the song Bedroom Eyes has made a nostalgia video, with VHS feeling, and more than a nod to Twin Peaks. Looking forward to getting y hands on the album!
  2. More friends making fantastic music. Some time ago I recommended the song “Modern Art” by Burning Hearts. Almost a year ago I think. That song was part of their new album that will finally be released on May 19th on Solina Records. As far as I know it is only available on vinyl and digital. The album is titled “Battlefields” and they are now promoting it with the song “Bodies as Battlefields” which you can stream from Soundcloud. The album contains 9 songs and I’m really hoping to be able to buy it when I visit Finland at the end of May. It will be my first visit so I hope someone can recommend me some record stores where I can buy it I can’t miss this new gem by Jessika and Henry.
  3. The Sailyard label, sister label of Fastcut Records, run by Masami  from Wallflower and Atsushi from Miles Apart Records have a new release that I need to get. I don’t know how I will manage to get it, as I already asked Masami for some of the previous releases, but now there are more and more! Seems like they are on a roll! Well, on May 27th they will release a 7″ by Mariana in Our Heads. I’m sure I’ve recommended this band before, when they released their debut cassette on Miles Apart Records. On this new 7″ they release two songs, “Anemone” and “Yarn”. The song that is available for streaming is “Anemone” and it is brilliant. So so dreamy.
  4. Fastcut Records is not leaving everything to Sailyard, they have a fantastic sounding new release by Cloudberry-favourite band Wallflower coming out late May. After I’ve listened a few times the song “Nowhere“, remembering the terrific show they put in New York Popfest, I can only say the band keeps getting better and better! So happy for my friends in the band them! Their new release is a 7” vinyl record that will come with a mini zine and it was produced by Ian Catt. I need this record as well. I’m going to be so poor soon!
  5. Continuing with this roundup of friends making news, Papa Topo are part of a movie, did you know? They are main characters as well. The movie is called “La Maldita Primavera”, I suppose a nod to Mexican legend Yuri’s classic song of the same name, and it is going to be debuting the D’a Film Festival of Barcelona on May 4th. It seems too that Elefant Recods will be releasing the soundtrack of the movie. There’s a movie teaser available in Youtube. Looks like a fun movie and I hope it will be available to watch this side of the Atlantic soon enough!
  6. Pacífico, the Barcelona band that shares band members with Papa Topo and Jessica and The Fletchers are also going to have a new release sometime soon. It will be a tape, which is a shame for me as I haven’t changed my mind about tapes, I still dislike them, with 3 songs on it. The good thing is that the song they have leaked, “Noches Blancas“, sounds fab. Crash-pop at its best, wonderful shambling! The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be released by El Genio Equivocado.

And that’s it for now. I still have for next week to go through the Latin American bands on the latest compilation of Latin American Twee! and also I haven’t checked the newest additions to Indietracks and see if there’s anything to recommend on here. So there’s still stuff for next week!

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Sedgemoor is a low-lying area of land in Somerset, England. It lies close to sea level south of the Polden Hills, historically largely marsh (or “moor” in its older sense). The eastern part is known as King’s Sedgemoor, and the western part West Sedgemoor. Sedgemoor is part of the area now known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. Historically the area was known as the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor.

That’s where they came from. Sedgemoor. Somerset.

4 years ago I was DJing in London. Jennifer had invited me to a Colour Me Pop event where The Secret History, Comet Gain and Pale Spectres played. I think that was the first and only time I got to play The Sedgemorons’ “Drop Dead Darling” to more people than me, myself, and I.

From that time, no, earlier than that, I’ve been meaning to recommend it on my blog. Why I didn’t do it before? I don’t really know. I guess my band selections do come randomly. Perhaps affected by moods. Or what record I’ve just got on my mailbox or which one I rediscovered at home. Sadly The Sedgemorons is not a record I own. That definitely might have been a cause for me not having investigated them before.

So yes, I do hope to find a copy. And that is going to be a goal for this year, definitely. I love this song. I figure that when you think of that compilation that everyone has raved about, the “Sharon Signs to Cherry Red”, that has even been reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day, you wonder why the hell a song like this one wasn’t included? I know, I can be very demanding. But I do think there are better songs, like this one, that many that are included. I hope though, if the compiler does a 2nd volume, please read this blog, I’ve recommended so many female fronted bands from the mid 80s that have terrific songs and would make a better compilation. Seriously.

The Sedgemorons had two releases. Only their 2nd, the 7″ is listed on Discogs. Let’s start there, that’s the one I want. The 7″ included two songs, “Drop Dead Darling” and “I Need a Girlfriend”. It was released in 1985 by the Sheep Worrying Records label. Catalog was SW102.  The art for the record came printed in a cool fuchsia tint. On Discogs, only another release is listed under this label, a 1982 7″ compilation titled “Sheep Worrying”. Let’s see if we find more.

