31
Aug

Thanks so much again to Andrea Croft for this interview! I wrote about Catherine Wheel many many years ago on the blog, I think it was one of the first bands I featured. Then I got in touch with Andrea and we did an interview about her previous band, The Honeys, which no one should miss. Now it is time to talk about Catherine Wheel, a brilliant Sydney band that released 2 7″s and one CD EP in the 90s. Try to track these releases down, they are fantastic!

++ Thanks again Andrea for being up to answer a bunch of my questions, this time about Catherine Wheel! I must say I know much less about Catherine Wheel than The Honeys even though I do have the three releases. I do know that the band started after The Honeys split. But how did the band start as such? You already knew Grant from The Honeys of course, but what about Brett and Biff? Had they been in other bands?

Grant and Brett were both members of the Honeys and Biff came on board as lead guitarist. Biff had played before yes, not sure which bands though..

++ Was there a different sort of music direction in Catherine Wheel compared to The Honeys? Or would you say it was more of a continuation of the sound of The Honeys?

It was more pop based than the country rock sound of the Honeys. Bruce’s songwriting style gave the Honeys its country flavour.

++ And you were still in Sydney, right? Still living at the house in Chippendale? Where did you rehearse?

We were still in Sydney, yes. We’d moved on to different homes by then and mainly rehearsed in a rehearsal studio. Too loud for lounge rooms!

++ Was the creative process similar to the one in The Honeys or not?

A bit different in as much as Grant and I would present songs that were pretty complete, lyrically and melodically. Of course suggestions and tweaks were made during rehearsals and we’d all flesh out the song until it became something we all liked.

++ What’s the story behind the name of the band? And were you aware of the UK band with the same name?

We just came up with it among other suggestions and only learned of the UK band after our first release from memory. Didn’t really affect us in Australia but would of course have limited UK releases of our songs.

++ Your first release was the “Blue Avenue” 7″ and it was released by Big Wheel Records. Who were Big Wheel Records? Was it your own label perhaps?

Wow, testing my memory now…I think they may have been affiliated with the publishing company Grant was signed to at the time. Don’t quote me on that though and interestingly, there’s a label of the same name these days that seem to specialise in Hip Hop so there you go! Thanks google.

++ Something that surprised me was that “Blue Avenue” had a saxophone in it. How was the recording process for this single? Any anecdotes you could share?

Yep, I dabbled in a bit of saxophone for awhile there. Not the most complex sax line but something different. The only anecdote I can share which is more of a suggestion…Don’t ever try to play the saxophone or harmonica for that matter after it’s been sitting in full sun at a lunch time Uni gig. Unless of course, the sound you’re going for is a strangled goose. In mating season…not a comforting sound.

++ I love the song “Last Explanation” and was wondering if you could tell me the story behind it?

Glad you like it. I wrote that one on a road trip, bumping along on a gravel road in the back of the panel van. I had been listening to Falling Joys on my Sony Walkman (remember those? Back in the Stone Age!) and felt inspired to write it. It may or may not have been about someone I knew, ok it was!

++ And where was the back cover photo of the band taken?

Tony Mott took that pic, again testing my memory but I’m pretty sure that one was taken outside a Church as the door was cool.

++ Speaking of photos, I always wondered who is the kid on the front cover of your second single “Almost Blind”?

Well I had a bit of a thing for op shops, charity stores and I still do. I found a bunch of old photos at one of these shops one day and a few featured on the inside sleeve of the Honeys Goddess album. I thought it a bit sad and unkind that these images of people were discarded like that and I was drawn to buy them as they were so old and black and white. Very stark images therefore.  I wondered who these people were. The cover of Almost Blind may have been one of those photos.

++ On this single you there are thank yous on the back, to Look at Her, Falling Joys, Wedding Parties Anything, Joe Breen at Sound Level Drums and the men from Waterfront. I know you had a good relationship with The Falling Joys, another fantastic band, and I suppose you got some help from the Waterfront label for this release? But who were the other people? bands?

Weddings Parties Anything were a band we played with heaps. Lovely lads and a great live band.
Joe Breen assisted in production I think.

++ Something that struck me as well is that the songs are credited to you and also to Warner Chappell. How did that happen?

Well Grant was signed to that publishing company for a while there so they are credited as such. 

++ “Self-Portraits” was your last release, a 5 song CD EP. From what I gather it was released in 1992. I thought you split in 1991. Am I right with the dates? And it was released by Shock, quite an important label in Australia. How did that happen?

Don’t ask me, time lines aren’t my forte! Sorry, been a long time since. Some of our mates in other bands were affiliated with Shock so we went with them too.

++ On this CD EP there were some changes in the band, Matt Handley replaced Biff Smith. How did you recruit Matt? Had he been in other bands?

Let me begin by saying that both Biff and Matt were and are extraordinary guitarists. Terrific vocalists too. Matt was already very gifted on the guitar so he had had some experience, yes.

++ This EP has a fab song, “Reach”. I wonder what inspired you to write this song?

Well thank you, as a non prolific song writer, this one came to me in a rush. Chords, lyrics, the lot. I never really worked hard at songwriting and good songwriters will tell you it is work. And discipline. Something I lack, but with this song, I got lucky and had that inspiration from nowhere and there it was. To be honest, it was mostly about me and challenging myself to ‘Reach’. I loved singing it live, it’s different when you sing songs you’ve penned yourself. Like you’re sharing something personal. It’s nice.

++ There were only two songs as far as I know where Grant sings, “Blackest World” and “Blue Avenue”. Why did he sing so little?

think Grant would agree when I say he was happy playing and singing harmonies and the odd song…personally though, I loved it when I could take a breather and watch him sing. He’s so energetic onstage and Blackest World was always a big hit live. People would yell it out after our set as a desired encore. It’s such a great song and he writes amazingly well constructed melodies. Gone Away is one such song, it’s just perfect!

++ How come there were no more releases, no album?

We just broke up, it was a great thing for a while, then it wasn’t. That’s bands for you..

++ Are there any unreleased songs? Any other recordings? Perhaps demo tapes?

Not that I’m aware of. Perhaps Grant has some bootlegs hidden away?

++ And how were gigs for Catherine Wheel? Did you play many? Someone commented on my blog about a gig at Lansdowne Hotel. Do you remember it?

The gigs were so much fun. We played quite a lot actually. We were lucky enough to score a few tours including a Hoodoo Gurus one and a Crowded House tour in Queensland. The Hoodoos guys were lovely and the boys from Crowded House? Well, we didn’t get to meet them but still, a great opportunity to play in front of a big crowd. The Landsdowne, ahhh I loved that venue. Both Catherine Wheel and Honeys played there several times. It’s probably a car park now, bring back the smelly, beer soaked carpet pubs!

++ Did Catherine Wheel get more or less attention from the music press and radio compared to The Honeys?

I think a bit more music press and about the same support from radio. Radio supported and played new bands back then, harder now to be selected on a playlist.

++ How come there were no promo videos of Catherine Wheel songs?

It wasn’t something that was a focus for us at the time. Playing was and that’s what we did.

++ When and why did the band split?

When? A lonnnng time ago. Why? Oh y’know, that old line…artistic differences. Sorry, a fuzzy time understandably.

++ Have there ever been a reunion gig? Or have you ever considered it?

Never has been, and I never say never! Would be cool.

++ When it comes to Catherine Wheel, what were your highlights being part of the band?

Playing guitar was fun, I could’ve done it in the Honeys more but we had it covered so playing an instrument was fun. Also, the Almost Blind single. I was really proud of that. I thought then and still do that it’s a great pop song. Touring in big vans with boys I loved, that was a highlight. Laughing and listening to dodgy mixed tapes, yes tapes were still a thing wayyyy back then in the Pliocene. Driving to the next gig and singing along to very dodgy music, that stuff is what I think of when I’m asked about highlights. Happy faces in a crowd singing along, that’s a highlight for sure.

++ And if you were to choose your favourite Catherine Wheel song, which one would it be and why?

I’d choose Reach simply because I wrote it and I was going through some growing up stuff at the time. Close second, and I mean super close is Almost Blind because it’s chorus is killer. Try not to sing along! I dare ya!

++ One last question, you told me that Perth has a very limited music scene these days, and that’s a shame. But I would love to visit one day still, wonder what would you suggest one should check out in your city? What are the sights not to be missed? Or any traditional food from town?

There are some good venues still Roque, the Rosemount Hotel hosts many live bands and is really supportive of local music. Little Creatures pub in Fremantle have a few bands on as does several other venues in Fremantle. Northbridge is an inner city suburb in Perth and some live music pops up there too. Food wise? I have several suggestions that I shall PM you when you’re in town. 😊

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Listen
Catherine Wheel – Last Explanation

30
Aug

I was told not to slow down with the blog posts. Well, it was just one vote against none. I do think that a good thing about posting more often is that more often I’ll get in touch with the bands I want to hear their stories. That is perhaps my main drive for running the blog. Mind you, it’s been almost 9 years!

But at the same time, I think giving new bands the spotlight, featuring the better ones I find on my forays on the world wide web is as important. So here are some of my latest findings:

Following the announcement that The Marteens will be releasing a retrospective with Firestation Records, now Twelve Angry Men, a band that I have interviewed on the blog and who I got in touch with the German label, announce the same thing, this time with a release date, October 21st. It is coming out on CD. And I look forward to it a lot!

The Raft, the band from Neston, UK, that I reviewed some time ago have a new digital EP out on Bandcamp.  The band formed by Phil Wilson and JPedro have three new and sweet dreampop tunes as part of the “A Lullaby EP“. The songs are “I’m So High”, “No She’s Alone” and “A Lullaby/Nobody’s Daughter”. Which is my favourite? Perhaps the jangly “No She’s Alone”.

Last week I was recommending the Norwegian band The Age of Colored Lizards. A week after they release another digital EP. Bands are not slowing down either. The “Summer Rain EP” is available to stream from the band’s Bandcamp and it has four shoegazy songs, “See You”, “Wake Up”, “Hold Your Hand” and “Summer Rain”.

La Otra Cara de la Nada is an Argentinean band from Posada, Misiones Province. That’s an area sandwiched between Paraguay and Brazil, not the usual area to find guitar pop. I have just discovered them through the Facebook page Latin American Twee. I first check the band’s Facebook page and I find out they are formed by 5 guys, Germán, Ignacio, Ariel, Nicolas and Bruno. I find it funny that they name el Coco Basile, an old Argentinean coach, as an artist they like. With the voice of el Coco, I wonder what sort of band that’d be! On Bandcamp the band has a 9 song album titled “Sobre Permios y Tormentas” There are some songs though on the second half of the album that are downbeat which I’m not a fan of, but the first half is pretty good! That half sounds summery even in the instrumentals like “Alegoría”. And you know, I’m not a fan of instrumentals.

Another band Latin American Twee has recommended in the last few days is La Llamada de Héctor. I don’t know much about this band, I know they come from Chile, and their songs are a jangle explosion! When I listen to their latest song, “Mañanitas” I know this is upbeat and fun, think of The Chesterf!elds maybe, in Spanish. The vocals take some time to get used to, but in general, I’d say this sounds very promising! There are more songs in their Youtube channel.

Continuing with the Latin American invasion it is time to check the band Sway from Costa Rica. The band only has one song on Bandcamp and its name is “Medio”. As soon as I hit play I acknowledge the guitars and the effects. I like them. But why just one song? I want more. The band is formed by Allan on bass, Cordero on drums, José on guitars and Kevyn on guitars and vocals. Sure there are no more songs, but one has to cheer that there seems to be a growing guitar pop scene in the Central American country. On the Bandcamp I notice that the band will play Glasgow in September. That is big news too!

And lastly, time to check out the last release by the Lima, Peru, band Suerte Campeón. The band has just released the “Este es el Comienzo de Todo lo que No Quieres EP” on the label La Flor from Peru too. I’m not sure in what format the record is available. I only know you can stream it all on Bandcamp and Youtube. Definitely it isn’t the most convenient way to listen to it. But that’s how it is. The EP has 7 songs, “Andrés”, “Días Más Cortos, Noches Más Largas”, “Asmáticos que Fuman”, “Elena”, “Lluvia de Verano”, “Problemas Emocinales” and “Vacaciones de Verano del 2004”. This jingle jangly band is formed by Santino Amigo on vocals and guitar, Santiago Aragón on bass, Bruno Bardo on vocals and keyboard, Andrés Gutiérrez on drums and Angel Mejía on guitars. I had reviewed one song by the band before on the blog I think, and I don’t think I was that impressed then. Or maybe my mind is playing me tricks In any case I think this EP is much much better. Looking forward to see what they do next, and hopefully the EP gets a physical release.

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One more stop in this indiepop world tour. Now a country whose bands I’ve featured more and more this year, Ireland. And yet again, my main source of information is the most important blog The Fanning Sessions Archive.

On the blog there are a few details about the band, perhaps the only details I am going to find on the web. I’m thankful for that. The band was formed in 1987, in Dublin, by Anto Healy on drums, Brian King on bass and Pat O’Sullivan on vocals and guitar. So She Said were formed from the ashes of The Delegates.

