When there’s no news, well there’s no news!! Last week I managed to go through 2 posts and maybe I could have waited, saved one for this week, but then I don’t get to enjoy this routine I have of figuring out what is going on in the indiepopworld and more importantly get to dig some obscure pop treasures!

There are a few interesting indiepop sightings that are definitely worth mentioning. The first is that Papa Topo from Barcelona, a true favourites here in Cloudberry HQ, have a new video out for the song “Akelarre en mi Salón” that is included in their debut album released this year. It is a lot of fun, like all of their previous videos,a and the song is such brilliant homage to the Spanish pop of the 80s, I especially hear so many nods to Alaska y los Pegamoides. You can watch it here.

Then another Barcelona band has a video out. I wasn’t aware of this band, totally new for me, but their video started to pop up on my Facebook wall and it was an ace song. The band is called Yumi Yumi Hip Hop and seems to be an all-girl band. The song is called “Enamorats” and it is sung in Catalan. They are on the label Snap! Clap! Club who are to release this song as part of a 7″ that will start shipping on October 1st. You can watch the video here.

For all of you that like reading about the bands and the music we love there is also a new book about the early days/years of Primal Scream. I still haven’t ordered it yet, but will order it soon and I think you should too. It is titled “The Psychedelic Confessions of a Primal Screamer: The Tambourine Years 1984-87” written by Martin St. John, who used to play the tambourine in the band before the band would appear on Top of the Pops, play Glastonbury, and become a big name.

Then there’s also another book that I’ve been meaning to read that will be published next month. “Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music 1960-1985” by David Nichols is also on my list. David Nichols wrote the Go-Betweens biography and he has been part of a couple of indiepop bands like The Cannanes or Huon. Of course I’m mostly interested in the 80s part of the book as you might suspect, but even if that is just a tiny chapter, I want to learn about it. So many great Australian bands in the 80s, don’t you agree?

And last but not least there is a petition by the classic band The Wolfhounds asking Warner/Chappell to return their copyrights & reinstate their songwriting credits. If you have some time you can read more about it and sign the petition here.

Yup, that’s all for this week. Maybe some will point me out that I’m missing some stuff like last week. Sometimes it is true, I avoid mentioning stuff I don’t like or not too excited about, I can’t like everything, but if you have some exciting news or recommendations worth checking out please let me know!

The name Sylvie comes from sylvan, as in the forest, the woods.

I keep going back to the Leamington Spa compilations for inspiration. Look for bands and records I’m missing and that I should try to track down. Learn their story, their discography. Whatever happened to them. I know that perhaps it’s not the best of ideas of being fixated with the 80s, there are plenty of obscure bands in the 90s, even in the 00s. I feel I should mix decades a little in the blog, but there’s something with 80s bands that I return to them. This time I opened the booklet for the Leamington Spa Volume 3 and ended up in the mystery of the band Waving at Trains. The booklet reads:

Originally formed in late 1984 in Liverpool. There were to be short-lived incarnations before the first stable line-up in 1985. At this stage the band was:

Paul Hobday – guitars and backing vocals
Paul Gill – keyboards and lead vocals
Gary Gillmurray – drums
Trevor Roganski – bass

Changing to:
Paul Hobday – guitars and backing vocals
Paul Gill – lead vocals
Steve Ashton – drums
Chris Ashley – bass
Paul Shields – drums

In 1986 the final lineup saw Chris leave, Gary back on drums and Paul Shields move to bass. The band were part of a vibrant live music scene in Liverpool during the mid eighties. Gigs at The Venue, State Ballroom and rehearsal at The Ministry and Vulcan Street studios often had bands like The Bunnymen, OMD, The Las, The Farm, Thomas Lang, China Crisis, Afraid of Mice in neighbouring rooms. Demos and tracks were recorded at Amazon Studios (OMD, Christians, etc.) later to be renamed Parr Street as it moved near to Paul McCartney’s Music Institute. Only one single was released (Telling the Stranger/Sylvie) and an album was in pre-production at the time the band folded in 1988.

I miss so much these compilations. I wonder if I should try to put one together in the same fashion. Perhaps it could be a fun idea when I’m not involved with a label? It is an idea, but will people buy them? Cherry Red has been putting out some sort of compilations but they are of much more known bands, bands that perhaps can sell a little more than these obscurities. Firestation called it quits on the Leamington Spa compilations after volume 7, actually volume 6 as 7 ended up being a bit of an afterthought included in Firestation’s 100th release. Quite a shame. These were the most influential compilations for me, for my love of indiepop.

Liverpool has been such a place for guitar pop bands. So many have been born there. It is no surprise Waving at Trains hails from there. We know they released one record, one 7″ with 2 songs, and so I wonder about that line on the booklet when it says that demos and tracks were recorded at Amazon Studios. Would that mean there are many more songs than the 2? Hopefully someone could shed some light.

The 7″ came out in 1988 on the Gash label. The catalog was GASH 111. Even though that is kind of a high number for a catalog, I couldn’t find any other release on this label.

