20
Apr

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)

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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.

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Listen
Feargal is the Applejack -Talking to Yourself

17
Apr

I’ve been getting some good feedback after reviewing “newer” bands on the blog. People have told me that these days it is very difficult to find new bands on the web, that there’s not a good filter to find them.

So I’ll recommend some new discoveries today. Before that though I want to give a big thanks to Wally from The Beautiful Music who has sent me some of his releases, Dot Dash, Armstrong, Roy Moller and more, because I’ve been enjoying them lots this weekend. Also huge thanks to Ronny because this past weekend The BV’s debut album arrived home. It is a gem. Get it before it sells out!

In the coming days there will be another 10th anniversary offer. This time around we’ll have the “Paul Towler pack”, which includes two 7″s where he has been involved, The Westfield Mining Disaster and The Haywains ones. For domestic orders you can get both 7″s for $12 including postage, while for those abroad the price will be $20. That offer should be up on the website tomorrow and it will be available until May 15th.

So here are some new recommendations for you all.

Medio Hermano: It translates to half brother. This is the last band that was added last week to the Lima Popfest lineup which I already covered on a past blog post. The band hails from Chile and their last release is the album “Lucha Libre” (2016). This record has 9 songs and it says it was released by Sudamerican Records, though I’m not sure if there are physical copies for it or if it is a digital-only release. Would be good to know as I’m liking what I hear. The band is formed by Juan Fernando Rubilar, Ricardo Herrera, Leo Saavedra and Luis Herrera. The Santiago band have more releases on their Bandcamp and I look forward to explore them. For the time being I’m enjoying the cool guitar pop of their last record! Lucky those at Lima Popfest, wish I could be there!

Un Verano en Portugal: I feel a lot of the bands I recommend today will be from Latin American countries, and that is thanks to the Facebook page “Latin American Twee” that my friend Joel runs. Now and then he puts together MP3 compilations of bands he discovers. I downloaded the latest one, his fifth volume, and found some good bands that I will recommend. The first one is this one whose names translates to “a summer in Portugal”. I believe their name is taken from a 2013 movie of the same name. The band seems to be the solo project of Jesús who is also part of the great band Pure Morning whose album I was sad to miss and now seems sold out. Anyhow there are a bunch of wonderful P!O!P! tunes on their Soundcloud. Glorious.

Verano del 83: More summer bands. This one with nostalgia for the summer of 1983, a time when the band members weren’t probably not even around! I could only find a Facebook for the band, and several songs uploaded to Youtube. No Bandcamp or Soundcloud. The band seems to hail from Trujillo, in the north of Peru. The song that caught my attention was “Llévame a Casa” which seems will also be the name of their debut album which they are working on at the moment. Their last song to be available on the web is called “Friends” and sounds good too. The band’s sound sounds a lot like Vacaciones from Murcia, Spain. And that’s always a good thing!

1994: I thought I had recommended this Tamperley, Argentina, band before. I couldn’t find myself mentioning them on my blog through the search function. Who knows. I went back thanks to Joel’s compilation to their self-titled release from 2015 on Bancamp. There there are 5 songs of lo-fi upbeat indiepop. The songs are pure gold, they are naive and fun. They also have punk influences clearly, they make me think of Vancouver’s finests Cub. The song “Historias de Mentirita” is a hit! The band is formed by Diego Medina, Guido Pasciucco and Valentina Schwarz.

María: last band for this week, María from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is not to be confused by the fab Maria from Oxnard, California, that released some 7″ singles almost 10 years ago! This María sing in Spanish and have a four song EP that was released by Compacta Discos on tape. Oh yes, more tapes. Tapes, I’m not a fan of yours. Shame. Because the 4 songs on this EP are superb. The band is formed by Germán Kresser on guitars, Leandro Pancotti on bass, Florencia Agra on vocals, Jorge García on drums and Boris Domínguez on guitars and synths. A fantastic debut indeed that I hope a lot more people start paying attention. The EP is titled “Breve Cielo” and if you are only going to listen to one song to get a taster, try “¿Qué es el otoño?” which may be or not be inspired by the 1976 Argentinean Oscar-winning movie of the same name.

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Seems like I’ve been on a streak of Irish bands on the blog. Today won’t be an exception, I’ll continue the trend, trying to find out more about long forgotten bands, obscure recordings, and most importantly GREAT pop music that deserves to be heard.

So then, have you ever heard of Cliff Edge Panic?

Usually in cases like this, when there’s an Irish band involved, we go directly to Irishrock.org. Last time it didn’t work out with the band Red Circus. This time it does. There’s an entry for the band. Firstly we learn they were from Dublin and that they were active around 1986. A good year to be around, no?

We also get to know that the band was formed by:
Ken Corbett – vocals
John Prendergast – guitar
Ger Corbett – rhythm guitar
Mark Willis – bass
Dave Burke – drums

There is just a very short bio on the website where we get just a few interesting bits of information. It says that the band played many gigs in 1986, including the Comet All-Day Festival in August of that year. They split in 1987. That was before their one and only appearance on a physical record. I’ll get onto that soon.

We also know that two members, John Prendergast and Mark Willis went to form The Train Walkers afterwards and Dave Burke to the Slowest Clock. The Train Walkers were around a bit longer, around 3 years and released some records. Slowest Clock the same, released a bunch of records up to 1994. Would be interesting to investigate these two bands, never heard them!

Back to Cliff Edge Panic. Their one appearance on vinyl, right? Indeed. That was on a compilation titled “Comet EP One” released by Comet Records in 1986 according to Discogs (1987 according to Irish Rock). On the compilation there are 3 songs on each side, and we see Cypress Mine!, a favourite band of mine, on the B side. Also Slowest Clock, the band Dave Burke was to join afterwards appears on this compilation on the A side. Cliff Edge Panic appears last on the B side with the wonderful song “Girl on the Bridge”. Other bands on the compilation are The Experiment, The Summerhouse and Baby Sex Priest.

I find a ReverbNation page for the band. Sadly there’s no music for the band but an interesting bio which I’m copying here:
Originally known as Fractured Fairy Tales, Dublin rock band Cliff Edge Panic were an enigmatic five-piece that brightened up that city’s live scene during 1986. Strong song writing from three members of the band – John Prendergast (guitar), and brothers, Ken (vocals) and Ger Corbett (rhythm guitar) – made for an impressive set. Mark Wills (bass), and Dave Burke (drums), who replaced original drummer, Geri, completed the line-up. Legendary Hot Press writer Bill Graham chose Cliff Edge Panic as the highlight of the all-day Comet Festival in August ’86, and was a regular at the band’s gigs in Dublin’s Underground. Their only release was ‘Girl On The Bridge’ which featured on the first Comet EP, in early ’87. However, the increased interest the band received, thanks to generous airplay and favourable press, was offset by the fact that they’d split up just before the record was released. Members of the band later resurfaced in The Train Walkers, The Slowest Clock, and Feargal Is The Applejack! In 2001, a limited edition, Cliff Edge Panic retrospective CD was released. The CD will be reissued in early 2011, to coincide with the band’s 25th anniversary live shows.

Interesting! There was a CD released!! And I didn’t know once again. Will I be able to find out now? And also someone in the band was in Feargal is the Applejack. Who was it?

Then I find the same bio on an Archive.org page. And what’s even better I find another song by the band which I’ve never heard before, “Flower”. You can check that here!

Later, a Myspace, where no songs stream sadly. At least I get to know some more song titles, “Secret Conversations”, “Children (live)”, “Soldier of Misfortune (live)” and “One Night in a Million (live)”.

My next stop is the Irish Nuggets blog. There they put together a compilation on Spotify (the evil!) and Cliff Edge Panic is included. The cool thing is that a blurb was written for each track. Thanks to that we get to know a bit more about the Comet EP release, it says:
After relocating his record shop to the Temple Bar area of Dublin, Gorehound Brian O’Kelly did his bit for up and coming bands by releasing a series of various artists compilations. Named after the new record shop, Comet Records released a six track EP and a 14 track LP in 1987. ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ by The Summerhouse and ‘Girl On The Bridge’ by Cliff Edge Panic featured alongside tracks by The Slowest Clock, and Cypress Mine on EP1, while ‘There’s A Mountain’ by Backwards Into Paradise and ‘Barbarous’ by Cork band The 3355409s were highlights of LP2.

My last stop is a Facebook page for the band. Seems it was created last year, 2016, but it seems not to be maintained. Only one post of “Girl on the Bridge” is up on the page.  At least I got the pleasure to click on the Like button.

Back to the Feargal is the Applejack connection. I like this band a lot and I’ve meant to write about them on the blog. Maybe next week could be a good opportunity if no one gets in touch about Cliff Edge Panic, no? Anyhow, who was in both bands? I can’t figure it out just yet.

The other mystery to be solved is that of the CD. The only information I could find was that John Prendergast issued the CD. I read that he also did a compilation CD for his other band Train Walkers as part of a degree course in media production. Both CDs were sold through his website but it doesn’t exist anymore. What a shame.

This is where I hit a wall. I can’t find out more about them. I figure that the compilation CD included all their recordings. I want to listen to that! Maybe someone can help with that? In the meantime I’ll explore the other bands they were in. Could be fun!

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Listen
Cliff Edge Panic – Girl on the Bridge

10
Apr

A bit bummed now. So I learned that Pale Spectres will be delayed until early May. I don’t know exactly why, but as it is something on the factory’s end, I’m assuming it has to do with the stupid Record Store Day. Probably they are swamped. I’m very sorry about it. The record went to press late January and normally it takes around 2 months or so. As soon as it is available I’ll let everyone know.

