It’s been 2 weeks since the last update. A lot have happened in between. Last weekend I was in New York City for the Popfest that once again was a success thanks to Maz organizational skills and the great lineup he managed for this year. Highlights include Days, Go Sailor, The Motifs, Caucus and Persian Rugs, among the bands I haven’t seen before.  It was such a treat to have my two new 7″ releases being played lived. I was so thrilled. On top of that, the Caucus and Persian Rugs folks were as nice as I imagined them. Also it was great to see some familiar faces from Europe that came all the way to play at Popfest like The Felt Tips or The Sunny Street. They were charming.

On the American side of things, Tiny Fireflies were deliciously good. They should have played later I think, but I can understand that as it was their first gig ever they got the afternoon slot. But they were indeed a highlight. Kristine and Lisle are way too talented. Gold-Bears brought the nice and the photo booth to Popfest. They were just blazing through their set. Lots of energy, and attitude, something I haven’t seen since that one time I saw The Faintest Ideas live. Meeting friends was good too, seeing Jennifer again after just a couple of months, meeting Vernon who came all the way from Singapore, Ed from Shelflife, Scott from Summer Cats, Alex who never stopped dancing, Stephen who told me Cloudberry was the ‘music of the people’, and more that I’m probably forgetting. I hope at some point I can do a full review of the Popfest, but as I have promised reviewing each festival I attend, and seeing I have still lots to document from past events, I don’t see it happening soon. But bear with me.

Now on to Cloudberry updates. By now you should know that Persian Rugs and Caucus 7″s are out. And yesterday I sent to the pressing plant the masters for the Very Truly Yours single. Hopefully it will be ready for their UK tour in July. I plan joining them on their tour, probably to do their merch table or just carry instruments. Should be fun. I believe we are doing Manchester, Glasgow, and somewhere else. The single A side is called “Girls Tell You Secrets” and you can download it from the Cloudberry site. The B side is “Sleep with the Clouds” and is a precious slice of heartfelt pop!

The fanzine number 6 is almost ready. Finishing some articles for it this weekend and then proof reading. And also coming up is the Cloudberry Classics CD by The Deddingtons. It’s going to be fantastic! Oh! And there’s also another Cloudberry Classic release lined up, but I can’t tell you all yet! But trust me, it’s going to be really good. Quite obscure! And if we keep moving on, maybe around September/October, we’ll be looking into 7″s by Youngfuck and Nixon. Exciting times ahead!

This week’s recommended obscure band also comes from the same place as the last one: Wymondham College, in Norwich. They were called “June Recruits” and only released one 7″ on their own Mania Records (REC 1). The single included two tracks “Rape” and “And She Sells”, being the A side the true winner despite the “Rape” name. “And She Sells” is a rock song, so probably you won’t like it much, I don’t if I’m honest. But “Rape” is such a poptastic song that the single is worth just for that one song. But believe me, I’ve tried finding this record for a couple of years now, and only saw it once on Ebay. I lost the bid on the last second. I still have nightmares about that.

The band formed in the Spring Term of 1987 and was featured in the 1988 College Magazine.  Members were Antony Jones (vocals/rhythm guitar), Daniel Bates (lead guitar), Graham Jordan (bass guitar) and Jeremy Trett (drums).  They came second in the area finals of TSB Rock School and recorded several tracks that were sold on cassette and disc. Wonder what happened to these songs. Maybe there were more great pop gems like “Rape” among them?

As it is always the case, the information is scarce about the band. I do know that Daniel Bates and Graham Jordan before being in June Recruits were part of a band called Natural Instinct, who I will be covering on the next blog post. Promise. They had some great tunes!

