27
Jan

Last post for January, the year well underway. It hasn’t been the most exciting starts when it comes to indiepop news, there has been some, but in this quiet time I’ve managed to finally start to catch up with the pile of records at home that were waiting to be listened.

Also The Suncharms compilation is being pressed at the moment, all proofs have been approved and there’s nothing left to it but to wait until the CD factory sends them my way. Pre-order now on the website, and that way help fund further releases as well. Speaking of which I’ve retaken conversations with three bands I want to release in the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen. I hope there are more news in the months to come though things have been moving slowly.

I finally gave a good listen to the BOB compilation. What a good band this was. I still can’t believe they weren’t booked at Indietracks a couple of years back. Rumour says that they offered to play. I wish I had seen them. The compilation is fantastic really, don’t understand how I took so long to buy it. Now, they have to release another compilation with more stuff. They have more songs than these 2-CD compilation has.

Another CD that was heavily played was the new Tiny Fireflies album. I have the vinyl copy as well, but for practical purposes, on the CD-player, it was much easier to listen to this beauty on the go. Throughout my subway rides, and walking the streets of NY, the beautifully crafted songs by the Chicago now three-piece, was such a bright light in these winter days. Definitely a winner and I proudly voted for it as best record at the Twee.net poll. So happy to call friends two of the most talented American popkids I know. On top of it all, they have great taste in their record collection as well. While listening to their record the amount of memories that cross my mind are endless, from the times in Manchester, to Glasgow, to Madrid, to Canterbury and so on. I’m very fond of those moments.

Lastly, I’ve played, according to Last.fm around 5 times the last week the new Cola Jet Set album. Surprised to see my name on the thank yous, the album is a sweet sweet rush of jangly popstactiness. If not knowing Spanish is a problem for some of you, don’t despair. The music is so catchy, and the guitars jangle and jangle while the smartly and beautifully arranged songs are a treat to discover. It’s no surprise that after all these years Cola Jet Set can keep providing us with strong records and hits. For me Felipe, even since Los Fresones Rebeldes, or Los Canguros if you want, has been a hit-factory, with such an immense talent for pop hooks that continue to amaze me. And it look so simple. But it isn’t.

I started listening to the Creation Records box set too. Just the first CD, and no surprises there. Began to read the 4AD book too. Not that I’m a fan of that label, I only really really care for Lush, honestly. But I love reading the story of labels, so I hope this book doesn’t disappoint me.

Now I look forward to something that I’ve been missing the past two months, South American football. Now that the summer vacations are over for the people down south, the leagues will start again in a week and the one and only Copa Libertadores. I know you all prefer European footie, but sorry, there’s nothing like my own. It has a different flavour. And then the announcement of NYC Popfest lineup sometime soon! I can’t wait!!

———————————————————————

So I kind of went through the records in my box that has the letters M, N and O. I skipped some that I haven’t covered in the blog, I just thought they weren’t that good to recommend. Some of them I just bought them because they were in a label I liked. There was a 7″ by Oporto that I want to recommend, but as they are members of The Proctors, and easily reachable through Facebook and so on, well, I thought it’d be better to interview them. So I’ll try that soon. So I closed that box and went to a box that only has bands that start with P. Thought I’d start with The Pleasureheads.

I’m assuming they took their name from The Birthday Party song.

I only own one record by them, a 7″ released in 1986 on Molesworth Records. I remember I bought this just because of the label they were on. This label had released a favourite band of mine, The Charlottes. They also had released The Nightjars who I have reviewed and interviewed in the blog. So it had to be good.

The record I own turns to be the first one The Pleasureheads released. It includes 2 songs, the A side is “Falling Man” and the AA side is “Don’t Fake It”. The catalog number was HUNTS 2. It was recorded the 12th and 13th of April in 1986 at the University of Surrey. It was a joint single of the week for NME.

The University of Surrey is a public research university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey, in the South East of England, United Kingdom. The university specializes in science, engineering, medicine and business. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology before gaining university status. Its roots, however, go back to the Battersea Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1891 to provide further and higher education for London’s poorer inhabitants.

I find on the back sleeve that the band members have particular last names: Pete Herrahead, Andy Donnyhead, Mark Randyhead, Dean Nicholhead and Peter Elderhead. On bass was Pete, on guitar Andy and Mark, on vocals Dean and on drums the latter Pete. Turns out that their real names were: Dean Nicholls, Andrew Donovan, Peter Elderkin, Mark Randall, Kevin Murphy and Peter Herron.

The engineer for this record was Jim Abbiss. And an interesting tidbit was that the photo on the back cover was taken at a Woolworth’s photobooth. We learn too that the band was based in Peterborough.

Peterborough is a cathedral city and unitary authority area in the East of England, with a population estimated to be 184,500 in mid–2011. Although traditionally part of Northamptonshire, for ceremonial purposes it falls within the county of Cambridgeshire. Situated 75 miles (121 km) north of London, the city stands on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the north-east. The railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh. The unitary authority borders Northamptonshire and Rutland to the west, Lincolnshire to the north, and non-metropolitan Cambridgeshire to the south and east.

After this record they were to release more stuff. I don’t own any of it, but let’s go through them, right? The next record was released the same year, 1986, on Ediesta Records. It was a 12″ with three songs. The A side was “Holding On”, the B sides were “Beside My Head” and “Hit the Ground”. These songs were recorded on the 4th and 5th of October of 86 at the Music Room in Peterborough. There’s a bit of a story on the back sleeve for each of the songs. Also cartoon drawings of the members. And instead of just giving their address for fanmail, they ask for multi-million pound deals and offers of marriage.

