Didn’t get a chance to blog during the week (I did post an interview though!). It’s already Sunday and to be honest I’m forcing myself to leave a weekly post here before this week is over. Thing is that it’s been very busy at work this week and I expect to continue to be like this during the next weeks. September will be a bit tough to do full fledged posts I’m afraid. Also I think as indiepop it’s been so quiet as of late it’s kind of hard to find topics that matter at the moment.

Of course I could do some sort of summary of new releases, new bands, or news that are worthy to mention. But I’m not that terribly excited about any new releases. Most of my last purchases have been of old records. The last records I got excited about to buy their whole discography were of Star Horse from Sweden. Then I think this week I liked a Facebook page after some time too, it was a band called Boys also from Sweden. It’s not the same Boys from the early, mid noughties, those that sung the amazing song “New Girl Born”, but a female led band. Sounds good though.

Another idea is also try to pick a scene and check what bands are interesting there, like what I did about Peru not so long ago, and what I did last week with the Spanish scene of the early 90s. Don’t know if these posts tend to be interesting to you, in the end they are a list of links and I wonder if anyone has the time to go through all of them. I’ll continue doing these, though every time I end up doing a post like this, I feel kind of empty hearted, I start thinking, damn, this fine collection of songs, why isn’t it released on a physical format?

And that same question is the one that like a ghost inhabits my head. Why are so many good collections of songs are not released anymore. There’s a big void since Firestation decided not to release the Leamington Spa series. Those were the best compilations ever. In the beginning they were all so popular, even released in both vinyl and CD format. Then as time went by, as volumes were released, it seems only the hardcore fans were into them. Without them I would have never discovered so many amazing bands like The Deddingtons or the Thin Gypsy Thieves, and wouldn’t have been able to interview so many bands that have been featured on the blog.

In general I’ve found compilations are much harder to sell than regular albums. Could be because many times the quality varies between bands and songs on them. But in cases like the Leamington Spa series this shouldn’t have mattered. It was more of a document of a time and period, and it included a booklet that illustrated and gave perspective with the bands bio and discography. Not so long ago Cherry Red did something similar with the box set of Scared to Get Happy. Problem with it, is that it was just a one-off and that it included mostly well known bands. Even though it was curated nicely, the rewards weren’t that many. It was a great introduction to indiepop perhaps, but it didn’t dig enough for those who are thirsty for the next perfect pop song.

At the same time the ideas of doing similar sort of compilations with German, Australian and Greek bands started to vanish. First of all because they are difficult to make. If it’s already super difficult to deal with one band, dealing with 20 and at the same time ends up being a headache. Some bands are easy and helpful, others are complicated and forgetful. It requires patience, and it requires for one not to lose hope. With all those difficulties, and having Cherry Red kind of taking your ideas, sales not helping, and of course, the internet, well, these compilations even though they are missed, become a very difficult enterprise to undertake.

I still dream of making one, perhaps the day the blog ends up in book format it could include a first volume compilation or something like that. Who knows. I just miss discovering new bands though compilations. I’m not going to lie, it’s easier that way, than me digging and digging online to find something. Whoever compiled the songs already did the job for me. And that’s awesome, you can only be grateful for that. People like Uwe, who knows so many fantastic bands, that releases the one single, or not even, just a demo tape, are the perfect people to do these compilations. Who knows, perhaps one day music will matter again and it just won’t be bandcamps and soundclouds, and we’ll get to spend a night listening attentively the songs and while doing that, reading about them on the booklet. But that is just wishful thinking.


I guess then if there was going to ever be a sort of German compilation of guitar pop bands from the late 80s, early 90s, 7 Roberts would be in there for sure.

Even though I know so little about them, and only have heard one of their songs, I know they were quality. You can tell by the sound of a guitar. That song I know is “When You Smile”. How do I know it? Well, it appeared on the tape compilation “Heaven Sent” (catalog HS002) that was released by the Heaven Sent fanzine in Germany. In this compilation we find bands we’ve featured in the blog like The Wilde Plains and The Sohfas and also many other well known bands like The Haywains, The Jesterbells, Remember Fun, The Penny Candles and so on. A true pop compilation, compiled with great taste.

Robert: from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht. It has been a very common English name since that time.

But 7 of them Roberts. Doubt there were 7 band members called Roberts. Wonder where the name comes from. The only thing I know, as I said, was that they released on 7″ that included two songs: “Heaven’s Spell” and “September”. It’s interesting all this “Heaven” associated to them.

Sadly I haven’t heard these songs. Are they as good as the one that appears on the compilation?

They were released by a German label called Sworm Records. There is no catalog number and it seems this was the only release on this label. It was released in 1987.

The cover artwork is very new wave. I wonder then if they consider themselves more of a new wave act than an indie guitar pop band. Also I would like to guess the name of the label is a play on words, as they came from Worms. How did I know that? Well, there was a connection with The Wilde Plains.

Years ago I interviewed Bernd from this great German bands and when I asked them about fellow bands in their hometown they told me:
In the late eighties Worms was crowded with guitar-pop-bands. It all began with “Autumn’s Chant” in 1984 (with later Wide Plains members Bernd and Robert amongst others). When “Autumn`s chant” split up in 1986 “The Blue Eyed Bandits” (Bernd),”The Blue and White collar workers” (Robert) and a little bit later “The 7 Roberts” (Robert) were founded. Around that time Jürgen played in “The Rayn”, Christian formed “Drab Hotchpotch” while Andi joined “The Wallflowers” and later “Sonic Flower Groove”. After all the “Wide Plains” started in 1989.

And that’s all I know about 7 Roberts. Did they have more songs? Did they appear on other compilations? Would love to know a bit more about them!


7 Roberts – When You Smile


Thanks so much to Mark Walshe for this interview! Some time ago I wrote about Some Other Day in the blog, I was in love with their songs and hoped to get in touch with the members of the band just to know a little bit more about them. Happily Mark got in touch not too long ago and was keen to answer all my questions! Hope you enjoy it!

