Let’s start a new week with what we like. indiepop music! I’ll go back to the old format, I’ll write down the new music discoveries as a list.

New Tigers: the band finally has released, through their label Soliti’s Soundcloud, their new single that will be part of their forthcoming third album. And it is a goodie!!

Big Red Bus: this is very cool news, the classic band that released some fantastic records in the 80s will get a retrospective on Firestation Records. The CD titled “Youth and Other Hiccups: 1989 – 1992” is one not to be missed. You can preview a couple of tracks on the label’s Soundclod. Do check “Valleys & Peaks” and “All I Need” and you’ll understand why I’m looking forward to this album. The album was released just a few days ago, on the 27th!

Rosedal: I only could find one song by this Argentinean band that hails from the city of Rosario. The song is titled “Cuatro Letras” (Four Letters) and it seems it is just a preview of what it is coming up next. Yes, from what I read this song will be part of an album the band is working on. There is not much more information on their Bandcamp or their Facebook.

Softsurf: the Japanese dreampop band will release their first EP, “Into the Dream”, on November 8th on all digital outlets. Will there be a physical release? I don’t know. It doesn’t look like it. Their website has no information. I have to rely on their Facebook and will keep looking if there’s anything announced. For the time being we can listen to one of the songs on their SoundCloud and it is a very fine slice of shoegaze titled “Blue Swirl”. There is also some sort of sampler for the EP there where you can listen small clips for all the songs on it. The band is formed by Nobuaki Kitamura on guitar and vocals, Yuki Udono on vocals and tambourine, Yohei Maruyama on guitar, Yutaka Mukoda on bass and Mitsuko Ito on drums.

Cookie Romance Nonsugar: another very fine Japanese band I discover. As I said on one of my last posts, there are so many great bands appearing in Japan these days, like a sort of golden age for guitar pop, especially when it comes to shoegazey bands, dreampop bands. The band has just released their second EP, “Shell EP”, which is a self-released CD and it includes four songs all written and sung in Japanese. This is their second effort after the “Dawn EP” CDR that was released early this year. The band is formed by Kawai on vocals and guitar, Atsuko on backing vocals and guitar and Takeshi on bass. You can listen to three of their songs on the linked SoundCloud.

Twelve Fluffy Chair: even more Japanese pop for all of you. Hailing from Kyoto and with a very twee name, this quartet formed by Saki Muranobu on vocals, guitar and keys, Ryo Katayama on guitar and backing vocals, Nozomi Kamihama on bass and Manato Yasui on drums, have released so far two EPs on the label Rhinestone Records. The first in 2012 and the second in 2016. Both of the EPs had 3 songs. The first one, “Airless”, had the songs “Vega”, “Plain” and “Torso”. The second, “B A R”, had “Wednesday”, “A/Part” and “Estoppel”. Sadly the SoundCloud has mostly clips for the songs, no complete ones. It is a shame, I don’t understand why they don’t have instead of 5 or so clips, one or two complete songs. But well, it is the band’s decision. In any case they are very promising songs and would love to track down their records!

The Waterafalls: And lastly, another Japanese band. This Tokyo band didn’t release anything this year but I only got to hear them for the first time now. They did release their debut EP last year. It was self-titled and self-released on a CDR and it had 4 songs, “Ride”, “Somewhere”, “Fall” and “Open”. I especially like the second one, with some blissful and whimsical girl vocals. You can listen to the four songs and two demos on their SoundCloud. I wish I knew more about them and also wish I could find a copy of their sold out EP. Another very nice Japanese band. Definitely there’s something great going on in the land of the rising sun. I must visit soon!


An obscure band and country when it comes to guitar pop. Right, that’s what I’ll do for the 32nd featured band in the “indiepop world tour”.

It is for sure that only lately we’ve heard of Russian bands. I feel like Motorama was the band that spearheaded the new Russian indie music. Then we’ve heard many more bands like Verbludes or Малыш Камю who are truly terrific. But what happened before all of that? Was there any interesting music being done in Russia? I had to do some research, out of curiosity, and just for these special features I’m doing for the blog, trying to find bands from all around the world, showing what different countries produced in the field of guitar pop. In the end I was lucky and I found the shoegaze/dreampop band Futbol!

These days it feels pretty damn right the name Futbol for a Russian band. Next year there will be the football World Cup in that country. Even better, the city were Futbol were from, Rostov-on-Don, will be a host city in the world cup. The Rostov Arena will host many of the group stage matches.

Rostov-on-Don: known from the time of Herodotus as a land of warlike Scythians, the endless steppes of the Don river basin eventually became home to the freedom-loving Cossacks.
Founded in: 1749
Population: 1.1 million
Distance to Moscow: 1109 km
The flamboyant Cossack culture is still prevalent in Rostov-on-Don, a modern city of one million inhabitants overlooking the beautiful Don river. The village of “Starocherkasskaya”, located 27 kilometres from Rostov-on-Don, is the former capital of the Don Cossacks. Today it is a museum city and one of the area’s main tourist attractions. Despite its profound history, Rostov-on-Don resembles a young and fresh city. The streets are romantically named Harmonious, Creative and Lucky streets. Here one can find the most unusual monuments: to a water pipe or to a newspaper reader. River Don provides the city with the serene and picturesque sand beaches and unique cuisine, featuring fish and crayfish dishes. Rostov-on-Don is situated about 1,000 kilometres southeast of Moscow and is a key transport and cultural hub of southern Russia.

I first stumbled with the band on Youtube when I heard the song “Звезда”. This translates to star. I thought that it was a pretty good song and wondered why no one has ever recommended me their music or why no one talks about them? Maybe they are really that obscure? I admit not knowing a thing about them so to be fair to them and you I will start doing some indiepop archaeology, see what I can find on the web!

It is not going to be an easy task, Russian is a language I don’t understand at all. Even worse, the Cyrillic alphabet is also something I don’t understand. But with patience and some luck I’m sure I’ll find the details I need. And I’m not mistaken, I found the website Lo-Fi Life which covers Rostov’s indie music. There I find a pretty good biography of the band which I try to read with Google Translate.

First things first, the band members:
Sergei Hevelev on vocals and guitar
Sergey Cherevkov on drums
Valery Kalkutin on bass
Alexey Hevelev on keyboards
Vladimir Karpov on guitar
Alexander Levchenko on guitar

On the biography it says the band was heavily influenced by the 80s sound of Manchester. It mentions other bands that were around the time too which now I’m curious to listen like Helen (Элен), Sputnik East (Спутник Восток), Matrosskaya Tishina (Матросская Тишина) or Infantil e Cans. Actually it is from the ashes of the latter that Futbol was to be born. Valery, Sergei and Alexei were in Infantil e Cans. Is there any music available by Infantil e Cans?

The band was formed in 2001 in Bataysk and they rehearsed in the premises of a local cafe that was owned by Vadim Dmitrienko who used to be the bass player on Sputnik East. This town lies 15 kilometers southwest of Rostov. For some reason the band decided to move, and established finally in Rostov. It is when they were in this city that Alexander and Vladimir joined the band. Alexander had been in bands like Man Cho, Nyk Antares and Urblud Dramader. Also we get to know that Sergey Cherevkov had been involved with Helen and Sputnik East. Seems it was a very incestuous scene, everyone having been part of many of the Rostov bands.

It is said that they chose the name Futbol because they loved going to see matches at the stadium. Were they followers of Rostov FC? Will they attend the world cup matches? I would. Maybe if my country qualifies next month I will see them there.

During their lifetime the band played only a few concerts, either four or five, and seems their sound differed to that in studio. In studio the band got the help of Sasha Cho who helped created a wall of guitar noise and keyboards whereas when they played live that wall of sound wasn’t present.

Their discography only has one record, the compilation “2003-2005”. All of their recordings were included in this record I think. I am guessing here a bit as the band doesn’t appear on Discogs. I don’t even know in what sort of format was released. I will guess on a CD. There were 10 songs on it: “Звезда”, “Мне пора”, “Война”, “Время”, “Закрой глаза”, “Самолет”, “Сумасшедший”, “Северный ангел”, “Жигули (alt. mix)” and “Закрой глаза (alt. mix)”. It also mentions a compilation “Jeronimo!” but there is no tracklist for it.

Then I find the website VK which looks kind of like Facebook. Not sure what it is to be honest. But here I find that you can stream 8 songs by the band. That’s really good news. There is even a video Alexander Levchenko posted for The X-Brothers. I am assuming this is the band members of Futbol are involved in now. And yes, that is the case. I was to find a Bandcamp for XBrothers where a 4 song EP titled “XBRobots” is available to stream. I notice Sergei Hevelev and Sergey Cherevkov are involved. They mention The Wedding Present and My Bloody Valentine as influences in their new band.

Time to look for stuff by Futbol on Youtube. I am lucky. I find a live gig clip of them playing “Звезда” and also “Мне пора“. There’s another clip for “Звезда“. For both cases I don’t know where were these gigs played.

There is also some information about Alexey Hevelev on the Russian Wikipedia. There it mentions that aside of being in the band he is also a pianist and a pedagogue. He has won the Governor’s Prize for his contribution to the development of culture in the Rostov Region in 2013. He also has a long career as a composer writing numerous piano cycles, string quartets, quintets and more. He even had a composition published in 1989 when he was only 10 years old. And that’s not all, at 15 he joined the Rostov State Conservatory becoming the youngest student in the history of this conservatory.

What about the other band members? And how come someone trained in classical music ends up playing the sort of music Futbol played? It is not that common.

I don’t know much more about them. It is not very easy to find information with their very simple name. Even harder when it comes that I need to search in Russian. But would be interesting to know what was on “Jeronimo!”. Or if their releases were a CD or something else. If they had unreleased songs. Where did they play those four or five songs? How did their previous band Infantil e Cans sounded like? What are they doing now? If they got much attention from abroad? How was that scene in Rostov in the early 2000s?

It seems the band was around up until 2010, and it seems they split quietly. Were their influence important to the new wave of bands that were to appear in Rostov-on-Don afterwards? Maybe our Russian readers could help shed some light!


Futbol – Звезда


Let’s end the week with a 3rd post and on a high-mark!

Probably the biggest news this week after the C86 book was that of the “Revolutionary Spirit” boxset. Yes Cherry Red knows how to milk the cow, and will release another boxset this time featuring bands from the Liverpool scene from 1976 to 1988. Just like the Manchester box set that was released not too long ago (which I still haven’t ordered yet). I’m no fan of Cherry Red as you all know, but it is always hard to resist to these sort of releases. I wonder though if there will be any rare tracks on it. So far only the artists have been announced on their Facebook page:

DISC ONE – 1976-1980:
Deaf School
Big In Japan
Echo And The Bunnymen
Ded Byrds
The Dance Party
The Teardrop Explodes
Lori And The Chameleons
Nightmares In Wax
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Jaqui & Jeanette
Clive Langer And The Boxes
Glass Torpedoes
The Original Mirrors
The Moondogs
The Planets
The Chuddy Nuddies
Spitfire Boys
Geisha Girls

DISC TWO – 1980-1981:
Dalek I
A Flock Of Seagulls
Ellery Bop
The Nice Men
Freeze Frame
Attempted Moustache
Afraid Of Mice
Cook Da Books
Chinese Religion
Hambi And The Dance
Egypt For Now
Those Naughty Lumps
Modern Eon
A Formal Sigh
The Moderates

DISC THREE – 1982-1983:
The Wild Swans
China Crisis
Pink Industry
Passion Polka
Box Of Toys
The Bamboo Fringe
Steve Lindsey
Ex Post Facto
Chain Of Command
Ambrose Reynolds
Royal Family And The Poor
Will Sergeant
Shiny Two Shiny
Icicle Works
It’s Immaterial
Public Disgrace
Send No Flowers
The Room
The Balcony (Mk I)
The Turquoise Swimming Pools

DISC FOUR – 1983-1985:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Mr Amir
Brenda And The Beach Balls
The Lotus Eaters
Dead Or Alive
Virgin Dance
Alternative Radio
The Cherry Boys
The Light
Pale Fountains
The Balcony (Mk II)
The High Five
The Press Gang
Western Promise
Old Ma Cuxsom and the Soapchoppers
The Rioutous Hues
Marshmallow Overcoat

DISC FIVE – 1986-1988:
Jegsy Dodd And The Sons Of Harry Cross ‎
The La’s
Magic Carpets
Benny Profane
The Tempest
The Onset
The Tractors
Cyclic Amp
The DaVincis
The Walking Seeds
Ministry Of Love
A Game Of Soldiers
Exhibit B
Thomas Lang
Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus

It is good to see some bands we love like A Game of Soldiers, The Tempest, Jactars, Benny Profane, Exhibit B and more. Hopefully there will be some new guitar pop discoveries here. We’ll see. One can only hope. Also I hope the booklet gets better. I feel since their first boxset booklets on the Cherry Red releases have only unimportant information, no details, no nothing. Sometimes even the facts are wrong. Sometimes even bands don’t even know they are on these compilations. That’s one reason I’m very happy that Firestation is back releasing their Leamington Spa series because they do such a better job, with less resources. We can’t let Cherry Red win with mediocrity. I want Cherry Red, because they have the money, be a proper fine indie label, respectful and supporting, not just on their own caring only about their pockets, and most important, releasing top notch releases. I hope this Liverpool one is like that. The bands on it deserve that.

