comfort (v.) late 13c., conforten “to cheer up, console,” from Old French conforter “to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen,” from Late Latin confortare “to strengthen much” (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis “strong” (see fort). Related: Comforted; comforting.

With the year winding down, and at the doors of spending my first Christmas in New York, I reckon it’s been a good year overall. There’s the comfort of knowing that things were finished on deadline, that the label was productive enough and that perhaps we’ve become a little more known around pop fans. Every year that’s the idea, not to make more sales, but to expand the fan base. Proselytism they say.

This is not reflected in year end lists surprisingly. Those music tastemakers have always ignored the real indiepop, the true and not hypocrite. So that’s no surprise. And I’m not being bitter or just saying. In a way I feel refreshed to that Cloudberry lives under the radar, because there will never be any intention to please anyone’s taste buds but mine. And if that sounds selfish, well, then be it. Though my goal is to share the music I discover and I love. So, think of the latter, and if you love any music, please share it with me too OR start a label. Let’s keep on building together a better indiepop scene!

Christmas alone always leave me a bit shaken. I don’t know why. I can act a bit tough on the outside, but there’s that wee melancholy assaulting me. And it’s been years like this, since I don’t travel to see my whole family. And perhaps this is the real selfish in me, because I spent my year’s vacation allotment traveling to see indiepop bands, castles and friends, instead of my family. Out of guilt, or most probably, due to my own gain, I decided to work during Christmas. And New Years. That way I’ll have three days off to use on my vacation to Europe in March. Speaking of which I need to renew my passport.

I heard from my Finnish friend in Estonia today too. She’s up for having me some days in Tallinn. So I have to add that to my itinerary. My busy itinerary. I don’t want to check for plane tickets today. I checked some weeks ago and the return ticket from Stockholm to Estonia’s capital was 90 dollars. Hope it’s around the same. I’ll book the ticket after Christmas. I don’t know, but I don’t feel this ticket will be a proper Christmas gift to myself. But then I wonder, what can I buy myself? More records? I barely have space now. I’m actually thinking of buying some furniture. Some shelves for my CDs. If only there was furniture that was especially made to shelf 7″ records…

So today everyone is mellow. And as I said, I’m feeling it too. I have this stupid wish of hearing from A. Though that would probably be for the worst. Haven’t heard from her for a month now. That’s how the world goes. That’s what my beloved McCarthy used to sing in that pop hymn that is “Boy Meets Girl (So What)”. There are so many shades to life. If I was going to understand one, I wish it was this one.

I haven’t been doing much indiepop shopping as of late either. I haven’t added many new items to my eBay saved search. And I have kind of lost the track of the new bands that are coming up. Kind of I have all I need with the new bands I discovered in the last few months and that I want to release next year. So if anyone has any tips for any new releases that I SHOULD get…

I hope I’m not sounding like a sad puppy of some sort. I’m actually pretty excited, it’s just you know, looking back at the year that’s going away. It was a fabulous year, with ups and downs, but so thrilling, with so many new experiences. I had a fabulous time abroad, going three times to Europe. I didn’t have that much dancing this year though. I’ve had better dancing years I think. I think maybe better concerts too in the past. Though The Aislers Set in New York were monumental. Or The Close Lobsters in Madrid! Ah! That was truly something, something marvelous, not to be repeated. So yes, pretty damn good. And New York has treated me very well aside from a couple of hurricane and train scares. My only regret this year is the one that got away of course. But couldn’t have done much either way.

Back to my own comfort. Back to finishing the year with high hopes and high spirits. 2013 is already shaping up with true excitement, there’s San Diego in a month and Europe in three months. I just need to figure out what to do in February, where to go?!


I’m revisiting the amazing CD Rupert gave me at Indietracks. Ah! Those three magical days in July, where vegetarian curry is lunch and dinner, when my boots were muddy muddy muddy and I couldn’t let her hand go. Rupert was kind enough to burn me this CD, which I think I’ve told you all about it before when I covered the Meltations on the blog. Now I’m going to cover, if this can be considered covering, the second band to appear on the CD, Cold Comfort. As Rupert told me, not being selfish at all, that he hoped that I could shed new light on these old forgotten bands. That’s what it is all about.

Sadly, I’ve seen while googling about Cold Comfort that the tracks are on Youtube uploaded by Mr Takashi who is very zealous about his rips (or mp3s or something else that I have no clue about). Yes, the same Japanese fan that accused the blog for not giving him “credit” of discovering a band. I guess stranger things have happened in the world and something as silly and ridicule shouldn’t be even discussed here. But well, the say football is the most important of the least important things. Probably indiepop comes in second so, it’s always an interesting discussing. Anyhow, on his Youtube uploads now he writes “cut off to protect from the US label”. Amazing. I can’t believe how sad someone can be to think this way. Can he consider the fact that there are more people in the wold that own these records? And you don’t need to spent hundreds of pounds on them. You just need to look in the right places. So get off your cloud sir.

Having said that, it’s true, I don’t own the record. The one and only 12″ the band released. Thanks to Rupert I heard the opening track “Really Really Don’t Mind” and thanks to the From a Nothern Place blog I heard the last song “S.A.W.S”.  This one has trumpets!! Indiepop with trumpets, that’s what it is all about don’t you agree? So if you want to listen to that one do head to that blog and check it out there.

I don’t think the record has popped up on eBay too often. Seems pretty rare. The artwork for the cover shows 5 times the same photo of an old lady on some sort of grid being the last item a photo of sliced carrots. The record was released in 1990 by Reasonably Serious Records being the first reference in their catalog and I would guess the only one. I’ll put my hands on fire and say this was a self-release.