Ediesta would release their next record in 1987. Three songs, “Treasure”, “Madonna Eyes” and “Something Above” on a 12″, though a white label 7″ promo exists that doesn’t include the third song. David Colton was the engineer for this record and it was also recorded at the Music Room in Peterborough during April/May of 87.

During the winter of 87 and 88 they would go onto record their album. Titled “Hard to Swallow” it was released in 88 by Ediesta (CALC LP 43). 10 songs: “Sold”, “Whip it Up”, “Crystal Clear”, “Something You’re Above”, “Hit the Ground (New Version)”, “Frankly (I’m not H.P.)”, “Treasure”, “Harvey’s Cane is Out”, “Kind But Blind”, and “That’s All Folk’s…”. Engineers for this record were Baz Voce and David Colton. It was again recorded at Music Room. I heard so far just one song from this record, “Frankly (I’m not H.P.)” on Youtube, and I find it much more rockier than the 7″ I have. Wonder if the rest of the songs also got that treatment.

And while I was on Youtube I found 20 minutes worth of live footage of a band called The Pleasure Heads playing at the Old Grey Horse in Didsbury, Manchester. Are they the same Pleasure Heads? Maybe you want to have a look here. If you can confirm or deny if they are The Pleasureheads I’m writing about, it’d be nice to know! I actually found that there was a band from Pittsburgh called The Pleasure Heads too. So better be sure!

Their last release, according to Discogs, was another 12″. Now on the label Black (catalog 12 REV 60) they were to release a three song maxi, “Within Reach”, “There’s No Change” and “She Said”. The record was recorded and mixed at Gem Studios in Frampton, except “She Said” that was recorded at Elephant Studios in London. It was 1990.

But let’s look a bit at the members. Kevin Murphy and Andy Donovan were part of The Surgens who released some records in the 2000s. They were a country and surf band. Later in 2010, they both were in a band called The Malingerers and released a mini album in 2010 called The Lost Tapes.

Perhaps the most familiar name for indiepop fans is that one of Mark Randall. As you know I’m a big fan of The Fat Tulips. BIG FAN. And also of Heaven Records. Well, turns out it’s the same Mark Randall behind these two amazing and important pieces in the indiepop puzzle. As you know with the Fat Tulips he used the alias David F and later he would become a well known member of the stuckist movement. According to Discogs he has also been a member of bands I’ve never heard of like Ermintude, Mary McKirdy and the Liquid Fruit Machine, Servalan and International Wigg Control, and some other bands that I’m very familiar like Oscar, Confetti, Slumber and Sundress. Now I feel like I want to interview him… he even has his own Wikipedia page.

Anyways, if you know how the rest of The Pleasure Heads record sound like, if they are as poppy as the first one, if they recorded more songs, if they were in any other bands, if the video I posted has the same Pleasure Heads I’m talking about, or anything else that would paint a better picture of the band, please use the comment section. Would love to know more.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
The Pleasure Heads – Falling Man

25
Jan

Thanks so much to Tony Wade for getting in touch and answering all my questions in this interview! I wrote about Brick Supply some time ago, and managed to even score a copy of their Somebody’s Intermezzo EP not so long ago and I became quickly a fan of the band. So if you haven’t discovered yet this amazing band, it is time now, their songs are really great!

++ Hi Tony! Thanks a lot for getting in touch! I’ve been very curious about Brick Supply since I heard your music for the first time. And there is so little written about the band online. So perhaps let’s start from the beginning? Was Brick Supply the first band you were involved with?

No, I’d been in bands before but was asked to join Brick Supply after they had recorded Not So Manic Now and to finish the Somebodies Intermezzo CD. I then played with them for the next 9 years.

++ And what are your first music memory? When was the first time you used a piano or a keyboard? Do you play any other instruments?

I started to play piano when I was 4. I also play guitars, mandolins, banjos, percussion.

++ How did Brick Supply start? Who were the members of the band? How did you all know each other?

Brick Supply started in a school in Castleford in about 1987. (I joined around 1991)

Then the band was:
Dave Harling – Guitar
Tony Stuckey – Guitar
George Parker – Drums
Andrew Tate – Vocals
Gareth Graham – Bass

Gareth was replaced by Martin Mason, I joined, Ian Hawkins replaces George Parker.

Tony Stuckey left just after the EP came out

That line up remained pretty constant until the band split around 2000. I went on to be in The Boy Tate with Dave and Andrew.

++ What year was that? And where does the name of the band come from?

The band was named after the first job anyone got after school – working in a  brick suppliers.

++ And where in the UK were you based?

Castleford and Wakefield in Yorkshire

++ The first appearance of the band was in 1991, as far as I know, was on the compilation “Twice Wi’ Scraps For Me Mam An’ Our Lass ….Please”. There were two songs, “Mellow Rape” and “Inside a Mattress Van”. Do you remember how did you end up in that compilation? Who were Confidential Records?

Confidential records was based in Wakefield and wanted to put out a compilation of local acts. It was set up by George Parker after he left Brick Supply.

++ Then in 1992 you were going to appear on a Rough Trade compilation with the song “Grid of Absence” and in 1994 in a compilation in Singapore with “Not So Manic Now”.  Did you appear in any other compilations aside from these three?

