How exciting! The Seashells 7″s arrived early and they are safe and sound at home. I’m missing their polybags but they should arrive this week, as soon as I have them I’ll start shipping all pre-orders and orders. The official release date is November 10th but we are a bit ahead now! Happinness!

Now, you know you want this 7″, so support the label so we can fund more releases in the coming months!

What else is new in indiepopworld? Let’s see…

Well, very important news was that Alpaca Sports released a new video for the song “Where’d You Go?” that was included in the 10″ “When You Need Me the Most”. The video is so much fun, kept me smiling all the time. The video is entirely filmed in Japan when the band was touring and on top of seeing the friends of Alpaca Sports we get to see cameos of many Japanese friends. If you haven’t seen this fun video, do so here!

The other video I was happy to see was “Stellular” by ex-Pipettes Rose Ellinor Dougall. I didn’t know the meaning of the word Stellular until then. It means having the shape of a small star. This song will be included in the album of the same name to be released in 2017 on Vermillion Records. It is true that this doesn’t sound like your usual indiepop fare but I’ve been a fan for a long time and one of my favourite songs ever (confirmed also by my scrobbles on Last.fm) is the demo version of “I Know We’ll Never”. So always a fan!

Also the legendary band from Birmingham Mighty Mighty have a new EP up on Bandcamp. It is titled “Misheard Love Songs EP” and it includes 3 songs, “Stupid Little Things”, “Winter” and “Weather Girl (demo)”. It is said that they are actually recording a new album to be released in 2017. Classic vocals by Hugh McGuiness and jangly guitars, what else can you ask?

One of my favourite English bands for the last few years, Horsebeach, have also new stuff on Bandcamp. Titled “Demos & Unreleased Nonsense” this 8-song compilation adds bits and bobs to their growing discography. Some gems to be discovered here.

That’s all I could find worthwhile this week. What about you? Any exciting new discoveries?


One of the important influences for Cloudberry in the beginning was Bedroom Records. A Swedish label that was releasing at the time, in the mid 2000s a bunch of up and coming bedroom indiepop projects. During the years when I discovered this label, being at some point friends with Pontus from All of My Brother’s Girlfriends on Soulseek, I was only  a student and didn’t have money, or a credit card, or paypal, to order and get their releases. And that was a shame as these were only burned on CDR in very limited amounts.

Just a few weeks ago I managed to get two of the Bedroom Records releases. Not for the price they used to be sold for. More expensive, but definitely not as expensive as some other listings I had seen. It was a decent price for vinyl, perhaps not for CDR but well, one is only human and I got Inside Riot’s “1999-2002” and the Rough Bunnies “Tøff Hevn” CDRs. Exciting of course is the fact that this Inside Riot release was the first ever on Bedroom Records (BED 001) released in 2004.

Of course both bands shared members: Frida and Anna Vermina. But Inside Riot, supposedly, was a full band. Rough Bunnies was just them two, as a duo. So who were the other members in Inside Riot? That is the first mystery to solve. Then I see they were originally from Malmö but they recorded in Berlin. Was that the case with all members of the band?

Inside Riot came first. Rough Bunnies after. About Rough Bunnies there is much more information online. About Inside Riot not much. It is a fact that the first Inside Riot release was posthumous. As I said it came out in 2004, the recordings date from 1999 to 2002. Wonder why they didn’t release anything while the band was active.

This first release included 9 songs: “World of Love”, “Modern Love”, “Night Star”,
“My Man”, “I Fell in Love”, “In Front of Your Gun”, “Dance with Me”, “I Say Goodbye” and the bonus track “Ice Princess”. “Dance With Me” being a cover of Adam Green.

That same year, 2004, there was another release by Inside Riot. I’m not sure if the songs on it are also from years before, or actually recorded that year. The name of this CDR is “Berling Recordings + Mini EP”. This one I sadly don’t have it. Not yet. It came out on Bedroom Records (BED 007) and included 7 songs: “Riding in Cars”, “ESK-83”, “Telescope Eye”, “Homesick”, “Teenage Obsession”, “Human Industry” and “More Lost Than Alive”.

They would also appear with two songs, “Modern Love” and “World of Love” on a download compilation that was once available, in 2005, titled “Rough Bunnies Go Pirate” that was available on roughbunnies.se. On this same download comp appeared Rough Bunnies and The Flame.

The next year, 2006, Anna and Frida kept promoting Inside Riot. This time on a CDR compilation with no catalog number. Titled “RB for Beginners” it included 27 songs by Rough Bunnies, 3 by The Flame and 4 by Inside Riot (“World of Love”, “Modern Love”, “My Man”, “I Say Goodbye”). It says that on the sleeve five other Inside Riot songs are listed but they don’t appear on the disc. Those five were “How Did He Know I Had a Dick?”, “Riding in Cars”, “ESK-83”, “Human Industry”, “Teenage Obsession” and “I Say Goodbye”. I wonder about that song, “How Did He Know I Had a Dick?” as it wasn’t in any of the CDRs.

What else do we know about this two cousins? Let’s keep digging. I find that there was an album by The Fine Arts Showcase were all songs are covers of Rough Bunnies and Inside Riot. The person behind this band was Gustaf Kjellvander. He tells a very nice story about how he ended up loving their music:
“I was first introduced to Anna Vermina and her cousin Frida, the founding members of Rough Bunnies and Inside Riot, through mutual friends. Frida gave me a CD-R just days before they were about to move to Berlin. About six months later I was looking for someone to rent my spare room. I bumped into Frida by chance, who told me she had moved back from Berlin to Malmö and needed a place to stay – so she moved in. I was already smitten by Inside Riot at this time, and when Frida played me the songs they had recorded in Berlin, along with the Rough Bunnies record C-sides, it blew me away. I played it to everyone who came over to my house. They became an obsession that carries on to this day. I knew I wanted the Fine Arts Showcase to cover their songs. The problem was that with a catalogue of songs as amazing as theirs it was hard to pick just one, so I came up with the idea that we should do an entire record instead (in the Merle Haggard sings Jimmy Rodgers tradition). And here it is: a musical love letter to two of my favorite songwriters, a celebration of the pop geniuses of the Vermina family. Rough Bunnies (and their twin group Inside Riot) have inspired me more than any other band this side of the millennium and this record is my way of thanking them. Rough Bunnies Saved My Life”

On this album Gustaf covers two Inside Riot songs, “Modern Love” and “World of Love”. We keep digging…

I find a mention of another Inside Riot album called “The First Record (Eskimo)” and another one called “Hi, What’s Your Name?” on the Anorak Forum. What are they? I could only find “Hi, What’s Your Name?” on RateYourMusic. It seems to have been a CDR released in 2001 and it has the same artwork as the later “1999-2002”. So it seems they did release some stuff when they were active. Maybe the “Eskimo” album was also from that time period. Also according to RateYourMusic the Berlin Recordings date from 2002 and not 2004.

Here I also find the other band members names, Anders on bass, Mattias on lead guitar and Martin on drums. No last names though.

I can’t seem to find anything else online about Inside Riot. Of course about Rough Bunnies you can find much more. But I’m curious now about this first project (was it the first? or maybe they were involved in bands before?).

What are they doing now? I know Friday was playing in Frida & Ale and even played at Indietracks (on a year that I didn’t go). Their legacy is fantastic, The Flame, Rough Bunnies and Inside Riot are favourite of mine and for many others.

Would love to know more about Inside Riot. Where did they play gigs? What about those releases that Discogs doesn’t list?  Why did they split? And so many questions more!


Inside Riot – World of Love


Less than a month for me to go on vacations and that feels very good. And then after that vacation in Thailand, just a month after it, I have it all booked to go to Peru for 10 days in January. When I am there, I’ll even travel to the Amazon rainforest. Can’t complain and can’t wait for these trips to happen.

But what about indiepop? Well to be honest it continues to be slow at Cloudberry HQ. At the moment I’m waiting for The Seashells 7″s to arrive, and they should early in November. I hope they arrive the first week, as after that I will be traveling and won’t be that convenient for me as I won’t be able to post any orders. I’m crossing my fingers that they will arrive early.

After that we have the Pale Spectres 7″ and the Some Other Day retrospective album of course. The latter hasn’t been announced on the website but will be up there for pre-orders soon. We are waiting for a handful of songs to be mastered. The artwork is finally done. Those are the three releases confirmed for the moment and who knows what will happen next. Can’t promise much really as don’t want to go into debt! I have to say that if sales don’t get better the outlook will be a bit grim. And yes, I do understand prices are high at the moment but what can one do with such an unfriendly postal service?

What about indiepop news? I haven’t seen many important news lately. But let me see what I can dig for you.

First off the Lost Tapes compilation, that includes (sadly for me as I will probably see no sales for their 7″ on Cloudberry) all of their previous singles, “We Thought It Was Okay At the Time (2013-2015)” is now ready for pre-orders on Shelflife Records. It will be released in both vinyl and CD formats and includes 14 songs. This is a must have for any pop lovers as their songs are pure pop bliss. It’s release date is January 13.

My friends of Linda Guilala have a new video out as well. It is for the song “Accidentes” that was included in their last album “Psiconáutica”. This is one of my favourite tracks in it. In the video one can notice that the band has changed lineup, but of course Eva and Iván are still in the band.

Lia Pamina, also on the Elefant stable, has a new video as well. I really loved the 7″ she released time ago, that one touched by Roger Gunnarsson’s magic wand. So when I heard she was working on a full album, to be released in November, I was giddy. Things have changed though, now Lia’s music has changed it seems. It is a bit different, not as immediate and catchy perhaps, more elaborate maybe. It is still very good and enjoyable, though I won’t lie and say I prefer this over her previous effort. You can catch a preview for the album on the video for “Love is Enough“.

And Juvenile Juvenile, the amazing band from Japan, also have a video for their latest single, “Perfect Lies”. I have already raved this 7″ and here it is in all of it’s splendor! What a song!

Last week I also posted on my personal Facebook a cool video of Grand MacDougall explaining, talking about, the Splash One posters. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. Anyone who likes design and indiepop will love this!

And on that same account of Vimeo, there’s this cool video of Martin St John discussing his tambourine and more! I actually just finished his book about his time in Primal Scream and it was SO GOOD. Please read it!


Last week I wrote a bit about the Manchester North of England compilation box set due to be released on Cherry Red. It came to my attention, on their Facebook page, that they were trying to get in touch with a band called The Days. I thought “weren’t they on some Leamington Spa?”. So I checked, and certainly there was a The Days on Leamington Spa 4. But no, this was a different The Days even though later I would find Discogs had made the same mistake I made.

So who were these The Days from Manchester? The first clue comes from their one and only release a 12″ EP with 4 songs: “Fly”, “Time of My Life”, “Jigsville” and “Wake Up”. This record was released by Visible Records in 1991 (catalog VIS/00121). I couldn’t find any other releases on this label, might it have been a self-release then?

Happily today I found a good price for it, around 10 dollars including shipping from France, so hopefully it will be soon in my collection. That feels good.

