Hope you all had a good Christmas!

Last post of 2015 and it feels quite an achievement to have posted more posts than there were weeks this year. In a time where all the blogs that I used to call friends have disappeared, well, it kind of feels good that I have managed to find time to write my musings and about my music discoveries.

I haven’t seen any news about the Twee.net poll. Seems this year it won’t happen? Kind of sad as it is one of the few traditions that have been running continually since like forever. The dark times of indiepop are coming…

Or maybe not. We’ll have to see. This coming year at least we know we’ll have a Madrid and NYC Popfests and an Indietracks. That’s not too terrible. But upon so many rumours of being the last year of some of these festivals you never know.

Time then for year end lists. I don’t like making them but lately I enjoy reading them, seeing how eclectic people are or how they define indiepop by the selections they make. I usually never agree with their lists. Also most of the records selected have been released in the last 6 months. Records released in January or February are almost always forgotten. Have you noticed?

Of course, they might have not listened that gem of a record you know. If people do lists, well, it doesn’t mean they had the time to listen to ALL the records you have listened. Perhaps they listened to others, ones you didn’t. That is very true and it’s definitely a good point. But sometimes you wonder for example how someone who loves indiepop would miss some obvious and important releases this year like say The Spook School second album or the latest album by Club 8? You can’t just “skip” those, right?

But aside from that, I still see very little lists when it comes to indiepop. Where are the voices of indiepop fans? They are not on blogs. On Facebook? Possibly, but voices there are barely heard and are lost in time. Websites? No, that costs money. Where then? Nowhere to be found may be the answer. Indiepop this year has become voiceless. We still love the music, we still buy some records, but we’ve become silent. Oh and that’s a shame.

Can we change it next year? I hope so. For a time I thought that Facebook groups could work. There was a bit of excitement about them. But they also fizzled out. Forums? Same thing. Tumblr? Could work, I know Satomi runs a nice Tumblr with music discoveries she makes on bandcamp and soundcloud. But that’s more like a picture book. Don’t we need to express thoughts and ideas? What happened to fanzines? If they were going to be replaced by books then that’s fine. Or by blogs, alright. But they disappeared once again. I see some fanzines coming from the far reaches of indiepop, from Latin America. That’s interesting, but seriously how many people are supporting a Spanish language fanzine. Roughly the locals only.

But I do think there was a very bright light this year though that gave us a voice, and it came from Michael White and his lovingly written book “Popkiss”. Don’t know if the book put indiepop somewhere in the map, not sure about its sales or its reach, but what mattered to me is that it was out there and it is available to anyone. And it is written with passion and also with the smartness of pointing other bands outside the Sarah canon, other labels, other people. Thanks to those connections it makes, anyone who reads the books should become instantly curious search for more information. And that matters a lot. It is not only about the great story behind a great label, but also these small details. And the explanations. And the thrill the author exudes. I just so wish there was more like it out there.


In the next few weeks I’ll be ripping some tracks from some 7″ records I own. I finally organized my collection last week and noticed there are a lot of records that I think should have a space here in the blog, part of these obscure and forgotten bands I like to showcase.

The record I picked yesterday night to rip was a 7″ by Magik Roundabout. Don’t know nothing about this band really, but last time when I was in Berlin, Uwe told me to get it as I was going to like it. He seemed a bit surprised actually that I didn’t know about it.

The record sounds 1991. It has this happy feel, definitely influenced by the baggy music of the time. No wonder the record was released in so many formats and also with so many remixes. According to Discogs there are 6 versions of the same release:
– 12″ on M & G Records (cat. MAGX8)
– 12″ Remixes on M& G Records (MAGXR 8)
– 12″ Promo on M & G Records (MAGX 8 DJ)
– 7″ on M & G Records (MAGS 8) * this is the one I own
– CD single on WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings (MAGCD 8)
– Cassette on M & G Records and Polydor (MAGCS 8)

Now you ask how many versions of the song there are. And that is a very fair question as the records only include the one song in different versions, there is no other song by this band anywhere else I think. Or did they record any other track?

The song I’m talking about is called Everlasting Day. And it’s a pretty fine song. But did it really need all these versions? As you know I’ve never been a fan of remixes and so on. But I guess it was another decade, other times. So we can find:
– Everlasting Day (Bonfire mix 12″)
– Everlasting Day (Vocal Edit 7″)
– Everlasting Day (Instrumental Mix 7″)
– Everlasting Day (Youth’s Acappella Edit 7″)
– Everlasting Day (Youth’s Dub Mix)
– Everlasting Day (Youth’s Mix 12″)

On the 7″ I have I get the Vocal Mix and the Instrumental Mix. The vocal mix is really nice. But what do we know about this band? Not much really.

On the back sleeve we see that the song was written by J. Chong, P. Van Der Fluis and S. Duncan. The record was produced by Ben Watkins, Magik Roundabout and Youth. Vocal production by Andy Caine. The mixes were done by Marius De Vries and Steve SideInyk. Then Magik Roundabout thanks Helen, Molly, Amanda, Caroline, Dave Stephenson & Wau! Mr Modo.  A cryptic message closes the crdits, “An Everlasting Rainbow over the Designers Republic”.

