I visited one record store in Lisbon. I can’t recall the name now, though it was very close to the Santa Justa lift. It was on the way up (or down) some stairs. I entered without any hope of finding anything, it looked like your usual jazz and oldies records place but after a good look I was to find some fine indiepop records. Sadly I didn’t buy any because they were crazy expensive.

For example I found the two Razorcuts LPs on Creation. Both of them were being sold for 25 euros. I believe you can find them cheaper on Discogs or eBay. Then I was surprised to find some 10″s by Anthony Adverse or Marden Hill. Nice records indeed, but again overpriced. So I returned to NYC without any new records.

I also visited the FNAC thinking that it would be similar as in Spain, that I might find some of the latest releases by Elefant. But no, none of them were available. The selection there for indiepop in general was very poor.

But of course that doesn’t mean I had a bad vacation! It was terrific, I really loved the country. Buying records wasn’t part of the plan for Portugal. It would be if I go to England, Sweden or Germany for sure, but for other countries, I don’t go with the mindset of buying records. Of course, if I find something, it would be a treat and would be appreciated.

I have to cover indiepop news too, so can’t be just talking about my trip. I’ll tell you more next time, but would share my travel route, the cities I visited: Lisbon, Evora, Sintra, Fatima, Obidos, Alcobaça, Batalha, Coimbra and Tomar. So many beautiful places I couldn’t visit. Really, 8 full days weren’t enough!

There’s been a few festival announcements, but I’ll start from where I was last post, Madrid Popfest! And yes, I’m looking into going. I need to figure out some things but there is a good chance I will attend. That would be nice, after one long year (2017), not attending any indiepop festivals!

Madrid Popfest will happen on the 2nd and 3rd of March in 2018. That is on a Friday and on a Saturday. That is quite convenient for me, I could return on Sunday and be back to work on Monday. The festival will be held at the Galileo Galilei venue, which I’ve never been but after Googling, I can say it looks like a good choice.

Some bands have already been announced and for sure my excitement went to another level when I saw that Eggstone was playing. Wow! They had a reunion not so long ago and I believe so far they’ve played only in Sweden and Germany. Only now they will travel to warmer climes. For me, this seems to be a unique opportunity to see them live as I really doubt they are going to play the US any day soon. So indeed, what a chance to see this legendary band!

Another big band announced is the BMX Bandits. I’ve seen them a few times. I’ve always been a fan and I’m sure I’ve mentioned them on the blog many many times.

Then we have The Tuts, Terry Vs. Tori, Cosmen Adelaida, Melenas and The BV’s.

The BV’s are a favourite band of mine these days. I’ve raved about them here time and time again and hopefully I will have some exciting news about them soon!

The Tuts have got a mention too when I’ve looked into Indietracks lineups years ago. So I’m familiar with them. There are then three bands that haven’t had a mention on the blog so I’ll have to check them out!

Terry vs. Tori is the one band I’m familiar because my good friend Cris from The Royal Landscaping Society has worked with them. He showed me their music last year and I thought it was really enjoyable. The Sevilla band’s latest release dates from May 2017. The “Leap Day” EP is available to stream on their BandCamp and as I was saying earlier, it is great! The band is formed by Erica Pender on vocals and guitar, Manuel Jiménez on guitars, Jose Prieto on bass and Rosa Ponce on drums. Very curious to catch this band live and hopefully get their records which at the moment I don’t own any!

Cosmen Adelaida hail from Madrid and have more than a few releases. Their last release also happened this year. Last March they released their 10 song album “Dos Caballos” which I’m listening now for the first time. I must admit I know the band by name for years now, I think they’ve been around since 2009 or so! But for some reason I never paid attention to their music. Why? I don’t have an answer. But well, better late than never, right? Maybe the reason was that they are not strictly indiepop?, I can see their post-punk influences but also influences of La Movida in their sound. But instantly I’m hooked by their punchiness and catchiness. Maybe it is time now for me to go through their back catalogue?