The other piece of information I found comes from the Norwich Bands Wiki, it says:

Wymondham College band circa 1987 formed from the ashes of a sixth form band, Headed up by the larger than life character of Antony Jones, who could seriously belt out a song. They came second in the area finals of TSB Rockschool and produced one single on there own label, Mania Records on the prize money. They split around 1989, and formed The J.R. Hartleys

The J.R. Hartleys? Who is J.R. Hartley? Wikipedia to the rescue:

The fictional character appeared in television advertisements for British commercial telephone directory company Yellow Pages, first shown in 1983. The character was played by the actor Norman Lumsden.The advertisement shows an elderly man asking in several second-hand bookshops (which are recognisably real shops in London’s Cecil Court) for “Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley”. Every attempt fails, and the next scene shows him at home looking dejected. His daughter, sympathising, hands him the Yellow Pages; in the next scene he looks delighted as his end of a telephone conversation reveals that a shop has a copy of the book. He asks them to keep it for him. He responds at dictation speed to a question: ‘My name? Oh, yes, it’s J. R. Hartley.’ The advertisement ends by promoting the Yellow Pages.

According to the Norwich Bands Wiki, The J.R. Hartleys released 2 demo tapes, both recorded at Purple Studios, and knocked out some fairly respectable Jangly Pop circa 1990, They split when Tony went to University to study something that involved going to Mongolia. Wow! Jangly Pop! I’d love to listen to these demo tapes if possible!

There is also a post by Jeremy Trett on the Wymondham College bands page where he expresses his wish to get back in touch with his former band-mates. It reads: “We were at College from 1986 to 1988. The other members were: Tony Jones, Dan Bates and Graham Jordan. I lost contact some 19 years ago!”. He left an email there as well. I wrote him maybe around a year ago but no response sadly.

And that’s all I’ve been able to gather. Again if anyone knows the whereabouts of the band members, or has access to their several recordings, or even stuff from the J.R. Hartleys, please share! Let’s solve the mystery behind the June Recruits!


June Recruits – Rape


Can’t believe it’s been 10 days since I last updated the blog. These have been very busy days and it doesn’t look as it’s getting less busy at all. Last weekend I was out of town in San Antonio, Texas, and the next week I’m off to NYC for the Popfest, for some days of indiepop fun with friends and to clear up my mind which I really need badly.

On the Cloudberry news side, this upcoming week, May 17th to be exact, I’ll have two new records out. One by Japan’s Caucus and the other by Canada’s Persian Rugs. Both are truly fantastic! I’m very proud to release them. Both bands will be playing at the NYC Popfest, so if you are around don’t miss them. We should have the singles for sale there too if you want to save postage.

And for the near future, I have some great things in store, today I got the masters for the Very Truly Yours 7″ (“Girls Tell You Secrets” and “Sleep in the Clouds”) and they sounding great! It should go to press next month so stay tuned to that! And if you were wondering when the next fanzine is out, it should be out in less than a month hopefully. I am just missing some interview answers and it should go to print in beautiful pink ink!

But, my few loyal readers, I know you come for some music recommendations as well, and after 10 days you may be feeling some heartache for having nothing to read. Just kidding. But seriously let’s try to rediscover a long lost, obscure band, that only recorded one fantastic 7″: Lawrence and the Comfortable Society.

The band was formed by Leigh Gracie on vocals and guitars, Nick Hardy on guitar, Jeff Powell on bass, Sara Dimmer on keyboards and Chris Wyatt on drums. All songs written by Gracie. I’m not sure from where exactly in the UK the band members were from but they definitely have ties with Norfolk as they attended Wymondham College, a state boarding school, that is a specialist Technology College (Mathematics, Science, ICT & DT) and also a Modern Foreign Languages college.

They only released that one 7″, with “Sleeper” on the A side and “Heartache” on the B side. My favourite is “Heartache”, which is such a great soulful indiepop tune! It has heartfelt lyrics, a great chiming guitar and a beautiful keyboard atmosphere. Such a song! Should be in the next Leamington Spa CD I say! The A side, “Sleeper”, is really nice as well, with it’s jazzy edge. Both songs were Overall a great single that is so rare to come by! And any information about them is also very hard to come by!