The post on The Fanning Session Archive has 3 songs available for streaming, “So Happy”, “Let Me Out” and “At Home in June”. The first two appeared on the compilation “Swimming Out of the Pool” that was released in 1988 by Danceline Records (DLP 1001). I had mentioned this compilation before, when I wrote about another Irish band, The Outpatients. Then I asked if anyone had a spare copy,  I must say I’m still looking for this record.

The third song, “At Home in June”, won Hot Press/Murphy’s song of the month in 1989. The band split right after. I wonder though if this song was released in any way? Even if it was as a demo tape? And if there were more recordings done when they recorded this song. There must have been more songs by this band. I’m sure of it.

I couldn’t find any other information about the band. Nor I could find anything about The Delegates. I decide to just look for the band members, see if I could find any other music they must have made.

I look first for Anto Healy. I don’t know how common the name might be. I suppose it is the less common of the band members. I first find a Soundcloud for a band called Cabin. Was this the same Anto? The music is quite eclectic and the last song was uploaded four years ago.

Looking for Brian King was quite difficult, there is a famous Irish sculptor by the same name. So that was a dead end.

With Pat O’Sullivan it wasn’t easy either, finding several people with the same name in Limerich, Dublin, Galway and of course, Dublin. Dead ends.

It has been a while since I decide to track down a band and I find so little information. The songs sound great though and that only adds to my interest and curiosity. Whatever happened to them? Why didn’t they get a proper release? I would love to get in touch with them and ask them a few questions!

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Listen
So She Said – So Happy

28
Aug

Saw Ed Shelflife the other day and went to have Indian food, talked about this and that, future projects, indiepop, and footie. It was a good time. It seems he has a busy schedule up ahead, and now I know that he secretly updates his catalogue page without making any announcements. That’s the best way perhaps to know what he is planning to release on his label.

Sadly I’m still stuck with this moving process and I’m not moving until the end of September. This situation has made me postpone the release of the My Light Shines for You 7″ and other projects. This is a complicated situation for the label in a way as I can’t move forward at the moment. Of course, after the move things will run smoother, but right now I feel a bit caged, not being able to work on our next releases. Hope you understand the delay, I’m very sorry about it! I think the release date for the 7″ will be pushed until December.

I have never heard Seal Pillow before, and was quite unsure what to expect. I noticed that their song/video “Fanclub” was posted on the Twee Lovers Club Facebook page and decided to give it a listen. The video is lovely really, made me feel young again, made me nostalgic. The song is very nice too, very 90s indiepop, you know when there was influence of softer styles like bossanova? I know very very little about the band, I know they are from Bangkok (why wasn’t I aware of them when I visited last year?) and that they started as a band in 2012. The band is formed by Aaron on guitar, Pakorn on bass, Chalerm on vocals, Araya on drums and Mumza on guitar. I’m not sure if they have any proper releases, but they do have a Soundcloud page full of good songs!

My friend Jennifer was surprised that I was writing more after changing jobs, the thing is, I don’t have many distractions here. Everytime I have a little break from any project I’m working, I write a paragraph or two. And so these posts are built over days. I find a new band on Bandcamp and I write immediately about them. That way I don’t forget about it. And then it becomes a bit of a cut and paste adventure, some paragraphs I write for a post end up on another post and so on. It is the same case when it comes to the obscure band part of the post, I find a website or any important detail, then I write about it. Then I close the post and get to work. I hope that by doing this I’m not losing the flow of the posts, the thread! You let me know. Also would be good to know if you feel I’m writing too much and I should slow the pace!

Another Bandcamp discovery has been Huntington Beach, California, band Black Sea. The band seems to be a one-man project run by Cole Devine. The past August 1st Cole put out a digital album on Bandcamp titled “Dissapointing Sunset”. There are 11 dreampop songs in the album, and they are really good. The song “Apprehension Review” even has a video. This is not their first release, it seems back in 2014 there was the “Keep Smiling/Optimistic Sigh EP” tape on Burger Records.

Two bands I’ve been praising and following the past few weeks are Stars in Coma and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Both bands that at some point were part of Cloudberry. And that is a good thing of course! The last few weeks they’ve been sharing advances of their new albums and now finally they are available to listen to the in their entirety. “Escapist Partisans” by Stars in Coma is now streaming at their Bandcamp and it is also available as a cassette. On the other hand, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s album “The Echo of Pleasure” is now available to stream exclusively at NPR. Check it out, it is a very fine comeback!

On Thursday September 14th Native Records is throwing a release party for Raintree County‘s 3CD retrospective album “Sweet Everything”. I’m not sure if this is the release date, but I’m assuming copies will be available. The Native Records website has no information about this release, but I hope the important details become available to those not living in the UK. You know I want a copy!

I’ve recommended the Moscow band Verbludes before. They are fantastic, and if only they didn’t release their records on tape I would have made the impossible to get their releases. I do understand though that many of you like tapes, so I will tell you that the band is releasing a limited edition cassette of a live gig on the label Pow! Pop Kids. The gig was played in a venue called Dig in 2016. There are 20 copies available, so act fast! Only one of the songs is available to preview on the Bandcamp.

I remember Loons released an album on Elefant in 1997. That was 20 year ago. In 2001 they released an album on Galaxy Train titled “Dim Movies”. Up until now I hadn’t heard it. The label has this album now streaming on Bandcamp and you can also order a copy of the CD album. It is up my street, I wonder why I missed it. The label likes them to Holiday Flyer, Watoo Watoo and La Buena Vida. I feel Loons is more fragile than them, but having the same sweetness in their sound. Nowadays the band members of the Parisian band are playing music on Flowers from the Man Who Shot Your Cousin and Cowbird.

And that’s it for today. More coming soon!

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Continuing the indiepop world tour, it is time now to head back to Europe, to Denmark in particular. There’s been some good Danish indiepop bands in the last decade like Northern Portrait and Champagne Riot, and aside from the immense Gangway, most indiepop fans are not familiar with Danish indiepop. Time then to rediscover a band that has been forgotten, Embellish.

Embellish: make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features.

I know very little about Embellish. I do own their one and only album, “Wake Up”, released in 2000 by March Records in the US (catalog MAR057). That CD has 10 songs, “Water Lung”, “Super Cool Girl”, “You”, “Drug Dealer”, “Sunshine”, “Wake Me Up!!!”, “I Don’t Know”, “Ambivalence”, “One” and “Sea Monster”. The first song, “Water Lung”, being my favourite of the album.

The CD includes credits. And that is always a good thing. From it we know that the band was:
Claus Hansen on vocals and guitar
Tora Thisen on backing vocals
Julie Wellejus on backing vocals
Anders Hansen on drums
Martin Sorensen on bass
Jens Pape on guitars

Were Claus and Anders brothers? Other people credited in this release were Thomas Jensen for additional guitars, Mikkel Christiansen for percussion, Fran Ashcroft for producing and mixing the album and Tue Madsen for engineering the album. The album was recorded at Borsing Recording in Århus and mastered at Birdland.

When it comes to compilations the band appeared in a few. In 1995 they contributed the song “Trigger Happy” to the CD compilation “DM I Rock ’95” released by the Start label. This song doesn’t appear on the album, so I’m quite curious about how they sounded at this time. Were they poppier? Punkier? Rockier? Did the band have the same members? I look at the rest of the bands on this CD and I really don’t know any, they must be Danish as well. The label was. The label Start was based in Århus and was founded by A&R producer and manager Poul Martin Bonde. The label was later bought by Sony.

In 1997 the band appears on a promotional CD compilation titled “Starsearch 4”. They have the song “Wake Me Up!!!” in it. The label that put out this CD, Fajabefa, seems to have released a series of compilations under the name Starsearch, at least up to volume 9.

In 1999 they start a relationship with March Records. On the classic compilation “Moshi Moshi: Pop International Style” (MAR 050) they appear with the song “I Don’t Know”. This record was released as 3 LPs or 2 CDs. It is highly recommendable, there are songs by bands from all over the world. You will find songs by The Pearlfishers, B’ehl, The Secret Goldfish, The Leslies and a lot more!

The next year, 2000, the band has the song “You” on the March Records compilation “Little Molly Has a Treat For You” (SLICK 001). This was another fantastic compilation, with songs by Vacaciones, Barcelona, Waltz for Debbie, Club 8, etc.

Now time to leave Discos and dive into the unknown. It wasn’t going to be difficult to start getting hits, finding some pages on the web about Embellish.There are many reviews of the album. This is the case with many bands from that period, from the late 90s, early 2000s. Nowadays that is hard to find, websites or webzines dedicated to reviewing albums, back then it was common. On the other hand getting in touch with bands was a bit more difficult, there was no Facebook, no Bandcamp or Myspace. No way to share your music easily. I guess there are pros and cons then and now. Though of course, back then people were buying more records.

My first stop seems to have been a Geocities page called Pop Palace. There the writer, Mike Bennett, compares the band to The Beautiful South and The Dentists. But not many meaty details. Then I stop at another review dating from 2001 on the website Drawer B. Eric G., the reviewer, really likes the band, he again compares them to The Beautiful South. I try to find any details about the band, like if they had been in any other bands or not, but there’s nothing. Just a lot of adjectives, crystalline, funny, melodramatic and more. I’m trying to find out whatever happened to the band.

On Popmatters there is harsh review by Geoff Stahl. He doesn’t like the band at all. He says it was the least appealing record he heard in 2000. Then, on another review, Ned Raggett on Allmusic.com compares them to The Field Mice or early Cardigans. Lastly I found another review on the web-zine Furia. Here the reviewer is right on saying that the band sounds more Swedish than Danish. That might be true if you think of bands like The Leslies or even Eggstone. Here at last I found some interesting detail.

That detail was important. The album “Wake Up wasn’t actually new in 2000. It had already been released in 1998 in the UK by the label Sunflower. It came out under a different title, “Long Live the Bald People” (BELLYCD 001) and even had different artwork. It has the same tracklisting.

The band played the SPOT 02 festival that was held, I believe, in Århus in January 18 to the 20th of 1996. It seems the people from Fajabefa, that label that had them on a compilation, was one of the organizers. How do I know this? I found an ISSUU document where Embellish is mentioned as part of the lineup. Here there’s an address for the band and it seems they were based in Hobro.

Hobro is an old market and railway town in Region Nordjylland on the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. It has a population of 11,736. The town is situated in a hilly terrain at the head of Mariager Fjord, close to the former Viking fortress of Fyrkat. It is the seat of Mariagerfjord municipality.

Looking for the band members I find an article where Anders Hansen is mentioned. It is from the Nordjyske newspaper and it dates from February 24, 2003. It seems the municipality of Hobro had built a rehearsal studio for bands to practice. The municipality was to pay the rent of the house while the group Crescendo, who Anders is part of, will take care of the daily operations. I wonder how this project did, if it still works today. Also according to Discogs Anders had been involved in some more music. He was involved with The Marsmen, Small Talk, The Collins, Bent Fabric, Bonnie, and more.

I couldn’t find any other information about the band members. Nor about Embellish. It is strange, the band only released one album and that was it. No singles. Then they disappeared. It doesn’t seem like most of the band continued making music. I wonder why. Most of the reviews I found were favourable. What happened with them? Anyone out there remember them?

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Listen
Embellish – Water Lung

24
Aug

Finally Chickfactor announced the dates for the New York shows of their 25th Anniversary. Some days ago they announced the Portland dates (Dec. 9 and 10th) but I didn’t cover them because to be honest I wasn’t that keen on the lineup. Sure, I like Rocketship and Rose Melberg a lot, but I’ve seen them before so not that special for me, and anyhow I wasn’t going to fly to Portland. And when it comes to New York I must say I am not that impressed by the lineup again. I think the previous Chickfactor events set the bar way too high and so this is not criticism, topping that was going to be impossible! The good thing though is that the show on November 2nd at Union Pool will have the fantastic 90s band Honeybunch!! The rest of the lineup makes me a bit lazy to go, I don’t think I’ll make it to the 2nd night, but I’ll definitely make an effort to check Honeybunch. See you there?

For me the most exciting thing I saw this week was The Hummingbirds special on Rage on the ABC TV channel of Australia. The Hummingbirds wrote a little about this special on their Facebook and I think it is the best way to introduce you to the video that is now on Youtube. I really would love to interview The Hummingbirds at some point…
Before JJ going national and before the internet there was (and still is) Rage on the ABC. Rage had nationwide exposure and Rage would play, amongst the international hits, small indie bands from anywhere… if their music was half decent. Seeing bands at the local pub and then again on Rage when you got home was kinda cool. Our indie/phantom singles were self funded and our friends helped us shoot and edit the videos – for nothing more than the cost of the film (if that?). Big thanks to Susie Dene, Paul Clarke and ‘crew’ for making those happen. Whilst at rooArt we had a chequered history of making some good and some tragic videos. We can only laugh (sometimes with resignation) at some of the choices we made or were cajoled into accepting by those who simply did not get it. Anyways it looks like a bunch of these will again be on Rage. Once more unto the breach my friends…
Check the special HERE.

It is no secret that I love any project Patrik Lindgren has been involved with. I’m a big fan. And I miss him making music. Kalligrammofon Recordings is a label from Malmö and they’ve just put out a new Ring Snuten EP on Bandcamp. I don’t think this is available in any other format (shame!) but at least you can stream four songs for free, “Ett Vykort Från 2004”, “Dumsnäll Säl”, “Planlös bilfärd på Öland” and “Ta Det Lugnt”.  . They were performed by Patrik, Douglas Holmquist, Petter Samuelsson, Mathias Engwall and Rickard Haberling and were recorded at Sonores Studios. I hope more Ring Snuten songs become available in one way or another.