++ Hi Mark! Thanks so much for getting in touch! I think you are living in the US these days, isn’t that right? How come you ended up here?

I moved to the U.S in 1993. I had been living in various parts of London and working seven days a week on a clothes stall in Camden Town. The Tender Trap had just come to an end and I was in need of a break. My older brother Ed lived in San Francisco so I thought I’d pay him a visit. It was only supposed to be for two months but that plan got slightly extended thanks to Ed’s invitation for me to use his couch for as long I wanted. Staying for a while seemed to be a very attractive proposition. Now it’s 23 years later.

++ Have you been involved a lot with music in the US?

When I first arrived it was just about me playing my acoustic in people’s living rooms. I wrote a lot back then. It must have been the effect of a new environment. I met a guy called Lonnie Lazar from Texas and we’d play gigs together in a cafe/bar called Simple Pleasures. He would play his bluesy, country gig and I follow him with my Essex chops. Quite a varied evening!

I also got involved in a ramshackle nightclub called Nickie’s where Ed and myself would host a weekly Irish night. We knew a fair bit about Irish music because of our parents. I would book some amazing artists and we became friends with most of them. That night became a platform for me to play my songs too. We called the night “An Choirm Cheoil”. I suppose you could say they were the golden years in SF.

In 1998 I slaved over an eight-song demo (imaginatively entitled “8 Songs”) that I recorded on an old four-tack Tascam studio in my bedroom. I upgraded to a digital Boss BR-8 but it was all still pretty lo-fi. Around then I started playing regularly in a bar called The Edinburgh Castle. It was a really bohemian joint full of musicians and writers. Irvine Welsh was a friend of the manager and a frequent contributor to the reading nights. I also met Patrick McCabe and James Kelman in there. I got together with a great gang of musicians from that bar and we’ve been in cover bands together ever since. All great musicians from Scotland, New York, and Ireland. It was a very fortunate meeting.

++ So I wrote many years ago about Some Other Day on my blog, as all the songs I had heard from your band were excellent. There was very little information about the band online, so I hope you can help me fill in the blanks. Let’s start by the obvious, who were Some Other Day and how did you all meet?

The band started with Suzy Allen and myself. She had moved to Harlow from Brighton (originally) and we met in The Square around 1985. A friend of Suzy’s had given us this ancient reel-to-reel machine that we somehow managed to breath life into. It was like a prop from a Science Fiction film. We both had some songs so we started to record. Richard Martin came along with some much needed bass lines and we entered ourselves into the Harlow Rock Contest. There seemed to be endless rock contests in the town back then. We had intended to play without a drummer but with just weeks to go before the gig, Billy Dawkins turned up with his big drum sound and the band was complete. After our first rehearsal I remember thinking, “How were we going to do this without those drums?”

++ I know you were involved with many bands back in the day like Dark Horse, The Clinic, and Tender Trap. What would be the order chronologically for them, and if you can in a line or two tell me what sort of sound, or what influences, did each band had. Were they very different to Some Other Day?

That’s a big question but one I’m pleased to answer. You may need to heavily edit here because there’s no short way of telling this.

Dark Horse was first. The germ of an idea that started back in 1977 when I met my best mate Paul Howard in school. We bonded over a mutual interest in all things punk rock. After making a lovely racket throughout our school years we finally got serious about the band around 1982. Keith Brown was like a child prodigy drummer who we met through school friends. He was about three years younger than us and we’d never let him forget it, “Don’t worry Keith, rock and roll is a big bad world but we’ll look after you. We’re old hands at this”. We would rehearse in a local church near my house. The priest gave me the keys and just told us not to break anything. Father Lubey, what a hero. There was a metal work training shop directly opposite with the constant clang of hammer against anvil. In the summertime, when we had to open the church doors the metalwork training shop complained to the priest about our noise. I always love telling that story.

Our influences at that time were bands like The Cure, The Stranglers, U2 and The Bunnymen. Also Scott Walker, Marc & The Mamba’s and Bowie were very big for Paul especially. We wrote individually and the songs were called things like, “What It Is To Be Young”, “Now And Forever”, “Better Off Dead”, “Live Another Day”, “The Question” and “The Underground”. Quite advanced for schoolboys! Paul was very quiet about his talents back then. He insisted that he would never sing even backing vocals. Funny, considering what a great vocalist he became.

The Clinic was another band formed with schoolmates. I handed my friend Paul Carolan a tape of “Faith” by The Cure when we were in the fifth form. He kept going on about Earth Wind and Fire but I knew he couldn’t possibly be that cheerful. After Dark Horse split up I got together with Paul, his brother James on bass and Joe Quill on drums. Every Saturday, Joe and myself would take the bus from Harlow to Loughton and rehearse in the Carolan’s front living room. A petition was set up in the area to get us to stop. I think it just made us turn up a notch. Paul sang and wrote all the songs and they were dark, ethereal and lovely. “Our Day Out” was our anthem. Well, so was, “Spinning Room” and “Hero” actually. Paul clearly had the anthem thing down. I loved his songs. I discovered the Boss Chorus pedal around about then and I used it like an oxygen mask. The Cure were a big influence but so too were Theatre Of Hate, Joy Division and The Cocteau Twins. We were Goth Casual! We had mates in a band called Under Two Flags and they were really making it so I think they were on our minds a fair bit.

We played The Tom Allen Centre in Stratford one night supporting The Jazz Butcher. He came into our dressing room and asked us to go on tour with them right there and then. He was very insistent but I had to turn him down because James was moving to Sheffield. He told me to get a new bass player but I told him we were family. That was our last gig.

Some Other Day I was able to get back to writing songs in Some Other Day. I wrote most of them but Suzy wrote some crackers for the band too. I wrote loads of songs in SOD. I think it had something to do with that naivety of youth where you think you can’t go wrong. Actually, you can. I wrote some real stinkers too but because I was writing so much, hopefully the pro’s outweighed the cons.

