Short post this week as we have NYC Popfest just around the corner and even tomorrow we have a gig with The Prams, Papa Topo, Jessica & The Fletchers and Gingerlys. So pretty busy with all these things, count also that I’ve been a tour guide the past weekend.

I know the podcast hasn’t been published and we really wanted to do so before Popfest. We’ll see if tomorrow morning we can make it. It has been hectic. But after this month things should go back to their normal flow.

This week then I have a curious question for all of you, about what do you think about this song. It’s not indiepop, but it’s pop and it’s independent. The thing is, and you’ll notice, that this song reminds me way too much to another song released 11 years after. A song that was to become a big hit.

From Wikipedia we know that:
English Evenings were a British new wave duo that released one album in 1985 entitled After Dark. Before English Evenings, Lee Walsh was a member of the band Sly Fox, whose name later changed to One Adult. After the band broke up and with its members going their separate ways, Walsh secured a record deal under the name of English Evenings, together with bandmate Graham Lee. They released only one album in 1985, on the UK independent label Safari Records. Although their producer was the famous audio engineer and producer Phil Harding, they did not meet with much success.After disbanding, Graham Lee and Lee Walsh went on to later produce a football song for Leeds United in 1990, entitled “We Are Leeds”.

Most of their records were released on Safari Records, like the singles “English Evenings” (1983), “Touch” (1983), “Tear You Down” (1984), “I Will Return” (1985). But I’m mostly curious about their last single, the one released in 1986 on GFM Records (catalog GFM 106) called “Those Brilliant Teens”, a song about teenage suicide. That’s the the A side, whereas the B side was “The Other Side”.

So here’s the thing. The song is way too similar to Pulp’s “Common People”. And I’ve been curious about this similarity for a week now, since I heard this song for the first time. I really don’t know what to think, but I really doubt it’s just a coincidence. I’ve been googling around if any other person has written or wondered about it. There are, but a few. On Youtube there’s a comment.  On Rateyourmusic.com there’s also someone calling it a proto “Common People”. But that’s it. There’s nothing more. And I find this pretty odd.

You can also listen to a demo version of this song on Youtube.

I wonder, what do you think about this? Coincidence or not? Or maybe I’m missing something in the story that I have no clue?


English Evenings – Those Brilliant Teens


Since the last post things have been very quiet. I asked for new band recommendations and I got none. Ha ha.

Podcast is still in the works. I hope that this week it gets published. Aside from that here at the label I’m just waiting for the Fibi Frap release and the 7″s that have been already announced on the website. I updated the site with some more info about these upcoming releases. That’s more or less what’s going on. As soon as I have news I’ll make sure to let you know.

As it gets closer, I feel a bit sad that I won’t be going to Indietracks. I know I’ve been critical, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like going there. Maybe I’ll return next year. I also noticed that there is going to be a Manchester Popfest in August. It’s going to be happening on the 15th and 16th of that month at two venues, the Kraak Gallery and the Islington Mill. I haven’t been to any but the lineup seems pretty interesting. There’s a bunch of bands I don’t know, so perhaps I should take a look? The prices for the festival are very reasonable, 13.50 pounds per day or 22.50 pounds for both days. It’s a good deal indeed. They will also be screening the Sarah Records documentary (I’m looking forward to watching it at NYC Popfest), they’ll have zines and djs as well. Seems like a good time to me! It’s really great that other cities are embracing the Popfest idea.

About these unknown bands to me, well, let’s check them out? That could make a good post, right?

I’m starting with Slowcoaches, who seem to be headlining one of the days. This is not indiepop per se, it’s a punk band and I actually like it. I usually don’t enjoy much of the punk being made these days, but this one is pretty good, they have a great sense of melody without losing their rawness. Quite a surprise. I’m 100% more into this sound, this mash-up of indiepop with punk, than when they bring me these folky-hippie-pop stuff. This is much more interesting. Definitely a band to keep an eye.

Keel Her is another new band for me. There’s so many releases on their Bandcamp.  Again a much punkier approach to pop here. Sometimes this reminds me to the early 80s, a bit of Modettes, Slits, Kleenex. Not bad. Some other times I hear the sound of Brooklyn, of the new generation of hipster bands and I’m not 100% convinced. There are a bunch of releases as I said, but only a handful of songs to actually listen. I can’t make up my mind, but I think I’d be curious to watch them if I was going to Manchester Popfest.