If you like The Darling Buds or The Primitives, then you will definitely love Seafang’s new single “Solid Gold” The band from St. Petersburg in Florida have just unveiled the promo video for this song and it is a classic slice of indiepop! This song and its B side “Stardust” have been released as a 7″ by the label Emotional Response.

A very sweet discovery has been Party Jacket from Winthrop Harbor in Illinois, the solo project of Joshua Grimes. There’s only one song on their Bandcamp, “Company”, but it is terribly good that you cannot ignore it. On the small blurb it mentions that this song will be the first single from the forthcoming album “Weekend Exotic” that is set for release sometime this summer.

If  on my last post I was featuring an old Norwegian band now I stumbled upon a contemporary band named The Age of Colored Lizards. I’m curious about them being European using the American way to spell colored. But that is not that important I guess. The band hails from Oslo and I see they’ve been putting out their brand of shoegaze/dreampop since 2016. Their latest song is titled “Nothing to Say” and it is a pretty pretty pop song. It doesn’t seem like the trio has released any proper physical records though, all of them are available to stream on Bandcamp.

Peruvian band Verano del 83 have already been recommended on the blog. This time around though they have bigger news, an 8-song EP is to be released on Mexican label Emma’s House Records. The EP has the title of their most known song, “Llévame a Casa”, and it will be released physically sometime soon on CD in a limited run of 25 copies. At the moment all songs are available to stream on the band’s Bandcamp and they are a very nice surprise.

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So it seems a lot of people are enjoying this little adventure/project of going through bands from the most prominent countries in the world of indiepop. In the last few weeks, and not counting the interviews, I’ve featured music from forgotten bands from England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Japan, Greece and Norway. Now it is time to head back to Asia, time to feature the first Filipino band on the blog. It was about time too.

My knowledge of Pinoy pop revolves mainly around the bands the brothers Ryan and Dale Marquez have been involved with. Of course they are not all, there are plenty of great bands that hail from that south-east Asian country, think of Fantasy Lights (who had a 3″CD on Cloudberry) or Balloon Farm. Or what about the most brilliant Moscow Olympics? Yeah, there are a bunch of good ones. There’s plenty to write about. But I decided to investigate a band I’m not familiar with at. Before this post, I must admit, my only knowledge of Daydream Cycle was through the song “Lousy Judge of Character” that appeared in a Shelflife Records compilation back in 2oo3. And that was a cover version.

The compilation “You’re Still Young at Heart” (LIFE 050) is definitely a classic indiepop compilation, one which the bands appearing paid tribute to the Shelflife bands by performing and interpreting songs from its back catalogue. Well regarded and all. You could find in it bands like Free Loan Investments, Brideshead or California Snow Story. Important bands in my book. But it seems Ed Shelflife wanted to show how indiepop was a worldwide scene, and he included a bunch of Filipino bands in it. There was Carnival Park and Soft Pillow Kisses. And then of course was Daydream Cycle covering The Shermans.

From the small bio on Discogs I find out that the band formed in the year 2000 in Parañaque City and Las Piñas City.

Parañaque, officially the City of Parañaque, is one of the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila in the Philippines. It is bordered to the north by Pasay, to the northeast by Taguig, to the southeast by Muntinlupa, to the southwest by Las Piñas, and to the west by Manila Bay. There are several accounts as to how Parañaque got its name. One such story stated that long ago, at the mouth of what is now known as the Parañaque River, there stood a balete tree that, when viewed from afar, looked like a majestic ship. This earned it the name Palanyag, taken from the term “palayag”, which means “point of navigation”.

Las Piñas, is a city in the National Capital Region of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 588,894. Las Pinas was established as a small fishing port and became a major sea salt-producing municipality, through the use of salt evaporation ponds, dating back to the Spanish Era, the city has grown into an important residential, commercial and industrial suburb of Metro Manila. The story about the true origin of the city’s name, “Las Piñas”, varies. One version mentioned, that traders from the province of Cavite and Batangas shipped their first piñas (Spanish for pineapples) for sale to this town, before they were distributed to nearby markets.

Two towns next to each other then. It all sounds exotic to me at this point. But I will definitely visit the Philippines in my lifetime. I have to.

The band released two albums, Daydream Cycle in 2001 and Underwater Kite in 2005. The band was formed by Kathy Meneses on vocals, Andrew “Dok” Sergio on bass guitar, Jerome Velasco on guitar, Japs Sergio on guitar and Boga “Bogs” Jugo on beats. Were Andrew and Japs brothers or family?

On Discogs they only have their first album listed and it has the same name as the band, “DaydreamCycle”. Notice though that at this point it seems the band’s name had no space between the words Daydream and Cycle.

Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. There are many types of daydreams, and there is no consistent definition amongst psychologists, however the characteristic that is common to all forms of daydreaming meets the criteria for mild dissociation.

Cycle, a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order.

The album was recorded by Japs, Bogs and Kathy at their home, B.F. Homes, in Paranque in Metro Manila during the months of May 2000 and May 2001. A whole year. The album came out on the label Metronome Recordings which I assume was their own. The art direction for the album is credited to Andrew Sergio.

The CD has 12 songs, in this order, “My Luscious Star”, “Fabuloso”, “Slow Return”, High Five”, “More Than Okay”, “Dreamland”, “Indica”, “Basic”, “Sunday Surreal”, “Sundowner”, “In the Flow” and “Light it Up”.

I read on a blog that this CD is quite rare. That the band doesn’t even had copies of it. There seems there was some issue with the master copy of it. I wonder what happened. This blog mentions a rare reunion gig by the band in 2013, when they played at the launch of the vinyl record of Ang Nawawala OST at Heima Three Brixton, I believe a popular venue in Manila.

It has been hard to find information of their 2nd album, “Underwater Kite” on their own Metronome Recordings label. I found a blog where it has the tracklist though, hopefully it is correct: “Roses and Cadillacs”, “Over the Windshield”, “Midnight Eyes”, “Avenue”, “Sky Interchange”, “Daisy Tongues”, “Winters Gone”, “In the Corners of Mine”, “When the World Stops”, “Girl I Know”, “Our Mind Wanders”, “Nightowls”, “Otla Xas”, “Nothing With You”, “A Beautiful Morning”, “Luna”, “Lousy Judge of Character (Dcc version)”, “Daisy Tongues (SQUID9 remix)”, “Roses and Cadillacs (SQUID9 remix)”, “Lousy Judge of Character”.

On Youtube I was going to find promo videos for two of the songs on this album, “Roses and Cadillacs” and “Avenue“. There are also live recordings from venues like The Fort, Saguijo, Heima Brixton, Route 196. So we know the band was pretty active in the Filipino scene at the time. Then there’s a video for the song “Christmas is Here“. I wonder when or how was this one released? It feels more like a one-off.

My next stop is the blog Under Blue Skies from our friend Jun Eric. There is a post about Daydream Cycle there. There is some interesting information on this 2005 post, for example that the band played regularly at Buzznite, a monthly gig organized by Allan Montero of Soft Pillow Kisses. He even says that Shelflife had signed the band at this point. Is this true? Even Laura Watling from The Autocollants had praise for them.

I continue the search, and stumble upon the website Bakitwhy. There’s an interview with the band at the time of the reunion gig of 2013.

Time to look for the members. To my surprise I find a whole Wikipedia page for John Paul “Japs” Ricafranca Sergio. He had been involved with other bands like Rivermaya and Peso Movement. His brother, Dok Sergio doesn’t have a whole page but he has a little section on the band Pupil’s page. In it he is mentioned to have played for Purple Playground, God’s Era, Prominence of Cathedrals, The Teeth, Imago, and Pupil. Jerome Velasco on the other hand had been also on Pupil and The Teeth as well as The Mongols, Aspirin, The Slave Drum and Candyaudioline. Bogs Jugo, whose real name is Ricardo Nicholas Bañaga Jugo, also played in Pupil, The Mongols, Us-2 Evil-0 and She Hates Ballet.

My last stop is their Facebook page which hasn’t been updated since March of this year. It says that they actually recorded a 3rd album in 2008 but it seems it was never released. What happened to it? One of the songs on that album was titled “Pieces of You”. I wonder if they will finish it and release it some day. Would be great to hear it.

I couldn’t find much more information about Daydream Cycle. There were a few blogs in tagalog which I can’t understand. But it didn’t seem they had many interesting details. I could understand their classy dreampop though. I wonder what they are up to now, if they continue making pop music or not. I would definitely like to track those two CDs and have them in my collection. I don’t think I own that many Filipino releases and that is a shame, there has been great pop coming from there for decades now and they continue to do so thanks to bands like Outerhope or The Camerawalls. I definitely have to make a note to myself to pay more attention to what’s cooking there, and I’m not talking about adobo!

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Listen
Daydream Cycle – Roses and Cadillacs

22
Aug

Thanks so much to Masahiro, Darelle and Wendy for this brilliant interview! I interviewed Masahiro a week ago about his solo-project Tricycle Popstar and by doing so I learned that he was also involved in the mysterious The Love Mushrooms who released just one CD-single with the label A Trumpet Trumpet Records in 1992. That single has 3 poptastic songs, that sound timeless today, with jingle jangly guitars and catchy female vocals. A perfect pop record to my ears! The band didn’t last long. They played live once. And their story was quite forgotten. But it is now time for all of us to rediscover this gem of a record!

++ Hi again! How are you? Thanks a lot for being up for a second interview. How is the Australian winter treating you? Do you have any plans for going back to Japan soon?

Masa: Melbourne winter is not that cold compared to my hometown. No plans to go back to Japan at the moment. But I’d love to go anytime:)

Darelle: I live in Hobart, Tasmania – it is a little cold, but I like that!

Wendy: I live in Melbourne – it is wet and cold but I like the contrast to our dry hot summers. I hope to go back to Japan in two years with my family for my 50th birthday – it has been 20 years!!

++ We talked last time about Tricycle Popstar, your solo project. But just before you had started Tricycle Popstar and the label Behaviour Savior you were for a short time in the band The Love Mushrooms, is that right? How long did The Love Mushrooms really last as a band?

Masa: About half a year ~ one year??

++ And why the name The Love Mushrooms?

Masa: I like those 60’s girl groups like The Supremes, The Ronettes, The Shangri Las etc.  The image of the name came from there.
Also The Love Mushrooms sounds erotic.

++ This is a silly question perhaps, but as you wrote songs about food, I wonder are there any particular mushrooms you really like?

Masa: I like any mushrooms. My favourite are Matsutake, Maitake.

Darelle: I am the same as you, Masa. I could eat mushrooms everyday – especially morels

++ So you had been living in Akita and then moved to Tokyo, but before moving to Tokyo you used to visit the city quite a bit. How often did you go? And how did you meet Akiko Masuda who would prove important to get your music out there?

Masa: In my Akita days, I haven’t been there, even once. After graduate high school went to Tokyo. That was my first time.

When I was a high school student, I had a message on a music magazine classified section: “Looking for friends who likes The Housemartins, The Flipper’s Guitar”. And one girl sends me a letter. Her name is Akiko Masuda. She was living near Tokyo and she teach me a lots of news of Tokyo indie scene, UK & US indie scene, and sends me a lots of music video recordings from TV program (*Tokyo area has lot more TV station and they had lots of interesting music programs too. Akita had just 2 local broadcasting stations back then). When I came to Tokyo I often meet her. She was doing a club event called ”Smiths Night” back then. (The event was playing only The Smiths records all night long!)

And through her, I was into those UK & US & Tokyo indie scene more. I was young, and I thought “I want to release my music out there!”

++ How were those Smiths nights by the way? What was the crowd favourite Smiths song when everyone went crazy on the dancefloor? And what about yours?

Masa: My favourite is “This charming man”

There are many hard core The Smiths fans there.
Any songs could those people went crazy on the dancefloor.

Darelle: I love “Cemetery Gates”.

Wendy: I met my husband by quoting from the song ASK and him replying with the next line..so that is certainly one of my favourites but I have also always liked Girlfriend in a Coma

++ That first demo you handed to Keisuke Hatsuda from Motorway Records, what did it contain? And how come he didn’t sign you?

Masa: He hadn’t started Motorway Records yet then, He was the guitarist of a band called “Budgie Jacket”. He is a great man and had great knowledge of those UK & US indie scene, it amazed me. And I can’t remember what songs were in the demo tape.

++ The demo was to end in Masashi Naka who ran A Trumpet Trumpet Records and he was going to offer you a release. But he wanted sort of a girl band sound, why was that? What reasons did he give you and did you feel comfortable about it?

Masa: I always do it on my own. And I know my vocals  aren’t that good. So I thought that was good idea. He’s got a sense. He knows what kind of music appeal to people.

++ And this is the point when The Love Mushrooms really form, when you get Wendy and Darelle in the band. How did you meet them and you convince them to join?

Masa: Wendy & Darelle, whom I also met through Mark. (also from Tasmania too). And I just ask them Like “Let’s do it! It’s gonna be fun!!”