We know that M & G Records was founded by Lord Michael Levy with backing from Polygram Records in 1990.
Named using forename initials of Michael Levy and his wife Gilda. Sold to Bertelsmann in October 1999. And that WAU! Mr. Modo Recordin was set up in Sheffield, UK by Alex Paterson and Martin Glover (a.k.a. Youth) in 1988. “W·A·U” stands for “What About Us?” and Mr Modo was Adam Morris, Paterson’s manager. Recordings were licensed to Big Life, Gee Street, G-Zone, and M & G Records. Also after leaving 10 Records, System 7 released on Big Life, but the copyright was owned by Weird And Unconventional Records, a subsidiary of WAU! Mr. Modo.

Not familiar with either catalog really.

What about their name? Two theories here, one is:
The Magic Roundabout (known in the original French as Le Manège enchanté) is a Franco-British animated children’s television programme created in France in 1963 by Serge Danot, with the help of Ivor Wood and Wood’s French wife, Josiane. The series was originally broadcast between 1964 and 1971 on ORTF, originally in black-and-white.

The other, that actually has a connection with the first theory:
The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England was constructed in 1972 and consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central, anti-clockwise roundabout. Located near the County Ground, home of Swindon Town F.C. Its name comes from the popular children’s television series The Magic Roundabout. In 2009 it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain, in a poll by Britannia Rescue.

The good news is, if you like the song, it’s pretty cheap on Discogs. But I wonder who were behind this song, and if they recorded anything else? Did they play any songs? Were they based in England? In Swindon perhaps? Would be great to learn a little bit about this very obscure recording!


Magik Roundabout – Everlasting Day


Thanks so much to Stefan Wesley for the interview! I wrote about Alfie some time ago on the blog, and Tore Höghielm, the band’s bassist got in touch. He then put me in touch with Stefan, who was the guitarist of the band, and he was so kind to answer all my questions concerning his band that was active in Visby, Sweden, in the late 80s. They only released one 7″ single, with two should-have-been classics, and some tapes that they sold at gigs and on demand. Online there is so little written about them, that it was a good chance to learn about them. Hope you enjoy this interview!

++ Hi Stefan! Thanks so much for being up for this interview. Alfie has always been a mystery to me, so I’m glad to get to know a bit about your band! Perhaps let’s start from the beginning, what are your first musical memories? when did you learn to play guitar? what inspired you?

My first musical memory is my mothers single- and EP-collection. It wasn’t big, it wasn’t great, but it had some records I enjoyed at very young age and that I still like a lot today. I was very much into cowboys and indians as a child, so I especially liked “Rawhide” by Eric Wilson-Hyde and Johnny Horton’s “North to Alaska”. Other favourites included Russ Conway’s “Matador from Trinidad”, Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”, plus instrumental bands like Johnny & The Hurricanes, The Fireballs and The Spotnicks.

++ When was Alfie formed? And had you been involved with any other bands before?

In 1980 we started a punk band at school. We changed name a few times before ending up with Castro. But quite soon I discovered The Sound of Young Scotland, fell in love with Josef K, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and other Scottish bands like Fire Engines and Boots For Dancing. So we changed style and became more of a pop band. In 1982, I think, we translated the lyrics to English and changed name to Season’s Greetings, introducing The Sound of Young Gotland. We played our farewell gig in May 1986.

During this time, I had a couple of tape labels, CA Productions and Enjoy Tapes, releasing acts like Biljardakademien, Trumslagarpojkarna, Control Addicts, Eucalypso, M.O.M.S. and others, all including me and/or my brothers.

++ Why the name Alfie? Does it have to do with the movie?

When we started, we needed a name real quick because we already had a gig booked. So I looked through my record collection and came up with the name Too Sensitives, after an Orange Juice song. But it was too difficult for people to comprehend so we changed name to The Boy Wonders, after the Aztec Camera song. We were quite happy with that name but suddenly read in NME about a new British band called Boys Wonder, so we changed name again before “we make it big”. This time, I came up with the name Alfie and it’s of course after the 1966 Michael Caine movie, but it’s even more after the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song.

++ How did Alfie start as a band? How did you all meet?

After the final Season’s Greetings gig in May 1986, I took the bass player, Henrik Johansson, with me and started a new band right away. We had my little brother Magnus Häglund on drums but needed a vocalist. I shared an apartment with a few people and one of them was dating a guy called Mattias Ek who one day was sitting in the kitchen singing to the radio. So when we a couple of months later I remembered him singing to this song by Swedish band Ratata and that it didn’t sound that bad. So I asked Mattias if he wanted to try singing with us.

So we had our first rehearsals in June 1986 and played two songs at a local pop band competition in July (I think). Towards the end of the summer, my older brother, Kjell Häglund, said he had met a guy at a party who had good taste in music and played the guitar, so I contacted this Johan Arvidsson and recruited him to join the band. Johan had only been with us for a couple of weeks when Henrik said he was moving away for studies, so we needed a new bass player. I immediately came to think of Tore Höghielm who I first met years earlier in German class at secondary school. We didn’t hang out or anything but every time we ran into each other we used to say that we should start a band together. He already played in one or two other bands but didn’t hesitate to join Alfie.

++ What sort of music were you all into at that time? Who would you call as influences of the band? I assume the Postcard Records stuff because of the “Sound of Young Gotland” nod on the sleeve?

I don’t really remember any specific influences, as we always listened to everything and anything. But I remember sometime in 1986 or 1987 when I really discovered all those new indie bands like McCarthy, Jasmine Minks, BMX Bandits, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, The Pastels etc. Don’t think they changed our music though, but maybe a little.

++ You were based in Visby back then. Are you still there? And what were the places to hang out or catch a gig in town?