Just the Weird and Wonderful compilation you mentioned before. We had some tracks on recording industry compilations that were not for general release.

++ I notice that the sound of the band changed quite a bit from the early days until the first proper release of the band. Why was that? Who were your influences? And did these influences changed a bit during the later period?

We wanted to become more melodic and explore older music. When we started we were influenced by The Smiths and The Pixies but gradually wanted to play a wider range of music, especially English pop music from the Beatles to ELO. We were a bit of an oddity in 1991 trying to do that but we liked it.

++ How was the creative process for the band? What do you remember from the recording for the first EP, “Somebody’s Intermezzo”?

Initially the band would jam a song and Dave would write the lyrics but more a more Dave would come to my house with a acoustic guitar with a song almost done and I’d sit at the piano and work out a feel for the song and an arrangement. We might even record a rough demo in the computer and digital 8 track recorder.

++ This EP was released on a label called Rough Cuts. Who were they?

Rough Cuts, I think, were a subsidiary of Rough Trade records/publishing

++ On Youtube there are a bunch of songs that seem to have been unreleased like “Instant Rebels, or “My Beautiful Kebab House”, among others? Where do these songs come from?

Early tape recordings and self-financed demos. We are very fond of them.

++ How many songs did you record in total do you remember? And how come most of these songs remain unreleased? Was there no interest from labels?

We must have over 100 songs recorded in one form or another. We were tied into a publishing deal with Rough Trade after the EP and then we were going to sign for a new Japanese record label based in the JVC corporation. There were negotiations and recordings and meetings done but in the end the label never got off the ground and the recordings never released.

++ You mentioned to me the “Happy Accidents” EP. It was a follow up to the first EP. Was this released? And how different was the process to make it and sound-wise to the previous EP?

Happy Accidents was a mixture of some of the JVC demos, some recordings recorded in  my kitchen and some from our rehearsal studio. We just wanted to get some of this music out.

++ From all your recordings, which are your favourite songs and why?

I think Rules of Wine, It’s not on any released music. It was recorded at our last ever session, Andrew Tate had left at that point and Dave took over vocals. We had been recording our current batch of songs at the time and has a bit of time left. We made the song up on the spot. It’s us at our most relaxed.

++ Dubstar covered “Not So Manic Now” in 1995. There was even a promo video for it. How did this cover come about? Was there any other connection with Dubstar aside from them liking your song?

They were working with the same producer and he played them our song, they liked it and wanted to release it. —-and there hangs a whole new tale but that might have to wait until later.

++ Tell me about gigs. Did you play many? What would you say were the best and worst (or the most curious) gig experiences of Brick Supply and why?

We gigged a lot, playing support for English indie bands such as Wedding Present, CUD in fact anyone who would have us. We played a lot of college gigs. Best experience and worst experience were a few day apart actually.

We were asked to play an acoustic set for a big record industry event and festival in Leeds. We thought we’d do it acoustically as there was a grand piano on stage and I’ve always wanted to play one. We were playing at the interval during a conference. Most people left the auditorium to get some lunch as we were playing  but we didn’t mind because the great English BBC DJ, John Peel was in the audience. (I don’t know if you know about him – he was incredibly important in playing new unsigned bands and every band in England would send him their demos to play on his show. We all loved him) he stayed for the whole show and came to see us afterwards and said how much he liked what we did and even know lots of our songs!

A few days later we were headlining the festival on its last night, a very important gig at a packed venue full of record labels and industry specialists. Unfortunately we had to cancel a few hours before David suffered from ruptured tonsils and was very ill. We couldn’t do the show without him.  Bit of a low point.

++ How was the press with Brick Supply? Did you get much support? And radio play?

We had lots of radio and press, I might have the clipping somewhere.

++ When you started as a band there were plenty of guitar bands in the UK, nowadays grouped under the genre C86 or indiepop. Did you feel part of a scene? Did you like any other bands from that period? And why do you think there were so many great bands appearing at that time?

I think we were part of the indie scene but then the whole Madchester indie dance came along with bands like The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and all the bands started to sound like that. We liked those bands but didn’t want to sound like then and that made us stand out. Then britpop came along and we weren’t a part of that scene even though we might have shared the same influences. We liked being our own thing.

++ Then when and why did Brick Supply call it a day?

We ended around 2000. David and Andrew for The Boy Tate and wanted to do more acoustic work. I joined them. We had all got jobs by then and didn’t have the time to gig or rehearse too much. Shame really.

++ Afterwards you all went to be The Boy Tate. Care telling me a bit about this band?

Here’s a little film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwtOjuzlkyM

The Boy Tate website is no more but there are snippets here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Tate

They did 4 CD and supported many acts including Suzanna Vega. The Boy Tate called it a day a couple of years ago.

++ And today, are you all in touch? Are you still making music?

We are in touch occasionally.  We usually meet up every Christmas for a curry.

++ And aside from music, what other hobbies do you enjoy having?

I make a living as an artist so that takes up much of my time

++ Looking back in time now, what would you say was the biggest highlight of Brick Supply?

All of it, wouldn’t have missed it for the world

++ Thanks again so much, anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for your interest, it’s been good to think back to those times.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Brick Supply – Mellow Rape

18
Jan

The first snow this winter. That’s what just happened in NYC. Indiepop keeps quiet, like hibernating, when it comes to news. I learn through friends about some bands that will play Popfest. I find that the announcements, whenever they will be, will make a lot of people happy. Some amazing bands from the past and today should be arriving to the city in May. And it should be grand once again.