Melenas could be my favourite “new band” from Spain at the moment. This girl group from Pamplona Pop City is formed by Oihana on guitars and vocals, Leire on bass, María on keyboards and Laura on drums. They have just released their album as a vinyl LP and what a debut it is! This self-titled record has 10 songs and it is being released by the very fine Snap Clap Club label from Barcelona. I know I need this record. Should I wait until I can go to Madrid and save postage or have it now? I probably will need it soon because I am loving it. Upbeat, girl vocals, quirky lyrics and catchy melodies. What else can one ask for these days? I’m playing the songs on Bandcamp on loop for hours now!!


About to close the international world tour of indiepop review. Time for the USA now, for the 41st band on this special feature where I’ve been showcasing at least one obscure/lost band from each country that has produced indiepop/guitar pop.

Who doesn’t love the sound of Dearly? Those who have heard their pretty music gets hooked. I own two records with their music, their 7″ and the split with the Castaway Stones. Today I was looking at Discogs and saw that there was even an earlier release, a split tape with The Legendary Jim Ruiz. I realize I know very little about them, so I get on detective mode and being the investigation.

It seems this cassette came free with the first issue of a fanzine called Let Us Be Nice To You. The tape had no sleeve but had the tracklist written on the label. I see that the catalog number was LETTUCE 1 and it was released in 1993, but where was this fanzine released? In their native Minneapolis or somewhere else? And who made this zine? Was the band featured on it too? It would be good to know, I’m sure if they were, we’d know many more details about them.

Each band contributed 4 songs. Dearly got the B side and their songs were “Without You”, “I’m Breaking Up With Myself”, “Anniversary of Nothing” and “Light Headed”.

The next year, 1994, would be their proper debut. They were to release a 7″ with two songs, on the A side “Only Betweens” and on the B side, “I Don’t Want to Go”. The record came out on the classy Grimsey Records (Grimsey 002). Now that I think of, wouldn’t it be great to do an interview with Andrea Toolin who ran the label that was named after an Iceland island?

The artwork for the record is credited to Tree of Heaven. The record was produced by Bryan Hanna from The Bomb Pops. Here we also find the names of the people behind Dearly. We have Aaron Lundholm, David Jarosz, Marcel Galang and Matt Gerzema.

I click on each name on Discogs, I find that Aaron had been involved with The Hang-Ups and The Owls. Marcel on the other hand had been in The Autumn Leaves, The Hang-Ups and The Owl while Matt was on The Autumn Leaves too. David doesn’t seem to be listed in any other bands.

Their next release wouldn’t be until 1998. A split 7″ with The Castaway Stones was released by Brittle Stars Records (Brittle Stars 003). This is a special release as The Castaway Stones is a band that features indiepop legends like Archie Moore or Pam Berry. Dearly appears on this record with the song “No Respect”. Here I notice that Aaron Lundholm or David Jarosz don’t appear on the credits. Instead it appears like this:
Matt Gerzema on bass, organ and backing vocals
Marcel Galang on vocals and guitar
Bryan Hanna on drums, low whistle, tambourine and backing vocals

Bryan Hanna replaced Aaron and David? I wonder. Bryan also produced this song at Lucky Rocket Studios. The record was mastered by Greg Vaughn and the artwork was designed by Ocean Design.

It is true we know more about their other projects. They are more familiar to all of us, The Bomb Pops, The Autumn Leaves and especially The Hang-Ups. But I’m curious about this project. I have never heard the songs from that split tape and would love to. Were there any other unreleased tracks? What are they doing now? How long did they last as a band?

There are no photos of the band on the web, nor any reviews (only a similar blog post as this by the Shelflife blog). Did they play many gigs? It looks like they were more of a studio project, but who knows? Maybe some of you remember them?