The two songs on the record are “Telling the Stranger” on the A side and the song that appears on the Leamington Spa compilation, “Sylvie”, as the B side.  Four last names appear as composers, Gill, Ashton, Shields, Hobday. For producer, the band, Waving at Trains, is listed.

On the back cover we see the name of Paul James on vocals. I’m assuming that is Paul Gill. The artwork was done by the drummer, Paul Shields and the cover photograph by Ken Hewitt. I’m not sure which city is the one depicted in the photo on the cover. Does anyone know?

I keep digging. For some reason I end up on the Link2Wales website, were a lot of bands are listed with a small little blurb. From there I know that Paul Hobday had been involved in other bands like Collective, India (Lost Weekend) and Association. From there we also learn that the band had another song released, “Parade”. It appeared on a tape compilation titled “Merseyside Musicians Bureau” in 1987. I would love to listen to this song (and also Telling the Stranger!) and even the whole compilation. Does anyone know anything else about it? The only other band on it that sounds quite familiar to me is The DaVincis, but never heard Sudden Norway or Go For Soda for example. Were they guitar pop as well?

I keep digging and I find a Paul Hobday, musician, might he be the same Paul Hobday? I’m not sure. He is a guitarist. And he seems to be involved in a duo with Steve Payne since 2010. They have a Bandcamp and they seem to have toured extensively through Europe and Ontario in Canada. I tried connecting this project with Liverpool just to be sure it is the same Paul Hobday but couldn’t find a mention to Liverpool in their Bandcamp or Facebook page.

What about Paul Gill? I found that he was involved playing keyboards and piano in another band called Bluenose B who released two 2″ singles with three songs on Blues Records (1985 & 1986). He only was part of the second single though where they included the brilliant song “My Diary”! I’m glad that I found this band through this detective work. Maybe they deserve a blog post at some point. I will also try to track this record for my collection. It is really good!

I couldn’t find more information on Steve Ashton and Paul Shields.

I found a 2009 movie titled “Waving at Trains”, but that is past the time of the band. There is also a collection of poems titled “Waving at Trains” by Roger McGough published in 1982. That might be were they took their name I think.

And that’s where I lose the trail on Waving on Trains. Do any of you remember them? What happened to them after they split? Were they involved in other bands? Why didn’t they release any more records? What happened to their other recordings? And who is this Sylvie they dedicate their song to? Anyone know anything else about Waving at Trains?


Waving at Trains – Sylvie


Two posts this week? Yes, yes, I need to fix something I said because I remembered something and I can’t believe how I forgot about it! Well, the thing is that saying that the past week was quiet is kind of not true. I did attend the Lush concert at Terminal 5, didn’t I?

You know I’ve been having this thing called Bell’s Palsy and that has been boring and annoying at the same time. Not embarrassing or anything like that, no one really notices it. It is just me who notices it. But at the same time one of my ears is much more sensitive than the other one and at the concert that was really noticeable. Only when I was closer to the left side of the venue, with the speakers closer to my left ear I more or less normalized the sound and I had a very good experience. Didn’t I say it was annoying?

I had bought my Lush tickets last year. I thought the concert might sell out as some others have. Speaking of which, I haven’t bought Radio Dept. tickets. Maybe these are sold out already! I should check. They are touring America early next year and even though I’m not the biggest fan around my girlfriend quite likes them and well, I like them too. Anyhow, I did buy Lush tickets very early, before they announced they were playing another gig in Brooklyn. Most people actually went to the Brooklyn concert it seems. I didn’t see many familiar faces in Terminal 5, which is located in Manhattan, in the West side, quite close to the East River.

The concert wasn’t sold out, but still there was a big crowd. It was hard to get to the front when I arrived. I arrived late. I had to work until 9pm. Also there were some issues with the trains. I took a bus in the end to the venue and that was actually quite speedy and efficient. The M11 bus. First thing I did at the venue was go straight to the merch stall and get what I wanted. A t-shirt, and also they were selling the Thoughtforms fanzine and a signed Blind Spot EP. I really liked the t-shirt design though I wish that instead of navy blue they had in black. They did have a black t-shirt but I wasnt keen on the design. My only complain is that these three items ended up being $50. That is quite expensive for what I got. I think around $30 was the right price. But hey, if I can help them tour the US once again after so many years, I don’t mind supporting them.

I didn’t meet the band though. The people from the venue were kind of mean at the end of the gig. I wanted to get a setlist and the people that were taking away the instruments and the equipment from the stage had such a terrible attitude with fans. They kicked around one setlist and then kind of threw it away to the security people  in between the crowd and the stage. The security guy just threw the paper up to the sky for people to fight for it. One of the employees took away a setlist with himself. Then another guy just started asking everyone to leave, not letting one try to catch the attention of someone nice enough to pass me a setlist. Oh well… they don’t get it. They must just work all the time rock and macho concerts where they can treat people like this. Me used to indiepop gigs, this was really mean and made me quite angry at the end.