A new video by Lost Tapes premiered today. Not from our old single, but from their latest album, the one I haven’t yet managed to get. You know, it is not very easy to get Mushroom Pillow releases this side of the world, or outside of Spain to be honest. But to make it a little bit better, here you can listen and watch “Mexican Flag“, just another beautiful song by the duo.

A new band I discovered last week, thanks again to Richard Suncharms, was the English band Heavy Heart. He had posted the video for the song “Firefly” saying they sounded a bit like The Darling Buds. I had to play it. It does have that feeling! And again I start getting a bit angry, why the hell such a nice sounding band doesn’t play Indietracks? What are these people doing? Destroying the legacy of the most perfect festival ever booking bands like Crywank, Me Rex or Milk Crime. Anyways. This superb slice of pop, “Firefly”, is taken from the 12 track album “Keepsake” which is out now. I have to get it. I also wonder if they had played New York before. I saw a video for the song “Time Will Stand Still” which seems to be recorded late in 2015 in Coney Island. I would be very sad if I had already missed them here!

Back to the 1,2,3 Alright! blog to check the few bands I still needed to explore. It takes time doing this, discovering bands. I kind of get transported back to the old days, around 2007, when I would discover great sounding bands day after day on Myspace. I think these days it is a bit more difficult, but it can still be done. You just need to dig deeper.

Girl, Girl: Bree, Becky, Jorgen and Will are bringing back the 90s indiepop! I’m loving their songs. It feels like I’m back to the golden days of Northwest p!o!p!, Tiger Trap, Cub, All Girl Summer Fun Band. The band hails from Seattle and have, as far as I know, a digital EP with four songs, “Generic Girl, Your Heroine”, “Public Librarian”, “Kim’s Theme” and “She Sleeps She Dreams, She’s Mine”. A superb debut that I hope I see on a physical record sometime soon!

Black Springs: hailing from Sydney, Australia, this guitar pop band have a new LP out titled “When We Were Great”. On their Bandcamp one can stream the 10 songs from this self-proclaimed Sydney’s no. 1 fuzzy jangle good time band. The album is enjoyable, there are some rockier songs that I’m not crazy about, but there are the poppier moments like on “Slinky Day” or “Boys in Blue” where I feel they can be pretty good!  The band has been around since at least 2013 when they released the CD EP “Sunrise”.

Slow Decades: this Newcastle band has just released their second album, “Hinterlands”. Their first, “The Frost & the Concrete”, dates from 2014. Another indiepop band in the UK not invited to Indietracks. Keep counting. The album kicks off with “Sleep it Off” and I think of the likes of Butcher Boy or The Understudies. This is good stuff. Let’s listen to the second song, “Savages”, which is the one Brucey recommended on his podcast. Much more upbeat. Sounds good. And elegant. I’m liking the sound of this band, would like to give them a proper listen. The band is formed by Ben Lowes-Smith, Paul Gardner, Gary Cameron, John Egdell and James Grey. The album was released on March 20th.

The King in Mirrors: I haven’t heard a Swindon band since The Swindonians from back back in the day. And as good as they were, The King in Mirrors are no disappointment. The song “Foolish Things” sounds fantastic. Who are they? It seems they have been releasing songs for years now, the oldest one dating from 2012. The band is formed by Rich May on vocals and guitars, Colin May on synth and Jase Bush on bass. I’m so impressed that I decide to check their previous release, “Talk About Today” which is a 5-song EP. Sounds jangly to me. It is approved. And again, I cannot understand why bands like this one are not being championed by the UK scene instead of silly and talentless folkie ditties.

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Not much to say this week about the obscure band I’m trying to find more information on. As you know I’ve been going through my LPs checking out anything worthy of being recommended. Last week I went through the compilation “First Things First” and introduced you to The Donnelly Brothers. On the B side of that same compilation you’ll find Red Circus performing the song “Fabulous Love” and it is the only other song on it that deserves your attention.

Last week I said I couldn’t find the compilation on Discogs. For some reason I did find it today. So it seems officially the compilation is titled “First Things First… It’s a Strange Kettle of Fish”. As I wrote a week ago, it was released by One by One Records (catalog FIRST 1) in 1987. According to Discogs this same label released a 7″ by a band called the Keep in 1985. I think that is correct as The Keep also appears on the compilation.

Red Circus is almost at the end of the B side. It is the 5th song from 6 total. A Discogs user, “joseluiserans”, comments that the song “Heart of Shame” by Sontiche is indiepop at its best. I don’t think so. I think the two songs that make this compilation worth are the ones by The Donnelly Brothers and Red Circus.

We learned that this record was released in Belfast. That most, if not all, bands are Irish. I would assume then that Red Circus was too.

I can’t find any information at all about this band. Maybe the great The Fanning Sessions Archive blog could help me out this time even though I really doubt they recorded a Fanning Session.

The only song I know by them is a pop gem of chiming guitars, upbeat vocals, and for some reason the melody reminds me a bit of The Bats from New Zealand. It is very good! It would be fantastic if we could find anything else from them, hopefully more songs! Do any of you remember them?

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Listen
Red Circus – Fabulous Love

06
Apr

Second post this week, full of new discoveries mainly thanks to Bruce from the superb blog “Everything, Alright!” who he just updated for the first time in 2017!

In his last Soundcloud sort of compilation/podcast (Bruce, you should talk in between bands, give us some of your insights!) he recommends 25 new (or newish) songs. Some of them I’ve recommended on the blog already, but there are many that I had never heard before. So join me in discovering them.

Radio Orwell: a band that has a proper website is not that common these days. It is a little extra to have it, definitely, even though in their case there is not much information on it. We get their schedule of gigs (mostly around their hometown of Ipswich in the UK) and their two releases embedded from Bandcamp.  The song I discovered through the blog was “Speak About It” that is included in their 2nd EP titled just “#2”. No wonder their first EP was titled “#1”. Lots of originality there. Both EPs have 4 songs and they are just straight guitar pop that sounds very nice to me. As you know, every time I find a UK band that is quite good it pisses me off that Indietracks is such a blind and deaf festival not booking them.

Small Imperfections: Magnus Karlsson, once member of the legendary Happydeadmen (and The Charade to boot), has a new project based in Stockholm. Alongside Daniel, Stefan, Christian and Tove, they have a 4 song EP available for streaming on their Soundcloud including four songs, “If You Are My Tammy I Can Be Your George”, “Ashes”, “Better Hold On” and “Race With the Devil”. This is classic indiepop, and it sounds pretty pretty, especially the first song on it, my favourite. Hopefully this will be released physically at some point.

These Unfortunates: Seems this London four-piece have been around since at least 2013. I only hear from them now thanks to this new digital single that includes “A Question for Mr Richardson” and “A Repertory Man”. I especially enjoy the opening track, sounds like English indiepop circa early 2000s. Love it. It’s been a while since I heard something like this. Maybe since the ultra underrated Tales of Jenny? Again how the hell are they not playing Indietracks? I do see they are playing the Betsy Trotwood on May 19th. Hopefully some of my London friends can check them out.

Closure: even though Brucey recommends the song “Would She Love Me”, I first stumble upon their Soundcloud and find another song titled “Slow Drive” as well as a live performance at MFM Radio 101.3. I believe the band comes from Malang in Indonesia and have a CDR (thank god! someone is releasing a sensible format and not tapes) on the label Let’s Kiss a Secret. You can stream the classy sounding 4 songs from the label Bandcamp. It makes me terribly happy that the Indonesian scene, on that I supported many times through the Sound of Young Java CDRs, is still very healthy.

Luby Sparks: another gem on the Sailyard label, a sister label of Fastcut Records that I believe is run by Atsushi of Miles Apart Records and Masami from the band Wallflower. Seems Sailyard is pointing to releasing the new talent of Japan, as all of their releases (which I’ve recommended in the blog before) so far are just too good. Luby Sparks debut release was a 7″ that include two songs, “Hateful Summer” and a cover of Camera Obscura’s “Lunar Sea”. Top stuff!

Ourselves the Elves: this Manila band will be the last band I’ll review today. “Wounds” is streaming on their Bandcamp and it is such a beautiful, fragile song. Lovely. The band is formed by Aly Cabral, Aki Medina, Paula Castillo and Ponch Salvador. They have some other releases also available on Bandcamp the oldest dating from 2013. Hopefully this song, “Wounds”, which is so sweet gets to be released in one way or another!

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Now a little pause on me going through my 12″ records. I’ll go back to that next week, probably on Monday. Today I want to discover, get to know more about Black & White Lovers, whose one and only release, a 7″, released in 1986, is one that I would love to have, to own one day.

With luck, I think I’ll be able to get a copy sometime. In the meantime I wonder who they were. They seem quite mysterious, don’t they? That strange black and white cover art work. What is it? I find that the always recommended blog From a Northern Place had posted the sleeves back in 2015. It seems the cover art is actually a portrait of Charles Aznavour done by a Steven Brady.

Charles Aznavour, born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, is a French, later naturalised Armenian, singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Aznavour is known for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. He has written over 1300 songs and recorded over 1,400, sung in eight languages and sold more than 180 million records.

On that back cover  I can also see a photo of the band, playing live perhaps, or rehearsing, taken by Norman Collins. The tracks are listed, not as A or B, but 1 and 2. The first song being “Best Years of Our Lives” and the second “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. Both songs are credited to M. Tivnan. Both songs were recorded in May 1986 at Suite 16. The record was produced by the band.