On the A side we find “Really Really Don’t Mind”, a true indiepop scorcher, and “Don’t Want to Know”. On the B side we have “Blue Skies in the Rain” and “S.A.W.S.”. I haven’t heard any of the second songs of each of the sides. Not yet still. So if anyone want to share those, I’d love to hear them!

The band comprised of Giles Evans on lead vocals and trumpet, Jay Baughan on lead guitar and harmonica, Andy Foster on rhythm guitar and vocals, Andy Garlick on bass guitar and Matt Saunders on drums. The EP was produced by Dave Morris, engineered by Mark Tempest and recorded at Workshop Studio. All songs were writing by Andy Foster.

And here is the curious bit, one that I’ve been trying to follow the thread as a true detective. So on the Thank Yous part of the record there are thanks to Bobbin, George Fardon, Brian, Tatty, Emma, Lib, Giles B, Dave Guillame and PSY. On Twitter I find a Estelle Evans, perhaps related to Giles Evans in some way, and she asks Simon Pegg, yup the actor of many many movies, if he is the PSY that is being thanked on the sleeve. There is no reply from Simon Pegg, at least not publicly, to this question. But during those same dates, on Simon’s twitter account, he recommends the bandcamp of an Andy Sonar, his mate. I connect the dots and I think that maybe, but just maybe, this Andy Sonar is Andy Foster? Could it be?

But I can’t say. That’s where the I stop following the thread. Well, that’s where the thread stops. And that’s all I could gather about this mysterious group. Questions abound. From the basic background of the band, like, where were they from in the UK? Or why just one record? If they had any more songs? Etc. etc. etc. Any chance anyone can fill in the blanks?

And until next week. Today, have a merry merry christmas!


Cold Comfort – Really Really Don’t Mind


Kate is a feminine given name. It is sometimes a short form of Katherine, which is Greek meaning pure, blessed, virginal and popularity.

Indiepop nights are an uncommon sight in New York City, so initiatives like Kip and Maria’s “Rough Smooch” are very welcome in town. Three bands and two DJs playing indiepop tunes at Legion Bar in Brooklyn was the perfect excuse to go out on a Sunday night. A cold, bleak and wet Sunday night. And even though it’s never ideal to go out on a day prior to a workday I think the turnout was more than good.

I want to say it was a success but of course, I don’t handle the numbers of how much beer was consumed. I assume that’s how it would be qualified if successful or not because it was a free cover show. But if I can throw some numbers, just a wild guess on the attendance, I’d say around 60-70 people came to the show. For a first night, for an event that was only promoted through facebook and twitter  and because of the dreary weather, it was great. I reckon that the amount of people yesterday was the perfect number. I say that because the back room, where bands play, was properly packed while bands were on.

I expected to see more familiar faces of the NYC indiepop scene, not that it exists but there are people who do like this music. Aside from the omnipresent Maz from Mondo and NYC Popfest, and Michael Grace, from My Favorite and The Secret History, there was no one else. I wonder where was everyone else. It is at nights like these, at events like these, when people have to come together and support. So these can keep going. I was glad though that there were new faces, new people, that enjoyed the gig very much. There was dancing, and there was even some sing-a-long. But I cannot be cynical and not be disappointed by those who didn’t show up but do expect being supported when they play or organize something.

The venue was new to me. Someone around said that it was a failing bar. I couldn’t tell. It was spacious and as I mentioned before, it had a back room that was perfect for bands. The beer selection and the prices were fine too. The brick walls were cozy, and there was even a small little fireplace. A side door for a small little fenced area on the street for smokers to go, and one unassuming bathroom were among the comforts of the bar. And of course it had it’s hipster tattooed bar tenders but it’s Brooklyn, can’t expect the bookish kind in this area.

Music was good throughout the night. From Kip’s laptop both DJs entertained  us the whole evening while Beetlejuice was being screened on top of them on a projector screen. A young Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Joan Cusack were invited to our party as well. Indiepop staples as Black Tambourine, The Clean, The Wake, The Field Mice and so on were heard and you could see people giggling, commenting and feeling secretly partners in crime of the whole indiepop thing. It was a happy crowd.

I was surprised by the first band, Grand Resort. A four-piece of Dominican expats in NY making proper jangle-pop that reminded me of The Bodines. Even more surprising to know that they have never heard the band. They were familiar though with the Sarah stable and The Close Lobsters who the vocalist told me was his favourite band. They also must like The Stone Roses as they covered their classic “I Wanna Be Adored” with a pretty faithful rendition.

The other two bands were “Kissing is a Crime” and “The Hairs” and they drew a bigger crowd. I mingled and socialized while they were playing so I can’t give a full account. My jangly purism made me skip the second band, Kissing is a Crime and well, I just stayed in the front room gossiping about indiepop, learning who is coming to NYC Popfest, and having Hoegaarden pints with old and new friends.

Will this event happen again? That’s the question I’d love both of the organizers to answer. They did say that they would love to repeat but not too often. As often as once a month would be ideal. But of course it all depends on the venue. They are the ones who decide always. If you are profitable or not. I’m going to be crossing my fingers for this to keep going and hopefully at last a pure indiepop party can happen in New York. It was proved yesterday that, for a small venue, there’s enough people interested and supportive of our beloved music.

Thanks Kip and Maria for a fun night!


Continuing with this excitement I have about this trip to Stockholm in March, and now that I have finally booked plane tickets from Madrid to Sweden’s capital, I want to bring back the good memory I have from Stockholmer duo Don’t Be Kate!