I recommended the Indonesian band Closure back in April. Now it is time to recommend them again as they released a CD-R split single with another Indonesian band, Strangeways. The split single is superb. It has been released by the labels Let’s Kiss a Secret and O Pamela Records from Jakarta and has two songs, one by each band. Closure contributes the song “Warehouse” and Strangeways the song “Strange Ways”. I very much recommend this!

Also remember that I recommended a song by Papa Topo from the soundtrack of “La Maldita Primavera”? Where I said that I didn’t like the artwork at all? But that I did like the music? Well, now on Bandcamp you can stream the whole soundtrack for the films “La Maldita Primavera” and “Nos Parecía Importante”. Both films by Marc Ferrer. On this digital-only release by Elefant Records we see songs by Papa Topo and also solo efforts by Papa Topo members like Adrià Arbona or Masoniería who is Sonia from Papa Topo. A very kitschy release but definitely catchy and enjoyable. Music is great, I just can’t stand the cheesy art!!

What about San Diego band Mittens? I think I’ve heard of other bands with the same name. I’m not completely sure. I found them on Bandcamp today and they have an album that is set to be released on November 4th that is titled “Endlessly”. I think it will be available as a CD soon on their Bandcamp. I hope so. This is very fine American indiepop, in the long tradition of so many bands, from Tiger Trap, All Girl Summer Fun Band to more obscure bands like the ones on the Kittridge catalog. The band is formed by Ramona McCarthy on vocals and guitar, Lia Dearborn on vocals and bass, Paul H. Ryu on vocals, lead guitar and keyboard and Matthew Burke on vocals and drums. The album includes 11 sweet songs and this is not their first release, you can also check on their page their first self-titled album.

Lastly if you missed the now sold out CD EP for Saint Etienne’s “Dive” the band has now released the 12″ for it. It doesn’t have the same tracklist sadly, because sadly I was one of the ones that missed that CD EP, so clueless I was about it that it was only after Carrick told me I had to get it at their gig, I noticed how dumb I had been. Of course the merch stall had no copies. The 12″ is now available on the band’s website and includes “Dive (3.35 Edit)”, “Dive (Colorama & Shawn Lee Remix)”, “Dive (Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye Remix)” and “Dive (Matt Berry Remix)”. A bunch of remixes. I wish I had the original songs that were included in the EP!


Finally I figured out which band I should showcase when it comes to Hong Kong (and the 31st in this recap), JoyTrendySound! It was not an easy choice, especially because I’m not that familiar with their music. I knew the one song, “Vegetables”, but didn’t know the rest of their output. So I decided it was time to explore. At the same time other options weren’t easy to find. I couldn’t find any songs by the previous bands Dejay from The Pancakes was involved like Tricycle Riders, The Postcard or Ginger Biscuits. I also read about Kitmatic on old emails by the indiepop-list but aside from one song I had on a Japanese compilation I couldn’t find much more. Happily there were a few more songs by JoyTrendySound on Youtube and that made me curious about them.

The first thing I notice is that the band were a duo formed by Mable and Ming. I also notice that on Discogs there is barely any information about them. There is barely anything about them on Discogs. The only things I could find there were a compilation contribution of Mabel, the song “Disco Disco” to the “The Buzz Chart #5” CD comp released in the UK in 2005 and an appearance on the song “Shade Shades” by the band Alok that was included in the album “29 Minutes from the End”. But no releases listed for JoyTrendySound at all.

I do find a Facebook page for the band. And from now on I notice that it is going to be extremely hard to get any information about them. I know nada in Mandarin. I will have to trust Google Translate. So first things first, let’s see what says in their bio. It says they released an EP in 2002 that was titled “微笑”.  Then in 2010 they released their second album, “未命名”. It also mentions a collaboration with a Taiwanese label as well as working with different musicians like My Little Airport, Fruitpunch, Stealstealground, Porpor Channel, The Evening Primrose, Audrey Lily, The Pancakes and more.

On the website Douban I could find the tracklist for the first EP that was released by POCH Records: “微笑“, “初夏之味“, “光阴的奥妙”, “告别黄昏“, and “夏蚀“. As there is not much information in general about the band I am linking to whatever Youtube songs I could find. I do notice that on these songs the sound of the band is much more influenced by bossa compared to the distorted guitars of the song “Vegetables” that was my introduction to them.

I then find an article on Douban about the band which I translate. I notice that their Chinese name 在草地上 doesn’t really translate to JoyTrendySound but to “In the Grass”. On this article the band is compared to Everything but the Girl and it says that the real names behind the band are Li Shumin and Chen Mingze. It also mentions that both of them were previously on another band called Laughitoff which recorded five songs between 1999 and 2000 and were released as the “Off” EP.

I look for the tracklist for their second album. I finally do find it on the Zoo Records website. Sadly here the album is already sold out. It was released by POCH Records (POCH04) in April 2010. The tracklist for this record was: “未 / M1“, “目的地 / No End”, “別站著 / Don’t Keep Standing“, “回 . 來 / Come Back”, “命 /M2“, “加加減減 / + + – –“, “樂音艷霞 / Music Continuous Breeding”,  “多吃蔬果 / Vegetables“, “名 / M3“, “小心輕放 / Fragile“, “We Are Reality / We Are Reality” and “保重(後會有期版)/ Take Care (See You Version)”. Do check “Fragile” and “Vegetables” as they are really cool videos!

I then find a small article on TimeOut Hong Kong where they are disappointed the band is not Rage Against the Machine (wtf?). There I find out the christian names for their releases. The EP would be titled “Mazzy” and the album would be “MMM” or “Untitled”.

I found a couple more songs on Youtube on the POCH Records account. There is one dating from 2014 called “分鐘像永沒完” which is quite nice and a 2012 one named “驟雨一場” . Lastly there is a 2011 called “When I Was…“. Not sure if these songs were released at all. Maybe some Hong Kong friend could help us!

Randomly, on the Japanese-German band Miniskirt website I find the tracklist for a Taiwanese compilation called “Lobo One” that was released in 2003 by White Wabbit Records. On it obviously Miniskirt appears but also JoyTrendySound with the song “Dang Wo Chong Cou Le”.

I’m not sure where to find the records. I don’t have neither one. Would love the 2nd, as “Vegetables” is such a good song. Maybe someone of my Hong Kong friends or readers could help. Would also love to know what happened to the band members? What are they doing now? If there are any unreleased songs? Where did the play? I couldn’t find any information about gigs at all! There’s so little I could find, especially there is very very little in English, but maybe there is more in Mandarin. I hope I get your help and we can find more about them!


JoyTrendySound – Vegetables


It is a Wednesday and I had enough time to continue checking out what is new in indiepopworld! Maybe, just maybe, there could be time for another post this week.

I’ll start with Indonesia and the new release of the very fine Dismantled Records from Jakarta: Cleve. At the moment it seems the two songs of the single are available digitally but from what I read on the Bandcamp there will be a CDR sometime soon. The two jangly pop songs, influenced by the sound of the first batch of Indonesian indiepop, say Annemarie, Blossom Diary or Clover, are “Jeda” and “Lagu Pagi”. Both are really nice songs! The band is formed by Omning Puri, Andi Hans Sabarudin, Peter Andrian Walandouw, Amy Amanda and Ade Kris.

Melbourne band The Newsletters, who were recommended on the blog at the time of their appearance on the CD16 compilation, have just released their new album on Buttercup Records! I’m only listening now as I write these lines and I’m hooked. There are 10 fine pop songs in total on this self-titled release. The band is formed by Conor Hutchison on guitar and vocals, Pam Hutchison on bass and Tam Matlakowski on drums. The record is only limited to 150 copies!

Probably the best find this week comes thanks to Melotron Recordings from Greece. They shared on their Facebook page three tracks by the little known UK band Pop City Arizona. The songs they shared were “Bluebell“, “Seaside” and “Girl with Mousy Hair“. They are all fantastic really, and it is no surprise. Why? Because before there was the band Mary Queen of Scots they were called Pop City Arizona. Does that make sense? If you are not familiar with Mary Queen of Scots, well you better check out their split 7” with Peru. I should get in touch and interview them, right? Anyhow, Pop City Arizona hailed from Birmingham and these three beauties date from 1990-1991. Shame they were never released properly!

Another late discovery is the band Parliamo from Perth in Scotland. From the video of their second single “Lucy” we see this band is formed by a bunch of young teenagers! That is very very cool in my book, youngsters loving jingle jangling guitars! There is not much information either on the video or on their Facebook page which is a shame. Also it seems that their songs are also only available online, no physical records as of yet. Their first single doesn’t have a video but it is streamable from Youtube and it is called “Weekend“. This first one was a bit rockier, so yeah, not as good as “Lucy”!

Jigsaw Records latest release was the Irish band Shrug Life‘s self-titled album. The 11 song CD album came out late September and was actually a co-release with the Irish label Little L. The label compares them to So Cow and The Lodger. I can see a bit of both. But what do we know about this band? Well, they are from Dublin and they are a trio formed by Danny Carroll, Josh Donnelly and Keith Broni. We also know that before releasing this album they put out a tape EP in 2015 on the label Popical Island. And that’s about it. Not much more!

Just mentioned The Lodger so I wondered what is Ben Siddall doing these days. I found out that he has set up a Bandcamp under the name Your Favourite Colour where he has been uploading songs supposedly every week. The last one was uploaded on September 8th and is called “A Quick Goodbye (demo)”. Yes, all of the uploaded songs are demos and there are six in total right now, “Former Life (demo)”, “Telephone Song (guitar demo)”, “This is Real (demo)”, “We Will Never Be Alone (demo)” and “My Only Superstar (demo)”. To make it even nicer to the fans he added lyrics to the songs. Very cool. Looking forward to a finished album hopefully!

My last recommendation is the Tokyo dreampop band Blanco. They have just added to their Bandcamp their 2nd EP which follows April’s “Kinyoubi No Yoru” EP. Like their previous effort this digital EP has 3 songs, “Heart”, “Let Me” and “Kinyoubi No Yoru”, this last one included in their previous EP but has been remastered especially for this new EP. Probably this last one is the best track out of the three but “Let Me” is also pretty damn fine! There is no much information about the band but I could find a promo video for the song “Thought of the Day” that was included in the first EP. I definitely recommend Blanco and I’m quite impressed by the numerous amount of new Japanese indiepop bands! Would Japanese fans consider this moment as a golden age for Japanese independent pop?


One country that perhaps you didn’t have in your radar, Latvia. And yes, this will be our 30th different “indiepop” country in this special feature I’ve christened the “indiepop world tour”. Time now for the band Tramplīni whose sweet sounds will definitely surprise you.

As far as I know Tramplīni is the only indiepop band to ever come from Latvia. I may be wrong, and I hope someone can prove me mistaken. I would love to hear more guitar pop from this Baltic country. So if you have any recommendations, please, you know what to do in the comments box at the bottom of this post. I discovered the band many years ago, maybe around 2007 or 2008, I can’t remember now. But what I do remember is that I found their music through Myspace. And actually, to my surprise, their Myspace still exists.

I quickly check on Google Translate what does Tramplīni mean in English. It means “springboards”! Just in case English is not your first language, why not look up what a springboard is: a strong, flexible board from which someone can jump in order to gain added impetus when performing a dive or a gymnastic movement. Afterwards I head to Discogs, my go-to website for information about bands these days. If only Discogs had the possibility to listen a song or two from the releases it would be the perfect website. I understand that couldn’t be done with big bands, bands on big labels, but indie bands? I think there could be an option for bands to be able to upload their own songs.

On Discogs there is a biography for the band: Latvian lo-fi/indie rock band Tramplīni feature Anete Kozlovska (farfisa organ, keyboards, vocals), Jānis Birznieks (guitar, vocals), Māris Peterlevics (drums, guitar), Gary Dickenson (bass) , Jānis Barlo (guitar) and Uldis Kozlovskis (bass, glockenspiel). Tramplīni originally have formed in Liepāja back in 1997, when old school mates Jānis Birznieks, Mārtiņš Rencis and two brothers Māris and Juris Peterlevics came together. In 1998 they self-released debut EP “Planētas”(Planets). After a short period of silence Tramplīni ganged up in Rīga again, when one of the most beautiful Latvian female vocalists Anete joined the band. In 2006 they self-released their 2nd five song EP “Hallo, mazie!”(Hello, Babies!), combining the best of indie, lo-fi, slow core and post rock traditions. After their 3rd EP “Ziepju trauks” (Soap Dish) in 2008 on Klausule Records, Tramplīni finally released their first full-length cd – “Švīkas” (Scratches) in 2011.

Sure, the band is a bit lo-fi. Indie-rock? Mmm could be. But I feel it is closer to indiepop. They are melodic and catchy and even if I don’t understand Latvian I want to sing along! So the band was originally formed in Liepāja and I have never heard about this town: it is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. It is an important ice-free port. In 2017 population of Liepāja is 69,443 people. In the 19th and early 20th century it was a favourite place for sea-bathers with the town boasting a fine park and many pretty gardens, and a theatre. Liepāja is however known throughout Latvia as “City where the wind is born”, likely because of the constant sea breeze. A song of the same name (Latvian: “Pilsētā, kurā piedzimst vējš”) was composed by Imants Kalniņš and has become the anthem of the city. Its reputation as the windiest city in Latvia was strengthened with the construction of the largest wind farm in the nation (33 Enercon wind turbines) nearby.

