Today the NYC Popfest passes sold out. In just a week all the available passes for the whole festival vanished into thin air even though this year they were much more pricier than previous years, $110. There are still individual tickets for each night but these are definitely not very convenient as they charge a service fee and definitely no one wants to pay those. It’s always been a mystery to me what sort of service these fees are for.

All bands for the festival were announced as well, plus the venues and schedules. This is how it’s looking this year:

TICKETS – $24 ADV | $26 DOS

6:30pm DOORS

07:00pm BIG QUIET (NYC)



3:00pm DOORS

04:15pm HALFSOUR (MA)
05:00pm THE HAIRS (NYC)


TICKETS – $20 ADV | $22 DOS

8:00pm DOORS

08:45pm SIMON LOVE (UK)
11:00pm ALLO DARLIN’ (UK)




1:30pm DESIGN (UK)


TICKETS – $25 ADV | $28 DOS

6:30pm DOORS



TICKETS – $30 ADV | $35 DOS

3:00pm DOORS

04:30pm LAKE RUTH (NYC)

That was an easy copy/paste. Not yet announced are the DJs, but I hope they will be announced soon. That would be the last item for Popfest, then everything will be ready for the festival in May. But these are not the only announcements we are getting in indiepopworld! Tomorrow we’ll also learn the first batch of bands for Indietracks. Both festivals are celebrating their 10th anniversary and we all have high hopes for what will happen at them!

As I usually do, I like covering the bands for each of these festivals. I want to start this year with a bunch of the American bands that are playing Popfest as I’ve barely head them or never heard them. I’ll do that just now, a quick listen, not really thorough, so I may be a bit off the mark, but it will be a good way to have an idea to what to expect at Popfest. So let’s discover them together!

1 – Big Quiet – I bought their debut 7″ a couple of months ago, and I think it’s pretty good. It was actually a recommendation from a colleague at work. “Maura & Dana”, the A side, even has a cool promo video that you should watch. Based in Brooklyn, NYC, the band is formed by Marisa Cerio, Chris Matheson and Steve Perry. I haven’t seen them play live yet, and that is something I can be blamed as I’ve seen many times their name on different facebook events. I’ve preferred to be comfortable and not foray to far far away Brooklyn. Lazy me! They play at Le Poisson Rouge at 7pm on Thursday, because of work it seems I’ll be missing them again. Time to make the effort to see them somewhere in Brooklyn before Popfest!

2 – Free Cake For Every Creature – From Philadelphia but by way of upstate NY, this band formed by Katie, Francis, Colin and Ian, remind me of a bygone era of indiepop, that one of around 2003-2005, when a bunch of now long forgotten bands were playing lo-fi indiepop, as twee as possible, in the US. Bands that would release CDRs with cool hand-drawn sleeves and mail their demos accompanied by lollipops and cute notes. This year they will release an LP, which should be ready for Popfest times, and they have 2 of the songs streaming included streaming on their bandcamp. Definitely the better one is “First Summer in the City”, which sounds really nice actually, like the upbeat moments of Dear Nora, whereas totally not convinced by “For You”. They are playing in Brooklyn on the 15th of April, I might just catch them there perhaps and have a better verdict before their gig at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday at 7:45pm. As I get off around 9pm from work, will be missing them too!!

3 – Avaleya and the GlitterHawks – Kelly Slusher is Avaleya. Kelly Slusher released an album back in 2002 in Elefant Records and that was a very fine album. She was part of the reunion band for Rocketship a couple of years ago. Two of the members from Rocketship, Verna Brock and Jim Rivas, join her and form this new band.  Jim had been in the fantastic Holiday Flyer, Verna on the essential Beanpole (who had a retrospective not long ago on Jigsaw Records). A lot of indiepop pedigree here! They are playing at Cake Shop during the free evening show on Friday. They are playing at 3:30pm and I’ll see if I can skip Friday from work.

