Last post about NYC Popfest. Now almost a month after.

It doesn’t feel much of a blur now that Sunday night at Littlefield. Perfect weather, a good vibe and an excitement that had been building since day one of Popfest. Elin had already left to the airport. It was a bit late too and many people were leaving as well possibly because they had to work on Monday. That didn’t stop The Spook School having an almost packed venue for a thrilling performance.

I had seen The Spook School at Indietracks before. They were truly amazing I thought. Definitely one of the most fun bands around. They energy is contagious and their songs are catchy as hell. But to think that the shy group I had seen before would dominate the stage with such presence, with such personality, well, I wouldn’t have guessed that! The Spook School were like a nuclear missile this time around, fast, punchy, punky even! They had an attitude that I haven’t seen in many bands. They were here to take NYC by storm. And they did.

Niall as always was making the crowd feel at ease with his jokes, everyone laughing at his stories about his adventures in NYC. Nye being political and firm about his ideas about sex and genre. There was a perfect balance of seriousness and easiness in the band. They were friendly and approachable, at the same time they had drawn a line. They weren’t a funny band. Their songs say things that you need to listen carefully. And through a powerful show they were going to win more fans. And that’s what they did!

I saw them later too, a week after, on a Saturday at Matchless bar. They had just arrived back to NYC after touring many cities in the East Coast. This was a more intimate show, maybe 20 people were in the crowd. The venue was smaller too. Also they finally had some merch, some beautiful t-shirts that I duly purchased. Even in this situation, when you could think they were going to be tired after so many trips, or quieter because the venue was smaller or shyer because there was a smaller crowd, they were loud like a bazooka, they were bombarding us with top pop songs.

The question of course it’s what’s next for this fantastic band? They’ve been evolving and getting better by the day. And they are still able to write fresh pop hits, all bundled with hooks and sing-alongs. One can only keep waiting to see what surprises they have in store.

Of course nothing is perfect. Some old babies came on stage during the concert to throw themselves to the floor and to “dance” (if you can call that dancing) and make the gig a bit more like a silly indierock gig. Ah well, I guess they were having fun, but it looked ridiculous. Anyways…

And then it was the time I had been waiting for. The Popguns were next. I was like a kid with a new toy, I was excited. I couldn’t wait. At this time a lot of people had left the venue. They, I’m sure, will lament this, because they missed one of the best gigs at Popfest. There might have been around 50 to 70 people I suppose. And then “Because He Wanted To”‘s first chords were heard. My heart skipped a bit. And suddenly Wendy Morgan was enchanting all of us with her one and only keening vocals.

The hits continued, one after another. “Landslide” came in second and you can only imagine my happiness, recording the song with my cheap camera. I danced. I hugged my friend Vickilín. I told Mariana I was just way too thrilled that I couldn’t really explain why I like the Popguns so much. I can’t actually remember when I discovered them. I do remember an episode way back in Miami when I discovered this record shop called Sweat Records that I found were carrying many Cherry Red CDs. I asked them how come. They told me they could get me any record I wanted from some website they had for record shops orders. I remember I asked them to get me The Popguns stuff. Why? I don’t know. It was the first band that came to my mind. I went a week after to the store. No luck. And again. And again. They never carried The Popguns that I asked.

Of course eventually I’ve tracked most of their releases, even those not very pretty single-sided 7″s on Midnight Music. But those are things one buys when you love a band, right? The day I read they were reforming to play some special London shows (I think it was at ICA, right?), I in shock. I imagined many bands reforming but I never thought of The Popguns as one. Then of course they played some more gigs and I wondered if I was going to be lucky to see them. I met Shaun at Indietracks last year, because of him playing drums now for The Fireworks. He told me that The Popguns would love to play Indietracks too, so most probably I will have to come next year I thought. But it wasn’t 100%. My friends in France, Another Sunny Night, booked them and from what they told me they were just plain fabulous. I was starting to get jealous. And of course St. Maz booked them for NYC Popfest. I was speechless. Some days later they were also announced for Indietracks. That was awesome news, but even better when Pat on some Facebook group said that they were planning to play two different sets at NYC and Indietracks for the few that were attending both. That’s a band that cares I thought!

I get goosebumps when I listen to Wendy’s voice. Have you heard this by the way? It gets all so chilly around here! But yes, the concert was on it’s way. “Someone You Love” was next. And then one of my favourites of mine, a staple of many of my mixes years ago, “Still A World Away”. Then more classics and more. They tell us that they are recording new material that will be coming out on Matinée. Good work Jimmy! They play their new song “Lovejunky” and fits just perfectly with all their fabulous songs of the past.

