21
Feb

Thanks so much to Frida for the interview! I wrote some time ago about Inside Riot on the blog and was lucky to get in touch with Frida after that. I had been a fan for a long time, not only a fan of Inside Riot but also a fan of her other bands like Rough Bunnies or The Flame. So it was quite an honour to be in touch with Frida! Luckily she was happy to answer all my questions and here I’m crossing fingers she’ll like to do an interview about Rough Bunnies and The Flame sometime soon!

++ Hi Frida, thanks so much for getting in touch and being up for this interview. I’ve been a fan for long of your bands so this means a lot! Definitely the band that I know less about is Inside Riot, your first band, so let’s talk about that. When and where did the band start?

Hi there Roque. Inside riot has existed in different versions as long as we have been able to play instruments good enough. Anna and I played music together as children. We used to play guitar, and violin in the basement of my parents’ house. Anders (Anna’s brother) And Anna used to play with Anders friends Mattias and Martin and when I was Old enough I joined them.

++ Originally was it you and Anna only? When did Anders, Mattias and Martin join the band and how did you know them?

No, or yes. Originally, as we grew up together, we also naturally played together. But only in our basement. I was the last one to join the band which we later named inside riot.

++ So before Inside Riot you weren’t in any bands, right? But what are your first musical memories? What instruments do you play and what do you think inspired you to make music?

No, not any bands with actual names. My brothers and I also played music in our basement though. We can all play just a little bit Of everything but none of us is an expert in any instrument. We wrote songs because we wanted to impress guys we liked. Then it became more like writing a diary, together.

++ And had the other members being in other bands before or after Inside Riot?

Martin, the drummer, he was in a really good grunge band before he joined.

++ Who came up with the name of the band, Inside Riot, and what’s the story behind it?

The name is from one of the first songs I wrote. We needed a band name and the song was crap but the title was ok, so we used it for the band instead.

++ It’s said that Inside Riot used to record in Berlin and that you were in Malmö. Whereabouts are you these days? And what are your favourite things about these two cities?

We all decided to live in the same apartment in Berlin for half a year in 2002, to be able to play gigs and record. We are back in Sweden now, inhabiting the cities. Most of us live in Malmö.

++ And what do you remember about the recording sessions in Berlin? How was the creative process for Inside Riot?

Anna and I wrote songs and presented them to the band. It was always the same process. No drumming on the yellow metallic stuff, no funky guitar rhythms but otherwise the band was (almost) free to do anything.

++ Your releases came out on CDR mostly and during those early 2000s there were many bands releasing CDRs. How helpful was this format to spread your music and why do you think no one is releasing CDRs anymore being a cheap format for fans and labels?

We released CDRs due to its availability and that downloading mp3-songs was pretty slow at that time. Not that many people have CD players anymore. Now its easier to put all the songs into a homepage for free downloading, which is just as good.

++ There’s little information about your first releases, “The First Record (Eskimo)” and “Hi, What’s Your Name?” on the web. Was wondering if you could give me some background info about them? Like what year they were released? What songs were on it? If they were put out by any label?

I don’t remember exactly when those albums were recorded. Alan McGee promised to release an album on Poptones, but then they had an economical crisis and we never really sent the recordings to any other label.

++ I’m mostly familiar with the later releases, the posthumous releases, on Bedroom Records, like “1999-2002” and “Berlin Recordings + Mini EP” and they are brilliant. But I’m wondering, aside from all these releases, are there still any unreleased Inside Riot songs?

No, we released all of the good songs and also the crappy songs we rehearsed. There are of course songs that we did not rehearse and some of these songs were released by rough bunnies and some of the songs are forgotten.

++ And what made you release the compilation “1999-2002” a couple of years after the band had already split?

We met Jonas from bedroom records when we were playing as rough bunnies and we told him to also release the inside riot songs. He was very flexible when it came to our wishes.

++ I have so many favourite songs by Inside Riot, but maybe “World of Love” is my fave. If you don’t mind, what’s the story behind this song?

That song is about my first love, Guldtackan, and also about the first heartbreak.

++ And what would be your favourite song and why?

My personal favourite is ‘more lost than alive’ on berlin recordings, only because of the dreamy parts in the song.

++ How did it work releasing with Bedroom Records?

It worked fine, but in the end it would have been better to release everything by ourselves. They couldn’t produce as many cd-rs as we needed.

++ There is this mystery about five songs that are listed on the CDR “RB for Beginners”. It is said five songs that are listed don’t appear on the CDR, “How Did He Know I Had a Dick?”, “Riding in Cars”, “ESK-83”, “Human Industry”, “Teenage Obsession” and “I Say Goodbye”, what happened?