Darelle: I had met Mark when I was 15 years old, so we already knew each other when I moved to work in Tokyo in 1992, and he introduced me to Masa. Wendy and I were both from Hobart, but had not met until we worked together in Japan. Wendy, Mark, Masa and I spent a lot of time hanging out together and when Masa asked us to sing we just thought it was something fun to do!

Wendy:  I knew Mark vaguely from Hobart as we worked at the same hotel on the front desk. The rest is history as Darelle tells it. We were all very close and spent a lot of fun times together.

++ The first incarnation of The Love Mushrooms was you and your friend Hiroshi Kudo back in Akita, is that right? Are the recordings from the split tapes with Tricycle Popstar, Dynamic Pops for the 90’s Vol 1 and 2, and The Best Of, from this period? Where do you usually record with him?

Masa: Me & Hiroshi were playing together my original songs in Akita back then, and some of songs were used as Love Mushrooms songs. I just changed the lyrics. And we recorded at my apartment usually.

Darelle: We would all squash in at your apartment – it was so tiny! Fun times!

++ Were Hiroshi, Wendy and Darelle into indiepop? Which of bands would you say inspired the music of The Love Mushrooms?

Masa: Hiroshi wasn’t much interested in indie music, But he likes music in general. Wendy & Darelle were big music fans. Wendy was into indie music and I know she collected some 7”s & records. Darelle loved 4AD type of music. What inspired the music of The Love Mushrooms?, mmm… maybe Talulah Gosh, Hevenly, Nelories.

Darelle: I loved anything on 4AD at that time, especially Cocteau Twins, Lush – still do! I was really into The Smiths and The Cure, New Order. I have loved all types of music for my whole life. I find it a great escape from the real world.

Wendy: I enjoyed alternative music from a young age. The Cure, Blur, Ride, The Smiths, The Go-Betweens….a lot of their music is still so relevant today. When I was in Tokyo, discovered the Sarah Label and collected quite a few singles – The Sea Urchins, Another Sunny Day… I can hear that kind of music in a lot of Melbourne bands nowadays.

++ So in 1992 A Trumpet Trumpet was to release your one and only release, the 3″ CD single “Wait and See What Happens”. It included 3 songs, all sounding gloriously, I can’t believe I’ve only discovered the songs as of late. I was wondering if you could tell me just in a few lines what each song is about, “Funny Sunny Day”, “You Make Me Feel” and “Satisfy Me”.

Masa: “Funny Sunny Day” – I think this song is “The Love mushrooms”. “You Make Me Feel” – My favourite track on this EP. “Satisfy Me” – I wanted to add more sounds on this track actually.

Darelle: I remember “Funny Sunny Day” was about a day Wendy and I spent in Tokyo with a friend from Canada. “You make me feel” and “Satisfy Me” – I love both of those songs. Masa always writes great melodies. He was the brains behind the whole band. I just happened to sing as I was there. Wendy and I would contribute to the lyrics. It was a lot of fun.

Wendy:  Yep I agree with Darelle, thanks D!

++ And how did the creative process work for The Love Mushrooms? Was it the same as for Tricycle Popstar?

Masa: Yes, It was quite same. Sometimes, I need to have harmony vocal tracks, I requested them. Darelle was great on those harmony vocals, She created those harmony parts by herself.

Darelle: Oh Masa! I really enjoyed doing the harmonies. I have always loved to sing, even though I am not that great. It was the most exciting, fun time. For me, it was about friendship. And an awakening to the big world.

Wendy: Yes, Darelle was amazing…I never really had the confidence and am not a great singer, so was more comfortable being in the background….but it was such a great experience recording and practising. We really had fun and that was the main thing, and we had such strong ties then.

Masa: I think Wendy’s vocal is very cute!! I remember we were very very nervous at the recording studio.

++ This single has a girl photograph in the cover? Who is she? Is she Wendy or Darelle? I hear this covert art also was featured on a magazine at the time?

Masa: A girl photograph in the cover isn’t Wendy or Darelle. The designer took the photo from somewhere. Our CD jacket was on i-D Japan magazine, that was thrilled me.

Darelle: I loved the cover!

Wendy:  Me too!

++ What do you remember about recording these songs? Any anecdotes you could share?

Masa: Mr. Naka paid for recordings. We recorded in a small recording studio. We recorded 3 songs in one day.

I didn’t bring keyboard with me on the recording day (I thought they have some keys in the studio), but there was none, only a small toy keyboard was there. So I played all key parts with the toy keyboard.

Soon after that recordings (maybe not soon, I can’t remember), the songs were mixed by Tatsuhiko Mori at his studio, he is a professional mix engineer / programmer, he collaborated with many major & indie artists.
[He also owned record label called “Hammer Label” that label reissued albums of Danish band called ”Gangway”, I love Gangway very much and Mr. Mori let me hear a song of them before releasing.]

I was there when Mr.Mori did the final mix on the songs. That was amazing!! Especially “You Make Me Feel”. After his magical treatment, that song turn into a great pop song!!
Also he changed drum tracks into better drum sounds (programmed by him) on “Funny Sunny Day” & “You Make Me Feel”.

Listening music in a studio environment & see the professionals work in real time was really a great experience for me.

Darelle: I remember being very nervous, as I am really not the best singer! I love singing but in the shower only! So it was so nerve wracking. It was a really fun day. Mori did a great job with the mixing and especially my vocals on “You make me feel”. I remember loving the result.

Masa: Yeah, That was a “WOW” experience.

Darelle: You wrote a really great song, Masa!

Wendy:  As I wrote before, it was a great day and an experience I will never have again….and I love Masa’s music…I often play his music to my friends because I am very proud of how much he has achieved as a solo artist.

++ You did mention that The Love Mushrooms appeared on the Auto Guide’s First Triangle compilation. That was the only compilation appearance of the band?

Masa: I remember!
The Love Mushrooms appeared on The Birth Of The Untruth ‎(Cassette tape – Compilation) tt003 1992 from A Trumpet Trumpet Records, before releasing CD ep. Those recordings are from my 8 track recorder. There are 2 songs on it. Love Is Just A Game & Satisfy Me.

Love Is Just A Game is a cute song. There were 3 of us on vocals. (Masa, Wendy & Darelle) & Mark too (for a second).

Satisfy Me is more raw/lo-fi ish recording (can’t remember).

https://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Birth-Of-The-Untruth/release/8254949

++ And did the band get any reaction by the press or radio?

Masa: The Love Mushrooms were played on College Radio Chart show (FM). Few fanzines were interested in The Love Mushrooms/Tricycle Popstar. Some record stores made beautiful pop up displays for us.

However, The Love Mushrooms is kind of a secret / recording project, we didn’t appear in public / we didn’t play live on stage (only once). So actually people didn’t recognize us as musicians.

Darelle: I remember we were mentioned on TV once – that was a big thrill for me.

Masa: Oh, yeah.

++ You played just one gig with The Love Mushrooms, supporting Nelories and Venus Peter at Meiji University Campus. How was that experience? How did you get the support slot? And how did you like Venus Peter and Nelories?

Masa: I remember KAMATA TETSUJI (Dr) from Budgie Jacket asked me to do the support slot at Meiji University Campus Music Festival… I like Venus Peter and Nelories, I have their CDs. However, we didn’t talk much at the backstage. We are not familiar with those scene.

KAMATA TETSUJI (Dr), HIROSHI KUDO (Bass), and I think another Guitar player Mr.KATO from my hometown were helping to play at the gig.

However, that gig was terrible. We didn’t have much time to rehearse.

Darelle: I think the gig was terrible because I really was so nervous and had never sung in front of an audience before (except in a choir at school). Wendy and I were nervous as hell! It was awful! But I remember it with fondness.

Wendy:  Oh yes, SO nervous and I was sick so my voice sounded worse than normal – I am not a singer at all, so I think that it was really hard for me to stand up and perform.

++ After that gig did you decide not to play more gigs? It wasn’t for you?

Masa: No. It wasn’t for me. I prefered just making music, not play music on stage.

Darelle: My daughter Isobel plays and sings in a two piece. I actually went to see a gig last night, She doesn’t show any sign of nerves! Wish I could have had her confidence when we played all those years ago.

Masa: What’s your daughter’s band called? DO they have Soundcloud or anything??

Darelle: They are called “Bert Shirt”. I don’t think the have anything up on Soundcloud at the moment, but they are working on it. They are a two piece – Isobel sings and plays keys. They have written some great originals and the also did a cover the other night – Alvvays, “Archie, Marry Me”. It is such a sweet song.

Wendy: I am certainly not a performer and don’t feel at all comfortable up onstage, so was thankful we didn’t do any more.

++ I do wonder why did you stop The Love Mushrooms?

Masa: On the later days of my Tokyo era, Darelle went back to Tasmania, and I was planning to go to Australia. It was busy time. I think that’s why we released cassettes only around that time. Because we could make copies by ourselves. If we made CD or 7”, we have to sell them and keep the stock with us.

Darelle: That year in Tokyo was one of my best! It was great to have such wonderful friends.

++ Wendy and Darelle were from Tasmania. I wonder, have you ever been there? How did you like it? Do you know any good indiepop music from there?

Masa: YES. Few times. Tasmania is beautiful place. We spend time at Wendy’s parents house on New years eve long time ago. And had Wendy’s dad’s homemade rhubarb wine there, was very very nice!!

Darelle: Yes! His rhubarb wine is the best! I live in Tasmania now. It has become a really vibrant, artsy place, especially since the advent of MONA [https://mona.net.au] – an amazing museum/gallery that many travel to come and see.

++ And did Hiroshi, Wendy and Darelle continue making music afterwards or not? Do you know what they are up to?

Masa: I’m not sure what Hiroshi is doing now….

Darelle: I went back to Japan for 2 years in the early 2000’s with my (then) husband and 2 little girls. It really is the most beautiful place. We lived in Melbourne for some time, but I have returned to Hobart. I sing everyday – to myself! I am so passionate about music and how it makes you feel. I can put on one of my favorite songs and instantly my mood lifts.
I am thrilled my daughter finds such pleasure in her band.
I am now a nurse and work with the elderly. We are about to implement a program which involves providing our residents with ipods filled with music that they love. I am so passionate about this because I know how much music can evoke emotions and memories.

Masa: Oh, that’s great job, Darelle!! You should get a big speaker for them to dance!!

Darelle: That’s a great idea! I love dancing myself – it really lifts my mood!

Wendy:  No, no more music for me but I love seeing live bands and Melbourne is the best city to do that. There are gigs all over the town every night. I have lived here for almost 20 years (since I left Tokyo) and love it. I’m looking forward to visiting Japan when I turn 50 in a couple of years.

++ Looking back, what would you say was your favourite Love Mushroom song you made and why?

Masa: My favourite Love Mushroom song is “You make me feel”, because that song had a great professional treatment and turned out really great!!

Darelle: I love that song too! Masa wrote a great melody.

Wendy:  I liked Satisfy Me as it was a bit ‘grungy’ but also You Make Me Feel. Masa is very clever!!

++ Thanks again, I’m going to do my best to track this single, it is amazing how much it sounds to many popular Swedish girl-fronted indiepop bands from the early 2000s, I’d say you were ahead of your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Masa: It was fun time for us too. Great memories.

Darelle: When I think back to that time I remember fun and being young! It really was great!

Wendy: I miss those days, but have great memories and even though we don’t see each other so much now, I believe we will always be friends and I am thankful for our time together there.

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Listen
The Love Mushrooms – Satisfy Me

21
Aug

I want to thank everyone that has taken the opportunity to help us with our move. I hope more people continue taking advantage of our moving offers at the Cloudberry site. It is a win-win situation, you are going to get records you like for a very reasonable price and we will have to carry less boxes to our new place. Remember this offer will be available only 3 more weeks. Then it’s over, we’ll move all the boxes left.

Because of this move there will be a wee delay in the our next 7″, My Light Shines for You!, as we needed to get the pressing plant the right address. It is a bit of a headache but everything will be all right. Just bear with us. It is a bit of a hectic time, a time that needs a lot of planning, but I’m doing my best to keep it as it was.

After The Jaywalkers post last week there hasn’t been too many items that I’ve written down. But let’s see what we have:

I only heard the band Noirless some days ago. I feel I’m a bit late to the party as I notice The Blog That Celebrates Itself has already recommended it. I’m a bit slow with finding new music, that’s true. I depend on what my friends share normally, or when by a miracle a Facebook page post does get through to my wall. The thing about Noirless is that I only know one song of theirs, “Indecisive“, and it is quite brilliant. The band formed in Bandung at least a year ago (that’s when the song was uploaded to Soundcloud) by Rama Mazaya on guitar and vocals, Aryandra Kareem on guitar and Bayu Arifianto on bass. So many great bands from Indonesia these days. Someone must do a proper compilation with the greatest hits!

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart continue promoting their new album “The Echo of Pleasure” that will be out on September 1st on their own Painbow Records. Now they have unveiled a new song on Soundcloud, “My Only“, and it is actually lovely. Maybe it is the most introspective Pains song to date? I wonder. Also announced was the tracklist for the album, and “My Only” is the opening track. Cool!