And then their A Tribe Called Quest cover of “Can I Kick It?”.  Haha, my friend Viki doesn’t understand what’s going on. But the crowd is going crazy and knows the lyrics by heart. And me too. And we all sing. And it is such a great moment. But it was just all building up for the best moment of all. The last song. And you guessed right. “Waiting for the Winter” was monumental. At least for me it was. Time stood still and I didn’t want the song to never end. I sang and I danced. Clumsy and all. And then it was over. They turned on the lights. It must have been like midnight by then. But Maz told them that they could play another song. But that is a bit of a blur to me. Can’t recall what song it was now! At least I remember that it was one of those gigs that I like to call, “gig of the year”.

Popfest was over. I went to the merch tables and bought a bunch of things. Talked a bit with everyone that was left. Sold some more records. And then I gave away some records. I hugged people around and said bye. Time to go home. On the train platform, waiting for the N, we randomly stumbled upon two of the Stars in Coma. The ride felt so short. My brain was still going at full speed remembering every moment of a great weekend.


Good afternoon for all those pop treasure hunters. Here’s another 7″ I have barely any idea about. My clues are limited but both A side and B side are on Youtube. So that obscure it can’t be.

The record has no proper sleeve. It came on a white paper sleeve. The band was called Officers and Gentlemen. An odd name.

The 7″ was released in February 1985 according to 45cat that does list it. The record was released by GAP Records. Catalog was 001. So most probably a self-release. The label logo has two flags, the Union Jack and the American flag. Maybe there was an American in the band? Or in the label?

The A side was “That’s Life and Love” and was composed by Gareth Hobbs. The B side was “Noise” and that one was composed by Mark Bushell. Both songs were produced by R. Boden. Both songs are very catchy, they have that certain pre-c86 vibe, a bit more post-punkish than jangly perhaps but it has danceable element that I really like, especially on the B side “Noise” with that bouncy “We make nooooooise” line that I can’t get out of my head!

Gareth Hobbs seems to have a Youtube account and has uploaded some live footage of the band, a full gig at Macclesfield Leisure Centre. Worth watching of course!

And that’s all I could find about them. I saw a mention that they once played at the Lido on another Youtube video, but that doesn’t help much in unveiling the mystery about this band. Who were they? Whatever happened to them? Were there more recording? Anyone know anything else?


Officers and Gentlemen – Noise


It’s so hard to find time to blog when there’s World Cup, as I was saying earlier to a friend, in this extreme case indiepop comes in second. And blogging at night is really not my thing, but let me try, hopefully my memory is sharp enough to remember perfectly what happened three weeks ago at New York Popfest.

Don’t Cry Shopgirl had finished playing. I had grabbed their setlist, and kept close to the stage while chatting with John for a bit. Time for refilling my beer. There’s no happy hour at Spike Hill and that of course annoys me. It’s still early. Cheap beer time. I decide to stop socializing a bit and I go to check the merch table. I must say I haven’t been checking much the merch since the festival started. It surprises me to see that the Gingerlys 7″ is available. Ed Shelflife told me some weeks before that there was a good chance that they would arrive on time but not to hold my breath. Luckily they were there and grabbed a copy. Naturally, Gingerlys were next on the bill.

I’ve meant to go to many of their shows for months. They are from New York and you would  have thought I’ve seen them before. But I hadn’t. For a reason or another I never went to see them. Most likely because they were opening shows too early and that conflicted with my work hours. But now at last I was going to see them and judging from the recordings I had heard on Bandcamp they were definitely a band to keep an eye to. The vocalist sported shades and had an icy style on stage. Reminded me a bit of The Manhattan Love Suicides’ vocalist. The music of course is much different: a sped-up and updated to shoegaze a bit Bouquet perhaps? A bit of Pia Fraus thrown in there as well? Something like that. Live they sounded a bit rockier compared to the their recordings. It was still enjoyable to see them, you can tell they have a lot of potential. And hearing live that immense song that is Summer Cramps was enough for me. That one did sound more faithful to the recordings I liked very much and kept my hope intact for this band. Definitely the best new band in the NYC (almost ghost-like) indiepop scene. And their 7″ is tops! Totally recommend it (“Jumprope” should be a classic song!).

Afterwards there was some time to burn before heading to Cameo and the evening shows. With Vicky, Diego, Juan Julio, Lisle and Kristine we went to the park overlooking Manhattan. On the shores of the East River we took some photos and rested a bit. Then we went for pizza. Suddenly it was already time to go to Cameo and to notice that the air conditioning wasn’t working. Some fans were trying to solve the issue but as soon as the place was going to get packed we were going to feel like a sauna. Was it a trick to sell more beer? It’s always suspicious.