Haha, I drew the CD-r cover before I checked how many songs that actually fitted on the CD-r. I just left them out when I realised that I had to remove some songs.

++ Inside Riot (and Rough Bunnies) were covered by The Fine Arts Showcase. What do you think of these versions?

I think they are perfect Gustaf-versions. He had heard all the songs with only song and acoustic guitar as we used to live together, so the arrangements are his ideas of the correct sound.

++ Why were no other releases by Inside Riot at the time? Was there any interest by any labels?

We talked to both Fred and Calvin after playing gigs at the same clubs. They could release old stuff but we wanted to release new songs, so rough bunnies released a new record on Ypsilanti with Fred.

++ You told me that you mostly played in basements and only occasionally in clubs, I assume in Germany and Sweden? What are the gigs you remember the most and why? Any anecdotes you could share?

My favourite is when we played for maybe 150 13year olds and EVERYBODY left the room to do other activities. That was in Malmö.

++ Did you get any attention from press, radio, fanzines or blogs at the time?

Yes, pretty much. The reviewers and people playing in other bands used to love us but we never had a fan base of real people.

++ And when and why did the band split? What did the Inside Riot members do after?

Anna and I wanted to do our own thing. We were much too bossy for the others to cope with. They got serious and started to study. Anna learned belly dancing and we started rough bunnies and the flame.

++ Looking back, for you, what was the biggest highlight of being in Inside Riot?

It is so nice to play music together once a week. The song writing is the best part, tightly followed by the time in the rehearsal cave.

++ I know there’s much more to talk, like you were in bands like Rough Bunnies or The Flame and would love to do interviews about them too if you like, but let’s start wrapping this interview. Was wondering if you are still making music today?

No, but my kiddo is. She has super interesting lyrics.

++ What other hobbies do you have?

We like to hike in the forrest and walk long distances.

++ And what about Malmö, I was there many years ago and I had a good time. What are your favourite places to hang out? What are the sights not to miss and what are some traditional dishes one has to try?

There is a good place to eat Somalian food at Persborg. And the falafel in Malmö is good. And for activities…it’s nice to fly kites by the beach in the summer. And you should always explore Malmö by bike.

++ Thanks a lot Frida, it has been a pleasure. Anything else you’d like to add?

Not really, you had a ton of questions,haha! Thank you Roque.

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Listen
Inside Riot – World of Love

20
Feb

Whereas indiepop is agonizing in the US we get news that in China there will be a brand new indiepop festival soon. During two days, May 20th and 21st, the festival “Up a Tree” will be happening in Shanghai of all places. A city I visited just a few years ago and couldn’t see any indications that indiepop was going to be a thing there at all!

It came as a total surprise when late last week I saw this news. There are bands from China and Japan participating as well as DJs. They will also have a flea market, they will sell fanzines and they seem very excited about having a lot of booze as well.

The organizers are Puppy Fat Records. I don’t know who they are and could only find a Tumblr with little information.  Maybe it is just a name for the occasion.

The announced DJs are:
陳振超 ( The White Tulips)
小吉 (Die! ChiwawaDie!)
Shiyu (植物園zine)
一盒 (Fish Tank Radio)

I’m definitely familiar with Shiyu who makes the very cool Botanic Garden fanzine. The rest, I don’t know. Will they play proper indiepop? I’ve always questioned DJs at indiepop fests. I hope they do.

On the other hand I wanted to discover some of the bands playing. The lineup for the festival has:
Pictured Resort (Japan)
Gatsby in A Daze
Wallflower (Japan)
Atta Girl
The Cheers Cheers
Chimo 赤莓 (ex. 蘑菇紅)

There is no venue announced yet it seems or any schedule for the bands. It is still early, but looks promising. Let’s check the bands that I haven’t talked yet on the blog, which means everyone of them but the superb Wallflower who I’ve been a fan for like forever and I covered them when they came to play NYC Popfest.

Pictured Resort: this band I already know and I like them lots! I have their releases on Miles Apart Records but I don’t own their last release, their album! I have been living under a rock? Well, they released a new album last August and I believe is on CD and LP. It is titled “All Vacation Long” and was released by Sailyard Records in Japan. Don’t know if it is available anywhere else. The band is formed by Yuki, Mari, Yutaro, Yushi and the great Koji Takagi. Definitely a band to keep an eye.

Gatsby in a Daze: a band from Hangzhou, China. I see they have 6 songs on their Bandcamp and they are described as a lo-fi jangly psych rock band that hits the sweet spot. Sadly for me it didn’t hit the spot, I’m not much of a fan of their music.