Riga, I’ve heard of course, that’s the capital. I hope to visit one day. I really do. The old town looks beautiful, and I’ve actually read quite a bit about it as I have this Lonely Planet Baltic guide from the time I visited Estonia. I was curious and started reading. Now, I need to get myself there.

The other interesting detail I get from that bio is that of Gary Dickenson. Who is he? Definitely that name doesn’t sound Latvian. It is also worth mentioning that there is a website listed but it doesn’t exist anymore. What does exist is a Bandcamp for the band were all their releases but their first one, the “Planētas” EP, are available to stream. I would start with those releases but let’ do it in chronological order.

The “Planētas” EP came out in 1998 and it was self-released. I’m guessing it was released as a CD. It included seven songs: “Planētas”, “Tuvoties”, “Zaglis”, “Patvērums”, “Bērns”, “Vienpadsmit” and “Viens Vārds”. There is not much information about it on the web and it is definitely hard for me to dig in Google for any information in Latvian. But I will try!

8 years after that first release, when the band had already moved to Riga, a new EP was to be released, the 5 song “Hallo, Mazie!” EP. This CD was also self-released and had the tracks: “Pārgājiens”, “Tas Pats”, “Šovbizness”, “Rudenī” and “Millennia”. It also includes a video for the song “Tas Pats“, which was created by Toms Vilītis, which you can actually watch on Youtube. This record was mixed at Wolk Recording Studios by Sergej “Amsterdam” and mastered at West West Side Music by Alan Douches. The cool artwork was created by Pēteris Līdaka. The credits for the music go as follow: Uldis Kozlovskis on bass, Māris Peterlēvics on drums, xylophone, guitar and organ, Jānis Barlo on guitar, Jānis Birznieks on guitars and vocals, Kaspars Majors on trombone, Konstantīns Jemeļjānovs on trumpet and Anete Kozlovska on vocals, farfisa, piano, harmonica and synths.

Then we had to wait just two years, in 2008 the band released “Ziepju Trauks” with the label Klausule (KL002). At last, the band found a label (though it might be the band’s own label? anyone can confirm this?). This CD was also an EP and again they had 5 songs on it, “Zibspuldzes”, “Mazā Paciņa”, “Labi Draugi”, “Biezpienbumba” and “Par Lietu”. This record was mastered and mixed by Jason Martin in his studios of Riverside, California. Here I see some new names on the credits, Aigar Celms as a performer, Jānis Porietis on trumpet and Virdžīnija on vibraphone. A small little press release for this record says: The third EP from Tramplini. Released on December 2008. We recorded this album in places like hotels, offices, church, home, in the wild. We wanted to make it organic in every sense. The CD cover is from recycled paper and each copy marked with a unique number. It is important to mention that a promo video was made for the song “Mazā Paciņa“.

These two last EPs were then released as a compilation titled “Tumba Rumba” in 2009.

Finally in 2011 the band was to release their very fine debut album “Švīkas”. It was also released on Klausule (KL003) and it had 9 songs on it: “Zaķusala”, “Tīrās Mokas”, “Stēvija”, “Švīkas”, “Plāksteri”, “Komunikācija”, “Tas Nemaz Nav Smieklīgi”, “Cidoniju Lauks” and “Degpunktā”. This time around the album was recorded at WeLoveSound studio in Riga. It was mixed by Brandon Eggleston at Cloud City Sound in Portland and mastered by Nick Moon at Tone Proper Mastering in Portland. The artwork was created by Daiga Krüze. Luckily I found a copy on Discogs from a Latvian seller. Hopefully it arrives soon at home. What was cool though was the very low shipping prices! How I wish there were Latvian sellers selling more indiepop and less metal!

There are two compilation appearances. The song “Tas Pats” appeared on the “Series Two Compilation Vol.1” in 2008 and “Stēvija” on the CD comp “Odekolons #14” that was released in 2014 by HUBB (a Latvian indie label).

Next stop ends up being Youtube where I found some live videos. There is a clip of the band playing the song “Patvērums” live at Hamlets in Riga on January 2007. Even better I see a very excited crowd dancing and singing along the song “Stēvija” at the Positivus festival in 2012.

I decide then that it is time to check out what other music the band members had been involved with, so I click on their names on Discogs. Anete seems to have released a solo album titled “Tik Daudz” in 2012. On this album Uldis also contributed. They both also appear on the credits for the album “16 Stundas” by the band Kārlis Kazāks that was released in 2011.

I keep looking. I find a Facebook page that was updated earlier this year for the first time. The last post is actually a song by Peter Levics called “Prelude” taken from an album titled “Narcissism and Doubts”. I have a listen. It is not indiepop, but a different thing altogether. Instrumental. Is this what Maris Peterlevics is up to these days? Or is it Juris Peterlevics? On this page I also notice that the band aside from playing the Positivus festival in 2012 also played a show the 4th of August at the Laba Daba venue in Ratnieki.

Then I found an article on the website TVNet from Latvia where they feature the band. I hope Google Translate is accurate here, I don’t want to talk nonsense! So bear with me. It seems that before the band was called Tramplini they were called Palmolive and they were based in Grobinas.

My indiepop investigation reaches a halt here. I couldn’t find any more interesting details nor I couldn’t find a way to listen to their first EP. Bummer. There is no word if the band split or if they are still going. It seems 2012 was there last year active but I might be wrong. So I wonder what happened? What are the band members doing these days? Are there any Tramplīni unreleased songs? Why did they move to Riga? Was Klausule their own label?  Are there any other Latvian indiepop bands worth mentioning?


Tramplīni – Zaķusala


Our anniversary month is almost over but we have to continue with this labour of love especially when there’s been many interesting news the past week.

Remember I recommended Lost Film a month or so ago? At that time only one of their songs was streamable. Now the Massachusetts band has many more. Why? Because the Spanish label Discos de Kirlian is releasing their Mini-LP on a beautiful 10″ vinyl. It is only limited to 100 copies and it is available to pre-order too. There are 10 songs on the record, eight of them you can listen now. Check it out, it’s really good.

Continuing with Spanish labels now we turn our head to Kocliko. The label that released not too long ago the Tomiji 7″ is back this time with two new CD albums. The first one is by the band Alligator and it is titled “Octets”. This is the first time I hear about the band so I had to find out who they were. Clearly they are French, where in France? Not sure. They are a duo formed by Alexis Da Costa and Camille Lucie. The album is limited to 123 copies and includes 8 blissful songs. The other CD is by The Very Most. “Syntherely Yours” was the album that  Jeremy released some time ago but it is finally coming out on a physical format. So that’s very good news. This record is quite cool because aside having a bunch of very fine tracks, it has collaborations with many indie household names like Adriano from Postal Blue or Lisle from Tiny Fireflies. The album has 11 tracks and you can stream them all  and order the CD right now from the label Bandcamp.

Another top news from a Spanish label is that from Pretty Olivia Records. The lovely label that is ran by Javi has reissued the album “Exit Trashtown” by the superb Cypress, Mine! Wow! I wrote an article about this band a long time ago hoping to interview them. Sadly that interview never happened, but at least I got news that Javi was working on a reissue. A lot of time has passed since, and finally this dream has come true! The record will be released in a deluxe edition, 2 vinyl records. One with the album and another one with all the singles and demos of the never released album. It will be available on October 25th, so very soon! This is terribly exciting!

Our friends from Starry Eyed Cadet have put together a limited edition EP to help the NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund. All sales are going directly to the relief and recovery efforts. As usual they are classy and lovely, and we get three new songs, “Kind”, “Reaction (Acoustic 2017)” and “Sugar (Acoustic 2017)”. Now, I hope the band releases a second album sometime soon!

Lastly the book “C86 & All That” written by Neil Taylor is going to be published on November 30th. I must say I have already preordered. For some reason the pre-order button doesn’t work anymore but you can check Ink Monkey Editions and get in touch with them and ask how to pay. I believe it was 25 pounds including shipping for anywhere in the world (of course cheaper if you are within the UK). This is a very long-awaited book which I can’t wait to read. I already like the artwork for the cover, it is very much “c86”, so now I want to read and love the stories written in it!


After my last post I decided to count how many countries have been featured on this world tour. To my surprise there were already 28 posts about 28 different bands from 28 different countries. Today it is time for number 29, Peru.

As it is the case with Latin America proper indiepop wasn’t really a staple until the 2000s. But it is also true that there have been guitar pop bands since the 1980s. Bands that were influenced by different scenes, and in today’s case, clearly influenced by the Spanish pop movement known as La Movida.

Peru has a long story of underground music. Underground punk and also post punk were important scenes during the 80s and early 90s. If you remember well, here on the blog, I’ve featured El Sueño de Alí and Voz Propia some years ago. But underground pop wasn’t really strong at all. There were just a few bands around and they didn’t release any proper records. There was barely any support for them. What’s funny though that later, in the 90s, the people that were involved in these bands would actually enjoy success. That is the case for example of Los Vagabundos who would later become Cementerio Club and also today’s band, Los Inocentes, who would become in perhaps Peru’s most important alternative band, Mar de Copas.

During the last years I was still working with Jalito on the Peruvian indiepop label Plastilina Records we discussed about the release of two albums from the Peruvian vaults: El Sueño de Alí and Los Inocentes. I thought rediscovering these gems would be important.  I’m not sure anymore if these releases will see the light of day but I really hope they do. They would rewrite the story of independent pop in Peru, as most people forget or just don’t take in consideration these bands today. It is like if they never existed.

The band actually started as a five-piece with Manolo Barrios (guitars), Toto Leverone (drums), Gustavo Jímenez (bass), Arturo Rivas (keyboards) and Raúl Mondragón (vocals). At that time they were called E Inocentes.  Years later, in 1989, the band would become a three piece after Raúl and Arturo left the band. It is at this time that were to change their name just a little bit, to Los Inocentes (The Innocents). Around this same time, Toto also joins the band La Secta and records three songs before splitting.

The next year, 1990, would see Jorge ‘Pelo’ Madueño’ joining the band to play guitar. Yes, the same Jorge Madueño from the brilliant El Sueño de Alí. With this new lineup the band recorded 14 songs at the Miki González studios, “Calles Ruidosas”, “El Condor Pasta”, “Isabel”, “Entre las Nubes y el Mar”, “La Rumbambera”, “Popurrí Leonardo Favio”, “Flores Raras”, “Una Mujer de Verdad”, “Aun No Sé”, “Cuéntame”, “La Copa Rota”, “Ya No Puedo Verte Más”, “Lluvia de Color” and “Dime Cuándo Tú a Mi”. These songs, worth an album, remain unreleased to this day. A shame really.

It is worth mentioning that two of those songs were covers, of course the musical medley of Leonardo Favio’s songs on “Popurrí Leonardo Favio” and La Copa Rota, original of José Feliciano. The rest were all original songs.

I read on a small biography available on the Mar de Copas website that the band tried hard to have their songs played on Peruvian radio but they had no luck whatsoever. That they played sporadically at venues like Nirvana and No Helden in Lima. What they did manage was to play in some TV shows. One of those TV shows was the kid’s show “El Show de July”. I could find a Youtube clip from that appearance when they play the song “Isabel“. From what I gather this was the 2nd song they played that time. I can’t seem to find a clip for the first one sadly.

Their other TV appearances were in 1988 on the “La Ruleta Millonaria” programme and in 1990 on the “En América con Jaime Bayly”. Sadly I couldn’t find any video clips.

The next year, 1991, the band split after playing a gig at the Wifala venue in Miraflores, Lima. In 1992 Manolo and Toto were to start a new project called Mar de Copas and the rest is history.

Their only appearance in a physical record dates from many years after the band split, 1997. The band had two songs on a compilation CD titled “La Generación Perdida” released by APU Records (CD-00002). On this compilation the had “La Copa Rota” and “Lluvia de Color”.

Surely, there is a lot on the web about Mar de Copas. But I still decide to find out more about Los Inocentes. There might be something else. And definitely there was. I find out that in 2008 there was a reunion gig at La Noche venue in Barranco, Lima. 18 years after they had split. It was an important occasion. Mar de Copas was celebrating the 9th year anniversary of their mailing list. Sharing the bill were other Mar de Copas related bands like Los Trece Baladas and Hnos. Brothers. On this special gig the band played almost all of the 14 songs the band recorded but two, “La Rumbambera” and “Aún No Sé”. Here I found them playing their classic “Lluvia de Color“.  Another rare find is a medley of Los Inocentes‘ songs played by Mar de Copas while practicing before the aforementioned gig.

Not much more about the band on the web. Would be nice to know more details about them, like which songs they played at their TV show appearances? Where did they play gigs and who supported them? If they had any more recordings? And if there are still plans for those songs to be released in some way or another?!