I stayed at the front for the first two bands chatting with friends and catching up, reminiscing about the past two days of Popfest. I remember someone wanted to buy off from me my Veronica Falls t-shirt. Years ago in London the same had happened with a Cats on Fire t-shirt I was wearing. Also I had received from Jeremy a brand new The Haywains t-shirt, with the badger logo on the front and the tour dates on the back. I think it’s the first t-shirt I own and wear that has the tour dates on the back. I kind of feel like a proper fan now.

Anyways it was time for the long awaited Garlands first ever gig in American soil. It’s been years now since I’ve been talking to Christin to come and play here. Finally it was going to happen. The line-up had changed a bit since last time I saw them, Thomas was replacing Patrik on guitars and Gustaf replacing Robert on drums. Still around was Christin on vocals, Maria bass-extraordinaire, and Einar the guitar genius of the band. Rapidly all doubts one could have about the new members were long gone. The band sounded tight as ever. The only difference was that Christin was the one who had to tell the jokes now, though Maria joined and talked to the public and told us that her favourite thing about New York had been the food. I could only agree with her. That’s the best in this city hands down. After playing all their hits, after me rooting for Christin (a classic thing in my book since the first time I saw The Garlands play ages ago in a London Popfest), the gig was over. It went so fast. I wanted more songs, but that was going to do it for now. Only one gig in New York and it was over. A shame. I hope they return one day. Definitely one of the best gigs of the Popfest, no other band can bring that thrilling fast and precious pop to the table these days.

Time to get some air. It was a sauna already. Cameo was way too warm. A small break because one of the bands I’ve been hoping to see for many years was going to perform in minutes. That was Spearmint. And the wait was worth it. They played almost all of their hits but not my favourite “The Flaming Lips”. People knew many of their songs by heart and that was really exciting. This of course surprise me because I never thought they were a band that had this much following. I mean, I imagined it, but it’s not a band people talk or discuss, at least my indiepop friends don’t. Anyhow, it was fantastic. I noticed they had a new album, but I didn’t buy it. They also had a book that looked like a graphic novel. I didn’t buy it. What’s wrong with me? I don’t know, I should amend this at Indietracks. At this moment I thought this has been a great Saturday, this has been a powerful gig, started a bit slow with the new songs but ended in a high mark with songs like “We’re Going Out” or “Sweeping the Nation”.  Oh! Question for Maz, did you check out Said Liquidator? I always wondered if there was a connection between the two bands? Anyone know?

Then it was the turn for the dance party. I must have danced until 3am or something. I can’t remember much. It’s all hazy about this night. The only thing that I remember was that the crowd was very Mondo-like and not that much Popfest. I missed the bands and my international friends. They didn’t stay for dancing. Were they too tired? Did they have jetlag? I wonder. They just missed a good time.

Sunday started with me trying to organize a box of Cloudberry releases to sell at the merch table at Littlefield. I had to leave pretty early eventually by pressure from the first band that had left their pedals and instruments at my house. How did the pedals ended at my place, who knows. So half prepared for the merch table, and carrying more bags and boxes than Santa Claus I left home just past noon and took the one hour or so ride from my place to Atlantic-Barclays station. Upon arriving to Littlefield, I guess because of all the things I was carrying, the doorman thought I was from a  band and just stamped me, no questions asked. I left all the stuff backstage. I started to set up my merch on the tables and Maz noticed there was going to be needed more tables. The three tables weren’t going to be enough to all the merch that was going to be on display this Sunday. So we moved everything around and added more tables in the front room. Suddenly The Popguns are soundchecking and my heart skips a beat. I couldn’t believe the beauty I was hearing, “Still a World Away”!!!

I saw Howard behind the DJ decks and said hello. He played a lot of top tunes in between bands. Then I decided I wasn’t going to wait around for people, and decided to have some food at an Ethiopian restaurant around the venue. I knew this place and knew it’s quite good, so I was going to treat myself to some tibs. With a happy stomach I returned to see Lost Tapes perform at Popfest. A pretty strong show as always with Poetry Dates as the highlight song and also closing song. Jangly and chiming the Spanish duo were pretty good though their pleas for a louder audience weren’t answered. I think it was a bit too early for fans to go crazy or maybe they were just hangover and tired. Either or.