The only other fact we gather from the record is that it was released by Guillotine Records, from Stockport (catalog GR 001). On Discogs other bands seem to be listed on this label, but I think it is a totally different Guillotine Records as the releases date from the 90s. Was the band from Stockport as well? Maybe it was a self-release?

Stockport is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Manchester city centre, where the River Goyt and Tame merge to create the River Mersey. The town is the largest settlement in the metropolitan borough of the same name.Historically, most of the town was in Cheshire, but the area to the north of the Mersey was in Lancashire. Stockport in the 16th century was a small town entirely on the south bank of the Mersey, and known for the cultivation of hemp and manufacture of rope. In the 18th century the town had one of the first mechanised silk factories in the British Isles. However, Stockport’s predominant industries of the 19th century were the cotton and allied industries. Stockport was also at the centre of the country’s hatting industry, which by 1884 was exporting more than six million hats a year; the last hat works in Stockport closed in 1997.   

Where next? To my surprise there are many videos on Youtube by Black and White Lovers. Yes, this time no ampersand, but an “and” between Black and White. First video I find is one video that even has Gary Lineker scoring some goals. On the little description it says that this version of “Best Years of Our Lives” was recorded at Spirit Studios in 1985. This said video was a rough edit and was never finished it seems.

This same song was to be re-recorded for the single. And I could find a live video of the band performing it at the International in Manchester on August 1986. How cool is that?

The Youtube account owner is a Martin Briars it seems. Was he part of the band? Could be. I’ll drop him a message through Youtube. Will there be any luck? I doubt it, seems his last upload was 6 years ago.

There are more videos. I see the vocalist with some maracas playing live the song “Remember“. It sounds jangly and fantastic! On the little info it says the band formed in 1984 and disbanded in early 1987. They also had positive reviews on the NME and City Life magazines.

From that same gig, at Berlin in Manchester on the year 1985 there is also the song “Carpmael“. On the info it tells a bit about the story of this particular song: Despite the vagaries of the PA, which seems reasonable, you might be able to hear one or two of the words to this one – not because the words are particularly good…. the tune’s crap…..it’s a story. The story is of a man gifted with the ability to see into the future, and becomes rich and successful . He dreams he is paralysed in a hospital.

The band would play the same venue in December 1985. From that time we find a video of them performing the song “Nightingales” at the soundcheck.

Next up is a video of the song “Same People” that was recorded at Spirit in 1985.

Then there are a lot of videos from the same gig as the first video I shared, from the International in Manchester 1986:
Stolen Kiss (with an intro from Jimmy Saville)
Nightingales (after Maurice Chevalier’s “if a nightingale could sing like yououuoou…..”, or rather the Marx Brothers take on him in “Monkey Business”, because of the supposedly “French” feel to it… !!)
Until You Come Along
Remember (walked straight into a dream, an 18-carat dream, remember, i remember, we were happy then……. things were different then!!!!)

I then decided to look for M. Tivnan. Who was he? I find a Myspace for an Anthony Tivnan from Stockport. That is a clue indeed. But he is no M. Tivnan, but an A. Tivnan. Probably the brother? But what about this interview to Steve Murphy from the band Gods Gift on the New Hormones blog? I see a mention of a Martin Tivnan!

….But at that time we were perhaps mid-20s and these kids were 15, 16 – we used to share gigs with this band called The Enigma – they were fantastic. I’m astonished that nothing ever became of them. The lad that played the guitar, sang, did all the songs, he was only 15 and he was brilliant. Martin Tivnan he was called. They were a good band.

What’s even better is the comments section! I think Martin Tivnan actually comments and says:
I was the drummer in The Enigma, I remember sharing a few gigs with you back then, also doing the recordings for the album in Stockport. Also sharing your bands drum kit also Mike Joyce’s from The Hoax. I’ve still got the “Unzipping the Abstract Album”, reckon your track and ours were the best! I bought your single as well. Great to see this interview and cheers for giving us a mention, I didn’t save anything from that era which is a pity. I do remember that you were quality on the guitar though.

On the said record, Unzipping the Abstract, The Enigma contributes the punky song “Play With Fire”.

And lastly, someone called Brendan Chesterton makes the connection I was hoping for:
After Jeff died I joined up with Martin Tivnan and the Enigma guys to form Black and White Lovers. You are spot on about Martin’s talents, he was Noel Gallager’s equal or better 15 years before.

So there we go. We got two names now from Black & White Lovers, Martin Tivnan and Brendan Chesterton! And maybe a third with Martin Briars. Quite some detective work.

Who else remembers them? Did they leave any more unreleased songs? Whatever happened to them after Black & White Lovers? Would be great to find out more about them!

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Listen
Black & White Lovers – Best Years of Our Lives

03
Apr

Already April here. Today I woke up and was surprised to see me tagged on Facebook by Richard from The Suncharms. What was it? A beautiful video of McCarthy, my favourite band ever ever, playing live in concert on French TV on their first date of their European Tour dating March 19th 1988 in Lille. What would I give to see them one day, to have been there then. Wow. Really.

April 27 has been announced as the single date for Lima Popfest. There are many details on their Facebook event page that I’d like to share as well as to review some of the new crop of Latin American pop bands that will be participating.

The 6th edition of Lima Popfest will be hosted at the FUGA venue and it starts quite late, at 10:30pm. 6 bands have been announced but seems there will be a 7th band from Chile to be announced shortly.

The bands playing are:

Carmen Sandiego (Uruguay): I’ve never really explored their music, but I do know that they are the most well known indie band from their country. So many times I’ve seen their name on websites as well as fans requesting them to play in different countries. On their Bandcamp I notice that they have many, many releases, the oldest dating from 2006. Their last one though is the one I’m listening now, titled “Mapas Anatómicos”. There are 10 songs on this album which seems to be available only digitally, I don’t see any information about any physical format for it. The band is formed by Matías Lens, Flavio Lira, Lucía Riera, Ezequiel Rivero and Leticia Skrycky. The album is not strictly jangle pop, there are many more influences than classic indiepop. Some songs are genuinely great like “Fines de Semana” and others are quite boring like “El Skater”, but in general I’d say it is a good record. Would be nice to catch them someday, check their live set.

Los Waldners (Costa Rica): my favourite pop band from Central America, jangly as fuck. Sadly I’m still waiting to get their first album which I thought was a masterpiece. I hope one day I’ll be able to have it. That one, “Eclipse Total del Corazón”, was released in 2014. But their latest is a 6 song release on Bandcamp titled “Malas Decisiones” dating from 2016. And sounds great, so great. Upbeat, jangly, definitely the band one has to check out at Lima Popfest. The band is formed by Andrea, Luis, Tavo and Daniel. Hope this 6 song mini-lp (or EP?) gets released physically and once and for all there’s a way for me to get their records. It is always so hard to get records from Latin American bands, sadly it seems they only cater the local market.

Niños Envueltos (Argentina): never heard about this band before. So I’m discovering them as I write this post. First shock, Tonga’s vocals. First impression, what is with his voice? Then it grew up on me. I actually like it. I’m just listening their one and only release, “El Último Casette del Parque” which I’m not sure if it has been released physically. It includes 7 songs and all of them are streamable on Bandcamp. The band is formed by Tonga, Franchi, Alito, Fede, Nico and Gus. They seem to include many instruments other than the classic ones like clavinets, violas and violins and that I enjoy this time around. The band seems influenced by Belle & Sebastian and other folky influenced pop bands. A nice new discovery indeed.

Nicolás Mateo (Argentina): “Palanca Sin Cambio” is the name of the latest release by this one-man band. It seems he has been around since at least 2008 when he released “Todo es Espejo”. It seems their releases are only available digitally also. I’m listening to their last release, discovering it for the first time, and I have to say I’m not liking it that much. It is not terrible or anything, but it is not the kind of music I’m into. Whereas Niños Envueltos was folky but influenced by pop music, Nicolás seems to be influenced by folky rock music. Not my thing.

Mundaka (Peru): I think in the past I’ve complained about this band, they shared a split EP with Almirante Ackbar where the songs by the latter where truly fantastic but I didn’t like one bit Mundaka’s. That was many years ago. Today I’m listening to their latest effort, a 12 song album titled “Sonata Tropical del Ártico” which is actually available as CD digipak. The first song I listen is the one titled “Morrissey”, who can blame me? I notice some nice guitar work on it. Quite a surprise. Is the band getting it right now? Well, it sounds great, but there are no vocals! I will need to check another song, and well, they are not as good, they are a bit boring for me, too psychedelic maybe? I don’t know what it is, but the great tempo, rhythm and guitar work on “Morrissey” is nowhere else to be found But be sure to check, even though it is quite different in style, “Insomnio” which is for me  the only other standout track on this effort.

Fiebre Aviar (Peru): The only band I’ve seen before once upon a time in Lima supporting Eva & John. A very underrated band, with the right influences creating simple pop with fun, quirky and smart lyrics. On Bandcamp they have two newish songs recorded in September 2016, “(Creo que) mis besos te volvieron leca” and “Carnaval del 98”. They sound fun to me. Though I hope to see one day a recording of their hit “Castolo”, a tribute to my favourite videogame, Pro Evolution Soccer (Winning Eleven).

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As I have shared with you the past weeks, I have been going through my 12″ records. Some of them quite obscure that deserve to be showcased in the blog. One picked up my interest this weekend, a compilation titled “First Things First”. I remember buying it in Toronto when I visited a secret record store with my friend Jessel. I’m sure he must have recommended me buying it as I didn’t (and don’t) know any of the bands that appear on it. He must have been familiar with it. I can’t even find it listed on Discogs.