Yes, we were based in Visby. When Alfie quit, it was because three of out members moved to Stockholm. I tried to maintain the band with my brother Magnus, writing songs and recording demos, and Mattias came on visit to add vocals to the demos, but it didn’t work.
I still live in Visby, and so does Johan who came back after a couple of years of studying. Magnus lived here until a couple of years ago when he moved to Gävle. Mattias and Tore lives in Stockholm.
Visby in the late 80’s had no specific scene for catching bands, but the local music association Roxy arranged some concerts. A new café/pub called Schenholms also had bands playing.

++ Were there any other like-minded bands in town during those mid and late 80s?

Nope, not a single one.

++ What about in Sweden in general? Did you like any bands then? I’m always curious about that period of Sweden, it seems it was only in the 90s that there was a much more known explosion of guitar pop bands, but I always find, after digging a bit, obscure jewels from the 80s!

The 80’s was mostly into the dark side of post punk and you never heard bands like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera (that I tried to sound like with Season’s Greetings). But in the late 80’s bands like This Perfect Day and The Wannadies started to pop up and then came the explosion you mentioned. But I liked a lot of the Swedish music in the 80’s like Reeperbahn, Di Leva and garage bands like Pushtwangers and The Stomach Mouths.

++ You released the one 7″, with “Play On” and “Fool to Fall”, if you wouldn’t mind, would you tell me the story behind these two songs? What are they about?

There’s not much to tell, really. “Play On” was written a couple of years earlier and when we started Alfie and had our first gig just a few weeks later we needed a simple song to start with. And it can’t be much simpler than “Play On”. And “Fool To Fall”… I can’t remember anything from writing it. When we went to the recording studio, we had maybe five songs and these two we thought would be best.

++ Also, what do you remember of the recording session for the single at Sandvike Studio?

My brother, Kjell Häglund, worked on an album with Biljardakademien, and suggested that we could go there a weekend to record a couple of songs. There were place left on one of his 24 channel tapes we could use. Today, the studio is in Visby, but back then it was way out in the middle of nowhere. So we went there and recorded the background tracks the first day, slept over and then recorded the overdubs the day after. Not the most interesting story, guess we were a quite boring band.

++ And how did they creative process work for Alfie?

It always started with me sitting at home with my guitar trying to find new melodies and chord progressions. We rehearsed maybe once a week were went through our repertoire and then testing some of my new ideas. I guess I had a new song almost every rehearsal. I also used to have an idea how everyone else should play. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but we completed each other very well so it usually turned out quite ok, even if it sounded different in my head.

++ Did you ever consider making songs in Swedish perhaps?

No, we didn’t. As no one in Sweden were interested in our music, maybe someone was it abroad. But there wasn’t.

++ The record was released on a label called Enjoy. Who was behind it?

It was my (and Magnus) tape label’s only vinyl release.

++ On Discogs there’s a live tape listed. It’s a tape with a bunch of songs from a gig at the Roxy in Visby from March 11 1988. Was this tape sold? It says too that the whole B side was just encores! You must have had a very good following!

As all Enjoy’s tape releases, it was made on demand and we didn’t do much to sell it. So I have no idea how many copies we sold, but maybe 50. We liked to play a few covers as encores and the audience used to like it as well. It was songs by anyone from Depeche Mode to AC/DC, all played in a special Alfie style.

++ Were there any other tapes, or perhaps releases, or even compilation appearances by Alfie?

Yes, two more tapes actually. About a year after the single we started recording an album called “Home Again, Finnegan”. We never finished the recordings but a rough mix of it was released on cassette. And after the band split up, I made a bunch of demos with Magnus and had Mattias coming over to do the vocals. We released the demos on tape as “Welcome to Alfieville”

++ There’s also another song, “Another Girl”, that appears on a CDR compilation called “Recycled:Inhouse”. I’ve tried finding it, same as the single, with no luck, the label didn’t reply my emails. How did this song, recorded in 1989, got released many decades after? Also on this compilation you contribute with many other bands. Perhaps this compilation is the real Sound of Young Gotland?

Once again, I’m the one to blame. I was planning a website about the old tape label, but what’s the point when you can’t hear the music. So I was thinking about different ways to make the music available. I really wanted all to be free and downloadable, but at the time this alternative was quite expensive. So I found this on demand manufacturer and decided to make CD’s. The “Recycled: Inhouse” collection features music by me and/or my brothers.
Sorry to hear you haven’t had a reply on your email. A couple of the email addresses have been hijacked and locked so that could be the reason. But the CD is still available in the web store and it’s also available as download from various digital stores.

++ There’s another song mentioned in the label page, “(A Lovely Day for) Goalkeeping”. It says it have been thought to be lost. What have happened to it?

The song was made for a tape compilation but didn’t make it. It was the last song Alfie recorded.

++ Now I wonder, were there many more Alfie recordings done in those late 80s that never got to see the light of day?

Only the unfinished album and the demos I mentioned.

++ Have you ever thought of releasing perhaps an Alfie compilation?

Yes, it was the plan when I started Bendi ten years ago, and it still is. Next year it’s time, I think!

++ Now time to talk about gigs. Did you play many of them? What cities did you play? What were the best and worst gigs that you remember? and why? Any anecdotes would be great!

Can’t say we did many gigs. We only played in Visby and a couple of other smaller places on Gotland. We were quite good live, I think, since the audiences used to like us, even if they hadn’t heard us before. But we were probably quite boring as well since I have no anecdotes to speak of.

++ And what about press, radio, that sort of thing, did you get support from them? How easy or difficult was back then in Sweden? Was there any sort of scene going on?