But what about the gig? They sounded great, Miki’s voice is intact and I think that was the best part for me. I enjoyed it so much! Of course I wanted them to play “Shake Baby Shake” and they didn’t play that one. I was surprised that they didn’t. A fan favourite. But they did play “Hypocrite” and “Ladykillers” and much more. I started the gig on the right side, close to the beer, then trying to find a better place went up to the 2nd floor and it was impossible. So hard to get a good nice little video of the band. Then up to the 3rd floor. Again impossible! Then back again to the first floor, and little by little, went about 3/4 in towards the front on the left side. I could record some nice little snippets of many songs. It made me happy. Dancing around and singing along.

Guitars soaring, the purple and blue lights dancing on stage, Emma’s backing vocals and Miki just going and going on an inspired performance. Another song, and once again she changes guitars. How many times did she change guitars? The fact is, they sound great. Miki says for the thousand time the word “Fucking”. Talks a bit to the crowd, thanks the crowd. She seems to really enjoy playing live again. The drummer takes photos of the crowd with his phone. The band is having fun. And here’s another brilliant song. And yes, we all are having a good time. Who would have thought we’d be seeing Lush in 2016!

But I don’t know about the crowd though, as I said, the fans are not what I expected. Some were in some sort of rave. Some others did seem your stereotypical college radio kids from the 90s. I don’t mind it much, but at the same time being with this sort of crowd makes me nostalgic of Indietracks. Maybe the same thing happens to you all?

The gig was long. More than an hour and a half. And the band was so kind that they did two encores. I don’t know if they had that planned. But they went away and we kept asking for more. They came back. And then again, the same story. They went backstage, and we kept clapping and clapping until they came back. If it was an act or not, it didn’t matter. It made us all happy I think.

After the gig, we went for pizza and that was it. A Thursday night in the city. There was happiness for seeing a band that I never thought I was going to see, I never thought they reform after what happened.

Now I’ve seen so many classic bands, and some others much smaller that split back in the 80s and 90s. I wonder to myself now what are the options of me seeing the best band ever McCarthy? or other smaller favourites of mine like The Man From Delmonte? or Rumblefish? Hey Paulette? And so many more…

I remember when Indietracks was booking classic bands and they reformed bands like Mighty Mighty or Friends, two bands I missed and I regret deeply. Hopefully they retake that path, I think that made things special. NYC Popfest did this year with The Railway Children, The Chesterf!elds or Even as We Speak (oh dear, it makes me terribly happy remembering that gig!)

But yeah, Lush was great and they are still touring the US. Catch them in your city! So worth it!


Well, now the summer is ending, maybe a week or two left of this warm weather (thank god!). I will see some of the warm weather though when I travel to Thailand in November for vacations, and then it seems to Lima, Peru, in January! So I can’t really escape the sun! But I thought, why don’t I find a song about the summer ending. It didn’t take me long to find a song that actually fits this idea, I went to look into the Leamington Spa compilations and on the first volume no less I find The Clamheads’ “Summer’s Coming Down”. That was easy I thought. But these Clamheads, I actually know little about them, I don’t own their record. It would be interesting to find out more about this obscure British band.

According to the Urban Dictionary a clam head is: A person who will talk shit non-stop, no matter who or what is around. Like a clam, it’ll open&close it’s mouth non-stop. Is that why they called themselves The Clamheads?

Or they just liked clams?
Clam” is an informal term used to refer to any molluscans within Class Bivalvia. Remains first appeared in Cambrian age rocks 510 million years ago. They presently live in both freshwater and marine habitats, and range in adult size from nearly microscopic to the giant clam, which can weigh 200 kg (440 lb). Some have life cycles of only one year, while at least one has been discovered that may be over 500 years old.[2] They lack heads but most can react to changes in light and some, such as the scallops, have rudimentary eyes. Though a common food item, many are too small to be useful as food, and not all species are considered palatable. All clams have two calcareous shells or valves joined near a hinge structure with a flexible ligament, and all are filter feeders.

I look for them on the booklet included in the compilation to find the first clues, the first bit of information regarding the band:
“”Summer’s Coming Down” was recorded about November 1988 at Scruttocks, London EC2. It was written by Ian Nixon.
The Clamheads were/are Mike Hughes, guitar; Ian Nixon, bass; Gary Payne, drums; Matt Tanner, guitar and voice. The first ever Clamheads were a duo, Mat and Maccy (now main man in Arthur Turner’s Lovechild), who did some great gigs but were often too drunk to play. The four-piece Clamheads got together in March 1988. Mike and Ian were members of art-thugs the Shrew Kings.
They played around London and the provinces and did two tours of South-West France before taking a sabbatical in 1991, only to reform in 1995 as Borgnine, under which name they released the full-length “None the Wiser” CD in 1998″

Two names, The Shrew Kings and Borgnine. The Shrew Kings would appear on the Leamington Spa Vol. 5 while Borgnine in Vol. 7. Both bands would be interesting to dig more information in the blog sometime unless we get in touch with the band members before for an interview! Right? there hasn’t been that many interviews lately. I have done my work and have sent questions to a bunch of bands but sadly I haven’t received their answers yet (and I hope I will at some point though I’m not that positive now!).