Los Inocentes – Flores Raras‎


Still enjoying the 9th anniversary of the blog and continuing with this ongoing blog feature or reviewing on each post different bands from different countries celebrating how international indiepop is and has been. But first it is time to check out some new discoveries, new indiepop sounds, from around the web!

A new song by Papa Topo has appeared on the Elefant Records’ Youtube: the short but sweet Debbie Harry cover, “Me Besaste”. This song is part of the soundtrack of the films “La Maldita Primavera” and “Nos Parecía Importante” which will be released by Elefant as a digital album. On it there are 7 Papa Topo songs, another 7 by Adrià Arbona, Papa Topo’s vocalist, and one by Masonieria, Sonia from Papa Topo. I’m not very keen on the artwork for the record, looks terribly cheesy, but as it will be MP3 it doesn’t matter. The song is great though and I look forward to hearing the rest (well, we have already heard and recommended on the blog the track “La Llamada” which is brilliant!).

Underground Lovers from Australia. Have you heard them? They sound pretty ace. I wasn’t aware of them, even though it seems they have been releasing records since 1990! I must do my homework and look into their past work. What I heard today was their latest effort, the “Staring at You Staring at Me” album that was released this year on Rubber Records. It is available on CD and vinyl LP, as well as in all digital platforms. I’m not sure where to link you, as there is no Bandcamp and their Soundcloud only allows you to preview the songs, play like 30 seconds. So when you click the band’s name you’ll go to Youtube to listen the blissful “You Let Sunshine Pass You By”.

Foliage is the solo project of Manuel Joseph Walker from San Bernardino, California. I’m listening now his latest songs, the ones that appear on the tape titled “Foliage”. There are 12 songs on this white cassette that seems to be about to sell out. They are really good. Actually you can also get a CD version of the album from the label Spirit Goth Records (scary name!). As usual this is a late discovery, on his BandCamp I can see he has been uploading songs since 2014. I guess it is better now than never. Check out songs like “Silence” or “Dare” and you’ll understand why I’m liking this!

Something quite rare I found on BandCamp, a new Paris Angels‘ tape? It seems that for Cassette Store Day 2017, which was October 14th (?), four Paris Angels songs were released as the “Stairs to the Sun” EP by the Swansea label Lavender Sweep. The songs being “Stairs to the Sun”, “Rise”, “Door to Summer” and “Shake”. These songs were recorded between 1988 and 1992. Of course, this is already sold out. Why not release it now as a CD EP or a 7″ vinyl?

Another strange sighting is that by St. John’s, Canada, band Lo Siento. Why is it strange? Because this is a Canadian band singing in Spanish. I check the band member names and I don’t see any indicative that they have Spanish names. Maybe the vocalist? Pepa Chan? Could be, but definitely not Andrea McGuire or Alligita Graves, though that is always relative. You could have any last name and be from anywhere in the world. I do notice an accent which of course I don’t mind, I celebrate. I actually like this a lot!! I wonder what are their influences? I wonder why did they decide to sing in Spanish instead of English? Infectious, catchy, fun, I don’t know how else to explain this? It is pretty awesome. 7 songs, and I would say that somehow there is an Argentinean connection. Why do I say that? Well there is a song called “Historia en el Placard”. I think the only country to call a closet a “placard” instead of “armario”. Maybe that’s where they learned Spanish? Or had an Argentinean teacher? I wonder. Anyways, lovely stuff!

Lastly, remember Battery Point? The band that released two wonderful EPs on their BandCamp that I duly championed? They were fantastic, right? Well, if you didn’t want any more tapes, here is a new one titled “Six Songs of Endearment for your Livelihood”. This tape released by the Toronto label Fallen Love Records includes both EPs for the first time in a physical format. I was hoping for a CD or vinyl, but well, it seems cassettes are winning the war and I’m losing it. I don’t even know where to put the few tapes I have in my new apartment, so can’t think of myself buying any. Shame. I’d love to play these songs home, read the liner notes, the credits. But that’s how it is. But for those who love tapes, here is a great opportunity to get 6 wonderful songs!

And if that wasn’t all bad news when it comes to tapes. Verandan confirmed that their EP will be released physically on tape. It must be a nightmare! Tapes, tapes, tapes. Give me a CDR any day over tapes. Hopefully next year this trend changes (?). I cross my fingers.


It is time to fly to another country in our indiepop world tour. How many months have we been featuring bands from different prominent indiepop countries?! Must be two or three now. We’ve visited countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Today we visit another European country, Italy!

It is very well known that Italy is not famous for its indiepop. Here on the blog only once we featured an indiepop band, Blanco y Tango, and on that post we talked quite a bit about the Italian cassette label Shiny Sunset. I actually got in touch with whom used to run that label and asked to do an interview, sadly I never heard back. Would have been great as I would have heard a first-hand account of the Italian indiepop scene.

Today I want to go back many decades, to the late 80s, to check out a band I know very little, Views.

It is a very common name, Views. I wonder why they called themselves Views.  The band didn’t sing in Italian, their songs were in English. And released as far as Discogs confirms, 2 records.

Namby-pamby: is a term for affected, weak, and maudlin speech/verse. It originates from Namby Pamby (1725) by Henry Carey.

“Namby Pamby” came out in 1988 on the Tramite label (MLP 88003). This label was based in Brescia and released a few records, especially that year. This 12″ release was a miniLP and included 6 songs. 3 on each side. On the A side there was “Till the Money Gone”, “Please Linda Talk” and “Ocean”. The B side had “Flowers on the Desert Sand”, “Enough For You” and “Tell You Something”.  It was published by Ala Bianca and recorded at Magic Frog Studio in Brescia. Would this confirm that the band hailed from that city?

Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, a few kilometres from the lakes Garda and Iseo. With a population of 196,480, it is the second largest city in the region and the fourth of northwest Italy. The urban area of Brescia extends beyond the administrative city limits and has a population of 672,822,[2] while over 1.5 million people live in its metropolitan area. The city is the administrative capital of the Province of Brescia, one of the largest in Italy, with over 1,200,000 inhabitants. Founded over 3,200 years ago, Brescia (in antiquity Brixia) has been an important regional centre since pre-Roman times. Its old town contains the best-preserved Roman public buildings in northern Italy and numerous monuments, among these the medieval castle, the Old and New cathedral, the Renaissance Piazza della Loggia and the rationalist Piazza della Vittoria.

There are some credits for the record. We know the bassist was Nico Meteo and the drummer was Dario Pironi. On electric and acoustic guitar was Livio Rug, on keyboards we had Luca Rug and on guitars and vocals there was Giovanni Iside. The record producer was G.B. Castews, the technician was Dario Caglioni and the photography on the cover art, the same that illustrates this post, was taken by Guido Biagi.

I click on those names, looking to find any connections. I notice that Dario Pironi had also been drummer on the band Vega Enduro in the mid 2000s. Livio and Luca Rug also played in Vega Enduro’s album “BigTime25:33p.m.”. No other credits for the rest of the band members.

I haven’t heard any of the 6 songs included in “Namby Pamby”, their first release. That is not the case with “Mummycat the World N° 2”. I have actually heard all 10 songs thanks to a user on Youtube that has uploaded all songs. The LP album, released in 1990 by Crazy Mannequin Records (CRAZY 00019), had 10 songs. On the A side we find, “Say It!“, “The Raining Men“, “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey“, “Red Flowers Moon Light” and “Patty Flan“. The B side had “Mummycat“, “Circle“, “She’s Going Out“, “Real Good Time Together” and “The Mirror“. It is worth mentioning that Crazy Mannequin Records was a new wave label based in Milano, in Italy.

For this record there are no credits on Discogs, just Stefano Castagna who is credited as engineer. The songs were recorded at the Ritmo & Blu studio.

At that same studio the band was going to record “Not for Sale” which was going to be included on the “Pegorock” compilation LP that was released in 1990. This record wasn’t released by a label, I assume it was a record released by the studio Ritmo & Blu and its owner, Stefano Castagna. Other bands on this compilation were Taken to the Bottle, Hang Ten, Dorian Gray or Bambini in Bikini.

I keep googling, trying to find any worthy information. I start to notice a name that shows up a few times, Giovanni Ferrario. From what I can see he was part of the Views. The only Giovanni I could see on the credits was Giovanni Iside. Must be the same Giovanni. It does seem that Giovanni continues making music. I found a biography where it mentions he was born in Monti-Chiari and that in 1984 he formed Views. It also mentions that the band was around for 10 years. After the band split he moved to Catania. Not much other information about the Views, but it does tell that the had been involved in a band called Micevice in the late 90s and that these days he records and releases music under his own name. He has collaborated with PJ Harvey, Morgan and Cristina Donà.

Then I found the blog Tutto Disco. On it I find some interesting facts about the band. Firstly that on the 2nd record, on the album, there was a female guitar player, Emanuela Esquilli, who also did backing vocals. But most importantly the band recorded in 1993 a demo tape titled “Warm”. This demo tape was never released. What happened with it?!

That’s all I could find. For me this was a cool discovery, it is not common to find fine guitar pop from Italy. There’s some but not many, it is like digging gold. I wonder what happened to the rest of the band members. Were they involved with any other guitar pop bands? What happened to that “Warm” demo tape? Are there any other unreleased songs? Or perhaps other compilation appearances? Where did they gig in those 10 years they were around? Did they get any attention from aborad? Were they from Brescia? Many questions, but I’m sure we’ll find the answers someday soon!


Views – Say It!‎


I only noticed today that it is actually the 9th anniversary of the Cloudberry blog. 9 years of writing about indiepop. 9 years of interviewing indiepop bands. Definitely the blog is one of the few resources these days to cover exhaustively the music we all love. At the time I started the blog there were many others, sadly Cloudberry Cake has outlived them.

The way we get our news has changed, that is true. Indiepop groups on Facebook are quite successful. Not totally, but they are a good resource. The only problem is that there is no curation and sometimes it can end up being a free for all situation. Another dynamic that has become quite fashionable is that of having indiepop being reviewed or debut the digital release on random hipster blogs. It is a way to get the message through. Maybe it works, maybe it gets a new audience. When I did that, debuting some videos on some website it didn’t make any difference if I’m honest.

What will happen in the next year or two? Or the next five? How will we get to know what’s new in indiepop? What are the next cool bands? The indiepop-list is almost dead. I have to be checking day and day again on Bandcamp and other sites for any uploads. I trust my friends who post on their own personal Facebook links to bands they’ve discovered. But Facebook also hides stories. I can’t follow all the posts the bands I follow post as I don’t see them. It really is a hustle. Because of all these problems I feel a blog is still a good way to present information for our case. All news are centralized and a good search function helps tracking and finding what you came looking for in the first place.

I continue ask myself when will I stop? I don’t have a date. It is true I wish many of the articles, especially the interviews would be great on a book. I wish I could do that. If I had the time or money. Maybe there’s a publisher interested, who knows. In any case I feel one more year of blogging won’t be a problem. I have the energy for that. Not a problem.

Making it to 10 years would be a success. I still don’t check how many readers I have, but the last year I feel I’ve had more comments. And that makes me terribly happy. Getting in touch with bands or getting to know about bands from people that saw them, that experienced them live or were friends with. I want to continue writing down for posterity what indiepop meant and means. This is history, and shouldn’t just be forgotten.

After those words, just a couple of new discoveries for you to check, I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed!

You can now order the latest 3 Shelflife releases, that is Pia Fraus, Airiel and The Luxembourg Signal albums. In the past weeks we could stream many of these records on different websites but The Luxembourg Signal’s. Now it is available to stream on the Big Takeover website and you can listen to it if you want to check if this is up your street. The album is a co-release with Kleine Undergrund Schallplatten releasing the record for Europe. The band formed by Beth Arzy and Betsy Moyer on vocals, Johnny Joyner on guitars, Brian Espinosa on drums, Kelly Davis on guitars and Daniel Kumiega on bass and Ginny Pitchford on keyboards has just been touring Europe with people loving their shows. I still haven’t seen them. When they played Indietracks in 2015, I didn’t go. Tough luck. This record also comes with a surprise, it has guest vocals from Bobby Wratten on the song “Fall Feeling”. Sounds like a very fine record, now I need to get a copy.

A recent discovery for me is California’s The Molochs who have a few records. Their latest, “America’s Velvet Glory” , was released this January on vinyl, CD and tape. The record has 11 guitar pop songs influenced by The Go-Betweens, Flying Nun Records and perhaps The Smiths? I hear some country sometimes too.  There are a few promo videos for some of the songs of the record, you can check “You and Me” and also “No More Cryin‘”. The Los Angeles band seem to have toured Europe quite well, even playing Primavera. They are formed by Lucas Fitzsimons, Ryan Foster, Cameron Gartung, Derek Cowart and Mateo Leonardo. The band releases their records on the Innovative Leisure label.


Ticking checkboxes, many countries have already been featured in this indiepop world tour. I hope you have discovered some new music from all around the world. Indiepop, guitar pop, are not exclusive to the British Isles. That’s a fact. Definitely there’s less quantity in other countries but by no means less quality. So far, when it comes to Latin America, I’ve featured Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Too little. Maybe it is time to check out Chile, the country where the band who we are releasing next on our label, My Light Shines For You, hails from.