Dearly – I Don’t Want to Go


Thanks so much to Richard for the interview! I wrote about The Holidaymakers some time ago on the blog and was very lucky that the band got in touch and were up to answer my questions! The Holidaymakers were a very fine fine band of jangly guitars that released a 7″ and a 12″ during their time. But aside from that there wasn’t much I knew about them, until now!

++ I know a bit about The Holidaymakers, thanks to doing some research on the web, but of course, there’s little information about you. I guess I want to start from the beginning. Like what sort of music you listened when growing up? What was your first instrument?

I know Adrian was fond of Josef K, Orange Juice, Fire Engines, Postcard-type stuff. We were all listening to the usual stuff: The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, New Order, Husker Du, The Byrds.

++ And was The Holidaymakers your first band? Or there were other bands before?

First serious band for all involved, I initially met Adrian through work (a mind-numbing office position).

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

Don’t even remember how we came up with the name, sorry.

++ How was your hometown back then? Were there like-minded bands? Good places to play? Where would you usually hang out?

Edinburgh’s Onion Cellar and The Venue – so many good gigs – Sonic Youth, Television Personalities, Stone Roses, BMX Bandits, Mudhoney, Primal Scream, Spacemen 3.

++ Your first release was the Woosh flexi with the song “Everyday”. It was the start of your relationship with Stephen Joyce from Woosh. How did you end up signing with him? Did you play at his legendary club in Newcastle?

I think we played there first and then he offered to put out some sounds. Played there with The Nivens and My Bloody Valentine if I remember correctly.

++ The single was shared with The Nivens. Were they friends of yours? Did you ever play with them?

Our connection with The Nivens came about as label-mates, think we played together a few times. Actually talk to them now more than we ever did back in 1988 (thanks to Facebook).

++ The next release is possibly the one most people know, the “Cincinnati” 7″ on Woosh. I know it is kind of silly to ask, but I have to, have you ever been to Cincinnati?

Not me, although I live in Canada these days and am about as close as I’ll ever get. Maybe one day.

++ Your sound is classic indiepop, jangly goodness. What bands would you say influenced your sound? And how did the creative process work for the band?

Adrian and Neil were the songwriters, the bassist and drummer just followed their lead (as it should be with the best bands).

++ This record was produced by Angus McPake and engineered by Bob Heatlie. How was working with them? What do you remember from the recording sessions for this single?

Angus was, of course, known to us through his many musical endeavours in Edinburgh (Jesse Garon, Fizzbombs). He was very easy to work with. He also had great hair.

++ You were to come back in 1989 with a new release on a different label, The Gay Cowboy Recording Organisation. Was this a self-release? Why did you leave Woosh? Was there any other labels interested in your music at the time?

Gay Cowboy was our own label. Whoosh was always a one-record deal. The irony of Cherry Red putting out a track on a compilation 25 years later is not lost on us – we’d have sold our mothers to get a deal with them back in 1988.

++ This release was the “Skyrider” 12″. On this record I notice a change in the sound of the band. Less poppier I’d say. What happened? Why the change? Was it because of the times?

Just progressed to a heavier sound I guess. I always thought Skyrider was closest to how I wanted the band to sound.

++ That was your last release. Why didn’t you get to release any other records? Did you leave any unreleased recordings?

The Holidaymakers entire catalogue is out there, nothing else was recorded.

++ From that period I only know that you contributed “Seventh Valley Girl” to the legendary tape compilation “Everlasting”. Do you remember anything on how did you ended up there?

I believe they just put it on there. Not sure permission was asked or even granted. Although it was certainly welcome.

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

We’d scour the NME, Melody Maker for a single or live review but I don’t remember anyone knocking down the door to talk to us at the time. John Peel played our first single a few times and Skyrider once (apparently he didn’t like it that much, oh well).

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? What are your favourite gigs that you remember and why? Where was the farthest you played from home?