The second clue comes from that same post I was talking about earlier. It is mentioned that they were featured in a TV special filmed in a big top in Middleton in 1991. They were featured alongside Raintree County, The High and The Railway Children. This event was christened as The Manchester Band’s Night and it was sponsored by Heineken. You can watch the 16:22 minute celebration of pop music on Youtube here. In it The Days appear first, on this 6th of July of 1991, with the song Fly. It is a bouncy song, definitely Madchester, baggy, influenced. Much fun!

Someone on that post comments that he owns two tapes by them, probably demos. No tracklist provided. Then later on the thread Nik Jackson confirms him being on the band as the vocalist. Who else was in the band?

I found a The Days Facebook page. That wasn’t that hard I think. How come Cherry Red was having trouble. We find the rest of the band members names: Carl Rogers, David Browne, Mark Millward, David Harvey and Paul Chadwick (joined 2012). What instruments did each of them play? And how come 2012? Have they been going still?

Well, it seems they had a website, but that one is no more online. I did find that they reformed at least around 2012 and played a gig in Glossop at The Redroom and later, in March 2013 a gig at The Roadhouse in Manchester. This was a gig were they supported the band The Celadors.

A little more digging and I find jACKSON and his Facebook page. That is the vocalist new solo project and he is thrilled to be part of the Cherry Red boxset. You can find more about him here.

Then I found a Youtube channel with a bunch of The Days recordings. Such treasure! We find here for our listening pleasure:
A Thousand Ways
Time of My Life
Some Kind of Revolution
Lose Yourself – Recorded by Tim A. Duncan
Wake Up (This is How I Feel) – Recorded by Nick Garside at Out of the Blue Studios, Manchester
Share Me
Jigsville (Chris Nagle mix)
The Dawning Of Your Mind
Lose Yourself (Live at the Manchester Academy)

We know from the “Sunshine” song on Youtube that they recorded a session live at the BBC in Oxford Rd, Manchester, for the Mark Radcliffe show. “Trapped”, “The Dawning of Your Mind”, “A Thousand Ways” and “Some Kind of Revolution” were also part of that session. “Share Me” on the other hand is a demo track that was used as the opening title music on the Granada TV show “Celebration”.

Plenty of material in the end! I wonder then if they had more songs recorded other than the ones on Youtube. What about those two tapes someone mentioned. And why didn’t they release any other records. Who were Visible Records? What happened after the band split?


The Days – Jigsville


How is this week treating you all? I hope everyone is doing well. It is October now and it is definitely my favourite time to be in New York. The autumn foliage and the perfect weather, not too cold or too hot, make my living here pretty enjoyable.

Feeling much better now from the paralysis, I have almost recovered 100%. I’d say I’m on a 95% and with more exercises on my own, I don’t attend therapy no more, and with the days passing I should be fine which is a big relief.

There were a few interesting bits of news last week. But first I want to say that I started reading today, on the subway on my way to work, Martin St. John’s book about his years as a tambourine man in Primal Scream. I’ve only read 30 pages and I’m already hooked! The writing is just like a blog or a fanzine and not “technical” or “serious” at all. I feel I’m reading a book written by a friend, by another fellow music fan! So I totally recommend it.

Talking about books finally ordered the “Grant & I” book as well. For those who are in the US and don’t know where to get it as I believe it is not yet available on Amazon, I got it from the Book Depository who have free shipping for the whole world, which is  quite convenient. I hope it arrives soon.

Last week I got a nice package from the German label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. They are based in Augsburg and have released already a nice string of records. I got their last releases, a CDR compilation with outtakes, demos and rare recordings by bands in the label and a fabulous 7″ by a band from the same city called Zimt. I wasn’t aware of this band I have to be honest, and I only found out now that they have a video for the A side of their single, “Du Kannst So Leben Wie Du Willst” and it is ace. Maybe not that new, but you might have missed this gem!

I hear news from the UK too. The band E’spaniel, who feature 3 members of Pale Man Made (who were part of the split singles we did some years ago in Cloudberry), will have a new single out on November 7th. You can stream both of the songs that will appear on this release on their soundcloud at this link. “Just Another Day” and “Knots” are really really good. I just hope these get released on physical format. They are just quality indiepop songs in times when there’s a lack of this sort of thing! They give me a big big smile listening to pretty melodies and jangly guitars like this. More please!

And I guess the news that surprised me the most is that Cherry Red will release another boxset. This time focusing on the music from Manchester from the years 1977 to 1994. The title for the boxet? The very original “Manchester North of England”, just like the compilation released by Bop Cassettes on both vinyl and tape format in 1988. And some of the bands that appear on this compilation will be included in it.

The 6 CD compilation has been organised together with the Manchester Music District. I’ve visited many times the website of this organisation to find lots of flyers, photos and setlists from bands I have featured in the blog. In that sense I trust these people, they do a great job. You know I have some sort of distrust with Cherry Red, what can I do, they run their label as a big business and that pains me, feels wrong to support them. But in the end, if the booklet is very good, with lots of information, you know I end up happy. That’s the main reason I buy these boxsets they release, the songs and bands that appear are the obvious ones usually, songs I already own in some format or another. And I understand, these boxset’s public is that one that needs an introduction to the wonderful world of guitar pop! And as long that works, and more fans appear in the world, then it is a good thing, isn’t it? Maybe one day it will be easy to sell records again!

Anyhow, the tracklist is already available for this compilation and definitely disc 4 is the one that will interest us more as indiepop lovers!

DISC 1: 1977-1979
1. BUZZCOCKS Breakdown
2. SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS Cranked Up Really High
3. THE NOSEBLEEDS Ain’t Bin To No Music School
4. THE DRONES Just Want To Be Myself
5. JOHN COOPER CLARKE Psycle Sluts Pts. 1 & 2
6. JILTED JOHN Going Steady
7. MAGAZINE The Light Pours Out Of Me
8. ALBERTOS Y LOST TRIOS PARANOIAS Heads Down, No Nonsense, Mindless Boogie
10. STEVE MIRO Up And About
11. V2 Man In The Box
12. THE DISTRACTIONS Maybe It’s Love
13. JOHN THE POSTMAN Louie Louie (NB: Edited Version)
14. GROW-UP Stay Awake
15. FRANTIC ELEVATORS Hunchback Of Notre Dame
16. JOY DIVISION She’s Lost Control
17. FRESHIES Baiser
19. THE SALFORD JETS Manchester Boys
20. 48 CHAIRS Snap It Around
21. FOREIGN-PRESS Downpour
22. X-O-DUS English Black Boys
23. THE OUT Who Is Innocent
24. THE MOTHMEN Does It Matter Irene?
25. FAST CARS The Kids Just Wanna Dance
26. ANY TROUBLE Yesterday’s Love
27. HARLEM SPIRIT Dem A Sus (In The Moss)

DISC 2: 1980-1982
2. THE FALL Totally Wired
3. THE TILLER BOYS Big Noise In The Jungle
7. SMACK Edward Fox
8. DURUTTI COLUMN Lips That Would Kiss
10. IF ONLY If Only
13. LUDUS My Cherry Is In Sherry
15. BEE VAMP Valium Girls
17. CARMEL Storm
18. NEW ORDER Temptation
19. GOD’S GIFT Discipline
20. DISLOCATION DANCE You’ll Never Never Know
21. SWAMP CHILDREN You’ve Got Me Beat
23. SYNCOPATION Marking Time
24. 52ND STREET Cool As Ice

DISC 3: 1983-1986
1. THE SMITHS Hand In Glove
2. JANE & BARTON I Want To Be With You
4. TOOLS YOU CAN TRUST Working And Shopping
5. THE PASSAGE Sharp Tongue
6. INCA BABIES Grunt Cadillac Hotel
7. MARCEL KING Reach For Love
8. LIFE Tell Me
10. SECTION 25 Looking From A Hilltop
11. MEMBRANES Spike Milligan’s Tape Recorder
12. JAMES What’s The World
14. JAZZ DEFEKTORS Hanki Panki
15. A WITNESS Kitchen Sink Drama
16. MIAOW Belle Vue
17. GRAHAM FELLOWS Love At The Hacienda
18. EASTERHOUSE Whistling In The Dark
19. BIG FLAME Why Popstars Can’t Dance
20. THE BODINES Scar Tissue
21. TWANG Sharp
22. YARGO Carrying Mine
23. THE WEEDS China Doll
25. FRANK SIDEBOTTOM Christmas Is Really Fantastic

DISC 4: 1987-1988
1. INSPIRAL CARPETS Garage Full Of Flowers (Flexi Version)
3. THIRST Let Go
4. THE FALL Hit The North
5. HAPPY MONDAYS 24 Hour Party People
6. METRO-TRINITY Spend My Whole Life Loving You (or Die Young)
7. MAN FROM DELMONTE Drive Drive Drive
9. THE DANNY BOYS Days Of The Week
11. TOT Kill All The Boys
12. MEAT MOUTH Meat Mouth Is Murder
13. T-COY Cariño
15. MONKEY RUN Falling Upstairs
17. MORRISSEY Suedehead
18. LAUGH Time To Lose It
19. THE WALTONES The Deepest
20. BRADFORD Skin Storm
21. FALLOVER 24 Pessimistic Man
22. THE DESERT WOLVES Passion In The Afternoon
23. TOO MUCH TEXAS Hurry On Down (When Will I See You Again)
24. JEAN GO SOLO In Salford The Sun Doesn’t Shine
25. BARRY ADAMSON The Man With The Golden Arm
26. US Born In The North
28. CHAPTER & THE VERSE All This And Heaven Too (Radio Edit)

DISC 5: 1989-1990
1. KING OF THE SLUMS Fanciable Headcase
2. THE SUN & THE MOON C’est La Vie
5. JAMES Sit Down
6. DUB SEX Swerve
7. THE MOCK TURTLES …And Then She Smiles
8. THE REEGS Chorus Of The Lost
9. THE STONE ROSES What The World Is Waiting For
10. REVENGE 7 Reasons
11. ELECTRONIC Getting Away With It
12. HAPPY MONDAYS Hallelujah
13. MC MUZZ B How Sleep The Brave
14. WHAT? NOISE Vein
15. MC TUNES vs 808 STATE The Only Rhyme That Bites
17. KRISPY 3 Coming Thru Clear
18. HYPNOTONE Dream Beam
20. PARIS ANGELS Perfume
21. NORTHSIDE Shall We Take A Trip
22. THE HIGH Box Set Go
26. SWIRL Giant Sea

DISC 6: 1991-1993
1. THE CHARLATANS Sproston Green
2. 808 STATE Cubik
3. WORLD OF TWIST Sons Of The Stage
4. INTASTELLA Dream Some Paradise
6. SUB SUB Space Face
7. AUTECHRE Cavity Job
8. THE DUST BROTHERS Song To The Siren
9. LIONROCK Lionrock
10. PURESSENCE Offshore
11. KILL LAURA Murder
12. THE POWERS THAT BE Crude Sound
14. WONKY ALICE Caterpillars
15. NEW ORDER Regret
17. BANDIT QUEEN Dirt And Soul
18. OASIS Columbia (Demo)

Wonder what your thoughts are? I do find it refreshing that smaller, not so well known bands like Asia Fields, Cygnet Ring, Train Set, Fallover 24 and some other ones appear in this boxset.