I had my doubts when I first emailed them back in 2007. I wanted a label of just jangly guitars but they made the sweetest, the catchiest, the best electropop I had heard in years. My preference and my love for electric guitars is no news, but I have loved and enjoy electronic sounds as any other kid that spent their teenage years in the 90s. Though not always picky, carrying a big baggage of guilty pleasures, I loved tons of europop and ended up re-discovering italo disco years later after being terribly curious after Nixon’s “What My Italo Disco Collection Sounds Like” song. Don’t Be Kate! were in the category of electronic pop I loved. And I would have crushed the Cloudberry motto and belief of an only guitar label just for them. But it didn’t happen.

At some point I also considered that it would be a good release for Plastilina, the other label I was involved at the time. An EP would be perfect. To discuss the topics we were in touch on MSN Messenger. I think I haven’t opened that program since those days! I used to talk with Karin, after contacting them on Myspace expressing my interest in releasing them. They were keen on it but we still had to reach a deal. My main worry was that their songs, the beautiful songs I wanted to release, the ones that were on their Myspace (those being “Good Times Leave”, “7 Months Still Running”, “Passport”, “Cul de Sac” and “Dance Kate”), were lost after a computer failure. They didn’t have the masters. Just the MP3s. Just the same quality as the Myspace stream. I said I wouldn’t mind. I loved these songs so very much. But that wasn’t their idea. They were going to record an EP, some new songs and they were going to get a class producer for it. And I think, if my memory doesn’t fail, the most tricky issue. I was just starting the labels and money was short, not that it’s abundant now mind you, but affording a class producer was going to be impossible. But they really wanted. They aimed high, and why not, their music was pure quality and bliss.

Of course all these decisions and how things worked out weren’t how we all expected to be. I would have loved to own their EP. Even if I haven’t released it. I wouldn’t have minded. But it should have been out. I don’t know if it was ever recorded. I think the girls were students at that time and I assume it might have been a bit difficult to self-release. Why nobody else picked them up? It startles me. Though by doing a bit of research for this post I barely found any mentions in the blogosphere, I guess, they weren’t much known, not a household name in the indiepop crowd. And shame on you all, because you were missing one of the most talented bands of that time. Listening to their songs, especially my favourites “7 Months Later Still Running” and “Cul de Sac”, I feel always the urge to put them out. And I’ve tried! I wrote them this year, but sadly I never heard back from them.

Don’t Be Kate! were Karin Forsberg and Nahla.  They sang in English but Karin also had her own project were she sang in Swedish. It was great as well. They had a blog for a bit, but after three entries they stopped updating it. There were never much news about them. I think some of my Hamburg friends got to see them live once as Hit the North booked them once. The clinical ear of Jens never fails and he always booked the best new bands from Scandinavia for the pleasure of the port at the river Elbe. That was late in 2008. Even later that year, at Stampen! a club in the city centre of Stockholm they also played a gig.

The only other gig I’m aware they played was at Volga, a club at the Hötorget stop of the tunnelbana, in 2007. I wonder if these were the only three appearances of the band.

What happened after?

It seems our story gets blurry, we lose track of Nahla, and we follow Karin become part of a DJ duo called Indikaar. The other girl in this duo is Ida Larsson and it’s said they are based both in Nykoping and Stockholm. They played 90s music. Don’t know if they are still going, their facebook page dates of 2010 and their last DJ gig of September 2011. They seemed to have DJed many times around Nörrköping at this point.

I want to say Karin studied music business but can’t be 100% sure. Her name appears linked to a company called Oh! Productions which organized gigs and festivals in Sweden. Seems she had been representing a band called Musikkollektivet. The last update from Oh! Productions dates from 2010.

Today I believe she works at Spotify in Stockholm. It’s good to know she was always involved with music, though I wish, and not secretly, that she makes music once again. And why not, bring back those fabulous Don’t be Kate! songs!

If anyone knows about their whereabouts, whatever happened to that EP they were recording, or if they played more gigs, or anything else, anecdotes or happy memories, please share. I go back to their songs so often, that learning just a bit more about them would make my day.


Don’t Be Kate! – 7 Months Later Still Running


It’s a week of news here at Cloudberry HQ. And it makes sense to be it that way before the holidays. Holidays that I will spend working in NYC. I already spent all my vacation time for this year in rather a great way. So no complains. I’ll be a bit like Santa, packing orders and posting parcels. And as pressing plants will be closed, we can’t really come up with much news aside perhaps of some new projects we’ll embark on. But let’s get the ball rolling.

First things first. The Nixon 7″ is out at last! It came out yesterday, Monday the 10th. And all orders have started shipping. Bear in mind that as this is holiday season it may take a wee long for them to arrive at home, especially if you live abroad. The 7″ as I said before includes four songs running at 33rpm and it’s the same old Nixon we always loved. There are no surprises and Nixon didn’t try to reinvent himself. It’s indeed one of the proudest moments for me here at Cloudberry as I’ve been a fan of Nixon for more than 10 years now. And finally, after so many years there are four brand new songs out there that sadly seem to be his farewell to indiepop under that moniker. Of course we can all cross fingers for that not to happen, but we’ll see. The 7″ also includes a lyrics sheet for you all to sing along. Pretty important.