We played some great gigs with My Bloody Valentine (really nice people), House of Love (again really nice), Ride and Spacemen 3 (not very friendly at all). London was the furthest we played.

++ And then what happened? When and why did you split?

We kind of fizzled out when we moved to London. No big drama and we’re still all in touch. Adrian is still in London and plays with many different bands (Beatpack, The Mirage Men). Mark is a tech wizard and teacher living in Edinburgh. Neil lives in Scotland and builds musical instruments with his own company, Soundtree Harps. I live in Ontario, Canada and am an Advanced Care Paramedic.

++ Looking back, what would you say was the biggest highlight for The Holidaymakers?

For me, first John Peel radio play and supporting The House of Love at The Falcon in London (1988?).


The Holidaymakers – Cincinnati


Thanks so much to Chris for the interview! A few weeks ago we talked about his first indiepop project, Pop City Arizona, and now it is time to talk about the band he is more known for, Mary Queen of Scots. The Birmingham band who released a split 7″ with the band Peru and participated in many compilations, is back now releasing new songs on their SoundCloud. We talk about the present, the future and the past, and we hope you enjoy it!

++ Thanks Chris for being up for a second interview, this time about Mary Queen of Scots, the band you formed after Pop City Arizona. Will there be a 3rd interview? Had you been involved in any other indiepop bands after Mary Queen of Scots?

I’m currently in another band called Fly Away Sorrow which is a folk-pop band along with my partner Kim who does most of the singing. We’d be happy to chat about that. Kim also does her Bliss/Aquamarine fanzine. It’s not folk-folk if you get my drift but more taking folk songs and giving them a (slight) pop feel. We’re certainly not proper folkies!

++ So at some point you left behind Pop City Arizona and you started to focus on Mary Queen of Scots. When was that moment? Who were in Mary Queen of Scots and how did you all know each other?

Around 1992 I found the sound I was looking for which was quite minimalist with a lot of reverb and a bit trebly. Some say it sounded like Brighter. I was also a fan of The Carousel who were doing the folky-pop-acoustic thing. Again it was mainly me in the band but around that time I met my friend Ruaraidh at uni who was very much like-minded and into the C86/Byrds scene and so we hung out. He also played and sang on “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” for the Sound Of Music LP/CD and contributed some songs, one of which I unearthed only recently. Alas I seem to have lost the others.

Soon after I met Fergus and Andrea who had a band called Lonely and a label called Garden Of Delights. They also lived in Birmingham and, though not part of my band, were very encouraging.

++ Of course something I’ve been curious for a long time is the name of the band, why did you name it Mary Queen of Scots?

I vaguely knew Jo (from riot grrrl band Huggy Bear) and she told me she knew Elizabeth Price and Amelia Fletcher and that they were doing some project called The Catherines of Arrogance. I misheard it as Catherine of Aragon and I thought hey that’s kind of a nice name for a band, sort of historic and melancholy. Now if only I could find something similar…

++ At the time of Mary Queen of Scots what sort of music were you into? Who would you say were big influences in your sound?

I was into so much music at the time, most of which did not have a direct bearing for MQOS. I really liked a wide range of music, anything from Big Black, punk and grunge to the most obscure twee indie bands. Labels like 4AD, Blast First, Factory and Creation were on my radar. I also liked classical music. Naturally C86 and Sarah were the most obvious influences but, yes, Brighter, Another Sunny Day and The Carousel.

++ How was the creative process for the band?

Generally songs were written quickly, demoed and then possibly made into a proper recording. I didn’t enjoy the recording process much, it was really quite tedious and frustrating. I don’t consider myself a proper musician… I just play instruments… there’s a difference. I’m more of a music-maker and songwriter. And a 4-track cassette recorder is quite constraining by virtue of only have 4 tracks.

++ I see on Discogs that the first release was a self-titled cassette with 10 songs. It has a photo of a detail of Westminster Abbey. What was this tape? A demo? How was it distributed if it was? Where was it recorded? And how many copies were made?