4 – Halfsour – With an album under their belt, released by the great Jigsaw Records, they’ve been under my radar. Like Chris says on his description of the record, this Boston band sounds more like a harder edged pop band than the more poppier bands I’ve covered before. There are songs I’m not too keen, that are grittier and not that melodic and shoutier, but there are some, mostly and especially when the girl is singing, like “Grump” for example, that I do really enjoy. They play at 4:15pm at the free show at Cake Shop on Friday.

5 – Soft Science – Another band from Sacramento (Avaleya was the first) at Popfest. The band is also comprised by a previous Holiday Flyer, Katie Haley and also the twin brothers Ross and Matt Levine and Mason DeMusey. I used to be a sucker for Katie’s vocals on Holiday Flyer, so big expectations for this band. I’m having now a quick listen to their recordings on Bandcamp, mostly to their 200 limited copies LP called “Detour”. Skipping the slower songs and looking for the more upbeat ones. I see someone compared them to Lush, and I can see a bit of that, definitely. This is really pretty pop music, simple and effective. They will be playing at 2:15pm at Baby’s All Right! on the Saturday free show. Tough schedule as it’s kind of time for lunch. Hopefully can manage to make it!

And that’s five new bands for me. Quickly listened. They are promising, some more than others, but none that I really disliked which is great definitely. Maz always finds these interesting up and coming American bands, I don’t know how he does it, as it’s always easier to find international bands, not American bands for a strange reason.

Next week I’ll cover 5 more bands from Popfest, or perhaps more. Now it’s time to check another obscure band from the past.


Pedestal: The base or support on which a statue, obelisk, or column is mounted. A position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired.

Seems there are many 7″s still in this box of records at home. Yet another band that starts with P that I have no clue whatsoever who were they. Pedestal it turns were from NYC, so it’s really convenient as I’ve been talking NYC Popfest all day long.

One 7″ in 1997 on the Twee Kitten label (catalog tk 002). I was surprised when I saw the Twee Kitten website is still up and running after all these years. Seems even that they are still taking orders (you can still order this 7″ and some more). It also feels very nostalgic, as Twee Kitten was an awesome mailorder as many of you in the US should remember.

I believe I actually got this 7″ through a trade with Scott from Twee Kitten many years ago. I remember reading good things from Pedestal, though today searching for them I couldn’t find any reviews at all. Also the band page that is linked at Twee Kitten is not working. So not much to find online once again.

There were 5 songs on the record, on the A side, “Waiting” and “Each Night Alone” and on the B side, “Merry Go Around”, “On the Subway” and “Endlessly”. The record even included a lyric sheet, and yesterday, after not playing it for many years, I found myself happy singing along to “On the Subway”, as it’s a song about the trains I take almost every single day in NYC!

This band was formed by, I’m guessing, husband and wife, Erik Mueller and Rachel Mueller-Lust. Only one review I could find online dating from 1999, from the Furia blog/fanzine:

One of the reasons I love ordering things from Twee Kitten is that they come with these charming clip-art mini-comic-books, which are a bit like Dadaist Tintin stories. The one that I got with this Pedestal EP examines a spurned suitor’s struggle with his aversion to dancing. Pedestal are something like a less-florid Magnetic Fields, Erik Mueller providing keyboard accompaniment to Rachel Mueller-Lust’s uninflected, Susan Anway-ish singing. “On the Subway” is bright and expansive, “Each Night Alone” bursts into loud percussion at odd intervals like furniture being knocked over, and “Endlessly” is sunny and old-fashioned. 33, black.

There seems to be more bands called Pedestal, but about this particular one, I couldn’t find online anything else. Do Erik and Rachel still make music? Are they still based in NYC? Did they participate in compilations? Why didn’t they release more records? It’s always so mysterious when a band only releases the one 7″ and then disappear!


Pedestal – On the Subway


The Suncharms CDs arrived!! So exciting! The pressing plant delivered them before I expected. I assumed they were going to arrive by mid March, while I was away on vacations, but they arrived last Friday. So we’ve set an official release date for March 5th but all pre-orders will be shipped this week.