Not many news for new releases either. At least not on my radar. Today is a holiday too in the US. Martin Luther King day. Things are quieter than usual. I was surprised this weekend when I heard Felt’s “Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow” being used in a movie called “The End of the Tour” with Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. A movie about the writer David Foster Wallace and a journalist who accompanies him to interview him during the last days of a literary tour in 1996. It makes me happy when I listen indiepop songs, classic or not, on Hollywood movies. It should mean that the band must have made some money out of it. Or hopefully they did. Don’t know who owns Felt catalog these days, it was Cherry Red but I believe Captured Tracks was re-releasing their records. I just hope that whoever owns these recordings, either the money-hungry or the low quality label, behaved well with Felt.

Times are quiet. Madrid Popfest announced some more bands to their lineup. I’m thrilled to see Red Sleeping Beauty will be playing. I was very happy when they announced their comeback, and to see that they will be playing gigs, well, it’s even better. It could mean that they will come to NYC Popfest too! Wow, that would be something! Wouldn’t it? Then the announcement of Horsebeach feels a bit like justice. One of the best contemporary jangly bands from England, that never seem to be invited to Indietracks, will get to play. How I wish I could see them! And lastly, the other band I would be very excited to see, that I’m very envious of every popkid attending this festival, are Los Animalitos del Bosque. Can’t imagine the racket that they will bring on stage, and on to the crowd! I think there will be a lot of dancing!

Also it’s good to mention that this 30th of January, in Berlin and Cologne, three Spanish bands will be touring together, The Royal Landscaping Society, When Nalda Became Punk and Linda Guilala. That is next week. If you are in town, definitely do not miss them. Check this Facebook event if you need more information. Another event that makes me long living in Europe. One day.

————————————————-

Kept digging on that box of 7″s of bands starting with either M or N. I can’t recall when I bought this 7″ by the band Milo, but I’m pretty sure of the why: it was released on The Bus Stop Label.

The strength of this record is the A side: “Car Crash”. What a nice song! I’m glad I picked this record, I think. All the ingredients that make me like this sort of indiepop are their, electric guitars, catchy melodies and girl vocals. It reminds me a bit of an English band that released some stuff on the same label, Eggplant. A favourite of mine. The B sides are “Beautiful” and “Can We Play Run Around?”. This record was released in 1994 and was catalogued as BUS 050.

From the back of the record one can learn that the band was formed by Cindy, Charlie and Pari. And from the internet, from the little I could find, they were based in Champaign-Urbana.

The Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area, also known as Champaign-Urbana and Urbana-Champaign, is a metropolitan area in east-central Illinois. It is the 191st largest metropolitan area in the U.S. The area has a population of 231,891 as determined by the 2010 U.S. Census. The area is anchored by the principal cities of Champaign and Urbana and is home to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. 

Many good bands in the late 80s, early 90s, came out from that area. So it’s no surprise.

Discogs luckily lists another record by the same band. I don’t own it sadly, but I will make sure to order it later today as it is very affordable. It seems it was actually released in both CD and 10″ version. It is titled “Can We Play Around?” and the catalog number is BUS 1004. Funny enough the song of the same name as the title that was included in the 7″ doesn’t appear on this release. Instead there are five other songs: “Empty Em”, “King of the City”, “Ribbons & Bows”, “The Best Part” and “I Get Burned”. Andrew Beddini produced this records, and there are special production thanks to Allen Stickels and Sweet Patrique Hawley.

That’s all I could find online sadly. It is a bit hard looking for a band named Milo too. Especially when there’s a drink (Milo is a chocolate and malt powder that is mixed with hot or cold water or milk to produce a beverage popular in many parts of the world. Produced by Nestlé, Milo was originally developed by Thomas Mayne in Sydney, Australia in 1934. It is marketed and sold in many countries around the world.), cities and villages with that name (for example there’s a Milo, Indiana, Milo, Maine, etc.), a couple of rivers (in Tanzania and Guinea), boxers, footballers, politicians with that name, videogames, plants, and so on!

But maybe you remember them? Perhaps they released more records? Maybe some other songs appeared on compilations? Did they have more recordings? Did they gig all over the US? Whatever happened to them? Were they involved with other bands? Would be nice to know!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Milo – Car Crash

13
Jan

A week with little indiepop news aside from the new Firestation Records releases coming early in February. That’s two records that will make any indiepop fan happy, a full retrospective of Emily (a favorite of mine whose “Mad Dogs” song is one that I’ve djed so many times) and the Hipflasks (who I covered on the blog long ago looking to get in touch to find any info about them, but I guess now we’ll find something about them on the new CD!).

Then of course I sent The Suncharms master to the pressing plant yesterday. So now, doing my calculations, I’m expecting the record to be out by April 1st. I think it’s a safe date. After that I should start working on another compilation. Which one? Not sure, I’ve been in touch with some bands in hope to put one together, but it’s been at least a month or so that I’ve heard from one of them. From others even more. I’ve been so busy. I should get back in touch and see if we can make this happen.