Again time for recommending a new Alvvays song. The audio for the song “Plimsoll Punks” was uploaded last week to Youtube and already has gotten more than 37 thousand listens. A lot really. Wonder if a Cloudberry release would get that someday. I hope so! The song is really good as usual, not much more to say, it is better to listen. The song will be included in the album “Antisocialites” that is coming out on September 8th.

I really like the band Fever Dream but aside from seeing them once at Indietracks years ago I haven’t been really in touch with their music. Their records are not easily available in the US, not even on sale at Jigsaw Records. And that’s a shame of course. Now the band will be releasing a second album, “Squid”, on September 29th on the label Club AC30. So of course the band needs to promote it and they chose the song “Youth (Is Wasted on the Old)“, and even though I haven’t heard the rest of the album, I think it is a great choice. This is a top song! And there’s a video for it made out of a collage of different video footage of the band, from gigs and more fun personal stuff!

Now a Melbourne, Australia, band called Backyard. I discover them through Bandcamp. I check out their latest song, “Reality Television”, and it is up my street! It is the first time I hear this band, so I need to check out some more information about them. This song is only available to stream. But back in 2015 they did release a 7″ for the song “Young & Old” and I should try to get a copy after I move. The band is formed by Adnan Kadric on vocals and guitar, Thomas Barlow on drums, Joe Daly on bass and Leon Andrews on guitar and vocals. Something that I found interesting in their small bio is that Adnan hails from Bosnia. It is definitely the first time I hear a Bosnian making indiepop. That is a good thing in my book!

And last discovery this week comes from Bloomington, Indiana. I think that is another first. I checked the latest songs by the band Nice Try and they sound great, they remind me to 90s American indiepop in the vein of the bands you’d find on Blackbean and Placenta compilations. Their latest, “Restart”, is sugary-coated and was released as part of The Le Sigh Volume III fanzine. Their previous effort “Glow” is equally good. If you go further back on their catalog you’ll notice that they were rougher, more of a punk pop band. But in these two last songs, dating from 2016 and 2017, we notice a change, a change for good if I can say that. The band is formed by Madeline Robinson on guitar and vocals, Kahler Willits on drums and Steve Schuster on bass.

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I continue with this “world tour”, stopping at different countries that have produced indiepop bands and doing some archaeology there. So far the record is quite good, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Japan, and last time, Greece. Today I’ll check out some obscure music from Norway, a country I visited a couple of years ago and I really liked it even though it was very expensive!

There’s this conundrum that keeps me awake. So you know, I’m moving. And I want to order records. Like the Astroburger/Masters of Doom split album. But then, can I? What if whoever I buy it from posts it late? What if it never arrives? What if my old landlord receives it and he is mad with me because I left and he just throws this record to the garbage? So many doubts. To be sure I should wait until some days before I move, or even better when I’m already settled. But what if I see a very good price, irresistible price, NOW? These are serious questions, aren’t they?

I suppose I should wait. There’s also the fact that if I order more records, then there will be more stuff to carry, things might get heavier. I’m already moving so many boxes of records, that I should be a bit more reasonable about it.

I had heard some Monsters of Doom songs on the “Holiday at Wobbledef Grunch” album by The Tables. There are 7 songs at the end of the CD, song 15 to 21, that are credited to The Monsters of Doom. Them being “Who Am I To Say?”, “Whisky Dreams”, “Green Bubbles”, “The Tabletop Surfer”, “Old Lady Mugged by Drunken Popstar”, “Pneumonia Ceilings” and “Simon & Garfunkel”.

On the credits of this CD released by the most important indiepop label from Norway Perfect Pop (POP 17), we learn that actually The Monsters of Doom were an earlier incarnation of The Tables. And that these 7 songs were originally released as the B side of a split LP released with Astroburger. These songs date from 1991 and they were recorded at Endless Sound Studio in Oslo.

I admit I’m not 100% familiar with the whole discography of the Oslo label. I own a bunch of their records and I especially love the ones by The Tables, The Time Lodgers, The Blind Bats and later of Je Suis Animal. Actually the Je Suis Animal wanted to take me to the Perfect Pop warehouse when I visited Oslo, but I can’t remember why we didn’t go! Would have been great!

Anyways, I went to check out that split LP that I wasn’t aware of. And I see it listed on Discogs and my eyes light up. I want to order it. But then the questions I was asking myself earlier invade me. Also it is true that I already have all those songs on The Tables CD. Well, not all. There’s an “Intro” song here opening the B side and also there’s another song titled “Mad”.

The album “Venus Beach/Lost on Venus” was released in 1991 by Perfect Pop (POP 4), 1000 copies were pressed. 640 of those copies came in black vinyl whereas the rest in orange. The record came with a poster and booklet. The runout etching on the B side, the Monsters of Doom side, says “Audiodisc 910910 TLK MAYBE THE MADMAN WAS RIGHT”.

There are credits for the songs and indeed we see that most of the band members were going to form The Tables. Bartleby was on vocals, Reg Trademark was on guitar, Mike Mushroom on bass, Robert Birdeye on drums, Sandy Shore on organ and Josefa Resztada on tambourine and maracas. The producer was the band and Richard B. Marshall while the engineer was Eystein Hopland.

Waldemar Hepstein did the cover for the lyric book that was included and Marius Moonfish the artwork for the cover of the Monsters of Doom side. I haven’t seen the booklet, I wonder what’s in it? Perfect Pop always had cool designs, very DIY influenced by the cut and paste of fanzines. I’d love to see it.

We check out some of the band members. Of course we know that Bartleby, Tore Sørensen, was part of The Tables. It is the same case of Steinar Buholm, aka. Robert Birdeye, who also released a couple of solo 7″s and not so long ago was in The Vacuum Dreamers. I knew those two names. Mike Mushroom, Mikkel Bay Vold,  also was involved with The Tables and Astroburger. Ståle Caspersen, aka. Reg Trademark, was also in The Tables and in the brilliant The Time Lodgers.

Sandy Shore, whose real name is Kjersti Gravklev, wasn’t involved in The Vacuum Dreamers and before on Willy B. I have no clue about Willy B but it seems is a Norwegian music journalist. Josefa Resztada only appears listed as part of Monsters of Doom, no other bands.

There are at least two compilation appearances by the band. In 1992 they contributed the song “Tabletop Surfer” to the LP compilation “Penguins and Bondage (That’s Entertainment Sampler Vol.2)” that was released by That’s Entertainment Records and DogJob Records (THEN 018). I don’t know any of the bands on this album but The Monsters of Doom and Astroburger. I checked some out on Youtube, like the Kung Fu Girls, and well, they weren’t indiepop to be honest.

Their second compilation appearance would be at the home label, Perfect Pop. In 1995 they were to have the song “Who Am I To Say?” on the CD compilation “A Perfect Pop Compilation 1991-1994”.

Time to explore the depths of the web. Almost immediately I struck gold. I find the blog Kuriositetskabinettet that Bartleby sometimes seem to update. I see a post dating from November 3rd 2014 about Monsters of Doom. Through this post Bartleby shares a rare bootleg live recording of Monsters of Doom! Wow! There are 12 songs in total, “The Tabletop Surfer”, “I Like My Toys”, “Mad”, “Pictures of Matchstick Sun”, “Pneumonia Ceilings”, “War or Hands of Time”, “Penelope Tree”, “My Friend Jack”, “Green Bubbles”, “Minstrel Radio Yoghurt”, “I Wanna Destroy You” and “Halo in My Hair”. These recordings come from a walkman! They were recorded at RockAll, a small pub in Oslo on October 10th of 1990. Bartleby also gives some background info about the band and the gig. He mentions that this was the one and only gig ever played by the Monsters of Doom and that the band split just after. There are only 4 original songs. The rest being covers, “I Like My Toys” is an original by Idle Race (and this song was actually going to be covered by The Table on a 7″ many years later), “Pictures of Matchstick Sun” is by The Status Quo (well, the original is Matchstick Men, but here Bartleby makes the note that at the time there was a band in Norway with the name Matchstick Sun), “War or Hands of Time” is by The Master’s Apprentices, “Penelope Tree” we all know is by Felt, “My Friend Jack” is by The Smoke, “Minstrel Radio Yoghurt” is by Deep Freeze Mice, “I Wanna Destroy You” is by The Soft Boys and “Halo in My Hair” was by Bulldog Breed.

I couldn’t find much more about this period of the The Tables, when they were known as Masters of Doom. I believe Monsters of Doom were also called The Tables before and not only afterwards. I wonder why they changed names. What was the intention with Monsters of Doom, and why they lasted so little under that name. I’m sure the answers are out there, and maybe some of you know them. But it was pretty interesting exploring this period of Norway’s indiepop scene, Perfect Pop and the always brilliant The Tables.

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Listen
Monsters of Doom – Pneumonia Ceilings

18
Aug

Now it is for sure. Cloudberry HQ is moving. We will still be in Astoria, far away from the hipsters, but a few subway stops closer to the city. Because of that, and seeing that we many boxes of Cloudberry stock, and we want to make it an easy move, we decided it was a good idea for our fans to help us and help them back too. We don’t want to carry so many boxes, I think that’s what everyone thinks when they have to move, so we have decided to bring back the popular 10 random 7″ offer deal we had back in March when we were celebrating our 10th anniversary. Also we have put together a new deal, this time for CDs, where you can get 5 random ones also for a fair price. These two offers will be available until September 14th when we will be getting a moving truck and taking all of our stuff to the new place. You can check both packs at our website, www.cloudberryrecords.com, and we already thank you in advance!

Also if we move less stuff that means that we’ll have more space for new releases. So that’s always a good thing, right?

Since the last update on the blog on Monday there have been a few indiepop news worth checking out. If I’m missing something, better let me know in the comments section.

It seems Shelflife is on fire. What else can I say? Every week there’s some new video or new song that I want to have in my record collection. Just a couple of days ago the label and the band Airiel unveiled a new video for the brilliant “This is Permanent“. This song will be included in the upcoming double LP album “Molten Young Lovers” that will be released this October. Will there be a CD release for it? I hope. I’m happy though that Shelflife doesn’t release tapes. I also hope the Chicago band comes to play to NYC. I only saw once, 5 years ago at Cake Shop, and it was great!

The Granite Shore will be releasing a new album also in October. It is titled “Suspended Second” and will be out on the always trustworthy Occultation Recordings. It has 9 songs and for those of you who are not familiar with this band I must say that Phil June Brides plays acoustic guitar in it. That matters, right? The band also has Arash Torabi on bass, Ian Henderson on drums, Steve Perrin on electric guitar, John Howard on piano and Nick Halliwell from The Distractions on vocals. If you want to check out some of the music, why not start with the song “Where Does the Sadness Come From?” that has a video made by Mr Phil Wilson.

I’ve also been sharing the past few weeks the singles Stars in Coma has been publishing on Soundcloud and Youtube. Singles that are promoting his new album “Escapist Partisans” that will be released in August 25th. Now it the time for the 3rd and final single “Subtraction Exercises“. André says that this one is the jangliest and the most guitar-driven track of the album. He might be right, as once again it is a winner.

I got a message last week by the Japanese band Shinowa. I had never heard them, and had no clue who they were. Kaori, the lead vocalist, told me that they had released a 7″ last June. The A side had the song “Snow, Moon, Flowers” and the B side was “Almost Certain”. For the first one there is a very cool video that you can check on Youtube.  The band is formed by Kaori Yamauchi on vocals, guitar and keyboards, Hajime Hirata on guitar and programming, Yoshino Uchi on bass and Gen-Yu Nou on drums. The band define themselves as 60s psychedelic meets 80s and 90s indiepop. They really have very nice guitars I must say, and their songs do sound modern and classic at the same time. I enjoy the atmospheres I could hear throughout their new album that will be released by LEIM Records sometime soon I hope! A very cool discovery indeed.

“Ideal ist Nichts” is the song the German band Zimt is using now to promote their new album “Glückstiraden” that is coming out on the 2th of August on Tapete Records. Of course for me it is kind of sad when a band changes labels, they were in the very lovable Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten of my friend Ronny, but with a bigger label like Tapete maybe they get more attention? Who knows. The good thing is that they have been able to record a a video for “Ideal Ist Nichts” and I’m loving the song even though I understand so very little but melodies can speak to me too. It is a very interesting video, the band having fun in what seems to be a farm, with pigs and all! Can’t wait for the album!

And I’ll wrap it there. More news, next week!

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I had various options for Greek bands to be honest. It was hard to pick one for the blog. In the end I decided to try to find out more information about The Jaywalkers, perhaps the band many of us indiepop lovers seek their record the most. We know it is almost impossible to ever own it. We know. We accept that situation. And for me it has been like that since the first time I heard their classic “(You Can’t Be) Happy All the Time”. I’ve played that song so many times, I’ve DJed it too, and I’ve danced to it when other people have played it. It is an indiepop classic anyway you see it. But at the same time I noticed I know nothing about them.

For me it was always a surprise when I discovered there was an indiepop scene in Greece. How come I thought. I met Greek friends that were very much into indiepop. Christos and Marianthi even showed me Greek fanzines from back in the day when I visited their home. I was thrilled and curious. Who were these people making these sounds there? How were they connected to the bigger indiepop scene in the 80s? As years passed by I noticed that Greek stores used to carry indiepop records, they sold Sarah and Creation and more. eBay sellers from Greece would sell obscure records. There was definitely people very much into it. So it couldn’t be just a random thing that there was Greek indiepop.

