Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, it’s just another week of August. I’ve been meaning for some time to catch up with some records I want to recommend you. It’s true that I don’t usually do this because I’m pretty biased when I review records, but it seems it has helped a band or two to sell some of their records and reach a new and happy audience. That’s a good thing isn’t it? Then I should doing more often. So, instead of doing an obscure band today from the past, let me go over a record I’ve listened a bunch this summer. Sounds fine to you? I hope so, because sounds fine to me.

“Flores de Europa” (Flowers from Europe), is the new album by one of Madrid’s finest bands: Los Lagos de Hinault. This is their second full length effort after “Vidas Ejemplares” (Exemplary Lives) released in 2011 on the same label, the Scandi-loving Fikasound Records from Spain. In between there was a split single alongside another Spanish band, El Faro. And earlier this year, in spring, there was another split with yet another Spanish band, the highly rated Doble Pletina.  Not forgetting of course the 3″ split earlier in their career with The Sunbathers released by yours truly.

After this fast recap of their discography, for those who don’t know, Los Lagos de Hinault are a duo conformed by Carlos Ynduráin and Matilde Tresca, though when I saw them live at Madrid Popfest they counted with support from a friend on drums. That was the one time I had the chance to catch them live and listen to fantastic songs like “El Correo del Zar” or “Las Chicas Rubias de Serrano” among others. I hope next year more festivals will give them a chance, how I wish to see them in NYC Popfest for example! Or the UK should take note too! Or Berlin?

Yes, I love them. If you think about it, there songs are the only ones I released in Spanish on Cloudberry (and of course the cover of the Fat Tulips by Zipper). That must say something. I love songs in Spanish, there’s a different style of lyrics that I really enjoy, a sense of humour that is very unlikely to be found in songs written in other languages. But of course singing in Spanish is a bit of a handicap, you reach a smaller crowd. It is definitely not true that bands from Spain can reach easily Latin America. Most of the times music from Spain stays in Spain. The day that this is fixed, there will be a bright bright future for indiepop!

Let’s go through some technicalities. Important ones. The album was recorded in December 2013 in the Caballo Grande studios in Barcelona. Cristian Pallejà and Ferran Resines produced the album whereas  Javier Roldón mastered it in Vacuum Mastering in  Zaragoza. All of the songs were written by Carlos but “A una Ventana Triste” that was jointly written by Carlos and Pablo Hernández.

In this new record, released in June, Los Lagos de Hinault present us 13 new songs. In general, the “lo-finess” of their earlier works have given to a more produced feel, nevertheless they haven’t lost any edge. The poignancy of the lyrics still carry, and powerfully so, the songs. The record opens with the small vignettes of daily life in “San Juan de la Luz”, with it’s summer evening feeling, the smell of sea salt, the soft crashing of Mediterranean waves and trumpets to close the song. Songs with trumpets are always winners!

So after that subtle start the record picks up with a more traditionally upbeat song. Los Lagos de Hinault are all about upbeat when at it’s best. And short, very short songs, usually getting to the minute and a half mark, and stopping right there. The second song follows that standard they’ve been crafting since day one. “Maria del (Mar Rojo)” is a funny title, I have a friend Maria del Mar, so I can’t help but think of her when this song plays. A short story of city life, one of those meaningless encounters that mean so much if you know what I mean.

I love the next song very much, “Futuras Licenciadas”. Of course I know Carlos is joking about it, but who am I to deny that I love girls in libraries wearing glasses. “I want to die condemned by Roman Law, and by the girls who study playing with their shoes”. What a beautiful song, sweet, fun, and ringing so true. Matilde’s backing vocals are delicious in this one.

The upbeatness continues and it seems there’s no way to stop it. “Poligono Industrial” opens with a superb line, “It makes me so sad the engineers and the bonsais”.  It’s not in any good person’s nature to go for Christmas shopping or just hang out at IKEA just for fun. That’s what it’s about, again Los Lagos de Hinault nails it with simplicity, they are true modern crooners of life in the city.

Talking about that, cities, I grew on one, and every time I’ve been in the outdoors, in the suburbs, in places far away from civilization, life has been close to miserable. I need this city life, even with all of it’s funny sides and the things that don’t make sense, to feel alive. I love though when someone can so smartly pinpoint these little details that make us angry, happy, sad, relieved, etc, in the city.