We’ve set the release date for yet another Swedish act. A 3 song 7″ by Göteborg’s Alpaca Sports will be released in February 10th. This one will probably start shipping before that date but we wanted to keep it safe due to the holiday season that may delay the production of the vinyl record. There’s a lot of expectation for this release and pre-orders show that. This is Alpaca Sports’ 3rd single and it continues that same line of fabulous jangly naive indiepop that has been charming everyone everywhere. And because of this, they’ve been hitting the road playing already many countries and will soon get on playing Popfests in Spain and somewhere very near to me. The artwork for this new Alpaca Sports single comes thanks to Ray Kimura who they’ve been working closely since day 1. Ray had already collaborated with us at Cloudberry with the sleeve artwork for the Cassolette 7″ roughly one year ago.  Also, in Japan, a mini-album will be released early in January. So yes, Alpaca Sports are hot. And they are making videos and videos for their songs. And so, tomorrow we’ll debut a new video. So keep your eyes peeled.

Third point. Tripping the Light Fantastic. You can pre-order the 7″ now. I estimate it will be out sometime in February. If you haven’t listened to the A side “Heavy Heart” head to the Cloudberry site and do that. You are going to love it.

More news? You bet. I’m starting to work on the 8th fanzine. After the success of the last fanzine, which sold out in just a couple of weeks, I’m beginning to plan it. Who to interview? What color should the zine be? Which songs should be featured? If you have any suggestions please let me know. I’d love to print it by the end of March or early April. Wishful thinking perhaps.

And the last piece of news that I want to announce, and perhaps it may be the bomb for many, at least it’s for me, it’s that we have started working on a new Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release. On this 4th volume of our beloved series we’ll be showcasing the indiepop genius of The Rileys!! More on this front soon!

And a bit more of personal news I managed to book yesterday plane tickets to Madrid. Yes, I’m heading again to Madrid Popfest for a weekend of indiepop, friends, fantastic food and the best dancefloors an indiepop festival has to offer these days. As I’ve said before, Madrid Popfest organization is inspiring to me, so I’m glad to attend once more this event and even though it will probably be much different as the first time,  think the quality of bands, and the friends I’ll get to see again, will probably make up for the ones that won’t be there. I am sure it’s going to be a magic weekend.

As soon as that weekend ends I’ll be taking a plane to Stockholm. Why? I’m going to celebrate my party there. At this point planning a nice party. I’m just thrilled by this. I’ve never been big in celebrating my birthday but I thought, before I’m 30, I should do something exciting. And so here I am. Traveling all over the place and hoping to have a party with all the good friends in that indiepop city that is Stockholm. I hope and wish I can book a band, but if not a good dancefloor with my friend Emelie DJing will be enough for a good night. I wonder if you can BYOB in Stockholm though? That’d be perfect! It’s so expensive to go out there!

AND, if everything goes as planned I’ll be spending some days too in Tallinn. Because I’ve been meaning and wanting to go there for a long time. Because I like medieval towns, buildings, castles, and that sort of thing. It should be glorious!

Because I’m thinking about this birthday of mine in Stockholm, let’s rescue an obscure band from that same city from the mid 2000s: Your Place or Mine.

I think the first time I heard their songs were during the times when a bunch of soulseekers moved from the Twee Folks room to DC++ another P2P program. Andreas Olsson was running the room there and had been inviting us all who loved the good music. I’m sure it was him that went crazy about the band. I can’t recall if he blogged about them on the blog all users of the room shared. I think the blog was called “Twee Pop Love”. It must have been either 2004 or 2005. I knew Andreas wanted to start a label. Only 7″s he said. And the first band he was going to release were Zipper. And the second, and my memory shouldn’t fail, was to be Your Place or Mine. He absolutely adored the band. And so did I. I thought they were fantastic. I thought I was never going to see them play live though. And at that time my label dreams were so far in the future. I was studying and needed to pay for school. I didn’t have any loans.

They had two CDRs. None of those I ended up owning. And I doubt I will ever. Those little things back then were so rare, so scarce. So today it might be just impossible. I think they were made on demand too. At least, that’s how I would have done it if I had a band. The first CDR was called “Demo 1” and included the songs: “Hard Liquor”, “Another Lover of a Demo Group”, “Oh, How I Spend My Days” and “All our Instruments are Borrowed”.

The second CDR was the “Atta Boy EP”. A name that of course reminded me of the Heavenly “Atta Girl” 7″. The songs on this release were “In 25 Years Don’t Exist”, “Kill Me” , “Heut Ist Mein Tag”, “She Said (Pt1)” and “Atta Boy”.

“Heut Ist Mein Tag” of course was a Blümchen cover. It gives me goosebumps to see South Beach, my previous neighborhood, on that video!

The songs were immediate, powerful, pop with punk sensibilities, tweepunk if you want. Fast, exciting, like a straight jab to your face. They were catchy as hell. The guitars could remind you of Free Loan Investments perhaps, the instrumentation, with trumpets and trombones, make you think of Love is All maybe, but in the end, they were original, very original. They were one of a kind and I always felt it was a shame that no proper release of them ever materialized. And yes, they should have been bigger. Perhaps if they had been around 2 years earlier or 2 years after they had fared a bit better luck. It’s just that during those mid-2000s indiepop was such a quiet scene.

After the Blümchen connection, well I thought they named the band because of a Vengaboys song called “Your Place or Mine“. I don’t hide my liking for either Blümchen or Vengaboys. I do enjoy this kind of music. Good pop is good pop.

The first gig ever by Your Place or Mine seems to have been in Lund at the Beat Goes On festival organized by Maja Eriksson and Fredrika Thelandersson. From what I’ve read the whole festival wasn’t that successful. But the band was happy and proud of their performance and the response of the crowd.

I remember the band having a very kitsch kind of website. One of those domains that ended with .tk that were really popular back then. Do you remember them? The website sadly doesn’t exist anymore.

The band started with Jakob Elmgren (guitars) and Per Holmquist (drums) after, on the way home, both took the underground after a fun club night. Some days later they asked Jana Johansson if she wanted to join and play bass. Soon after they would recruit Matilda Kihlberg to sing for them after meeting her at the “Your Hair is Too Long and Your Face is Too Small” club.  And they were set.