Atta Girl: I’m familiar with this band thanks to the great labour of love of the Chinese label Boring Productions that I’ve covered before in the blog. The band has a new release that I still haven’t got it (what’s happening with me?). It is titled “Everyone Loves You When You Were Still a Kid” and is available on CD and cassette. There are 10 songs on this album and they sound great (even though on a small blurb on the Bandcamp it says they are lame on stage). I should write to Jovi about getting this release! So good!

The Cheers Cheers: I think I’m missing this band’s sole release, “Carinae”  as well. Also on Boring Productions it was released on CD/Cassette with 6 songs. Very nice introspective indiepop solo project by WangXiaoYu from Shenzhen, China.

Chimo: from Shanghai, the local band for the festival. I find two “releases” on Bandcamp. In reality they are just two songs that feel more like sketches. These two bedroom recordings have no vocals. And you know, instrumental songs and me we don’t get along. I wasn’t hooked here.

All in all pretty promising, at least 4 bands I would definitely want to see. And I think the dance parties should be pretty good too, don’t know Chinese indiepop fans but I’m assuming, as this will be the first time for the festival, that people will go with all the energy, in the perfect mood for having fun! Wish I could be there!

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So I expected to find at least some proper information about The Magic Shop when I started digging the web. I thought that if they had been on Sha La La, at least the band members names will be available somewhere. But no. Even though their one and only release might be thought as a classic one, the band has left nothing behind it seems.

As most of you know Sha La La was the precursor label to Sarah Records. It was run by Matt Haynes and it released a string of flexi discs, most of them shared by two bands. That was the case of The Magic Shop who were to share a flexi with The Visitors. It also happens that this was the last release, the last flexi, on Sha La La. This was 1987 and Sarah was about to be born.

The flexi came along many fanzines. It was common at the time that sort of system. You were to release a flexi and a good way to sell it was through other people’s fanzines. This flexi in particular (catalog Ba Ba Ba 008) accompanied the following fanzines, “Make it In Ongar”, “Simply Thrilled (#4)”, “Hedgehogs and Porcupines (#8)” and “5,000 miles from George Square (#2)”.

The Magic Shop contributed one song, “It’s True”, and The Visitors contributed their classic “Goldmining”. I tried long ago interviewing The Visitors, sent the questions and all, but never heard back. Maybe they could have shed some light about the band they shared the flexi with.

4 60s girls dancing on the cover of The Magic Shop side of the sleeve. No information whatsoever. The Visitors instead have a photo and a contact name and names of  towns, I’m assuming where they were from. Why the difference? Why didn’t The Magic Shop wanted to be contacted or leave any information? Why such a secret?

I have no clue where to look. Whereabouts in the UK they came from? Were they involved in any other bands? Did they play any gigs? I can’t recall seeing their name on fanzines, I have really no idea where to find anything else about them. That’s why I’m asking you, maybe you remember them from the time. Did they record any other songs? “It’s True” is a gem, but there must have been more from where that came from, no? Maybe the one and only demo tape they released? Who knows?

Edit: Sam on Facebook pointed me that the three girls from the cover come from another record: Bill Haley And His Comets’ “Bill Haley’s Greatest Hits!”.

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Listen
The Magic Shop – It’s True

13
Feb

This week, as it is quiet in indiepopnews, I have a long review of many bands I’ve heard for the first time in the past weeks. Hope you like some of them.

Astragal: they released a tape (yet another release I won’t get because of the format, shame) on Banana Tapes out of Nashville, TN, last September. I arrived to their Bandcamp thanks to the CD16 compilation. For that comp the band had contributed probably the best song out of the 3 on their tape EP, “Notations”. A lovely jangly and dreamy song. My second favourite song being the closing one, “Scenery”. The band is formed by Sam, David and Jimmy and they hail from Houston.

Traveling with Monika: yet another band I discovered thanks to the CD16 compilation. Now this one is quite a surprise as they hail from Bangkok! I haven’t heard of Thai indiepop bands in ages, in more than a decade. I was in Bangkok just some months ago, if only I had known, maybe I could have seen them live. They have 3 songs out and they are really nice. The band is formed by Nisarat, Thanapat and Samart. I think my favourite thing about the band are the vocals especially on the song “Traveling With Me”. Really cool!

The Whistling Possum: Only one song on their Bandcamp, the same as the one that they contributed to CD16: “Some Popkids are Even Worse”. In any case this is a very cool song coming all the way from Jakarta, Indonesia. The band is formed by Adi, Kaneko, Tio and Yenezkiel and they also seem to have a blog but I can’t understand a thing!