They went to the South-West of France. Yes, and we have proof. There are two videos on Youtube of a TV presentation in Toulouse.  They appeared on the TV channel TeleToulouse in 1991 and played at least the songs “Woodenface” and “She’s a Funny Girl“. Where else did they go in France? Who supported them in gigs? Did they appear on any other TV shows, or perhaps radio interviews? Did The Clamheads learn any French?

So there’s the one release they put out in 1989. The label that was to release them was Jericho and their 12” EP “Summer’s Coming Down” got the catalog number JR002, only the second release after this label released the compilation “The Jericho Collection”. It is important to note that The Clamheads were already familiar with this label, they had appeared on the aforementioned compilation with the song “Suddenly” in 1988. I haven’t listened to this song sadly, and I’m not familiar with the bands on this compilation (only know The Anyways and The Wild Poppies), but I believe this label was supporting bands from the Oxford area. It is said that this label was an offshoot of the listings/review magazine “Local Support” who also organized live gigs and club nights in the area. Wonder why the name Jericho though? Sounds kind of religious, doesn’t it?

Anyways, the record included four songs, on the A side “Summer’s Coming Down” and “Everybody Loves Me Cept You” and on the B side we have “Never Crack On” and “Reprobate Blessing”. The photo on the cover I can’t figure out if these are famous people on it, there’s a guy and a blonde girl hugging. On the back there’s a small photo of the band on the bottom.

The credits confirm that most songs were recorded in Scruttocks but not all. The song “Reprobate’s Blessing” was recorded at Stargoat in Banbury. The engineer for the first three songs was Matt Stoddart. “Summer’s Coming Down” was mised by Matt Barry. “Everyone Loves Me Cept You” and “Never Crack On” were mixed by Nick Page. They thank a Simon for giving them money. The photos are credited to a Jasper. They also give their address, and so we know they band lived in Stoke Newington. Don’t know how it was back then, but now that is definitely a hipster area.

Thanks to the blog From a Northern Place I was able to listen to another song of theirs, “Everybody Loves Me Cept You”. And it is GREAT! Perhaps I like it better than their most known song, the one I’m sharing here. But maybe it is because it’s newness to me? Now I hope to listen to the B side sometime, and also to “Suddenly” from the compilation. But was that their only recorded output? 5 songs? What about those songs they played in the TV in France? Did they record those? Were there demo tapes by the band with more songs? I would like to know!

Sure, they later released more stuff under the name Borgnine, but that is another story for another blog post, for another day.

What are The Clamheads doing now? Was The Clamheads their first band? Were they involved with other bands aside Borgnine and The Shrew Kings? Were in England did they tour? And how come they didn’t release any more records?! Many mysteries that require an answer!

Now, let’s see summer go away, summer’s coming down…


The Clamheads – Summer’s Coming Down


What a quiet week for indiepop!! I think I’m starting to get used to weeks were there are absolutely no interesting news for our favourite music. And that is starting to worry me! Long gone are the day when I would find new bands all the time. Now who is making music, releasing zines or setting up labels?

The only nice surprise this week is the arrival at home of the 2nd issue of the Botanic Garden zine, all the way from China. As I don’t understand what is written I don’t have a very objective view about it. I just know it is lovingly put together, on quality paper and printed in colour. If you want to order a copy you can from their website.  I don’t see number 2 listed though, hopefully it will be available soon.This time again they asked to translate an article from the blog, one relating to New York Popfest. It also includes other articles, some recommendations, and a CDR with a bunch of cool songs from various acts.

There’s also the book Robert Forster from the Go-Betweens published not long ago titled “Grant & I”. I haven’t ordered it yet, but is definitely on my to-read list. I think it has only been published in Australia but there are ways to get it from different stores online, depending where you live.

The past week, on Facebook, the page C86 and all That: Indie 1983-86 was showing around some visuals for the book Neil Taylor is writing about C86. The artwork is really nice, recalling the fanzine style of the time. It is very clean and polished I thought, and I really like that. I wonder if purists would argue that there’s too much negative space on the art, and it should be much busier, like most fanzines were. Supposedly the book will be out early next year. Looking forward to that.

Aside from this small little news, I haven’t seen anything else worthwhile around. Maybe I missed something? Maybe there were some ace releases?

Next week I’ll go over Lima Popfest’s lineup for their 2016 Spring Edition to be celebrated on October 1st. Again they have a lineup of bands from Argentina, Chile and Peru. Hopefully there will be some new discoveries as there has been in previous years.

What else is coming up? Would love to hear your thoughts on the state of our beloved music.


Steamtown, U.S.A., was a steam locomotive museum that ran steam excursions out of North Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, from the 1960s to 1983. The museum was founded by millionaire seafood industrialist F. Nelson Blount. The non-profit Steamtown Foundation took over operations following his death in 1967. Because of Vermont’s air quality regulations restricting steam excursions, declining visitor attendance, and disputes over the use of track, some pieces of the collection were relocated to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s and the rest were auctioned off. After the move, Steamtown continued to operate in Scranton but failed to attract the expected 200,000–400,000 visitors. Within two years the tourist attraction was facing bankruptcy, and more pieces of the collection were sold to pay off debt.