Of course, I’m not going to be talking about them now. We are here to rediscover lost, forgotten bands, not contemporary ones! I think my first sort of indiepop connection with Chile was through Soulseek too. It seems that story of Myspace and Soulseek seem to be a thread in my last posts. Well, that was my indiepop education in the early and mid 2000s. That’s the time I made so many good friends from all over the world and discovered music from every corner. That’s how I met Alejandra from Les Ondes Martenot. What a beautiful band. I thought at the time that they must be the only band making indiepop proper in South America. Probably they were. It was around 2003 or so. They sounded like a beautiful mix of La Buena Vida and Camera Obscura. But as I’m in touch with her still it doesn’t make sense to dedicate an article, I feel it will be much better to do a proper interview. I should do that. I wonder why it’s been almost 10 years on the blog and I haven’t interviewed so many friends I’ve made through the years.

Chilean music was never unknown to me. Mainstream bands like Los Prisioneros were very important while I was growing up. I still like their music, they are classic. I even saw them live when they reunited and played in Miami. Other bands from the 90s like Los Tres or Lucybell were well known and you could hear them on the radio. The Chilean scene output wasn’t as big as Argentina or Mexico but they managed to break through. I remember in the early 2000s underground fanzines in Lima were covering bands like Congelador or Panico. I wasn’t a fan of them, they weren’t pop, jangly, or neither of the things I like. But they were there. I always wondered if there had been any bands in the 90s that actually played pop. Only later, much later, maybe 10 years ago or so I discovered a band called Malcorazón which was heavily influenced by Lush and I became very curious about them. Why had I never heard them while I was living down in South America?

Malcorazón (sometimes spelled too as Mal Corazón) would roughly translate as “bad heart”. According to Discogs, which as you know is my first stop when digging for information, they were a Chilean indie, indie pop, indie rock, shoegazing & pop band, formed 1989 in San Bernardo, Santiago. There seems to have been a bunch of lineup changes, so I’ll just save myself sometime and copy/paste that information:
– Cathy Lean: lead vocals, guitar (1989 – •).
– Cristián López: guitar (1989 – 1994).
– Carlos González: bass (1989 – 1996).
– Rodrigo Norambuena: drums (1989 – 1997).
– Jorge Flores: guitar (1994 – 2004).
– Thomas Kalbhenn: bass (1996 – 1997).
– Sandra Neumann: keyboards (1996 – 1997).
– Cristián Córdova: drums (1997 – •)
– Giovanni Quezada: bass (2002 – 2004).
– Cristian Herrera: guitar (2011 – •).
– Maximiliano Parra: keyboards (2011 – •).
– Mauricio Horment: bass (2011 – •).

As you can see, lead vocalist Cathy Lean was the only one to be part of the band since day one. Listed on Discogs are two albums, “San Bernardo” from 1995 and “Abismo” from 2003. I definitely recommend the first one, which is really pretty, influenced by Lush or The Sundays.

San Bernardo is a city of Chile, part of the Greater Santiago conurbation. Administratively, it is a commune and the capital of the Maipo Province in the Santiago Metropolitan Region. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardo. The Chena hills, located in the basin of San Bernardo, are home to an Incan sacred site known as the Huaca of Chena or Chena’s Pucará. Initially thought to be a fortress, the structure in the southern tip of the Chena hills has been denominated as a huaca a sacred place, a space of ritual use. The Chena’s Pucará was observed to have a zoomorphic design, resembling a puma, which is a characteristic of Incan ceremonial and sacred structures. The word Chena means puma in oestrous cycle in the Quechuan language.

“San Bernardo” came out on the label Alerce (catalog ALCE 853) which is actually a folk label. So that was a strange choice. Perhaps there weren’t many options at the time. It came out only on cassette, which is a shame. The album had 10 songs, all written by Cathy and music by Carlos González. The songs being: “Eternos Días de Invierno”, “Promesas”, “Noche en Espiral”, “Maravilla de Piedra”, “Vendrás”, “Sin Fin”, “Aguas Azules”, “Tras la Faz”, “Sin Piedad” and “10 de Agosto”. The last song actually contains a fragment of Lush’s “Lit Up”. The artwork for this tape was done by Italo Miranda and the design by Carol Vieytes. The photos were taken by Pablo Borón. The band had help from Alejandro Gómez on guitars and Gabriel Vigliensoni on samplers. The songs were recorded, engineered and mixed by Iván Quiroz with the help of Luis Serrano, Claudio Hijerra and Roberto Espinoza. It was recorded in the Filmo Centro studio and mastered in the Ricardo García studio.

The second album, with a totally different lineup almost came out on La Oreja label. “Abismo” saw a departure of their sound, becoming a bit more electronic. It is also much more mainstream. I wonder if they had some success with it? There were ten songs on it, “Abismo”, “Esperaré Por Ti”, “Todo Peor”, “Alma en Pena”, “Es Sólo el Comienzo”, “Carne Cruda”, “Luz de Amanecer” and “Coma”. There was a promo video for “Todo Peor” and the record was recorded, produced and mixed by Cristián Heyne. The album came out on CD format and the art was created by Javier Pañella, Paula Asensio and Carolina Maury. It was recorded at the Luna studio between April 2001 and March 2003. It was mastered at the Clio studio.

There is just one compilation appearance listed, one that is prior to the release of their album. On the 1994 CD compilation “Con el Corazón Aquí 2” released by Fondart, ATR – Asociación de Trabajadores del Rock, they contributed the song “La Muerte Atada”.

I come back to the first album, which as I said before, is my favourite, I like the sound in it. I recommend checking out the promo video for the song “Eternos Días de Invierno” which is very The Sundays in a way, don’t you think? I then find out the website MusicaPopular.cl where there is a biography of the band. Here I will learn a bunch of interesting facts. According to the MusicaPopular page the band was heavily influenced by The Sundays and The Smiths. They praise the guitar player Cristián López. What happened to him after leaving the band in 1994? I read he collaborated later with a mainstream band called Javiera y los Imposibles. It also mentions that in 1993 Cathy Lean became an actress in some TV series. I could find that she appeared at least in one that was called “Rojo y Miel”. The story says that at that time, 1993, the band already had demos for an album but López left the band suddenly. What happened with these recordings? There’s no mention. It only says that because of this situation the band lost the chance to sign to EMI and had to write new songs so they could finally release their first album. It is at this time they release the aforementioned promo vide which didn’t get much press or support. The actress Malú Gatica, which is well-known in their country and who is, according to IMDB, the only Chilean actress to work in Hollywood, appears on the video.

After the album was released, a 2nd crisis, the bassist Carlos González, decided to leave the band. At this moment the new lineup decides to explore with electronic sounds. They changed their name to Rever and released a single and an album. After that period the band would change their name back to Malcorazón and released their second album. A curious fact is that their promo single, “Todo Peor”, was covered  by the band Kudai on their 2003 album “Nadha”.

It is also worth mentioning that Cathy released a solo single titled “Última Oportunidad” in 2006.

After that, there were more releases too. There is an EP that dates from 2011 that is called “Pásalo Bien” which I have just found on Bandcamp. 4 songs on it, well actually 3 and a remix: “Pásalo Bien”, “Última Oportunidad”, “Un Día Más” and “Pásalo Bien (Sokio remix)”. I couldn’t find if this was released in any format, though I did find the band playing it live on a TV show called “Sin Dios Ni Late“. There was also a soundtrack appearance, with the song “Luz de Amanecer”, from the “Los Debutantes” movie in 2003.

On Youtube I found another TV appearance by the band on the national television channel of Chile programme “Contigo en Verano” dating from 1997. On it the presenter even shows a clip from where Cathy and himself were part of the TV series “Rojo y Miel”. On this appearance the band plays their arguably best song, “Eternos Días de Verano” and Cathy looks quite a bit like Rachel Goswell!

There are more TV appearances. A cool one from 1995 on the La Red TV channel playing “Eternos Días de Verano” and “Vendrás“. Or a 1994 appearance on the show “Extra Jóvenes” playing the song “La Muerte Atada“. And also there is a badly sounding Youtube video of the band playing the song “Noche en Espiral” at some place called Dinamo.

There are some interviews on the web but mostly about their later period. As I said I’m curious about their early days, the “San Bernardo” album and the 6 years before that release. Like I want to hear those demos recorded with Cristián López. On an interview Cathy says that those songs were so beautiful. I would love to hear them. Some song titles from that period were “Al Camino”, “Azul” and two that actually got released, “La Muerte Atada” and “Maravilla de Piedra”. I want to know how come no one in Chile has reissued that beautiful first album, “San Bernardo”, in some other format other than tape. A CD would a booklet with nicely written liner notes would be great. Or a vinyl LP. I wonder about that period. I wonder why they didn’t become more of a household name. I wonder how popular they were at the time? They did play in TV, but did they play much live? Where? Did they tour their country? Many questions, and not many answers, but a very nice first record full of chiming guitars that is worth rediscovering.


Malcorazón – Eternos Días de Invierno‎


Thanks so much to Bernd for the interview! I’m very happy to learn more about this seminal German indiepop label, that released many classic records in the early 90s when they were based in Seeheim. Among their releases they put out 7″s by The Haywains, They Go Boom! and Merricks and more! On this interview Bernd talks a bit about each of his releases, clears some doubts about the catalog and shares with us his memories of those fantastic years of German indiepop. I hope next time we get to hear from him on an interview about his band, the great Die Blinzelbeeren!

++ Hi Bernd! Whereabouts in Germany are you nowadays? Will you celebrate Oktoberfest? 🙂

Hi Roque, I’m living in Darmstadt, a city located in the southern part of the Rhine-Main-Area, a centre of the Art Nouveau movement and also home to the football club SV Darmstadt 98. It’s a really good place to live!
Haha, Oktoberfest… oh no, not my cup of tea, I spend each October in Brittany, France.

++ How and when did Blam-A-Bit Records start? What was the main reason to start the label?

I think in 1988 I get the first time the idea to do something for myself, writing a fanzine, playing in a band or doing a record label. Releasing a compilation tape was the easiest part so I started with the label, had no idea what will happened later.

++ Would you say any other label influenced your label?

As a Wimp-POP-Kid in the late 80s I was really in love with Sarah Records, 53rd&3rd or Subway, many interesting labels like Creation, Woosh or Bi-Joopiter and of course Frischluft in Germany. I think all of them were important for my musical socialization and have some influences.
Ah, and of course some of the compilation tapes of that time like „Are you ready?” or “Something’s burning in Paradise“

++ And was it just yourself running it? Did you get any help from anyone else?

No I didn´t get any help, it was only me. The label was only a hobby and not my profession, I was still at school during that time.

++ What does the name Blam-A-Bit means? Why did you choose this name?

To be honest, there is no meaning of the name. I went to a wedding present gig and I got the “Invasion of The Wedding Present fanzine. I can’t remember exactly, but there was something written like „…a-bit“ and some beers later the label “Blam-a-bit” was born. I think the word „Blam“ was a bow to one of my favourite band „Biff Bang Pow“

++ And who took care of the art direction of the label? Did you print and fold your sleeves yourself like many labels back in the day?

Well, I did all the work for the label, artwork, distribution, but at some releases the bands did the artwork. Paul from the Haywains made the sleeve for the freshen up EP and this was the only cover with more than one printed color ,-) I had two co-releases with Frischluft where Krischan did the artwork.

But it was great to spend hours in printing shops, fold the sleeves or cutting some flyers. Later I decided to press only white-label records and colored them for myself with watercolors or potato-stamps. I really loved to „produce“ each release, sitting at my parents dining table coloring the labels or cutting-out the sheep for my second compilation tape.

++ How many releases were there? Twee.net lists from 001 to 014, but doesn’t show 012. Was there a 012 on the label? Or is this all that was released?

Twee.net is right, there were only 13 releases, blam 012 should be „Ein warmer Sommermorgen“ 7“, but it was never released.

++ Your first release was a tape called “Instant of Pleasures” which included all-time favourites like The Field Mice and St. Christopher and obscure gems like that Aurbisons track. What inspired you to make a tape? Did you know this was going to be the seed to starting a label? Was it easy getting so many bands from UK in a German label? Seems like a tough job with no internet!

As mentioned, after such great tapes like „Are you ready?“ or „Something’s burning in Paradise“ I think a compilation tape is a good way to start a label. I have no idea what will happen next. Some of the bands I asked at gigs if they like to be contributed on the tape, I remember a Field Mice gig and I just asked Robert and gave him my address. Some weeks later I found their song in my letter box. I was still at school during the time of the label, and it was always a pleasure to come home and finding some new tapes. I think it was not even more difficult than it is today getting in touch with bands, even the answer takes some more time ,-)

++ Any cool anecdotes about this tape? Like… why the name? or how many copies of it were made? which kind of tape was used? Who send songs too late that didn’t get in the tape?

I made about 200 copies at a pressing plant in Berlin.

I did not want to just make a tape, it should also be something special with the 7 “cover or with all the inserts. The best compliment about the tape came from Olaf Zocher (Firestation Rec), who described the tape as an important step in his Indie-Pop socialation. And I always had instants of pleasure listening to jingle jangle pop.

++ Then you release your first 7″, the “Freshen Up EP” by the Haywains! How was the move from tape to vinyl? What was the feeling of receiving a box full of records fresh out from the pressing plant for the first time?