The Tender Trap Around 1985 Paul Howard suddenly announced that his band The Tender Trap were going to play in the Harlow Rock Contest and that he was going to be the lead singer. This was a surprise to everyone because, as active as he was with music, nobody had heard so much as a peep out of the man on a microphone. I’ll never forget that gig. It was just four songs but it was the first time even I’d heard that incredible voice. Me, his brother in Punk! The next year he reformed The Tender Trap with Simon Lomond from The Neurotics on drums and Andy McDonald from The Pressure on bass. I was flattered to be asked to join as the lead guitarist but I wasn’t confident. I never really saw myself in that role but in The Trap, like in The Clinic I suppose, I could hear what my friends wanted in their songs. The Tender Trap proper was formed and we lived somewhere in between The Clash, The Waterboys, Dexy’s and Little Richard. We supported The Pogues, Hazel O’Connor, Geno Washington, The Blow Monkey’s, The Energy Orchard, The Liberty Cage, Sam Brown and even did a gig at Glastonbury. We were a giddy gang of pirates (The Libertines would’ve blushed) and we should’ve gone much further than we did. It was just another classic “bastard record company” story. I’ll leave it at that.

++ Where does the name Some Other Day come from?

I saw a 4AD advert in the NME. It listed all their coming releases and underneath, in a typically understated 4AD way it read “some other day…” in tiny italics. I thought it was poetic, like how we all live our lives. Some other day I’ll be happy, fulfill that ambition. Some other day I’ll fall in love.

++ How was the creative process for the band?

I remember it as very democratic. We’d rehearse every Thursday night in a place called Parndon Mill on the outskirts of Harlow. It was an actual Mill, an ancient drafty thing but also strangely comfortable. We’d play like crazy for about two hours suggesting politely to each other “Do it a bit more like this”. Then I’d give Billy the nod and we’d all go to the pub for a break or, “to write the set-list” as we’d sell it. When we got back Billy would start up some mad drumbeat and we’d usually have the bare bones of a song to go home with. I remember a jam like that ending up as a song called “Joy”. Billy was bashing the blazes out of his kit and I played a kind of a Will Sergeant riff to Richard’s plodding JJ Burnell bass line. The tape machine was running and I was really excited with the results. I wrote the song very quickly around that. It just made me understand that not all songs have to begin in your bedroom with an acoustic guitar.

++ And at that time, which bands did you follow? What were you into?

A big album at our inception was “Swoon” by Prefab Sprout. Now I’m not saying we reached anything like their texture and intensity but we definitely loved that record. I remember thinking Del Amitri’s self-titled first album was unmatchable and very different form their second incarnation. It’s hard to escape The Smiths in all this. That band had more of an influence on me than I’d like to admit. It was a big time for those chimey guitars ala Johnny Marr and I embraced it to say the very least. Ben Watt’s “North Marine Drive” was my bible back then. Richard was a huge Prince fan. Billy would rave about Talk Talk. Suzy was brought up with a great Folk mentality. I’m from an Irish family so I was very into those gorgeous, melancholic melodies. Christy Moore changed me considerably. There was a band called The Woodentops who we stumbled upon at Brighton’s ‘Zap Club’ and collectively fell for. They married great tunes and big beats. I heard Nicky Wire say something to the effect recently that if you were lucky enough to have been brought up on bands like Buzzcocks and The Clash, then they will always inform your music in some way. I think that’s very true. In that way, Echo and The Bunnymen were ever present for me. “Heaven Up Here” is still one of my favourite albums.

++ You didn’t have a proper release. Why’s that? Was there any interest from labels? It’s surprising as your songs are so good!

We had a few visits up to London to talk to record companies but it was all a bit “Hmm, nice, see you in a year”. There’s a funny story about how we drew attention to our tape but I’ll save that for later.

++ You did appear on two compilations. “Bury Your Sins” appeared on the “Not Just Mandela” comp with a bunch of well known bands like Housemartins or Billy Bragg. This compilation had a political background. Who asked you to contribute? And was there a gig to promote it? What do you remember about this episode of Some Other Day?

Davy Lamp Records was the brainchild of Graham Bell and Steve Lamacq. It was originally set up to help the miners with the fall-out from the strike of ‘84-5. The “Not Just Mandela” album was an ambitious project to bring together loads of Harlow bands and release a record to help the Anti Apartheid Movement in South Africa. Billy Bragg was well known to The Neurotics and Attila The Stockbroker as they’d all toured extensively in Eastern Europe. I’m not too sure how The Housemartins were reached. Probably Attila. The man was and is a gigging machine. The album was about to be pressed and we weren’t on it. All my mates were there but we weren’t on the list! We played a gig at Harlow Town Park one summer and Graham walked up to me when I got off stage and asked me if I wanted to contribute. I was chuffed. I wrote “Bury Your Sins” especially for that I think.

++ The other appearance was with the song “Sad But True” on the compilation”Uncle Arthur’s Pop Parlour” were a bunch of indie guitar bands appeared. How did you end up in this compilation? And did you feel at the time that there was a like-minded scene with all these guitar pop bands?

I didn’t know much about this compilation at the time. Gareth Stevens was a good friend of ours. He was a local journalist and champion of the band. I think that compilation was his baby. I suppose there was a like-minded scene. What was nice about it though, in those days, there was no one band copying another. There was a bit of borrowing but individuality won the day.

++ Then I was lucky to hear more songs on the Harlow Archive. 4 songs that are just so good. My first question of course is, are there any more recordings?

We recorded three demos. One was recorded in Hertford and two others at an amazing studio in South London called RMS. It was directly opposite Selhurst Park Football ground. The studio owner Andy was so clued into what we were trying to achieve. He really liked our band and I felt we were in great hands. We recorded “Bury Your Sins” and “One Man’s Words” in there and then went back to record a four-track session intended for vinyl release. We just ran out of cash and it became a tape. That had “Head Still Full Of You”, “All Water Under The Bridge”, “It Stays With Me Always” and “Midnight” on it. I saw the posting from our bassist Richard on your site where he says he still has everything we recorded in a shoebox. I’d say there’s a lot of music in that there box.