The Newsletters: from Melbourne comes this cool band that had a 7″ single out in 2015 and a three track digital single in March last year. I’m really enjoying the songs from this last digital effort. On CD16 the A side from the 7″ single, “Lucky Country”, was the one that was included. This 7″ was released by Butter Cup Records and seems to be still available.

Horsebeach: they have now “Beauty & Sadness”, the song that gives title to their new album streaming on Bandcamp. Sounds fantastic as everything they have put out. You can now pre-order the digipak album.

The Cottons: I think Kaneko and Yenezkiel from The Whistling Possum are involved in this band. I found two of their songs, “Yesterday’s Gone” and “It’s Only a Day” on the Dismantled label Bandcamp. They sound really promising! Lots of superb-sounding bands still coming from Indonesia!

Her’s: two digital singles for this band that will be debuting in Madrid Popfest very soon. The band is based in Liverpool and it is just a duo, Audun and Stephen. My favourite song being “Dorothy” out of their first single.

Pan Total: a fantastic discovery thanks to Madrid Popfest booking them. I feel very sad to have missed their limited edition CD that included 9 fab songs. I don’t know much about this band. They hail from Logroño and they seem to have been around at least since 2012! Where was I? How come I’ve only heard about them just a few days ago? It is embarrassing! Hopefully they re-release it? One can only hope.

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Was very surprised when I saw the song “Closer” opening the 4th CD in the “Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze: 1988-1985” released by Cherry Red last year. I don’t know how obscure the band was back in the day, but these days it is not a band that I feel everyone remembers. There is very little on the internet about them. I wonder if the label got in touch with the band, the small bio on the booklet says very little, almost uninteresting information:
“This Tynemouth band were initially touted as Newcastle’s answer to the Stone Roses. Their first release “Bubble Bus”. shared a Whoosh flexi free with fanzine Two Pint Take Home. Further singles followed on Sympathy For the Record Industry (“Teenage Death”) and Tea Time (“Daydream”) before they settled in 1991 on Clawfist for “It’s Only Everything” and “Closer”, an anthemic, swirling guitar-fest produced by That Petrol Emotion’s Steve Mack. Their final release was a split single that coupled up The Sunflowers version of Smashing Orange’s “Collide” with Smashing Orange’s rendition of The Sunflowers “Something You Said.”

 

Nothing new there. Of course it gets a bit on my nerve the misspelling of Woosh Records.

But yes, they did release their first song “Bubble Bus” on Woosh’s eight release (catalog WOOSH 008), a flexi they shared with St. James Infirmary (a band I’ve written about here before and waiting now for their interview to be completed). The Sunflowers song was the second song on this fold-over paper picture sleeve, with a photo of two eyes printed in green and blue. The flexi was not only available with the Two Pint Take Home (vol. 4 by the way) but also with the Waterbomb vol. 4 fanzine.

Their second single, from 1990, came out on Sympathy For The Record Industry (catalog SFTRI 64). This is quite interesting for me as this label was based in Olympia, Washington in the US. It wasn’t that common for these sort of British bands to end up on American labels. It seems the label had high hopes for the band, releasing the 7″ in a variety of different colour vinyl records: yellow, tangerine, orange transparent, dark blue and turquoise. The songs included were “Teenage Death” (a favourite of mine) on the A side, and “Twenty Fifteen (live)” on the B side. The A side was recorded in Chamber Studios in Edinburgh on February 1990. The B side was recorded live at Newcastle Riverside on January 31, 1990.  The photography on this record is credited to J.R. Hughes. He is also credited for recording the B side.

Their third single was to come out that same year, 1990, on the very well-regarded indiepop label Tea Time Records. “Daydream” (catalog TEA 08) was actually the B side even though it was the song giving the single its name. “Twenty Fifteen” was the A side. Artwork for this record is credited to P. Mann. Photography to  J.R. Hughes again. The producer for this record was Jamie Watson who was the one that set up Chamber Studios in Edinburgh in 1986. It is no surprise then that the band recorded this single there.

Then they were to move to Clawfist Records. It was 1991 and they released the “Closer” 7″. On the B side we got “Day Into Day”. This was the fifth Clawfist release (HUNKA 005). This label was set up by the Vinyl Solution record shop on Portobello Road in London. The record was mastered at The Exchange, a Camden based mastering studio. Other credits on the sleeve include Design by Jocky, Mastered by Mike, Photography by J.R. Hughes and Produced by Steve Mack.

The same label was to release another single the same year. On Clawfist’s 7th release (catalog HUNKA 007) The Sunflowers put out “It’s Only Everything” on the A side and “Too Far to Fall” on the B side. Credits are similar as the previous record, Design by Jocky, Photography by J.R. Hughes and Steve Mack as producer.