The compilation is to be released next summer.


When I wrote two weeks ago about Waving at Trains I said: “What about Paul Gill? I found that he was involved playing keyboards and piano in another band called Bluenose B who released two 2″ singles with three songs on Blues Records (1985 & 1986). He only was part of the second single though where they included the brilliant song “My Diary”! I’m glad that I found this band through this detective work. Maybe they deserve a blog post at some point. I will also try to track this record for my collection. It is really good!

It seems then it is now a good time to do some detective work on this Bluenose B band, why not?

Though it seems that officially the band was called Bluenose B, Bluenose altogether, Discogs lists the band as Blue Nose B. I will use the two words together name throughout this post of course.

We already know they were around in the 1980s in Liverpool. We also learn immediately that the band was formed by:
Stephen Lawson on bass
Michael Lawson on drums
John Briody on guitar
Dave Billows on vocals

The first record we see listed is a tape demo released in 1984. Yes, that early. Bluenose B is not really part of the indiepop explosion we all love, they are more of a post punk bands but some of their songs are just brilliant pop that I have to introduce, recommend to you. And that is what matters, right?

This demo tape included 6 songs: “The Loneliest Dogs”, “Physically Satisfied”, “Escape”, “The Dream”, “Summer Girl”, “When I Love”.

None of these songs were to appear on their first proper release, a 12″ single released in 1985 on their own (?) Blues Records (catalog Blu-001). On the A side we find “Forever Passing Trains” and on the B side “Burning Up” and “Maybe”. All the songs are written and produced by Stephen Lawson. The record being engineered by Roger Boden. The artwork by Alan Rawcliffe. Special thanks to Peter Clark and recorded at Cottage Studios in Cheshire. Included with this record was a photocopied sheet with the lyrics of all three songs.

Their last release was another 12″ single, the one I was talking on the Waving at Trains post. This is the one were Paul Gill plays the keyboards. This record was also released by Blues Records (catalog Blu-002) and the year was 1986. The songs on it being, on the A side “My Diary”, and “My Beatiful City” and “Hold Me (I’m Alive)” on the B side.

Three more songs were released on compilations. “Why Do I Need You” appeared in the compilation “Modesty Kills – A Merseyside Compilation” in 1987 on the label Audio Visual Records (AVA 001). A year after, in 1988, on the compilation “Desperation”, also on the Audio Visual Records label (AVA 002), they contributed the songs “Beneath the Sheets (Hey Marianne)” and “Is That a Crime”.

The next stop is their BandCamp which was set up last year. Here we find 9 songs under the title “The Sinking of Liverpool: A Retrospective 1983-1989”. The songs being “Hold Me (I’m Alive)”, “Burning Up”, “Blade”, “Discussion”, “My Diary”, “Physically Satisfied”, “Loneliest Dogs”, “Forever Passing Trains”, “My Beautiful City”. All of them free to stream.

This compilation to be put together by a label called Modern Polymath, so I head to their Facebook as their website is no longer up. What I’m looking for is any news about this release, saying if it was released physically as it only seems to be a digital release. I couldn’t find anything about that. Don’t even know if the label is still going on as I said that the label’s website is down.

Next stop is a Bluenose B soundcloud. Here though the band has the name with the two words separately, Blue Nose. I start doubting which is the right way to write their name. Here there are a bunch of songs that I believe are much newer, not from the 80s. Songs that seem to be new are “Forever One (Radio Edit)”, “Dream of You”, “Look Deep Inside (You are Good)”, “Faded Photograph”, “Forever One”, “My Sweet Girl”, “Back to Bed”, “Nelly”, “History”, “If They Could Fly”, “That Last Love”, “Prayer”, “Lost Your Hand (Instrumental)”, “I Lost Your Hand”, “The World Fell Down”, “So Hard To Do”, “Wounds of Love”, “Funk all Night”, “Lost”, “Ravages of Love”, “Easy to Insanity”, “A Riot Song”, “Fury”, “Burn Away Her Sight”, “Space Programme”.

There are also some songs from 1983 like “When I Love” and “Summer Girl” not available in the retrospective compilation.

This Soundcloud seems to be updated, the last song being uploaded 9 days ago. I think Stephen Lawson, the driving force behind the band still uses the name Bluenose B for his music. I wonder though if these new recordings include other past members of the band?

And so I end up on a Bluenose B website. Here it is clear that the website is owned by Stephen Lawson. There’s a biography and a blog. On the biography we learn that the band toured extensively and played many of the important independent venues. They were also featured in Sounds, NME, Melody Maker and BBC Radio.

On the blog we see mostly Youtube links for his songs, one that is not on Soundcloud, “The Three Graces”.

I keep googling. I find a forum where it says that the name, the “blue” and the “b” are a reference to Everton FC. Then at the Link2Wales website I find that the band hailed from Aintree.

Aintree is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, Merseyside. Historically in Lancashire, it lies between Walton and Maghull on the A59 road, about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) north-east of Liverpool city centre, in North West England.

We then know that Dave, John and Mick had been previously in a band called Indadais. That “Summer Girl” was released as a demo tape in 1984 and that there was a demo called “Blade Discussion” from October 1984.

It seems to that in 1986 most of the band left, Stephen continued with Dave Billows (vocals), John Murphy (guitar), Jay Naughton (keys), Paul Thomas (sax), Gary Gilmurray (drums), Dave Rielly (percussion). By the end of 1987 Stephen had settled with Danny Woods (guitar) and Paul Denners (drums). Paul Denners had been previously in a band called Emily’s Suitcase.

And that’s where I hit a wall. There’s a lot of songs, but little information online. Where did they tour extensively? Whey all the changes in the lineup? In which other bands they played? And where are they now?

Now, please enjoy “My Diary”, what a great song!


Bluenose B – My Diary


Thanks a lot to Spencer Roberts for getting in touch and telling the story of Steamtown, a band I wrote about some weeks ago and couldn’t find much information online. I’ve always been curious about this obscure Birmingham band that had this one song on the Corrupt Postman cassette compilation that was so so good. Lucky enough here Spencer fills in the blanks and transports us to the late 80s, a time of ramshackle guitars and indiepop galore! He also was kind enough to share some exclusive images, a flyer, and here is a photo. Hope you enjoy! Very happy about this interview!

++ Thanks so much for getting in touch for being up for this interview! I see you all are still in touch, but wondering if you are still making music?

Andy, Simon and Paul and me are in touch, thanks to Facebook. I think Simon is till playing, not sure about Andy and Paul. Music wise, I have played in loads of bands over the years, some a long time, some briefly, bands I have played guitar in since the Steamtown days: Elizabeth Jane, The Cudgels, Rumblefish, Silt (ex Little Red Schoolhouse), I still play drums for The Leaking Machine (ex Mighty Mighty) and I played drums for Mighty Mighty recently supporting the Fall and playing the Scared to Get Happy festival supporting BMX Bandits, and The June Brides, Yeah Yeah Noh, Wolfhounds etc and many more one-offprojects.

I am still making music: I signed a publishing deal in 2005 with Schott (thanks to The Go Betweens) with a project called The Winnebago Orchestra. Originally set up with Andy from The Cudgels, where Andy wrote lyrics and I wrote, played and produced the music. I then invited Caroline Trettine to work with us. She is a singer/poet/guitarist, a solo artist, (aprotege of Billy Bragg), and formerly of The Blue Aeroplanes. She sang on the 2 albums we made, the first a bunch of demos called Fifteen. The Second album; Born in the Sun was constructed by Caroline and myself and some session musicians, Andy had decided to leave to do other things on his radar prior to recording the second album.

The past 5 years I have been playing guitar for Stella Martyr, based in Exeter in England. We’re basically a bunch of friends: Dave, Spike, Joe and Jim, we’ve recently recruited a singer/keys player called Annie. Dave the singer is a really good mate I’d known for a long time, and invited me to come and play with them. Our first gig was supporting Peter Hook, we’ve also played with Everything Everything and Public Service Broadcasting and recently we managed to play both Glastonbury and Beautiful Days festivals this year which was great fun. We’re due to play the new band stage at Shiiine Festival in Minehead this November, supporting the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen amongst many others.

++ Was Steamtown your first band? 

No, I’d played in a band at school when I was 14 called Civic Summer with mates, so I suppose that was my first real band experience.

++ What are your first music memories? What was and how did you get your first instrument?

My first musical memory, that I can recall was hearing My Sweet Lord by George Harrison on the radio. Around the same time I remember hearing the Midnight Cowboy Soundtrack. The opening theme, with the harmonica, Idistinctly rememberhearing that on the telly one night, when my mum and dad were watching the film. Both those songs really resonated and stuck with me, and, I guess, to a certain extent influenced me. My sister at the time (she was 9 years older) was into glam rock, so she would often be paying Bowie, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Alvin Stardust in the house. Other stuff I would hear when I was a kid was stuff like Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Elvis Presley…

My first instrument was a toy drum kit I had when I was 7. I’d broken my arm just after I had it, so had to play one handed! My first real instrument was an electric guitar I had when I was 13. It was a black Hohner Les Paul copy.

++ How did Steamtown start as a band?

I had been playing in various bands around ’86/’87 and gaining some experience playing gigs in and around Birmingham. I decided late ’87 to start my own band, where I would write the songs etc rather than playing someone else’s songs. I also wanted to play a bit closer to home rather than in Birmingham ( I lived near Bilston in the Black Country) with some friends who I knew from school, namely Simon and a guy called Pughy. Pughy left after a month, so Paul stepped in. They were both slightly younger than me. They liked The Jam, as I did and we had similar tastes in bands generally, so we gave it a go.

++ Who were the members and what instruments did each of you play?

I was vocal and guitar, Simon played Bass and Paul was the drummer. Then in early 1988. Andy joined on vocals and tambourine. Then a month or two later a friend of Andy’s – Neil joined on guitar. So we went from a 3 piece to a 5 piece in a very short time.

++ How did you all know each other?

As mentioned above, Simon, Paul and myself went to the same school. Andy, I knew from going to pubs and clubs in Birmingham around ’86 and ’87. He was a big fan of a lot of guitar bands on the independent scene, as I was, so we had a lot in common. He was also immensely enthusiastic about the C86 period, and everything that was connected to it, such as fanzines, dj’ing etc.

++ And what about the name of the band, where does it come from?

I’m sure it came from a book called ‘We Americans’, a massive coffee table book that an American aunty gave me in the late 70s. There was a ref to Steamtown in that book. Not sure of the background or context though!

++ How was Birmingham back then? Where did you usually hang out? Were there any like-minded bands in town that you followed or liked?

During ’85 – ‘90 very exciting city for a 16 year old like me! Loads of pubs acting as venues putting on bands etc. you could go out pretty much any night of the week and see someone new.