As it is so quiet I placed a big order at Jigsaw Records. I was surprised that The Chandler Estate EP was released. I haven’t seen any news about this anywhere, but I’m very glad that their songs are in physical format. I will get up to date with other releases like Postal Blue, The School, Cola Jet Set, etc. 2015 ended with lots of new releases and, I’m telling you, I need more leisure time to listen to music!! I think I’ll never listen to the pile of records that grow next to my computer!

And so, because it’s a quiet week, I’ll just head to checking out some obscure band…

———————————————–

As I keep digging on one of the many boxes of 7″s I have, the one that contains bands with names that start with M and N, I decided to pick up Newell’s “Alix” 7″. I didn’t know much about this record when I bought it, many years ago while visiting Malmö. Krister, who was a friend back then (?), took us to a small record shop after lunch. There I found this record among it’s tiny selection of 7″s for sale. I picked it up because it was released on Motorway Records from Japan (catalog Motor 14), a proper indiepop label from the 90s. That was enough to pick my curiosity. And I ripped a song for you.

I haven’t heard the band before. But two songs on the 7″ are true gems, both the second songs on each side: “Indiffente” and “Que Ferons-Nous de Nos Beaux Jours?”. The other two songs are “Alix” and “Nostératé”. From what I could learn, Newell was the pseudonym of one Yvan Loiseau and on this record he got help from Viviane on vocals, Gaëtan Chataignier on bass and guitar, Dennis Braillet on drums, Pascal Roscamp on guitar and Olivier Champain on organ. The photograph on the cover and back cover were taken by Karine Poirier. Newell appeared on this record thanks to Alienor Records and Cornflakes Zoo!

Okay, so we know they are French (and perhaps I picked this record subconsciously, excited about my March trip there!). But where in France? Maybe we can find out if we keep digging. Discogs points us that this wasn’t his first release. His first release came out on the classic French label Cornflakes Zoo! in 1993. Again it’s a four song EP (catalog ZOO 9) that includes the songs: “Zenith of the Moron Behaviour”, “Newell”, “Are You Serious! Do You Like Tom Cruise?” and “Heartsouvenirs”. This record came in a fold-over sleeve and contained an insert and a giant poster. It was recorded at ZOO studio and mixed at the Aquarium in August 1993.

Now I’m getting very curious. I’ve only heard the one 7″ I own. But a song with a name like “Are You Serious! Do You Like Tom Cruise?”, I want to hear that! Maybe I need to track down this record. On this 7″ he got help from Eric Grosbeutre on drums on the B side, and Martial Onion on drums too, but on the A side songs. As far as I know, Eric Grosbeutre was a pseudonym of Eric Piffeteau from the classic French band The Little Rabbits.

Then there are two albums waiting for me to listen. Both released on Alienor Records. The first one was released in 1996 and titled “Amiral Recrosial” (catalog Alien π). An odd photo for the cover, this CD has 10 songs: “Pissed Off”, “Mes Amis”, “La Répartie”, “Car Crash”, “V. 10. 11. 94”, “Lifetime”, “Sidewalking”, “Mister Stewee”, “L’Oisiveté”, “Francis”. “Sidewalking”, a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain original. Recorded by Stéphane Teynié (the guy behind the label Cornflakes Zoo) in 1995 in both at Le Jimmy and Zoo Studio, mixed at Studio Gimmick by Damien Bertrand. Here I learn that Zoo Studio was based in Bordeaux. Was the band from there as well?

The second album gets released in 1999. Titled “Mûle Sa Mère” (catalog Alien ψ), it includes 13 songs: “Mûle Sa Mère”, “Tiug”, “Mes Faux Pas”, “Tatou”, “Greibgeade”, “Alix”, “Jad Fair Drives”, “La Médecine De Quand C’Est Trop Tard”, “El Pronto”, “El Mejor”, “J’écris”, “N.Y.C”, “Tacoman”, “Sheep”.

I didn’t find much more about the band. There was an entry on a shoegaze blog, but it’s mostly a review of the sound and the style of the band. Not much information in it really. Then there was a review of the first album on Les inRocks were the artwork of the album is compared to the “homoerotic aesthetics” of Morrissey”. But again, not much information about the band.

I’m not sure how popular or known the band is or was in France. If they released two albums they must have had some following. But for me, they seem very obscure, perhaps I should start by getting their other records, the ones I’m missing. But whatever happened to Yvan? Did he continue releasing music? Were there more Newell records or recordings? Would be nice to know what happened, French indiepop feels somehow neglected these days.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Newell – Que Ferons-Nous de Nos Beaux Jours?

11
Jan

Thanks so much to Martin Nelte for this great interview! Always a Brideshead fan, I was so lucky to see them live at NYC Popfest last year. It was amazing really! Now they will be playing Madrid Popfest very soon, in March, and on top of that they released a new album that is among the best of last years. A triumphal return indeed! And because of that, it was a good idea to have a nice chat 😉

++ Hi Martin! How are you? Must be thrilled about the announcement of you playing at Madrid Popfest, right? Have you played in Spain before?

Yes, we are very excited to play in Spain at the Popfest and meet other bands and likeminded indie poper. Madrid in March must be marvelous too. We’ve never played in Spain before.

++ What should people expect from Brideshead at the Madrid Popfest? Are there any surprises you will bring to the festival?

First of all we hope to give a good performance. We are much better rehearsed than a year ago. Some of the songs from the new album we have never played live before and we will play them in Madrid. Surprises? I can’t tell you otherwise it is not a surprise… maybe we can convince our background singers from the album to perform with us because this time they are coming to Spain with us. Our entourage you know…

++ And aside from playing in Spain, are you doing anything else? Perhaps some touristy stuff?