Their last release was part of the Clawfist Singles Club (this was number 18). As mentioned before The Sunflowers covered “Collide”, original by Smashing Orange, whereas “Smashing Orange was to cover “Something You Said”, a Sunflowers original. I wonder if The Sunflowers released anywhere “Something You Said”.

They were to appear on a legendary compilation in 1990. On the Positively Teenage tape they contributed two songs, “Sunflower Babies” and “Sunflowers Mum”. About this tape I believe I’ve covered many bands that appeared on it on the blog like The Lavender Faction, Love Parade, The Penny Candles or The Mayfields.

“Bubble Bus” also appeared two years ago, 2014, on the “Ten Little Records: The Woosh Collection” that Jigsaw Records put out that included most of the Woosh flexis.

Time to leave Discogs and 45cat. Time to dig online for more information. I reach the Cud website. The Sunflowers are mentioned on their gig diary, for October 6th 1992:
Newcastle University.Pals, the Sunflowers turn up to quaff all our rider. The gig’s a sell-out but we’re put in the smaller hall with a precarious stage where we fear the lights may topple onto Steve. The Dunphy clan turn up and we put on our best show so far.

Perhaps the best find on the web is this one, live footage of The Sunflowers. Here I could find them performing “Closer” at Newcastle’s The Broken Doll sometime in 1990. From this video’s small description we know The Sunflowers played high-profile supports with acts like That Petrol Emotion, Pale Saints and Slowdive. This is truly amazing! Wish I had been there! The music soars!

I read the video comments, maybe someone remembers anything about them. Someone named Mark Wilson says that the band fell out with their bassist and they never got over it. Was that the reason the band split?

From the Feral interview I did many months ago, there is a Sunflowers mention from Arlo:
Not long after the Feral single we became a 3 piece briefly. We then recruited Ian Nagel from The Acrylic Tones on guitar. He was a real 60s aficionado and Feral took on a more psych / jangly sound for a year or so. We then disbanded for a few weeks, Ian continued with the Acrylic Tones, and we recruited Paul Schofield from The Sunflowers on vocals and renamed the band Camp Freddie. Camp Freddie was a good little band. We holed-up in a barn in Felix’s auntie’s house near Morpeth in Northumberland.

This is the first name associated to The Sunflowers I can find, Paul Schofield!

Another mention of The Sunflowers on the blog comes from The Lavender Faction interview. When I ask about Stephen from Woosh, I’m told:
I think he said he was living with his partner, the girl from out of the Sunflowers and they have a child or children, and he works as a full time guitar tech, touring, ect, with major acts although I know he used to roady for My Bloody Valentine. I don’t know if he toured with them when they recently reformed.

I couldn’t find more information about the band.

It seems that during the last few weeks I’ve covered a lot of bands of the Newcastle area, I hope someone there remembers The Sunflowers, what happened with them? Why they never released an album? Why did they split? If they continued making music? If they were involved in any other bands? If they had more recordings?

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Listen
The Sunflowers – Closer

09
Feb

NYC under a snowstorm. Perhaps the best moment to write blog posts even though I have little to say. I already posted this week and it is not too often that I make two blog posts a week (excepting the times when I post an interview). But I feel like researching some more indiepop. Digging deeper. Finding new records to buy, new songs to listen, new bands to add to my pantheon.

Detective novels and long rides on the subway now that I work  in the Financial District. Days go fast. A week of vacations might open for me the first week of September. Might go back to London. Or to The Netherlands. Or Iceland? Those seem to be the best choices. Was doing a little research of what new to see around London, a city I’ve visited so many times. Shamefully I still haven’t been into the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey, so those I’d visit for sure. But then I noticed this place, Royston Cave, in Herfordshire, that I can reach on the train, and I think I would love to visit that place. And then I’d need to add at least a castle visit. I’ve always wanted to go to Bodiam castle, but seems complicated to reach. Warwick then? Anyways, I’m only dreaming at the moment. I might not even go!

I should instead focus on my Finland trip the last week of May. I already have the plane tickets. What would my route look like? It all depends. There’s a chance we end up renting a car. If that was the case there’s the intention of driving all the way north to Rovaniemi and then crossing to Sweden, to Luleå. That’d be something! The only other extra places we’d visit if we rent a car would be Vaasa and maybe Oulu. Without the car the plan is to definitely go to Helsinki (obviously), Turku (there’s a castle!), Hämeenlinna (another castle!), Tampere (for Moomin museum), Savonlinna (probably the nicest castle in Finland, at least from the photos), and then Rovaniemi to get inside the Arctic circle. We’d probably do this in a mix of buses and trains. We still can’t book either anyways, so probably by March we could have a better idea. Very excited.