The only other information online that I could find comes from the “Remember Wymondham College” website and I’d like to copy here. Definitely check out their site as there are scans and MP3s for both songs on the 7″.

“Interesting that you should have a focus on Lawrence and the Comfortable Society this time around. I remember sitting in the audience of the Mair Cup watching them perform. They were electric and put on an event that showed that they had real magic about them. Lawrence was dynamic and a real entertainer that night. He certainly knew how to woo a crowd and demonstrated that he had the knack to go very far in the entertainment world…. well, I thought so at the time. The students enjoyed the event and I recall that I, as a member of staff, had to contain my enthusiasm for his performance so as to retain a dignified perspective…. but I wanted to rock with band.

It may be of interest to you that I still have the single that the group produced and I wondered if you would like borrow it so as it could be downloaded from the site. It that possible? It’s in vinyl form and I do not have the technology to convert it into a MP3 format. The A side is called ‘Sleeper’ and the B side is called ‘Heartache’. On the back cover it has the following credits:

On the label it says (c) Liegh Gracie (not my typo; that’s what it says) Producer: Howard T.”
Cliff Martin

Leigh Gracie is at present with Speedometer (http://www.speedometer-funk.co.uk/). We received this from an old friend of his:

“Leigh Gracie and myself renewed contact a couple of years ago, and on the back of this I came along to see his funk band Speedometer in London last autumn. A great band, but what transpired after they had played 3 or 4 tracks bears testament to the popularity of his earlier outfit – Lawrence & The Comfortable Society. Slowly – and initially almost inaudibly – you could hear people beginning to chant: “Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence”. Speedometer played on for a couple more songs, but in the end the chanting for Lawrence grew impossible to ignore. Leigh laughed and said “OK guys, let’s give them what they want!”, and the band proceeded to knock out a 50-minute set of old Lawrence & The Comfortable Society numbers! The place went crazy; I’ve never seen so many people dancing. Leigh admitted afterwards that he was surprised at the popularity of his old songs, but it had been exhilarating to play them again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a full-blown reunion!” Mark Fox

So will that full-blown reunion happen some day? Were there any more recordings than just this two songs? Why didn’t they get to release more songs? Maybe they put something on compilations? Who was Lawrence? Who were the Comfortable Society? Did they gig a lot? So many questions and no one to answer. I wonder if anyone has more information! Would be great to get in touch with the members for an interview as well! Hope you enjoy!


Lawrence and the Comfortable Society – Heartache


Ready for some basic grammar?

A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be the same thing that the speaker has already mentioned, or it may be something uniquely specified. The definite article in English is the.

Alright, that wasn’t that interesting. Hope I didn’t lose you there. This is a very short post as there is absolutely nothing at all about a band called The Definite Article. I only know this one song called “Six Foot Two and Real” that was also on this compilation Satomi from the Twee Grrrls club sent me. A compilation that has proven to be a box full of fantastic indiepop gems. Anyhow this song is great! A bit like Nine Steps to Ugly, or The Penny Candles, or The Snowbirds, you know the drill. So most probably, I’d guess, they were English. Worst case scenario they were British. This doesn’t sound American at all.

The sound of the mp3 is not the best but I think I can recognize the needle over vinyl. So perhaps this appeared on some sort of compilation LP? Or they had their own release? It’s quite a mystery to me!

A quick search on google to see who is or was six foot two tells me that that dear Holden Caulfield was that size. Well, six foot two and a half and not real. I wonder who they wrote this song for…

Enjoy the song, it’s GREAT! And if you have any information about The Definite Article please share.

EDIT: Uwe from Firestation Records has just told me: “They released a two track flexi-disc and appeared on the “Rund um die Welt” compilation tape. I believe that they put out some demotapes as well, although I only have one of them. The flexi disc contains “Bad as I am I’m better than you” and “Six foot two and real”, while the compilation tape has “Halfway Home”.


The Definite Article – Six Foot Two and Real