The local press wrote about us a few times, and they are always positive. We sent the single to music papers etc but no one bothered to mention us at all. It would probably have been easier if we was part of a scene, but we were the only happy guitar pop band around.

++ Then what happened with the band? When and why did you call it a day?

Most young people on Gotland leave for Stockholm or some other place to study or work, and so did three of our members. It was in 1989 I think, leaving me and my brother Magnus in Visby.

++ Were you all involved with music afterwards? What did you do?

We have all played in various bands of various kinds and quality. Tore played with Swedish legend Henrik Venant for a while, and Bendi released an album with his band Solicium. Magnus was one half of Kill Squad vs Doubleheader who released a couple of EP’s on Superstudio. I made an album as The Luckiest Citizen Of All a few years ago.

++ And today, are you still making music? Any other hobbies that you enjoy doing?

Tore is the only one playing regularly. I wish I had more time to make music! I’m involved in a couple of bands that only rehearse when we have a gig every second year or so. But I have a lot of plans for various projects.
There are so many fun things to do! I’m a part of a TV and film blog called tvdags.se. And for the last year I’ve been involved in local politics for the Feminist Initiative party. Notnas a politician, but behind the curtains.

++ You used to run a blog too, Unga Moderna, what happened to it? Are you still writing?

Everything takes time… I can’t remember exactly, but something else became more important at the time. Nowadays I only write a very little about TV on tvdags.se.

++ I always ask about the touristy side of things… I’ve been to Sweden a bunch of times, never to Visby though. Perhaps you can point me out what to do, what to try and what to drink that is really traditional in your town?

Visby is an old Hanseatic town and the whole island is a giant tourist attraction. Actually, there is so much to write about so I suggest you check on Tripadvisor, Virtualtourist or just Google. It’s a tourists paradise in the summer and very nice all other seasons.

++ Has it changed a lot since your Alfie days?

Not really. Of course it has changed, but not more than any other place.


Alfie – Fool to Fall


Hola! Today I posted the first batch of Don’t Cry Shopgirl records. Also updated the website with The Suncharms information. Time to have a rest and get in the Christmas spirit?

There’s still a lot to do. Have to plan 2016 releases for example. And work on the new fanzine which I haven’t started yet. But new ideas keep coming. I believe it will be a great year for Cloudberry and hopefully for indiepop too. This wasn’t bad at all. I actually think was a bit better than 2014 when it comes to new releases and songs.

This past Saturday I went to see for the first time a band that I’ve been trying to catch for almost a year, the Mercury Girls. Every time they were playing in NYC I was out of town. Seriously. They are soon to release a 7″ on Slumberland and their two songs I heard on their bandcamp ages ago, I couldn’t stop championing on the blog and when I did the podcast. With high hopes I enjoyed their set, though I think it sounded much rawer than in the recordings. Maybe this is because they are a new band, or perhaps they just get like this on stage! Then I think I prefer a bit better the recordings, they are deliciously jangly and naive, but don’t get me wrong, still it was a very enjoyable set and it was a shame that they didn’t have any large size t-shirts. Would have loved to get one. Love the design.

Then the second band was EZTV. Not my cup of tea. Boring for me. I don’t mind derivative bands, you all know that, but at least spice it, add your own seal, a twist, something. Their sound didn’t move me, but then, I saw many people singing along. I wonder what they see in them? I mean, they weren’t bad, they were very proficient and all, it sounded good. But nothing special.

Last band at Cake Shop that night were Baltimore’s Expert Alterations. Ah! This is a fantastic band. Shambolic, fun, and with great melodies. They had Kevin from Mercury Girls join them to play second guitar and it was a great idea. The sound was fuller and even more shambling. Love it. Their fast paced guitars a la George Best era Wedding Present, and their ramshackle that remind me of the McTells, are just a treat. I wonder now if they are the band I’ve seen the most this year. I think they were either 3 or 4 times. Impressive as I think I have been to less gigs this year than ever before!

And that should be the last gig for this year, unless something cool gets announced all of a sudden! Next year I think I will skip Indietracks again, which is a bit sad, but I have NYC Popfest to look forward. And that Lush gig in September. Hopefully some exciting NYC bands will be born too.


Castellón. 2000. Jabalina releases “Un Plato Pequeño” by Jonipai. Important day.

Castellón de la Plana , Castelló de la Plana, or simply Castellón / Castelló, is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea. The mountain range known as Desert de les Palmes rises inland north of the town.

Important day at least for me. This is one of my favourite Spanish releases all-time. This, and a couple of songs on compilations, will be all that this beauty of a band released in its lifetime.

This EP, or mini-album, included 6 songs. All of them pretty and precious, solid gold. These were “Él es tan Fatal”, “Bungalow”, “El Mar Dibujado”, “Paperclip People”, “Te Prefería Cansado” and “Un Plato Pequeño”. Three of these songs had been already part of their demo, “Paperclip People”, “Te Prefería Cansado” and “Bungalow”. As I have never heard the demo, I can’t say which versions were better or worse. Also I wonder if that demo, that on the Jabalina bandcamp is mentioned to have been red (I assume the cover was red?), included any other songs.

Yes, you can actually listen the whole record on Bandcamp. Though I insist that you try to find the CD. It’s better than streaming, and at the same time you’ll enjoy a piece of Spanish indiepop history. Perhaps a piece of the giant puzzle of that country’s indiepop that is a bit forgotten, but one of their best for sure. The bandcamp has a long text of pretentious metaphors and hyperboles, I guess written to lure people to buy the record. “Melodies as bright as the sun rays reflected on the sea of Castellon”… come on. I never understood that sort of poetry behind record descriptions. I remember Siesta Records also loved writing stuff like that. Elefant still does as well, could be a Spanish thing perhaps. The fact is that I love the records and the music, but never the descriptions these labels wrote. A bit pretentious I think.