For me, I hung out at Synatras, a wee pub in centre of Birmingham. Saw tons of great bands there, the music that the dj’s played was great too. Other places were, The Powerhouse which was a club,also in Brum. Burberries and The Cod Club, which were trendy night clubs, that on certain specific evenings, such as Tuesday and Sunday nights would be transformed and become host to indie nights put on by promoters with a passion for good music. JB’s in Dudley, 10 miles form Birmingham was another regular haunt we’d hang out at!

Not sure about like minded, but I used to go and watch local Birmingham/black Country bands like Might Mighty, Onionhead, Rumblefish, Pig Bros, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Nightingales, Mighty Lemon Drops, Surf Drums amongst many others.

++ And what sort of music were you listening at the time? Who would you call as influences?

My influences changed a lot of the time, from day to day back then, Velvet Underground’s live 1969 album (Not the live at Max’s Kansas City) at the time was always on my record player, but I really loved Josef K too, the Postcard band from Scotland. I would say, Josef K were a primarily a chief influence on my guitar style at that time playing with Steamtown. In terms of my singing style, I could not sing in the real sense of the word, so I tried to go for a Lou Reed style of delivery!! As I mentioned above, we all liked The Jam, but also a lot of Creation bands such as Biff Bang Pow, and especially their album The Girl Who Runs the Beat Hotel. That album really did influence us, and possibly The JasmineMinks and and the like. i adored bands like McCarthy, Wolfhounds, and John Peel was a massive influence on me all throughout the 80s. Although it didnt show in the music of Steamtown, I was also massively into the labels Factory Records, Les Disques du Crepuscule and el records. I was a massive fan of Momus in ’85/‘86, who was originally on el!

++ The only song I know by Steamtown is “Living & Loving” that appeared on at least two compilation tapes, “Corrupt Postman” and “Hacia la Luz”. Did it appear on any other compilations? And what’s the story behind this song?

I really don’t know if at appeared on any other compilations. I think this song was a jointly written tune with all of us writing in rehearsals – together. Andy’s lyrics.

++ What do you remember from the recording session of “Living & Loving”? Did you record any other songs?

We recorded 2 songs very quickly on a Sunday in Birmingham, with a guy who was in local band Scarecrows. We mixed it in an evening a month or so later.We were really naive – that was it! There was another song, called Reality. We only ever recorded 2 songs in this line up. I do have some good rehearsal tapes of Steamtown, if I get around to digitising them, I wil let you have them.

++ Did you have more songs perhaps when you played live? 

We had about 10 songs in total that we would play live. I remember one song was called Because. That was one of my favourites, it was the first song I ever wrote for the band. I seem to remember it being inspired by The Velvets What goes on, smae riff etc.

++ And how come there were no releases by the band? Was there any interest from any label?

We were constantly trying to build up a following by gigging as much as possible, that was really what we were trying to do initially. That was the focus, gig more and to get experience and get better at playing as a unit. So I guess that’s why there were no releases, we weren’t that bothered about getting signed or releasing music, we loved playing live.

There were various connections we had with a variety of people from labels who expressed interest in Steamtown, they would often put us on supporting bands that would have been on their respective labels, such as The Raw Herbs, their label Medium Cool were keen I seem to remember.

++ How did the creative process work for you?

Siting at home in my bedroom with a guitar messing around!!. Lyrics would come later on. I used to like the indosyncatic approach to lyric writing, rather than writing a love song! Most of the time I used to come up with the rough structure of ideas/songs in the early days, then, pop around to Simon’s house in Coseley in the Black Country, we’d then take it to rehearsals and it would be developed from there.

++ What about gigs? Did you play live often? What are the gigs you remember the most and why?

We played quite often, mostly in Birmingham/Wolverhampton. Our first ever gig was supporting Cherry Red records signing Little Red Schoolhouse (ex Nightingales) and a band I drummed for called Elizabeth Jane. I ended up spporting myself with the 2 bands! This was at the Cod Club, a legendary Sunday night slot put on by promoter Paul Flower in centre of Birmingham. We supported The Raw Herbs many times, thay were nice lads, great fun. We had a great night supporting them and The Siddelys in London in June 1988, they were lovely people too.

++ Did the press, or the radio, pay much attention to Steamtown?


++ What about fanzines? Do you remember appearing on them?

Not really, sorry!! Might be best to ask Andy about this question!

++ At the time when you were around there was an explosion of guitar pop bands, why do you think that happened? and did you feel part of a scene?

For me, since I was a kid there always seemed to be an abundance of guitar based bands around. I think there were scenes, but they were created by fans, rather than the bands themselves. People got bored of the plastic electronic music of the mid 80s, I guess we did feel that we felt part of something, not quite sure what, we weren’t overtly commercial, and we knew that, so I guess we felt indie/alternative/underground in a way, like so many others who were playing music during that time – for passion and pleasure rather than for fame and money.

++ When and why did you split up?

I left late ’88. I just became interested in doing other things musically and I was drumming at the time for Elizabeth Jane another local Birmingham band, and really my focus shifted to playing with them more. The guys in Steamtown carried on without me and became Steam.

++ And then what happened to you all?

See answer to first question! I think it would be good to ask Simon, Paul and Andy to answer this or any of the other questions!

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

I’m a graphic designer and I’m a dad to twin daughters, so that is my main hobby!! that and playing guitar in Stella Martyr and drums for The Leaking Machine.

++ Looking back in time, what would you say are the happiest memories, the highlights, of the band?

For me, being a gang, having fun, we used to laugh hard, but mainly I would say the hot summer evenings supporting The Raw Herbs, Razorcuts etc, playing music, drinking and being young, stupid and happy!

++ Birmingham today, has it changed much? What are the places to go to? Are there any bands that you’d recommend?

Birmingham has changed its visual landscape pretty drastically. It’s a good city though I really don’t know that many venues anymore if I am honest. Not really any bands I would recommend either, sorry!

++ Thanks a lot again! It is really nice to know a bit more about the band, anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks very much Roque for the interest, get in touch with the other guys, I’m sure they wopuld be able to add some valuable content to the legacy of Steamtown!


Steamtown – Living & Loving


Even less news this week for indiepop as far as I know. The only worthy piece of news for me was the new video that the New Zealand band, The Prophet Hens, have published on Youtube for the song “Popular People (Do Popular People)” that is included in their 2nd album “The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys”. I played this album a lot last week, so that was quite cool that their video coincided with my listening.

I promised reviewing the Lima Popfest spring edition lineup. Sadly it seems I mixed up the weekend it was happening and well, it happened last Saturday. I don’t know how it went, hopefully it was a success, but I’ll go ahead and do a review of the bands for all of us that are not aware of many of these South American bands that were part of the festival.

  • Tobogán Andaluz – I guess this Buenos Aires, Argentina, band was the headliner. I’ve seen their name many times in many of my South American friends Facebook. They must be somewhat popular. They have played not only in their home country but also in Argentina and now Peru. They also have a bunch of releases available on their BandCamp being “Luz Satelital” their latest effort (2016). So I have a listen now to the 8 songs on this release. I like alright their songs but they are more rockier than my usual indiepop day to day fare. There are some very nice guitar passages in some of his songs, and perhaps that’s why I quite enjoy this, though I won’t go far saying I’m a big fan of what I’m listening.
  • Niños del Cerro – The kids from the hill, that would be the translation for their unusual name. This band hails from Santiago, Chile, and they have a Soundcloud from where I start listening their songs in order. Poppier than Tobogán, the guitars are closer to what I love, though the vocal harmonies on their first song “Nonato Coo” make me feel weird. So I try the next songs. And again, the music is really nice but the way the lyrics are sung, well they leave me a bit cold. Perhaps that’s due to their influences? I don’t know. I think simpler vocal harmonies, or less flashy, could work better with such music. But that’s just me. I believe they have a lot of followers down south and that is what matters.
  • Chico Unicornio – A one man band from Lima, Peru, that is quite well known around Latin America. I have lost track of the artist for many years. I remember he used to have some sort of indie project many years ago, but now I can’t remember the name, was it Inerciados Pusilánimes (?). Someone might correct me. I listen to his latest track on BandCamp and even if I’m not a big fan of this sort of power pop style usually, by now I have to say I’m liking this much more than the previous two bands in the lineup. But then I change to other BandCamp releases and well, they are just some sort of experimental music? I think this is a bit too eclectic for me. Sometimes it is good, sometimes I just want to press skip.
  • Banana Child – they also hail from Lima and from the illustration on the top of their Bandcamp I assume they are a quartet. They describe themselves as a surf rock band. The first song though, “Waves”, sounds really good, poppy, and with the right way of singing. Even the terrible English pronunciation is lovely. This is nice I think, a good discovery. But wait, let’s not call it a victory because I liked one song, let’s listen some more. So I continue listening the songs on their album “Empty Room”, and alright, I don’t enjoy the next few songs, too much surf in them, but then “Every Night Seems A New Morning” does sound fine. I guess a bit hit and miss, but quite a discovery when they get it right.
  • Los Lagartos – The Alligators, from Lima, Peru. They’ve been around for a couple of years now. They have a bit of a following I gather. And it is well deserved. They have very fine songs, with good music and witty lyrics. I do hope to get some of their releases when I go to Lima in January, especially this split Mini CDR they released with Dan Dan Dero (another very fine band). I don’t know the members of the band but they seem to be listening to the right bands and crafting some very good songs. So far, in this review, my favourite band.
  • Hiroshima Dandys – also called Mambo, or by his real name Pablo Rivas, this artist comes from Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires and makes some interesting pastiche electropop. Of course this is not the kind of music I usually listen to. But I can tell this is well done and actually sounds like fun. Good for a party. Not indiepop at all mind you.
  • Electrochongo – another band making electropop from Argentina and also quite fun. I can picture it making the crowd dancing at the festival. Easy lyrics, good rhymes, they remind me of a bunch of bands from Spain that were making “tontipop” back in the early 2000s. It sounds like a time machine for me. I was listening to a lot of similar music back then. Because of nostalgia mostly, I enjoy the 4 songs on their Capo Ep that is free to stream on their Bandcamp.
  • Poder Fantasma – last band in the lineup comes from Santiago, Chile. And I might think this is my least favourite sounding band. I listen first to the song “Tierra” and it is way too rocky for my taste, it even gets a bit anthemic on the vocals. And you know, I don’t like that. The next song, “Por Qué No Tiramos una Bomba en La Moneda?”, has good intentions definitely, the lyrics speak rightly, it has the punk attitude, but the music ends up being too messy for me, me not being fond of the electronic beats on it. Oh well…

I hope I’m not being too harsh. All in all, the even, Lima Popfest, does a fantastic job bringing bands from the region and fans together. That is what matters in the end. And to have fun. Maybe live these bands sound totally different too. I would have loved to attend. Also it matters the taste of the locals, and they really love some of these bands, I’ve seen them hyped by Tobogán Andaluz and Los Niños del Cerro for example. Me, I’d be hyped by Los Lagartos, but then, people are never usually excited for local bands. They want the ones from abroad. Same thing happens to me!