I wonder why he recommended this to me. I think there are only a few good songs in it. It must have been because of them, I’m sure. Possibly because of The Donnelly Bros song, “The Breadwinner”. Yeah, that must have been it. But who were they? Why have I never seen their name before?

This compilation was released in 1987 by One by One Records (catalog FIRST 1). It seems the compilation actually has a longer title, “First Things First … It’s a Strange Kettle of Fish Vol. 1”. Other bands on the comp are One Deaf Ear, Uncertain Trumpet, Western Justice, Big Electric Pic, Cut the Bag, The Rhythm Method, Sontiche, Violet Sky, Meanwhile in Czechoslovakia, Red Circus and The Keep. I believe all songs are by Irish bands. The only place I found information on this record was on the great website Irish Rock. Thanks to them too, I could find more information about The Donnelly Bros.

The Donnelly Brothers were an indie band from West Belfast. They were formed in
1985 by Martin Burns (vocals), Bap McGreevy (lead guitar), Stephen ‘Punker’ McGreevy (bass), Paddy O’Neill (guitar) and Barney Carson (drums). They played a few gigs around Belfast and made a few demos, including “Clawing at the Sky” (1986). This lineup had a post-punk sound, with effect heavy guitars, darker and heavier than the later recordings by the second lineup.

Barney and Paddy left after a year to form their own band. A 14-year-old drummer
named Ali Donnelly joined along with rhythm guitarist Nick Sadlier, ex of Belfast punk band Rebel. This second line-up was an indie guitar band with a slight country twang, echoes of rockabilly/psychobilly influences, and a light and nimble beat.

The band recorded a flexi in 1986 which was sold in the shops and given away free with Helden fanzine. In 1987 the track “Breadwinner” appeared on the First Things First sampler LP on Keith McCormack’s One By One label. In June 1987 they recorded a popular session for the Dave Fanning Show on RTE, including a new version of “Breadwinner”. This session was broadcast twice and led to a 2FM tour. One track “Mystery Machine” became especially well known as it was dancey, had a great riff and was all about Scooby Doo…

The Donnelly Bros supported The Wedding Present on their Irish tour in 1988, playing Galway, Cork (Sir Henry’s), Dublin (McGonagles), Derry and Belfast (Art College). They also played with The Jazz Butcher, The Prisoners and The Charlatans.
Hot Press described their sound at the juncture as ‘manic trash country’.

They split in 1989. The Fanning session plus a couple of older demo tracks (“Boy In A Biscuit Tin”, the aforementioned “Clawing at the Sky”) are now available on the band’s myspace page.

Stephen McGreevy (bass) and Barney Carson (drums) went on to form indie rock trio Non-Stop Yellow in 1991 with Paul Turner (guitar/vocals) who released two singles (on Screw Records and Beat Crazy Records) in the early 90s, swapped Barney Carson for Gary Thompson (ex Burnin’ Kisses), recorded demos for Polydor Records but split in early 1994 before work on an album was completed. Nick Sadlier formed long running Irish reggae act Bréag who are still active twenty years after their inception
circa 1994.

There is also some extra information about their discography. It seems that in 1986 they released a flexi with the song “Liberty and Honesty” and another song (which seems Irish Rock doesn’t know the name, so I don’t either) that was given away for free with the Helden fanzine.

The other item in their discography, even though it is not a proper release, is their appearance in the Dave Fanning Show for a Session in June 1987. The tracks they recorded for it were: “The Breadwinner”, “Mr. Debussy”, “The Tomorrow People” and “Mystery Machine”. Alright, we do know our friends from the blog The Fanning Session Archive. Time to look there.

We notice first that the band had set up a Myspace page. Those of course are useless now sadly. But they had posted a bio there.

The Donnelly Brothers were an indie band from West Belfast who existed between 1985 and 1989. The first line-up was Martin Burns (vocals), Bap McGreevy (lead guitar), Stephen ‘Punker’ McGreevy (bass), Paddy O’Neill (guitar) and Barney Carson (drums). The band played a few gigs around Belfast and made a few demos. Barney and Paddy left after a year to form their own band. A 14-year-old drummer named Ali Donnelly joined along with rhythm guitarist Nick Sadlier. The line-up of Burns, Bap, Punker, Nick and Ali played a few gigs, did a few demos, supported The Wedding Present on tour, played with The Jazz Butcher, The Prisoners and The Charlatans. The band recorded a session for the Dave Fanning Show on RTE in June 1987. It was broadcast twice on the radio station and led to a 2FM tour. The recordings on this page are from that Fanning session. Track three, Clawing at the Sky, is from the first demo in 1986.

We also see someone that had commented in that entry saying that the band had also played in The Republic of Ireland a handful of times, playing a Trinity Ball, at McGonagle’s in Dublin, Sir Henry’s in Cork, in Galway, Belfast and Derry with The Wedding Present. Also in Dundalk, Limerick and at The Underground in Dame Street.

There are two more posts about them on the Fanning Sessions blog. The first is a post with the demo of “The Handicap Bus”. Not much info there but some interesting comments, like that one that says that Ali, the drummer, used to dye his eyebrows like Keith Moon.

The second post is much more interesting. Dating from 2013 it mentions the release of a compilation album, including all their songs. How should I feel? Awful. I missed it. It seems it was released as a CD by Flaming June Records and it sold just for 6 pounds. It included 14 tracks!

Don’t despair. I keep digging and find the release available digitally on Bandcamp. All 14 songs. I suppose coming from the Fanning Sessions, the flexi and the “First Things First” compilation plus more recordings. The songs on it are:
“The Handicap Bus”, “Liberty and Honesty”, “Mystery Machine”, “Big Screen Star”, “Whiplash Curve”, “Mr Debussy”, “The Breadwinner”, “These Are the Days”,”The Tomorrow People”, “Sackville Street”, “Clawing at the Sky”, Smoke Filled Bars”, “Texan Town” and “Elysian Days”. Through them you can enjoy their country influenced indiepop.

But how can I get the CD? Is it totally sold out? That becomes the important question at this point. I look for the label. I find a Soundcloud for Flaming June Records. It says the label only existed between 2010 and 2014. Now it is kaput. I’ll send them a message. Probably is my best chance? Or should I try tracking the band members? What would be easier? I send messages to both, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Crossing fingers I hear from them.

The last thing I could find by digging the web was a mention of Stephen “Punker” McGreevy and Martin Burns being part of a short-lived combo named Liar that was around in 1984 thanks to the Spit Records website. Seems they didn’t leave any recordings.

Anyone out there remembers them?

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Listen
The Donnelly Brothers – The Breadwinner

27
Mar

Back to the indiepop research after a a few days.

On the last blog post, Natsubot, from the Japanese band For Tracy Hyde, left a comment telling us that they did release an album last year titled “Film Bleu”. I had written that their last releases dated from 2014, so definitely it is good to know that they are still putting out music. He also mentions that they have an EP on the works for this year. I guess my mistake comes from me not being aware of streaming services, “Film Bleu” is available in that format. Sadly, I never do that, and it is complicated for me, to twist my principles, and start supporting these platforms. But the fact remains, the band is still releasing good music and in the end that is what matters! Oh! And also their vocalist is not the same as in the 2014 releases I listened to on Bandcamp. Now their singer is called Eureka. Their previous singer, Lovely Summer, is now pursuing a solo career and you can check one of her songs here. It is quite good!

From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I just heard a superb new release (sadly only available on tape through Hidden Bay Records. Please stop releasing tapes!!) by the band Brunch Club. They have 6 songs and they sound like a good mix of Tiger Trap, Cub, and All Girl Summer Fun Band. It is good! The band is formed by Ellen Reade, Patrick Earles and Clay Francis. It makes me so happy to be able to find this sound again. They also have two demos dating from June 2016 on their Bandcamp. So quite a few cool songs to listen and discover. Top Pop!

It is true too that A Turntable Friend is back. The classic German band is releasing a few new records in this comeback. The first is a 7″ by the British band Drahla. There are two songs on it, “Fictional Decision” and “Dog Collar Guillotine”. Sadly this is not for me, not much indiepop here! On the other hand the label is releasing a 40 song compilation, as 3 LPs or double CD, titled “The Test of Time”. On it you’d see most of the fantastic bands that were once part of the label from Boyracer to Love Parade passing by Tree Fort Angst or My Favorite. The proceeds of these release will be for the William Wates Memorial Trust. There are old songs as well as many unreleased songs in it so it might well be a good thing not to miss it.

The two last new releases coming up from ATF are by the Isle of Man band Tea. They are the “Breathing EP” and the “Everybody’s Happy Sometimes” album. The EP is available only on CD while the album is available on both CD and vinyl. Both of these releases I want to get as they include band members that also were part of Stoliday a band we released a 3″ CD many years ago!

And last but not least the Darling Buds are also doing a comeback releasing a 10″ 4 song EP. The EP is titled “Evergreen” and sounds as if they never left (the same feeling I had when I saw them live at NYC Popfest). It is a surprise to see they chose to release with Oddbox, though maybe their Welsh connection had something to do with it. It is such an indiepop sounding record that doesn’t seem to fit in this label. But that’s the beauty of it.

Who are the Keep Left Signs? Some days ago I got a tip from a Spanish friend about them. It seems they’ve been going for some years now, but I had no clue even though they played a gig time ago when indiepop was in better health with many good friends of mine like The Fireworks, The Electric Pop Group and The Garlands. They have a bunch of very jangly and classy songs on their Soundcloud. I feel they are English, but I couldn’t say for sure. Would love to know more!