It was so amazing!! 7“ singles are still the perfect medium for music! If I could had afford it I would have produced 7“singles much earlier. „the freshen up EP“ was a cooperation with the band, we pressed about 500 copies and both of us get 250 copies to sell. I was absolutely happy with the songs and I still like them!

++ Okay! now I’m very curious about this tape: “Hat das Schaf die Blume gefressen oder nicht?”. Why that title?

This is a phrase from The Little Prince („Did the sheep eat the flower or not?“) and I thought it’s a good name for my second compilation. This is probably the release with the most passion on it.
I made about 200 copies, copying tapes each night for a couple of weeks, cutting-out 200 paper-sheeps, making a small fanzine and put a lollipop in each tape set. The tapes were fixed at the cardboard sheeps and I colored each of them by hand. I remember I got an order from a mail-order in Germany of 50 copies and I had not produced enough. So I had to get up all 30min to turn over the tape to deliver the order.

++ I notice you released a bunch of tapes and also 7″s. I wonder what would your favorite format would be and why?

7“s are still my favorite format and I still collecting them. I think it’s an inexpensive, personal format, I like the idea of hand-assembled packages.

++ Also, what is BLAM 006, Das Kuchenrezept?

It is an ordinary recipe of a marble cake and was only a joke. Unfortunately I get some orders from UK and they send me 3 or 4 GBP for a cooking recipe written in german and I felt uncomfortable with it to keep the money. But marble cake is so delicious!

++ You released Die Blinzelbeeren which was your own band. I just wrote a piece about the band and I hope to interview you about the band. But I want to ask, how come there is no music like this coming out from Germany anymore?

Because the current bands know playing their instruments,-) the sound wasn’t nearly so important as the spirit of it; we didn’t know how to play our instruments well, nor having a great singing voice. But I think there are still some bands keeping the D.I.Y. idea alive, like Woog Riots or Zimt from Augsburg. And I’m not sure if there ever was a big Indiepop scene in Germany. I think it was a small but well-connected scene, without internet.

++ Also you released a Merricks 7″! That was the sound of young Munich, right? How do you remember those early nineties with that explosion of German pop bands? Was there any other German band that you wish you could have released?

The Merricks are still one of my favorite Bands from Germany and it was a honor releasing a record with them (together with Frischluft and Roman Cabbage). At that time I haven’t got any ideas about the Sound of Munich, and still have none about their significance. I phoned quit often with Bernd from Merricks, but we basiclly talked about football.

Hmm, I think it would have been brilliant to release a propper 7“ with The Fluffy Pillows (now known as Space Kelly) .

++ And of course there’s the 7″s by the FANTASTIC They Go Boom! that you put out. How did these releases happened? They didn’t have to send you a demo, did they?

I first heard the song „I Think I’m Falling“ and immediately I felt in love with it! So I wrote a letter to Mike and so it takes it course and we released a 7“ and the Split-flexi with the Cudgels. Mike is really friendly person and once I visited him at his flat in Margate spent some days there. I think he introduced „The Cudgels“ to me

++ That Brighter flexi you put out… it was distributed on fanzines as well right? Tell me a bit about it. I still have to find it. I have the other ‘German’ flexi by them, the Sturm und Drang one, but yet to find yours! Was it cool and easy to work with a Sarah band back then?

I think it was distributed with the Smuf fanzine (Olaf from Firestation rec) and he got about 200 copies. And a fanzine in UK, which I can’t remember anymore. I have no idea how, but I got 1100 copies and I nearly sold them all. It was brilliant to release a flexi with a Sarah Band and much easier than expected. Both, Alison and Keris were so lovely people, and it was cool to meet them once in Brighton. I still remember our first meeting at their flat, a crate of german beer as souvenir, met “The spinning wheels” later and listen to a lot of great music.

++ There’s two other bands still to talk about, The Cudgels and Besotted. Why did The Cudgels joyful pop is so underrated? Do you understand this? I think they wrote some wonderful tunes that could have been pop hymns! And the Besotted? They are quite mysterious, who were they? It’s one of The Golden Dawn guys right and his girlfriend, right?

Good question, i can’t understand it too. In my opinion The Cudgels are one of the underrated bands that area and in a perfect world, this would be on the radio I saw them once playing live in their practice room and it was a blast! Unfortunately their wasn’t a proper 7“ of them on Blam-a-bit, I think Sunday Records could pay them more 😉

It’s a bit similar with The Besottted. It was absolute stunning to release a 7“ with them, as I’ve been a big fan of The golden Dawn. But for whatever reason it was the worst selling release on the label.

++ Did you get to see any of your Blam-A-Bit bands live?

Regarding of band releasing a song/record on Blam-a-Bit I saw a couple of times The Merricks, Die Fünf Freunde or Painting by Numbers. Die Blinzelbeeren played their first song live as a support for St. Christopher.
Unfortunately I haven’t seen The Haywains playing live, but this could still happened.

++ And did the label get much attention from the music press or radio? What about fanzines?

Their first attention from the press I got for the „Hat das Schaf die Blume Gefressen, oder Nicht? Tape at the german Musicmagasine Spex. That was amazing for me. There were some attentions in fanzines too, I remember a label story in a French fanzine from Rennes. There was a really good Indiepop Radioshow in Belgium where some of the releases has been played.

++ When did you call it a day? Why did you stop releasing records with Blam-A-Bit?

In 1992 I get more and more interested in 60s music and for a short spell I was bored in the current Indiepop Music that time. So I decide to call it a day.

++ Where you involved with music after? What do you do nowadays?

Well, music is still a big part of my life. I used to play in several Bands releasing records on different labels.
I’m still a record collector, and used to DJ a lot.
Nowadays I live with my wife and daughter in Darmstadt and I work as a pharmacist. But I still have a regular Single-Day in a Winebar in Darmstadt once a month, were I only spinning soul 7“s on one record player. And that’s a lot of fun.
I started a new label, calling „Laughing Seven records“ some years ago with 2 7“s so far. and I hope to to revitalize it soon.

++ What would you say was the biggest highlight of the label? And what was the biggest challenge?

I think the biggest highlight was the chance to meet so many great people in the vein of Indie Pop and with some of them I’m still keeping contact.
The biggest challenge was to satisfy the unexpected request of the second tape, it was the fasten selling out release.

++ One last question, what would you say indiepop means to you?

I get my musical age in the mid-80s, growing up for example with The Smiths, so Indiepop was my very own punk! It was exciting, vibrant, welcoming, and it was me. I loved my anorak with a strawberry at the hood and it was more than just music for me. We were exchanging letters, fanzines, tapes or records and meeting each other at gigs.
Nowadays i have an open-minded taste of music, but indiepop is still a big part of life and there are still exciting new bands to discover.

++ Thanks so much for the interview. Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks a lot for the interest in Blam-a-Bit and many apologies for the delay in answering.


Merricks – Der Schönste Tag Im Jahr ‎


Well, I was expecting to be the happiest today, but well, I’m only moderately happy. On Tuesday my home country, Peru, played Colombia in what is the South American qualifiers to the Russia 2018 World Cup. A win was to qualify us directly but that didn’t happen. What happened was that we tied and so we are not eliminated but neither qualified. We have to play two more games, an international play off against New Zealand next month. In theory Peru is a better team. But this is football, and you have to play the games first. Anything can happen. So yes, happy to the extent that we are still alive after 18 games in the most difficult qualifiers in the world and that we are two games away of me seeing Peru for the first time in a World Cup (last time was 1982). I have to wait another month to know if I will buy plane tickets to Russia, I’m very positive that that will be the case (sorry my kiwi friends!).

As it is becoming usual on the blog, Thursdays are also new post days. Not much to tell about Cloudberry right now, but let’s see what new sounds or interesting news we can find in the indiepopworld.

Ultra happy that finally we can hear the 6 songs from the Verandan EP. Weeks and weeks of anticipation since the first time we heard the first song of Ville Hopponen’s new project. We recommended this band time and time again. We wondered where those songs that were popping up on SoundCloud were going to end up. Finally it seems it is a digital EP that is right now available on all digital platforms. Me, I’m streaming it from Bandcamp. And what can I tell you, it is everything that I expected. It is beautiful. My only concern, request, complain, is that I want this in some physical format. Will it be released on vinyl? on CD? I need this on my collection. It can’t just be a digital release!!

All these exclusive premieres on blogs or magazines I have no clue they exist is becoming a new norm for some indiepop releases. This time I had to head to a webzine called God is in the TV to be able to stream the new Pia Fraus‘ album “Field Ceremony”. You can do that now too if you like. Or you can wait a couple more days, until October 16, for the release date. Maybe the second option is better, we support the band, the label, and we don’t give clicks to random pages?? Or am I wrong?

Another Chinese band I discovered lately was Self Party. But I wasn’t sure if I should or not recommend them. You see less than half of their songs are good, the others are not my style. But when they are good, like on “Jaguar-Jaguar” or “Regina Sue” it is quite refreshing, especially the first one which is my favourite. The band hails from Hangzhou and have a digital album titled “Pop Songs” on Bandcamp.

Then thanks to the Latin American Twee page I end up on the Bandcamp of a new Peruvian band named Los Niños Vudú. The band has made available their first release, a digital EP titled “Pueblo Libre”. It has 5 songs, “Multicolor”, “Para Siempre”, “Girasoles”, “Por las Azoteas” and “Niños de Pueblo Libre”, and they are quite good! I’m guessing this is a very young band and that maybe they hail from the Lima district Pueblo Libre that gives the EP its name. I haven’t seen them playing events with any of the Peruvian bands I follow on Facebook, but hopefully they start making a fuss, this is a very promising debut and I hope it gets released in some way. The band is formed by Inti Arteaga on vocals and guitars, Andoni Granda on guitars, César Horruitiner on drums, Adrián Muñoz on bass and Rodrigo Urbiola on keyboards.

Lastly some fantastic news from The Honeydrips! The Stockholm band is back with a new album titled “Give Each Other Some Solace” and it will be available in 12″ vinyl LP and cassette. The album is expected to come out on October 27 and right now the band is previewing two of the songs (out of 8) on their Bandcamp: “Through the Darkness” and “DCI Gates”. I am very happy to see Mikael returning in top form with The Honeydrips! Both songs are brilliant! The copies for this record will be very limited it seems so don’t miss it! Also keep an eye on this page, as very soon, I hope, there will be news about a new project Mikael is involved with!!!


I wanted to visit Asia again in this indiepop world tour but not sure what is missing? Hong Kong perhaps? I can’t think of any older obscure bands. I know before The Pancakes there were some bands that had Dejay in them like Tricycle Riders, The Postcard or Ginger Biscuits, but never heard any of their songs so I can’t tell if they were good or not. So Asia seems to be covered now with features on bands from Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Maybe there’s something to dig in Malaysia or Thailand? Maybe someone could recommend something.

Our story today is about the little known Serbian indiepop fans and the band Mizu.

My first contact with them was going through be during the golden years of indiepop in the early and mid 2000s. That is when I was always discovering music through Soulseek and being part of the Twee Folks room in that P2P music sharing program. There I was to meet Nikola who would introduce me to another Nikola, one that had released an indiepop compilation in Serbia called “A View of Our Dreams”. His label was called On a Balcony, a play on words on the Balkans, and it came out in 2002. It included many superb bands, La Casa Azul, One Night Suzan, Aquadays, The Crooner and more. But to my surprise there were no Serbian bands. Why?

I guess with that question I got introduced to Serbian guitar pop. The first band I was to be aware was Eva Braun which actually had one record where they sing in English under the name Viva Braun, “The Nowhere Land”, that was released in the US by Zip Records. I own this one. But the Serbian band I played the most during those years was Mizu.

Nikola introduced them to me. He sent me one song, “Dobar Dan”, which I thought was brilliant. Almost immediately he sent me their one and only album. And I really enjoyed. There was not much more to know about them then, nor did I went into indiepop archaeology at that time. Now many years later I decide to rediscover this song, this band, learn their story.

First thing, “Dobar Dan”, means “good day”. Mizu seems to mean table? What is good is that the band actually has a small bio on Discogs, there it says that the band hailed from Bečej and were formed by the end of 1997. The name was the idea of the band’s first bass player Saša Ajdanov.

Bečej is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The town has a population of 23,895, while the municipality has 37,351 inhabitants. It is a multiethnic town, predominantly inhabited by Serbs and Hungarians.

It also says that some of their more memorable concerts were the ones they played as warm up band for Veliki Prezir at Rex and then in Barutana with Eva Braun. They also appeared on a “Live Session” on NS Plus. Their album on CD was supposed to be released in 2000 by Automatik records but that never happened, only some promo copies were available. That would explain why on Discogs their album is listed as an MP3 album that dates from 2008 on Label Star.

I was listening to this album quite a lot back in 2003, 2004. Maybe later too. At some point my MP3 hard drive died and lost it. Now that I think of it, this might have been the pivotal point for me to dislike MP3 releases. They are ephemeral. Physical records are always the way to go.