They will also be shipped to your favourite indiepop mailorders this week so if you prefer buying the CDs from them you can do so too, especially now that the postage prices have become even higher in the US.

There’s even other great news today, Monday. The Mai 68s who released one 3″CD long time ago on the label, who we hoped to release a 7″ also just before they broke up are now putting out a compilation with all of their recordings. I think this is amazing news! They have posted this message on Facebook and I think you should all get it!

As many of you on here are probably aware myself, Jeremy Wiltshire, Katie April Perfect and Julie Fairgrieve used to be members of a band called the Mai 68s – Its been nigh on 5 years since we last played and 10 years since we started out on a road to indiepop hell. Now the long talked about comp is happening which will be on 180gm Vinyl with a booklet/fanzine and sleeve notes by none other than Roque Ruiz.

Pre-orders can be made here –


and the record should be released within the next 3 months (things like RSD permitting).

There is also a slightly cheaper vinyl option which includes UK shipping (the biggest pain we have is the shipping costs) so message me if interested or if you want to pick up the record from me or Jeremy.

Even if you cant contribute then any help in sharing would be amazing

And yes, I did write the liner notes, but trust me, I’m not biased, their songs are amazing and they are one of the few bands I get very sad that I never saw live. (I cross my fingers that with this compilation, MAYBE, they do play some reunion shows to promote it here in the US!).

The last week I tried to catch up with some CDs as well, and have been enjoying these:
– Lothar – Montgolfier (Quince Records 2008)
– Postal Blue – Of Love & Other Affections (Jigsaw 2015)
– Able Tasmans – A Cuppa Tea and a Lie (Flying Nun 2015)
– Postiljonen – Skyer (Hybris 2013)
All very recommendable, so just putting them in your radar…

There’s also a new video by one of my favourite bands, one I would love to have on Cloudberry one day. Major Leagues has just announced they will release a new EP and they are promoting it with the song Better Off which is a corker. Amazing really.

That’s all I have this week about news. But I want to give you the heads up that I will be heading to France on March 15th. If you are in Paris, or somewhere in France, and want some records, let me know. I’m sure we could meet up or I could post you some records and save some postage. Ideally this idea could also work for any European countries too, but I need to see what are the postage costs of the French Postal Service before I offer anything! I’ll let you know more about this next week, when I have a better idea, but I’m going to try to help as much as possible to get our releases to you!

And so let’s move onto an obscure band!


Again digging and picking records from my own record collection. Many years ago, maybe 2008 or so I was obsessed with The Chefs. I even wanted to put out a compilation by them on the Plastilina label. Damaged Goods would eventually do that compilation right, but it’s totally ok! Someone had to do it! In any case, I remember reading somewhere about Russell Greenwood, The Chefs drummer who sadly died on 25 June 1999, leaving the band to join The Popticians in 1982. I had never ever heard about this band back then, so I decided to explore, and would find that they released 2 records: a 7″ and a 12″. Both of them I happily own.

Their first release was in 1984 on the Off the Kerb Records label (catalog DAD1). This seems to have been the only release on this label. It was a 7″ and included two songs. On the A side the song was “Mobile Home” and on the B side we had “Spare Pear”. The record was produced by Roger Pusey and the band thanks The John Peel Show on the sleeve. The vinyl was a Porky Prime Cut and the label has a London address.

On Discogs both of the records are tagged as Comedy. Yes they have their funny side. But I appreciate them too for the lyrics, for the catchyness, for it’s true pop feeling. They are punk and a lot of fun.

Four years would pass for their next release, a 12″ titled “I Saw My Dinner on TV”. Released on Glass Fish Records (OOZE 2 T) in 1988, it included 3 songs: “I Saw My Dinner on the TV”, “Grandad’s Glasses” and “Amoeba”. This label had released so many records by Robyn Hitchcock, so it’s no surprise that Robyn plays bass and piano on the record as well as producing! On the credits it’s said that Robyn appears courtesy of A&M Records.