And lastly there’s a new video by Colour Me Wednesday for the song “Don’t Tell Anyone“. I have always enjoyed this band even though I have few things in common, I’m no vegan and I don’t enjoy the DIY bands they normally support for example, but Colour Me Wednesday do craft fantastic and catchy pop songs like this one.

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I finished yesterday with the plastic sleeves. I gave all my 12″s one. Now I think the next step would be buying paper sleeves so the record can be outside the sleeve. But that would be homework for later.

As I was doing that I picked some 12″s that are a bit obscure and I think would be appreciated by the blog readers, just like Rasca Cocous did last week. Among these obscure records I picked for this week the one 12” by Blam! Blam! Y.C.

As I don’t know much about this band it makes sense then that it would be good to do some research about them. When I try to remember how I discovered them, I think it was thanks to Youtube. I saw a cover of The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright” by this band. It said on the description that the band playing this song was a UK jangle pop band. So I had to find more, and as I couldn’t find anything else, I decided to buy their record.

And so I did. And this cover of The Who appears on the B side. It is a live version. The full tracklist is: on the A side only one song, “Rollercoasting Barbie & The Dumb Angels”. On the B side “Mandy Is”, “The Kids are Alright (Live)” and “Touch of Grey”. The record was released in 1988 by Pussy Face Records (catalog CLT 001) and it was their sole release both for the band and for the label.

Time to check the back sleeve, there’s a cool photo of the band, only in pink tint (as the whole record sleeve is) plus some more info. We know the band members were:
Isobel Cline – rhythm guitar and vocals
Ewan Grant – bass
Debbie Hutcheson – vocals and tambourine
Alan Berry – lead guitar
Graham Sanderson – drums

The record was recorded at Toad Hall in Glasgow and was engineered by Ian Carmichael.

Was the band Scottish then? The label has an address from Middlesex in England. I though it was a self-release. Then they would be from Middlesex, but their sound is very Scottish. I’ll keep digging.

As with this obscure bands it is difficult to find more information.  I want to know what the name of the band means. What does Y.C. stand for. I end up on Alistair Fitchett’s website, Tangents, on a post from August 2002 about St. Etienne. There he mentions the band on this paragraph:
There was a great record store at this time in Ayr, whose name I can no longer recall. The guy who ran it had been in the group Blam Blam YC and used to disappear off to Edinburgh when he was 15 to see Fire Engines play. I think his name was Euan. Euan used to play ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ in his record store all the time, and that’s where I heard it first. He also spun it in the club night he ran down in some god-forsaken new bar in town, where it always got a fantastic reception.

Was the band from Ayr? The Scottish theory starts taking some shape.

Ayr is a large town and former Royal Burgh situated on the west coast of Ayrshire in Scotland, United Kingdom. It is the administrative centre of the South Ayrshire Council area and historic county town of Ayrshire. Ayr is currently the most populated settlement in Ayrshire and is the 12th most populous settlement in Scotland. The town adjoins the smaller town of Prestwick to the north, forming a single continuous urban area with the town.

The band is also mentioned on the Firestation Records old blog. Uwe doesn’t seem to be a big fan of them:
Not so much my cup of tea but everyone who is into bands like Motorcycle Boy, Fat Tulips or The Rosehips should check out their sole 12“ single which called “Rollercoasting Barbie and the Dumb Angels“, released 1988 on Middlesex-based “Pussy Records“.

I find another mention but this time I don’t understand anything as it is in Welsh. It is from a book by Rhys Mwyn titled “Cam O’r Tywyllwch: Hunangofiant “. I’m guessing here that he says the band played alongside The Wendys in Perth. There’s also something about “Rock Against the Rich” which I think was the name of the gig.

It is no surprise that I would find some information about them on an interview I did with The Wilderness Children years ago. They mention that: “really enjoyed when we played in Ayr at different points and anytime we played with Blam Blam YC who liked a drink too.

They must have been from Ayr then. And I can confirm it after I find a newspaper cutting from The List dating 23 February 1990. In it it says: “Ayr – The Coletranes and Blam Blam YC – Pavilion Ballroom, The Esplanade, 0292 265 489. Indie strummers Blam Blam YC play their hometown on an eight-day band exchange scheme wtih punchier Dublin band The Coletranes”.

Next stop is Avo-8’s gigography. They mention a gig at Rooftops in Glasgow on January 12th of 1989. They lineup for the gig was Avo-8, The Darling Buds and Blam! Blam! Y.C.

Remember I was talking about “Rock Against The Rich”. Now I find a fanzine I believe titled “Class of War No. 29”. It is all scanned and seems to feature the Rock Against the Rich Tour 88. This is very inspiring. On page 4 I find the mention of Blam Blam YC. It says:
The first ever Rock Against the Rich gig was in Ayr in Scotland. It was organised by a band called Blam Blam YC who are the support band in Glasgow. 
The gig featured The Cataran, Blam Blam YC, The Wilderness Children (support at Aberdeen), Hee Haw, The Flat Stanley, The Salt Cellar, Southern Approach and Memphis Hipshake.

So that is pretty cool, they were a political band. Sadly they only released the one 12″. I don’t know if there are more recordings by the band, perhaps demos. It seems they played quite a bit of gigs. Wonder if anyone out there remembers them.

With examples like this it is hard to believe there are people that say indiepop is conservative and can’t be political. What nonsense.

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Listen
Blam! Blam! Y.C. – Rollercoasting Barbie and the Dumb Angels

24
Mar

Decided to write a blog post today. I’m a bit annoyed as yesterday the Peruvian National Team tied 2-2 with Venezuela playing away. We were down 2-0 at halftime and we could tie it by the 70th minute or so. We had many chances to win (and some to lose), but we needed those 3 points to keep having some hope to qualify to the next World Cup. Now with 5 more games left it seems almost impossible even though we are 5 points away from a qualifying spot. Still annoyed!!

In the last few days there have been some news in indiepop world that are worth mentioning. The most important is that of Paris Popfest. At last one of the most important cities in the world will celebrate a weekend of indiepop. The dates are September 22nd and the 23rd. Mark your calendars. I’ve heard from the organizers about some bands that will be playing and definitely there are some surprises there. For now their Facebook page has not much information but a lovely logo of a penguin with headphones. Penguins and giraffes being my favourite animals. Hopefully I can attend!

Then Saint Etienne is back with a new album. That is always good news. You can so far hear one of the songs included, “Heather”, on many places on the web. The album is titled “Home Counties” and will be released on June 2nd by Heavenly Records. But news don’t stop there, they will be touring, and luckily they will come back to New York on September 26! Damn, if I go to Paris Popfest, I will have to be back by then! They are playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg and tickets go on sale next Wednesday.

Now a shout to the Facebook group Twee Lovers Club that is run by Pierre. That group is a trove of indiepop news and discoveries. This week thanks to him I discovered a fantastic sounding Japanese band called For Tracy Hyde. They hail from Tokyo and are formed by Lovely Summer on vocals, Natsubot on guitars, U-1 on guitars, Mav on bass and percussion and Marcie on Drums. Odd names they are using aren’t they? On Bandcamp I find their latest EP, “In Fear Of Love”. There are four songs that sound so great! Breezy and dreamy. Their other release available is titled “Born to Be Breathtaken” and it even opens with a song titled “Her Sarah Records Collection”! They know how to wear their influences. Sadly both these releases seem to date from 2014 and they are only available digitally. Are they still going? Yes, it seems they just played live, on March 18th at the Shinjuku Memorial. There is live footage of that show on Youtube. Now when will they release more songs?

Another Japanese band I discovered through this Facebook group is the band Saint Romance. They are releasing a 7″ sometime around mid April and early May. It is released via Sailyard which I believe is a sister label to Fastcut Records. The song that we can stream is titled “About a Girl” and it is sweet sounding. Thanks for the Japanese for keeping indiepop alive!

Then a Thai band! I discovered not so long ago thanks to CD16 the very nice Walking with Monika. Now I get to know Wave and So who seem to be a duo and have this new video out for their song “Sunshine“. It is jangly and chiming all along. Dreamy. Whereabouts in Thailand are they from? The only actual fact I can confirm is that they are on the label Parinam Music and that they have a Facebook page which I’ve duly liked. If only I had known about them when I was in Thailand, maybe I could have seen them live!

Also very much worth mentioning is that The Jasmine Minks are back with a new 7″ single. Limited to 250 copies and released by their own Oatcake Records it includes the songs “Ten Thousand Tears” and “I Can’t Hide”. You can stream both songs by this classic Scottish band on their Bandcamp.

And why not give a plug to the pretty cover Marc Elston has done of “Crazier” originally by The Pale Fountains? It totally deserves so. Marc had already given us a beautiful album a year (was it a year?) ago. I hope he keeps recording songs. And aside from the romantic music, I really like the photo of young Marc and his girl (?). Would make a great sleeve!

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They were a great band and for some months back in 1990 they were very hip in berlin. I love their demo-recordings and also the 12″ single, although the recordings on it were slightly overproduced if you ask me. they supported Jazz Butcher and hang around with Roddy Frame back then. Cool guys! For me Rasca Cocous were one of the most finest guitarpop bands from Germany ever. I will never understand why the broke up so fast.

That’s what Uwe from Firestation told me about them back in 2015. I must have looked for it a lot then and some that reason probably now I have two copies of their sole release, a 12″ EP released in 1991. Maybe I could trade one with someone? They are in great condition!