What we do learn from these paragraphs is that the record was produced by Juanma Mas en Polka-Waves (Alzamora, Castellón). And that the band was formed by:
María Puig on vocals, guitars and keyboards
Juan Ribes on vocals and guitar
Félix Ribes on bass
Miguel Ribes on drumsLaura Pla on keyboards (who was the last to join the band)

It seems there was hope too that they were going to record and release new material, something it seems never happened. This EP was the fifteenth release on Jabalina.

They did record two more songs that were included in a compilation on the same label on the year 2000. The compilation was called “El Sol Sale Para Todos” and it’s a sampler of bands on the label. On this record they cover the Pixies’ “Havalina” as the opening track. It’s a very different song though. Not very faithful to the original and great in it’s own right (if you ask me, I prefer Joinpai’s!). Of course, it’s clear that they chose this song as a tribute to the label’s name. The other song was “Los Días Que Pasamos”.

They also appear on other compilations like “El 15 De Jabalina… (Teoría Y Práctica Melódica, Vol. RDL)” with the song “Él es Tan Fatal”. The same song was to appear too on “Don Diablo Disco 1” released by El Diablo! Discos in 2000. Then because they were to play the Benicassim festival they appeared on the “Benicassim2000”  4 CD compilation with the song “El Mar Dibujado”, and later in 2003 on “Diez Años de Espíritu Jabalina” with the song “Te Prefería cansado”.

The band was born in 1998 and their first demo is actually not the red one mentioned in the bandcamp, but a blue one. On this demo they were still called Honey Pie (Jonipai is the phonetic way in Spanish to pronounce the English name). The songs on this demo were written in English. It was only on the red demo, the second demo, that they include Spanish songs.

According to a biography I found on Last.fm it seems that after releasing the 6 song CD, the band evolved into a somewhat different sound, one that Jabalina wasn’t keen on supporting. Can’t say if this is true or not, but if it was the case, it might explain why the band just faded away.

I keep googling and I find an interview with the band on the Spanish fanzine El Planeta Amarillo, the one that our good friend Rafa Skam from Vacaciones and The Yellow Melodies still runs I believe. When he asks the band why the name change, if it was because they now only sing in Spanish, the band replies that it has mostly to do that the music is different to the one they made in their earlier days, that there was more use of distortion before.

That they met Laura Pla, the keyboardist, at an Automatics concert, and that they ended up happy with the result of the recordings of the EP, among other things.

The last thing I know was that Félix was part of another Castellón band called Lula which I believe are still around. Much more power pop than the low key, nostalgic and naive Jonipai. Aside from that, I don’t know when Jonipai stopped making music, and what happened to the rest of the band. If they continued in other projects or not.

I wonder too if they had more recordings. And also would love to hear those two early demos, the red and the blue. Would be great. Perhaps many Spanish fans remember them. Maybe some even saw them at the FIB. For me it’s a mystery how a band with such a fantastic debut release just disappeared into oblivion.


Jonipai – Él es tan Fatal


I was scared when I saw the boxes on my doorway. It was raining. Not pouring, but raining. How long have they been there? I recognized instantly what they were. These were the boxes for the new Cloudberry release, the Don’t Cry Shopgirl 7″. Why was UPS so irresponsible? Why have they left them there? Wasn’t it raining when they arrived to my place?

I ran and felt the soggy cardboard. I was terrified. What if? What if all the records were ruined? The thought crossed my mind. I immediately opened my door and carried the three heavy boxes into safety, into the warmth of my apartment. I disposed the boxes. Inside there were a bunch of smaller boxes holding the records. I had hoped they were going to be the second defense against the rain. And they luckily were.

I felt relieved. You can’t imagine how. That was yesterday night. I couldn’t even imagine that the records might be ruined. I remembered the story of the famous Episode Four records. That they were mostly lost in a flooding of some sort. That’s why that record is so rare. Happily this time all 300 copies are safe. And I’m happy to let you know I’ll start shipping them right away.

This is definitely an early Christmas gift for me. And I hope it is for you two. I love this record and it did take some time to get it out, but finally it is out there. This will be the last release this year, a year that I think was pretty good all things considered. Better than the last one, even though sales keep dwindling, the label has put out quality music with beautiful artwork. I’m very proud.

I think next year will be as good. The first release for next year will be The Suncharms retrospective compilation, part of the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series. I will update the website with all the information about this release, and a pre-order button very soon. After that I should be putting out a new fanzine. There will be a couple of 7″s too, looking into making the 50 7″s mark that would be a true milestone! The first 7″ to be released next year will be Pale Spectres. Yes FINALLY.

So that’s the update on my side. It feels so good every time a record arrives home. Don’t you think?

On the day to day, I have to say I started reading the Popkiss book. The story of Sarah Records by Michael White. So far, 3 chapters in, I’m really liking it. Love the introductory chapters, I appreciate when the writer knows what he is writing about, mentioning bands, fanzines, and people, that are really important and that he doesn’t just forget them because they are obscure. That’s something I respect. Also this will create curiosity on readers, so they can discover, google, by themselves.

On the CD player this week, two Scottish bands. The Hermit Crabs and The Spook School new albums. Great stuff by both of them. The Spook School particularly have some indiepop anthems written in their record that if the world was perfect would be radio-hits right away, today.