Social gatherings, having to hear other people’s pointless stories of great ambition, that’s what “Viajar No Lleva a Ningún Sitio” criticizes. With sarcasm it even gives us tips on how to avoid these people, why not just break the conversation asking, “is that my glass or yours?”. I reckon it will work.  Afterwards, song number 6 comes, with a play on words: “Panero y Yo”. This is a nod to a book I really hated when I was a kid, “Platero y Yo” by Juan Ramón Jiménez. I really didn’t enjoy it, wonder if I’d do now.

“Zumba”. I don’t know anyone that actually practices that. But I’d love to change the Zumba word for Yoga here in NYC. EVERYONE seems to be doing it, and I just don’t get it. I love how in this song Santiago Auserón from Radio Futura is being quoted, giving some advice to the Zumba enthusiasts. It doesn’t make any sense but it makes a lot of sense. This is the great humour and irony of Los Lagos de Hinault, even more ending the song by repeating “Semilla Negra“, on of Radio Futura’s classics.

We’ve listened already half of the album and we get into an introspective moment with “Los Faros en el Mar”, the lighthouses in the sea. But it’s an introspection into creepiness! so beware! A line like “if there’s something I don’t want to miss is seeing a daughter of yours turning sixteen” can tell you what this is about, right?!

Los Lagos de Hinault clearly are social observers, social critics, and they continue with this trend with their next song, “En un Hotel”. Like in other songs they tackle many “sins”, here they go on mocking vanity. A sort of useless vanity that a lot of people seem to strive for. Yes, who wouldn’t want to die with an English-speaking woman in a hotel? Right?

“Quemasangre” speeds up again the record, that by the way is not just a vinyl record. It includes a CD! So you can play it everywhere! Quemasangre are those sort of people that just get on someone’s nerves. Funny enough the character in the song has no clue about the meaning of it, and his girl keeps telling him he is like that!

I wonder by now if the album title has anything to do with every song. I start having a theory, as there are seven deadly sins, why can’t they be the thirteen traits that Los Lagos de Hinault want to point that are part of the nature of the European continent? Like ambition, vanity, banality, etc, etc, as they’ve been going through in every song? And as they are so ironic, instead of calling these Horrors from Europe, they just decide to call them Flowers? Could it be? Just an idea, but don’t let me get sidetracked.

“Metáforas que Hacéis” is a song that rings a bell to me. How many times I listen to these terrible songs on the radio (or more like I used to listen, I haven’t touched a radio in a long time). The terrible metaphors that make no sense at all, or obvious clichés, and suddenly these sort of people are celebrated, as original, cultured and groundbreaking. From the top of my head that awful Guatemalan singer called Ricardo Arjona comes to mind with his amazing metaphors, among them “come with me to be alone”. But of course, we could think of all the hipsters, and all of those who pretend by just using fancy words. Oh, just like that pretender who wrote the “Twee” book.

The record is about to end. Two more songs. Now it’s the happy-go-lucky number, “Simpático y vago”. A feel good song with it’s dose of reality, even if you are a simpleton, and you will blame television for not being smart, you can always offer love. Will the girl take him? I will guess that yes, she will. It’s too much of a happy song to have a bad ending!

“A una Ventana Triste” closes the album. After dissecting song by song, it feels sad to stop here. This song is the sad one of the album. Feels like the night is coming down. The day is over. Time to be melancholic. Time to think and meditate. Of course, that’s how the song feels. Los Lagos de Hinault always take even these feelings with humour. You can look out your window, try to be sentimental and no, suddenly there’s a big billboard there. See, life is not as simple as it appears, it’s definitely not Hollywood with it’s perfect landscapes and views. Everything is polluted, but at the same time, you need to be able to see the beauty (and the irony) in it.

The album is kaput by now. We can play it again. I’m at the office now so I keep streaming it on Bandcamp. But you should buy it here on Fikasound, because that will make yourself happy. It also includes a lovely pink totebag. It’s the first pink totebag I’ve ever owned.

Irony and wittiness, like a boy/girl TVPs of the 2000s, social critics, cultured in popular culture and the not so popular too, Los Lagos de Hinault have a very refined sense of humour, definitely not for the regular radio listeners out there, but if you want something a bit more challening that the Billboard 100, well, I won’t get tired of recommending you this album, especially if you can understand some Spanish. Beautifully crafted songs, in a lush packaged record, can you ask for more? Definitely one of the top releases of this year.


