There’s been a bunch of interesting news this week! So I can do two posts this week!
Firstly let me start with the most important news according to me, the one that involves the label. That is that finally I can announce the 9th Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release: The Potting Sheds!!!!! Right now I have uploaded a taster for you all on Soundcloud. That is the song “Take it Away (quickly)” that you can start sharing and loving all around! The album contains 20 songs and it is your classic Cake Kitchen custom made digipak, meaning it comes with our classic indiepop fanzine design plus full liner notes. More info and pre-order button very soon on the website. The album will be out this summer, hopefully early July. I’ll keep you informed here!
Stephen Lawson from the band Bluenose B who I was in touch and interviewed just some weeks ago has two new solo songs on Youtube. They sound fresh as a lettuce and you can check them both if you click the links for “Summer Girl” and “Marianne“. Very nice videos indeed, DIY style, with cool images of Stephen on about town.
The Legendary Hearts, who I interviewed as well, have two new singles out. Both have their accompanying videos on Youtube. You can check out the jangly goodness of “Faded by the Sun” and “Make a Home” if you click on the links. Really nice stuff!
John Douglass and Steve Hogg from Kid Sinister, another band I interviewed some years ago, have a new album titled “September Song” out on July 6th. That same day they will be performing a launch gig at The Cube Cinema in Bristol if you are around. You can listen to two tracks from the album on their Soundcloud. I link them here: “The Devil I Know” and “Blues in the Morning“. I especially like the poppier “The Devil I Know”. It is great to see both John and Steve back in action!
Thanks to the Sugarfrost Records Facebook page I got to know about some cool live recordings from B-flower. There is a very nice cover of The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” dating from November 1990 in Kyoto. Then from the same year there’s covers of Felt’s “Rain of Crystal Spires” and “Don’t Die on My Doorstep“. And later from 1991 another Smith’s cover for “You Just Haven’t Earned it yet Baby“. And that’s not all, there’s an 1988 live cover of The Smiths’ “Asleep“. That’s very early B-flower!
Two other classic bands have new releases coming up on Elefant Records. I’m talking about The Primitives and the BMX Bandits. The Primitives are at the moment promoting their new single “New Thrills” with the song “Oh Honey Sweet” which I suppose is the B side as Tracy Tracy is not singing! The BMX Bandits, on the other hand, are releasing an album titled “Forever”. The song “It’s In Her Eyes (With Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab)” is the song the band and the label are using to promote it. Good to know that both bands are still going strong!
And last but not least, in this recap of classic band news, it seems the Scottish documentary about post-punk (1979-1985), Big Gold Dream, is available on Youtube now. I ordered the DVD and I’m happy to have supported this effort as I hope there will be more documentaries where indiepop/c86 is covered. (Not anymore, seems because of copyright, it has been taken down)
Applejack is a strong apple-flavored alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period. The name derives from “jacking”, a term for “increasing” (alcohol content) and specifically for “freeze distilling”, the traditional method of producing the drink.
I’m going to guess that the band, being Irish, named themselves after Feargal Sharkey. For those unaware Feargal Sharkey was the vocalist of The Undertones! A little bio coming from Wikipedia too:
Seán Feargal Sharkey (born 13 August 1958) is a singer from Northern Ireland most widely known as the lead vocalist of pop punk band The Undertones in the 1970s and 1980s, and also for solo works in the 1980s and 1990s. His 1985 solo single “A Good Heart” was an international success. After becoming less musically active in the early 1990s, he has performed various roles supporting the UK’s commercial music industry, winning several awards and honours for his work in that area.
Or perhaps, the vocalist of Feargal is the Applejack was actually called Feargal? Could be too, no?
It is definitely a disappointment that Discogs doesn’t have Feargal is the Applejack in its database. This will complicate our detective work. Where to start? As last week I decided to check on the website Irish Rock. Yes, even though I’m not sure where in Ireland they were from, I’m 100% sure that they were Irish.
Irishrock.org doesn’t have them in their database either. But they do have a compilation on there that Feargal is the Applejack contributed to. Titled “My Favourite Things”, this tape compilation was released by the label Mickey Rourke’s Fridge in 1993. The catalog was MRF11. This label does appear on Discogs, it was the label that released the classic (and favourite band of mine) Hey Paulette.
On “My Favourite Things” the band Feargal is the Applejack appears on the B side with the song “Come On Home”. I look forward to hearing this song sometime. Other bands that appear on the compilation were The Dadas, The River Babies, The Wiporwills, Eilleen Gogan & Niall O’Sullivan, 16 Again, Freres Jackman, Interference, The Quack Squad, Revenants, Hank Halfhead & the Rambling Turkeys, Rapture, The Deportees, Sean Foy, Sean A. McDermott & The Wayfaring Strangers. Aside from The Dadas I’m not familiar with any of them!
Then I stumble upon Boards.ie, an Irish message board. On a post dating from September 18, 2008, a user remembers Feargal is the Applejack:
Feargal Is The Applejack – a small Dublin band which sounded very like the realism of Whipping boy and the spoken word type vocals of Fearghal McKee.
So the band must have been from Dublin. A quick googling tells me that Feargal McKee was part of the band Whipping Boy. Honestly I’m not familiar with this band and I believe there is no connection between them. From some of the songs I hear on Youtube, they sound much rockier, 90s alternative sounding.
The one song I do know from Feargal is the Applejack is titled “Talking to Yourself”, and what a song it is. I love the vocals, the guitar, the melodies, the vibe. Top song. This song seems that came from another Mickey Rourke’s Fridge compilation, one titled “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?”. This compilation is available in its entirety on Youtube. It was released in 1992 and was the fourth release on the label, catalog MRF 004. The other bands to appear were Freres Jackman, The Skips, Hey Paulette, Icehead and Grievous Angels. The compilation was compiled by Seán McDermott.
The last mention I find on the web about Feargal is the Applejack comes from a PDF thanks to the Westland Library. It is a scan of the Westland Observer from Westland, Michigan in the US. Strange, no? How did the tape “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?” gets a review in such a place? Who knows! But there it is on the June 22nd, 1992, edition of the paper. It says:
…Side two stays more’with convention, albeit damn fine sounding. An Irish ska band? “Limbo Police” by Freres Jack-man deftly captures a bit of the blue beat spirit while; Feargal is the Applejack’s ‘Talking to Yourself is sugary pop gloriously doused with arsenic….
I also could find an abandoned Myspace for the band, one where the songs don’t stream anymore. At least I could find out that the band recorded some more songs. From the same demo tape as “Come On Home” and “Talking to Yourself” come the songs “You” and “Fire Alarm”. There were also live recordings for the songs “Beautiful (Gerry)” and “Talking to Yourself”. There are also a bunch of press photos available.
Then there is also the connection with the band Cliff Edge Panic. As I wrote about them in my previous post, after this short-lived band split, some members went to Feargal is the Applejack.
Not much more on the web. I would love to know who where the band members. Would love to listen to their other songs. If they had more recordings other than the demo tape. If they played many gigs. What did they do after. So many questions. Maybe someone remembers them? In the meantime I’ll enjoy this song and maybe discover some more Irish indiepop on the “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?” tape on Youtube.
EDIT 22/04/17: Seán McDermott from Disques Fridge reminded me that there was a promo video for Talking to Yourself. I had seen it on Youtube and thought I talked about it on the post, but seems it totally slipped from me! If you hadn’t seen it yet, please check here.