At the end of the year, for holidays, it seems the plan is to head to Mexico, but this time to Yucatan and the Riviera Maya. Checking out mostly pre-columbian sites as well as beautiful beaches. Escape the winter and have great food (cochinita pibil, yum!).

What scares me a bit about all this traveling is that there is absolutely no indiepop involved in it. Maybe if I go to London that would change, maybe there’s a gig or two. Or at least I could meet with indiepop friends. But then, this just may not happen.

I should try to go to more of the small gigs within NYC, those that are really not indiepop gigs but a mixed bag of bands where 1 happens to play nice indiepop and the rest crap. Tough. Paying to see 4 bands but only caring for 1. Hate that. But that’s how it usually is. Promoters usually don’t care.

Anyways, turning the page… here are some bands that I’ve discovered lately (thanks to CD16) and I think you should check them out:

Toilettes: I heard “Observatorio” on the CD16 and thought, where does this beautiful lo-fi racket comes from? They hail from Barcelona and they are two girls, Joana Mallol and Julieta Caprara. They have a tape out (I don’t know if it is still available) on Discos Walden/Discos Populares and it includes 8 songs, all which you can stream on their Soundcloud. This is really, really great. Pop that reminds of flexi girl-fronted indiepop bands like The Felicitys, The Definite Article, or even Talulah Gosh!

Lillet Blanc: quite the surprise. Their song “Foul Play” is gorgeous, but more surprising is that they hail from NYC! Damn. So close and I had no clue. Joel all the way in Peru could find them first. This means I should try to go see them whenever they play. They have three songs out on Bandcamp and it seems these songs were also released on tape. They seem to be formed by Sean Camargo, Andre Bellido and Emily Rawlings. A three-piece. That’s always a good number. And they seem to have some connection to Latin America because of their last names, so that makes me even happier. My only problem, as you know I hate tapes, is that I’m really sad these songs, and also the Toilettes ones are available in that format. Bring back CDR!

I Saw You Yesterday: the song they included was “Girlfriend” and has a great shoegazy sound. I look for them on the web. Surprise, surprise, they are Japanese and on the Ano(t)racks net label. I’ve checked this label before and it’s bands. But somehow I must have missed them. They have for download the “Malibu EP”. 4 songs that you can also stream. The band is formed by Hidemasa Shimoda, Kai Murakami, Kazushige Suzuki and Reiji Shibata. Not sure where from Japan they are from. I wish this label, with so many great releases, would put out some stuff in physical format. CDR?

Memory Drawers: seems the CD16 was pretty international. Memory Drawers contribute the song “Maybe” and they hail from the Philippines. It has been a while since I listen some great pinoy pop! So this is pretty exciting. On their Soundcloud I could find two more songs, “…For Any of This” and “Hart (?)”. There’s not much info about them, but they do have a Facebook page where I hope I can find more stuff about them in the future. So far they have been featured in a filipino newspaper. Maybe they’ll be big someday?

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Honey trapping is the private investigative practice of evaluating the fidelity of partners in marital and nonmarital romantic relationships. Investigators are employed by wives, husbands, and other partners usually when an illicit romantic affair is suspected of the “target”, or subject of the investigation. Occasionally the term may be used for the practice of creating an affair for the purpose of taking incriminating photos for use in blackmail. A honey trap is primarily used to get evidence. In a typical honey trap a private investigator will approach the spouse of a client and attempt to flirt with them.

Honey Trap or Honeytrap. I’ve seen the name written in both ways. But I’m going to go with Honeytrap. One word. I own a flexi by them and it is fantastic. I’ve heard some other songs and they are pretty good as well. I notice I know nothing else about them. Time for detective work then.

“Honeytrap were formed in 1988. Basically what happened was that I was first starting to do gigs I called myself “Sonny Rancher” then as I drafted in more members we changed the name at the same time. The complete and final line up just before we broke up in 1990 was as follows:
Phil Walton – vocals, guitar
John Peel – guitar
Jon Haslam – keyboards
Dave Haytack – bass
Jon Dickson – guitar
Tony Stewart – drums

All songs were written by myself and Jon Haslam.
Phil Walton (January 2003)”

This is what it says on the booklet of the Sound of Leamington Spa Vol. 3 compilation where Honeytrap appeared contributing the song “Peace in a Picture”. There is a bit of a different story on Twee.net. That one says:
“All but John Peel and Tony Stewart worked at TRADECRAFT, a company that traded with third world countries and paid 1st world prices direct to producers, look it up . Whoosh fanzine started at around the same time, owner Steve Joyce also worked at Tradecraft. During a conversation regarding an imminent Whoosh Club which was due to be held upstairs in the Broken Doll public house featuring Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes, Phil Walton agreed to fill one of the support slots. Calling himself Sonny Ranchero, taking the name from a ditty he had recently penned he enlisted the services of John Peel. A small handful of gigs later and David Haytack joined, closely followed by Tony Stewart. At this point and still operating under the name of Sonny Ranchero, Phil Walton and Jon Haslam began discussing and exchanging song writing ideas. Jon joined the group which was promptly re-christened Honeytrap. One additional member was later added, John ‘Dicka’ Dickson (Guitar) before the band went their separate ways around 1991.”