++ It’s hard to pick one song to be my favourite, but perhaps “Head Still Full of You” might be mine, if you don’t mind, care telling me the story behind this song?

I don’t mind telling you at all. It’s a song about my first “proper” girlfriend. That classic tale of letting someone go only to realise you’ve made a mistake…but you’re too late sunshine. The line, “If the light should flicker on the landing there” still gives me a giggle. My girlfriend’s Mum was in full support of us having a little privacy upstairs but her Dad was completely against it. When he began threatening to go up and investigate, her Mum would secretly run out into the hallway and flash the hallway light three times. “The warning signs beneath the stairs” was the sound of my girlfriend’s dad racing up to catch us red-handed. By the time he got to the room he was greeted with the sight of two happy teenagers playing Scrabble.

++ Which of all your songs would you call your favourite and why?

I like “Head Still Full Of You” a lot. Other songs like “Coming Up Roses”, “Change Your Mind”, “It Stays With Me Always” and “One Man’s Words” were up there too. Above all of them though, my most favourite song is “Midnight”. We kind of formed around that song. When I wrote it, I was inspired to keep going so it really did kick everything off. We would always end our set with it. Suzy’s brother played a lovely cello part for the recording. If I had my time again I’d give it three more key changes at the end. With a choir and whales song 😉

++ Because your songs are in the Harlow archive, I guess it’s safe to assume you were based in Harlow? If so, how was it back in the day? What were other bands in your area that you liked? What were the places you used to hang out?

The music scene in Harlow back then was rampant. All my friends were in bands. GOOD bands. The Sullivans, This Happy Breed, The Pressure, The Internationalists, Real By Reel, The Pharoes, The Gamekeepers, Howard & Clack, Attila The Stockbroker, Austin’s Shirts, The Hermit Crabs, Blind Testament, Blue Summer, On The Pulsebeat, Respect, Heartland, Midnight Panic, The Neurotics (of course) etc. If you weren’t in a band you were doing sound for those bands, taking pictures for them, making videos, writing about them or just being there and enjoying it all. We played loads of benefit gigs to help people. There was a great community, a belonging attached to the whole thing. Well, these were the Thatcher years after all. Bleak times.

Paul Howard and Simon Lomond created the full day benefit festivals called “Ego Problems” to help the miners and the Anti Apartheid Movement. It was ironic name because nobody really had an ego problem at all. Steve Lamacq was chronicling everything with his monthly fanzine release “Pack Of Lies”. Coaches were being ordered every week to take people up to London venues to give folk a chance to see the bands somewhere else other than The Square. No disrespect intended though. That was our HQ and we played the hell out of it. There were other venues like The AUEW Hall, The Football Club Bar, Victoria Hall in the Old Town and even The Golden Swift.

The Hare Pub tended to be a big hangout for everyone. That had a lot to do with its proximity to The Square…and the hospital. Harlow wasn’t the friendliest of towns to wander around back then. I often think that the thuggish element to the place gave us a stronger resolve to create our own world out of New Town drabness.

++ Did you gig much with Some Other Day? What were your best gigs? Any anecdotes you can share?

The London gigs were always full of some kind of drama. We played The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden and found ourselves going on after The Mega City Four. They were full of their Les Paul swagger in the sound check and when they hit their first power chord Richard just let out an involuntary “Oh noooo!” so they glared hatefully at us. Neither band was the least bit suited but that’s how things were in those days. The venues liked to cram in bands without much thought. Anyway, when it came for our time to play I meant to make a comment about how rocking MCF were and how different we are to them. For some reason I articulated that as, “Fuck, but that lot were loud weren’t they?” During the next song I felt some weird contact on my head. At the end of the gig I reached up to discover some well-aimed globs of chewing gum permanently intertwined in my hair. I went to look for the Mega’s to “discuss” this (they’d been above us in the balcony so they were banged to rights) but they’d taken their crimped loveliness out of harm’s way.

This is not a gig story but one I’d promised earlier. During an interview on Radio Essex I was asked, “What would you call your music?” and by way of a protest to such a crap question I blurted out “Trouser Music”. The bemused radio guy pressed me for an explanation but I just retorted with “Well isn’t it obvious?” Richard picked up on this and decided that what we played was indeed “Trouser Music” and we hatched a plot to use this moniker to our benefit. We decided that we’d announce the release of our newly christened demo “Inside Leg Measurement” (geddit?) to every record company by first sending them a pair of trousers with the message “Trouser Music Is Coming” stapled to the fly. We obtained the trousers by offering free admission to a Square gig around that time. By the end of that night there were pairs of slacks hanging from every beam and rafter. We took hundreds of pairs of trousers to the Post Office and sent the message to every record company in existence. We then waited a full month and sent the tape declaring “Trouser Music Is Here!” One reply came back as, “I like your music but I can’t use it on my label. Your campaign to gain my attention is already a legend in our office though. Thanks”.

++ Tell me about the 1985 Rock Contest? How was that?

Our first gig? It went quite well if I remember. It just so good to be able to take it onto a stage and have Billy’s drums blazing away behind us. We did a song called “Restless” which didn’t make the distance but I always loved that song. Also, we had an actual Irish reel that I’d decided to throw in. No joking. I don’t know what made me think we’d get away with that. I’m certainly no Arty McGlynn! More folly of youth right there. We didn’t get to the final of any of those contests. I was just happy to play.

++ You were managed by BBC Radio’s Steve Lamacq. How was that experience?

That was really interesting. Steve had come to Harlow to study journalism at the college. His music interests got him a job reviewing bands for the local paper. He took a shine to us and would come over to Parndon Mill almost every Thursday for rehearsals. We’d have the big band discussion in The Shark pub and plan how to find 150 pairs of trousers and then write the set list. Steve’s enthusiasm was really encouraging. We get a mention in his bio “Going Deaf For A Living” but it wasn’t very favourable. He said something like, “I thought they were the most original band ever but then realised they sounded like everyone else”. Not the end of the world but if you’re only going to get one mention…

We went out to celebrate when Steve got a paste-up job for the NME. I told him he’d be the editor there in six months. I think it took him three. Then I came to the States and would get these letters from Paul saying “Steve is on the radio every night, he’s having a chin-wag with Peel all week!” I met Steve recently at a Neurotics gig at The 100 Club. Myself, Paul Howard and Steve back chatting like it was still 1989. What a great night that was.