Los Lagos de Hinault – María del (Mar Rojo)


Well, some updates this week on the website as some of you might have noticed. Of course you can now order the My Favorite record and I’ve slashed down the priced on the first 20 7″s we put out. I just need some space at home for future releases and even if I won’t make much money out of these sales, I prefer these records going to a good home. If you want to support, then buy 2 or 3 of them and then maybe a little money will come for me to fund new records in the months and years to come.

So that’s that. Secondly I’ve started taking some freelance work this month. Seems like label sales are not enough anymore for releasing new records. So there I am. A bit busier than before but with a very hopeful view on the future. Can’t leave all these gems I’ve been listening lately stay in obscurity, right? You have to keep going. At least a couple more years. I think the dream of 100 7″s by 100 different bands is far far away, but I think a realistic goal would be to make it to 10 years. Maybe organize a small farewell festival then. What do you say? Maybe host it in London? Or where else? Miami would be interesting because that’s where I started, but probably no one would go.

Thirdly, I need to start catching up with the new fanzine. It’s almost done but I haven’t been able to finish it. Also I have two CDs to design. So even though Cloudberry is quiet, I’m working. And I still go to the post office every single week, two, three times. And you know I keep blogging to keep everyone up to date.

Talking about being up to date, this Thursday here in New York I’ll head to Rough Trade to see The Clean. They played like two years ago here too but I missed them. Looking forward to them. I believe next week Joanna Gruesome is playing in town too. Might as well check them out. I always miss them in UK when I’m there. They’ve played twice at Indietracks and I have been doing something else that I can’t remember. I did catch them last year in Brooklyn and they were really good. At least with them I don’t feel bad not living in UK.

Aside from that it seems that the indiepop scene is a bit quiet, isn’t it? But I’ve been doing some discoveries.

I have to say that the songs that are on the soundcloud of The Fabulous Artisans are a delight. Best thing I’ve heard in ages! Really a beauty. I’m in love. The 4 songs, “However Much I Love You, I Love Lloyd Honeyghan More”, “A Week of Wednesdays”, “The Nearly Man” and “The Night I Met Tracey Emin”, are just top class. I especially like the first one. And this is just a “demo”! Crazy. These songs would make one of the classiest 7″s I’m sure. If you are reading this, all you Artisans, I’M HOOKED! I play it so very often these songs (especially now that my work computer doesn’t let me play CDs!).

Another interesting band is Glasgow’s Bodyheat. There are two songs in their soundcloud, “Silhouttes” and “Upside Down”. As anything that I feature in this blog, they are quality (ha ha!). Perfect jangle pop, luminous, shiny shiny, I enjoy these songs very much! Would love to hear more from them. Don’t you just love this sort of elegant indiepop? True, it’s harder to sell, everyone wants the raucous, fast paced, ramshackling sort of pop these days, but who cares about that, this is just beautiful and those who can’t see it (or hear it), are just plain dumb!

And of course the best news lately is that the Persian Rugs are releasing a record. Oh dear. I want to listen to that. If you haven’t yet heard the promo single for the album then you are lucky because I’m going to share the link with you. No, it’s not secret. But I’ll help you and save you some seconds of looking for it online. The song is called Bedhead and it’s a proper indiepop GEM! Right? Now you trust me. Enjoy it! Those fuzzy guitars at the end and Kaye’s voice are brilliant in this song!


So a couple of days ago Joel writes me asking me about some songs by a band called Chrysalids. No, not the UK Chrysalids that had members of 1000 Violins. Not them. But an Australian Chrysalids. Have you heard about them?

My first encounter was many years ago with that compilation Peter Hahndorf from Twee.net made on CDR called The Sound of Glen Waverley. A compilation that I’ve written about many times here in the blog. It was a sort of an Australian Leamington Spa series.Well, it was supposed to be that. It was never released and as far as I know, Peter only gave some copies to some of his friends.