And with Christmas around the corner I think I finally will get around getting that Creation Records first singles boxset. So tell me, what have you asked Santa for a present?


In the mood of sticking to Sweden this week. You know, with all this Stockholm thing of Don’t Cry Shopgirl.

One of my biggest regrets in indiepop is that I never got around to release the second volume of The Starke Adolf compilations. And the third and fourth volume. I tried. I really tried. But to be honest it was very complicated convincing 18 Swedish bands for every volume. They either never replied or didn’t care.

Hard to believe. I loved all these bands. They were the introduction for me to indiepop in a way. I’ve written extensively how the scene of Sweden from 2002 to 2006 or so affected me deeply. It was grass-roots, it was all about DIY, from fanzines, photocopies, CDRs, festivals and clubs. Everything done in a small scale, with love, and especially with fantastic music. It was such a prolific time that I look back with fondness.

I wasn’t in Sweden. That’s true. But the internet was a great tool for me to connect thanks to Soulseek. I met many of the people involved. I heard the most obscure bedroom pop, and eventually felt inspired to do my own label. It had a lot to do with the swedes. I wanted to pay back for it, many years after, with my compilations that would document that era.

An era that I feel might be forgotten. That needs to be written about. There’s so little online about many of these bands. Perhaps here in the blog, from time to time, I could try covering some of these bands like Ive done before with Fibi Frap (who were even so kind to release a compilation with me), Gang of One, Crime Time, Sugar Spun Charge and some more.

Today I want to show you one of the least known band from that period: The Déjà Vu Experience.

This was a solo project started by Jenny Westerlund. I assume when she was already living in Stockholm as she was originally from Skellefteå. By the time she released her one and only CDR she had already been playing with two much more known bands from the period: Funday Mornings and The Tidy Ups. Two bands I sincerely love and that maybe deserve a post here, though you could actually find some information about them online.

The CDr that only bore the band name on the cover, wasn’t released by any label. It was 2004 and Jenny had recorded these songs on the summer of that year. On the record she got some help from friends: Terese Nordström (from Crime Time), Frida Danielsson and Patrik Granlund.

I don’t know how many copies were burned of this CDr. The name of the band is hand-written on the disc itself according to Discogs. Also a lyric sheet was included, I like when that happens.

I missed this CDr when it was released. I remember I had little money back then. I was in school and couldn’t afford buying stuff from abroad. I think the only store I bought from abroad was Popolar in Toronto. Do you remember them? They had great prices.

The CDr included four songs. I remember hearing them all back then. They were so pretty. Today I could only track one of the songs, “Shortcut to Satisfaction”. The tracklist was:
1. Time Awake
2. In a Coma
3. Shortcut to Satisfaction
4. Parachute Jumping with Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson, CBE (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator and was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, she set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. She flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary and died during a ferry flight.

I lost these songs when my hard drive died. It shows you digital music suck. I learned that physical records are better. But I lost these songs and would love to hear them again. Maybe someone can help me? Or even better if anyone has a spare copy for me? I would love that so much.

I tried contacting Jenny years ago to include this project of hers, but never heard back. But perhaps some of you remember it? Maybe she played live some of these songs? Maybe there were more releases or more songs recorded? I can only remember this CDr. Perhaps you know more.


The Déjà Vu Experience – Shortcut to Satisfaction


Another week of little noise in the indiepop world as we approach Christmas. Some year end lists start to appear and I see the same names over and over, Spook School and Chorusgirl. To be honest I haven’t heard the full albums yet, but I’ve heard some of the songs included in them and they are ace. Then I’m not surprised. The other bands people mention, sadly I don’t care about them.

I see some people suggesting good bands, great records. For example Jessica and The Fletchers or The Sun Days debut albums. The Brits and the Americans don’t pick up these suggestions. They disdain them, and keep praising mediocre bands. Is it all about being British these days? If you are not, no one will care about you? Perhaps. I can’t say it’s like this, but seems this way at least.

Previously there was  bit more openness. In a far fetched analogy I could think of the anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe. But that’s not it. Definitely not. But there is a conservative approach in the indiepop scene at the moment. It feels like that. People are forgetting amazing releases this year. I’m not one of making year end lists. I feel they always tend to forget the best records and only praise the ones released in the last quarter of the year. That annoys me. But, then I wonder that possibly it has to do with the time available for people to listen and find new music?

Do we work so much? Or have we gotten old and have less curiosity, or house chores are just eating up our leisure time? There’s a Club 8 album this year. Has it been that horrible that no one mentions them? Or that The Legends record? I mean, they were big names in the indiepop scene for such a long time. To see no mention to them surprises me.

At Popfest we had such a great time with Brideshead. They put out a superb album. But then they are German. Brits are not willing to listen to them? What about Los Bonsáis? Cola Jet Set? Persian Rugs? Sleuth? Tiny Fireflies? Alpaca Sports? Iko Chérie? And more and more and more? Even in the US, Expert Alterations put out a very enjoyable record.

And even from their isles, The School, Horsebeach and Desperate Journalist were putting out great songs. So, what’s the matter? If the Twee.net polls opens up this year, I think one will have a better idea of what’s going on. I’m still in between two answers to the big question, one being that we’ve fallen into lazyness, the other being that we indiepop have lost our rebelious soul and now celebrate the likes of Courtney Barnett and other similar dumb stuff that the hipster crowd love.


It’s not often that I cover Belgian bands on the blog. So why not do it today?