The thing about The Jaywalkers is that their mini LP wasn’t released on an indiepop label, not even an indie label. It was released by Virgin Hellas in Greece (VG 2085 Z). It was 1987 and the 12″ had four songs, on the A side the legendary “(You Can’t Be) Happy all the Time” and “Good Day Sunshine”. The B side had “I Had a Dream” and a Beatles cover of “Tomorrow Never Knows”. The songs were recorded at In Recording Studios and the engineer was Manolis Vlachos.

Discogs won’t be easy for me. The credits are of course written in Greek. Sometimes though when you rollover over the name you get the name in latin alphabet. I noticed then that the vocals and guitars, as well as the first two songs on the record, are credited to Giorgos Mouchtaridis. That’s my first hint. Also who is the boy on the front cover? On Last.fm it says that it is the song of a well-known Greek singer, not a pop singer. Who then?

On Discogs too there is a small bio by the band. I use Google translate to find out what it says. It says that the band was founded by Mouchtaridis and Paschalis Plissis who were before in the punk band “Migraine” (Ημικρανία, in Greek I think). Also it is mentioned to my surprise that the record was a commercial failure when it come out. What happened there? The label didn’t support the band? I don’t understand!

There is other member credited on that first page of Discogs, Vassilis Divolis. I could see that Vassilis had been involved in other bands like Supermarket or with Kristi Stassinopoulou. Paschalis in the other hand had played with Panayotis Kalantzopoulos, and other solo artists. While Giorgos is mostly credited for working in production. But Last.fm has a bio where I get to know what each one played:

Paschalis Plissis-guitar, voice, piano, backing vocals)
Giorgos Mouchtarides-(guitar, voice, backing vocals)
Giannis Divolis-violin, harmonium, greek laouto, vocals
Vassilis Divolis-kettle drums, percussion, goblet drum
Giorgos Manos-bass, piano, Chinese violin

There are a few compilation appearances by the band. The one I’m mostly interested in is the 1989 tape “Straight to Hellas”. I noticed that the label that put it out back in the day, Lazy Dog (Lazy 05), has now it available for download on a blogspot page. I don’t support full album downloads you know, but this is the label uploading it, so it is different. The Jaywalkers appear with the last track, “Pale Blue Eyes”. It is quite different to the sound of their classic song, but it is enjoyable in its “lo-finess”. I don’t know any of the other bands, but I’ll have a listen. Maybe there I’ll discover some cool jangly sounds? But no, no jangle in here.

Their later appearances on compilations are much newer. I think it was thanks to their appearance on the influential and important CD compilation “Try a Little Sunshine”, which was a taster and introduction for many of us to the Greek scene, they started getting the recognition they deserved. This compilation came out in 1999 and was released by Pop Art Records (Pop-99). So many good bands in it like The Crooner, Impossible Tymes or Next Time Passions. I actually think I have two copies of it. On the notes of the CD it says that the song from The Jaywalkers come from their deleted mini LP. Was it really deleted?

In 2010 they were to appear with the song “Good Day Sunshine” on the tape compilation “Velvet D.I.Y. – A Velvet Compilation” released by the Velvet magazine (Velvet 02). I notice that this tape came with a 120 page pocket size booklet inside a printed bag. Wow! Maybe there was more information about The Jaywalkers written there? Maybe our Greek friends can help me. The version of “Good Day Sunshine” on this tape is actually an earlier, alternate and unreleased version of the song that was on the miniLP. How did it sound?!

Their last appearance dates of this year, 2017. This time it is an LP compilation titled “A Sparkle from the Past” released by the label Make Me Happy (MMH 001) that has a bunch of Greek indiepop bands like Kissamatic Lovebubbles, One Night Suzan and Pillow, as well as the classics Next Time Passions. The artwork for it is very Sarah-esque. Looks great. But where do I get this record? I can’t find any information.

I keep digging. I find that Giorgos Mouchtaridis is the founder of Radio Pepper 96.6. I also think that at some point he was the director of Kosmos FM of the Hellenic National Radio. About Paschalis Plissis I found some artwork credited to him on the Useum site. Sadly I couldn’t find if they made any more indiepop songs after The Jaywalkers or actually some more information of the band, like why did they split? And what they did after?

I end up on Youtube. First I find videos from 2010, when they opened The Triffids show ‘A Secret In The Shape Of A Song / The Triffids and Friends play the songs of David McComb’ in Athens at the Gagarin 205 venue on April 23rd. Also they played a gig on September 24 of 2010 at the venue BIOS. Then I find that the band played again in 2013. Not sure how many gigs they played, but there are videos of this time again at Gagarin 205, dating from June 1st of that year. And if that’s not enough, there are two videos for the band rehearsing. There’s “Get Out of My Life” and “Good Day Sunshine” at a rehearsal room.

Also I was to find the Next Time Passions covering The Jaywalkers at the Tiki Bar in 2009! That was cool!

Also another question that remains central to my query is about their recordings, if they only had these 5 songs I’ve mentioned. Or if there were more? How come from being in a punk band they evolved into the sound one hears in their mini LP? There are many questions that I would love to ask them, I hope I can interview them sometime soon!

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Listen
The Jaywalkers – (You Can’t Be) Happy all the Time

16
Aug

Thanks so much to Andrea Croft for this interview! I wrote last week about The Honeys, the brilliant Perth/Sydney band from the late 80s, on the blog. Almost immediately my friend Paul from the band Rabbit’s Wedding got me in touch with Andrea and she was very kind to answer to all my questions!  The Honeys released 2 albums and two singles in two different periods, back in the 90s and then reuniting for a short time in 2007. If you haven’t heard them yet, please make yourself a favour and discover them with this great interview!

++ Hi Andrea! Thanks so much for taking your time to answer this interview. How are you doing? Where are you? In Sydney or Perth?

Thanks Roque, where are you situated? I’m good, living back in Perth where I was born. Been back around 23 years now.

++ Were you originally from Fremantle? How was it back then? Were there any other like-minded bands in town? Where did you usually hang out? Was there any good venues to check out bands?

I was originally from Trigg, a suburb north of Freo. The scene was pretty healthy back then but going to Sydney was necessary to progress as a band. There were very few bands I knew in Perth as I joined up with Bruce and Grant for a couple of rehearsals and then followed them to Sydney very shortly after. Sydney was where I met most band pals. The Fitzgerald was a great pub back then in Perth and supported original bands. The live scene here now is limited as not many venues host live music anymore which is a shame.

++ And how was growing up in Australia? What sort of music did you listen to? What was your first instrument and do you remember how did you get it?

Growing up in Australia I consider a blessing. Especially the weather in Perth and the beaches, it’s pretty easygoing here. Like a big country town compared to Sydney and Melbourne. I listened to Blondie, Pretenders, Kate Bush, Divinyls mostly. Bit of an obsession with strong female vocalists! I now love Lucinda Williams and have done for years.

My first instrument was a guitar, an Ovation acoustic, then I had a saxophone for which I took lessons. I was envious of my brother’s drum kit though and would have a good bash on that now and then. As both my Mum and Dad were singers, we had many instruments available as my Dad was a bit of a collector. My folks bought me both the above instruments, lucky kid.

++ Were you involved in any bands before being in The Honeys?

Before the Honeys I was in a cover band for a couple of years with a hideous name that shall remain a mystery! Despite the ridiculous name, I had a blast with those guys. Not surprisingly, we played lots of Pretenders, Blondie, Divinyls…also Hoodoo Gurus and other stuff. We even did a gig at a bikies do in the Perth hills one night. Can’t remember which gang but it was a pretty full on night thinking back on it now. Actually, we had a residency at a pub in Freo on Saturday nights and for some reason, we’d get heaps of bikies rocking up to that every week. They had a great time but eventually the pub cancelled us as the bikie lads were starting fights after the gigs and generally being naughty bikie boys.

++ How did The Honeys start as a band? How did you all know each other?

I answered an ad in the paper, called Bruce and went for an audition. We had a couple of jams, he went to Sydney and offered me the vocalist position and I bought a bus ticket and headed East a month shy of my 21st birthday. So basically I joined a band with two guys I barely knew but luckily Bruce and Grant were gentlemen as were all the fellows I lived with over there. I made some brilliant lasting friendships in Sydney so I’m thrilled I took the leap and left Perth.

++ What’s the story behind the name of the band?

I’m fairly certain Bruce came up with that. I didn’t particularly love it at first, thought it sounded like a girl band name but it fit after a while with the style of music we were playing.

++ Did you move to Sydney before or after signing to Waterfront Records? Had you been there before? How did you get there? Was it a road-trip altogether?

Bruce went first, not sure if Grant went at the same time, I caught a Greyhound bus. Took a few days to get there. Trying to sleep sitting up is not something I’d recommend but it felt like a huge adventure to me at the time. I’d never been to Sydney before and it was very exciting as I’d been living at home with my folks so this was a kind of coming of age thing for me. I was sooooo ready to leave Perth and home. So, perfect timing really.

There were subsequent road trips together when the band went on tour. We drove our Holden HQ Panel Van twice from Sydney to Perth and back again. Continuous driving by swapping drivers every few hours. Picture it, me with 5 blokes who are all eating burgers with unpleasant consequences that I shan’t reveal at this point all the way across at the height of summer, filthy hot and next to no sleep for anyone. But guess what, it was such a great experience. We were searched by the police twice too, they went through the trailer, the roof rack, the whole vehicle looking for drugs I suppose. They found nothing, we weren’t very rock and roll I’m afraid, not a single drug habit amongst us! We loved our beer though. Good times.

++ It must have been quite an experience, moving with the whole band to a new town. Did you all live together? How did you adapt to Sydney? Did you find many differences compared to Perth?

We did live together in a two storey terrace house in Chippendale. It had a shared yard and other band members lived next door so there were some fun times had there. Honestly the place was a wreck, leaking ceilings in winter, rising damp, dodgy balconies. But to me it was fantastic and it was Sydney! Most people I knew were living in places like that and they had so much charm. The pubs we played in were in similar disrepair which was what made them awesome.

I adapted pretty well I think but I did have all these great people around me keeping me safe so I’m grateful for that. I had a few wild times but that’s part of growing up and learning. Sydney was so alive compared to Perth. Plus I’d never really seen the seedy side of life so of course I thought that was pretty exciting too. If I was to compare the two cities at that time I’d say Perth was a kitten and Sydney was a Lion. It was a great time to be in a band in Sydney with the live scene being so vibrant.

++ How did you end up signing to Waterfront Records? Did they approach you? How was your relationship with them?

I can’t recall if we asked them or our management did or if they approached us..I forgot to answer this above. We signed with them after we got to Sydney. They were really supportive of us and very nice guys. We had a great team helping us.

++ Something that strikes me is that your first release wasn’t a single or EP but the “Goddess” album. Not many bands get an album as a first release. What did you think of that at the time?

We just had the material and recorded it very cheaply, it just seemed to come together nicely. I was over the moon, it was the first recording I’d done so yes I was very happy.

++ By the way, who is the girl on the photograph of the front cover?

That’s Lillian Gish, a silent movie actress. I love that cover.

++ The album was recorded at Poons Head in Perth. How was that experience, any anecdotes you could share? Were you already familiar with recording studios by then or you had already made demo tapes before?

I think we’d done some demos but nothing like that. It was interesting for me to see how it’s all done. Recording can be arduous I’ve since learnt, especially when you have limited time and do an overnight block. But Poons Head was set up in a house so it was nice and relaxed so we got the tracks down pretty swiftly. Once it’s all mixed, it’s a great feeling knowing you’ve collaborated on something you’re proud of.

++ And how did The Honeys creative process work?

Sometimes Bruce would have a full song, sometimes he’d have a melody and a few words. In those cases I’d write some extra lyrics though I’m not that prolific. Grant almost always has the whole song mapped out so all I had to do is sing.

++ Which bands would you say were influences?

Well Bruce loved a range of music as did Grant. At the time I was still listening to the above bands I mentioned and loved Cocteau Twins, who doesn’t?! Lucinda Williams, good Country music. I went to see Falling Joys, Ups and Downs and then Big Heavy Stuff later, also the Clouds. They were all mates, still are and so good to see live. I think Suzie Higgie from Falling Joys and Jodi and Trish from the Clouds are extraordinary songwriters and great performers.

++ To promote the album you made a video for “Against The Elements”. Was it your first promo video? How was that experience?

Yes it was and I was ahem, how shall I say this, still very green. I’m not particularly comfortable on camera, it’s not something I relish but it turned out alright for a first attempt.

++ The next release also had a video, and perhaps is my favourite song of yours “The Man Who Was Through With the World”. Would you care telling me in a few sentences what is this song about?

Now that song and video I like! I’m sorry, Bruce wrote that so I can only surmise. I never really asked him what it was about, I just liked the lyrics and my take on it is that it’s about a particular person he may have known. I didn’t really feel the need to know what a song meant to be able to sing it. If I get the gist, that’s enough for me to create meaning around it. Hope that makes sense.

++ James from The Widdershins contributed piano and organ on the record. Was there a tight-knit scene with other guitar pop bands? What other bands in Australia did you call friends then?