We will be there for a a long weekend and I’m pretty sure we will find some time to walk along the Gran Via, maybe visit the Rastro flea market and have some chocolate con churros.

++ It’s been a good two last years for Brideshead it seems. Not long ago I was lucky to see you play NYC Popfest. I loved the gig. How was that experience for you?

New York is a unique place and the audience at the NYC Popfest was very kind. We met so many nice people there (including you!). We hadn’ t played live for ages and then you are on stage in New York (I always have a bit stagefright!) and everything sounds completely different than in our pratice room – wow, that was thrilling. To be away with the band is always a bit like being out with your buddies on a stag party.

++ It was the second time you played New York City. What do you remember from the first time, has Popfest changed a lot? How did it compare to your last gig?

The first time was also in Brooklyn. We had a little US-tour at that time and played in Boston, Washington (and slept at Jimmy Tasso’s house) and Philadephia too. The old Popfest was smaller – only one evening in one venue. Ed from Shelflife lived in Brooklyn at this time. He organized everything. The whole band slept on the floor in his living room. It was the first of September and very hot and humid. Now we are elderstatesman… we slept in a hotel last year.

++ There’s so many questions to ask about the band as you’ve been going for long. But perhaps we should start from the beginning. What are your first music memories? And when did you decided that you wanted to sing?

Boah, I can’t really remember the very first music memory. But one of the very first memory is a holiday trip with my parents from Germany to Italy. My father bought one Italo-Disco tape at a gas station in Italy and during the whole holiday I must have heard it like 500 times. I was never good with an instrument. When we wanted to form our first band it would have been useful to play an instrument, so my only choice was to sing.

++ And before Brideshead, did any of the members were part of other bands? I read you were part of a band that tried to sound like Biff Bang Pow, are there any recordings from that?

Paul, Brideshead’s bassplayer, was the drummer in the first band.
Yeah, I was very much into all this indie pop stuff. I just discovered Sarah Records and I had this idea how the band should sound like. But the others were more into American college music like Dinosaur Jr, Weezer and Buffalo Tom. They hired a new singer and the band split up. Yes, they are recordings on tape from the practise room. But believe me: You don’t want to hear it.

++ How did Brideshead start as a band on the first formation? How did you all meet?

After my second band The Finnegans split up I was looking for something new. Heiko, a school friend of mine, wanted to form a new band and asked me if I would sing (but I should sing more like David Bowie…). He was playing guitar. Heiko knew someone who fancied the same girl like he did. Heiko said this guy was playing guitar, liked The Smiths and drove a Vespa. Our man. It was Hanns-Christian Mahler. Dirk, another friend of Heiko joined us as a drummer. Oliver from my first band (he was a friend from school) joined as the bass player. We had the first incarnation of Brideshead.

++ And then why did the formation changed for the next releases?

Heiko left the band because of musical differences after our first EP “This Is Mall Music”. Dirk left because he was starting his studies in a different city and Oliver left us for another band. Paul Engling joined us as a Bassplayer (he gave up drumming) and we had a new leadguitarist and drummer. We’ve recorded a few tracks with this formation. Some of these tracks were released on the album “In And Out Love”. Hanns-Christian and I had this little project named “Elegant”, where our lyrics were written in German. Oliver of Marsh Marigold Records was so pleased about our first 7″ on our label Apricot that he wanted to do an Elegant and a Brideshead album. We were happy but our drummer and the lead guitarist had just left the band. So we asked Zwen Keller if he wanted to play guitar and Paul introduced us to Daniel, who became our new drummer. In this formation we’ve recorded “Some People Have All The Fun” in my parents basement. Daniel left the band after the US tour because he had found a job in Hamburg. For a few years we had no real drummer. This is one of the reasons why  Brideshead was sleeping so long, and was only re-activated after Burkhard Meldt came as our permanent drummer.

++ And who came up with the name? And why the name?

The name was my idea. I loved the TV series and its influence on the British Popculture in general, think about the knitted jumpers (…the cover of the first Haircut 100 album) and the haircuts in the series. I also liked the idea and aspects of a neverending summer, an endless youth (“Never Grow Up”), the style and the campness of the series and the book.

++ I remember I discovered you through the song “Shortsightedness”. What is that song about? I remember that when I found about it, more than a decade ago, I saw this video that looks like you are on TV set. Perhaps you are? I always wondered about that clip…

Yes, our one and only TV appearence on German television. It was playback and we had real fun (lots of make up etc.). The song is about an overwhelming fantasy and the advantage of being short-sighted.

++ Not long ago you also made a video for the song “At 45rpm”. Curious about the locations of the video, that even though you have a New York map on it, you are definitely not in NYC. What record store is the one you visit too? Do you recommend it?

You’ve recognized the NYC map? Cool. No, it is certainly not New York. We’ve filmed in Frankfurt and in Wiesbaden at my place. Oribinally we wanted to shoot in one of Zwen’s favourite record stores in Frankfurt but unfortunately this was not possible. Therefor we chose a different one, the “Bigblack Record Store” – just around the corner from Zwen’s place. It is more like a second hand shop for records, books, etc, but I found a few good records.

++ This song comes from your latest album, “Never Grow Up”. I guess the title speaks for itself. But of course I wonder now that the band has “grown up”, how was the experience creating this new album? Was it easier or more difficult than previous times? And how long did it take?