++ And how long did the band last? When did you call it a day?

I would say we lasted for about two years. I suppose we were just one of those bands where, if you lose one member, it just doesn’t fit back together again in the same way. Like we lost the instruction manual. Billy was experimenting with different ideas for drums. There was a move for him to make our songs a lot more rhythmic, almost like dance music. I felt it was too busy and didn’t leave enough space for the songs to breath. There was a little bit of a disagreement and I think we went off in search of a more traditional drum sound. In hindsight the man had a good plan. It might’ve moved us somewhere more interesting. We tried out a few people but it just made us realize how good Billy had been.

++ Are you all still in touch? What happened afterwards?

I have contact with Billy and we’ve bumped into each other on the odd occasion when I’m back in England. I haven’t talked to either Suzy or Richard since 1993. There was no bad feeling. I don’t know really, people just drift away.

++ Today, what are you up to? What other hobbies aside from music do you have?

Music keeps me nice and busy with my duo Walshey & Westy. My new wave/punk cover band The Shakespearo’s are reforming with some new ideas. Apart from that I have my full time job working in a day centre for developmentally disabled adults. I hike a lot here and walk my feet off myself in general.

++ Looking back though, what would you say was the biggest highlight of the band?

I loved going to record at RMS Studios. There was a real feeling of creativity in there and I was encouraged to dream a little about what might be. It didn’t happen for us, but there you go!

++ One last question, being in the US, what is it that you miss the most from the UK?

The people. When I go home I notice things that many of my friends probably take for granted. The communal spirit and the deep companionship I have with my friends and family in England makes leaving each time a really heartbreaking experience. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I’d have stuck to that two month plan. I shouldn’t complain though. I’ve had a good life here and met some wonderful folk along the way.

++ Let’s wrap it here, thanks so much for the interview. Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to thank you so much for showing an interest in the band and helping me remember so many great times.


Some Other Day – Head Still Full of You


It’s a bit of a slow week.

At nights before falling asleep I read slowly and with pleasure the book “Pequeño Circo – Historia oral del indie en España” by Nando Cruz. I was lucky that Toni could bring me this book when he visited NYC for NYC Popfest. The book, for those of you who don’t understand Spanish is a compendium of interviews to people that were involved in the Spanish indie scene since the beginning of it in the mid, late 80s.

I’m almost halfway through, I think I’ve on page 350 or so. I thought then, that as I know many people are not aware of this scene, I could introduce you to some of the good bands that appeared on that period, or at least some of my favourite songs. By the page I am now, Elefant, Siesta and Jabalina are just starting. It’s a chronological book, though it is also geographical as the chapters seem to be divided by cities where different indie pockets were appearing. So I won’t be getting into the obvious bands like La Buena Vida or Le Mans that many of the English speaking people know, but into some that may have been under your radar.

Aventuras de Kirlián is a beauty of a band. They went to become Le Mans. They were supposed to release a split record with El Joven Lagarto on the Stamp label. I hope Miguel one day puts it out even if it was supposed to be released ages ago. They released one album and was very hard to find. Their record was reissued this year as part of the Record Store Day. Of course, as like everything that is released that day, I missed it. My favourite song is not “Un Día Gris” (their most famous song) but “Entre Días Largos“.

So I was talking about El Joven Lagarto. Well they were to become another classic and legendary Spanish indiepop band, Family. The sound was already very similar, perhaps a bit more lofi, but that probably has to do with the recording studio. I love their song “Soy un Sentimental“. Shame none of their stuff has been released.

La Insidia is another pre-Family band. Less poppier than El Joven Lagarto, much more post punk. Their songs seem like lost gems from the Cherry Red catalog. Great lyrics. This is “Todavía“.

El Niño Gusano from Zaragoza are a cult band, with 3 albums and a bunch of singles. I would guess everyone in Spain that has a clue about indie knows about them. Though not thoroughly indiepop, there are some great p!o!p! slices in their repertoire. Perhaps you’d like this song called “Pon Tu Mente al Sol“.

Another band that is mentioned is El Viaje de las Flores. I’ve been lucky to interview them in the blog!

Then we have Los Vegetales who appeared on a split flexi that came along the Stamp fanzine. They shared the flexi with none other than Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes! The song they contributed was “Gallinas Gigantes Con Metralletas” which is a good song but not my favourite by them. I think my favourite is their ode to the Silver Surfer, “Estela Plateada“.

Then of course we have Meteoro, a superb and fantastic band that only left us a perfect album, “Chitty Chitty Big Bang”, as legacy. It was released in 1994 and still sounds so fresh! Last year there was a pretty nice tribute album to them too thanks to Rubén Blanco. A super fun sounding band with very ingenious lyrics, this was the sort of music that for me describes perfectly the Spicnic sound. Hard to pick a favourite song, but I’ll go for “El Increíble Mundo Menguante“.

Another great band that gets a mention in the book is Terry IV. I came to know about them thanks to a cover of their song “De Dónde Viene la Nieve” by Los Fresones Rebeldes. One album, “Nuestro Arsenal”, which I believe is more of a compilation, released in 1996, and a bunch of singles, including a split flexi with the Fat Tulips on the Stamp label, is their whole discography. Great lyrics, and always fun to listen to. Hard to pick one song again, but I’ll go by the same pick Los Fresones did: “De Dónde Viene la Nieve“.

Patrullero Mancuso at the end of their career were picked up by Elefant, but before that they had a bunch of releases on Munster Records. 5 albums during the 90s and a handful of singles, and you can see them becoming poppier and poppier since a rockier and more lo-fi start. There are many favourite songs of mine, I remember listening them a lot (even though I actually don’t own their albums, shame on me! I have to admit many of these 90s Spanish releases are hard to come by this side of the Atlantic) back when I was in Miami. I always loved “La Matanza de Lugo” (there’s a promo video for this song, but the audio is not very good).