Yep, we were friends with the Widdershins, Falling Joys, Clouds, Ups and Downs, Dutiful Daughters, Big Heavy Stuff, Hummingbirds, Skolars, Chads Tree, Swordfish, if I had a good think, I’d remember more. There were some really lovely people in bands back then and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to make lasting friendships.

++ This record also has some beautiful artwork. How much control did you have on it? Or was it Waterfront making those decisions?

We made decisions about artwork and thanks!

++ And what about that video? I noticed on Youtube that it used to be played on the music program “Rage”. Did it get much attention?

I’m not sure which one you mean but we did enjoy quite good exposure thanks to Rage when we were together.

++ After that there was another 7″ single with “Gone Away” and “Monster”. There was no video for this one, right? And how come it only came on the Waterfront standard sleeve?

Hmmm, testing my memory now..No video and I have no clue as to why no artwork. Perhaps we were low on funds, bit cheeky really that we didn’t do artwork!

++ Then there’s a long break for The Honeys. What happened? I read Andrea moved to Perth and each of you continued making music with your own projects. What other bands were you involved with?

I ended the Honeys, things felt stale and it felt right at the time. Grant and I formed Catherine Wheel and that was lots of fun. I was also in Pollyanna for short while after that. Then I came home to roost! 

++ In 2007 you reunited and released a new album, “Star Baby”. How did this reunion come through? And were these brand new songs or songs from back in the day?

Again dear Bruce had written some new songs as had Grant so I was of course keen to add my bit. I flew to Grant’s house and we recorded the songs over a few days. We did a couple of short tours after it’s release too. I think only Run Run was an oldie, all the rest were newly penned.

++ This record came out on the label Origin. Who were they?

I’m sorry, I didn’t handle that side of things so I don’t actually know.

++ There were a few reunion gigs, right? How was that experience? Much different to playing live back in the day?

They were great, we had some fantastic musicians playing live with us so the sound was full and rich. A bit nerve wracking of course, it’d had been a while but the gigs were wonderful to be a part of.

++ And what about the gigs in the 80s and 90s? Are there any in particular that you remember? What would you say was the best gig you did? And was there any bad gigs?

I loved the Hopetoun hotel, every gig there was fun. The Annandale was great too, the Petersham and the Landsdowne. Back in the day when pubs were smoky and the carpet was beer soaked. Ahhh, great times! Not really any bad gigs, but Uni lunchtime shows were never a highlight. I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion!

++ What about radio and TV? Did you get much attention? And the music press? Fanzines?

Radio yes, high rotation there for a while on JJJ which was great. TV no, just Rage, which was also great. Music press, yes, we were very lucky to be reviewed quite often and even had front covers a few times on On The Street, Drum Media and Juke.

++ While you were on a break, in 1995, a double CD titled “Ultimo” was released including the whole “Goddess” album and other rare songs on the label Phantom. Who were they? I also wonder about where these rare songs come from? And also what about those songs “Live at the Wireless”? What was The Wireless?

Phantom were another indie Sydney label that did great things for bands they signed. Very supportive people. The songs were some that we hadn’t released before and thought they needed inclusion. Live at the wireless was a program on JJJ featuring bands playing live in the studio.

++ And as that covered most of your discography I’m curious to know what would your favourite Honeys’ song be?

Wood for the Trees by a mile! Love everything about that beautiful, dreamy song.

++ You appeared on a couple of compilations but the one I’m mostly curious about is the “Shiver Me Timbers” tape on Rutland Records as it was an English label. Do you remember how did you end up there?

What the? Send me that tape! Haha!

++ After those reunion gigs, when did The Honeys stopped playing again?

Bruce and I did a couple of gigs here in Perth but the last one would’ve been about 18 months ago.

++ Then there was the passing of Bruce in 2016, very sad news, but I read The Honeys played a sort of tribute gig alongside Flicker and The Snow Leopards. How was that evening? Must have been very difficult?

We did and it was a truly humbling experience. It was also joyful to see all those people attending and all the people who performed to honour Bruce. My friend Matt worked hard to bring it all together even though he’d say it was easy. He’s a generous fellow. Bruce would’ve been so touched by that day, it was something I’ll treasure.

++ Now, looking back through all these adventures of yours in The Honeys, what would you say was the biggest highlight of The Honeys?

By far hearing our song played on the radio for the first time. And seeing our video on TV. It’s surreal and I still pinch myself to think about it. Some terrific gigs too and seeing people having a blast. Nothing beats it.

++ And today, are you still making music? Or what do you dedicate your time to these days? Any other hobbies?

I’m not at the moment, I have a small business now but I’d never say no to future recordings. Perhaps I’ll have a chat to Grant!

++ Thanks again Andrea and Grant. I would love to interview you some other time about your other bands, I already asked way too many questions now! But I have one last one, are there still any unreleased songs by The Honeys?

Nothing that I know of at this stage, I’m sure Bruce would have books full of lyrics somewhere…

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Listen
The Honeys – The Man Who Was Through With the World

14
Aug

Another week, and now halfway through the month of August. It seems I will be moving apartments very soon, so that means that Cloudberry HQ will also move. Because of that, there will be some new offers on Cloudberry records coming up, they will be very cheap as I want you to help me with the moving. Less boxes means less work for me and that is great help. I’ll let you know in the few days.

Today I woke up with some news, I saw on a Youtube song I uploaded by The Marteens a comment. It said that Firestation will be releasing a new retrospective by this band that is related to Me and Dean Martin (who Firestation already put out a compilation). I don’t know more details, but it is great news. I love The Marteens and I wanted to interview them, sadly at some point I lost touch with Me and Dean Martin.

I have already told you all to get the new Pia Fraus album “Field Ceremony” that is coming out in a couple of months. For some reason I didn’t notice they had already put out a video to promote it. Check “That’s Not All” here.

The great Ville Hopponen and his new project Verandan have a new single out. Not too long ago I was championing the first ever song that was online by this Finnish project. Now I can only continue doing so. “Short Dream” will be part of the new EP that the band will release on the label Soliti. So far we’ve heard two songs of pure pop. How many more will be there on the EP? I hope it is a long one, 5 or 6 songs, please!

Shelflife now has the new album by The Luxembourg Signal available for pre-ordering. “Blue Field” will be released on October 13th on LP and CD by Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten for Europe and Shelflife for the rest of the world. Right now you can check to the song “Laura Palmer” as well as some background bio (and gig dates) on Shelflife’s site. It sounds great. There’s even a guest appearance of Bobby Wratten. This is definitely going to be a good one!

The Delicates from Australia’s Gold Coast are a new discovery for me on Bandcamp. Last June they uploaded 6 songs which I believe are not available in any format but streaming on here. What will you find? Laid-back sunny guitar pop here. On Bandcamp there is barely any information on the band but I did a quick google search and found out that they released their debut single “Farewell My Love” in 2014. The band is formed by Shani Ishigaki on vocals, Tennyson Tostee on guitar, Danny Neilson on guitar, Pete McAuliffe on organ, Joel Caust on bass and Joel Sparks on drums.

I kind of lost touch with Seapony. Long time ago I had one of their songs on one of the compilation 3″ CDs I did. I was very happy to see that at around the same time the band started getting a lot of attention and they released some very fine albums too. I though the band was no more. To my surprise I noticed that the band will be releasing a new 6-song EP on August 24th titled “Be Here Again”. There is only one song available to listen so far on their Bandcamp, the opening one, “Be Here Again”, and it is classic-Seapony. I wonder if this will be released in any physical format or not, there’s very little information, it is all a mystery.

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As you know I’m trying to democratize the blog, and with that in mind, cover bands from different countries and not just let England monopolize it. It is most probably true that England is the country that produced more indiepop, but we can’t forget that this is an international scene, a worldwide scene. And so I’ll continue with this revolving door of countries until I have to start again. For example my friend Alex mentioned Greece. Indeed Greece has produced many indiepop bands and for some reason I didn’t think of it. So I should try to do a post about some obscure Greek band. Maybe the next one? This time around I decided to do some investigation on a band from Wales, Southville.

I wonder where Southville took their name. I feel because they were in the same island as Bristol they might have taken it from an inner city ward of the aforementioned city. Maybe we’ll get to solve that mystery. Or not.

Southville were based in Aberystwyth, Wales. Aberystwyth is a historic market town, administrative centre, and holiday resort within Ceredigion, West Wales, often colloquially known as Aber. It is located near the confluence of the rivers Ystwyth and Rheidol. Historically part of Cardiganshire, since the late 19th century, Aberystwyth has also been a major Welsh educational centre, with the establishment of a university college there in 1872. At the 2001 census, the town’s population was 15,935; it was reduced to 13,040 at the 2011 Census. During nine months of the year, there is an influx of students—to a total number of 10,400 as of September 2012. Including the suburbs of Llanbadarn Fawr, the population is 16,420.

I wanted to go there when I visited Wales some years ago. Sadly my vacations didn’t have enough days. I hope next time I visit. I do own though the first Southville 7″ and I just ordered their second from Discogs. Happily their records are not expensive, they have a proper price. Both of the Southville records were to come out on the small early 90s indiepop label Pillarbox Red that was run by Andrew Austin from Lewes. It is kind of far Lewes from Aberystwyth, it is closer to Brighton. I wonder how they got in touch. Lewes has a castle that I want to visit someday though.

The first Southville appearance on Pillarbox wasn’t one of their singles. It was on a compilation 7″ titled “Tales From The Pillarbox” (POST 2) that was released in 1992. In it Southville appears contributing the song “Sea Song”. The other bands on this compilation were Huggy’s Ice Cools, The Pristines and Cellophane.

The next release on the label, POST 3, was going to be Southville’s first release. “Looking From a Hilltop” 7″ came out in 1992 and included four songs, two on each side. On the A side there was “Looking from a Hilltop” and “Never Live You Down”, whereas on the B side there was “16th of April” and “This Town”. The songs were recorded in November of the previous year. The songs are credited to be written by J. Brenton and R. Williams.

In 1994, on POST 5, the band was to appear on another compilation. The song “My Fleet” was the opening track of “Transatlantic Pop Explosion”, another compilation 7″ that had bands also from the US, hence the name. We find here The Serenas, Tattle Tale, Musical Chairs, Orange Cake Mix, The Temperance League and Paint. On the Southville song an Emma is credited as performer.

I’ve been going in order when it comes to Pillarbox Red catalog, but not chronologically. 2 years earlier, in 1992, Pillar Box released “Inside and Out” (POST 7), the second and last Southville 7″. It is a strange record, the same song is on both sides, on A and B. Maybe it was a play on the name of the song? I wonder. This is a beautiful song, that reminds one of Brighter.

The band was to appear on any compilations on different labels. I’ll do that recap in order.

“16th of April” was to appear in 1993’s tape compilation “Polythene Star” that was released by Flaming Katy (FK001). Many cool bands appear on it like Mary Queen of Scots, Peru, The Almanacs and more.

“Walking Home” was the song that they contributed to 1993’s “Grapefruit Sunrise” cassette compilation released by Grapefruit (Grapefruit One). That same year they were to contribute another song to the same label for another tape compilation, “Underneath The Sky” appears on the tape “Lime Green” (Grapefruit Four).

On the tape “Gloomy Biscuit III”, released by Gloomy Biscuit in 1995, they were to appear with the song “Sleep”. This same song would prove somewhat popular, it was to appear on the tape compilation “The Colours of An Enchanted Dawn” on Italian label Shiny Sunset (SUNSET 9) and on 2001’s “Picnic Basket (A Shelflife International Pop Compilation)” on Shelflife Records (LIFE 020).

“Inside and Out” was to appear on two compilations. On the first Shiny Sunset compilation tape, “The Stunning Scenery of a Shiny Sunset” and on the CD “AM FM ETC” that was released by Enraptured in 2015 (RAPTCD 73). I’ll talk more about this compilation in a bit. There’s a lot to say about it.

They were to appear on two more of the Grapefruit tapes. On the sixth one titled “Meet Disco Girl!” (Grapefruit Six) they had “This is the Way Things Happen” and on the eight one, “Early Eighties Girl” (Grapefruit Eight) they contributed the song “Fireman”.

Lastly on a tape released by Meller Welle Produkte (MEL 23) titled “Fairy Tales” the band had two songs: “Sometimes I Think We Are the Strangest Things” and “The Last Time”.

That covers the discography I think. Time to look into blogs.

My friend Alex who has the blog 7iete Pulgadas has also reviewed “Looking From a Hilltop” though this time around there’s not much more information in there. Shelflife also has a post about Southville, but again not much info. I keep looking.

I find an entry on the blog Pyrolysebred dating from July 2012. In it I find the names of the Southville band members and more. It says: Southville duo John Brenton and Rhys Williams are releasing a new 7″ single this month under the moniker Tonfedd Oren, which according to the label’s website is Welsh for Orange Wavelength. More info on Enraptured Records. Of course, I click on the link to Enraptured Records and it doesn’t work.

That information takes me to the Piccadilly Records website. Here is the item listing for “AM FM ETC”, the CD I mentioned earlier. So this compilation is a “best of” compilation of all the bands John Brenton had been involved including Metrotone, Landshipping, Ohn, Tonfedd Oren and of coure Southville. There’s just one song by Southville, and many more by the other bands.