Have you ever heard of Radio Bangkok? I have, but only recently, thanks to Youtube really. There are two songs uploaded, “Brilliant Books” and “Johnny Jones” and I like them a lot!

What do they remind me of? I’m thinking of The Driscolls perhaps? 80s indiepop for sure, funny lyrics and catchy choruses. Up my street for sure.

What do I know about them? Barely anything. I guess there’s not much written about them online. I don’t own the records, which is a shame. I wonder how easy are they to find. Maybe if I was to go to Belgium I could find them in the discount bins of the record stores. They seem a bit too obscure to be popular and sought after? But maybe I’m wrong? Would love to own them anyway!

Would love to hear all their songs. From what I know, thanks to Discogs, their recorded output are 7 songs. Maybe there are more? Maybe demo tapes? Who knows. But between 1993 and 1994 we know they released 3 singles. Two vinyl, one CD.

The three of them were released on Motorpshycho Records. I’m assuming this was their own label. There are no other releases in their catalog, at least on Discogs. The first release they did was “Brilliant Books” on the A side and “No One in the World” on the B side. This was catalog 93-S-001. This is naive pop at it’s best. The back cover comes with the lyrics for both songs and a photo of the “band”. Well, it’s really three old dudes that definitely aren’t in the band! From the sleeve we know that the band was formed by:
Koen Wostyn on vocals, guitar and bluesharp
Kristof Ysabie on bass and vocals
Marc Lambert on drums, piano and vocals

This first record was produced by Dostoevsky and his Team. The songs were written by Wostyn and we also get the chords for both songs, so anyone can learn and play the songs.

Second single was “Johnny Jones” on the A side and “Liza Liza” on the B side. Catalog number was 93-X-002. This time they give credit for production to the Beat Messiahs. Funny guys.
The Side A was engineered by Staf Verbeek at Umbrella in Ghent whilst the B side was recorded live at The Wostyn Residency. Also in Ghent. Thus we know now that the band was based in this city.

Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe with some 50,000 people in 1300. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university.

Now on the back cover we find again the lyrics and the chords for the two songs. Also we find a Pop Quiz asking who is on the cover. Very easy answer, it’s Elvis. Of course, on the options we get as answers, we would have to pick C, Someone Else.

Last single was on a CD and it included three songs: “A Hell of a Bullet (Is Gonna Be Shot”, “No One in the World” and ” Revolution N°9″. The last song being a cover of The Beatles. Now we don’t get any chords, just the lyrics for the first song. Again the record has been produced by The Beat Messiahs.

“A Hell of a Bullet (Is Gonna Be Shot)” was recorded and engineered at Umbrella by Staf Verbeek. The other two songs were recorded on a 4-track at Koen Wostyn’s home. Additional noises and heavy breathing on the Beatles cover were done by Lieven Vandewoestyne and Armand Bourgoignie.

That’s all there really is online. Perhaps some of you are better detectives than me and can find out if they put out any other records. Or perhaps if they were involved with any bands before or after Radio Bangkok. And why the name? Googling, I can find it was a popular radio programme in Argentina in the 80s. Would that be a connection with the band? Let me know if you know anything else about this obscure band from Ghent!


Radio Bangkok – Brilliant Books


Just came back from a week in Peru. And I’m quite tired to be frank. I got to go to work straight from the red eye flight. That’s how it is. In any case, it was all worth it. I really had a good time.

The day I arrived I was already on top form, attending a gig in the bohemian district of Barranco. It was an early afternoon show where a Spanish band called Beach Beach were headlining. I mainly went to see the two opening bands: Almirante Ackbar and Dan Dan Dero. Sadly I only could catch the last two songs by Almirante. They sounded great, but I was left hoping to hear more by them. Then Dan Dan Dero was on stage in this small venue called Bar Victoria. My old time friend Erik had joined the band months ago as a guitar player and I was very curious about it. I had heard the songs on Bandcamp and liked them. They didn’t disappoint. They have a proper hit in the song called “La chica que gusta de chicas que no gustan de chicas”, and another one in a yet unnamed and unrecorded song. Typical I thought when today I wanted to listen to that song.

Soon I was traveling to Puno, south of Peru, very high in the Andes and on the coast of Lake Titicaca. I wanted a side trip, some sense of adventure, and I’ve always been fascinated by this area of Peru. I wasn’t affected by altitude sickness but ended with a bad sunstroke. I didn’t think about how much the sun burns you in high altitude! I should have bought a hat or some protection.

That first day there I visited the floating islands of the Uros with my friend Jal, the guy who is mainly behind Plastilina Records these days. We learned about their culture and were fascinated by the architecture of their houses, all made out of reed, the crunchy feel of the reed island, their ducks, cats, and their souvenirs for sale. We were shown their kitchens and their rooms. They also owned very cool modern solar panels for electricity. And at the end they gave us a ride on one of their reed boats. It was such a different experience.

Next day we decided to cross the border and go to Bolivia to visit the Tiwanaku ruins. Since school I was always curious about this pre-Incan culture that was such a big influence to all the Andean region. This ended up being quite an adventure as that day there were protests all over Puno, with roads closed with rocks and broken glass. It took us perhaps double the time to get to the border, to a town called Desaguadero that feels so much like the wild west. After doing all the documentation needed to cross to Bolivia, we took another car all the way to the ruins.