The album had 13 songs: “Dvadeset I Dva”, “U Velikom Stilu”, “Sve”, “Pogledaj”, “Konan”, “Kompromis”, “Dobar Dan”, “Vožnja, “Ispod Noći”, “Kraj”, “Jedna Reč”, “En” and “Korpa Korpa Cveća”. The credits for the record are as follows, Boris Smoje on vocals and guitar, Marko Vujkov on bass, Igor Batinić on guitar, piano and backing vocals and Dragan Bašić on drums and percussion. They got help by Vanjus (Ivan Milinkov) on synthetizer, Seva (Dušan Ševarlić from Eva Braun)  and Kole (Vladimir Kolarić, leader of Veliki Prezir) on backing vocals. The record was mixed by Jan Šaš and it was recorded by Dušan Ševarlić as well. So there was some sort of scene between these guitar pop bands in Serbia? Mizu, and the legendary Eva Braun?

I then check the band members, what other projects are listed under their names on Discogs? Boris seems to have been involved in the band Superstudio and also on Rebel Star. On the other hand Marko was involved in the pop punk band Super S Karamelom.

That Live Session on NS Plus that I mentioned earlier is actually available on Youtube! It dates from April 1998 and on it there is an interview to the band (wish I understood a word) and 4 songs, “En”, “Sve”, “Kraj” and “Dvadeset i Dva”.

Happily this is not the only thing I was to find on Youtube. There is the promo video for the song “Dvadeset i Dva” and watching it for the first time now make me terribly giddy. The 90s so well reflected here.

Then I find the setlists for Indie-Go!, the Belgrade Indie Night, that my friend Nikola used to host. Such good setlists, they must have been long nights, everyone dancing. I see that he even played some Cloudberries, like Horowitz’ “Tracyanne”, but also I see that Mizu’s “Dobar Dan” was a staple in the club.

On Discogs the band is listed to have a compilation appearance, but definitely that is not them. I wonder though if they actually appeared on any compilation?

I couldn’t find much more information. What other gigs did they play? Did they record any more songs? Are there any unreleased tracks? What happened with that label Automatik? Why wasn’t their album released during their time and only many years after and only on MP3?Any other Serbian bands you’d recommend? Maybe some other bands from the Balkans? Many questions that hopefully get answered! Now discover this upbeat and jangly pop song called “Dobar Dan”, a classic to my ears!


Mizu – Dobar Dan


I’m still unpacking boxes and records and reordering everything of course. I’m almost done though. As I say these things I’m also discussing with two bands for new 7″s and little by little reaching the 50th Cloudberry 7″ is becoming no more of a dream but a reality. And that is quite exciting!

I haven’t written down many news during the last 4 days. Since my last post. Actually only one, that Gingerlys have a 2nd song from their album now available to stream. It is called “See You Cry” and it is superb of course. I reviewed already the first single, “Turtledoves”, off their self titled album just a week ago I think, and now there is this lovely, sweet, new song. It looks like their album is going to be a winner. I hope though that I get to listen their whole album soon instead of recommending a song every week!

OK! There was one more but no music to listen. That is that Firestation Records will be releasing a new record by the Love Parade!! It is titled “Out to Sea” and it is a 6 song EP recorded in 1991. It will be available in CD and vinyl.

Well, now it is time to dig the internet, let’s see what we find on Bandcamp and SoundCloud. Thanks to my friend David from Madrid I found out a band from Gainesville, Florida, called UV-TV. He posted the song “Glass” on his Facebook and thought that it was some great shambolic pop. Then I noticed that it wasn’t their latest effort. Their last release is an EP titled “Go Away” that was released by the very fine Emotional Response label that is ran by Stewart from Boyracer. Shame I hear them this late as last week I placed not one, but two orders from them. It will have to wait a few weeks then, but there are some terrific songs here, check them out!

Grrrl Gang hail from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Earlier this year they released two songs on the Indonesian label Kolibri Records. The songs being “Bathroom” and “Thrills” Just a digital single I believe. The songs are sweet and on the lo-fi side of indiepop. There is an official music video for Bathroom and Thrills which seems to have been recorded in France and is very cool! The band is formed by Angeeta Santana on vocals and guitar, Edo Alventa on guitar and Akbar Rumandung on bass.

The Japanese label Galaxy Train keeps releasing new music and their latest offering is a tape, limited to 48 copies, of the Japanese band Dronjo Kept By 4. There are 6 songs, mostly lo-fi, that ate quite nice. The tape includes a booklet and some stickers. It is titled “Lost in Perspective EP” and the songs included are “Three Chord City”, “Kitty Roly”, “Rain Kids”, “Tobin Sprout on the Moon River”, “Dry Gin” and “Toddle”.

Howlin Banana Records is a DIY record label based in Paris and they have just released a digital single by the band The Soap Opera. The band is formed by Bloody Bulga on guitars and vocals, Professeur Zorrino on guitars nad vocals and Holden Brahms on drums. They seem to be French too. The two songs are straight up indiepop and they are titled “Eggs to Hatch and Cats to Kill” and “No Name No Pack Drill”.  They are quite good and I especially like the opening song which there is a promo video on Youtube!! That was exciting. And then I find out that there will be an album to be released in November by the same label that put the digital release and also Ample Play from the UK. Looking forward to it!

And lastly, our friend Brian Castriota, who released a 7″ with us under the name Earth First, has a new album out with his new band, Fimbria. The album is titled “Eternal Return” and is available on a limited edition CD and a limited edition cassette. He told me to check out the last song of the album, “Passage”, he told me there’s some jangle in it. I check it out and it is such a beauty of a song, such fragility. Then I play the whole album, now in order. Yes, it is not exactly indiepop, but it is a really pretty electronic album, with pop sensibility, and a lot of elegance.


Super: very good or pleasant; excellent.

It is time to return to Europe. Still many important countries missing in this world tour. Today we need to stop in Finland, a country I visited this year and every time I think about it, I feel nostalgia for its cleanliness, for its lakes, the bright green of the trees and the good times I had in the many cities I visited. I hope to visit again in the future!

My only complain would be that there was absolutely no indiepop around. Ok, I didn’t travel for it, but would have been nice to see some bands live. As I’ve mentioned before, it took me a couple of record stores until I found the Burning Hearts LP that had just been released. It wasn’t easy. I looked through the bins and the racks at these record stores in Helsinki and I couldn’t find anything worthy! That was a shame. But it didn’t matter in the end, look, I saw Olavinlinna castle and drove through that beautiful landscape that is Punkaharju and that paid my trip. And crossed the Arctic Circle too!

Generally speaking Finland hasn’t produced huge amounts of indiepop, but when there has been indiepop it has been great, fantastic even. Think of Le Futur Pompiste, Cats on Fire, Burning Hearts or even back in the day with the likes of Cessna. It is time then to focus on Finland and one of their finest bands, Super.

On Discogs the band is considered a lounge-pop group. A lot of late 90s bands were described like that. But I’ll start reviewing their discography with the record I discovered them, a compilation titled “Seven Summers International Pop Volume 2” that was released by my good friend Peter Hahndorf on his own TweeNet Communications (TweeNetTwo) and Kindercore Records (KC023) in 1998. It was actually in Bremen, when I visited him, that he gave me a copy of the CD, a compilation that may well be some sort of indiepop world tour of the time with bands spanning all over the world. On it I was going to listen Super for the first time, and their song “All-American Cheesecake” was soon going to become a true favourite of mine!

It is true that I don’t own their whole discography, I will probably go slowly until at some point I get all their albums, singles and EPs. It is hard to complete discographies. But I do own a few of their releases and I know they are pretty good and I will be happy to recommend them to you. The band’s first record was an EP titled “Spark” that was released in 1995 by Tangerine Records (TANG 007). It included three songs “Spark”, “People’s Democratic Movement” and “Trouble With Sex”.

The year after the band was to release another CD EP, “Tempted”. The band had changed labels now and were on Odor (ODOR 0,2). Three songs were included, “I Didn’t Expect to Be This Tempted”, “Historical Sights, Out of the Blue”, “Spare Us From This Infinite Moment”. Here on Discogs I do find credits, Teemu Soininen on bass, Arto Ellonen on Congas, Ville Hietala on drums, tambourine, melodica, keyboards, backing vocals, Jukka Tiirikainen on flugelhorn, Jussi Pietilä on guitar, Okke Komulainen on organ, electric piano, keyboards, samplers and loops, Teho Majamäki on vibraphone, and Minna Joenniemi and her sweet vocals. The record was mixed by Janne Haavisto and recorded by Tuomo Puranen. The interesting thing about this EP is that it was going to be reissued by Odor the year after as Odor 0,3 with four songs. The first song was going to get the name shortened to “Tempted”, and then there was “Misty Hours”, “Bingo Hostess Goes Berserk (Skillsters Remix)” and “A Day With the Crimplene Kids”. Why the reissue and why so soon? And why change the tracklist?

They were going to catch the attention of the Japenese label Escalator Records, and in 1997 they were to release the “Tickets” EP in both CD (ESC012) and 7″ vinyl format (ESINGLE3). On the CD version there were 5 songs, “All-American Cheesecake”, “Last Flight to Sardinia”, “Roadblock”, “Bilbo Baggins” and “Frostbite”. A song about Bilbo Baggins from Lord of The Rings? Yes, that’s true, and it goes like this, “Bilbo, Bilbo Baggins, only three feet tall, Bilbo, Bilbo Baggins, the bravest little Hobbit of them all”. Amazing. The 7″ version only included three songs and in a different order. On the A side there was “Last Flight to Sardinia” while on the B side we find “Frostbite” and “All-American Cheesecake”. By now we know that the bands lyricists were Minna and Ville.

That same year, 1997, would see the light their first album, “Rendezvous with Super” released in Finland by Odor (Odor 1,0) and in Japan by Quattro (QTCY 2097). The album had twelve songs, “Caruamba Wax”, “Girls Go Bravo!”, “Bingo Hostess Goes Berserk!”, “People’s Democratic Movement”, “Proposal”, “Misty Hours”, “Tempted”, “True Gentleman”, “Travelogue”, “Historical Sights”, “Wicky-Wacko Rodeo” and “Coup de Soleil”. It was recorded at Hitsville IV Studio and Finnvox. Hitsville IV being a studio based in Helsinki run by Janne Haavisto and Tom Nyman while Finnvox is run by Risto Hemmi these days in Helsinki. Here we can already define the band members, we know that the core of the band were Minna Joenniemi, Ville Hietala, Okke Komulainen and Teemu Soininen.

As expected the Japanese version of the album on Quattro came with three bonus tracks, “A Day Out with the Crimplene Kids”, “Infinite Moment” and “Spark”. It also had different cover art, front and back. Also it is important to mention that there was a CD Promo for the album with just the song “Girls Go Bravo!”.

The same Japanese label, Quattro was to release a 7″ in 1999 (Quattro Disc 003) with the song “The Broken Girls” on the A side and a remix of it on the B side, “The Broken Girls (Super Splendid Strings Escape Mix, Remixed by Escalator Team)”.

That year, 1999, was to see the release of the band’s second album, “Tipsy” on Odor (Odor 3,0). The album had 10 songs this time, “Welcome to Our Soundscape”, “The Broken Girls”, “Don’t Tell Me You Jog”, “Love Was a Bomb”, “Departures”, “Disco Solitaire”, “Golden Boy”, “Country Star”, “We Hate Muscle Men!” and “Ice Cubes”. Aside from the core of the band here we see the band got help from Juha Kulmala on drums, percussion and handclaps, Tintti Simola on flugelhorn and trumpet, Serafiina Kämi on flute, Arimo Komulainen on trombone, Teho Majamäki on vibraphone, and Andrei Sytchak, Elina Huusko, Emma Toppinen, Tanja Jukarainen and Tuula Nurmo added strings. The record was mastered by Mika Jussila and was mixed by Ian Cat (yes, that Ian Catt) except the second track, “The Broken Girls”, which was mixed by Risto Hemmi.

And of course the Japanese were going to release the album. In 2001 the label Quattro put out “Tipsy” (QTCY-73006) and instead of adding bonus tracks they included an extra 3″ CD with four songs: “The Broken Girls (Super Splendid Strings Escape Mix)”, “Persian Risk”, “Calypso at the Office” and “Scary Waltz”.

Now onto the compilations! If we go chronologically we know that “Tempted” was included in the CD compilation “Tähti CD 6/96” released by Enormi-Opus Oy (TÄHTI CD 6) and also in 1997s “Bonus CD 6: Finnish Dance & Pop” that was released by Äänitealan Yhteismarkkinointi (BONUS CD 6). “Tempted” was going to be included in more compilations. On the “Reindeer Rock ’97” CD by CD-Linja OY (Poropromo 97), on “Europodium – Exitos Europeos – Top of the European Pops – Top Europeu 01/98” (98MEU01) that was released by RFI Musique in France in 1998 and where they appear alongside The Corrs (!) and also on the “Odor Sampler ’98” released by Odor (ODOR1998) where not only “Tempted” was included but “Girls Go Bravo!” too.

The song “The Broken Girls” was to appear on two compilations, on the “Popkomm Licensing Guide” released by Fono Magazine (Popkommcd 01) in 1999 and on the “Levottomat Soundtrack” released by BMG Finland in 2002. Levottomat being a movie which I have not seen, but I guess I’m curious now.