I wish that Popfest continues, even this exercise of listening to new music is really rewarding for me. There should be more Popfests, more gig organizers, that way even if I can’t attend, at least, I’m going to be able to listen to new music, sometimes I will like it, sometimes I won’t. But I will give the links to you, popkids, and maybe you like ones that I didn’t like, and dislike the ones I liked. That’s the beauty of it.


Been meaning to “introduce” you to Pastelshot for some time now. Maybe you already know them, they are not new. I only discovered them this year.

True, it is not often that I feature obscure Japanese bands in the blog. But there are times when I have to. Especially because Japanese bands are usually obscure for us Westerners. We don’t get to know much about their members, their gigs, what happened to them after or before the band and so on. Maybe that information is actually available in Japanese on the web, I don’t know. I don’t know Japanese, so it ends up being very difficult to track down Japanese bands and find information. In that sense, it would be great if Japanese fans can help me uncover the mystery of Pastelshot.

I don’t know when their mini-album came out. I can’t find a year. It came out on a label I mean to explore in a detailed way, abcdefg*record (catalog a-g007). I remember this label from the Myspace days, they released a band I really like, Naivepop or Petitfool. I never got round buying their records so maybe now I could start with the magic of the internet. I wonder though if all their catalog, all those bands I’ve never heard before like Strawberry Machine or Yucca, are as good as Pastelshot is.

Through the catalog I kind of have an idea when was the their mini-album “Hush, Little Baby” released. I think it must have been in either 2001 or 2002. It included 8 songs and it was released in CD format. The songs being: “Fade Into the Clouds”, “Red Bus Goes Through Our Days”, “Walk Or Not”, “Drops”, “Night Moves On”, “White Bird Sings Another Song”, “Hesitation” and “Funny Card”.

I’ll go over this record again in a bit. The thing is, that before the mini-album was released they did appear on a compilation titled “The Lucksmiths Japan Tour Sampler”, a CDR that I’m guessing was sold or given away while the Australian band toured in Japan/ This CDR was released by a classic Japanese label, Clover Records (catalog CLCDR-824) in 2001. The song the band contributed was “Red Bus Goes Through Our Days (Demo Version)”. I’m assuming this is a very rare record.

There is another compilation appearance listed on Discogs. On the compilation “ABC Make Up On Monday” released in 2009 by abcdefg*record (catalog a-g 004) they contributed “Summer Song”.

Luckily I have the mini-album and can now unveil some details about the band. We know the band is actually a duo formed by Keisuke Kamiya and Mamiko Yokote. They got the help of many friends on the record like Noriko Yamada (drums), Yasuaki Takahashi (bass), Kei Matsuura (guitars), Makoto Sasaki (flute) and Akiko Sumino (cello). The record was mixed and also disigned by Yukio Hirai and mastered by Kasuya Nagae.

There are some thank you notes as well and I can see they thank some bands like Harmony Hatch or Hazel Nuts Chocolate. They also thank the Blue Badge Label’s head honcho Toshiyuki Higumi. What a great label is the Blue Badge Label, right?

The beautiful illustrations on the booklet were made by Tamami Yokote. Maybe Mamiko’s sister?

I look for Keisuke Kamiya on Discogs. He seems listed on a band called Tiala. But it sounds PUNK! Is this the same Keisuke Kamiya that makes such gentle pop on Pastelshot? For the other people involved in the record, I find no info.

I find a small review entry on the Tonevendor mailorder site. Actually you can get their record there for a good price if you are not in Japan, that is a good tip. It is said that the band had 3 independently released cassettes before the CD came out. Now Pastelshot got all my attention. I want to listen to these three tapes!

Tonevendor accurately describes their music: Like a soundtrack to a movie, this is “the melody of small love”. Heartbreaking, warm and touching you brightly. Boy/girl vocals complete the sound perfectly. 8 tracks. Japanese import. From this review we know this was a long-distance band, one of them was in Tokyo, the other in Nagoya. Who was who, and how did this work out for them?

Ok, so they were on other compilations. Perhaps they were on Blue Badge compilations? It would make sense if they thank the label. So yes, in 2002 they appear on the compilation “Send My Badge” with the song “Walk Or Not” and then on 2000 on the cassette compilation “Her Breast Pocket” with the song “Ray of Snow”.

Now, where else to find them? Where are they now? It’s been around 15 years or so since they released this lovely mini-album. What did they do after? I’d love to listen to the songs on compilations that don’t appear on the CD, and also of course, those three tapes they released before joining any labels.

I google and only find a bunch of Japanese and Chinese sites that seem to sell the record. I go to the abcdefg*record site. There’s no information there either. The band just vanished.


Pastelshot – Red Bus Goes Through Our Days


When there’s no news, well there’s no news!! Last week I managed to go through 2 posts and maybe I could have waited, saved one for this week, but then I don’t get to enjoy this routine I have of figuring out what is going on in the indiepopworld and more importantly get to dig some obscure pop treasures!

There are a few interesting indiepop sightings that are definitely worth mentioning. The first is that Papa Topo from Barcelona, a true favourites here in Cloudberry HQ, have a new video out for the song “Akelarre en mi Salón” that is included in their debut album released this year. It is a lot of fun, like all of their previous videos,a and the song is such brilliant homage to the Spanish pop of the 80s, I especially hear so many nods to Alaska y los Pegamoides. You can watch it here.

Then another Barcelona band has a video out. I wasn’t aware of this band, totally new for me, but their video started to pop up on my Facebook wall and it was an ace song. The band is called Yumi Yumi Hip Hop and seems to be an all-girl band. The song is called “Enamorats” and it is sung in Catalan. They are on the label Snap! Clap! Club who are to release this song as part of a 7″ that will start shipping on October 1st. You can watch the video here.

For all of you that like reading about the bands and the music we love there is also a new book about the early days/years of Primal Scream. I still haven’t ordered it yet, but will order it soon and I think you should too. It is titled “The Psychedelic Confessions of a Primal Screamer: The Tambourine Years 1984-87” written by Martin St. John, who used to play the tambourine in the band before the band would appear on Top of the Pops, play Glastonbury, and become a big name.

Then there’s also another book that I’ve been meaning to read that will be published next month. “Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music 1960-1985” by David Nichols is also on my list. David Nichols wrote the Go-Betweens biography and he has been part of a couple of indiepop bands like The Cannanes or Huon. Of course I’m mostly interested in the 80s part of the book as you might suspect, but even if that is just a tiny chapter, I want to learn about it. So many great Australian bands in the 80s, don’t you agree?

And last but not least there is a petition by the classic band The Wolfhounds asking Warner/Chappell to return their copyrights & reinstate their songwriting credits. If you have some time you can read more about it and sign the petition here.

Yup, that’s all for this week. Maybe some will point me out that I’m missing some stuff like last week. Sometimes it is true, I avoid mentioning stuff I don’t like or not too excited about, I can’t like everything, but if you have some exciting news or recommendations worth checking out please let me know!

The name Sylvie comes from sylvan, as in the forest, the woods.

I keep going back to the Leamington Spa compilations for inspiration. Look for bands and records I’m missing and that I should try to track down. Learn their story, their discography. Whatever happened to them. I know that perhaps it’s not the best of ideas of being fixated with the 80s, there are plenty of obscure bands in the 90s, even in the 00s. I feel I should mix decades a little in the blog, but there’s something with 80s bands that I return to them. This time I opened the booklet for the Leamington Spa Volume 3 and ended up in the mystery of the band Waving at Trains. The booklet reads:

Originally formed in late 1984 in Liverpool. There were to be short-lived incarnations before the first stable line-up in 1985. At this stage the band was:

Paul Hobday – guitars and backing vocals
Paul Gill – keyboards and lead vocals
Gary Gillmurray – drums
Trevor Roganski – bass

Changing to:
Paul Hobday – guitars and backing vocals
Paul Gill – lead vocals
Steve Ashton – drums
Chris Ashley – bass
Paul Shields – drums

In 1986 the final lineup saw Chris leave, Gary back on drums and Paul Shields move to bass. The band were part of a vibrant live music scene in Liverpool during the mid eighties. Gigs at The Venue, State Ballroom and rehearsal at The Ministry and Vulcan Street studios often had bands like The Bunnymen, OMD, The Las, The Farm, Thomas Lang, China Crisis, Afraid of Mice in neighbouring rooms. Demos and tracks were recorded at Amazon Studios (OMD, Christians, etc.) later to be renamed Parr Street as it moved near to Paul McCartney’s Music Institute. Only one single was released (Telling the Stranger/Sylvie) and an album was in pre-production at the time the band folded in 1988.

I miss so much these compilations. I wonder if I should try to put one together in the same fashion. Perhaps it could be a fun idea when I’m not involved with a label? It is an idea, but will people buy them? Cherry Red has been putting out some sort of compilations but they are of much more known bands, bands that perhaps can sell a little more than these obscurities. Firestation called it quits on the Leamington Spa compilations after volume 7, actually volume 6 as 7 ended up being a bit of an afterthought included in Firestation’s 100th release. Quite a shame. These were the most influential compilations for me, for my love of indiepop.

Liverpool has been such a place for guitar pop bands. So many have been born there. It is no surprise Waving at Trains hails from there. We know they released one record, one 7″ with 2 songs, and so I wonder about that line on the booklet when it says that demos and tracks were recorded at Amazon Studios. Would that mean there are many more songs than the 2? Hopefully someone could shed some light.

The 7″ came out in 1988 on the Gash label. The catalog was GASH 111. Even though that is kind of a high number for a catalog, I couldn’t find any other release on this label.

The two songs on the record are “Telling the Stranger” on the A side and the song that appears on the Leamington Spa compilation, “Sylvie”, as the B side.  Four last names appear as composers, Gill, Ashton, Shields, Hobday. For producer, the band, Waving at Trains, is listed.

On the back cover we see the name of Paul James on vocals. I’m assuming that is Paul Gill. The artwork was done by the drummer, Paul Shields and the cover photograph by Ken Hewitt. I’m not sure which city is the one depicted in the photo on the cover. Does anyone know?

I keep digging. For some reason I end up on the Link2Wales website, were a lot of bands are listed with a small little blurb. From there I know that Paul Hobday had been involved in other bands like Collective, India (Lost Weekend) and Association. From there we also learn that the band had another song released, “Parade”. It appeared on a tape compilation titled “Merseyside Musicians Bureau” in 1987. I would love to listen to this song (and also Telling the Stranger!) and even the whole compilation. Does anyone know anything else about it? The only other band on it that sounds quite familiar to me is The DaVincis, but never heard Sudden Norway or Go For Soda for example. Were they guitar pop as well?

I keep digging and I find a Paul Hobday, musician, might he be the same Paul Hobday? I’m not sure. He is a guitarist. And he seems to be involved in a duo with Steve Payne since 2010. They have a Bandcamp and they seem to have toured extensively through Europe and Ontario in Canada. I tried connecting this project with Liverpool just to be sure it is the same Paul Hobday but couldn’t find a mention to Liverpool in their Bandcamp or Facebook page.

What about Paul Gill? I found that he was involved playing keyboards and piano in another band called Bluenose B who released two 2″ singles with three songs on Blues Records (1985 & 1986). He only was part of the second single though where they included the brilliant song “My Diary”! I’m glad that I found this band through this detective work. Maybe they deserve a blog post at some point. I will also try to track this record for my collection. It is really good!