So far Pega Monstro is my favorite new band at Manchester Popfest. What a nice discovery. Indiepop from Portugal! Haven’t heard any indiepop from Portugal since Safety Matches! I just love how Portuguese blends with the distortion, the bass, with the crazy drumming. Punky indiepop. And of course, extra bonus points to Manchester for booking a band from a country that doesn’t get much attention at indiepop festivals.

Seeds of Doubt is yet another new band for me. I’m surprised by this, see, that’s why I was asking for new band recommendations. Not the kind of indiepop that drives me crazy, more angular than jangly generally, but when they go jangly, they have top songs like “Shelf Life” that has that classic indiepop feel. Looking forward to check the bunch of releases at their bandcamp site later today.

The Scottish band Spinning Coin seem to have a following and they are releasing a tape soon. First time I hear about them, and I feel the blog post is getting longer than I expected. There are many more bands for me to cover, so perhaps I should stop here with this band and next week continue with the rest. From Spinning Coin, I can’t say much, I have only heard the one song called “Pimp” and I’m not sold. A bit too cavernous and rocky for me. I will keep investigating.

And of course, I’ve added links to all of these bands for you to check out. You know it can happen that you like them much more than I do, or the total opposite too. So check them out. It’s always a nice thing to do, spending countless hours listening to new music. And thanks for that to Manchester Popfest for offering a totally new group of bands! That’s is exactly what Popfests are all about, introducing and supporting up and coming bands!

Oh! And before I forget, you should all listen to Roger Gunnarsson’s new project Leaderboard new song: Noble Heart. I know it’s not indiepop, but he is a genius.


Lately I feel that Ireland is a country most of us indiepop, neo-aco, C86, or whatever name you want to call us, collectors and lovers, haven’t really explored much. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to dig deep there, especially if when you do you find bands like Scale the Heights!

According to the Irish Rock website, Scale the Heights were an energetic guitar band (no synths) compared in the press to The Smiths and Housemartins, with American influences, including some ‘cowpunk’ influences though perhaps that would now be called ‘Americana’. Recorded a well received demo in 1988 and won the Carling/Hot Press  Award for best unsigned act the same year, the prize being a one-off single deal with WEA. Still active in 1990. Liam Kirkpatrick and Paul McAllister currently (2011) record as Latecomers.

From that site we also find that they were from Maynooth, Kildare.
Maynooth is a university town in north County Kildare, Ireland. It is home to Maynooth University (also known as The National University of Ireland Maynooth) part of the National University of Ireland, a Pontifical University and Ireland’s main Roman Catholic seminary, St Patrick’s College. Maynooth is also the seat of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and holds the headquarters of Ireland’s largest development charity, Trócaire.

Okay that makes sense, university town and bands usually go hand in hand. We also get to know that the band started around 1987 and the members were David O’Driscoll on vocals, Tony Doherty on guitar, Liam Kirkpatrick on bass and Paul McAllister on drums.

It was the next year, in 1988, that they start selling a demo tape with the songs “Where Will We Be”, “Goodbye to All That” and “Two Wives”. It is the second song that I’m guessing made Warner Records sign them.

Yes, WEA was to release a 7″ record the next year. In 1989 we find on the A side “Goodbye To All That” (recorded December 1988 at Lansdowne Studios) and on the B side the song “So Soon” (recorded November 1987 at Lab Studios). The first song was engineered and produced by Chris O’Brien with assistant engineer Robbie Adams. The second song was engineered by Eoghan McCarron.

I haven’t found this record yet. Doesn’t seem to be listed on Discogs and haven’t seen it on eBay. This is quite strange as the record was put out by WEA so it’s kind of obvious to assume that a bunch of copies were pressed. Perhaps there’s little interest or knowledge. But if anyone has a spare copy or know where I can get one, please help this man in need!

The only other place I found some information about the band was on the superb Fanning Sessions blog. From there we learn that: On 01/05/1989 they recorded a Fanning session featuring tracks ‘Cold’, ‘Happy Ever After’, ‘One Step Away’ and ‘Go Hang Yourself’.