There are many more bands mentioned in the book so far, some that deserve being skipped to be honest, but I think next week I’ll make a second part. I leave you one last song though, from a not very indiepop band, but that I actually enjoy quite a bit. It’s by Surfin’ Bichos and it’s called “Comida China y Subfusiles“. Another cult band that also after disbanding formed other classic Spanish bands like Mercromina and Chucho.

Second part next week if it’s still slow in indiepop world. In the meantime I’ll keep reading.


I google for “Penny Priest” And well, it seems there are a few Penny with the last name Priest. There’s one that on Twitter calls herself a mum, clinical psychologist, singer, songwriter, cyclist, that was a runner once and hopes to be a swimmer. For some reason I think this is the Penny Priest I’m looking for, she wears an I Am Kloot shirt on her profile photo. Would this be the Penelope Priest that appeared with the song “Sometimes” on the amazing compilation”Manchester North of England”?

It could be. Think about it. On this compilation Johnny Dangerously from I Am Kloot (and The deBuchias) appears too. There’s a connection here. Other bands that appear in this classic compilation were the super favourite band of mine The Man From Delmonte, The Raintree County, The Waltones, Pepplekade 14, and more.

I sadly don’t  have a copy. The shipping prices for sending one record to the US from the UK at this time are just outrageous. Will have to wait for me to travel to the UK and get it there. Hopefully next year! It feels so strange that I didn’t fly there this year. I’ve been going for so many years straight! Anyhow, it’s not that rare this record, the LP version (originally it was a tape!), that you should get it!

It was released in 1988 by Bop Cassettes (BC 001). This label I knew because of their various Man From Delmonte releases, but also remember they released The Bedflowers demo tape!

The tape came in an over-sized black moulded plastic cassette case (a bit like a miniature VHS box) with with 16-page fold out insert. Black cassette shell with black paper labels. Whereas the LP version was distributed through Revolver and The Cartel and was available by mail order from BOP Cassettes in Manchester. It was presented by BOP Cassettes and City Life Magazine. Contains 14 tracks all of which were unreleased at this time. Limited to 1000 copies. Including an A4 insert with tracklist.

We also know that the title for this compilation comes from the t-shirt designed by Identity Clothing. The 14 tracks were compiled by NME journalist Jane Champion.

I find a clipping online where it says that you could get both Mirrors Over Kiev and Penny Priest’s demos from a John Slater who wrote for City Life Magazine back in 1988.

Another clipping I find on the Manchester District Music Archive is from what I presume is a photo of Penny Priest and an article talking about how Paula Greenwood from Playtime Records was organizing a series of women-only gigs at The Gallery. Everyone was going to be women, the bar staff and the door staff. Wonder if Penny Priest did play there as there’s no mention of her on the article but of two women, Faye Wray and Claire Mooney.

Another mention of the obscure Penny Priest comes from a flyer for a concert were she opens to The Rhythm Sisters at the Green Room (sponsored by Becks Bier). Then again another flyer at the same venue where the bill is: George Borowski, Johnny Dangerously, Bob Dillinger, Penny Priest, and Kevin Seisay. The gig is aptly titled “5 Go to Play Guitar”.

And that my friends is all I can find about her. The thing is, this one song, “Sometimes”, is a true jangly beauty. So I wonder, if anyone out there has her demo or any other songs by her. Would love to know more about Penny Priest, her gigs, her band, her songs and her Manchester. And why she didn’t get to release anything!


Penny Priest – Sometimes



A few days ago I got the 3rd edition of Rich Levene’s “Last Train To Eastleigh!” zine. A simple zine, a folded page, printed on both sides and folded 3 ways. But reading it it’s always great. Something so simple, and so cool, that anyone, and everyone, should do. A perfect way to share the music you love and introduce some bands to whoever ends up reading you! On this last issue there are also two articles, ‘Pop Anarchy!’ and ‘Southampton Indiepop City’. Again, a great read!

My friend Vernon got me thinking the other day after a wee chat online. We were both kind of moaning that we weren’t aware about the newer indiepop releases. That we just keep checking and buying old stuff. Stuff we missed from the 90s, stuff we want from the 80s, stuff that were under our radars in the noughties. But from today? We have no clue! I thought that was scary, how can we be good fans or supporters if we don’t get to know what’s going on.

Okay, I do know more or less about new releases. Especially those on labels I follow, like Shelflife, Matinée, and so on. Also the releases that friends of mine are putting out. Facebook seems to be a great tool for that. But for example, those bands that have nothing to do with these labels, or have nothing to do with my friends, well, if I’m lucky I discover them months after, or even years after. And that’s not good. If I could discover them when they are putting out their stuff, perhaps I could spread the word you know? Not that many people trust my taste. But some do!

With the disappearance of indiepop blogs in the past few years, there is no space for indiepop news on the web. I try now and then to show my new discoveries, but I know it’s not even close to be enough. There is the Indiepop Shop Talk group on Facebook were people post about their new stuff, but I feel it’s not the right format for it. A blog, a sort of Tumblr perhaps, would be the best. Maybe a new band a day kind of thing. Or a new release a day even. But who could put something like this together? It’s been shown that a group of people, a team, doesn’t work. It has to be someone with discipline and most importantly good taste! You know, you are going to be receiving a lot of emails, and it’s not going to be only guitar pop, it’s going to be rock, reggae, electronic etc etc. People don’t respect! If it says we only receive indiepop submissions, they never care. They just love the spam. I never understood that.

Anyways, something like that would work so nicely. But to be honest, I see this not happening soon. I think most of us are getting older too and we have less and less time. We have so much on our plate. I will always cross fingers and hope someone in the new generation of indiepop fans would do something like this. But for that, we have to wait.