Don’t know if Birmingham’s Steamtown took their name from the American museum. Perhaps. English people are very fond of trains and railways and I always thought that was a very good thing. But the truth is, it has been years since I wanted to write a piece about a band I barely know anything, Steamtown.

The only known song by them is “Living & Loving”. It appeared on at least two tape compilations. On the legendary “Corrupt Postman” released in 1988 on Windmill Records and on “Hacia La Luz” on Elefant Records in 1990 (catalog ER-5). That’s it. But hey, I love this song.

When guitars sound like this, when they ramshackle like this, I feel in heaven. Everything crashing and breaking, guitars going fast, fast, fast. Crash-pop at its finest. But it gained no attention from labels it seems? There were no releases!!

I think I remember there was a post about them on The Cudgels’ Stephen Davies’  blog about Steamtown. Sadly the blog is no more and even looking into old snapshots on the Internet Wayback Machine I couldn’t find this post. The only thing I could really find on old emails was that Stephen told me that a Spencer Roberts was part of the band. I was told he was a big fan of Postcard Records but not really of indiepop, according to Stephen he didn’t own any Field Mice records or anything like that.

The other tip he gave me was that Spencer was, at the time, part of The Leaking Machine. The Leaking Machine being a band that included some ex-members of Mighty Mighty. And then doing a bit of research I could find that Spencer was also part of Oporto who released a 7″ on Sunday Records in 1994. The last news from Spencer comes from around October 2009. He appeared under his name on a CDR compilation titled “The Garage Pop EP” released by Stephen Davies on his own Please Rain Fall Records.

But about Steamtown nothing. I can’t find anything at all. I wonder if there were more recordings made in the same session of “Living & Loving”, or even before or after. It doesn’t matter. I would really like to hear. I’m a sucker for this sort of shambolic pop!

Who were the other band members? What other bands were they involved? Does anyone remember them?


Steamtown – Living & Loving


Quiet week now in indiepopworld. Please don’t forget if in Stockholm to attend this Wednesday the Stephen’s Shore 7″ release party. I wish I could be there. That same day I will be attending the Lush concert here in New York. Maybe I see some familiar faces there, though I doubt it, as I think most (cool) people will be going tomorrow Tuesday to their gig in Brooklyn.

Last week I recommended a mysterious band named The BVs. I actually learned some more stuff about them. I know they have already recorded 11 songs that they are working for an album. It is actually a duo formed by Fred and Josh. Fred from Augsburg in Germany and Josh from Falmouth in England. The songs were recorded in Penryn, and that is in Cornwall. They already have a label, the very good Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten, and the album should be out sometime early next year. Very exciting!

Red Sleeping Beauty, who released a very fine album after suuuuuuch a long time, have just premiered a new video for the song “Mi Amor“. I’m glad they chose this song as it is my favourite, with its girl/boy vocals and Niklas’ Spanish accent.

Also out later this month, on September 23rd on Firestation Records there are three albums to get: The Man Upstairs compilation that I hoped was going to be released in the Cake Kitchen series (I have a bittersweet feeling about this coming out on another label, can’t help it), a Commotion Upstairs retrospective compilation and an Andy Pawlak LP. Not to be missed.

Another good late music discovery comes from Jatinangor in Indonesia thanks to the band Toy Tambourine. They have a new tape out on Shiny Happy Records and by the sound of the two tracks on their SoundCloud it must be very good!


This week I’ve been listening non-stop to Sunshower from Japan. They released the one album “Blue Dolphin” in 1995 on the fantastic Pushbike Label from Japan (catalog UFPB-010). This is a label that is worth discovering and checking out thoroughly. Lots of great indiepop releases from Japanese bands that for some reason have been under the radar for many of us Westerners. I remember a friend from Florida, Mike, sent me a burned CD of this fabulous album years ago. He even made photocopies of the booklet for me. I was amazed by it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Indiepop of this quality is usually well known you know?

So I uploaded my favourite song of the album to Youtube. “Glitter Future”. I was hoping that the band would get in touch, comment, or maybe even a fan would do so. But I was unlucky. I never heard from any.

Years later my friend Vernon from Singapore was thrilled about this band as well. Suddenly I remember that I never got round getting an original copy of the CD. Well, time to get it. I asked Masami in Japan if he could help me get it from Amazon.jp. I think it was very cheap there, like 6 dollars used. It is just I can’t understand and don’t know how to purchase from that site! Some months passed. Then finally at home, a beautiful package by Masami, with lots of goodies, and this CD that I’ve been meaning to get for years!! Time to relisten. Time to get hooked again. And also time to rediscover and try to find out more about this enigmatic Japanese band!

Where in Japan where they from? I wonder… maybe I will find out. First I check that there are 20 songs on the CD! That’s a lot of songs. But they are divided somehow. There are 12 songs that seem to be part of the album and then 8 songs divided in this manner: Ringo Trucks are from 13 to 15, so “Red Evening, Red Night”, “Smile” and “I Want to Be…”. Bathroom Trucks are from 16 to 18, “Underground Monster”, “Olive”, “Serch-Light-Girl”. And Clock Work Orange Trucks are the last two, from 19 to 20, “Space Road” and “Little Hope”. I think it is pretty obvious that “trucks” here should have been tracks. Just a spelling error.