It’s tape of ten songs which was self-released. I did copies as and when they sold, a bit like with the compilation CD today. I personally don’t regard it as a demo as the songs on there were done and dusted as far as I was concerned. It was all recorded on my 4-track. As for sales, I really don’t know, not more than 100 I would have thought.

++ Your only proper release was a split 7″ with the band Peru which I interviewed some years ago. How did this release happen? How did you get in touch with Bring on Bull?

Richard from Bring on Bull was interested in MQOS, he had mentioned the band in one of his fanzines. He then wrote and asked if I would do a single. At the time I was a huge fan of Peru and I thought it would be nice if we could do a split single. I also lent Peru my 4-track for their recordings. It all went remarkably well. Thinking back I’m really pleased with the outcome, not just my songs but also Peru’s, their songs are great on it.

++ And how friendly were you with the band Peru? Did you ever meet them?

I discovered their music on the C92 tape, I think, and we started exchanging letters. I met Brian a few times. My brother was a fan too… I think he liked their songs on the single more than mine!

++ You had three songs on your side of the record, “Another Sunny Day”, “Evensong” and “Dreaming”. Would you mind telling me the story behind these songs?

There was a girl who lived downstairs from me and we planned a day out on the bus. But it never happened and so began an endless outpouring of sad songs. No, not really. But yes “Another Sunny Day” is vaguely about that. “Evensong” is about self-doubt and self-deceit. Some of my songs have religious overtones even though I’m not religious… religion fascinates me. And “Dreaming” is about hope, about being fed up of where you are and the people you’re with… longing to be elsewhere.

++ And what do you remember of the recording session for these songs? Were there more recorded?

I don’t remember much to be honest other than redoing lots of takes to get them right. I kept thinking this is for a single, I’ve got to make it perfect! The vocals were quite problematic as I was very fussy about them. Then the mixing went on for a while as I kept fiddling with EQ levels and so on. My friend Simon had some nice digital effects and the angel voice at the end of “Dreaming” was done at his house. I’m very pleased with how they turned out. There were only 3 songs planned for the single. I think 1000 were pressed and Richard kept half and I got a quarter along with Peru. Shortly after Richard wrote to say he had sold out and can he buy back my share. I believe he did the same with Peru.

++ You appeared on a few compilations, probably the most known one is the one on the Bring On Bull comp, “The Sound of Music”, where you contributed “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. Why did you choose to cover that song?

The truth is all the good ones were already taken! So Ruaraidh and I decided on that, and I wasn’t confident about tackling the vocals so he had a crack at it. He also played guitar and I did the keyboards. Apparently we were the only band whose song was done on a 4-track and Richard said it didn’t sound like it… well not too much!

++ Then I see that you appeared on the Shiny Sunset compilation “Charming Trip in the World of Dreams”. This label was from Italy! How did you end up there?

I’m afraid I don’t remember much about that one. People wrote and asked and I would usually say yes.

++ There are also a few compilations I’m not very familiar with, like the C92 tape by Rainbow were you contributed “Wonderland” and “Only For You”, the Polythene Star tape where you had “Ascension Day”, the Meet Disco Girl! tape where “”Around the Sound” was included or the Green Oranges tape where you had “Around the Sun” and “Ascension Day”. Who were the people behind these compilations and labels? Do you remember?

C92 was Gerard Mucci… I was only asking Kim about him the other day. That was a great tape. Simon Minter was behind Meet Disco Girl! whom we once invited to Birmingham for a rather boozy night. And the Green Oranges tape was on Kim’s tape label. I can’t recall anything about the Polythene Star tape, sorry.

++ There is also listed on Discogs a CDR compilation titled “Here Comes the End”. When was it released? 1999? And from where are all the recordings that don’t appear on the tape or the split 7″?