I couldn’t find more information on Steve Ashton and Paul Shields.

I found a 2009 movie titled “Waving at Trains”, but that is past the time of the band. There is also a collection of poems titled “Waving at Trains” by Roger McGough published in 1982. That might be were they took their name I think.

And that’s where I lose the trail on Waving on Trains. Do any of you remember them? What happened to them after they split? Were they involved in other bands? Why didn’t they release any more records? What happened to their other recordings? And who is this Sylvie they dedicate their song to? Anyone know anything else about Waving at Trains?


Waving at Trains – Sylvie


Two posts this week? Yes, yes, I need to fix something I said because I remembered something and I can’t believe how I forgot about it! Well, the thing is that saying that the past week was quiet is kind of not true. I did attend the Lush concert at Terminal 5, didn’t I?

You know I’ve been having this thing called Bell’s Palsy and that has been boring and annoying at the same time. Not embarrassing or anything like that, no one really notices it. It is just me who notices it. But at the same time one of my ears is much more sensitive than the other one and at the concert that was really noticeable. Only when I was closer to the left side of the venue, with the speakers closer to my left ear I more or less normalized the sound and I had a very good experience. Didn’t I say it was annoying?

I had bought my Lush tickets last year. I thought the concert might sell out as some others have. Speaking of which, I haven’t bought Radio Dept. tickets. Maybe these are sold out already! I should check. They are touring America early next year and even though I’m not the biggest fan around my girlfriend quite likes them and well, I like them too. Anyhow, I did buy Lush tickets very early, before they announced they were playing another gig in Brooklyn. Most people actually went to the Brooklyn concert it seems. I didn’t see many familiar faces in Terminal 5, which is located in Manhattan, in the West side, quite close to the East River.

The concert wasn’t sold out, but still there was a big crowd. It was hard to get to the front when I arrived. I arrived late. I had to work until 9pm. Also there were some issues with the trains. I took a bus in the end to the venue and that was actually quite speedy and efficient. The M11 bus. First thing I did at the venue was go straight to the merch stall and get what I wanted. A t-shirt, and also they were selling the Thoughtforms fanzine and a signed Blind Spot EP. I really liked the t-shirt design though I wish that instead of navy blue they had in black. They did have a black t-shirt but I wasnt keen on the design. My only complain is that these three items ended up being $50. That is quite expensive for what I got. I think around $30 was the right price. But hey, if I can help them tour the US once again after so many years, I don’t mind supporting them.

I didn’t meet the band though. The people from the venue were kind of mean at the end of the gig. I wanted to get a setlist and the people that were taking away the instruments and the equipment from the stage had such a terrible attitude with fans. They kicked around one setlist and then kind of threw it away to the security people  in between the crowd and the stage. The security guy just threw the paper up to the sky for people to fight for it. One of the employees took away a setlist with himself. Then another guy just started asking everyone to leave, not letting one try to catch the attention of someone nice enough to pass me a setlist. Oh well… they don’t get it. They must just work all the time rock and macho concerts where they can treat people like this. Me used to indiepop gigs, this was really mean and made me quite angry at the end.

But what about the gig? They sounded great, Miki’s voice is intact and I think that was the best part for me. I enjoyed it so much! Of course I wanted them to play “Shake Baby Shake” and they didn’t play that one. I was surprised that they didn’t. A fan favourite. But they did play “Hypocrite” and “Ladykillers” and much more. I started the gig on the right side, close to the beer, then trying to find a better place went up to the 2nd floor and it was impossible. So hard to get a good nice little video of the band. Then up to the 3rd floor. Again impossible! Then back again to the first floor, and little by little, went about 3/4 in towards the front on the left side. I could record some nice little snippets of many songs. It made me happy. Dancing around and singing along.

Guitars soaring, the purple and blue lights dancing on stage, Emma’s backing vocals and Miki just going and going on an inspired performance. Another song, and once again she changes guitars. How many times did she change guitars? The fact is, they sound great. Miki says for the thousand time the word “Fucking”. Talks a bit to the crowd, thanks the crowd. She seems to really enjoy playing live again. The drummer takes photos of the crowd with his phone. The band is having fun. And here’s another brilliant song. And yes, we all are having a good time. Who would have thought we’d be seeing Lush in 2016!

But I don’t know about the crowd though, as I said, the fans are not what I expected. Some were in some sort of rave. Some others did seem your stereotypical college radio kids from the 90s. I don’t mind it much, but at the same time being with this sort of crowd makes me nostalgic of Indietracks. Maybe the same thing happens to you all?

The gig was long. More than an hour and a half. And the band was so kind that they did two encores. I don’t know if they had that planned. But they went away and we kept asking for more. They came back. And then again, the same story. They went backstage, and we kept clapping and clapping until they came back. If it was an act or not, it didn’t matter. It made us all happy I think.

After the gig, we went for pizza and that was it. A Thursday night in the city. There was happiness for seeing a band that I never thought I was going to see, I never thought they reform after what happened.

Now I’ve seen so many classic bands, and some others much smaller that split back in the 80s and 90s. I wonder to myself now what are the options of me seeing the best band ever McCarthy? or other smaller favourites of mine like The Man From Delmonte? or Rumblefish? Hey Paulette? And so many more…

I remember when Indietracks was booking classic bands and they reformed bands like Mighty Mighty or Friends, two bands I missed and I regret deeply. Hopefully they retake that path, I think that made things special. NYC Popfest did this year with The Railway Children, The Chesterf!elds or Even as We Speak (oh dear, it makes me terribly happy remembering that gig!)

But yeah, Lush was great and they are still touring the US. Catch them in your city! So worth it!


Well, now the summer is ending, maybe a week or two left of this warm weather (thank god!). I will see some of the warm weather though when I travel to Thailand in November for vacations, and then it seems to Lima, Peru, in January! So I can’t really escape the sun! But I thought, why don’t I find a song about the summer ending. It didn’t take me long to find a song that actually fits this idea, I went to look into the Leamington Spa compilations and on the first volume no less I find The Clamheads’ “Summer’s Coming Down”. That was easy I thought. But these Clamheads, I actually know little about them, I don’t own their record. It would be interesting to find out more about this obscure British band.

According to the Urban Dictionary a clam head is: A person who will talk shit non-stop, no matter who or what is around. Like a clam, it’ll open&close it’s mouth non-stop. Is that why they called themselves The Clamheads?

Or they just liked clams?
Clam” is an informal term used to refer to any molluscans within Class Bivalvia. Remains first appeared in Cambrian age rocks 510 million years ago. They presently live in both freshwater and marine habitats, and range in adult size from nearly microscopic to the giant clam, which can weigh 200 kg (440 lb). Some have life cycles of only one year, while at least one has been discovered that may be over 500 years old.[2] They lack heads but most can react to changes in light and some, such as the scallops, have rudimentary eyes. Though a common food item, many are too small to be useful as food, and not all species are considered palatable. All clams have two calcareous shells or valves joined near a hinge structure with a flexible ligament, and all are filter feeders.

I look for them on the booklet included in the compilation to find the first clues, the first bit of information regarding the band:
“”Summer’s Coming Down” was recorded about November 1988 at Scruttocks, London EC2. It was written by Ian Nixon.
The Clamheads were/are Mike Hughes, guitar; Ian Nixon, bass; Gary Payne, drums; Matt Tanner, guitar and voice. The first ever Clamheads were a duo, Mat and Maccy (now main man in Arthur Turner’s Lovechild), who did some great gigs but were often too drunk to play. The four-piece Clamheads got together in March 1988. Mike and Ian were members of art-thugs the Shrew Kings.
They played around London and the provinces and did two tours of South-West France before taking a sabbatical in 1991, only to reform in 1995 as Borgnine, under which name they released the full-length “None the Wiser” CD in 1998″

Two names, The Shrew Kings and Borgnine. The Shrew Kings would appear on the Leamington Spa Vol. 5 while Borgnine in Vol. 7. Both bands would be interesting to dig more information in the blog sometime unless we get in touch with the band members before for an interview! Right? there hasn’t been that many interviews lately. I have done my work and have sent questions to a bunch of bands but sadly I haven’t received their answers yet (and I hope I will at some point though I’m not that positive now!).

They went to the South-West of France. Yes, and we have proof. There are two videos on Youtube of a TV presentation in Toulouse.  They appeared on the TV channel TeleToulouse in 1991 and played at least the songs “Woodenface” and “She’s a Funny Girl“. Where else did they go in France? Who supported them in gigs? Did they appear on any other TV shows, or perhaps radio interviews? Did The Clamheads learn any French?

So there’s the one release they put out in 1989. The label that was to release them was Jericho and their 12” EP “Summer’s Coming Down” got the catalog number JR002, only the second release after this label released the compilation “The Jericho Collection”. It is important to note that The Clamheads were already familiar with this label, they had appeared on the aforementioned compilation with the song “Suddenly” in 1988. I haven’t listened to this song sadly, and I’m not familiar with the bands on this compilation (only know The Anyways and The Wild Poppies), but I believe this label was supporting bands from the Oxford area. It is said that this label was an offshoot of the listings/review magazine “Local Support” who also organized live gigs and club nights in the area. Wonder why the name Jericho though? Sounds kind of religious, doesn’t it?

Anyways, the record included four songs, on the A side “Summer’s Coming Down” and “Everybody Loves Me Cept You” and on the B side we have “Never Crack On” and “Reprobate Blessing”. The photo on the cover I can’t figure out if these are famous people on it, there’s a guy and a blonde girl hugging. On the back there’s a small photo of the band on the bottom.

The credits confirm that most songs were recorded in Scruttocks but not all. The song “Reprobate’s Blessing” was recorded at Stargoat in Banbury. The engineer for the first three songs was Matt Stoddart. “Summer’s Coming Down” was mised by Matt Barry. “Everyone Loves Me Cept You” and “Never Crack On” were mixed by Nick Page. They thank a Simon for giving them money. The photos are credited to a Jasper. They also give their address, and so we know they band lived in Stoke Newington. Don’t know how it was back then, but now that is definitely a hipster area.

Thanks to the blog From a Northern Place I was able to listen to another song of theirs, “Everybody Loves Me Cept You”. And it is GREAT! Perhaps I like it better than their most known song, the one I’m sharing here. But maybe it is because it’s newness to me? Now I hope to listen to the B side sometime, and also to “Suddenly” from the compilation. But was that their only recorded output? 5 songs? What about those songs they played in the TV in France? Did they record those? Were there demo tapes by the band with more songs? I would like to know!

Sure, they later released more stuff under the name Borgnine, but that is another story for another blog post, for another day.

What are The Clamheads doing now? Was The Clamheads their first band? Were they involved with other bands aside Borgnine and The Shrew Kings? Were in England did they tour? And how come they didn’t release any more records?! Many mysteries that require an answer!