On that compilation this Chrysalids were included with a song called “Sunny Guitar Pop”. Guess what, the song sounded just like the title. It was bright, shiny, fresh, and proper guitar pop. Jangly and jangly. I liked it so much that I waited many years, maybe 5 or so years since I got the compilation, to finally find a 7″ by them on eBay. A double A side with the songs “Stop the Clock” and “Them”. And guess what, “Sunny Guitar Pop” wasn’t really “Sunny Guitar Pop”, it was actually called “Them”.

This record was produced by Chrysalids and Jeremy Smallhorn. Engineered also by Smallhorn and recorded at Pyramid Studios in Brisbane in 1987. The enigmatic artwork was made by Cathy Stephens. The record label was Mighty Boy Records and the catalog number was MB20047.

Thankfully inside the 7″ a insert is included. On it we know the first names of the band members. Cameron on drums and reverb, Alex on vocals and guitar, Graham on guitars and vocals, and Bruce on bass guitar. There are some special thanks but none of those names ring a bell to me sadly. On the insert some very high contrast black and white photos of each band member are included too.

That’s all I could gather from this fantastic band. But then googling I found out a more recent band called Generation Jones. Alex seems to have been part of this band, and I finally learn his last name: Waller. This band seems to have been closer to Wilco than indiepop, but there’s a small bio in the site that mentions a bit about the Chrysalids:

Brisbane power pop indie rock band. Three quarters of Ducks in Formation moved to Sydney and changed their name to Peso Kim, and with one eye gazing at their shoes and the other on the filthy lucre, released the single “Run for Cover”. One quarter (Alex Waller) stayed behind and formed The Chrysalids, releasing the “Texas” and “Stop the Clock” singles. Guitar pop rarely sounded this good. When Presidents Eleven split McDonald secured the bass playing services of Bryan Batley (McQueen and Waller partner in crime) in his new band The Spiny Norman Conspiracy. Just after recording the 4 track CD “Firm but Fair” (arguably the first CD release by an independent Brisbane band) Alex Waller jumped ship from the rapidly sinking Chrysalids and joined. Catherine Addow of Who’s Gerald (later Custard) was briefly on drums. Still stubbornly wearing stovepipes when the world went op shop and baggy, the rest of course was complete tragedy but that’s another story… various members are currently in oz indie group “Generation Jones”

Interesting. I could find on Youtube some stuff by Ducks in Formation. It was pretty melodic post punk, kind of like Echo & the Bunnymen. From Peso Kim I couldn’t find any of their songs online. But for me the biggest mystery is seeing that the Chrysalids released another single, “Texas”. I can’t seem to find anything about it! Because it’s listed before “Stop the Clock” I would guess it’s an earlier effort. “Stop the Clock” was released in 1987.

Sadly that’s all I could gather online about this band that made really nice songs. The three that I have heard are super. Perhaps you know a bit more about them and would like to shed some light about them? I’d love to know more and solve some of these mysteries about this obscure and fantastic band!

EDIT: My friend Andreas, such a good Sherlock he is, found out that the first 7″ of the Chrysalids, the one with “Texas”, was a split single released in 1986. It also included the song “Call Me”. This 7″ was shared with a band called Spiders and the Flys who on the B side appear with two songs: “Love Dance No. 1” and “Simple Needs”. It was released by Tombstone Records.


Chrysalids – Them


I’m going to move onto happier things this week. Did you know a new Popfest has sprung out of nowhere in Lima, Peru? I assume it will be very difficult for people from North America or Europe to go there, but think about it, maybe you can make a good vacation out of it! You know, go to Lima, enjoy the best food ever, attend Lima Popfest, and then head to all the touristy places of Peru, from Machu Picchu to the Amazon, the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca and beyond.

The festival is taking place this October as a two-day festival. The 17th and 18th (ending of course at 5am on the 19th) the Embassy club in Lima’s downtown will host a bunch of bands from three countries: Argentina, Chile and Peru. This is a true achievement as the scene in South America, because of the big distances, is really fragmented. Also for those wondering, aside these three countries, perhaps only Brazil is the other country with a decent amount of indiepop bands. So all in all, most of the indiepop scene in South America will be represented. For a first edition, it’s quite a success!

I’ve dreamed about such a festival happening in my home country for years, so as soon as I knew my friend Daniel was starting to brainstorm and work on this project I offered my help. I suggested some bands that sounded pretty exciting, and came up with some ideas that I have seen in other Popfests and festivals I’ve attended. Also thought it’d be nice if some Cloudberry Records were given away to those 50 or so who are first to buy tickets. I was also happy to work on the look for this years festival, under Daniel’s vision, and created the flyer/poster for the festival.