Time to check on the booklet. We find that Sunshower is formed just by two members, Ayako Akashiba and Yasuhiro Kawase. We know they wrote and played all the songs but a handful. These are:
“Almaty” original by Donna Regina
“Where Have all the Flowers Gone” original by Pete Seeger (though on the booklet he is credited as Pete Sigger)
“S0 the Shall Reap” is co-produced by Kenzi Tanaka
“Serch-Light-Girl” and “Little Hope” original words by Seiko Ishiguro
“Blue Dolphin” and “Little Hope” programmed by Ryou Arai

We see that they had some A&R thanks to Kanetsugu Tanaka and Jun Yajima and that the sleeve artwork was created by Ootake Shunsuke. Photos on the CD booklet by Takayasu Tohno.

Now I look into the Japanese names that are credited. Ryou Arai seems to have released a bunch of records, but nothing really indiepop as far as I can see whereas Seiko Ishiguro seems to have composed for Jenka (we covered her previous band Groovy Metal Babies in the blog before) and also been part of the fantastic Tip Top Planets (another band I should try to rescue for the blog!). Seems there was some sort of scene then no?

There first appearance on a record, as far as I know, happened in 1992 with the song “Realize” in the compilation “Flower’s Flower” that came out on Underflower Records (catalog FLOWER-001). Then that same year that beauty of a song that is “Glitter Future” appeared on a compilation titled “The Reality of Flowers” also on Underflower Records (catalog FLOWER-002). Bear in mind now that Underflower Records is the parent label of Pushbike.

In 1993 they will appear on a third compilation, always on Underflower Records. The song “Maybe the Sun Will Shine” appears on the comp “Flower Makes Sense!”. This is of course the third compilation of this label and thus it has catalog FLOWER-003.

1993 they also contribute the songs “Never Ever Forget” and “Rose Sauce” to the compilation “Happy Day, Happy Time” on the Pushbike label. Sadly I don’t know much about this compilation as it is not on Discogs.

That same year we know they contributed at least one song to the Pushbike compilation “See-See-You” on the Pushbike compilation. Couldn’t find a tracklist though. Same story with the “Good Thing Goin” compilation on the same label.

On 1994 they will participate on a Pushbike compilation. The song “Sing Bird (demo)” appears on the compilation “Into Somethin'”.

Then we won’t hear about the band until 1998. The song “Vacation” appears on the compilation “Did He Tell You To Stop Winking at Girls?” released on the label Holytail Records (catalog HT-01). In 1999 they will appear for the first time in a vinyl record. On a 12″ EP called “Life Sampler” they contribute the song “Melody”. This EP was released by the British label Lowlife and this was LOW 8. It is very interesting that the band they covered earlier, in 1995, Donna Regina, also appears in this record. I wonder who brought who into this project.

Discogs also lists a CDR compilation titled “1 Hour Doctor Rockit / Lifelike Label Mix” where the band also appears with “Melody”.  I think this is just a promo CD so I wouldn’t consider it part of their discography. Doctor Rockit is actually Matthew Herbert, the guy behind the Lowlife label that had released the 12″ where “Melody” also appeared.

Now, here comes the strange, mysterious part, for me. I don’t know if by the time they released “Melody” they had changed their sound into something more electronic. I haven’t heard many of their songs, just their album. But to learn, according to Discogs, that they had put out some new stuff this 2016 is really surprising. More than 15 years later since we last heard from them. But a little investigation, as I found Pedicure’s bandcamp, we find that this Sunshower actually hails from the US. So nothing to do with our beloved Japanese band. Thank god! It was crazy electronic pop music!

Time to go thru the trail of the band members. Sadly googling Yasuhiro Kawase throws no interesting results. On the other hand Ayako Akashiba seems to have much more presence on the web. She has been part of many more bands aside from Sunshower. She has been in Guitar, Marigold Leaf and Strawberry-High-Soft. The last two with activity around the same years as Snshower, during the 90s, while Guitar seems to have been a collaboration with the German Michael Lückner during the 2000s. With Guitar they released a bunch of albums and it seems they had quite a following. I don’t know much about electronic music but I was surprised that Clairerecords (label of Pia Fraus, Silver Screen and many other great guitar based bands) released one of the albums.

Marigold Leaf as far as I know only contributed a couple of songs to the compilation “Birth of the True II” released by Por Supuesto! Records (STAP 0314) in 1993. The songs being “I Wonder “Why”? But I Fall In Love” and “Drive”. I still haven’t gotten around getting this CD, shame on me, so can’t say if the music sounds similar to Sunshower.