From Twee.net we also know that Phil Walton and John Peel hailed from Washington, Tyne & Wear, David Haytack from Flint Hill near Consett, Tony Stewart from Gosforth, Newcastle and Jon Haslam from Jesmond, Newcastle.

Washington is a large town in the City of Sunderland local government district of Tyne and Wear, England, and part of historic County Durham. Washington is located geographically at an equal distance from the centres of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland, hence it has close ties to all three cities.

The band is listed on Twee.net as hailing from Washington in England. A lot of information already and I haven’t had to do much digging.

They only had one proper release, a flexi with two songs on the Sublime label (catalog Sublime One). There are no other releases on this label so it is kind of safe to think that it was a self-release. The two sogs on this fold-over paper picture sleeved record  were “The Boy Who Wouldn’t be Beaten” and “Make Me Happy”. The flexi also included a lyrics insert and a postcard. It was released in 1989. As far as I know it is not difficult to find this record,  I see some on Discogs. If you are missing it, please get it, it is GREAT. Two classic indiepop songs of jingle jangly quality!

That same year, in 1989, the band were to contribute the song “England” to the “Turquoise Days” compilation released by Red Roses For Me. A classic compilation packed with so many great bands from the period, from The Popguns to The Penny Candles to Fat Tulips and more!!

The other only compilation appearance I could find was that on the legendary “You Can’t Be Loved Forever 2” tape. On it they appear with the song “A Slender Grip”.

A little more digging and I could find Phil Walton’s Youtube channel. It hasn’t been updated in 3 years but he has uploaded 4 out of the 5 songs I’ve mentioned before (missing “A Slender Grip”) for you to stream and listen. The cool thing is that he has included lyrics for them!

I couldn’t find much more about them. I wonder why their flexi didn’t come out on Woosh, seemed like the obvious choice. I wonder if they have more recorded and unreleased songs. What happened to them after? Were they involved with other bands? Did anyone of you reading this remember anything about them? Did you go to any of their gigs? Would be great to know more about this obscure English band!

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Listen
Honeytrap – Make Me Happy

06
Feb

A bunch of news worth mentioning:

When Nalda Became Punk, our good friends from Spain, are promoting a new song: “Hanging Out with Imogen.” This song sounds great and is taken from their forthcoming new mini-LP to be released on March 10th on Shelflife Records and Discos de Kirlian.

There’s a compilation LP including three classic indiepop bands: The June Brides, Aberdeen and 14 Iced Bears. Each band contributes 4 songs on this “Three Wishes: Part Time Punks Sessions.” All the songs are live recordings from 2011, when the three bands recorded live sets for Los Angeles’ KXLU radio station.

Mid-march will also se the release of The Apple Moths’ “Fred Astaire EP” as a 12″ on Firestation Records. This was originally released decades ago (and you can read more about this classic band on an interview here in the blog) as a 7″ and this re-release will have extra tracks. Looking forward to it!

Next week Eggstone, the fantastic band from Malmö who were around mainly in the 90s, will play Hamburg. I’m so very jealous of this event. So if you are in that beautiful city, a city that I love, don’t miss out this 11th at 8pm at Nochtwache the comeback of “Swedish indie pop godfathers.”

And the last interesting news comes from Elefant who are reissuing the “Teenager” and “Keep it Clean” CD-singles as 7″s.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve seen on social media this past week. I’m trying to keep tabs. I’m probably forgetting stuff. As always if you have any suggestions please let me know through the comment section.

On my end there is little news as well. It is time for waiting for the pressing plants. It takes time, two months usually. So this February is just a month of waiting. March might bring surprises. In the meantime I have started planning which should be the next band to be featured in the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series. I’ve already contacted a band that I really like and they seem interested. I hope it works out. If you have any suggestion for that too, please let me know. I’m very happy and pleased with this collection of classic recordings.

There was something else this week, something that left me with a bitter taste to be honest. I don’t want to go into it in detail, but what would you do if a much bigger label that has been unhelpful and uncaring in the past asks for help in tracking some bands?