On this record the band is not The Popticians anymore but John Hegley and The Popticians. Russ Greenwood is no more in the band either. Now we have:
Morris Windsor on drums and percussion
John Hegley on guitar, mandolin and vocals
Sue Norton on flute, saxophone and vocals
Keith Moore on tuba and saxophone

The engineer was Jessica Corcoran and Pat Collier (a name I see quite a lot, he was once was part of The Vibrators too).

So who is John Hegley? I suppose he is much more known in the UK. He even has a Wikipedia page. We know he was born in London in 1953 and that he is a poet, comedian, musician and songwriter. Here on the Wikipedia page we learn he recorded two Peel Sessions with the Popticians, in 1983 and 1984.

Both Peel Sessions are availabel in Youtube. The 1983 includes the songs “Hello Everybody”, “He’s in Love With a Brown Paper Bag”, “Song About Losing Your Glasses” and “Mobile Home”. The lineup for this session was: John Hegley (guitar, vocals), Russell Greenwood (drums, vocals), Susan Norton (saxophone, vocals) and Keith Moore (clarinet, vocals).  You can listen to it here.

The second Peel Session is from the 4th of November of 1984. The songs included were “Song About the Misery of Human Existence”, “Red Ken”, “The Old Scout Master”, “Somehow You Look Different Tonight” and “Song About My Brother’s Glasses”. You can listen to this one here.

So many songs about glasses!!

It was easy to track John Hegley’s website. It looks a bit dated though, but maybe that’s his style. Looks very early 2000s. He has released a lot of books, wonder if anyone would care recommending their favourite on the comments section?

He has also been on TV, presenting the series Word of Mouth on Border Television. He has appeared on Wogan and Never Mind the Buzzcocks on tv as well. On radio he had the BBC series Hearing with Hegley. So there’s a lot about him. But what about the other members of The Popticians?

I find that Keith Moore has helped with soundtracks for the Vamos Theathre in London. This is a professional full mask theatre company. He also runs the Jelly Rollers, a company that has produces performances and music on wheels (on a bus really).

Couldn’t find anything about Sue Norton sadly.

I found though an interesting interview to the Popticians on the No Class fanzine website. You can read it here. On this interview we learn that Off the Kerb, the label that put out their first record, was actually a package of four performers, Roy Hutchings, John Hegley, Podomofski and The Popticians. It seems it was more of a performance band/group of people than an actual proper indie band. Though I’m not 100% sure. I wonder how their gigs were.

They also mention on this interview that they appeared on TV. Sadly those TV appearances are not yet on the web.

So were there more recordings by this strange and original band? Did any of you attend their gigs? What happened with Sue Norton? What is John Hegley doing these days? Did they have any songs on compilations? Would be interesting to know a bit more about this cool fun band from the 80s.


The Popticians – Amoeba


Suddenly this week I have news. A bunch of them. I’ll start with the good ones.

The Suncharms CD should be arriving home on Friday and will start shipping on Monday to all those who pre-ordered. I’m very excited about it and I hope everyone likes the album. I’ll take some photos as soon as it arrives and post them on the Facebook page for all of you to see! This is the 7th release on the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series and “hopefully” there will be more soon!

The other good news is that Even As We Speak have been invited to play to NYC Popfest. I learned this yesterday through a Facebook post of theirs were they are asking fans to help them fund their trip to America. There’s a cool video on the request page and if you are feeling inclined to help this classic and amazing band please do so! Here’s the link.

Also Popfest has announced the venues for the festival. Cake Shop, Le Poisson Rouge, Knitting Factory, Littlefield and Baby’s All Right! will host the gigs this year. Le Poisson Rouge will be replacing Cameo this year, and if my memory is not playing tricks on me, this is the first time they’ll host Popfest. In the past they have hosted Mondo, the indie dance party that Maz, the organizer of Popfest, used to throw. My guess is that Cake Shop, as always, be on Thursday, Knitting Factory on Friday, Le Poisson Rouge on Saturday (with Baby’s All Right! on Saturday afternoon show too), and Littlefield on Sunday.