Dennis from Candy Twist was around at last. His first NYC Popfest gig. We had some Shiner Bock beer and talked a bit. Love when international friends just pop up all of a sudden at festivals and gigs. That’s what makes this scene so exciting, how connected it is. The turn was for Marine Life, a California band that I knew nothing much about, but was really in love with the song that was included in the Popfest Mix. I hear they have a 7″ slated for release on Elefant and that’s good news. This I would say is one of the bands to follow, one of the best new discoveries of the year. They also know their stuff, they made a sublime cover of Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday”.

Then it was time for the gig that many said made them cry. Bart and Pam on stage playing Cat’s Miaow and Shapiro’s song. It was a beautiful moment. It was close to everyone’s heart. The time stood still for a bit and we were all enchanted, as if hypnotized, but Pam’s beautiful voice, by Bart’s guitar, by those lyrics of daily vignettes, of life represented.

Gold-Bears was next for me. By this time I had already got the LP and CD version of the album. Had to skip the tape version, I don’t have a tape player. What can I say about the Atlanta-based band that you already know? I’ve seen them many many times now and they always have that explosive and catchy power. The new songs just continue the trend. The new album is remarkable, but a review perhaps belongs to another post. Another top performance for Jeremy and the gang.

Time for dinner. Went to a Korean chicken wings joint a couple of blocks away. Spicy. Delicious. Messy. Also the wings were huge. Lots of food for cheap. Now I caught Colour Me Wednesday. I have seen a bit of them a couple of years ago at Indietracks and wasn’t hooked. This time around I bought the album and a t-shirt. There has been a big change in me? Or what? Anyways, they were pretty good and I enjoy very much, it makes me happy, even proud, that they are so into their politics and beliefs. I respect that even though I’m definitely not a vegan. Their attitude and the way the came across was very strong. I learned then that they were touring a whole bunch of US cities. Are they that big to even go play Kansas City and Madison? That was a true surprise. Do they play a lot in UK? I can imagine doing so, as their gig was tight and it shows so well that they know what they are doing. The three girl-one boy band was for me a surprise, and would love to hear more. Will need to investigate, bands that are brave enough to combine pop music with politics, are something I can only cherish.

And now I need to stop because again this is getting too long! It seems I will need a part 3!! Who would have thought!


A bit of obscurity from Sweden this week. And not from ages ago, just a decade ago! This is Citylights!

Last.fm: A disbanded [1998-2006] dreampop band based out of Gothenburg, Sweden. Two former members now play under the name Boat Club.
Boat Club Facebook: Formed in 2006 by the remains of Citylights to please the jet-set crowd of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Those two members are of course Andreas Christakis and Magnus Wahlström. I was a fan of this band back in 2004, 2005. I had found them on Myspace. We all know the story of Boat Club. Or we do more or less. We love their few releases, they are classics already on my book. But Citylights have been forgotten. They didn’t release anything so it kind of make sense, but I find pretty interesting that it was the seed that would later grow into the dreamy sound of Boat Club.

I had forgotten about them to be honest. It wasn’t until two or three years ago that I remembered their songs. I started compiling the second volume of the Sound of Starke Adolf. First I thought I should include them in Volume 3, but later I decided that they were best suited for the second in the series. I contacted Magnus. He seemed keen though it seems the rest of the members weren’t. Then I waited to see if they could be convinced I think. I waited. But then never heard back. A shame. Still the 2nd volume is waiting for a bunch of bands that should be included. It’s still waiting to be released. First volume of course is long sold out. The last copy I had I gave to Silke now that she was visiting me.

Citylights as far as I know recorded seven songs. These were: “Have You Seen the Rooftops”, “Leaves”, “Memories”, “Poor as You”, “Reset”, “Atmosphere” and “Citylights”. But it seems there were dozen of demos according to another blog:

Magnus Wahlström and Andreas Christakis formed Boat Club in 2006. The duo’s former project Citylights disbanded after the departure of drummer Hannes, and, although there was no ‘official’ release in their seven year existence, the DNA for Boat Club’s sound was ever present. Combining the fuzzy naval gazing tones of peers The Radio Dept. with a more conventional approach to pop song structure, Citylights would record dozens of demos in vain. As the strains and impracticalities of converting the sonic ideas into a full band situation started to take their toll, Magnus and Andreas purged their efforts towards a more electronic direction and, Boat Club was born.

I’ve also read that some of these demos became the songs on the Boat Club release. Anyone know which ones are those?

It’s also important to note that Magnus during the time he was in Citylights was also pretty active with Diktendo. Was Andreas in any other bands at the time?

I don’t know much more about this project. Did they ever play live? Why weren’t these fantastic songs released? Just listen how beautiful “Citylights” is. I can’t believe this has been under the radar. Perfect pop!