And on top of that, the EP is really good! Of course I can’t compare to their demos as Uwe does because I’ve never heard them. I only know the 4 songs released on the Vanity EP by Saturn Records (catalog 005). These songs were, on the A side, “Vanity” and “Dragon Country” and on the B side, “My Little Zoo” and “Dignity”.

Yes, all of the songs are jangly guitar pop. What else is there to know about them? Well, I turn around the sleeve, check the back sleeve, see what we can find there, nothing, just a cool looking photo of the band. But wait, the record comes with a black and white inner sleeve and here we finally find some important info.

Rasca Cocous (what a strange name, no? what does it mean?) was formed by:
Olav Bruhn – vocals, guitars
Christian Nuñez-Lorca – guitars, vocals
Philipp Block – drums, percussion
Aldo Nuñez-Lorca – bass

On the 12″ recordings some additional musicians were present:
Garry Marlowe – organ on “Vanity”
Denis Bassell – charango on “Dragon Country”
Sven Schumacher – backing vocals
Mario Congo – congas on “My Little Zoo”

I’m impressed by a couple of things, first that there were two brothers of Spanish or Latin American origin. And secondly that they included a charango in their songs, a very popular string instrument in South America’s Andes, especially among the Quechua and Aymara populations. Very close to home.

The record was recorded during December 1990 and January 1991 at the Musiclab Studios in Berlin by Angelo Plate. Angelo also mixed  the record alongside the band.

The cover art concept is credited to the band and Florian Wörner. The images used for the cover are from “Untitled 1097-1989” by Bill Henson. They were reproduced courtesy of the artist and the Galerie Urbi et Orbi in Paris. Other photos were taken by Ilja Emrich, Gondor K 23, Anna Block, Cuno 11. Then there is a long list of thanks (with a Muchas Gracias heading) to a bunch of people, and to Spain (where they Spanish then?). Among those being thanked, Roddy Frame is indeed one of them, for the many drinks.

I couldn’t find much more about the band members. I did find something about Gary Marlowe who played the organ in “Vanity”. Well, he has his own Wikipedia page. Born in Berlin he has worked with so many bands as a music producer.

Then I found a sort of wiki page called Bernd’s Berliner Rockwiki. In it we learn that the band started in 1987 and that they were one of the winners of the Senats-Rockwettbewerbs contest in 1988. There are also three other gigs listed. One in March 14 1988 alongside The Jazz Butcher at the Loft. Another one at Metropol on December 1989’s Berlin Rock News. And lastly in April 30 of 1992 at Bands United alongside Nina Hagen, Malaria! and Inchtaboktables at Tempodrom.

I found also a news article on the Neues Deutschland newspaper dating from December 20 of 1991. Sadly to read the full article you need to subscribe. 4 weeks for only 9 euros it says. A quick translation of the few paragraphs one can read:

They are just interrupting an extensive tour. Copenhagen was on the agenda, half the North German lowlands and the Rhineland. Now “Rasca Cocous” stop in Berlin to refuel in a home game before they move further south.

They have their own music already in the bag for the sound of being on the street. However, only in the event that the light creeps through the fog in the morning and the vehicle does not have any clutter. Because “Rasca Cocous” make songs that are best heard when either the day is already running before the first cup of coffee or is absolutely safe, in the next twenty-four hours …

The last place I find information about Rasca Cocous is an old looking website that seems to be called Germ-Attack.de. On it I find another concert of Rasca Cocous listed. One from the 10th of February 1989 supporting Kraftwerk. And that’s that.

I wonder why did they split? Why did they only release four songs? If they recorded any more stuff? Did they appear on compilations? And what about those demos Uwe says they sounded so great? I would love to hear them!

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Listen
Rasca Cocous – Dragon Country

20
Mar

After a busy week on the blog, it is not that common these days for me to post 3 new entries in less than seven days, it is time to check some new music in the pop world. And maybe, who knows, I could blog again later this week.

Last week I became aware that one of my favourite contemporary bands will be releasing an album on the 24th. Yes, Desperate Journalist will release their album “Grow Up” on Fierce Panda that day. They are definitely becoming bigger and bigger and I hope they come to the US at some point. Long are the days when they were releasing CDRs and even had a side project Violet Hours that sounded magnificent and was announced to release some of their songs on a friend’s label. Even I discussed at some point with them about the possibility of working on a release. Those days are gone. These days they are producing beautiful videos and great songs, and “Be Kind” is their latest. It will be included in this upcoming album.

Fallen Love Records from Oshawa, in Canada, have been championing indiepop in different ways. Now this bedroom based label will release a 22 song tape compilation titled “Secret Gardens“. Yes, I’m no fan of tapes and probably (sadly) won’t get around buying it. I don’t like digital either. But for those who do, I suggest investing in this wonderful release. Why? Because the band selection is very good! At the moment you can only stream two of the songs on it, that of Twinkle Twinkles and Finnmark! But eventually you could listen songs by Red Go-Cart, Sleuth or Old Lacy Bed among others.

I think I’ve forgotten to mention San Francisco Popfest this year. Yes, it is happening on two dates, Friday June 2nd and Saturday June 3rd. So far we only know three bands that will be playing, The Primitives, Cruel Summer and The Oilies. All of them will be playing on Friday. The Primitives we all know and love, but what about these two other bands? I’ve never heard them, time to check them out:

Cruel Summers: They hail from San Francisco, and they are called their jangle darlings. The band is formed by Thea Chacamaty on vocals and guitar, Josh Yule on guitar, Chani Hawthorne on vocals and bass and Andy Pastalaniek on drums. On their bandcamp I found that they are selling a 7″ with the songs “Around You, Around Me” and a cover of Pylon’s “Crazy”. The songs were recorded on a Part Time Punks radio session in January 2015 at Bedrock for KXLU 88.9FM. This record was even mastered by Kramer. It sounds pretty good to me, though not too jangly I’d say, more like dreamy and fuzzy! This is their second release after a 100 limited pressing cassette released in 2013 that included 6 songs.

The Oilies: They come just from across the Golden Gate Bridge, they are from Oakland. On their Bandcamp I see a bunch of releases. Time to check out their last one dated from March 2016. It is called “Thin Black Lines”. This is slow bedroom sounding, lo-fi pop. I’m not 100% convinced that I like it. I appreciate the intention though.

From the great Mexican label, Emma’s House, there is a new pre-order on Bandcamp as well. The band San Charbel from Mexico are releasing their first ever release, a CD EP titled “Nubes”. You can stream now the two first songs full of chiming guitars “Sin Miedo” and “Nacer Morir”.

Another release I want to recommend is the 12″ LP by Últim Cavall on Discos de Kirlián. It sounds so great. Pop sung in Catalan, and it sounds very romantic! I understand just a bit out of it but the 8 songs included are a treat. The album is titled “Records de Kyoto” and I hope I can get a way to get a copy soon!

And last but not least one of my long long favourite Spanish band, Los Punsetes, have also announced a new album, their fifth. And it was just released on the 10th of March. To promote it they have unleashed a video for the song ¡Viva! and it is just what one can expect from them. Classic!

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I started a new mission yesterday. Have all my 12″s, LPs, EPs, and so on, inside their own plastic outer sleeves. I finished with the first batch, and I still have another bag of 50 to keep dressing nicely my records. For the next weekend definitely, some homework.

One of those records I gave a plastic sleeve was that of The Libertines. No, not those Libertines you are thinking about. But The Libertines that released this fab 12″ EP titled “Smith is a Liar”.

The sleeve has a black and white photo of a smiling person surrounded by bright red, The Libertines logo and “Smith is a Liar” on a handwritten sort of typeface. The record was released by Loose Fish Records (catalog PIKE 001) in 1987.

There are 4 songs. “Smith is a Liar” is the sole one on the A side while the B side has “The Big 1-2”, “Christina” and “Boring”. The sound is classic guitar pop, C86ish. The only song that is rockier and not that much tom y taste is “The Big 1-2”. The rest are gems. I really love “Christina” and the A side is a classic in my book.

The record was recorded at Workshop Studios, a studio that was located in Redditch, near Birmingham. It was distributed by Probe Plus and The Cartel. We also get to know the band members:
Paul Clifford – bass and vocals
Nick Raybould – drums
Mark Bellamy – guitar, vocals
Russ Williams – vocals

Dave Morris, Hairy Mary and The Libertines are credited as producers and Dave Morris as the recorder. There are also runouts printed on the vinyl, on the A side it says “The Triman Cometh”, while on the B side it says “If You Can’d Do it Just Triman”. What does Triman means?

I find a Soundcloud that I think belongs to Russ Williams. There is another The Libertines song that wasn’t on the record, “Wolf!”. There are other songs from bands I believe are also his like Telford Soul Club and Pop Da Freak.

Next stop is the Birmingham Music Archive. Okay, now we know where they were from. There is some info there thanks to Nick, the drummer, who sent this website some information.

Gigged all over Britain supporting The Wonder Stuff. Also some London shows with Jesus Jones etc. We got a fair bit of press and a few John Peel plays for our single.Some pictures of The Libertines are attached. Taken at Cambridge Corn Exchange when we opened for The Wonder Stuff, 20th March 1989. We never managed to get pictures of Paul Clifford the bass player for some reason.Paul went on the join the Wonder Stuff in 1990 and played on the “Never Loved Elvis” and “Construction For The Modern Idiot” albums. I became (and still am sometimes) one of The Wonder Stuff’s backline crew.