Lima Popfest most importantly will introduce indiepop to a new crowd. Lima has some fans of course, and the best example is the good crop of new bands that have appeared like Eva & John (which Daniel is part), Almirante Ackbar and Gomas to name a few. They are familiar with indiepop. But their fans might not. So this is a true exciting moment, and I dare to say that the dancefloors will be packed and sweaty both nights stomping to the sounds of Talulah Gosh and The Wake! Why not!

The lineup of the festival includes three bands from Argentina: Diosque, Las Ligas Menores and La Ola que Quería ser Chau. From Chile we get two bands: My Light Shines for You and Trementina. And from Peru we get Eva & John, Almirante Ackbar, Gomas, Los Zapping, Submarino, Ciudad Gragea and Catervas.

This is not the first South American Popfest though. The first was hosted by Sao Paulo in 2012. But Lima feels a bit more international with the appearance of bands from other countries. Also I’ve noticed people coming from other South American countries on the Facebook attendees list. That is definitely a factor to be excited about. It means people in the region are willing to travel just to be in the middle of an indiepop party. It’s heartwarming.

At this point the tickets are not yet for sale but I’ve been told they will be next week or as the latest in two weeks time. There might be also another announcement for the lineup, one final one, that will definitely be a surprise for the Peruvian crowd. As I’ve been in close contact with the organization, I can tell this has been taking care of in a way I haven’t seen yet anywhere else. I’m very proud on how things have been developing so far so I can only hope that this Lima Popfest will be a triumph. And I wish too that there will be many more to come!

As soon I have more news, I’ll be sharing with you!


But instead of going south for Lima Popfest, our obscure band comes from the north. From England most probably.

This week again I want to share another favourite song that Heinz has shared on his Youtube account. How many treasures does he has in his collection?! Happily he is keen to share with all of us.

So I heard this beautiful song “Cast a Stone” and I was hooked. The name of the band was just way too mysterious not to catch my attention: North by North West. Of course I get reminded by the classic Bats’ song, North by North. But no, they sound totally different. This is classic indiepop with girl vocals, so beautiful! In the vein of PO! or The Popguns. I couldn’t stop smiling the first time I heard it. It was just way too beautiful!

As it’s so usual with these obscure bands the information we have is way too little. The only clue we have is that this song is that it was released on a tape called “Shiver Me Timbers” that was released in 1991 by the always classy Rutland Records home of course of my beloved PO!

The catalog was RUTT 16. The tape was intended to show Rutland Records’ favourite bands from England and abroad. They couldn’t have them all, but they included these, according to the few lines written on the tape insert.

I’m having a bit of a hart time figuring out the cover artwork for this tape. Where does this illustration come from? Seems familiar. Any of you have a clue? In any case, as I was saying a bunch of fabulous bands appear on the tape, you can find classic bands like The Cudgels, The Spinning Jennys, Home & Abroad, White Town, or also some Aussie bands like The Honeys or the Widdershins. Germany is represented by The Jesterbells, whereas Spain with Aventuras de Kirlian. Favourites of mine Me and Dean Martin also appear. There ware also bands I’ve never heard before like Floorshow, The Shebeen, The Brickfields, Burton Diaries, Futile Coats and more. Time to investigate them.

North by North West also include another song on the tape called “This England”. I haven’t listened to it, and if you happen to have it on MP3, please share it! If it’s just anything close to “Cast a Stone”, I will love it.

So time for questions, who were North by North West? Where does their enigmatic name come from? Did they record anything else? Why didn’t they release anything else? Answers please!


North By North West – Cast a Stone



Thanks so much to Del Kwai for this great interview! I wrote some time ago about his band Mexico Red, trying to find more information about them. Happily Del was kind enough to get in touch and answer a bunch of questions and so retelling the story of this great mid-80s guitar pop band from London! Time for you to discover them!

++ Hi Del! Thanks so much for being up for this interview. The first question has been hunting me for ages, have you ever been to Mexico?

Hi Roque. No I’ve never been to Mexico but would love to get there one day.

++ So where was Mexico Red based back in the 80s and where are you based now?