It was much more difficult as we are no longer students with free time. We have our daytime jobs and Hanns-Christian lives near the Swiss border which makes it difficult to pratice and record songs. It took nearly two years to practice and record the 10 new songs.

++ I love that the first song in this album is called “Class of 86”. I have to ask then, what are your favourite records that would fall into that category?

McCarthy’s “I’m a Wallet” is one of my all time faves. Mighty Mighty, Close Lobsters, Wolfhounds and Railway Children have great records. Bodines were a big influnce and One Thousand Violins were great also (with the 1st singer). I don’t know if the Go-Betweens and Felt are considered as C 86 but they are icons.

++ Do you consider yourself “sons” of the C86 bands? Or what would be a good way to describe the band’s spirit?

We grew up in the 80s, so we’ve inhaled this kind of pop music but we never stopped listening to contemporary (indie) pop music. Eggstone for example were a great influence for us. If a son emancipates himself from his parents… maybe we are “sons”.

++ You’ve worked with several labels through the years. Which has been your favourite one to work with and why?

Oh I really don’t know. A label is a lot of work and we appreciate all the effort these great labels have invested in us. However Shelflife has always been faithful to us and we will never forget our US-tour with them.

++ I’m sure it will be very hard to pick one song, but let’s do five. Which are the five favourite songs of yours that you like playing live?

In no specific order: Arrogance, At 45 rpm, When I’m In Love, Descartes, On Your Trail

++ What other countries aside from the US and Germany have you played? And in general, what would you say has been your favourite gigs, and the most strange gigs you’ve played?

We’ve played in London at the Duffle Coat Records All Dayer. Besides the Popfest Gigs the 10 year Marsh Marigold Records festival (at Markthalle Hamburg) was great too. The strangest gig was maybe at the university in Erfurt. No one cared about our gig and after us came the caretaker (of the university) with his really bad band and the audience freaked out.

++ You shared two split singles with Den Baron. Is there any other connection between the two bands?

Oh, I really can’t tell you……..

++ The cover art of one of those split singles is of course that of two football players. Safe to assume you love football. So which team do you support? And do you go to the stadium often?

I’m not really into football and I don’t go to matches (Johannes, the 3rd apricot guy is into football). But I like the connection between Pop and football (“When Saturday Comes”).

++ How did you celebrate the German team World Cup a year ago?

Certainly I saw it on telly. The final was nerve-racking. After the goal I had a beer and went to bed.

++ Tell me a bit about Wiesbaden. Are you still based there? Are there, or were there, any good indiepop bands? What are the sights to see? What is the local beer and what are the traditional dishes?

Paul and myself still live in Wiesbaden. We’ve had a lively indie scene with two labels, but nowadays we are no longer connected to the younger bands.
Wiesbaden was nearly undestroyed in WWII. We have lot of buildings from the 19th century (the house I live in is from 1899) when the German Kaiser used to visited Wiesbaden. It is one of the oldest spa towns with 14 still flowing hot springs (the romans already bathed here). It is internationally famous of its architecture, climate (also called the Nice of the north). When here, you have to visit the “Kurhaus” (with the Casino), “Neroberg” our local vinyard hill and have a glass of the famous Riesling wine in the near Rheingau, famous vineyard area and our parks. Wiesbaden has no local beer, we have Riesling wine and “Apfelwein” which is a kind of apple cider. Traditional dishes are “Handkäse mit Musik” (kind of pickeled cheese with raw onions) and “Eier mit grüner Soße” (eggs with a green 7 herb sauce).

++ So far, in these 20 years or so of Brideshead, what has been the biggest surprise, or the biggest highlight for the band?

That we were able to complete “Never Grow Up” with all members on board was a real challenge and the biggest highlight in our latest history. Without the album we hadn’t the possibility to play in NYC the second time for example.

++ And what can a fan expect in the future? Are there more recordings planned perhaps? Other festival appearances?

To get 5 people’s diaries under one hat is not easy but we will write new songs this year. We have applied for Indie Tracks but I don’t know if they want us.

++ “In and Out Love”, was a mix of old songs and new songs. Do you consider it an album or a compilation yourselves? And, will there be something similar in the future compiling more songs from singles, compilations and other material? If that material exists of course…

We wanted to record a completely new album but our drummer left. This is why we took some old songs on the album. Maybe there will be something in the future but we try to offer the listener as many new songs as possible.

++ One last question, what came first, Apricot Records or Brideshead?

The Band. But we needed a label and a label address for our first EP. With the money from the repressing of the EP Johnnes, Hanns-Christian and myself started apricot properly.

++ Next time we should do an Apricot Records interview, for the time being, thanks again Martin and I hope you have a great time in Spain! Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you Roque! Hope to see you again sometime. And yes, lets do an Apricot interview!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Brideshead – Shortsightedness

04
Jan

Happy new year!

Will 2016 be a good year for indiepop? I really hope so! On the internet though I read about a whiny label that once again announces that is closing shop for the hundredth time. Always announcing this and never closing. It feels more like a marketing campaign to shift some records at low prices with the “close out sale” excuse. Then weeks after they announce that they will continue strong and all. Happened before, wouldn’t surprise that it happens again. Don’t like this. It’s a bit of a joke. No respect whatsoever to their fanbase.

Not a good start.