BUT, perhaps you have a better idea on how to keep all of us in the loop. My trick so far, which is not ideal, is to check the new stuff that Jigsaw Records is carrying in his store. I don’t know how Chris does it, but he always has the latest on his mailorder. That has worked well for me, but it’s not the perfect solution. You can’t really preview the songs there or learn much about the band. Something that has a bit more of curation would be better. What do you think? How feasible is something like this? What platform would work better? How could we have some sort of a small newspaper of what’s going on in the indiepop world. Forums, Facebook pages, and even blogs, all have failed. Is there a solution?


I stumbled upon the fantastic Brick Supply thanks to another obscure compilation. “Twice Wi’ Scraps For Me Mam An’ Our Lass ….Please” co-released by Confidential Records and Launch Pad included two songs by the Brick Supply. The songs were “Mellow Rape”, this one even opening the compilation, and “Inside a Mattress Van”, closing the compilation. This LP released in 1991 (catalog FILE 015) included some other bands that I would love to check out like Fear of Jazz, Bagpuss, Want and Buzzing Chairs. Wonder if they are as good as Brick Supply!

This compilation, which sadly I don’t have (price seems to be a bit steep at the moment), incuded the Launch Pad Promotions Newsletter No.1 . This was a booklet that contained details on the bands that were included in this compilation. Would be great perhaps if someone helps me with a scan of the Brick Supply page, to learn more about this band.

Well, the thing was that “Mellow Rape” is such a beautiful song, I think it was Uwe from Firestation Records that said: “this very very obscure compilation LP feat. one of the most greatest indiepop-tunes ever: “Mellow Rape“ by BRICK SUPPLY. Think on Ala Pana Fuzo, early Trash Can Sinatras, Bob Hope or Hey Paulette. What an amazing song!!!

Digging a bit more on Discogs I find that they contributed another song in 1992 to a compilation called “Weird and Wonderful” on Rough Trade (JAC 001CD). The song was called “Grid of Absence”. This compilation has some familiar bands on it, bit more indie rock to be honest, like Pavement, Carter USM or Nikki Sudden among others.

The only other listing on Discogs is the song “Not So Manic Now” that appears on the compilation “Music Couture” released in 1994 on the VMP label out of Singapore. Don’t know much about most of the bands in it, only The Pearly Gatecrashers, a favorite of mine, appear in it.

Anyhow, this song, “Not So Manic Now”, is perhaps their most famous song, but not because of them, but because Dubstar covered it in 1995 releasing it in so many different formats and even recording a promo video. It was even a top 20 UK hit in 1996. Maybe you’ve heard it.

Keep digging. Wikipedia doesn’t give me a hit, but it does show me the band that the members from Brick Supply went to form afterwards. They were called The Boy Tate. The first paragraph already clears many questions:
The Boy Tate, consisting of writer/guitarist David Harling and singer Andrew Tate aka Tat, originated in England in 1999. After the breakup of their previous band, Brick Supply, the duo worked hard to produce their first album If This Is An Answer. With help from a few friends, The Boy Tate continue to create beautifully arranged melodies compared to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel. In The Head Of The Ice Cream Girl followed in 2002. Pianist Tony Wade joined the band for the third album, Flagrante Delicto.

On this same Wikipedia entry there’s a Brick Supply release in their discography! I struck gold. It’s the 1994 EP “Somebody’s Intermezzo”. I look around where to get this record, where can I buy it. Happily I find a decent priced used copy on Amazon UK.

I guess when it arrives home I could check the credits and see if I’m missing anything about them. The only things I know about this release comes from Last.fm. There it says that the label that released it was Rough Cuts. And that it includes four songs: “Not So Manic Now“, “Grid of Absence“, “The Why That Makes Me Anxious” and “Semi Personal Asylum“.

I struck gold once again. There’s a user on Youtube that has uploaded songs from an early tape from the band, perhaps a demo. There’s a very early version of “Mellow Rape” that is glorious! I start reading the comments and people seem to have seen them back in the 90s in a venue called Cellar at Perry’s (that is now called Inside Out). Then another comment mentions that the band recorded the songs in Darlington. Another mentions that there was a sampler tape called “Circulation” that had 4 or 5 different bands included Brick Supply.

Another of the early songs is called “Instant Rebels“. This one sounds really lo-fi sadly. The third song has a cool title, “My Beautiful Kebab House“. Such a good song!! Then there’s even more songs on Youtube, there’s one called “Family Planning”, another called “Mr Cageworthy”, and there’s “Cellophane”. There’s an “Instrumental” too. Enough songs to put together a really good CD retrospective don’t you think? It would be fantastic! And who knows, there might even be more songs. And if they have the quality of all of these, damn!

So anyone remembers them? Did you see them play? Did they have more songs? Were they involved in any other bands? Maybe they contributed to more compilations? Would be great to know more about this fantastic obscure band!


Brick Supply – Mellow Rape


Is it me or the indiepop world has gotten very quiet after Indietracks? There are really no “current topics”, are there? From this month until perhaps next year we won’t be seeing any other indiepop festival. Berlin Popfest is no more right? Wait, there is Manchester Popfest next month. But then after that, that’s it. The year is over for the indiepop fan we all have inside.

I’ve been feeling like having a bit of a vacation too. From the blog and the world. I usually take a vacation during the summer but I’m not this year. I feel restless. My next vacations are in October and November. I should have spaced them out a bit better. In the meantime I should work on the next releases. The 7″s that are in the pipeline, with The Color Waves having a release next month, and also the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series.

In the next few weeks I’ll start planning the next and final Cloudberry fanzine set to be released next year. The podcasts stopped all of a sudden and I’m very sorry about that. I haven’t got the helping hand for putting together the different bits and pieces of the audios no more. I don’t have the time or the skills to do this by myself and so, unless some good Samaritan out there wants to take care every month of putting 35+ mp3 snippets together, well, let me know.

The last week also saw a sudden surge of activity in the indiepop-list. Topic being, once again, vinyl vs. CD vs. Mp3. Throw in the discussion some ‘capitalism’ and ‘comfort’, and well, it all felt like I was getting spam every couple of minutes. It’s a discussion that never ends. I believe the conversation started with the idea that this vinyl ‘resurrection’ of the last few years was just a fad and that it was only the big labels that were taking advantage of it. I tend to agree with this. I love vinyl, but I know all of what has been happening, all those articles saying “the comeback of vinyl”, “vinyl sales are up this year”, etc, etc, are just a fad that will pass in a couple of years if not less.