Citylights – Citylights



It’s been two weeks now since the last blog post. Yes there’s been a couple of interviews but no obscure band, story, rant, or anything else that’s not an interview. Right. Well, I had guests, and then there was Popfest. New York Popfest. And then I needed a week to recover. Fair enough I think. It was a pretty exhausting one, perhaps the one that sucked the most of my energy ever. Is it because I’m getting older? Or why?

Well it started early for me. If Popfest was going to start Thursday I was already out watching bands on Wednesday. Wednesday was the release party for the new LP by New York’s best indiepop band Pale Lights. I’ve already recommended the album on the blog some time ago. Getting the chance to listen the newer songs live was fabulous. A bit strange though that they didn’t headline their own gig. But who cares, more time to catch up with friends that were already arriving for Popfest like Mr Scott Stevens from the Summer Cats who I met for the first time that night, after so many years of correspondence!

The band who opened the night was Franny & Zooey. With a new lineup and a bunch of new songs that now recall Talulah Gosh and The Fat Tulips I feel the Dominican band has stepped up to another level. Fast and fun, the band is finding itself. Looking forward very much to their next recorded effort. I hear there are a couple of releases in the works. And then a terrible idea. Late night White Castle. Because well, it was open, and it’s been so many years that I was that “adventurous”, and Elin should try it. She and her Norwegianness were my other guests that week.

It was imperative for me to see Franny & Zooey that Wednesday. On Thursday they were opening NYC Popfest at 8:15pm. I would still be at work, I was going to miss them. And so I did. I only arrived at the Cake Shop at around 9:00pm. In the meantime my friend Silke, one of my guests had forgotten to bring an ID to show that she wasn’t underage. Guess what, the Cake Shop people wouldn’t let her in. She went home. Terrible. Kind of a bad start for her. Elin did stay.  Je Suis Animal chanteuse. At the Cake Shop I admit not being that much into the gigs. I saw half of Tape Waves and sounded nice. Martha was definitely not for me. Too rock. The Besties I liked them on record (I like very much their first album) until I saw them live once and the singer was all over the place, rockstar style, jumping up and down, shouting, and well, I’m skeptical to see them again. And Dressy Bessy was a bit of a hit and miss. Their classic songs of course I love. The newer a bit more rock too. Mature sound some call it. Not into it.

Instead I spent my time catching up with friends that were arriving. Astrid and John came even straight from the airport with their luggage. Saw my dear Christin. Wow! First time in New York Christin! What a star! Maria, Einar, Ingrid, the Garlands gang. A beautiful gang. I got to meet Colin from Gingerlys. They were lending so many instruments to a handful of bands that were coming from abroad. So I introduced him around too especially to the swedes. It was a calm night, a good start. We went to a 24 hour diner afterwards and call it a night.

Let me stop here. Can I say that Maz is the best indiepop organizer out there? This year I learned a bit the hard way. I release records and support the scene and all. But I’ve never had to take care of bands, organize things for them, or more importantly deal with their egos and needs. It’s tough. And demanding. I had some issues this year myself with a band, and it was just one band and I ran out of patience. Maz deals with 30 or so bands and keeps his cool. And everything seems to run so smooth. That’s amazing. On top of course he has a hell of a lineup every year.

I do hear sometimes silly people complaining that is bad that he books the festival in different venues, in bad venues, stuff like that. Silly people that once played at Popfest and never attend or just only when their friends play or they are invited to play one instrument on stage. Well, as it was that easy. The competition here for gigs and events is tough. And which venues are going to risk having a whole weekend entirely to have a bunch of indiepopkids that most of them are broke and won’t spend much on drinks. I don’t know. Some people are unrealistic sometimes. I’m thankful to Maz, he doesn’t compromise, he books the best of the newest crop of bands as well as classics. And he keeps it indiepop friendly. No ukuleles, no hippies, no nonsense. And barely repeats bands (Cats on Fire, Secret History and Gold-Bears being the exception). Quality.