Last week I was wondering about the Twee.net poll for 2015. Luckily it is on even though this hasn’t been promoted anywhere! You can access it here http://www.twee.net/list/polls/poll.html and cast a vote. I should vote very soon! Remember the days when there was a label that would just vote so many times for themselves? Those days are over I believe, so please enjoy and vote, and let’s see who are the favourite bands, labels, zines, festivals for 2015.

Today I also finally ordered the Tiny Fireflies LP. High expectations on this record, and thinking it should be among the best of 2015. Also caught up with the past and ordered the BOB singles compilation that came out a long time ago. Then the new Homecomings 7″ on Second Royal should be coming home soon, also an Arabesque record on Siesta from long time ago as well as the only Machine Gun Feedback record that I was missing. Not a bad way to start the year, getting new records.

So as there are very little news today and this week for indiepop, let’s try to dig some obscurities…

—————————————————–

As I said last week I’m going to be picking some records from my collection, records that are a bit unknown to me and perhaps to the rest of indiepop fans. I picked The Mood Elevators, again from the box of records with bands whose name start with M.

I barely knew anything about them before I started googling about them. I remember I bought their second single, “Georgie Girl”, after I saw their name on that list that long time ago was posted on Twee.net where it was asked for these bands to get in touch in hope of them participating in future Leamington Spa compilations.

Only lately I found out that there was also first single, “Annapurna”. And that there’s some stuff actually written about them online, even an interview! But let’s start with the releases.

Annapurna is a collection of mountains in the Himalayas.

The first 7″ came out in 1981 on Go-Feet Records (catalog FEET7). This was the label that was founded by the British ska band The Beat. This record I do not own sadly, I really like the A side song, “Annapurna” that was produced by The Punjab Brothers. I haven’t heard the second song, “Driving By Night” that was produced by Bob Sargeant. Would love to listen to this one, if anyone can help!

The second 7″ came out in 1982 on Red Records (catalog RS 013). This label was founded by Steve Brown after leaving Faulty Products in 1978. Initially set up to release material by The Lines, there were other releases in it’s comparatively short life, most notably early singles by Material. Folded in 1984. This one is the 7″ I own, and the A side is a cover of “Georgie Girl”.

“Georgy Girl”, written by Tom Springfield (music) and Jim Dale (lyrics), is the title song performed by The Seekers for the British film of the same name starring Lynn Redgrave and James Mason. Across late 1966 and early 1967, the song became a #1 Australian hit and a #3 British hit. In the United States, it proved to be the Seekers’ highest charting single, reaching #2 on the “Billboard Hot 100” and prompting the Seekers’ British album Come the Day to be retitled “Georgy Girl” for its American release. It was listed at number 36 on “Rolling Stone” magazine’s “500 Greatest Pop Songs of all time” issued in 2002.

On the 7″ this cover version was produced by The Beat. The second song is an original song by the band, written by David Ditchfield. The song is “You Never Try” and it has backing vocals by Ranking Roger, the vocalist of The Beat. Both songs are really good!

The first stop on my detective work on Google is the website of a venue, the Aylesbury Friars. Here we learn that on Saturday May 24th of 1980 there was a gig with The Beat, The Equators and The Mood Elevators.

We learn too that the band was formed by:
David Ditchfield on guitar and vocals
Jenny Jones on drums
Noel Green on bass

On Last.fm there’s a small bio that I thought would be a good idea to copy/paste here to paint a bigger picture:
The Mood Elevators were a Birmingham U.K new wave act in the early 1980’s. The three original members of the David Ditchfield, Noel Green, and Jenny Jones) met after literally being thrown together following a street fight. A group initially named Inside Out was soon formed from the three. Once ready to gig in early 1980, the band began to book spots at pubs around Birmingham. Impressed by the performance they witnessed, The Beat offered them an opportunity to record a single on the Go Feet label along with the supporting spot on a UK tour.
Only two 7-inch singles were released by the band. Their first, Annapurna, was a big hit on the indie scene.

Then the next stop is the Go-Feet label website. There’s a very good biography there that I recommend you reading. We learn that they were based in Birmingham and that they used to practice at the hardware shop that Jenny’s parents owned.

In 1981 they recorded a session for Richard Skinner on Radio One. It’s said that they were asked to record a second session. I could find two songs from those sessions online, “Metro Girl” and “Waiting for Jane”. Does anyone there have any other songs from these sessions? I’d be curious to hear them.

It also seems that David and Jenny are now making music together under the name Life. On that website there are some interesting facts like that Jenny guested with the Fine Young Cannibals two albums after the demise of The Mood Elevators. It’s also said that they had signed after The Mood Elevators to a 7 album deal with Go-Discs! and that they recorded an album of Jenny’s songs and released two singles. But I don’t know under what name they did this. Would be interesting to know!

And David even co-wrote songs with the Dexys Midnight Runners. So, there’s a lot of connections here and there, not a true obscure band at all. But for some reason not that much written about them….

And then there’s an interview by a fellow New Yorker called Marco. The interview dates from June 2010. I totally recommend reading it to get a better picture of The Mood Elevators.

Still many questions about the band wait to be answered. Starting by those sessions, to those recordings Jenny and David did afterwards. What about The Mood Elevators, did they even record any other songs? Participate in any compilations? Where else other than Birmingham did they gig? If you remember anything about them, the comments section is a good place to start!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
The Mood Elevators – Annapurna