The BAD news. The AWFUL news is that I had to raise prices on all records. Since January 17 the United States Postal Service raised their prices, especially hiking them on international orders. On average they raised the first class by 21.6%. So imagine. We in the US becoming less competitive against other countries. It’s very sad as it just doesn’t affect record labels but all small businesses. It also ends up hurting the fans in the world that wants the records and can’t pay almost $14 just for postage when ordering a CD. It’s very tough, and I wonder how much longer we can survive like this.

I painfully had to update all prices on the website today. I waited some days before raising the prices, but I can’t continue with the previous prices as the label was hurting, losing money. At least I try to break even, some old 7″s are very much discounted, so don’t think I’m making this up. You can read more about this terrible issue that is affecting all of us here.

I really hope popkids still continue to support us, it’s because of all of you that we can continue putting out records and, actually, to keep surviving in a world were everyone pushes towards a world were music has no value whatsoever, were streaming will be the norm and records will become an obsolete artifact.


Reverend Harry Powell is a fictional character in Davis Grubb’s 1953 novel The Night of the Hunter. He was portrayed by Robert Mitchum in Charles Laughton’s 1955 film adaptation, and by Richard Chamberlain in the 1991 made for TV remake. He was voted 29th on the American Film Institute’s top 50 villains of all time list.

One 7″, released in 1987 on The Golden Pathway label (catalog POS1), that’s all Preacher Harry Powell left us. I went through my box of 7″s again. Still picking some from the box with records that their names start with P. This 7″ stood out. The record sleeve is bigger, and it has a beautiful three body gatefold jacket. All in black and white, with vintage photos and cryptic texts.

Discogs points us to a couple of curiosities too:

Reverse of sleeve includes the words ‘Presented by “The Path of Stars”‘; the label bears the catalogue number ‘POS1’ whereas the run-out groove specifies ‘POS001’. Neither have any reference to the Golden Pathway (although this is definitely the label it was released on).

The Golden Pathway label tends to write its catalogue numbers in the format ‘GPVxx’ (Golden Pathway Volume xx) so this release would tend to be seen in discographies as ‘GPV11’ (although it isn’t mentioned in this format at all on this release itself).

Included are 4 songs. One on the A side, “Beauty Grows”, which is my favourite, and three on the B side, “Runaway To Sea”, “Lovers and Loners” and “The White Ink on The Photographs”.

It seems you can get it for good prices on Discogs, which is always a nice thing to know. The EP is not titled by one of the songs, but has the name “Devil in the Priest-Hole”, so you know how to find it.

The only real information we find is from the Golden Pathway site. There’s a small biography there that says:
Preacher Harry Powell was the stagename of Ian Smith, another product of the fruitful music scene happening in Torquay in the late 70’s and early 80’s, which also spawned the Morrisons. Although Preacher Harry performed most commonly as a solo artist, he put this band together to record this single for Golden Pathway in 1986. With Mark Fitzpatrick on bass, Steve Milton on drums (now with Console), and an unknown violinist, “Beauty Grows” provided an ideal vehicle for Ian’s rich and unusual voice. After this single was released, Preacher Harry Powell was a regular on the London acoustic scene for much of the late 80’s and 90’s at clubs like the Troubador and God’s Little Joke. His performances and songs took on an even richer hue after the release of this single, with a dark humour and passion which attracted fans including Momus, The Tigerlillies, and Natalie Merchant. (sample line – “We were rampant – I would ram, and you would pant”) Momus contributed keyboards to some of Ian’s later material, and Ian reciprocated by providing backing vocals on a couple of tracks on the Momus album Hippopotamus. Ian moved to Ireland and laid his guitar to rest in 2000.

But what happened in between? What was Ian Smith doing in the 90s? Did he record more jangly songs? Did he play many gigs? Was he part of other Torquay bands? Anyone remember them?


Preacher Harry Powell – Beauty Grows


Been listening a lot to the last The Chills album. Wow. It’s so good. Martin Phillipps songwriting is still so good, hasn’t lost any bit of quality after all these years of silence. If you haven’t bought it yet, I recommend doing so. Soon.