On the labels, we see some credits for the songs. “Drop Dead Darling” is credited to Kane and Smedly while “I Need a Girlfriend” to Beaslley and Smedley. Both songs were recorded at Monitor Studios and produced by the band.

I do find information about their label on a website that looks like it was made during the time Geocities reigned supreme. And here we will learn something important about The Sedgemorons, that they were created to pay a debt!
This label grew out of the Bridgewater-based magazine and entertainments promoter, Sheep Worrying, founded by Brian Smedley. It released the single “False Nose/County Councillor”(1980) and two tape albums, Internal Organs (1978) and Going Shopping (1980) by The Dangerous Brothers. Sheep Worrying Records Former Address: 34 Alfoxton Road Bridgwater, Somerset. Was formed by Brian Smedley. In 1984 the Sheep Worrying Organisation had got itself into debt and needed funding to keep it going. No-one involved had any money-and so the editorial team determined to form a band to gig themselves out of debt. The Sedgemorons was formed to play cabaret style music in pubs and clubs simply to raise money quickly.. Although this started to happen and during the 2 years of the groups existence, the debt was paid off the initial remit  was ditched as the individuals involved began to write their own music and  came up with a classic rock-send up stage show. The band Brian Smedley (Lead Guitar), Stuart Croskell (bass), Gareth Beasley (Rhythm Guitar), Kevin Freeman (drums), Anne Dixey/Betty Bonkers & Lianne Bruce/Bobby Bland (lead vocals) and later Barry Thompson (sax), Distributed By Sheep Worrying Records.

On that website there’s the whole catalog for the label, actually only 3 releases. We also learnt the band lineup. It was a big band! More than 6 members! But what about Bridgwater? I never known that place? For some reason on Wikipedia it is not spelled BridgEwater but Bridgwater. I suppose that’s the correct spelling?

Bridgwater is a market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 35,886. Bridgwater is at the edge of the Somerset Levels, in level and well-wooded country; to the north are the Mendips and to the west the Quantock hills. The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett, 10 miles (16 km) from its mouth, has been a major port and trading centre and maintains a large industrial base. It is linked to Taunton by the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Bridgwater is between two junctions of the M5 motorway and Bridgwater railway station is on the main railway line between Bristol and Taunton. Historically, the town had a politically radical tendency. The Battle of Sedgemoor, where the Monmouth Rebellion was finally crushed in 1685, was fought nearby. Notable buildings include the Church of St Mary and the house in Blake Street, largely restored, which was the birthplace of Admiral Blake in 1598, and is now the Blake Museum. The town has an arts centre and plays host to the annual Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.

A quick stop on the John Peel wiki tells us that on May 13th of 1985 Mr. Peel played “Drop Dead Darling”.

From another early-internet era looking website we learn that the band was actually played several times by John Peel, and that it got reviews on Sounds and Melody Maker, and that even Cherry Red (who didn’t include them on the compilation I was complaining about earlier!) courted them. From this page we learn about their first release. It was a cassette album titled “We’re Bonkers” and it was recorded live. I haven’t been able to find a tracklist for it. I hope I do!

The band also toured a stage musical named “Rock n Roll is Pretty Exciting” where they played songs such as “Car Park Attendant of My Dreams”. On these shows the band also performed poetry.

By the end of 1985 the band was over. Beasley and Dixey formed the band “The Inflatable Ducks” while Smedly and Bruce formed “Red Smed & The Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band”. Croskell went to college and formed “The Bernard” while Freeman played with “The Alkaloids”.

Speaking of Red Smed, I found a blogspot of theirs. Luckily there is a 2014 post about them where there’s even more information about The Sedgemorons. From this post we learn that the Sheep Worrying debt ascended to 1000 pounds and some more details about their musical. But the gem to be found here is a Youtube video for the song “I Need a Girlfriend“. It actually it was filmed while The Sedgemorons were rehearsing in the upstairs room of the Bridgwater Arts Centre when BBC2 was filming a documentary about this place!

On Youtube I would find more stuff. Brian Smedley has an account and on it I could find the performance of the poem “Greed” at the Antelope Inn Sherborne on September 22nd of 1985. On the same account I could find a cover of “Drop Dead Darling” by Brian’s later band, Red Smed & the Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band. Sounds cool! But I think I like better the original! Something about the vocals I think.

That’s a lot of information I could dig up. I couldn’t find the tracklist for their live cassette or any song to stream from it. I hope I listen to it one day. I really like both songs on the 7″. I hope to find a copy too sometime. It’s much better to listen to it on your turntable, right? And now I hope to investigate the bands they formed after too. Maybe there are some pop gems there. I’m crossing my fingers.

Do you remember them?

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Listen
The Sedgemorons – Drop Dead Darling