It does show that Bolivia is much more of a third world country sadly, the infrastructure for their most famous pre-Columbian ruins are not the best really. It seemed like they cared not too much about their heritage, so different to places of the same importance in Peru. Anyhow, the place had so much beauty that I forgot that it costs 8 times more for a tourist that for a Bolivian (high way robbery!) and enjoyed the amazing Kalasasaya temple, and the super famous “Puerta del Sol”. Then the Bennett Monolith that I wasn’t allowed to take photos of was of such beauty that I was kind of speechless. I didn’t know about the existence of this big slab of carved rock. It was a great surprise. And among alpacas roaming the fields we left the area, all the way back to Puno on a highway that surrounds the Titicaca Lake.

The last day, after traditional guinea pig meals, and after visiting the impressive cathedral, we went to Sillustani. This peninsula on the lake Umayo has such great geographical beauty, something I wasn’t prepared to see. I was loving it. And on top of the hill, surrounded by water, the chullpas awaited for us. Beautiful cylindrical funerary buildings of perfect stone masonry that predate the Inca. Tall and imposing. One felt little next to them. This was definitely my favourite moment, you could just not understand why or how these were built. And the landscape was out-worldly. I totally recommend visiting Sillustani.

And that was that. I wanted to visit many other cool places in the area but time played against us. Maybe one day I return. I hope so. I’m happy now that every time I go visit my family I can allow myself a side trip. On top of it all the dollar is really good in Peru at the moment, and that helps a lot.

I got to DJ a bit last Friday too. I played a selection of Spanish pop from the 80s to today. But that wasn’t important. Seeing friends was the best. And also to see bands place. I saw Dan Dan Dero again and they were ace again, and the Chilean band Planeta No (which I accept they sound ok but they say nothing to me about my life). I had a really good time with the opening band Fiebre Aviar. Their lyrics were great, they sang about football and my favourite game ever, Pro Evolution Soccer (or Winning Eleven as it’s known back home). Fun pop punk that reminded me the days when I had a similar band. And closing the night were Eva & John, my favourite Peruvian band. They only played four songs because the venue decided that it was too late or something and disconnected all the equipment!! So bad. But the four songs they played were received by the crowd with pogo and sing alongs. It was amazing. They were tight and they were having so much fun. Manuel, Muriel, Daniel and Erik were the stars of the night.

The rest of my trip was hanging out with friends, drinking, eating amazing seafood. But now back to reality, back to work in NYC.

But also back to blogging, to listening to music, finding out about new songs, old bands and more. So let’s do that.


And as I’m all into Peru today, I want to show you a band that I was all very curious about for years. More than a decade: El Sueño de Alí.

It all started when me and my then roommate Jose, while living in Miami, had a band. I had some songs that we wanted to record and so our friend Arturo offered to help. Thing is we went to his house a couple of times but we didn’t record anything. We weren’t that good playing our instruments and it took forever. But the good part of it all was that he showed us many songs by unheard, obscure, Peruvian bands from the late 80s and early 90s. Bands that recorded some demos and that was that.

One of these bands he showed us, because he knew we loved pop music, was El Sueño de Alí. I recall that he told us that in this band were two important people in Peru, Pelo Madueño (who had been in so many bands, two very representative like the punk band Narcosis and the more mainstream pop band La Liga del Sueño) and Johanna San Miguel (who was mostly known for being an actress on TV and on stage). That was a surprise. But even more surprising was how beautiful, how incredible, was the song “Podemos Ir”. I was thrilled.

I wasn’t going to hear this song again for more than 10 years after.

In the meantime, in the Myspace days I remember writing to Pelo Madueño on the social network, asking about this band of his. I remember he was kind to answer and told me that when he returns to Lima he was going to try and find the songs and digitise them. I believe at the time he was living in Spain. I wanted to release this song on Plastilina Records. I told Jal about it and he started his search too.

Years passed. And then this song appears on Youtube. I see the 80s pop aficionado Diego, alias Rockas Vivas, has been also asking around about this band. There is some interest around. Jal finally talks seriously with Pelo and perhaps one day, crossing fingers, the songs by El Sueño de Alí will be released on a CD for a wider audience. I think that’d be a dream come true.

What we know though about this band is very little. So I think if a release of some sort ever happens has to have a good biography of the band. Put it in perspective. They released one tape with 10 songs. The tape was called “En el Valle del Placer” and it’s a lo-fi beauty of guitar and techno pop beats.

The band was formed by Jorge “Pelo” Madueño (guitars, keyboard, programming, lyrics and vocals), Félix Torrealva (keyboards, programming, and vocals) and Johanna (vocals). The tape had on the cover the art of Jean Delville, the Belgian painter. They chose perhaps his most notable work, “Tristan et Yseult”. Arthurian fans perhaps like me?

The record was recorded and mixed in 1990, in the “El Perfil” studio with a Tascam 244, a TR-505 Roland and a 3000 Casio. The songs were written between 1988 and 1989.

The ten songs were:
01. Podemos Ir
02. Sólo una Vez
03. Volando
04. Una Negrita de Buen Corazón
05. Nos Iremos
06. Tu Corazón
07. Everytime (Volví a Sentir)
08. Hasta Mi Lugar
09. Pandemonium
10. Adónde

That’s really all I know. I wasn’t around really in the Peruvian scene back then. I was too young. But I wonder though if they recorded anything else. I also wonder about gigs, if they played any. How many tapes were released by themselves under the label name “Producciones Inyectables”. And why did they break up? I wonder what were they listening at the time, I mean, it’s very different music compared to any Peruvian band of the time. So many questions that I hope one day get answered. And even better, that these songs get re-released.


El Sueño de Alí – Podemos Ir