Another thing I figure out now, Russ Williams is actually Russ Hunt. Russ Hunt is brother of Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff. So on the website Room 512, the Unofficial Wonder Stuff fansite, I start finding more information about The Libertines. The record is actually listed in Discography and has this small bio:
The Libertines – Smith is a Liar
All tracks feature Paul Clifford on bass and backing vocals.  The group also featured Russ Hunt on lead guitar and vocals.  Hairy Mary is credited as having assisted in the single’s production – this was in fact Miles Hunt.

On this same website I find a bit of biography that talks about Russ, Paul and Miles:
Paul Clifford was studying Media Studies at Liverpool University, was already familiar wit the band’s music and had only recently left the Midlands after the group he was previously in, The Libertines, had split up. The lead singer of The Libertines (not to be confused with the later group fronted by drug-addled Pete Doherty) was Miles’ brother Russ (credited on recordings as Russ Williams to avoid the media connecting him with Miles). The Libertines had previously their one (and only) 12″ EP, ‘Smith Is A Liar’, in 1989.

I keep digging, I’m sure I will find more information. And yes, I find a blog called “It’s All Just Morris Dancing” and the one behind it is Russ Hunt. It hasn’t been updated since 2014. I do find a blog post where he talks a bit about The Libertines:
Pop Da Freak would have folded in late 1986 and by 1987 I’d formed yet another new band, The Libertines (got there waaaay before ya Doherty). What we were doing back then would have been described as sounding very C86, what came to pick up the all encompassing description “Indie”, whatever the hell that is. We had a fine old time. We picked up supports with some well known bands, played some big shows and I finally got to do something I’d dreamed about doing since back when my first single was either “Skweeze Me Pleeze Me”, “The Wanderer” or “Solid Gold Easy Action” (don’t know what I’m babbling on about ? Have a look here) I GOT TO MAKE A SINGLE OF MY OWN !!!
It was recorded at The Workshop studio in Redditch near Birmingham, with co-production duties handled by my brother, who had ditched the drums in favour of the guitar and was by then making records of his own on a major label and heading for “pop star” status. “Smith Is A Liar” didn’t sell many copies (I still have boxes of them around the house if anybody still wants to buy one) and I never got to hear it on the radio but I had finally made a record of my very own.
Despite it’s abject failure we did some gigs to try and promote it and even made plans to release a second single, which would have been “Wolf!”
But by now I needed a little more security in my life. I was about to become a Dad and I needed a job. I’d done a few gigs pretending to be a roadie for my brothers band and they were about to embark on their first major support tour of the UK. They asked me to go with them as the roadie and offered me what was then a handsome sum to do it. So I told my fellow Libertines that was it and, 25 days after the birth of my son, embarked on my first tour as a roadie, something that would occupy me for the next 8 years. But that story is for another time… 

The last thing I could find online about them was that in 2000, Miles Hunt, Russ’ brother, released “5 songs”, a CD EP that included the song “Line ‘Em Up”. This song had lyrics borrowed from a previously recorded Libertines track. Not sure which one!

What happened to that second single, “Wolf!”? Why was it shelved? Were there other songs recorded for the B sides? And why are they this obscure? According to Russ the single didn’t sell well at all. Did the dopey Libertines from later knew about them? Do any of you remember them?

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Listen
The Libertines – Smith is a Liar

17
Mar

What to do when you have some extra time in your hands? Work on what I love the most, music. That, for me, means the label and the blog as I have no skills whatsoever in making music.

This week I received two albums so I could listen before they are released, those of A Certain Smile and The BV’s. I’ve listened both a few times and I have enjoyed them. I must say I enjoyed The BV’s a bit better as their sound is closer to my heart, that of C86 sounding bands. A Certain Smile has different influences, pretty ones still, mostly from the 90s I would say. Their album also seem to have a much more polished production, much more quality in that sense. At many points I thought it sounded like the Fireflies. That was sweet. The BV’s are a bit rougher on the edges, there’s a bit more grit in their production. Also in the album they include many of the songs I’ve been listening for many months now like “Always” or “Ray”, modern indiepop hits in my book. In conclusion, even though it’s been a while since I review albums, both The BV’s “Speaking From a Distance” and the one that seems to be untitled of A Certain Smile are good albums. Now, people in A Certain Smile should be cautious supporting silly ideas that indiepop is misogynist, racist or full of  “faux tweeishness” on Facebook walls. That’s just plain stupid and I won’t support it. I can see the merits of the album, but I can’t support wrong political views about indiepop. Be smart.

Yesterday I also saw that on a Facebook group people were listing indiepop labels. At first I didn’t know that the intention was for bands to find a place where to send their demos. I thought it was just a way of refreshing the memory of which labels still support our beloved music. I say that because at some point I started seeing labels that have nothing to do with indiepop, or maybe they released one indiepop record in their 20 plus catalog. For me that doesn’t count as an indiepop label. I wonder if it does for you? When I pointed this out, mentioning that a London label that calls themselves a DIY label is definitely not an indiepop one, I got the classic answer, the most boring answer. That one that goes like “so what is indiepop anyways?”. It gets on my nerve. If my mum would ask me that I wouldn’t mind, she honestly wouldn’t have a clue. But someone involved in music definitely knows what indiepop is. But at the same time they know that  what fits in the borders of indiepop, in the margins, can be blurry, so they ask they ask this question to prove their point. Stating of course that indiepop can encompass a wide variety of music. Which of course it can. But not everything that one likes.

I can’t see a garage band as indiepop for example. The sound doesn’t fit. The politics are different and so on. But somehow labels that release garage bands are indiepop these days according to the view of many. How can that be?

I know a lot of people are getting bored by all these labeling of things. I understand. It gets in the way of music. You probably just want to listen to your favourite songs not caring what they are. I can respect that. But to create beautiful thing like Popfests for example, you do need this labeling. Without it, it wouldn’t exist. And that’s the thing about indiepop, its grassroots politics, the egalitarianism between fans, bands, fanzine writers, labels and so on, that could create a healthy scene (and then destroy it as well). Other genres don’t often achieve this sense of community. I remember having a long conversation with a friend organizing a post-punk festival. He would be jealous of the way indiepop could work and organize itself. Whereas in post-punk there’s careerism and competition, in indiepop there was a solidarity that would make easy to create important things, things that matter. That’s why I hold this music dear.

I know the situation now is a bit different. There was an article in the Guardian saying that indiepop is dead now that Fortuna Pop is gone. I find that ridiculous. Indiepop has been dying for a long time (to resuscitate in a few years from now according to my friend Matthew) and the only thing it has to do with Fortuna Pop is that the London label many times supported many things that didn’t help indiepop being alive. By supporting these things the lines got blurrier, no wonder mainstream music and DJs started appearing at indiepop festivals. As a friend said, what’s the point of that if we could just go to a pub to listen to this music? Would the pub punters be happy if we played them indiepop? No. And by all means I’m not saying Fortuna Pop is bad, they released so many amazing records, supported bands, did it all in a professional level that few labels could. Bands shined with Fortuna Pop. They also organized festivals and so on that were true successes. I celebrate that. But now that they are gone doesn’t mean the end of indiepop. There are still many bands and labels, struggling surely, that carry the flag until  perhaps there is a new coming of indiepop. Even if I’m not a fan of how they do their business, Elefant in Spain has been more consistent and have been around much longer, that you can’t really forget their importance in indiepop. England is not the center of the universe.

Well, that’s a bit of my ramble, I’ve been thinking about these things for days now. I find annoying the simplicity how many are dismissing indiepop as political. Calling it safe and conservative. It is hard to believe. People forget their McCarthys, their Wolfhounds, their Easter and the Totems, their Sarah manifestos, and more recently bands that carry their politics on their sleeve like The Felt Tips, Cats on Fire, Dorotea, Liechtenstein and so on.

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Today a band I would really like to get in touch with. I think maybe they could be a good release as part of the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series. What do you think? I’m talking of Baby Lemonade out of Scotland.

I’m pretty sure most of you know them from the third Sha La La flexi (catalog Ba Ba Ba Ba 003) released in 1987. On it they appeared alongside The Bachelor Pad (who I already interviewed in the blog) and contributed the classic song “Jiffy Neckwear Creation”. This flexi came along the fanzines “Are You Scared to Get Happy? #4” and “Simply Thrilled #3”. Baby Lemonade’s song would be Single of the Week.

When I interviewed The Bachelor Pad many years ago they told me that their first gig, thanks to Jim Honey of Simply Thrilled was with Baby Lemonade and Jessie Garon and The Desperadoes. I wonder if that was also Baby Lemonade’s first gig?

The band would then sign to Narodnik Records. This was a label based in Edinburgh that was set up by Eddie Connelly from Meat Whiplash and the fabulous The Motorcycle Boy. On Narodnik he would release just quality music, Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes, The Fizzbombs, Baby Lemonade and The Vultures (also interviewed in the blog!).

They would release just one single with Narodnik in 1987. The catalog was NRK 004. The songs on it are two classic indiepop songs, on the A side “A Secret Goldfish” and on the B side “Real World”. Douglas Hart from the Jesus and Mary Chain would produce the record. The record was published by Cubic and engineered by Fergus.

An interesting bit is that the songs from the flexi and this 7″ would be re-released in 2003 by Egg Records as part of their Egg Restoration series. On a CD-R titled “45RPM” (catalog Eggrest 005) that for some reason I failed to get back in the day (I think this and The Hardy Boys one are the only Egg release I’m missing), the songs “Jiffy Neckwear Creation”, “Secret Goldfish” and “The Real World” were included plus two demos, “Secret Goldfish (demo)” and “The Real World (demo)”.