Anyways, Friday. I had a long day. I started taking the tram to Roosevelt island and then walking south all Fifth Avenue stopping at Grand Central, the NY Public Library, the Empire Estate, ending at Battery Park. Kind of a New York in a day. Tour guide. I’m becoming good at that. We had a beautiful Brazilian lunch and then a nice Peruvian dinner. Then we headed to The Knitting Factory. Last year I had a fantastic time there. Will this year be the same? Well, with the Friday lineup it was looking like that. Bart and Friends was lovely, Scott always so cheeky, joking around with Bart and Pam. I never thought he was so talkative. I assumed he was so shy! But no, he is truly a frontman. Actually Elin thought he was Bart! Can you imagine?! It was a sweet show, pure class. Then The Haywains. FANTASTIC. They were one member short this time, Rachel couldn’t get here. So Johnny, the drummer, did the backing vocals. Of course it sounded different to the show I saw in Madrid, but for those who had never seen The Haywains before this would have been heaven! They have so much energy on stage that can only be contagious. People were singing along and going nuts! Even with songs that I didn’t know people would know by heart. The energy was high then. And we were just waiting for the best gig of the festival now.

My Favorite. No Andrea. Doesn’t matter. For me, who are seeing them for the first time, it doesn’t matter. I can’t really compare. Michael is stealing the show. His dance moves. His boxing gloves. His mask. Le Monster. Daniel is close to me. Biggest My Favorite fan I’ve met. He is so happy to see this. To my right Christin and Maria know the songs by heart. It’s powerful. They play Absolute Beginners Again and I feel how lucky we all are. Then is just a string of classics. Claudia Gonson from The Magnetic Fields joins to sing Homeless Club Kids. It’s a party now. The Suburbs are Killing Us. And Working Class Jacket. And the moment when the whole crowd sings to the top of their lungs Burning Hearts. It feels like they are ready to keep playing more gigs, more festivals, more and more. The LPs were ready that night, and we sold many. The official release is in July. Only yesterday I got a box at home. I will update the website soon. And you’ll be able to pre-order. This was the event of the year wasn’t it?

After The Flatmates we all headed to Trophy Bar. It was still early, around 11 something PM. It seems the Knitting Factory had another event later that night. It was a huge group of indiepopkids that walked together the 10 or so minutes that takes to get there. There was a dance party there. And I didn’t dance much. I remember dancing to Pristine Christine. A true classic when I dance with Christin. Then of course The Garlands were played but the song didn’t finish. It was stopped halfway through! Ah these Djs! Around this time I started having issues with some band nagging me. And my Popfest went a bit downhill trying to solve some problems and being a bit of a nanny. To think that on Thursday I had a conversation with a girl that had been terrible to me years and years ago and handled it alright, and now this would seem more mundane, but it wasn’t. It started getting annoying. At least my good friend Felix showed up and he always brings happiness even in bad times. That was nice. I haven’t seen him in weeks.

Saturday I was finally going to see Kristine and Lisle. So I forgot about any bad things and I was happy once again. Among the best friends I’ve made in indiepop. Including Scott and his girl, Elin and Silke, all of us went to have brunch at a Mexican place not far from the Spike Hill venue. It was great to catch up with all of them. It was funny to see Elin complain that eggs can’t go together with tortillas, that that is a weird thing to do. And Silke enjoying her sangrias. It was lovely really. I kind of enjoy these eating reunions with friends a lot, as much as going to gigs, or even more. Sharing table with so many talented people, doesn’t happen to often, right? Then we went to Rough Trade. Bought the Avocados 7″ (weird, I know). And played some table tennis with Kristine. Time to head back. We stop at a small store that sells everything 90s it seems. Comics, toys, candies, etc. Lots of “stuff”. And now what. It starts to pour. We sadly miss The Arctic Flow. We make it on time for my new favorites, the band I would like to spoil, Don’t Cry Shopgirl. Their first gig ever. And they are a bit nervous. You can tell. Astrid even drops the guitar. Bam! Pum! They are funny though, and charming. And even if they made a mistake it doesn’t matter. They have fantastic songs, and that’s enough to carry on with the gig. I can’t wait to release them. One of the most honest shows the whole festival, and so down to earth. I was charmed.

And so here I stop again. We have World Cup this week! Let’s think about that now. The second part of my NYC Popfest review will come next week!


Here’s a very obscure indiepop band from the 90s. I don’t own the record sadly and I haven’t been able to find the sleeve to see if there are any credits listed. It’s not even listed on Discogs or other music sites. It’s a shame.

The only mention I’ve found is from Roger’s old blog. Of course, who would know so much about 90s Swedish indiepop other than him? But maybe someone out there remembers them and can give me a hand? Would be great to know a bit more about them.

Théhuset released one 12″. The songs included were “Egen Varld”, “Tänk på nåt Annat” and “Vid Din Fot”. They have a nostalgic sound. It reminds me a lot about of the obscure 80s UK band Some Other Day. It has that classic combo of boy and girl backing vocals. Truly beautiful!