Other CDs that were heavily played this week at home were two releases from Jigsaw Records, Sleuth and Persian Rugs debut albums. I was already very familiar with the songs after listening to them online, but it’s so different to play them on a physical format. I highly recommend both and I’m glad two bands that have appeared on Cloudberry releases have put out two solid albums late last year.

Hopefully this week I keep catching up with a lot of CDs and records that are piling at home. Perhaps some of them end up being good recommendations or discoveries for you. Especially now that indiepop seems very quiet.

Other two good recommendations that I got last week on the blog were two bands from Asia. The band Intenna from Malang, Indonesia and also the band Chestnut Bakery from Shenzhen in China. Two recommendations that came from John Quarmby. I thank him a lot for these! Especially surprised by the new crop of bands appearing in China, in mainland China, not Hong Kong. This was unknown years ago, but seems they are catching up! It will be interesting to see how these bands evolve, or if a scene actually appears. I’m very curious. Who knows, maybe 5 years from now we’ll be attending Shanghai Popfest!?

As the past week was quiet, there were little news to go over. But today I was told that the infamous label that supposedly closed shop did it again their old trickery. Yes, they will continue releasing music. The same old story. Announce you close, get some people to sympathize with you, sell some records perhaps, then come back. It’s really annoying and it gives labels a band name. It’s no surprising a lot of people in the world think labels do no work whatsoever and artists should always be on their own, not dealing with labels as they are the devil or something like that. So be careful on who you support.


Pitwork: pumping apparatus used in a mine shaft

I picked up another record from my “P” 7″ box. There were many to choose, but I picked up the Pitwork 7″ as I really don’t know anything about it! So this would be a good chance to investigate.

I remember I bought their one and only 7″ some years ago. I was trying to find all releases by their label, Clover Records, but it ended up being kind of an impossible enterprise. The label was Japanese and it seems not that many copies are available in the West. I’m guessing, and I’m hoping, the day I visit Japan I will be able to find more of their catalog.

One of the few records I could find was this four track 7″ on beautiful light blue vinyl. It was actually quite cheap on Discogs. The record was released in 1999 and included the songs “Shine” and “Love Sunday” on the A side, and “Pitwork” and “Cruel to Be Kind” on the B side. The catalog was Clover 712.

It’s important to mention that the closing song was a cover of the Nick Lowe original.

“Cruel to Be Kind” is a 1979 single by Nick Lowe, co-written by Lowe and his former Brinsley Schwarz band-mate Ian Gomm, that peaked at No. 12 in both the UK and U.S. charts that summer. It also peaked at No.12 in both Canada and New Zealand. In the U.S., where it is Lowe’s most well-known work, it remains his only single to hit the top 40, whereas in the UK “I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass” remains his biggest hit after reaching No. 7 a year earlier.

I turn onto the back cover. We find some more information. On this record they are a duo: Aya on vocals and Nagao on the instruments and VS880. They counted with guest musicians Eiji Kanno on drums on the song “Shine”, Michihiro Ito on rhtymbox and programming. Michihiro also programmed and mixing on “Cruel to be Kind”.

The sleeve design was credited to Soyamame and Ayamachi.

Clover was a label based in Tokyo. Were Pitwork also from Tokyo? Clover is a great label if you are not familiar with it. They released records by well known names like 800 Cherries or Orange Cake Mix. Even Blueboy and Trembling Blue Stars had their Japanese versions of their records released by Clover.

There’s a Clover website online and they have a small artist biography for Pitwork. We find there that four people are listed as part of the group and not two anymore. We have again Aya Uchida, Takashi Nagao, Michihiro Ito and a new name, Sneaker, who is listed as a coreographer! If they needed a coreographer, I would have loved to see their gigs!

I use Google Translate to understand the small bio. From it I gather that they started in Tokyo in 1998. That one of their songs appeared in an indie film (I believe the name of the movie was “Joy”, but not 100% sure). And in 2000 they released a cassette on Clover Records called “Sunday Drive”.