We were based in London. I am still living and working in London.

++ And are you still making music these days?

Unfortunately not.

++ Let’s go back in time, when did Mexico Red start? Who were the members of the band? And how did you all knew each other?

We formed in 1986. The band members were: John Richies, Drummer, from Canning Town in East London; Mike Danks, keyboard player, from somewhere near Manchester; Simon Wring, base player, from Tredegar in Wales, sadly Simon died in April 2011 age 45; and myself, guitar and vocals, from Poplar in East London.

++ Where does the name of the band come from?

In the 80’s the Ford Car Company had a popular car called the ‘Escort 2000 Mexico’ and one of the car colours was called Mexico Red. John found the name in a Ford catalogue and we all agreed it was a name that suited us.

++ Was it your first band ever?

No, my first band was called Graphic. I formed it when I was 17 with a group of friends.

++ During those days there were many guitar pop bands in the UK. Did you feel part of a scene? Were there any other bands from that period that you followed?

We were part of the live scene, playing gigs in most of the known venues in and around London travelling around the country when possible.

There were a few bands playing around then: The Hurt, Icicle Works, Scarlet Party, Danny Wilson to name a few.

++ Talking about guitars, what was your first guitar? How old were you when you learned to play?

I started to play guitar when I was about 12 at school. My first guitar was a cheap Strat copy. I managed to get a real Strat at 17 which was another world for me.

++ And who would you say were the biggest influences of Mexico Red?

None of my family were musical in the least. However growing up I was a big fan of Bill Nelson.

++ You only released one record, in 1988. It was a fantastic 7″ with two songs, “Eternal Flame” and “Follow Me To Heaven”. Care telling me in a few sentences the story behind each song?

I wrote Eternal Flame in 1986 on the way home from a trip to Wales. While we were there everyone was walking along some cliffs and an enormous wave came over the top of us. The whole group got soaked but somehow the water never touched me which gave me an invincible feeling (sounds corny now) but that’s the truth.

I wrote Follow Me to Heaven in 1985. It was my attempt at writing a ‘commercial/chart’ song and it was the only song which was not recorded live.

++ What do you remember from the recording session for the single?

We were determined to record Eternal Flame live. Not having much money for studio time we managed to record it on the second take.

++ Were there any other recordings made by Mexico Red? Why weren’t any more releases by the band?

Yes we recorded other material. There was only ever one other song released on a compilation LP called ‘Vox Nouveaux’. The song is called ‘Colour Field’ and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

We were working towards releasing our own album but unfortunately we did not have the funds to complete all the recordings.

++ The 7″ came out on Hummingbird Records. Who were they? And how may copies were made?

Hummingbird was the band’s own record label. Once we established a good ‘live’ following we also attracted a few con men. We tried hard to get a publishing deal and a recording contract with all the London based labels, Polydor, EMI, etc, but most of the companies would not entertain us without official management. From our negative experiences of PR men we decided to get a bank loan, create our own label and release our own record, which we did. We pressed 2000 copies of Eternal Flame and had an official release gig at the Hackney Empire in East London which was a sell out and packed to the rafters. We sold 1500 records at the gig (which paid for the venue). Most of the other copies were distributed to radio stations and record companies.

++ I really like the artwork for the single. What’s it about and who made it?

The artwork is by Carl Jenkins from Tredegar in Wales. He was a friend of Simon’s. Carl had his own band and we would meet up with him on our trips to Wales. He is a great artist and his work appealed to us and he offered his work for free. He also designed our name logo and the artwork for posters and t shirts.

I hadn’t seen Carl for 25 years but met him recently when he turned up at my workplace as he is now working as a roofing contractor. It was great to see him again after all that time.

++ So, what’s the best song you’ve written? and why?

My favourite song, because of the guitar solo, is ‘Sailing on the Ocean’. My most memorable songs are ‘Colour Field’ and ‘Brave New World’ because in 1987 we were invited to compete in Battle of the Bands competition organised by the Arts Council which was held at an open air music festival in East London. There was 10,000 people there and it was a real buzz to get all the crowd to jump at the same time. We won the Battle and our prize was 2 days recording time at Abbey Road Studios in London, where we recorded these 2 songs.

++ Tell me a bit about gigs, did you play many? Which was the best one? Any anecdotes that you can share?