The cover also evokes that period of greatness of jangle, of guitar pop. A sepia tone and white. A timeless portrait of a girl. Who is she? Maybe a famous Swedish actress?

It seems that at some point the band had a Myspace. From there I know that these songs were released in 1992. It says Genre: Torch Songs. I assume that was the name of the label? Though Roger lists the label as AMBUSH.

Then there’s one last mention I found online, this time from the National Library of Sweden (this place comes back and back to me). Here, in their database, they list  a name connected to the band: Johan Gille. Johan would later form Able, and I know a bit more about that band, I do have one of their albums. It seems he wrote the songs and music for Théhuset. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to track him and ask him!

That’s all I could found online. Now why not enjoy this pretty song? And if you know anything else about them please get in touch! Would be great to know the story about this Uppsala band from the 90s.


Théhuset – Egen Varld



Thanks so much to Sumire for being up for this interview! Sumire runs the lovely Violet and Claire store that stocks and supports many indiepop labels. Also she is now part of an indiepop band Black Tulips, has released records under her own label, and she has been writing liner notes and books about indiepop. A true indiepop activist of these days!

++ Hi Sumire! How are you? Thanks for being up for this interview. It’s been a long time since I saw you, might have been Indietracks and NYC Popfest the last times. How do you remember your adventures attending international festivals? What was the best of it?

I’ve been to Indietracks 3 times and I really loved atmosphere of festival. But I prefer NYC Popfest ’cause I grew up in city and love to walk around Brooklyn with my good friends and see gigs. It’s not Brooklyn but I love Cake Shop is the best venue all the time. It was the best moment to see Veronica Falls in NYC Popfest 2010.

++ And how come there are no indiepop festivals in Japan? Do you think it will happen soon?

I’m always wishing to have indiepop fest in Japan! I think we have to have more Japanese indiepop bands here. When more young bands coming out it can be happen.

++ You run the Violet and Claire store were you sell a wide array of things. You carry clothes, books, magazines, music, and much more. Tell me a bit how the store started and who curates what’s been sold at the store?

After graduating university (I had studied English literature there) and work for my dad’s urban development company, but I thought it wasn’t challenging job.
At the same time, Toshiko from Apple Crumble Records ask me to have my shop (She wanted to close her shop),One year later, I quit my job and started my own shop. When I was working at record shop, there’s chance to visit London many times, It was the time of “Twee As Fuck”, I love London girls who have very good taste of music,books and clothes and I wanted to make Japanese Girls like that.

++ And where does the name of the store come from?

I’ve lived in LA when I was 6 to 10 years old, My dad had transfer abroad with my family so. I was obsessed by Young Adult Novel such as Weetzie Bat Books, These novel was written by Francesca Lia Block. “Violet And Claire” is one of her great work. I always ask by people about Violet come from my name Sumire (Japanese Violet) but it doesn’t relate at all.

++ You don’t also carry other people’s products but you also do your own, from brooches to tote bags and everything in between. Who takes care of the design and production of these?

Some of them by me but others by Eleonora Marton, She is wife of Neil Kidgell, Both are very great designer and work for Young And Lost Club’s design too.

++ Through your store you support indiepop, your favourite kind of music. Do you think then that indiepop can be successful at being sold in stores as physical records? Everyone is so pessimistic about this!

I think it’s YES, the situation of physical records sales getting better now. more girls buying records recently. I’m not sure for boys! boys are always buying records so.

++ Talking about indiepop, when did you get into it? And what are some of your favourite bands?

I was big fan of British Rock when I was small because my mom loves them. She loves Style Council all the time! When I was junior high school student, I love more psych 60’s garage,mod music more than indiepop but when I collect of vinyls 80’s music seemed more interesting for me. Obscure/DIY music isn’t under-control and sounds very free.

My favorite bands is so difficult to choose! Glo-Worm, New Colours, The Times, Orange Juice,Veronica Falls, The Pains, Blanche Hudson Weekend, Sea Lions, Belle and Sebastian, Dolly Mixture, Anthony Adverse, The Pastels, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd,The Divine Comedy, Pale Fountains,Dislocation Dance… much more!

++ You’ve released some records too. Tell me a bit about the ones you’ve put out and if you have any plans for the future.

I am talking with Nick to release Catwalk material as vinyls and CD album. Catwalk is one of my favorite band but it takes time to finish songs…so have to be patient for his response.

++ Nowadays you are also even in a band called Black Tulips. When are you putting out a record?! Who are the members in the band? And where can one listen to your music?