They also have some reviews from that time:

They featured in a number of Hot Press end of year critics roundups, here’s what Damian Corless wrote:
“Band Of The Year, however, without a shadow of a doubt, were Kildare’s Carling/Hot Press winners, Scale The Heights, who combine an incendiary live attack with some of the finest songs ever written in the history of the planet – I kid you not” HotPress Critics Roundup 1988

“On the home front there was nothing to equal the thrill of Scale The Heights’ live attack.” HotPress Critics Roundup 1989

Also on that post on the Fanning Sessions blog you can listen to more songs by Scale the Heights like “1938”, “Proud of You”, “Down the Hill” or “Blindman’s Clothes”. My favorite of them all is the single. That’s the song you can’t and shall not miss is the fabulous “Goodbye to All That”, a true indiepop gem!  My second favourite is “Down the Hill” for sure. It comes packaged in chiming jangly guitars.

Anyways, that’s more or less all I could dig from this obscure Irish band. But perhaps someone out there, perhaps you, could help me fill in the blanks, what happened to this band? Have you heard the other songs on the demo? Did they record anything else? What are they doing now? So many questions that would love to see answered!


Scale the Heighs – Goodbye To All That


Still suffering the pains of allergy here. How are you all enjoying this year’s spring? Hope that much better than me!

Last weekend I finished recording the May edition of the Cloudberry podcast and the files are already in Toni’s magic hands for them to be equalized and all those things that sound people know how to do. So it sounds better, and so all these files are pasted together. This month’s podcast is a celebration of NYC Popfest. That’s the theme for the month. On top of it all, I interview Masami from the Japanese band Wallflower who will be playing their first show in the U.S. during the festival.

On other news, I want to point you all to pre-order the reissue of Easter & the Totem’s “The Sum is Greater Than Its Parts” on Sol Re Sol Records. It’s on LP and it includes the artwork and the songs from this classic album! I don’t want you to miss this. I was lucky to score the original one when in Toronto many years ago thanks to the awesome friend that is Jessel! But those who don’t own it, or just want an extra copy, you can just grab it for a very good price, $13 plus shipping here. If you remember, the band has also been featured on the blog when I interviewed Mike Berry, one of the members.

The other good news is that last week Pale Spectres sent me some mixes for the 4 songs that will appear on the awaited 7″. They sound fabulous really, and these were not even the finished mixes! So it seems that pretty soon the songs will be ready and finally we’ll be releasing them. The songs are: “Bicycles”, “D(r)iving”, “Didn’t Know Where To Go” and “Goodbye”. I think a lot of people have been waiting for such news!

Also I would keep your eyes peeled on Pale Spectres’ Thomas’ new solo project, “Tomiji”. It sounds super!

In the meantime, here I am waiting for the Fibi Frap CDs, waiting for NYC Popfest, and taking it easy. Nevertheless I do have a question for all of you, are there any great new releases that you’d recommend me? I kind of feel I’ve been buying too many records, but all of them from many years ago! And second question, are there any cool indiepop bands in Sweden these days? It feels it’s all so quiet there! Which is quite a surprise!


This week I’ll recommend you a very nice record that you should be able to track down easily. It’s obscure yes, but it doesn’t seem that rare online. Discogs at the moment has copies at very reasonable prices.

The year was 1986. The band was called After This and the label Operation Afterglow. This label was actually a sub-label of Les Disques du Crépuscule. A sub-label that the Belgian label had set up in the UK after the demise of Operation Twilight (yet another sub-label). It was short-lived but released not only this record. Anna Domino, Paul Haig, Winston Tong and Front 242 were part of it as well.

After This released only one record during their career and it was this one. On the A side the song was the precious and timeless “Fields” whereas on the B side we find “Hollow Hills”. On the cover artwork we see a photo of some zebras. The catalog number was OPA 012.

The record was released both as a 12″ and a 7″. The songs are the same really, though there’s an extended version of Fields on the 12″.

We know that both songs were written by a Richard Lowe. I don’t know much about him aside from a comment on Youtube saying that he used to manage the band Catatonia.

