Definitely this has been a quiet year for indiepop. When I was answering the Twee.net poll about the best of indiepop of 2014, I barely had answers for any of the fields. There have been a bunch of good records, I won’t argue that. But I think they’ve been so few. So few. And most importantly I think there was a lack of new bands, new talent, new blood, in the scene, that have made it feel stagnant.
This 2014 is the total opposite of 2006, the year many things changed for me in indiepop. That was a year full of new bands, of new discoveries. I know many times I reminisce about that time, when Myspace reigned supreme for music. I still had my blog, Mira el Péndulo, it hasn’t been hacked yet. It was a year of new making new friends, break ups, and novel experiences. In the real world, parallel to mine, 2006 marked the 20th anniversary of C86. I had the brilliant idea then, as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, to put together a tape called C-06. That’s when the snowball Cloudberry started.
This cassette included a bunch of up and coming bands. One of them was Slow Down Tallahassee, a band that we won’t be lucky to see reunited no more.
I’ve been meaning to dedicate a piece to them since the news of some months ago, because even if I wasn’t close with them, it affected me a lot. Here was one of the first bands ever that trusted me, and one of the first bands that I knew I had to release. They were talented, fresh, sure about themselves, and cool as f•ck.
As many stories I have, I met them through Myspace. I used to spend hours searching for bands. I loved that there was this option where you could search by influence. I must have searched for the “Shop Assistants”, when a band with a strange name appeared. A band from Sheffield with a name that nodded to Florida. At that time I was living in Florida, so it came as a surprise. Why would any band call themselves anything with Tallahassee? It’s not like it’s a fun town I thought. There was a profile photo of three girls and three songs. I remember one of them was U R Grace U R. And it wasn’t the version you know. It was a very lo-fi recording, much noisier, less crisp. It sounded out of an 80s tape, like a long lost recording of the Sohfas or the Wilderness Children. I was in love. Immediately.
They hadn’t released anything by that time. These were their first recordings. I asked if they wanted to participate in this tape I was putting together. I think I had this prepared text where I explained what this C-06 was going to be about. I must have forwarded them that too. And they said yes. I was very happy. I asked for U R Grace U R. And I was going to have it.
I was looking at Discogs and it says that the Sheffield Phonographic Corporation released their first 7″ in 2006. I think that’s wrong. It was 2007. The tape was out in December 2006 and I’m pretty sure there was no release yet. In any case, yes, they put out this first 7″ but before that, and I’m very sure of this too (though my memory is playing tricks on me), I had release the 3″ on Cloudberry.
This was the 10th release in the 3″ series. Again, Slow Down Tallahassee were so easy to work with. So friendly. They gave me three songs, “So Much for Love”, “U R Grace U R” and “Candy”. This were newer recordings and sounded much crisper than their previous demos on Myspace. The A side, “So Much for Love”, was/is such a cracking indiepop song.
This wasn’t the last time we worked together. It was 2007. I kept in touch for a bit. The song “Down the Alleyway” was included in the Thrilled to Bits 3″ compilation. This was a very special EP as it was a Cloudberry gig in the UK, with Horowitz, The Parallelograms, and Slow Down Tallahassee on the bill. I remember I chose this song before their first album came out. They sent me a CDR with a handwritten tracklist of their album and told me, just pick any song, the one I like the most, and use it. Such friendly gestures, such trusting gestures, are so hard to come by.
They kept releasing some records on the Sheffield Corporation, who sadly didn’t behave very nicely with me, but that’s another story. What’s important is that Slow Down Tallahassee kept putting put amazing songs out. They recorded a handful of promo videos too. Sadly there’s not many live footage of them. And I say that because I never got to see them live. Never. Now I regret that. They didn’t play Indietracks or London Popfest after I started traveling to Europe, after I graduated and had a proper job.
I didn’t meet the band either. Just Claire, when she was playing drums for the Parallelograms that year that they were announced at last minute. That was just luck. Pure luck. It was my highlight for that year’s Indietracks (I’m sure that I’ve mentioned before in the blog too). It was such a beautiful gig. I remember clearly the atmosphere at the church, it was giddy, and boiling, and everything felt so right. It was were everyone there belonged to be at the moment. I’m so glad the band that canceled or couldn’t play or whatever wasn’t there.
I met the Parallelograms for the first time ever after the show. And I was introduced to Claire too. We spoke just a little, not too much. Maybe 5 minutes at the most. I thanked her for Slow Down Tallahassee. Asked her about what was coming next, any other recordings, and so on. It was a lovely meeting, and we even took that photo together with my friend Andrew from The Felt Tips.
We lost touch even though we were friends on Facebook. I didn’t know much of her musical adventures. Until a year ago when I was put in touch with The Nature Set thanks to a friend, Andrew (another Andrew). The band sent me their 7″ and some CDRs with unreleased songs. I sent them some records in exchange. I didn’t know Claire was in the band until I saw the photo on the 7″ cover. And it made me so glad that she was still making music after Slow Down Tallahassee. I had before listened to another project of hers, Bon Bon Club, and now this. You could tell she was very talented and had this energy to start all these different music projects. By the way, I don’t know how many instruments she played but, I saw her drumming for the Parallelograms, and I’m pretty sure she played guitars for Slow Down Tallahasse. And I can’t even play one instrument right.
The news shocked me a couple of months ago. It was definitely unexpected. Slow Down Tallahassee was a band that helped me build this label. It was a band that made me believe in a scene, they were just so nice, so trustful and most importantly, passionate. On top of that you can add that they had good taste, good influences, and knew their stuff. And they were passionate. They were indeed a beautiful light.
I’m sure this has been a hard year, and I know I’m late, I was a bit shy as I wasn’t close to express my feelings. I’m very sorry. I wish the family strength.
I will miss your music. Because you made so many songs that were important to me. You made songs that were totally indiepop hits too. I wish I had seen you play live. I wish we could have talked a bit longer that Indietracks. I wish I had released more records by your bands too. They were all so excellent. I can only say thank you so many times.
rest in peace.