The song “Line Dance” appeared on the “Epe’s Star 2000” CD promo compilation released by Poko Records in 1998. And then the song “Disco Solitaire” on the “Reindeer Rock ’99” comp that came out on CD-Linja OY (Poropromo 99). “Love Was a Bomb” came out on another Odor sampler, “The Finland Odor Sampler” (ODOR P 99) in 1999 obviously.

Lastly the song “Car & Chauffeur” appeared on two CD compilations, on “Reindeer Rock 2000” released by Suomalaisen Musiikin Tiedotuskeskus (Poropromo 2000) and on the 4CD Boxset “Sivulliset – Valikoima Suomalaista Viahtoehtorockia Vuosilta 1985-2000” released by Poko Records (Valosa 1) in 2005. This last one looks like a cool compilation with Finish bands from those years, I may want to get this! Maybe discover a tune or two!

Now time to look if the band members were involved in any other projects. When I look at Minna, it doesn’t look like it. Okke Komulainen does seem to have been in a few bands: Bomfunk MC’s, Liekki, Skillsters, Skillsters Plus One, Sleepy Sleepers and as himself, as Okke, on a compilation titled “Pyssy 5”.

Then I noticed that Ville Hietala’s real name was Ville Särmä and that the has also been in bands like Kevin, Tanssiva Karhu and Them Bird Things.

I do find a Wikipedia page for Minna. It seems she is now a cultural publisher and has been involved in many different cultural programs in Finland. I also see that her father was the Peace and Political Scientist Pertti Joenniemi.

I then find an article on the website Elävä Arkisto where they are called the Finnish Cardigans and how they became a hit in Japan. I also find out  that they weren’t from Helsinki but from Tampere it seems. On that same article do check the short clip were we see Minna having lots of fun dancing!

Now I wonder, are there no promo videos for the band? There must be! But I can’t find any. I did find Minna having a speech at the Interesting Helsinki conference.

An interesting blog post not exactly about Super is the one on PhinnWeb where the author discusses Tampere Pop. It is good to read it to have some background and also because there’s a cool photo of Iisa Pajula from the band Regina and Minna that was taken from the morning paper Aamulehti.

But definitely the coolest thing I found was that on the TweeNet website there is a page with info about the bands on Seven Summers. There is an address for Minna Joenniemi and what was really amazing is that when I stayed in Helsinki in May I stayed in the same street, Uudenmaankatu. I stayed at number 13 and it seems she lived on 33. Wow!

I couldn’t find much more. I guess if I knew Finnish I would have better luck at choosing my search terms on Google. I wonder if they had been in bands before Super. If they recorded any videos. If they still have unreleased songs? Why did they split? What did they do after? What made them make pop in a country were metal is more popular? I don’t know, I have many questions, that I hope get answered some day, in the meantime I’ll keep enjoying their music.


Super –
All-American Cheesecake


Thanks so much to Michel and Marjolijn for the interview! I wrote about Formica some weeks ago when I thought it was a good time to feature a Dutch band on the blog and was lucky to get in touch with both of them and even better, they were up to answer my questions! They also clear some doubts I had, made some corrections of my previous post and tell the whole picture of Formica! The band released just 2 singles and they were truly great, if you haven’t heard them yet, this is a good time to discover them! Oh! And they shared with me this exclusive cool photo of the band which was taken by Kathalijne van Zutphen.

++ Hi Michel and Marjolijn! Thanks so much for being up for this interview. How are you doing? Are you still making music?

Michel: I’m well, thanks. Not doing much music anymore, although I have an ‘internet band’ called Transatlantic Bunnies. So far I’ve put out one 7” on the Australian Insipid Vinyl label. The A-side (“Formula One Generation”, a song written by Steve Gregory for the Pooh Sticks) was sung by Lauren Rocket from L.A. band Rocket and the B-side (“Girl’s Going Crazy For The La La La”, written by Steve and me for International Language) has Sara Johnston from Canadian band Bran Van 3000 singing. I still haven’t met Lauren, but I did meet Sara in 2015, not long after the single was released. She was on tour with Evan Dando and they played a gig in Utrecht, so we finally met and did that song as part of her set, which was a like a dream come true for me.

Marjolijn: I’m not making any music anymore, just listening to music.

++ And are you still based in Utrecht? How was Utrecht back in the mid 90s? What were your usual hangouts? The venues you used to go to?

Michel: I’m still living in Utrecht, Marjolijn is living close to Utrecht and Noortje moved to Amsterdam.

Marjolijn: We used to go to places like Tivoli (Utrecht) and the Melkweg (Amsterdam), to see bands…

Michel: …like Blur, Pulp, Oasis and even Kula Shaker.

++ As I was saying on my blog post there is very little information about your band on the web so this is for sure a great opportunity to learn more about you. Also I must say when it comes to indiepop, not much is known about The Netherlands either. So maybe you can recommend some bands?

Michel: As far as we know, there weren’t many indiepop bands in the Netherlands. If there were any, we didn’t know them.

++ Going back, when you were kids, what sort of music did you grow up listening to? What was your first instrument? and how did you get it?

Michel: 70’s rock: the Stones, Alice Cooper, the Sweet, Slade, Status Quo… And then punk happened. I could never choose between guitar and drums, but my parents gave me an acoustic guitar when I was 11, or so. Years later, when I joined a band as a drummer, I bought a drumkit.

Marjolijn: Noortje and I were listening most of the time to Britpop, Elastica, Blur and also bands like the Ramones and the Kinks. I started playing clarinet and after that I started playing guitar.

++ Let’s talk about Formica, or was it Formica 2000 (!?)? What’s the story of the name of the band?

Michel: A friend of ours came up with the name Formica, because it sounded a bit like Elastica! We thought that was funny.

Marjolijn: We have no idea why we added 2000.

++ Had you been involved in any other bands? I know Michel was in a few, what about the girls?

Marjolijn: Just Formica. Noortje too.

++ How did Formica start as a band? How did you all know each other? How did you meet?

Marjolijn: Noortje, Edske and I knew each other from school. We started playing music together. We met Michel at DaCapo. And he became the drummer.

++ What would you say influenced the sound of Formica?

Michel: Britpop, punk rock and Phil Spector.

++ Marjolijn, you took the photos for the sleeve art. Nowadays you are a photographer. Were you a photographer already then?

Marjolijn: It was just a hobby at the time. I studied architecture. But two years ago I started taking photography more seriously, and I just finished my study photography.

++ How did the relationship with Steve Gregory from Fierce Recordings and The Pooh Sticks start? And how come he was not part of the band, only credited for the lyrics?

Michel: This is a long story. The Pooh Sticks “Alan McGee” CD boxset came with a little booklet in which it read: “Are you in a band? Everybody should be in a band. Let us know about it.” Or something like that. Just for fun I sent a cassette with recordings of some of my bands. One of them was Beatle Hans. I then got a letter from Steve/Fierce asking if anyone was releasing the Beatle Hans stuff. If not, Fierce Recordings was up for it. And by the way, would the band (minus singer Hans) be interested in recording the next Pooh Sticks album, which became “Great White Wonder”. Me and bass player Hard Cor (Cor van Ingen) played on two more Pooh Sticks albums: “Millionseller” and “Optimistic Fool”. After that Steve and I released a 7” and a CD on Sympathy For The Record Industry as International Language. (By the way: “Rodney’s English Disco” by Helen Love is not the International Language tune.) We enjoyed writing songs together, so we also wrote a couple for Formica. But Formica was always just the girls and me. Oh, and the 3 Formica girls’ first recording experience was doing some backing vocals on the International Language tune “Christmas Will Be Magic Again”, which first appeared on a christmas CD on Sympathy For The Record Industry.

++ And who was the bassist for Formica? I see on the first record Edske is credited, while on the second it has Hard Cor, Ron and Hanneke. Why was there never a proper bassist in the band?

Michel: Edske left the band after the first 7”. On the “Gameboy” EP we had Cor on two songs, my brother Ron on one, and Marjolijn’s younger sister Hanneke on the fourth song. For the gigs we had Ron on bass.

++ How did the creative process work for the band?

Marjolijn: Michel and Steve wrote the songs. We rehearsed at home. Instead of rehearsing we sometimes played our Gameboys. That’s why we wrote the Gameboy song.

Michel: I asked the girls to write lyrics for a song called “Look At Your Game, Boy”, which has nothing to do with “Look At Your Game, Girl” by Charles Manson. Marjolijn’s sister Hanneke added some lines too, so that’s why two Hoelens are credited on the label.

++ Your first 7″  was released on Spirit of ’86 who were also connected to The Pooh Sticks. On this single the brilliant “Johnny & Anita” was included. I must ask, who were Johnny and Anita? What’s the story behind this song?

Michel: Johnny’s and Anita’s were annoying (Dutch) youths on scooters who liked house music and had crappy haircuts.

++ Your second 7″ came out on the fab Damaged Good label How did you end up releasing with them? And I must ask, how come two English labels for your releases, and no Dutch ones? Why was that?

Michel: In 1995 Hue Pooh Stick had his Spirit Of ’86 label. I told him I wanted to join the girls’ band and he said that if I did he would release whatever we’d record. I’d already offered my services as a drummer, but the girls told me I was too old. Fair enough. I was twice their age. But when I told them they could make a record if they had me on drums they agreed to give it a try. Spirit Of ’86 was distributed through Damaged Goods/Shellshock, so after that first single Ian from Damaged Goods asked if we could do one for his label too.

++ You worked on the recordings with Hans Blieb twice, what did he add to the band in the recording studio?

Michel: Nothing really. He owned an affordable studio and was the engineer. I did production and mixing.

++ Then there were no more releases by the band, why? No compilation appearances? Are there any unreleased songs by the band?

Michel: There is one song we wrote but never recorded properly. For the gigs we chose a couple of covers by bands we liked, like “Time Bomb” by the Ramones and Josie Cotton’s “Johnny Are You Queer”.

++ And from all of the Formica songs, which one is your favourite and why?

Michel: I like “Wire” and “Cross My Mind”, ‘cause they’re slightly Spector-esque.

Marjolijn: “Johnny and Anita”.

++ Did you play many gigs? Maybe any in the UK? Are there any in particular that you remember? What were your best ones?

Michel: We only did two gigs, both of them in Utrecht in 1998. But we almost played our debut gig in London as part of some MTV thing. Unfortunately the Fierce Panda label, like Damaged Goods also related to Shellshock distribution, had one of their acts play there instead. I think our first gig was the best one, opening for the Donnas. A great night.

++ And were there any bad ones?

Marjolijn: The second one was not as good as the first one. Haha!

++ Did you get much attention by the music press? What about radio?

Michel: I don’t think I ever saw a review and I definitely never heard us on the radio.

++ When and why did you split? What did you all do afterwards? Did you continue making music?

Michel: Like Abba, we never really split up.

Marjolijn: Noortje moved to England to study. It became too much hassle at the time. We just kept in touch but didn’t make any music anymore. Nowadays Michel and I meet up in town to take pictures sometimes. Our new hobby.

++ I must ask, where do you think you had more support, in the UK or in The Netherlands?

Michel: We did an interview with a local music magazine. I don’t think anybody outside Utrecht knew about us, except some friends and a couple of girls from Rotterdam who had a Britpop fanzine.

++ Michel, I must ask even though it is not strictly Formica related, but the single “Go Eliza” by The Nightblooms is truly brilliant, and you produced it! How was that experience?

Michel: I didn’t really produce “Go Eliza”, but I was there during the recordings (and played a twangy guitar part in the choruses). Studio engineer Ward, who would also work on the first two Pooh Sticks albums that we recorded in Utrecht, asked me to come to the studio for the first Nightblooms session there, ‘cause he thought I would understand their kind of music better than he did at the time. That was about a year before “Go Eliza”. That first session remains unreleased, although I have a cassette of it somewhere. The Nightblooms are nice people and we got along really well, so I was there again for the “Go Eliza” session. I don’t think I was present for any Nightblooms sessions after that, although I went to England with them in 1990, as a guitar roadie and to play some guitar on their John Peel session. I also played guitar on one song on their first album and I was their manager for a while.

++ And today, what do you do? Any hobbies that you have aside from music?

Michel: I like analogue photography, shooting portraits mainly.

Marjolijn: Photography

++ There was a comment on my blog post saying that one of you guys worked at Da Capo Records. Is that right? How is Da Capo Records? I’ve been told many times that it is a fantastic record shop!

Michel: I worked at Da Capo for 22 years. That’s where I met the Formica girls. I stopped working there in 2008. Three years later the owner died and on December 31st 2011 the shop closed. A sad day. It was a vinyl collector’s shop and probably the best one in Holland.

++ One last question, I’ve never been to Utrecht so I’m quite curious, what would you recommend not missing out? Sights? Traditional food? Bands?

Marjolijn: We recommend going up the Dom tower. Beautiful view.

Michel: Food! Broodje Mario and Vocking worst.

++ Thanks again! Anything else you’d like to add?

Marjolijn: In your article you mentioned a Noortje in Switzerland. That’s another Noortje. Noortje from Formica is a fashion accessories designer and she lives in Amsterdam.

Michel: We appreciate your research and love for the music.


Formica – Johnny & Anita