Collectors will be collectors. And so we will continue to buy records, in any format, it doesn’t matter really. We just want to interact with our music, have the whole discography, order tidily our shelves. In a nutshell, be happy. Then the rest, that are buying vinyl because it’s cool to have the latest reissue of whatever 70s band to decorate their hip apartment’s living room, with a vintage turntable and all, well they’ll move on to something else. Candles perhaps. Or whatever.

Collectors are an species in extinction. We are being told that less is more for the last decades. To have less at home is good. The term hoarder is so popular now. So you need to feel good. Feng shui, and all that nonsense. So yeah, this trend will continue. The brainwash will continue. Spotify playlists will continue for the regular music lover, who are by far the majority. And that’s how it will be. Everyone knows this.

Paying $35 for an LP is outrageous. Still, I do it. I shouldn’t though. I’m supporting a wrong model. I would be cool to spend $10 on a CD including the same songs. Makes more sense. But some labels try to milk the fad by releasing on vinyl. They copy the big label model. There are some excellent labels though that still release in both formats, like Shelflife or Slumberland, making it all very fair.

I think indiepop should be more about the ideals of economy, of what’s right for the fans. That was the whole Sarah revolution, wasn’t it? Releasing 7″ singles instead of fancy glossy 12″ singles that sold for double the price or so with the same amount of songs and perhaps a stupid remix.

It’s a difficult topic this. We don’t know what will happen next week aside that there will be less and less sales, less and less collectors. Should we think outside the box? Surrender to the digital format? I wonder. Every year we question the status of the music industry. In the end all discussions seem to be worthless. Everyone says they love and prefer vinyl records, but you know what, it’s about supporting and buying the records, not just saying it.


I’ve been checking the past two weeks compilations that I want to have in my collection. Some of them very obscure that I have no idea they existed a month ago. Many of them listed as indiepop just because one or two tracks in them will fall in that category whereas the rest of the songs are just random. Online sellers are very tricky.

There are other compilations that I can’t really judge. That I haven’t heard the rest of the songs but because of the name of the bands I have big doubts that the whole of it is indiepop. For example the compilation called “Humber Beat” that doesn’t even appear on Discogs.

Rateyourmusic does have it listed. It was a 1987 release on Criminal Records (catalogue CRTWR 001). It includes 14 songs, and one of them is from this band that I want to introduce you today, That Noble Porpoise.

Okay, so it’s not a noble purpose. But a porpoise. What is a porpoise?

Porpoises (also called mereswine) are small cetaceans of the Phocoenidae family; they are small toothed whales very closely related to oceanic dolphins. They are distinct from dolphins, although the word “porpoise” has been used to refer to any small dolphin, especially by sailors and fishermen. The most obvious visible difference between the two groups is that porpoises have shorter beaks and flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins.

Kind of strange to name your band because of an obscure animal. The song on this compilation was “Hand in My Head”. Other bands in the compilation are Treasure Berries (sounds like an indiepop band, no?), The First Time, Billy Earth, Product of Reason, Fandango, Taboo, Mike Bawn, Armoured Heart, Chatterland, Kestrel, Radio, 12 Guilty Men, and The Diseased. Well, to be honest, I’m not familiar with any of these bands. Any help would be appreciated here!

There is an old SoundCloud page though, owned by Evan Barryman, where the whole “Extended Play” by That Noble Porpoise  is uploaded. There are then four songs, the aformentioned “Hand in My Head”, “Trip”, “Someone came to The House”  and “Drowning Inspiration”.

The artwork of the tape does have a porpoise for you wondering.

If you click on each of the songs you’ll get the full lyrics for them. Also we learn that all of the songs were penned by Evan Barryman. Would be nice to get in touch.

Keep digging. I find another band member’s name: Jonah Lacey-Hatton. Wikipedia lists him as part of the Hull band The Planet Wilson, that included members from the Red Guitars. Does this mean that the band hailed from Hull?

Then on 2012 article on the Scunthorpe Telegraph I find another band member’s name: Alex Ogg. It says that because of a book he co-wrote called The Art of Punk he was going to have a space in the Tate Gallery. In the same article it mentions he used to be part of That Noble Porpoise as a bassist and mentions that the band was actually from Winterton.

Winterton is a small town in North Lincolnshire, England, 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Scunthorpe. The 2011 census found 4,899 inhabitants, in 2,001 households. Major north-south/east-west streets of Winterton are Market Street and Northlands Road. Winterton is near to the banks of the Humber and is 8 miles (13 km) south-west of the Humber Bridge which can be seen from many parts of the town.

On an interview on the Mudkiss fanzine, Alex says: “ I think I played three gigs as second bass player in a group called That Noble Porpoise (taken from the line in the original Batman film) and a couple of gigs in a college band called The Men Who Couldn’t Play. That was it. I was terrible. If I’d been any good, I would have been a musician. I wasn’t, so I decided to write about it. You don’t have to tune a keyboard.

Okay, so it wasn’t because of the animal the name of the band, but because of Batman. That’s two posts in a row that have a Batman connection!

Then, heading to Google Maps, it’s easy to notice that from Winterton to Hull there’s only 30 minutes drive. It’s all starting to make sense here. To get there you need to cross the Humber river. Okay, then it all makes sense, the compilation where they appeared was called “Humber Beat”. Safe to assume that all the bands in this compilation are from the area?

I end up in a page called MusicLincs. There are a bunch of Scunthorpe bands featured. I search for That Noble Porpoise and I learn they played the 1986 Scunthorpe Rock Open.

I couldn’t find any other information about this obscure band. So, if anyone out there could help me, with more info on the rest of the members, if there were any recordings or releases, even other gigs they played, that’d be great! Always good to learn more about these forgotten guitar pop bands!


That Noble Porpoise – Someone Came to the House