We played over 200 gigs and I honestly enjoyed all of them (apart from one) but the one that stands out to me the most was one of the gigs we had at The Rock Garden, Covent Garden, London in 1987. It was packed with a great crowd who were all up for enjoying themselves. We were the support band to (can’t remember) and when we came off the stage the lead singer of the headline band said to me “how the f*** are we supposed to follow that”. I jumped off the stage and played guitar and danced amongst the audience. It was a fantastic night.

Another one which stands out is one at the Cranbrook in Ilford, London. One of our roadies got into an argument with a gang of mods and knocked out a guy’s front teeth. The place erupted while we were playing and the only way I could stop it was to offer everyone in the venue a drink. The fighting stopped but it cost me a week’s wages paying for everyone’s drinks. We never used that roadie again!!

We even went down well at known rock venues and were asked back on several occasions even though we were considered to be a ‘pop’ band.

The one gig which was an absolute nightmare was in a large tent at an open air music festival in Wales in 1987. There was an awful sound delay and we couldn’t wait for it to finish. Never again! Simon was destroyed by that experience as it was his home town so lots of his friends came and we sounded crap. He was so embarrassed.

++ I haven’t seen the single, but on a website it says that it included an insert. What was in this insert?

I’ve attached a copy of it. I sketched and wrote it so as to give more information about the band.

++ And then what happened with Mexico Red? When and why did you split?

By 1989 we were all skint and in debt. John and Simon had finished University and we all needed to get proper jobs. We were becoming disillusioned by all the promises and bullshit from various directions and so in 1989 we decided to split up. Me and (I think) Mike would have carried on but John and Simon were adamant that they had had enough. There were no massive arguments or any bad feelings, we just all went our separate ways.

The music was mine so I could have formed another band and carried on but I just didn’t have the heart to start all over again.

++ Were you involved with music afterwards?

No. I still strum the guitar most days but I’ve never written another song.

++ And all in all, what would you say was the biggest highlight for the band?

Definitely releasing the single. Last year we were going through old boxes and I discovered my collection of old (some limited edition) LP’s. I asked my sons to get on the computer to find out how much they were worth out of curiosity. Turned out our record was the most valuable and rare, go figure?

++ Thanks so much Del for everything, anything else you’d like to add?

I’ve attached a photo of the band from left to right Simon, Mike, me and John.

I’ve also attached a copy of the cover of the Vox Nouveaux compilation LP. I’ve attached a recording of ‘Colour Field’ hope you enjoy.

Its been great to reminisce and I really appreciate your interest.


Mexico Red – Colour Field


I have so many mixed feelings after coming back from Indietracks. I had a good time as I always do. There’s no better place for indiepop. That’s a given. I get to see all my friends and spend with them so much time in the beautiful Midland Railway Centre. We get to drink warm beers, sometimes with ice on it, and sit for hours in the stationary train next to the shed. We have greasy hamburgers from the immortal lady or badly wrapped burritos, or even curry from our friend Brian and Heather. And we eat dust to wake up with our noses full of black matter. All in all, it’s a good time, isn’t it?

The problem is the music, that’s the only problem. Everything else is just plain perfect. You know, as I said lines above, I can put up with having to drink warm cans of beer even though it doesn’t refresh you at all in a hot summer day. I can put up with kids playing football and creating a whole dust storm to everyone that is trying to enjoy The Popguns. Even dancing in the marquee among another dust storm I can take it. That the festival has to stop at midnight and can’t continue unless you have to pay 5 pounds to get into the beautiful campsite, well that’s ok too of course. But having 6 to 7 good bands out of 50 or something, is a bit too much. That’s why I’ve decided to take a break.

Yes, a lot of people at the festival were telling me that of course they’ll see me next year, that I’m just talking like this now but I’ll change my mind. And hey, believe me I wish they were right. I actually feel like going. But it’s way too expensive to fly in the summer to the UK and get to a festival were all my expenses don’t make it worth it. I remember years were I barely had any time to talk to friends, that I had to run from stage to stage not to miss a band. Years were I collected 10 or more setlists from bands compared to the meager 5 from this year. Of course it’s pretty nice to have extra time to spend walking around, catching up, being at the merch tables promoting the label, but I didn’t travel this far to not see some exciting new bands. Right?