I try to find more information about this second release. I learn it has catalog number C-050. And also on an old Myspace page, I find three songs from that EP, “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, “Sunday Drive” and “Flowers”. I can’t manage to play them. Myspace is always broken. But I wonder if these three songs were the only ones on the tape or were there more?

I really enjoy the 7″ I have, especially the song “Shine”. It’s always very hard to find out information from Japanese bands, even more son from previous decades. But perhaps some Japanese indiepop fans can help me find out more information about Pitwork. And what happened to Aya and Nagao? Are they making music still?

Edit: Thanks to Stone Records and through Twitter we found through the user cherry335 some information of the tape! Thanks a lot cherry335! He posted for us a photo of the tape and we learn that it had actually 4 songs, on the A side it had “Sunday Drive” and “Someday”, whereas on the B side “Flowers” and “Feelin’ Groovy”. It’s mentioned that the last song is not a Pitwork original. So it is very safe to assume it’s a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel original.


Pitwork – Shine


This wait for the NYC Popfest announcements is killing me. As it will be my one and only indiepop event this year, no more Indietracks for me, Indiefjord just way too complicated to get myself to Norway, Madrid Popfest way too close to my vacations in France and DIY Fest in London also not working for me, I put all my hope in it to catch the best bands at the moment.

This past week was quiet really. Was jealous a bit about all people in Germany that had the chance to catch the gigs of The Royal Landscaping Society, Linda Guilala and When Nalda Became Punk. Got a few records in the mail, but didn’t listen to much new stuff, only today on my way to work I started playing the latest The Chills album. I’m always some months behind.

The good thing is that this Friday there’s a My Favorite gig here in NYC at the Cakeshop. That’s exciting really, it’s been a while since I saw them. The other two bands playing that gig are not to my taste, not poppy at all, but who cares, there’s the beauty of this venue, that it has two different floors. And they are definitely the best indiepop band in town. Sadly they don’t play too often. Wonder if they’ll be invited again for Popfest? Possibly not, but I wouldn’t mind.

Aside from that, something that has been bothering me the last few weeks is that I haven’t discovered any new bands at all. I guess people were busy with holidays and stuff and haven’t uploaded their brand new songs and so on. Could be. But if anyone reading has found any great band on SoundCloud or BandCamp or wherever really, please send them my way. It just feels so odd not hearing brand new unreleased stuff.


Prickly: covered in prickles.
Prickles: a short, slender, sharp-pointed outgrowth on the bark or epidermis of a plant; a small thorn.

Yesterday night I went to look on the same box of 7″s I did last week, that with bands that start with P. After flipping a few records the artwork of the one Prickly 7″ that I own caught my attention and realised that I knew next to nothing about them.

So I own their last 7″. They released three in total and an album. I own the last of their singles, just before they went to release the album. Why I bought it? Well, the main reason I believe was that it was on Harriet Records. At some point I thought I had to complete the whole catalog of this label. I don’t know why I haven’t yet. I know I’m missing a few of their releases. I think it was during this time that I bought this record.

Harriet Records is one of the best American indiepop labels. It was based in Cambridge, Massachussetts and was founded by Tim Alborn in 1989, he was a professor of history in Harvard. They released 48 singles and ten CDs. Among the most known bands in their catalog, definitely Tullycraft, My Favorite, Magnetic Fields, are names all indiepop kids know.

Anyhow, the 7″ I own includes two songs, “Fancy Party Hairdo” and “Mr. Reyes”. It was released in 1996 and it had the catalog Harriet 036. I wonder who this Mr. Reyes was. Especially where was he from? It’s a common last name, but I’m curious. But the song that I really love is the A side, “Fancy Party Hairdo” which I have ripped for you for you to enjoy! The vocals by Skyla are truly nice. So yeah, from the back sleeve we can figure out that the members are Tom on bass, Matthew on drums, Collin on guitar and vocals and Skyla on guitar and vocals as well. Both songs were recorded by Hugh O’ Donovan and the artwork of the record, which I really like, was done by Shana Phillips.