Now, let’s see summer go away, summer’s coming down…


The Clamheads – Summer’s Coming Down


What a quiet week for indiepop!! I think I’m starting to get used to weeks were there are absolutely no interesting news for our favourite music. And that is starting to worry me! Long gone are the day when I would find new bands all the time. Now who is making music, releasing zines or setting up labels?

The only nice surprise this week is the arrival at home of the 2nd issue of the Botanic Garden zine, all the way from China. As I don’t understand what is written I don’t have a very objective view about it. I just know it is lovingly put together, on quality paper and printed in colour. If you want to order a copy you can from their website.  I don’t see number 2 listed though, hopefully it will be available soon.This time again they asked to translate an article from the blog, one relating to New York Popfest. It also includes other articles, some recommendations, and a CDR with a bunch of cool songs from various acts.

There’s also the book Robert Forster from the Go-Betweens published not long ago titled “Grant & I”. I haven’t ordered it yet, but is definitely on my to-read list. I think it has only been published in Australia but there are ways to get it from different stores online, depending where you live.

The past week, on Facebook, the page C86 and all That: Indie 1983-86 was showing around some visuals for the book Neil Taylor is writing about C86. The artwork is really nice, recalling the fanzine style of the time. It is very clean and polished I thought, and I really like that. I wonder if purists would argue that there’s too much negative space on the art, and it should be much busier, like most fanzines were. Supposedly the book will be out early next year. Looking forward to that.

Aside from this small little news, I haven’t seen anything else worthwhile around. Maybe I missed something? Maybe there were some ace releases?

Next week I’ll go over Lima Popfest’s lineup for their 2016 Spring Edition to be celebrated on October 1st. Again they have a lineup of bands from Argentina, Chile and Peru. Hopefully there will be some new discoveries as there has been in previous years.

What else is coming up? Would love to hear your thoughts on the state of our beloved music.


Steamtown, U.S.A., was a steam locomotive museum that ran steam excursions out of North Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, from the 1960s to 1983. The museum was founded by millionaire seafood industrialist F. Nelson Blount. The non-profit Steamtown Foundation took over operations following his death in 1967. Because of Vermont’s air quality regulations restricting steam excursions, declining visitor attendance, and disputes over the use of track, some pieces of the collection were relocated to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s and the rest were auctioned off. After the move, Steamtown continued to operate in Scranton but failed to attract the expected 200,000–400,000 visitors. Within two years the tourist attraction was facing bankruptcy, and more pieces of the collection were sold to pay off debt.

Don’t know if Birmingham’s Steamtown took their name from the American museum. Perhaps. English people are very fond of trains and railways and I always thought that was a very good thing. But the truth is, it has been years since I wanted to write a piece about a band I barely know anything, Steamtown.

The only known song by them is “Living & Loving”. It appeared on at least two tape compilations. On the legendary “Corrupt Postman” released in 1988 on Windmill Records and on “Hacia La Luz” on Elefant Records in 1990 (catalog ER-5). That’s it. But hey, I love this song.

When guitars sound like this, when they ramshackle like this, I feel in heaven. Everything crashing and breaking, guitars going fast, fast, fast. Crash-pop at its finest. But it gained no attention from labels it seems? There were no releases!!

I think I remember there was a post about them on The Cudgels’ Stephen Davies’  blog about Steamtown. Sadly the blog is no more and even looking into old snapshots on the Internet Wayback Machine I couldn’t find this post. The only thing I could really find on old emails was that Stephen told me that a Spencer Roberts was part of the band. I was told he was a big fan of Postcard Records but not really of indiepop, according to Stephen he didn’t own any Field Mice records or anything like that.

The other tip he gave me was that Spencer was, at the time, part of The Leaking Machine. The Leaking Machine being a band that included some ex-members of Mighty Mighty. And then doing a bit of research I could find that Spencer was also part of Oporto who released a 7″ on Sunday Records in 1994. The last news from Spencer comes from around October 2009. He appeared under his name on a CDR compilation titled “The Garage Pop EP” released by Stephen Davies on his own Please Rain Fall Records.

But about Steamtown nothing. I can’t find anything at all. I wonder if there were more recordings made in the same session of “Living & Loving”, or even before or after. It doesn’t matter. I would really like to hear. I’m a sucker for this sort of shambolic pop!

Who were the other band members? What other bands were they involved? Does anyone remember them?


Steamtown – Living & Loving


Quiet week now in indiepopworld. Please don’t forget if in Stockholm to attend this Wednesday the Stephen’s Shore 7″ release party. I wish I could be there. That same day I will be attending the Lush concert here in New York. Maybe I see some familiar faces there, though I doubt it, as I think most (cool) people will be going tomorrow Tuesday to their gig in Brooklyn.

Last week I recommended a mysterious band named The BVs. I actually learned some more stuff about them. I know they have already recorded 11 songs that they are working for an album. It is actually a duo formed by Fred and Josh. Fred from Augsburg in Germany and Josh from Falmouth in England. The songs were recorded in Penryn, and that is in Cornwall. They already have a label, the very good Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten, and the album should be out sometime early next year. Very exciting!

Red Sleeping Beauty, who released a very fine album after suuuuuuch a long time, have just premiered a new video for the song “Mi Amor“. I’m glad they chose this song as it is my favourite, with its girl/boy vocals and Niklas’ Spanish accent.

Also out later this month, on September 23rd on Firestation Records there are three albums to get: The Man Upstairs compilation that I hoped was going to be released in the Cake Kitchen series (I have a bittersweet feeling about this coming out on another label, can’t help it), a Commotion Upstairs retrospective compilation and an Andy Pawlak LP. Not to be missed.

Another good late music discovery comes from Jatinangor in Indonesia thanks to the band Toy Tambourine. They have a new tape out on Shiny Happy Records and by the sound of the two tracks on their SoundCloud it must be very good!


This week I’ve been listening non-stop to Sunshower from Japan. They released the one album “Blue Dolphin” in 1995 on the fantastic Pushbike Label from Japan (catalog UFPB-010). This is a label that is worth discovering and checking out thoroughly. Lots of great indiepop releases from Japanese bands that for some reason have been under the radar for many of us Westerners. I remember a friend from Florida, Mike, sent me a burned CD of this fabulous album years ago. He even made photocopies of the booklet for me. I was amazed by it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Indiepop of this quality is usually well known you know?

So I uploaded my favourite song of the album to Youtube. “Glitter Future”. I was hoping that the band would get in touch, comment, or maybe even a fan would do so. But I was unlucky. I never heard from any.

Years later my friend Vernon from Singapore was thrilled about this band as well. Suddenly I remember that I never got round getting an original copy of the CD. Well, time to get it. I asked Masami in Japan if he could help me get it from Amazon.jp. I think it was very cheap there, like 6 dollars used. It is just I can’t understand and don’t know how to purchase from that site! Some months passed. Then finally at home, a beautiful package by Masami, with lots of goodies, and this CD that I’ve been meaning to get for years!! Time to relisten. Time to get hooked again. And also time to rediscover and try to find out more about this enigmatic Japanese band!

Where in Japan where they from? I wonder… maybe I will find out. First I check that there are 20 songs on the CD! That’s a lot of songs. But they are divided somehow. There are 12 songs that seem to be part of the album and then 8 songs divided in this manner: Ringo Trucks are from 13 to 15, so “Red Evening, Red Night”, “Smile” and “I Want to Be…”. Bathroom Trucks are from 16 to 18, “Underground Monster”, “Olive”, “Serch-Light-Girl”. And Clock Work Orange Trucks are the last two, from 19 to 20, “Space Road” and “Little Hope”. I think it is pretty obvious that “trucks” here should have been tracks. Just a spelling error.

Time to check on the booklet. We find that Sunshower is formed just by two members, Ayako Akashiba and Yasuhiro Kawase. We know they wrote and played all the songs but a handful. These are:
“Almaty” original by Donna Regina
“Where Have all the Flowers Gone” original by Pete Seeger (though on the booklet he is credited as Pete Sigger)
“S0 the Shall Reap” is co-produced by Kenzi Tanaka
“Serch-Light-Girl” and “Little Hope” original words by Seiko Ishiguro
“Blue Dolphin” and “Little Hope” programmed by Ryou Arai

We see that they had some A&R thanks to Kanetsugu Tanaka and Jun Yajima and that the sleeve artwork was created by Ootake Shunsuke. Photos on the CD booklet by Takayasu Tohno.

Now I look into the Japanese names that are credited. Ryou Arai seems to have released a bunch of records, but nothing really indiepop as far as I can see whereas Seiko Ishiguro seems to have composed for Jenka (we covered her previous band Groovy Metal Babies in the blog before) and also been part of the fantastic Tip Top Planets (another band I should try to rescue for the blog!). Seems there was some sort of scene then no?

There first appearance on a record, as far as I know, happened in 1992 with the song “Realize” in the compilation “Flower’s Flower” that came out on Underflower Records (catalog FLOWER-001). Then that same year that beauty of a song that is “Glitter Future” appeared on a compilation titled “The Reality of Flowers” also on Underflower Records (catalog FLOWER-002). Bear in mind now that Underflower Records is the parent label of Pushbike.

In 1993 they will appear on a third compilation, always on Underflower Records. The song “Maybe the Sun Will Shine” appears on the comp “Flower Makes Sense!”. This is of course the third compilation of this label and thus it has catalog FLOWER-003.

1993 they also contribute the songs “Never Ever Forget” and “Rose Sauce” to the compilation “Happy Day, Happy Time” on the Pushbike label. Sadly I don’t know much about this compilation as it is not on Discogs.

That same year we know they contributed at least one song to the Pushbike compilation “See-See-You” on the Pushbike compilation. Couldn’t find a tracklist though. Same story with the “Good Thing Goin” compilation on the same label.

On 1994 they will participate on a Pushbike compilation. The song “Sing Bird (demo)” appears on the compilation “Into Somethin'”.

Then we won’t hear about the band until 1998. The song “Vacation” appears on the compilation “Did He Tell You To Stop Winking at Girls?” released on the label Holytail Records (catalog HT-01). In 1999 they will appear for the first time in a vinyl record. On a 12″ EP called “Life Sampler” they contribute the song “Melody”. This EP was released by the British label Lowlife and this was LOW 8. It is very interesting that the band they covered earlier, in 1995, Donna Regina, also appears in this record. I wonder who brought who into this project.

Discogs also lists a CDR compilation titled “1 Hour Doctor Rockit / Lifelike Label Mix” where the band also appears with “Melody”.  I think this is just a promo CD so I wouldn’t consider it part of their discography. Doctor Rockit is actually Matthew Herbert, the guy behind the Lowlife label that had released the 12″ where “Melody” also appeared.

Now, here comes the strange, mysterious part, for me. I don’t know if by the time they released “Melody” they had changed their sound into something more electronic. I haven’t heard many of their songs, just their album. But to learn, according to Discogs, that they had put out some new stuff this 2016 is really surprising. More than 15 years later since we last heard from them. But a little investigation, as I found Pedicure’s bandcamp, we find that this Sunshower actually hails from the US. So nothing to do with our beloved Japanese band. Thank god! It was crazy electronic pop music!