From an old little article on Louder than Bombs, it seems the name of the band comes from a previous song name of “Another Lover of a Demo Pop Group”. The previous name of this song was “Your Place or Mine”.

On an interview when asked what the band thought about the comparisons with Talulah Gosh and Fat Tulips they well answered that they would like to be compared with The Siddeleys. And that they usually just sound like “paff paff paff paff GADUGGA DUGGA!”

During that first CDR, “Demo 1”, they had received help from members of Corduroy Utd. Sam Carlshamre played trombone and Sandra Valencia played trumpet. Justus Birch also from Corduroy Utd. helped them produce the CD. I feel the first two might have joined the band at some point? But perhaps I’m wrong.

I spent so many evenings at the small convenience store I used to work in South Beach playing their songs while beach-goers made my life miserable by complaining about the ridiculous prices we had. But well, what can you expect from a store a block away from one of the most famous beaches in the US? Playing these songs alleviated the pain of those days, they always brought a smile to me. Today revisiting them, I feel the same enthusiasm, the same awe, the same smile as soon “Another Lover of a Demo Pop Group” starts playing at my work computer. And planning my trip to Stockholm, with this music on the background, even if it’s month away, brings a true excitement!

And that was it. Then there was silence. Whatever happened to this fantastic band? Did they record any more songs? I thought they were recording an album at some point. I tried, when I was working on compiling the first Starke Adolf CD, to contact Mathilda but with no luck. Nowadays it would be great if I could get in touch to showcase them on the Sound of Starke Adolf Vol.2 and see what they are up to. I’m pretty curious.


Your Place or Mine – Another Lover of a Demo Pop Group


Some time ago I wrote a small piece about an obscure 80s Swedish band from Karlstad called Victorian Tin. Happily Christian Gustafsson from the band got in touch not so long ago and was kind enough to do this interview and that way tell us more about Victorian Tin and learn their story! He shared with me 27 (!) Victorian Tin songs, and plenty of them are real jangle gems. Wonder why they only released one tape during their time. For those who understand Swedish here is a newspaper clipping that you might enjoy as well. And now, sit back, read, and enjoy!

++ Hi Christian! First of all thanks for getting in touch! Whereabouts in Sweden are you? Still in Karlstad? And are you still making music?

After a year studying, in Stockholm, I moved back to Karlstad and have lived here since. I still make music but not as much as I used to. I’m involved in my friend’s band The Wonder Boys. Event hough I’m not a real member of the group I write quite a lot of music for them. Both songs I really like myself, but also songs “on demand” that I imagine the singer David would like. But occasionally I manage to write songs that neither of us like 😉
Erik (the voice of Victorian Tin) has moved many times and we don’t see each other that often any more. The last time he moved back to Karlstad, we formed ephemeron. Then he moved again and we meet maybe once a year. At the moment we have just started working on a new fantastic ephemeron song called “And the story goes”. I really love that song even though it’s not finished yet.

++ So tell me about Victorian Tin? Was it just you by yourself? And had you been involved in bands before?

I was in a band with my cousin, called Recidius Catonium. We played quite dark and gloomy stuff influenced by The Sisters Of Mercy, Clan of Xymox etc. One day I wrote a song that was very different. Too different to be a Recidius Catonium song. I thought about recording it myself, but as I can’t sing I asked my friend Erik (who I knew had started writing songs and played guitar) if he would help me out with it. He wrote the lyrics and sang on the song that we called “1986” (I think we recorded it in 1989). We thought the song was so good that we decided to start a band together. And that was the birth of “Scapegoat Palace”. We wrote and recorded new songs practically everyday in the year to come. Sometime later we wrote a song called Septemberia, and we asked a friend of Eriks, named Lina, to sing backing vocals. Again we thought we had moved to something new that deserved a new bandname. So we asked Lina to join us as a member and we renamed “Scapegoat Palace” to “Victorian Tin”. We dreamed about playing live and recruited a guitarist in Ola Frödin. Ola wrote the song “In my rainy weather” for us, but left the band quite soon. Eriks friend Johan Skugge then joined us instead and was with us until the breakup.

++ Was Victorian Tin a bedroom band? Did you ever play live?

We were indeed a bedroom band. Writing, playing and recording everything in my bedroom on my 4-track cassette porta studio. Unfortunately we never managed to play live.

++ Where does the name Victorian Tin comes from?

In the end of the eighties, one of my favourite bands were “All About Eve”. In the song “December”, Julianne sings “-There’s a victorian tin, I keep my memories in”. I thought it sounded like a good bandname. (Maybe I was wrong… 😉

++ And what would you say were the main influences of the band?

Hard to tell… But I remember we listened to “The Church”, “Cocteau Twins”, New Order and “All About Eve” a lot.

++ You only released that one tape on Everlasting Records. How did this deal happened? Did you ever meet them in England?

We all were music-addicts in those days, and found an English mailorder company where we ordered records from, not available in Sweden. In one of their catalogues they said they were starting a recordlabel and wanted new bands. We sent them a couple of songs which they liked and they asked us to send them our favourite songs for them to release on cassette.
We never met them, or talked to them. All conversation was by mail.