Time for me to discover the rest of their music. I never thought about exploring their discography. Shame on me. But it’s never too late. So I backtrack a year, to 1995. That’s when they released their first single on a label called Dig the Hot Scooby Sound. It seems this label only released this record. It might well be a self-release? I could be guessing all day, but the fact is that this record included three songs. The A side had “Fashion Sense of Famous Monsters of Filmland” and the B sides were “Phonebill” and “Spotty Dog”. The songs were also recorded by Hugh O’Donovan, and they were recorded at THD Studio in Boston. Discogs notes that the single came with a folded info sheet and the covers were hand painted.

Then, that same year, on Cassiel Records, they released three more poppy songs, two on the A side: “Funny Coleslaw” and “Bicycle Thief” and one on the B side, “CBT”. This was Cassiel 003, a label whose most famous release could be a Mountain Goats 7″. This 7″ came with a postcard.

Their last release was an album and it was titled “Velleity” (a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action). That was a new word to me. It’s a short album, only 8 songs. It came out in 1996 on Harriet (SPY 006) and it included: “Pale Green Pants”, “Breakfast of Champions”, “Uselessness of Everything”, “Kilroy was Here”, “El Tigre'”, “Death and Maiden”, “Lost in the Funhouse” and “Untitled”. Not counting the last one, I really like their song titles. Again, curious about El Tigre… was any of the members studying or spoke Spanish? Perhaps Mr. Reyes was his/her professor?

The artwork, a cool jockey over a horse, was painted again by Shoshanna Phillips. There is a cellist in this record, Colleen Macdonald. Phil Mahoney played the lap steel guitar too. “Death and the Maiden” is actually a cover of The Verlaines original. Then I learn that “Untitled” is actually part of the seventh song, just a hidden track, and then after it, there’s even another instrumental track. I’ve never been a fan of hidden tracks. But in the 90s, there’s a bunch of albums that have them. Common practice.

They appeared in some compilations too. They had the “Hedgeclipping Song” on the Long Secret compilation on Harriet (SPY 3), and then “Mr. Reyes” appeared on Little Darla Has a Treat For You Volume 3 (Darla DRL 018). The song “Sposeta Be a Funeral” appeared on Pipeline! Live Boston Rock on W.M.B.R. (Slow River Records VA016).

On Dreamboat (Cassiel 006) they contributed the song “All the Little Raisins” and on the last Harriet release, the compilation “Friendly Society” they had the songs “Pond” and “French Curve”. So, what’s next for me? Well I do need to get all these records I’m missing. Shame I already spent my music money for this week. Prices are not high for their releases, so I hope it can wait anotherweek. But now comes the best discovery. There’s a Prickly Bandcamp with lots of goodies!

The first new item is “Nightime“. That is a cover of the Big Star’s original. Not sure when was this recorded but Matthew White mixed it and Pete Weiss was the engineer.

Remember I just mentioned that compilation called Pipeline!? Well, the whole session they recorded for them, and not just the one song is in Bandcamp. This was recorded on May 2nd 1995.

They would go to record a second session for Pipeline!. Engineered by by Andy Hong on January 7th of 1997, it was also Matthew’s 22nd birthday.

There’s also the whole session for the Velleity album recorded in 1996 at The Cold Room. It has a bunch of extras.

And the goodies don’t stop. The whole session at THD Studios in 1994, the one that included the songs that were released on a 7″, is also in it’s entirety. So not only the 3 songs from the 7″ but 14!

Lastly, aside from the Velleity album and the Winded 7″, is a live session on WRIU. WRIU is actually a non commercial radio based in Rhode Island.

If you happen to like these songs and want to donate any money, all proceeds are being donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Quite a lot of music to listen and enjoy. But what happened to the band members? Were they involved with any other music afterwards? I’d be curious as Prickly sounds so sweet, and I really enjoy their melodies and Skyla’s vocals. I guess all their recordings are now on Bandcamp, but still would be nice to find out more about them, there’s really nothing worthy written about them online.


Prickly – Fancy Party Hairdo