And now onto re-discovering some obscure band from the 80s. That’s my favourite exercise.

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Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodylinae, all of whose members are considered true crocodiles, is classified as a biological subfamily. A broader sense of the term crocodile, Crocodylidae that includes Tomistoma, is not used in this article. The term crocodile here applies only to the species within the subfamily of Crocodylinae. The term is sometimes used even more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia, which includes Tomistoma, the alligators and caimans (family Alligatoridae), the gharials (family Gavialidae), and all other living and fossil Crocodylomorpha.

A ride on a crocodile. A Crocodile Ride. I wonder about their name. Maybe it has some more meaning. Discogs immediately gives me the lineup:
Marc Johnson – vocals/guitar
Chris Gates – bass
Matthew Owen – guitar
Stuart Allcock – drums

Then we see three records listed. Let’s start with the first one, released in 1987 on the Surfacer label, the “Ride” 7″ (catalog Surfacer 001). I start to feel this is a self-release. From what I see there was no proper sleeve for this record. Just a plain what sleeve, stamped with the name “Crocodile Ride” on red, and written with black marker the song belonging to each side. On the 7″ label I see a sticker for “Playroom Discs”. Maybe they were distributing this 7″? If you remember Playroom Discs was a label based in Brighton, that was run by Gordon Kaye and released some great records like Whirl, The Morrisons or The Grooveyard.

There is an insert including in this record it seems. There’s a scan on Discogs. It says that the release date for this record was on the 3rd October of 87. That they have already a hundred advanced orders based on their reputation as a live band in Brighton. That the lineup was completed three months before and that the core of the band was established in June 1987. During that time they had written over forty songs and that they have built their own rehearsal studios. Also it mentions that they won the Brigthon “Battle of the Bands” on their debut gig. They won five hundred pounds. With that they have financed this first single.

The songs on this first single were “Ride” and “Kiss and Tell.”

In spring of 1989 they were going to be part of a split flexi with Whirl. While Whirl was to cover “Bizarre Love Triangle”, Crocodile Ride was to contribute a song of their own, “Shimmer”. This flexi came out on The Sound of Spasm label (catalog 2). I couldn’t find what was the first reference on this label or any other information for this release. Maybe it came along some fanzine?

There last release was a split 7″, also in 1989. This time they were to share it with yet another Brighton band, 14 Iced Bears. In this record each band contributed 2 songs each. The A side was for 14 Iced Bears and they included “Falling Backwards” and “World I Love (Speed Mix)”. The B side, for Crocodile Ride, had “Ex-Hipster” and “Satellite”. This was released by the same Surfacer label as their first release (Surfacer 002) and there were only 1000 copies.

They participated in some compilations too. In 1988 they were to appear on the legendary “Hoopla” compilation that La-Di-Da (also from Brighton) released. For this one they contributed the song “Killers”. So when in 2000 this compilation was re-released on vinyl by Accident Records, Crocodile Ride was to appear again with the same song.

They included their first single, “Ride” , on an 1989 tape called “The Unknown Seven” that was released by Rain Tapes (catalog R12). The only other band I’m familiar on this compilation is Big Red Bus. It seems that Rain Tapes was according to Discogs a long running underground cassette label and distribution in the late 1980’s, run by Julian Smythe of Ruthin. Released a series of compilations called The Unknown, which ran at least up to Unknown 14 in Jan92. Also did a series of International compilations in early 90s.

Their last compilation appearance that is listed is that of the classic compilation “Alvin Lives (In Leeds)”. This was a charity release in aid of the Anti-Poll Tax Campaign. Crocodile Ride was to cover Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”!

Let’s keep looking for more info about Crocodile Ride. My last stop is Matt Owen’s Soundcloud. What a find!

There is a set of Crocodile Ride recordings, many not included in the records. We find songs like “Dance With Me” or “Treasure” that weren’t released as far as I know. There is also for you to stream “Helen” (which is “Shimmer” really), “Ex-Hipster”, “I Feel Love”, “Killers 1” and “Killers 2”. All songs were uploaded 4 years ago. So I’m not sure if we can get in touch with Matt through there. Maybe I should try.

Where were these other songs from? I really love “Shimmer”, sounds like timeless indiepop, should have been a classic!! I wonder how many more songs they recorded. They did say they had written over 40 songs by the time of their first single!  Would be interesting to find out.

I know many Brighton friends read the blog, maybe you remember them? Saw them play? Would love to know more about them. What happened to them after they split? From Soundcloud at least it seems Matt Owen continued making music, solo and also with bands called Fuck You Planet Earth, The Rock and Roll Wall of Death, Law and The Malchicks.

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Listen
Crocodile Ride – Shimmer