On the back cover, among photos of a llama, a red panda, some flamingos, and two other animals I’m not sure what their names are (one is a sort of horned antilope and the other one looks like a spotted dear) we find some more info. The design of the record was done by P. Moore, it was produced by Alan Rankine and the photos were taken by M. Baker for mugshots.

Well, well… Alan Rankine was the same Alan Rankine of the Associates. Would it be a good guess to say that After This hailed from Scotland then!?

Oh! and the back cover also has the lyrics for the A side. I can sing along then 🙂

That’s really all there is to this record. How did I discover this band? Well, I got the record from Uwe some years ago. But I knew about the songs thanks to some MP3s that used to be shared on Soulseek inside a folder called “Future Leamington Spa”. There were a bunch of bands there that I had never heard. I don’t know who compiled them. But I was always curious about them. One of them was After This.

Now, do you know anything else about them? Are there any more recordings? Would be cool to learn more what happened to them!


After This – Fields


Finally May arrived. Arrived with allergies, spring and pollen, sure thing. But also with NYC Popfest. This year as I’m not traveling to Indietracks, this will be the main (and possibly only) indiepop event I’m going to. So that’s pretty exciting!

During the time I was in China it seems that the lineup changed a bit. I came back to see some surprises on it. I thought maybe I should go through these new additions as I did with the earlier announcements.

The biggest addition and surprise was Cold Beat from San Francisco. A friend from work recommended me this band two months ago. We were just talking about our latest purchases on Discogs. He told me he had just bought a 12″ by this band. He said that I might like it. And hell I did. I immediately bought their album and 12″ single on Discogs. I thought better buy it now before it becomes popular and pricey even though these releases were some years old. Some days later I was talking to Maz from Popfest about Popfest and even though it was already late and the lineup had just been announced that I really loved this band and I couldn’t believe it had been under everyone’s radar in indiepop, that a friend that has nothing to do with the scene had pointed them to me! Anyhow, Maz loved them but I never thought he would book them!! Of course this makes me terribly happy, I will get a chance to see them. Named after a The Sound song, this is a very cool sounding band, fronted by Hannah Lew from Grass Widow (who I was never a fan go figure) and all their records have been self-released on their own Crime on the Moon. If you haven’t heard them yet check this video for the song “Out of Time“.

The Holiday Crowd will be coming back. It seems Palms on Fire didn’t get their visas sorted. No surprise, that’s always a pain for bands that need one. Especially indiepop bands that have little means. This is a pretty good replacement though as The Holiday Crowd is one of the best indiepop bands around for sure. My only complain of course is that they have already played Popfest and I love seeing new bands always. That doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy their show. Last time I saw them they were just astounding, great sound and a fantastic frontman. So if they repeat just 20% of that show, I’ll be more than happy. I actually thought they weren’t playing anymore as they had been so silent for the past few years. This is definitely good news, perhaps there’s a new release in the horizon?

Pete Astor will be playing the free show on Saturday. Makes sense. He is coming with The Loft and it’s definitely a good idea to see him playing solo. I did once as I have mentioned before in another post at the Lexington in London. He is really good playing his songs acoustically, it’s really cozy, and the stories in between songs are ace. I think this will be the sleeper hit for the Popfest. A treat that I hope not many miss (Saturday afternoon show is by far the least popular Popfest slot).

So those are the three additions for this year’s festival. But I haven’t talked about the DJs, have I?

I’m not sure who is DJing between bands on Friday or Sunday. Does anyone know? On Friday there’s a Cameo DJ party. As always Maz is the go to DJ if you wanna dance to some classic and new indiepop tunes. On Saturday the treat will be seeing Daniel Novakovic from So Tough So Cute DJ at the Knitting Factory. I look forward to this, as one of the best indiepop dance nights I’ve ever danced to was in London Popfest when Daniel literally had the dancefloor on fire.

What else is there to know? I don’t know. Perhaps restaurants around the venues that I recommend? haha. Maybe.


I was remembering today the band Hartfield from Japan. I don’t think there was any reason in particular. I just remembered that I really liked their album and I wondered what happened to them. I never knew much about them to start. I thought it was just a boy and a girl but it seems there was a bit more to the story.