In 1988 the band was to release an album. Titled “One Thousand Secrets”, the album is a sublime indiepop record. Truly beautiful. It was released on DDT Records (catalog DISPLP 22) from Edinburgh. Only 8 songs appear on this album, on the A side “World of Mine”, “All Down To You”, “Summerhouse”, “Secret Goldfish” and on the B side “In My Head (At Night)”, “116 Days Adrift”, “Much Too Late”, “Ultimate Lie”.

Happily I do own this record. There is some information on the back sleeve. I find some credits there:
Joan – vocals, clarinet & cover design
Graham – bass & tambourine
Gary – guitars
Mark – guitars
Martin – drums, vocals

Tim Kane – all keyboards (also acoustic rhythm guitar on “Summerhouse”)
Ron McKinnon – flute on “World of Mine”

Produced and engineered by Jamie Watson
Recorded at Chamber Studio, Edinburgh

There is also an inner sleeve with lyrics for the songs and another black & white photo of the band.

My next stop is Twee.net. There is small biography there that is pretty interesting, sadly it is not signed by anyone.

I was a former band member i played the drums on the first single releases . started out in 85 Based in Kirkintilloch, Cumbernauld + Glasgow where we were low key in my front room of my parents house or in the house of the lead guitarist bedroom. soon we approached the studios in Charing Cross Glasgow city centre. In 1986 we made some copies of our music sent some samples to radio stations and from there we were slowly getting recognised. Such as John Peel whom loved it. Jiffy NeckWear Creation Feb 1987 on a flexi disc. Secret Goldfish, Real world. were our second release June 1987 with a double A side Band broke away in the later in the summer 1987 then reformed a few months later but i had gone traveling so i was no longer a member, a few more months after a Lp was released in 1988 which i have never heard. 

I wonder who this is. I’m assuming Martin replaced him.

I had been in Glasgow a few times. But never heard of Kirkintilloch or Cumbernauld. What about these places?

Kirkintilloch is a town and former royal burgh in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It lies on the Forth and Clyde Canal, about 8 miles (13 km) northeast of central Glasgow. Historically part of Dunbartonshire, the town is the administrative centre of the East Dunbartonshire council area, and its population in 2009 was estimated at 19,700.

Cumbernauld is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is the ninth most populous locality in Scotland, despite only being designated as the site for a New Town on 9 December 1955. The area allocated was 4,150 acres lying between and incorporating the existing villages of Condorrat and Cumbernauld. The first new housing became available in 1958. An additional 3,638 acres (1,472 ha) was added to the designated town area on 19 March 1973 to accommodate a revised target population of 70,000. As of the UK census in 2011, the population of Cumbernauld was approximately 52,000.

On the compilation front it doesn’t seem they participated in any back in the day. Only in the past decades they would appear on “Souvenirs from Egg Records” (Egg Records 015) with the songs “Jiffy Neckwear Creation” and “Secret Goldfish” and on the C87 Boxset on Cherry Red with the song “Secret Goldfish”.

On Discogs there is another Baby Lemonade release listed, but it is clear that it is not the same band. This other one hails from California. The released I mentioned are the only ones that the band released. Though maybe, they had made demo tapes and sold them at gigs and so on?

It is a shame that the back sleeve doesn’t include the last names of the band members. It would be easier to track them. I can’t really find anything else from this fantastic Scottish band. I wonder if anyone out there remembers them? whereabouts in the UK they played gigs? If they recorded more songs?

I would really like to get in touch! Love this band!

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Listen
Baby Lemonade – World Of Mine

13
Mar

Halfway through March now. I’m going to be 33 in a few days. I find it funny that during March I see so many friends’ birthdays on my Facebook. It must be that Pisces is the most “indiepop” zodiac sign in the horoscope. Or not?

Some Other Day releases arrived and started shipping. Some mailorders will have them pretty soon. I know Jigsaw already does as well as Blue Very Disques in Japan. I believe Rough Trade and Disk Union should have them as well. As I speak about Some Other Day I remember that I’m already working on the next release in the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series: The Potting Sheds! I’m very excited about it and will tell you more about it in the coming weeks.

On the 7″ front it is just a matter of patience. The Pale Spectres 7″ has been in the pressing plant for a month already so I hope I will have some news on it soon. It is definitely the release that took the longest in the Cloudberry catalog but I’m sure the wait will be worth for all of you! As soon as this is released I’ll be announcing the next 7″! Yes, Cloudberry is a bit slower compared to our early years but we still have a surprise or two.

On the indiepop news front, what is coming up? I’ve heard some rumours about a Popfest. I hope it happens. I hope I can attend. But for now I can’t say more.

When it comes to news it seems Firestation Records doesn’t disappoint. They’ll be releasing a retrospective for the band Keen on both CD and LP format on April 7th. The compilation is titled “Waiting” and don’t know the tracklist yet. I did interview Keen some time ago in the blog if you want to find out more about this awesome band.

Also Indiefjord, the cool festival in Norway that I’ve never been have booked two fantastic indiepop bands, Tinsel Heart and Pale Lights. To those two you have to add The Electric Pop Group and it looks like a nice time to be there. The festival is already selling early bird tickets on their website. The festival will be happening on the 15th and 16th of July in Bjørke, a little village by the Hjørundfjord, western Norway.

Oh! And I did see the Radio Dept. last Thursday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. They were really great, fantastic. There was a bit of a shitty crowd in front of me sadly, people that were friends and were part of the opening band called Germans. They were obnoxious. A shame. That would be my only disappointment on the show, so I hope Radio Dept. didn’t have anything to do in choosing their opening band. That aside, the evening was precious, the band played almost all their new album, which I’m really liking a lot, and a few classics. It was dreamy and dancey. Such a good time. I even got the setlist at the end of the gig, lucky me, and bought me a $25 dollar t-shirt (not cheap at all, but well… I liked the message on it).

And last but not least don’t forget that we are currently having an offer on our website for 10 random 7″s for a very cheap price! This offer is only through March.


The Three Little Pigs is a fable/fairy tale featuring anthropomorphic pigs who build three houses of different materials. A big bad wolf blows down the first two pigs’ houses, made of straw and sticks respectively, but is unable to destroy the third pig’s house, made of bricks. Printed versions date back to the 1840s, but the story itself is thought to be much older. The phrases used in the story, and the various morals drawn from it, have become embedded in Western culture.

There are many 7″s I want. So many really. But there is one that I feel during the past few years that I want the most, I don’t know why. That is the 7″ Three Little Piggies put out in 1989.

I have had no luck tracking it. I haven’t been able to find it. For years I thought it didn’t even exist. Of course then Discogs was born and I found a little more information about it. I only knew that the A side was titled “Clark’s Commandos”. I had seen on Myspace a video of the band performing it. I would learn then that there were two more songs on the B side, “Ain’t He Happy” and “Uncle Chris”.

The record was released by Mrs Slocombe Discs (catalog MSD2). This must have been a record label set up by the band. The first release in the catalog was the “Frivolous Frolics” 12″ also by Three Little Piggies (catalog SRT8KL 1409). It came out the year before, in 1988. The songs on it were, “Press Eject” and “What Happened to Eric” on the A side and “Borgia Gintz”, “The Strangest of Men” and “Ain’t He Happy” on the B side. Discogs mentions that the record was recorded live at Portsmouth Art College on the 17th of December 1987. I feel only the last song was recorded live. there must be a mistake, though don’t take my word, I’ve never listened to any of the songs on this record.

Back to “Clarks Commandos”, these were a popular type for shoes for children in the 1970s & 1980s by the brand Clarks. It seems you can still find some of them on eBay listings.

For this 7″, we could find some images of the back cover and learn that it was produced at Recluse Studios by Rob Aubrey. “Ain’t He Happy”, the third song on the record was produced at DAN by Chris Sutton. there is also a contact address in Fareham. Did they come from there?

Fareham is a market town at the north-west tip of Portsmouth Harbour, between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton in the south east of Hampshire, England. It gives its name to the borough that comprises the town and its surrounding area. It was historically an important manufacturer of bricks (notably used to build the Royal Albert Hall, London) and a grower of strawberries. 

I went looking again for the Three Little Piggies “Clarks Commandos” video I saw once on Myspace. Sadly it seems it doesn’t stream anymore. It is credited to a Vivian Gregson. I remember it being lots of fun.

I keep looking. I find a very old looking website for the Battle of the Bands 1989 in Portsmouth. Organiser Barry Hedges had released details of the 64 bands from almost 400 entries – that have been selected to compete for a share in the £18,000 worth of prizes during the next six months. One of those bands is Three Little Piggies. They seem to have won the Fifteenth Heat, the Semifinal, then another time on 16th October 1989, but not being able to win the whole competition, the winners were a band called Yellow Cab Company.

And I play “Clark’s Commandos” once again, and I have so much fun with the trumpets and that contagious chorus. So catchy! I wish I wore Clarks Commandos when I was a kid haha! So good. A true indiepop classic in my book!

That was all the information I could find. I was once in Portsmouth, but never to Fareham. I hear there is a castle there. Maybe I could visit one day. But who knows anything else about the Three Little Piggies? Did they play in your town? Did they have more releases? Any compilation appearances? Do you happen to have a spare copy of their releases? Would love to listen to the songs on the 12″. Anyways, I would love to know more about them!

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Listen
Three Little Piggies – Clark’s Commandos