++ You were telling me there’s a very funny story behind this tape? Care telling it? 🙂

They asked us to compile our favourite songs for the cassette release and I think we sent them 10 songs. Snow violet heaven, Septemberia, Kitten song etc. We sent the tape in a letter and the post took nearly two weeks to arrive in England in those days. During the wait for the cassette to arrive we made them another tape with some other songs we thought they should hear. After a while we received a letter from them asking where the cassette was. A couple of days later we received another letter saying, “nevermind the last letter, the cassette has arrived now”. We waited for some very long weeks until the pressed cassette with cover arrived in our mailbox from Everlasting. We opened the package and realized that they had pressed the wrong cassette!!! It was the second cassette with “the rest of the songs we wanted them to hear” that had been pressed and released!!! The right cassette with our favourite songs, Snow violet heaven etc must have disappeared in the mail somewhere between Sweden and England! They didn’t know that we had sent them two cassettes, so of course, when the second cassette arrived, they thought it was the one we wanted to release. We were devastated. Imagine that your band was finally going to release something on a real recordlabel, and then the wrong songs is released. It took quite some time for us to get over that.

++ And from the 7 songs included on the tape, which would be your favourite? And why?

Silvery mouths, no doubt. We have been talking about re-recording our favourite Scapegoat Palace/Victorian Tin songs and Silvery Mouths is one of the songs that both myself and Erik like very much. I love the long intro (even though my “mandoline” playing is horrible), the melody, and the stolen drumbeat from The Cures fantastic song “Sinking”.

++ Mine is “The Days of Youth”. Mind telling the story behind this song?

I honestly don’t know much about it.  It’s all Eriks song, but I know that he wrote it in 1987 when he was “Exchange student” in Georgia, USA. My guess it’s about loneliness, far away from home, but I have to ask Erik before you quote me on that.

++ And are there any more songs from Victorian Tin that weren’t included on this tape? And did you ever participated on compilations or this tape is really your full discography?

There are lots of songs that’s not on the tape. Many, in my opinion better songs. Snow violet heaven that I mentioned before, Valentine Voices is a favourite, Kitten song, The Inconvenient Season and Salient which is a strange song that I like anyway. We wanted to make a song like Simple Minds would have done on “New Gold Dream”, but even though we failed that task, it ended up in a strange but interesting song I think.

++ When and why did you decide it was time to call it quits with Victorian Tin?

I’m not sure, but I think it was 1993. We grew apart musically. Erik and the “new” guitarist Johan started writing songs together and to be honest, I didn’t like them all that much so I quit. Typically enough, Everlasting was preparing a new cd compilation and wanted Victorian Tin to contribute to. But Erik & Johan formed a new band called “Phone a fish” and contributed with a song called “Sex”. I Formed a new band called “Emelies Garden” and contributed with the song “The shore”. But I don’t think the compilation cd was finished before Everlasting too called the quits.

++ After this band you were involved in many different bands. If you can, can you name each one of them and give a little description of them?

Searching For Beatrice. A band which we had parallel with Victorian Tin. It was Erik on voice and guitar, myself on bass & drumprogramming and our friend Stefan on keyboards. A more synth oriented sound influenced by New Order, Depeche Mode, Clan of Xymox etc. We are still close friends, the three of us, and meet once in a while to record new songs.
Emelies Garden. My first band after Victorian Tin. Myself on guitar, various female vocalists, Olof Hertting on bass, and Åsa Lundgren on keyboards. I wanted us to sound like All About Eve…We failed, but I still like the songs “The shore” and “This Summer Place”.
Attic Drive/Springlee. When we recorded the Emelies Garden song “This summer place”, Olofs friend Carl helped us with guitar. After Emelies Garden I joined Carl in forming the band Attic Drive together with drummer Jakob and guitarist Mikael. This was the first band I played live with. 1996 I changed from bass to guitar. We got a new bassplayer named Ulf and the old guitarist quit. We changed name to “Springlee” and did a couple of gigs. We were big fans of guitarbased music like Suede, Pulp, Popsicle.
Recidius Catonium. My cousin Anders and myself played music influenced på The Sisters Of Mercy, New Order, Fields Of The Nephilim, Clan Of Xymox among others. Anders was with us in Emelies Garden for a while, while Olof was abroad for a couple of months.
Baren Med Vin & Josefin. I was in love with a girl called Hanna and wrote her a song which I gave her on a cassette. The song was dark, slow and in my opinion quite beautiful. The night after I gave her the tape, I had a dream that her father had listened to the song and thought it was “too fucking depressive”. So when I woke up I wrote her a new happy song on my mandolin instead. I played the song for my cousin Anders who wrote some crazy lyrics to it about a cowboy who lost his leg in a war. We decided it was time to start a band. We asked my friend from school Henric to join on guitar, Olof (from Emelies Garden) on bass, Anders on vocals, myself on mandolin. Later on David (The Wonder Boys) joined on saxophone, Åsa Lundgren (Emelies Garden) played Trombone, Åsa Bjureus (who had made the Victorian Tin logo on the cassette) played the flute. Mine and Henrics friend from school, Patrik Strand joined us on bass for the very last gig (when Olof once again was abroad). We were influenced by Irish folk music and especially The Pogues and Swedish versions like Persons Pack and Traste Lindens Kvintett. It was a lot of fun…but we were not good in any way. We did sound terrible! 😀
Popetree. Erik and Stefan from Searching For Beatrice moved from Karlstad to Gothenburg and started a new band called Popetree. They had a drummer named Bengt and a bassplayer I don’t know the name of. The bassplayer left and they phoned me asking if I could play bass for a couple of gigs. We played a gig in Gothenburg (which was filmed) and one gig in Karlstad. We also recorded 4 songs in a studio in Gothenburg.
In Losters Blue. Anders & myself played keyboard and my girlfriend of the time being, Karin sang on a couple of songs under the name In Losters Blue. The only band I’ve played in that only used keyboards.
The Wonder Boys. David from Baren Med Vin & Josefin started a band together with another guy named Christian (Kastén in lastname) when he moved to Lund in the south of Sweden. They played mostly on acoustic guitars and David also played saxophone. When David was turning 30 I recorded an instrumental version of one of their songs called “Bad Luck Charm”, with drums and heavy guitarsound. David liked the version, recorded vocals on it and from that day I have written quite a lot of songs for them. Listen to “A Gift I Never Had”, “If We Get Through This”, “A Bat In The House (featuring my wife on backingvocals!), and “The Girl From Tory Story” from http://www.thewonderboys.se. Songs I wrote the music to which I really like.