As I said it’s a bit of a catch 22 this year’s Indietracks. I have a blast, I love being there, but I feel this is not the same festival I used to go. Even I took less photos this year. I bought less records too. I did enjoy a lot going back to the Alfreton Travelodge, definitely the hotel to be for me. Great conversations late at night, great friends to go out for breakfast in the morning too. And the Tesco being close by is perfect. Or Matloob procuring beers from the convenience store at the gas station from his Punjabi friend late at night. Those sort of things are what make me feel like I can’t miss my sixth Indietracks next year. But I think it all comes dome to priorities and seeing I was perhaps the only person from the US there this year (right?), I think I’m a bit nuts to keep going when only got to see 3 or 4 bands I’ve never seen before. That’s way too little. Especially when the UK still produces a lot of quality indiepop.

I’ve been previously critical of Indietracks about the bands they’ve been booking. I’m not blind and I did see less people in the crowd this year. Of course these sort of things go in cycles. Probably next year it will be packed, who knows. This year may have been a bit of a transition period, with some members of the organization leaving. Could be. I’m not going to judge that, they know best if that was the case. I did ask one of the organizers why was Gruff Rhys booked. The answer was “because I love him, he is great”. Yeah well, I was looking for another kind of answer. I guess that motto “an indiepop festival” is a bit forgotten.

I sent interview questions to team Indietracks before the festival. Sadly I didn’t get answers for them. I asked many questions that would have cleared up many of the doubts I had for this year organization.

All I’m saying is, and I don’t want to get deeper on this topic because there’s a lot of people that get very susceptible to any criticism is that Indietracks is the best festival for indiepop. The atmosphere is fantastic, the food options every year get better (though still no sign of the roast pork), and all the friends that come make up for a fabulous time. But the bands, come on. This was a festival that used to showcase small and up and coming bands back in the day. It celebrated a scene. It introduced me to so many new bands and also let me get to catch bands that would never cross the Atlantic. It was special what the organizers did, even bringing back classic bands like Friends or the McTells back to life. Where did all that energy, ideas, hope and good taste go? I don’t know.

Next week I’ll go over the festival, the anecdotes, and the bands I loved. I just wanted to explain why I’ve been saying why I won’t go next year. If it was a 100-200 dollar flight, as it it’s from many places in Europe, I would definitely repeat. But 1300 dollars flight, to get to see 6 or 7 indiepop bands, 3 or 4 I’ve never seen before, well, it doesn’t make any sense. I’ll be jealous of everyone going next year because it’s impossible not to have a good time, even if the quality keeps going down. Anyways, see you next week!


This week’s obscure band comes from a tape called “A Prospect of the Sea”. I heard about this band from Heinz’s Youtube channel. It seems this happens often. Heinz has a fantastic collection and top taste. Heinz, you should organize Hamburg Popfest!

The band was called Kindergarten. The song I heard was Jellybelly. This song was the 8th on the B-side of this tape that was released in 1991. The label seems to be Cloud Production, the catalog number was “Smile 3”. Question for everyone out there reading. What was Smile 1 and 2? Was there a number 4?

There was also another song included by Kindergarten in this tape. On the A side, track number 14 is “Everything You Do”. I haven’t had the chance to listen to this one but if it’s anything like “Jellybelly”, well, I will like it!

The song is a classic slice of 80s indiepop, in the vein of The Fat Tulips or The Penny Candles, though the sound is much rougher, like of a very flimsy flexi single. Could be the quality of the tape too. It does sound like taken from a demo tape. Boy/Girl vocals, catchy choruses, and nice jangly guitars. It reminds me a lot of another band I’ve featured here. Heaven’s Above. It’s no surprise then that they also appear on this tape.

Yes, it’s a tape done with a lot of good taste. In it you can find bands like The Suncharms, The Lovelies, They Go Boom!!, Dreamscape, Saturn V, The Sweetest Ache, White Town and more. Even Heavenly is in it! Pretty classic lineup!

But there are a couple of obscure bands too like this one. For example I have no clue about Gyroscopes, Poem by Rachel, Howard, Cradleyard, Huckleberry Pie or Spectral Alice. Seems I should investigate!

But now, let’s try to find answers and more information about Kindergarten. Who can help?!


Kindergarten – Jellybelly