For Strawberry-High-Soft we know about 2 songs from the compilation “Into Somethin'” released in 1994. That’s the third Pushbike compilation (UFPB-006). The songs that they contribute are “I Love “Love”” and “Secret Track (Outro)”. Also on the same label, from the 1993 compilation “Happy Day, Happy Time” were Sunshower were also featured, they released the songs “Happy Day” and “Come Here Now“. Now on Youtube I found some more Strawberry-High-Soft stuff, there’s a song called “Unrequited Love” that seems to have been released as a single. Not sure which label but seems to have been out in 2003. There are also some live performances dating of 2006, that means 12 years after the compilation appearance I mentioned earlier. You can check the songs “Ano-Uta“, “Star For You“, “Moonlight Makes Me Transparent“, “Soul Sister“, “For the Day“, “New Friend“, “Be Joy” and a magnificent cover of JAMC’s “Just Like Honey“.

I also found out that she has collaborated with Riow Arai (especially doing choruses along other Japanese vocalists on the album “R+NAAAA” by the project of the same title) and even The 6ths )the song “Winter in July” from the album “Waspd’ Nest”) as a guest vocalist in some of their songs.

Ayako also released at least one song under her name on a compilation titled “14 Girls Life” released by Elegant Disc in Japan. The song she contributes is called “Slowly” and it opens the compilation that you can actually buy it from this site.

Don’t know what she is up to today, maybe she is still making music with Guitar? What about Yasuhiro? He seems to have disappeared from the music scene after Sunshower? Would love to know what happened to the band? If there are more songs? Would love to listen to the songs from the compilations too. And definitely need to check Ayako’s other bands. I’m sure some treasures will be found!

EDIT Sept 16th 2016: Came to my attention a tape released in Italy by the label Shiny Sunset (Sunset 12) that is a split between Sunshower and the French band Nothing else. Sunshower has the A side and includes the songs “Almaty”, “Glitter Future”, “Olive”, “Shining Ocean Day”, “Search-Light-Girl”, “Space Road”, “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” and “Boyfriend Forever”.


Sunshower – Glitter Future


With the release of Stephen’s Shore debut 7″ I want to invite you all to a couple of things. First to like their Facebook page which is brand new. Show support to their gorgeous music and to themselves, lovers of 12-string guitar janglepop like us. Secondly, on September 14th, if you are in Stockholm, you should know that they will be playing a release party at Riche Lilla Baren in Östermalm. The gig is scheduled from 6 to 9pm. Also there will be two DJs at the gig: Henrik Burman and Leo Forsell. Here is the Facebook Event page and I hope you can make. If I could, I would be there for sure. Would love to see this band!

Also The Legendary Hearts who we interviewed some time ago got in touch with me to let me know that they have a brand new recording. You can stream it in their SoundCloud and it is called “Make A Home”. It is their first official release since 1988. They are announcing that there will be more tracks coming up and a 2017 album is expected. This is really great news!

And that is not all when it comes to news from indiepop friends from around the world. Tore Höghielm from the fantastic Visby, Sweden, band Alfie that released that amazing 7″ in the 80s got in touch too telling me about the great news that the band reformed just for a one-off gig for the 50th birthday of one of their members, Stefen Wesley on July 23rd. There are two videos on Youtube of this special moment that I can only recommend you all having a look and a listen! Here is part 1 and here is part 2.

More news? Of course! George Matzkov also updates us, he has now published the book “Way Out West“. This book covers the west Australian music scene from 1976 to 1989. It is a bit pricey the postage to the US, and so I’m trying to save a bit before ordering (this past week I bought maybe too many records!!), but I’m sure I will order it pretty soon. It seems the book is filled with photos and memorabilia and it even includes an MP3 archival CD. I think this is one of the most important releases this month!

Boring Productions, the Chinese label from Shenzhen who released the brilliant Chestnut Bakery CD, has a new release by the band The Cheers Cheers. A 6 song EP released on both CD and cassette titled “Carinae“. Dreamy pop worth checking out.

Perhaps my favorite discovery this week comes from Falmouth in the UK. The band is called The BV’s and they have two songs on their Bandcamp and they are very very good. Two very promising songs that deserve to be released physically. The song titles are “Ray” (my favorite one) and “Speaking from A Distance”. Who are they? I don’t know. There’s very little information on their page. But finds like this always make me look with hope to the future of the British indiepop scene that seems a bit boring these days.

The last bit of information comes from Cloudberry HQ. The Seashells 7″ is being pressed at the moment, masters and artwork approved at the pressing plant. Then today I received the liner notes for the Some Other Day CD compilation and so we are now only missing mastering for a handful of songs and then we can send to press this beauty. It is looking like a very good way to close the year, busy and with very exciting projects ahead!


It was a three day weekend here in the US and I had a bit of spare time to just check old CDs and records. I’ve been feeling like there are so many bands that I’ve heard on compilations, that I know so little, that I never tracked their whole discography or at least part of it! A good starting point is always the Sound of Leamington Spa series that Uwe Firestation used to compile with great knowledge and taste. One of the bands that I remember loving their song on the compilation was The Sandalwoods, and then I was thinking, but I don’t have any release by them, did they ever put anything out?