Well that’s all I think…

++ Seems there was an interview with you on a zine called “Billig Underhållning”. Do you remember anything about that? And how do you remember the Swedish scene during those years? Were there any other bands or at least like-minded fans of jangle pop?

There was a guy in Stockholm writing a blog, and like yourself he had heard “The Days Of Youth” and liked it. He did a short interview for a fanzine, but I don’t think it was ever released. There was a very good band from Karlstad in the end of the eighties called “All That Jazz”. The backing vocalist Mari sang on the recording of the Emelies Garden song “The Shore” meant for the Everlasting compilation. We liked them very much but apart from them I can’t remember any other band from Karlstad influenced by “English-guitarpop-music”.

++ Also I wonder, was there no interest of other labels to release your songs? I find it very strange that there are no more releases!

We sent our demo to both Swedish and English record labels but apart from Everlasting, no one was interested. Our dream was to be signed by 4AD. We were huge fans of many of their bands, Cocteau Twins, Clan Of Xymox, This Mortal Coil etc. They also had very good taste in artwork, that we liked. But sadly, they were not interested in our music.

++ And when you are not making music, what other hobbies do you have?

As a family-father the time for hobbies is quite minimal nowadays, but one thing I can practice is photography. I love taking pictures.

++ One last question, tell me about Karlstad! What are your favourite spots there? To sightsee, to eat, to drink? Even to record shop?!

Karlstad is a small town with a population of 90 000. The river Klarälven flows through the city and I think it’s a quite beautiful and nice town. Favourite spots…hmm…I love walking by the river in summertime. You can eat good food in “Munken”, the restaurant is quite beautiful as well. The building was built in 1700 century, with valves and was back then some kind of tomb/grave (I don’t know how to explain in English). There was a cemetery nearby back then, and the building that nowadays is a restaurant was used for storing coffins. A nice place to sit and eat, don´t you think? 😉 The days of record shopping is sadly over in Karlstad. In the eighties and nineties we had a great record store called “Riff Raff”. Much independent music and rare bootlegs. They were even a recordlabel and released their own band “Hollywood Indians”. One of my first jobs was at Åhléns record store, by the way!

++ Thanks again a lot! Anything else you’d like to add?

Now it’s time for you to tell your story, and let me know when and how you found out about Victorian Tin! And thank you very much for showing interest in our music! 😀


Victorian Tin – Snow Violet Heaven


Funambule (French for Funambulist) from the Latin funambulus  (funis ‘rope’ + ambulare ‘walk’).

I’m a bit mixed up in my head since yesterday. Friends of mine would joke and say I’ve been like that since forever and especially since my heart made that sound Harper Lee sang about. Like every week I was going to write a blog post, and I was in the diatribe between a diary of the days I spent in Scotland two weeks ago and a list of the things I dislike and everyone loves.

I wanted to go over the great Aislers Set gig at Mono, seeing all the Glasgow jet-set all at once and being a bit starstruck, Wyatt pulling dead-on puns and jokes in between songs, and having to take the last train when the dance floor was going nuts on a Monday night. Unbelievable. I wanted to dedicate a few lines to the record shopping at Elvis Shakespeare, to the new Occasional Flickers Giorgos kindly let me listen at his place, to the Cullen Skink I tried for the first time, to Edinburgh and it’s wet weather, to Inverness and it’s gray bleakness, and to the Megabus ride between these two cities. I wanted to get everyone jealous of the sunny and bright afternoon at Loch Ness, with a wonderful rainbow arching over it’s shores and it’s dark, almost black, waters; or of the boat ride over the loch with Rod Stewart’s songs on the background, and later exploring the ruins of Urquhart castle.

But yesterday I was riding the Q train that struck a man on the 49th street station here in New York. We stopped all of a sudden. My car was still on the tunnel when suddenly the driver asked us all to move towards the front of the train and exit. There had been an accident.

And about my list, who cares if I dislike Wes Anderson or David Lynch really. If they bore me to death with all their cliquey and forced dialogues and scenes. So at this point, I feel I better stick to news and music for now. Feelings, and my small personal vignettes, although appreciated by many, seem tiny and unimportant. Also while in UK I learned how many people resent them, and take them as bashing sometimes, as full criticism. Seems that some can’t differentiate a personal blog (THIS ONE) and a music review blog. I don’t review new bands, only obscure older bands, because they are not part of the scene anymore. But I think I’m entitled to like or dislike bands and if I’m writing about a festival or a gig and there are bands that I think are not good, why can’t I say that? Me as a fan, attending a gig, I think I have all the rights to say what I think. Still people don’t agree.

So better, not even do lists. In any case I must be terrible at that. I can’t do a top 5 bands list that looks the same when everytime I’m asked to. It’s always different with the only similarity that McCarthy is on position number 1. I can’t do year end lists though I force myself to fill in the blanks of the Twee.net year end poll. I think I’m more keen to polls than to lists. Answering questions is easier than filling an open page.