On the same website I find a 7″ by Tonfedd Oren. Here the cool thing is that there is actually some information about Southville. It says:
Williams and Brenton met when they were students in Aberystwyth, Williams being a veteran of several Welsh language bands, none of which took themselves too seriously. Recognising a similar taste in music, they started swapping 7″ singles from Welsh post-punk bands (“I think I learnt 50% of the Welsh I know through deciphering Datblygu lyrics”, says Brenton), post-C86 indie and cassettes of obscure guitar bands from America’s Pacific Northwest. They then started recording together on a 4-track cassette machine and released singles and compilation tracks under the name Southville on Brighton-based Pillarbox Red Records, before parting company to explore other musical avenues. Having stayed friends over the years, Williams and Brenton concluded that it was high time they worked together on something new, Tonfedd Oren is the fruit of that labour.

Finally! Some information! It kind of paints a picture. Now I wonder where they originally Welsh? Or were they just studying there? At least Rhys Williams seems to have been Welsh, it says he had been in many Welsh language bands. I would love to hear them.

Where else should I look? Youtube of course. I was to find a bunch of Southville recordings on Tim Alborn’s account. Mind you, Tim from the classic Harriet Records. He has 4 songs that supposedly come from a 1994 tape titled “Southville”. The songs being “Sleep“, “From This Day“, “She Says” and “Generous“. All four are brilliant, do check them out. Jangle heaven.

He has also uploaded the two rare songs from the Meller Welle tape, “Last Time” and “I Think We Do the Strangest Things“.

I couldn’t find much more information about Southville. Of course there’s information about Metrotone, and quite a bit. But I’m curious about Southville. About their music, why they didn’t release more records having written so many songs? Or if they played often as a two-piece? Who was that Emma who played in one of their songs? Would love to know more. I couldn’t even find a photo of them, how did they look like? Anyone remembers them?

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Listen
Southville – Inside and Out

11
Aug

This week I saw many friends posting about a new compilation titled “Neon Maniacs” that is going to be released on Cassette Store Day (whatever that is, are there cassette stores in the world?) by Girlsville Records from Chicago and Nerve Centre from Falmouth. There were two bands on it that I was interested for sure, The Darling Bands and The BV’s. And it was no surprise that the songs they contributed to it were among my favourites. The Darling Buds cover The Go-Go’s “Our Lips are Sealed” and it is pretty good! And then The BV’s have an oringalsong, “The Sheep Look Up”, and it is a dreamy nice lo-fi one. Other songs I enjoyed (you can only listen to the whole thing on this website – it seems it is becoming more and more common this ‘premiere’, ‘exclusive’ thing on the web were you can only listen the whole thing on particular sites and not anymore on Bandcamp where you can actually only listen to 2 songs, and I’m not liking it very much, what’s there to gain doing this, someone illustrate me?). Anyhow other songs to check out are The Primitives’ “Really Stupid” cover by Atomic Suplex Ft Hillary Burton and  The Prissteens “You’re Gonna Lose”. The rest is a mish-mash of punk, garage, and shouty stuff that I’m personally not into.

Our friend Sebastian Voss who used to be in the Grindcore Poppies, who I interviewed on the blog, has a new album with his project The Fisherman and His Soul. “A Certain Kind of Hug” is available to stream on Bandcamp for free. There are in total 8 songs and they are a mix of styes, from synthpop to lo-fi and more. I particularly love the song “Bravado!” which is straight-up indiepop and could have been part of the handful of songs the Grindcore Poppies left behind, and I’m sure you’ll like it too.

Speaking of friends, and friends who post music links on Facebook, I noticed on one of those posts a band from Ystrad Mynach, Wales, named The Autumn Set. I thought that it is a very indiepop sounding name, I should listen to them. And even though I feel their influences are closer to folk music, to Nick Drake as they say, I listened happily to the 4 songs they have on Bandcamp, “The Girl From Crescent Gardens”, “Where The Land Meets the Sky”, “Listen to Al” and “All By Yourself (You Will Be Fine)”,  and I thought, this is really good. It is poppy and catchy! The band is formed by Sheena, Mike, Charlie, Lou and Jake, and I wonder why Indietracks, who seem to love their folky bands, can’t book a band of this quality and not some silly folk nonsense!

The Clientele will be releasing a new album, “Music for the Age of Miracles”, on September 22 on Merge for North America and Tapete for the rest of the world. Because of that the band is already promoting it with a new video for the song “Everyone You Meet” which was just released this week. It sounds really pretty, time to pre-order the album? Hopefully they come back to the US as well.

John Girgus from Aberdeen has a new CD available and it is meant to be a companion to the previously released “What Do I Wish For Now: Singles 1994-2012” and “It Was The Rain: Lost Recordings 1993-1995”. This new CD is a compilation of rarities, compilation tracks, tributes and tracks only available digitally. It is titled “Grey Skies Don’t Last: Extras 1992-2012” and has 13 songs. It also has a very good price, just $7.99. You can stream all songs from Bandcamp and hopefully I can order it in the next few few days.

My last discovery comes from Montreal in Canada. The band has the simple name Corridor and have a few releases under their belt. Their last album is titled “Supermercado” and even though it is not strictly indiepop I found a handful of worthy jangle pop songs on it. So I’ll tell you which songs to listen to satisfy your chiming guitar needs. I think my favourite is “Le grand écart”, and then you can follow listening to “Coup d’épée”, “L’espoir sans fin” and “Demain déjà”. The album is available on vinyl LP, CD and cassette.

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As I was saying on my previous post, as I’m doing this sort of carousel of countries, trying to vary the origin of the obscure bands I’ve been featuring here, trying to avoid England monopolizing the blog, it is time for an Australian band.

I first came face to face with The Honeys thanks to Peter Hahndorf from Twee.net. On the blog I’ve mentioned many times two CDRs he gave me that he titled “The Sound of Glen Waverley”, at the time he was planning to do something similar to The Sound of Leamington Spa series but with Australian bands. This project never came to life but to me those CDRs were an introduction to a bunch of 80s and early 90s bands that were truly great. It is no surprise then that on the blog I’ve featured The Sometimes, The Mandelbrot Set, Chrysalids or The MacGuffins, all bands that were on that double CDR.

When it comes to The Honeys, I kind of prepared the way for this post in the early days of the blog. I wrote about Catherine Wheel, the band that formed The Honeys band members after they split. You can check my Catherine Wheel investigation dating from January 2009 here.

In Rateyourmusic I found the whole lineup for the two periods the band was around:
Andrea Croft (vocals), Bruce Begley (guitar), Grant Shanahan (bass), Michael “Blue” Dalton (slide guitar, harmonica, 1987-89), Matt Galvin (guitar, 2007-present), Lloyd Ghi (drums, 2007-present), Brett Thomson (drums, 1987-89), Phil Rawlinson (drums, 1987)

That’s important to mention. The band was around the late 80s and in 2007 or so they reformed to play shows and release an album. Speaking of albums, their debut wasn’t a single or an EP, it was an album. And that is quite strange, isn’t it? So I decided to go straight to Discogs and explore their discography.

The band hailed from Perth though if I want to be more exact, they would hail from Fremantle.

Fremantle is a major Australian port city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829.b It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 27,000. The city is named after Captain Charles Fremantle, the English naval officer who established a camp at the site on 2 May 1829. The city contains well-preserved 19th century buildings and other heritage features. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is Freo. The Nyungar name for the area is Walyallup.

Their releases were to be released on the classic Australian label Waterfront, an eclectic label that released some very fine indiepop like Club Hoy or The Widdershins. Because of that the Perth band was to move to Sydney where the label was based. That first album was titled “Goddess” and came out in July 1988. The catalog number was DAMP 75. The album had 10 songs, on the A side there was “Against the Elements”, “Wood for the Trees”, “Goddess”, “Fire and Brimstone” and “Bells of Spring”. On the B side, “Tears of Fallen”, “Thoughts”, “Damaris’ Lament”, “Insecurity Express” and “Texans”. The album was recorded at Poons Head Studios in Perth. The producer was John Bassett with the assistance of Rob Grant. Michael ‘Blue’ Dalton added slide guitar and harmonica in the record whereas Marie Carruthers took care of the photography of the jacket. A promo video was made for “Against the Elements“.

I sadly don’t own that album (as of yet), but I do own the 7” they released the same year. The A side is probably my favourite song by The Honeys and its name is “The Man Who Was Through With the World“. And yes, there was a promo video for that song as well. The B side was “Sick”. I also really like the cover art of this record which is credited to Jenny Grigg. The A side was recorded at Rich Studios in September 1988 and the producer was Colin Bloxsom while the B side was recorded at Sound Barrier Studios that same month and produced by The Hound (an early Game of Thrones reference?? definitely not). The engineer for these songs was John Hresc. The photo on the back cover was taken by Tony Mott and James Cruickshank, from The Widdershins, contributed piano and organ.

The band was to release a second 7″, this time with no artwork but in the classic Waterfront Records standard sleeve. It was a double A single, where the A side was “Gone Away” and the AA was “Monster”. On Youtube I found an upload by Grant Shanahan, the bassist, where he mashes up the song “Monster” with Ben Lee’s “Catch My Disease” from 2005. Bruce Begley had told Grant that the songs shared a lot of similarities. Grant says that they have the same chord progression, but that even though the songs are complementary, that melody and phrasing are similar, they aren’t exactly the same.

Their second album came in 2007. I found an interview dating of 2008 where Bruce Begley talks with the author of the blog WebCuts Music about the band’s reunion and the new album “Star Baby”. It does give some background of what was going at the time. For example it was interesting that after Catherine Wheel split Andrea Croft returned to Perth. That was to make difficult for any reunion until of course the internet and some convincing made the three core members, Grant, Bruce and Andrea, get together again. Then I find an article on the Sydney Morning Herald dating from 2008. Here Croft tells how she was convinced by Bruce and Grant to record again. This time they released the CD album on the label Origin (OR 004). I suppose the connection with the label was through Grant whose band Eva Trout had released some records with them. The album had 12 songs, “Kiss Me Kate”, “Hollywood”, “Dead Man”, “In the Sun”, “Veronica Says”, “I Couldn’t Win”, “Always Worked the Railways”, “Living Dead”, “Lightning”, “Forever Mine”, “Run Run” and “Star Baby”. The songs were recorded at Air Raid Studios and Leisure Suit Studios. Louise Cook did the art for the record with photography by Bek-Jean Stewart and Kathy Moore. The record got contributions from John Gauci on organ, piano and guitar, Paul Dunn on drums and Matthew Galvin on acoustic and electric guitar. There are videos for “Kiss Me Kate” and “In the Sun“.

At least two gigs happened in 2007 in Western Australia. The band played Creatures Loft and Balmoral Hotel.

There was a compilation double CD released by Phantom (PHCD48_1) released in 1995. On this CD was included practically everything that was recorded by the band. The first CD included “Gone Away”, “Monster”, “Rain”, “The Man Who Was Through With the World”, “Sick” “Second Home Coming”, “I Dreamed Last Night”, “Run Run”, “Drowning Heart”, “Fading Fascination”, “Blood of Cain”, “Coco Pops”, “Picture” and “Pray for Rain”. The second CD is the “Goddess” album plus two extra tracks “Wood For the Trees (Live at the Wireless)” and “Bells of Spring (Live at the Wireless)”. I think this is the release I need to track down! Where to find it? On Discogs it has never been sold! Ever!

They were to appear on compilations too. In 1989 they contributed the song “Gone Away” to the Rude Records / Waterfront Records (RUDE 004/DAMP 121) compilation “I Could’a Been a Contender”. It was released on CD and LP. Then in 1991 they were to appear on an English compilation, on the venerable Rutland Records. On the “Shiver Me Timbers” tape they were to contribute the same song, “Gone Away”.

The band was also featured on the classic Australian compilation “Like Flies in the Face Of” where they appear with the song “Monster” along so many classic bands like Even As We Speak, The Hummingbirds or The Summer Suns.

I continue digging and I found some very sad news. Last December 2016 Bruce Begley passed away. A remembering event happened earlier this year, on February 12, when The Honeys , Flicker, The Snow Leopards and friends played Bruce’s songs.

After the split of The Honeys in the 80s band members went to form Eva Trout, Snow Leopards, Pollyanna among other bands.

There is a blog named “History of Aussie Music” that has a 2013 entry about The Honeys. There are some interesting fact here. For example it mentions that the band was resident artist at pubs like Surry Hill’s Evening Star or Glebe’s Harold Park Hotel. That the band toured in an old Holden HG.

My last stop before closing this “investigation” ends up being Youtube once again. I found Grant Shanahan account where he uploaded videos of the time when they were recording their second album. I found audio and footage for “Hollywood” as well  as a video of them at Leisure Suit Studios.

I only own the one 7″. I think now I should focus in finding the “Ultimo” double-CD and then their second album. I hope I do. But I wonder if there were any other unreleased songs that weren’t included in any of those two releases. I couldn’t find much more information, but I believe they were very well regarded by Australian indie types in the late 80s and 90s. Their songs were really good which means I need to check out other projects they were involved with. But what about you? Do you remember them?

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Listen
The Honeys – The Man Who Was Through With the World