Well, they didn’t put anything out. I guess most people know them by the song “The Day is Mine” that appeared on the Sound of Leamington Spa Vol. 2 that was released by Firestation, Billberry and Clarendon Records in 2002. Luckily there was a full page about them on the booklet included in the CD saying:

We were Paul & Mark McCole and myself Will Deegan. We had many extra musicians that we called on as we required. Forming (in our minds-’85) in 1986 we began as an acoustic Velvet Underground!! All three of us wrote and the writer sang the song. We swapped around a lot to keep it fresh for ourselves and the audience. We usually had an acoustic act or comedy act supporting us. In our 4 years we dabbled in:  country, reggae, blues, jazz, cajun, psychedelic, skiffle, rock, rockabilly. We used vocals, bass, acoustic & electric guitars, drums along with keyboards, percussion, sax, clarinet, harmonica, accordion, and anything that wasn’t cool to use at the time!
We never got a deal but did contribute to a couple of compilation albums of the time; “This is Manchester Vol. 1” (Vanessa) and “Manchester” (Calendar Girl).
We split up in 1990. Mark & Paul went to form “Widehead” and I played with lots of bands including: Bryan Glancy (Too Many Foxes / The Mouth / I Am Kloot), Kill Laura, Glow, The Rillington Rockers, Grace, Widehead and plenty of cover bands. In 1994 we decided to reform with a much heavier sound Teenage Fanclub meets Neil Young / The Pixies then ditched it so we could have more fun playing covers!! Since then I have played with Pete Wylie (Mighty Wah) and a Who tribute band!! I’ve just returned from a short tour of U.S.A. (East coast) with a band comprising Mike Joyce & Andy Rourke of The Smiths.
The Sandalwoods still get together to play for family / friends / charity dos every now & then for a laugh. Funnily enough, I spoke with Paul today about writing / recording again in the near future!!
P.S. – The late 80’s was a fantastic time to be in Manchester!!

It actually feels more like Will Deegan is writing an email to Uwe than he wrote actual liner notes. It feels like two friends exchanging emails. I like that. I’m also impressed by Uwe tracking a small band like this for the 2nd volume of Leamington Spa. Those days it wasn’t as easy as today to track band members from the 80s. There was no social media. I wonder how he did.

There is no mention as to where “The Day is Mine” comes from. Maybe just a demo tape? We do know though two other song names, “Vanessa” and “Calendar Girl”. I couldn’t find anything at all about “Calendar Girl” or the compilation titled Manchester. But I was able to find “Vanessa” today. I actually just placed an order through Discogs for the compilation “This is Manchester (14 Songs from the North West)”. I think you should be able too for a good price.

The curious thing about the Sandalwoods appearance in this compilation is that their name seems misprinted as The Sandle Woods. The song seems to credited to the three Sandalwoods members and copyrighted to White Metal Music. It is the 3rd song in this compilation that also includes very cool bands like The Candidates, The Chrysalids or The Paperboys. I look forward a lot to hearing this song! Hopefully it is as good as “The Day is Mine”.

I found some information too about this compilation released by Essential Music in 1990 in both CD and LP formats (catalog ESS 133). On the back sleeve, aside from small thumbnail sized photos of the bands we learn that the original concept for this compilation came from Pete Mitchel at Piccadilly Key 103 FM and Tony Davidson of T.J.M. Records. Tony passed the tapes of The Obimen, the band he was working on, to Pete and that was the seed that started it all.

I keep digging for more information. I now dive into the Manchester District Music Archives website. What will I find here?

A gig flyer from 1988 where a bunch of bands played. The gig was named “C.C., Phil C. and Simon D’s Birthday Fun Box” and happened on June 2nd at The Gallery in Peter Street, Manchester. The bands that played were The Psycho Surgeons, The Sandalwoods and Capitol Hill. There was also comedy with John Thompson and I guess acoustic songwriters with Claire Mooney, Paul McCole (from The Sandalwoods!) and D.J. Phil C.

Then another gig flyer. This time from the famous venue The Boardwalk. The date was Thursday 12th January 1989. The bands playing were The Sandalwoods, The Waterglass and the great Asia Fields. Seems The Next Step was to play but they canceled. Just 2 pounds to attend.

The third memorabilia item I found was another “Fun Box” event by C.C. / Brickwall. I learn that C.C. was a guy named Chris Coupes. This is more a running order of bands than a gig flyer. We see that most bands played just 2 songs. And actually most of the people playing were just going solo. Among the names I recognize from this list is definitely Johnny Dangerously who was going to be I Am Kloot later and was part of the amazing DeBuchias I’ve covered in the blog.

About the other bands Will Deegan mentions in the liner notes, I couldn’t find anything really about Widehead. Found a Kill Laura flyer from a Hacienda gig in 1995, photos and some flyers for Bryan Glancy, but nothing really that would uncover more of The Sandalwoods mystery. I would definitely like to know if they recorded more songs. What are they doing now? How did their other bands sounded like? What about that obscure compilation “Manchester” and the song “Calendar Girl”? If any or all of their songs are like “The Day is Mine”, well, I really want to hear from them!


The Sandalwoods – The Day is Mine