When I got down of the train there was a big group of people halfway down the train. Well, halfway half of the train. The other half was still in the darkness of the tunnel. This crowd was taking pictures, photos. I didn’t realize that until I was close to them. I thought taking the 47th street exit which was further down instead of the 49th street exit. The reason. It was closer to work. Why was I being so practical. All day yesterday I had been practical. I never use an alarm to wake up. And I did. I went early to the laundry. I felt productive. And top of it all, I decided to leave to work earlier. If I had been my usual self, procrastinating a bit, I would have probably avoided the shock.

I managed some “moral” victories while in London. Some things went my way instead of the way of others (those others that I happen not to like). All thanks to randomness, to luck. It’s not usually like that, if there’s something I’ve learned from life, it’s that everything requires effort, planning and determination. And I’m happy with that. I enjoy that sort of control. But for a change, it felt great not to have to move a finger for getting away with it.

Yes. I don’t love everyone. But I’m not dehumanized or a misanthrope. I love life, I celebrate it. It’s just that I’m not in the same wavelength as some other people. But in any case, I can’t believe no one helped the guy that was trying to get back up to the platform. Instead they took photos. Instead they are being published as front pages in the newspaper. I would have run and helped. How wouldn’t I? Sure I know that people react differently. But there are moments that you have to take action. In cases like this,  it doesn’t matter if you don’t like this person, you have to save even your worst enemy, your nemesis, or whatever you call it. There is no victory when one dies. There’s none.

It’s been the closest I’ve seen death. I felt my feet heavier. I left the station, in a mix of shock, fright, and numbness. I don’t know if it matters, but I feel a bit ridiculous still thinking of some girl when really, there are more important things. I’m very sorry for what happened yesterday.  I read that the widow had a fight with the victim before he left home. There won’t be any reconciliation. That is a heavy weight, an anvil of guilt to carry for the rest of life too. I can’t understand who would ever push anyone to death. It’s beyond words.


Hopefully next week there’s a happier post on my part. But let’s move to what people come here for, the weekly band, for the obscure, for the unknown, for the mysterious. That sounded quite esoteric. Perhaps I should change the blog background to black.

Fear: From Middle English feer, fere, fer, from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr (“calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight”), from Proto-Germanic *fēran (“danger”), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (“to attempt, try, research, risk”). Cognate with Dutch gevaar (“danger, risk, peril”), German Gefahr (“danger, risk, hazard”), Swedish fara (“danger, risk, peril”), Latin perīculum (“danger, risk, trial”). Albanian frikë (“fear,danger”) and Romanian frǐca (“fear”) are also cognates, although probably influenced by an early Germanic variant.

Perform: From Middle English performen, parfournen (“to perform”), from Anglo-Norman performer, parfourmer, alteration of Old French parfornir, parfurnir (“to complete, accomplish, perform”), from par- + fornir, furnir (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Frankish *frumjan (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Proto-Germanic *frumjanan, *framjanan (“to further, promote, accomplish, furnish, carry out”), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (“in front, forth”), *per- (“forward, out”). Cognate with Old High German frummen (“to do, execute, accomplish, provide”), Old Saxon frummian (“to perform, promote”), Old English fremman (“to perform, execute, carry out, accomplish”).

Yes, I love linguistics. Thought you knew by now.

Early in January 2011 I discovered this band. Can’t remember how though. But it was definitely through their fabulous single “Funambule”. I immediately got in touch with Pascal Carreau from the band and send him interview questions which I sadly never received answers for. What I did receive was a bunch of MP3s, all songs from their two CDs. Still, “Funambule” reigns supreme for me.

At that point Pascal told me that he was involved in another band, Strange Pepper, which you can check out their website here. He told me that he probably had extra copies of the 7″ at his parents house but that there were no more copies of the CDs at all. Happily I snatched a copy of the 7″ a couple of weeks ago on eBay.

The 7″ includes “Funambule” on the A side and “The Rope Dancer” on the flipside. The latter being an English version of the superior original song.

The Fear Performance was born in Caen in 1984. The year I was born. There were three founding members, Thierry Thomas (bass), Dominic Bélier (drum machine and keyboards) and Pascal Carreau (guitar and vocals). But soon Thierry would leave the band to form Bruges La Mort and was replaced by Michel Carreau. He was the brother of Pascal of course. And to keep it more in family, Giles Carreau would join to play drums. And to complete the band Laurent Piquot would also join on guitars.

The very first mentions of the name of Caen are found in different acts of the dukes of Normandy : Cadon 1021/1025, Cadumus 1025, Cathim 1026/1027. Year 1070 of the Parker manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to Caen as Kadum. Despite a lack of sources as to the origin of the settlements, the name Caen would seem to be of Gaulish origin, from the words catu-, referring to military activities and magos, field, hence meaning “manoeuvre field” or “battlefield”

The artwork for the single was great, black and white, the band logo with a car. It’s really cool and classy. It was done by Philippe Jaffre. It’s no surprise that they would reuse it later for one of their posthumous CDs. Because there were two. The first one, with this artwork, called “Indifférent’ and the second one, “My Dreams and Your Shadows”. Surprisingly all of their songs are in English! Not in French. Nonetheless they are pretty good. You can check the tracklist for these CDs here.

And of course this is their old site where you can read a bit in both English and French and see some pictures. Oh! If you want to listen more songs, there’s a myspace as well.

It’s a bit odd to find such great French bands, playing guitar pop and being so unknown. It’s very odd that they don’t have a Discogs entry for example. But anyhow, please enjoy “Funambule”! And if you have any memories or anecdotes or anything you’d like to share about The Fear Performance, please do!


The Fear Performance – Funambule