Time to go thru the trail of the band members. Sadly googling Yasuhiro Kawase throws no interesting results. On the other hand Ayako Akashiba seems to have much more presence on the web. She has been part of many more bands aside from Sunshower. She has been in Guitar, Marigold Leaf and Strawberry-High-Soft. The last two with activity around the same years as Snshower, during the 90s, while Guitar seems to have been a collaboration with the German Michael Lückner during the 2000s. With Guitar they released a bunch of albums and it seems they had quite a following. I don’t know much about electronic music but I was surprised that Clairerecords (label of Pia Fraus, Silver Screen and many other great guitar based bands) released one of the albums.

Marigold Leaf as far as I know only contributed a couple of songs to the compilation “Birth of the True II” released by Por Supuesto! Records (STAP 0314) in 1993. The songs being “I Wonder “Why”? But I Fall In Love” and “Drive”. I still haven’t gotten around getting this CD, shame on me, so can’t say if the music sounds similar to Sunshower.

For Strawberry-High-Soft we know about 2 songs from the compilation “Into Somethin'” released in 1994. That’s the third Pushbike compilation (UFPB-006). The songs that they contribute are “I Love “Love”” and “Secret Track (Outro)”. Also on the same label, from the 1993 compilation “Happy Day, Happy Time” were Sunshower were also featured, they released the songs “Happy Day” and “Come Here Now“. Now on Youtube I found some more Strawberry-High-Soft stuff, there’s a song called “Unrequited Love” that seems to have been released as a single. Not sure which label but seems to have been out in 2003. There are also some live performances dating of 2006, that means 12 years after the compilation appearance I mentioned earlier. You can check the songs “Ano-Uta“, “Star For You“, “Moonlight Makes Me Transparent“, “Soul Sister“, “For the Day“, “New Friend“, “Be Joy” and a magnificent cover of JAMC’s “Just Like Honey“.

I also found out that she has collaborated with Riow Arai (especially doing choruses along other Japanese vocalists on the album “R+NAAAA” by the project of the same title) and even The 6ths )the song “Winter in July” from the album “Waspd’ Nest”) as a guest vocalist in some of their songs.

Ayako also released at least one song under her name on a compilation titled “14 Girls Life” released by Elegant Disc in Japan. The song she contributes is called “Slowly” and it opens the compilation that you can actually buy it from this site.

Don’t know what she is up to today, maybe she is still making music with Guitar? What about Yasuhiro? He seems to have disappeared from the music scene after Sunshower? Would love to know what happened to the band? If there are more songs? Would love to listen to the songs from the compilations too. And definitely need to check Ayako’s other bands. I’m sure some treasures will be found!

EDIT Sept 16th 2016: Came to my attention a tape released in Italy by the label Shiny Sunset (Sunset 12) that is a split between Sunshower and the French band Nothing else. Sunshower has the A side and includes the songs “Almaty”, “Glitter Future”, “Olive”, “Shining Ocean Day”, “Search-Light-Girl”, “Space Road”, “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” and “Boyfriend Forever”.


Sunshower – Glitter Future


With the release of Stephen’s Shore debut 7″ I want to invite you all to a couple of things. First to like their Facebook page which is brand new. Show support to their gorgeous music and to themselves, lovers of 12-string guitar janglepop like us. Secondly, on September 14th, if you are in Stockholm, you should know that they will be playing a release party at Riche Lilla Baren in Östermalm. The gig is scheduled from 6 to 9pm. Also there will be two DJs at the gig: Henrik Burman and Leo Forsell. Here is the Facebook Event page and I hope you can make. If I could, I would be there for sure. Would love to see this band!

Also The Legendary Hearts who we interviewed some time ago got in touch with me to let me know that they have a brand new recording. You can stream it in their SoundCloud and it is called “Make A Home”. It is their first official release since 1988. They are announcing that there will be more tracks coming up and a 2017 album is expected. This is really great news!

And that is not all when it comes to news from indiepop friends from around the world. Tore Höghielm from the fantastic Visby, Sweden, band Alfie that released that amazing 7″ in the 80s got in touch too telling me about the great news that the band reformed just for a one-off gig for the 50th birthday of one of their members, Stefen Wesley on July 23rd. There are two videos on Youtube of this special moment that I can only recommend you all having a look and a listen! Here is part 1 and here is part 2.

More news? Of course! George Matzkov also updates us, he has now published the book “Way Out West“. This book covers the west Australian music scene from 1976 to 1989. It is a bit pricey the postage to the US, and so I’m trying to save a bit before ordering (this past week I bought maybe too many records!!), but I’m sure I will order it pretty soon. It seems the book is filled with photos and memorabilia and it even includes an MP3 archival CD. I think this is one of the most important releases this month!

Boring Productions, the Chinese label from Shenzhen who released the brilliant Chestnut Bakery CD, has a new release by the band The Cheers Cheers. A 6 song EP released on both CD and cassette titled “Carinae“. Dreamy pop worth checking out.

Perhaps my favorite discovery this week comes from Falmouth in the UK. The band is called The BV’s and they have two songs on their Bandcamp and they are very very good. Two very promising songs that deserve to be released physically. The song titles are “Ray” (my favorite one) and “Speaking from A Distance”. Who are they? I don’t know. There’s very little information on their page. But finds like this always make me look with hope to the future of the British indiepop scene that seems a bit boring these days.

The last bit of information comes from Cloudberry HQ. The Seashells 7″ is being pressed at the moment, masters and artwork approved at the pressing plant. Then today I received the liner notes for the Some Other Day CD compilation and so we are now only missing mastering for a handful of songs and then we can send to press this beauty. It is looking like a very good way to close the year, busy and with very exciting projects ahead!


It was a three day weekend here in the US and I had a bit of spare time to just check old CDs and records. I’ve been feeling like there are so many bands that I’ve heard on compilations, that I know so little, that I never tracked their whole discography or at least part of it! A good starting point is always the Sound of Leamington Spa series that Uwe Firestation used to compile with great knowledge and taste. One of the bands that I remember loving their song on the compilation was The Sandalwoods, and then I was thinking, but I don’t have any release by them, did they ever put anything out?

Well, they didn’t put anything out. I guess most people know them by the song “The Day is Mine” that appeared on the Sound of Leamington Spa Vol. 2 that was released by Firestation, Billberry and Clarendon Records in 2002. Luckily there was a full page about them on the booklet included in the CD saying:

We were Paul & Mark McCole and myself Will Deegan. We had many extra musicians that we called on as we required. Forming (in our minds-’85) in 1986 we began as an acoustic Velvet Underground!! All three of us wrote and the writer sang the song. We swapped around a lot to keep it fresh for ourselves and the audience. We usually had an acoustic act or comedy act supporting us. In our 4 years we dabbled in:  country, reggae, blues, jazz, cajun, psychedelic, skiffle, rock, rockabilly. We used vocals, bass, acoustic & electric guitars, drums along with keyboards, percussion, sax, clarinet, harmonica, accordion, and anything that wasn’t cool to use at the time!
We never got a deal but did contribute to a couple of compilation albums of the time; “This is Manchester Vol. 1” (Vanessa) and “Manchester” (Calendar Girl).
We split up in 1990. Mark & Paul went to form “Widehead” and I played with lots of bands including: Bryan Glancy (Too Many Foxes / The Mouth / I Am Kloot), Kill Laura, Glow, The Rillington Rockers, Grace, Widehead and plenty of cover bands. In 1994 we decided to reform with a much heavier sound Teenage Fanclub meets Neil Young / The Pixies then ditched it so we could have more fun playing covers!! Since then I have played with Pete Wylie (Mighty Wah) and a Who tribute band!! I’ve just returned from a short tour of U.S.A. (East coast) with a band comprising Mike Joyce & Andy Rourke of The Smiths.
The Sandalwoods still get together to play for family / friends / charity dos every now & then for a laugh. Funnily enough, I spoke with Paul today about writing / recording again in the near future!!
P.S. – The late 80’s was a fantastic time to be in Manchester!!

It actually feels more like Will Deegan is writing an email to Uwe than he wrote actual liner notes. It feels like two friends exchanging emails. I like that. I’m also impressed by Uwe tracking a small band like this for the 2nd volume of Leamington Spa. Those days it wasn’t as easy as today to track band members from the 80s. There was no social media. I wonder how he did.

There is no mention as to where “The Day is Mine” comes from. Maybe just a demo tape? We do know though two other song names, “Vanessa” and “Calendar Girl”. I couldn’t find anything at all about “Calendar Girl” or the compilation titled Manchester. But I was able to find “Vanessa” today. I actually just placed an order through Discogs for the compilation “This is Manchester (14 Songs from the North West)”. I think you should be able too for a good price.

The curious thing about the Sandalwoods appearance in this compilation is that their name seems misprinted as The Sandle Woods. The song seems to credited to the three Sandalwoods members and copyrighted to White Metal Music. It is the 3rd song in this compilation that also includes very cool bands like The Candidates, The Chrysalids or The Paperboys. I look forward a lot to hearing this song! Hopefully it is as good as “The Day is Mine”.

I found some information too about this compilation released by Essential Music in 1990 in both CD and LP formats (catalog ESS 133). On the back sleeve, aside from small thumbnail sized photos of the bands we learn that the original concept for this compilation came from Pete Mitchel at Piccadilly Key 103 FM and Tony Davidson of T.J.M. Records. Tony passed the tapes of The Obimen, the band he was working on, to Pete and that was the seed that started it all.

I keep digging for more information. I now dive into the Manchester District Music Archives website. What will I find here?

A gig flyer from 1988 where a bunch of bands played. The gig was named “C.C., Phil C. and Simon D’s Birthday Fun Box” and happened on June 2nd at The Gallery in Peter Street, Manchester. The bands that played were The Psycho Surgeons, The Sandalwoods and Capitol Hill. There was also comedy with John Thompson and I guess acoustic songwriters with Claire Mooney, Paul McCole (from The Sandalwoods!) and D.J. Phil C.

Then another gig flyer. This time from the famous venue The Boardwalk. The date was Thursday 12th January 1989. The bands playing were The Sandalwoods, The Waterglass and the great Asia Fields. Seems The Next Step was to play but they canceled. Just 2 pounds to attend.

The third memorabilia item I found was another “Fun Box” event by C.C. / Brickwall. I learn that C.C. was a guy named Chris Coupes. This is more a running order of bands than a gig flyer. We see that most bands played just 2 songs. And actually most of the people playing were just going solo. Among the names I recognize from this list is definitely Johnny Dangerously who was going to be I Am Kloot later and was part of the amazing DeBuchias I’ve covered in the blog.

About the other bands Will Deegan mentions in the liner notes, I couldn’t find anything really about Widehead. Found a Kill Laura flyer from a Hacienda gig in 1995, photos and some flyers for Bryan Glancy, but nothing really that would uncover more of The Sandalwoods mystery. I would definitely like to know if they recorded more songs. What are they doing now? How did their other bands sounded like? What about that obscure compilation “Manchester” and the song “Calendar Girl”? If any or all of their songs are like “The Day is Mine”, well, I really want to hear from them!


The Sandalwoods – The Day is Mine