We finish recorded so now we are at pressing record, Nana (from Twinkle Twinkles), Ai and Riko (illustrator). Nana lives in Australia for a year now. There is 8 original song and we do Monochrome Set cover (because of my El taste!) not proper record songs not on-line but hope it’s soon! http://theblacktulips.tumblr.com/

++ Is this your first time playing in a band by the way?

I was in band when I was in junior high but I quit playing for long time, I was in Girls Pancakes and did few gigs with Sea Lions.

++ You seem to do so many things, a true indiepop activist. Another facet of yours is writing liner notes for Japanese edition of various indiepop records. How did this happen for the first time? And how do you like doing this? Do you consider yourself a good writer?

I really hope to be good writer, I cannot define by myself but I always love to read Japanese edition liner notes, and wish to be kinda journalist for music. Started working indie record store when I was 17years old, Owner of record store gave me chance to write, and I felt this is what I was waiting for. Now there are many male music writer but not many female. I love Chickfactor and wish to be like them!

++ And talking about writing, there’s been two books that you’ve contributed too the Indie Pop Lesson book and the 80s Guitar Pop Guide. For those who don’t know these two fantastic books can you explain a bit about them and where to get them? Also, any plans for more guitar pop books in the way?!

80’s Guitar Pop Guide was released when I was 16 years old and getting involved these music scene is my dream! It’s ultimate guide, featuring very obscure records from 80’s! Indie pop lesson, I hope more young girls to know great world of indie pop. There so many girl who has good sense of fashion but not music! Also It has been more than 10years from 80’s Guitar Pop Guide so I think we need to have kinda guide book for Guitarpop / Indiepop music.

Now I’m working on other book of music, it feats 18 female musician mainly from 80’s indiepop scene, Also I’m thinking to make 2nd of Indiepop Lesson in 2015! excited!

++ Let’s talk about Japan. It seems a good bunch of new indiepop bands have appeared in Japan in the past two years or so! Why do you think this has happened? And which would you recommend?

I think people get bored commercial rock music and have to move onto more independent music. There is small guitar pop scene in japan all the time, but I think they are too shy to spread their scene to others. I love Ykiki Beat / Jesus Weekend, they are young and very good taste (of music and fashion!)

++ And from the past what are your favourite Japanese indiepop bands?

I love TRANS ALPHABET and Satoru Ono’s 2nd Album He used be in Tenniscoats as guitarist. (http://satoruono.bandcamp.com/track/clown-song) and Citrus. I was not big Flipper’s Guitar fan.

++ Let’s talk about your city, Tokyo. Are you originally from there? And what are the best places to hang out for an indie kid in town? And if you want to go check some sights, what are the ones you’d recommend?

Now I move to Kyoto, but I go back to Tokyo, once/twice a month (It takes 2 and half hours by express train). I am originally from center of Tokyo,so very city girl I think! Shibuya is too messy to walk around but near by big Yoyogi-Park is nice to chill out. beside of park there is my most favorite coffee spot called “Little Nap Tokyo” also “EST” is my favorite Ping-Pong place! Kaoru from Comet Gain she loves to play Ping-Pong there too. Hi-Fi record store is not indiepop but it’s nice selection, in nighttime, I recommend to visit bar “Beat Cafe” I organized Veronica Falls DJ party and people there really love music.

++ Also what about Japanese food in Tokyo? What are your favourite restaurants?

That’s tough question, I love Sushi so Sushi-Stand is good to eat. I love to have dinner/lunch at cafe “Newport”, nice wine and foods also every Saturday night there is DJ and select tunes. Good food with good music sounds perfect.

++ And is there any Japanese beer you like?

I love beer but my favorite drink is Japanese whiskey “KAKU”. Kip from The Pains, he really love to drink “Chu-Hai” It’s nice but really easy to drunk…!

++ I guess you don’t have much time with everything you do, but I was wondering if aside the store, the band, the writing, and music, do you happen to have any other hobbies?

I love to run everyday. Listening to radio via iphone and think nothing just running. When I start working I’ll be very indoor person, so I need to move to refresh!

++ You once made a Cloudberry Cookie. That made me very happy! I still haven’t eaten it, can you believe? Can I ask you what’s your favourite Cloudberry release? And why?

I wish to make again! but it’s not safe to eat!!!!please DON’T eat! lol
The Parallelograms (I love song “Papageno” very cute melody!) and The Tartans (I love bands from “YAY” label and this is very crafty melody!)

++ Thanks again so much Sumire! Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank u for getting involved your blog! I’m big fan of this so very happy to be interviewed! I hope to see you soon in Japan or somewhere pretty soon!


Satoru Ono – Ocean Song