When they played live they did have a full band, but Hartfield was really just Takateru Kagawa and Yukari Tanaka. First question then, were they a couple?

My introduction to them came with the 2003 album released by Clairerecords (fern 048) and also by Vinyl Junkie (VJR 010) called “True Color, True Lie”. Okay, the proper version is that of the Japanese label, who licensed it to the Florida one. The album included 13 fabulous swirling dreampop songs mastered by Tomonobu Hara and mixed by Scott Cortez (from Astrobrite). The photography for the sleeve came thanks of Aya Watanabe, Naru & Hartfield.  The US version of the album included “Wonderful Word” and “Free Again”, two songs that weren’t on the Japanese version of the album.

I was in love with a song on it called “Girl Like You”. I thought it was a masterpiece.

I didn’t follow them then. Today I find out they released another record, a mini-album. It was called L.I.B.R.A. and was only released in Japan by Vinyl Junkie (VJR 015). It came out in 2004 and included 6 songs including a remix of “Girl Like You” by Pia Fraus. Included in the CD were two promo videos for the songs “Today Forever” and “She Knows“. The support members for this record were Tatsuhiro Miura on drums and Takeshi Komine on bass. The mix for the record was done by Pia Fraus. Seems that the title of the album means “Leave it Before Ruins Again”. Right?

Now, it seems they had a following in South Korea. In 2005 Pastel Music releases in that country a two CD compilation (!!) aptly titled  “True Color, True Lie + L.I.B.R.A. & MORE”. In it all songs they released are included but also we get some remixes by Astrobrite of “Strangers When We Meet” and “16 Lover’s Rain”, an acoustic version of “My Christiana” and a cover of “Never Ending Story” (!). Someone on Discogs has commented that “This release comes in two separate jewel cases with separate catalog numbers. True Color True Lie has an exclusive insert in Korean about the band. ” But I can’t be sure at all. I have never seen this release but I will try to track it down! Seems like something I really need!

Now we do a bit of backtracking to 2001. That’s the first time Hartfield appears to be released. They contribute the song “Girl Like You” to a compilation called “Seven Winters” released by G.A.C. records in Japan. It’s a shoegazy records with shoegazy bands. Then their second compilation appearance that I know of is in 2003 when they contribute “(The Stars Will Shine Above All Of) The Streets (Alternate Mix)” to the “Pacific Union” compilation. Again a very shoegazy record with bands like Airiel, Pia Fraus or Monster Movie (and our favourite indiepop band Silver Screen).

The last time we hear from them was in 2006. On a compilation called “Never Lose That Feeling Volume Two” released by Club AC30 (AC303032) they contribute the song “Soon”, which is a cover of My Bloody Valentine.

Online I try to dig more information about them. I find a cool review of their first ever solo gig in Japan, at a venue called The Shelter. You can read about it here. That was 2004.

Then there’s a review page for their album. There are two English reviews and one in Italian. I mean, if you already know that you have to check it out because I’m recommending them to you, maybe these other reviewers will convince you. So try it.

And last but not least there’s a bio on last.fm. From it we learn some important facts:
– They released three cassette singles by independence production and sold all 1,000 copies of them at independent record stores in and around Tokyo. Hartfield was later signed to Vinyl Junkie Recordings. They participated in a promotional compilation CD Way of a Ray which was released from VINYL JUNKIE Recordings.

In 2006 they toured the east coast of the US with Chicago’s Airiel, playing with such artists as A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcian Blue, Stellarscope, along with playing at the Pop Noise Festival in Philadelphia.

-Upon returning to Japan, Hartfield was looking for a new label to support their future albums and tours. As fans awaited the next release by Hartfield, no news surfaced, and the future of the band went on hiatus. It is unconfirmed whether or not Hartfield will create a new record. Their website www.hartfieldweb.com, is no longer up, leading many to speculate that the band has possibly broken up.

And that my friends, is where I lose their trail. There’s barely anything written online. Perhaps there is in Japanese? But that I couldn’t tell sadly. I wonder what happened to the members? If they recorded more songs? And if so, if they will ever release them? Are they still playing music under another name? Why the silence? I really liked this band.


Girl Like You