The CD came out in 1999 – the later songs on the CD after the single and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” were really demos. I tried to get Richard interested in another single but it didn’t happen. I toyed with the idea of a 10″ release. In hindsight I should have done at least another release even if self-financed, but that’s easy to say now.

++ There are 24 songs on it, but I still wonder if there are any more unreleased tracks by the band?

Yes, there are but most are probably not fit for release unless tidied up. I will revisit my old tapes at some point.

++ And this year you came back with a new song on SoundCloud, “Lyle Lovett On The Radio”. What made you come back and record again? Are there more songs coming up?

I had always wanted a banjo. As a teenager I listened to REM’s “Wendell Gee” and I thought the banjo on it sounded great… sad and poignant. So having put it off for years I finally bought one in 2016. It’s an openback banjo which has that mellow, ole-time feel. Kim and I sat around singing old folk tunes and Kim’s voice just worked really well with those kind of songs. When she sang “Little Birdie” it was so moving. So we thought we had to have a go at recording some songs, just for fun if nothing else. One thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to go near my 4-track again, it would have to be recorded on the computer. So we finally got some folk songs out under the name of Fly Away Sorrow and I began to think the unthinkable… I still had an old song rattling round my head from 20 years ago. I had to record it, if only to get it out of my system. So “Lyle Lovett On The Radio” was the result and I feel a little more relaxed about life now.

Back in 1998 I did a demo of 8 new songs. One of those eight songs, “Edgbaston Rag”, has already been recorded by Fly Away Sorrow. Another three, “Dateline International”, “Grow Your Hair”, “You Or Nothing” have just gone up on Soundcloud. There are plans next year to record another three together, and the remaining one may end up as a Pop City Arizona song. There are also tentative plans to bring out a CD (a proper, factory-pressed release) of the recent 4 songs plus some new ones plus some rarities next autumn 2018. It would be nice to find a label to do this otherwise we may bring it out ourselves.

++ Four new songs have appeared on Soundcloud this year, can you tell me about them?

I’m not entirely sure what “Lyle Lovett On The Radio” is about… perhaps loss or even death, or death of an emotional kind. Around the time I wrote that I was discovering country music, in particular Hank Williams and The Carter Family. If Hank Williams scanned better I would have used him rather than Lyle. There used to be a dating service called Dateline International. As well as being a love song it has some religious overtones. Perhaps it’s a song about understanding what one’s genuine needs are, be they emotional or spiritual. Again I’m not sure about “Grow Your Hair”, the second verse and outro are a mystery to me… perhaps it’s about being a hippy! I like the idea of writing abstract lyrics which create an atmosphere without actually saying anything specific. “You Or Nothing” is another love-gone-wrong song so I tried to make a nice pop song out of it. As for the title “Beachy Head Here I Come”, it’s just a gentle dig at myself and my songs, and not a comment on anything else.

++ And from all your songs by Mary Queen of Scots, which would be your favourite and why?

Wow, that’s a good question. I like the 3 songs on the single a lot, and “Kimberley” is very personal. But I’m very fond of “Tomorrow Never Comes” which is a very old song that pre-dates MQOS so it’s like an old friend, and has been recorded a few times, so I say that one.

++ Why weren’t there more releases by the band? Was there any interest from any labels to release anything else by you?

After the single I should have tried harder to get something happening. But there wasn’t a lot of interest and to be fair my mind was starting to drift elsewhere. After the compilation CD came out in 1999 I really thought it was the end… the desire to write and record was gone.

++ I suppose that with Mary Queen of Scots you did play live. Did you play many though?

No, MQOS never played live. It’s not something that ever interested me much. And to be honest I don’t think I would have had the nerve. Ruaraidh was playing live in other bands.

++ You told me Pop City Arizona didn’t get much attention from the press or radio, but what about Mary Queen of Scots? And what about on fanzines?

I think MQOS certainly got interest from tape labels and fanzines. “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” was played on BBC local radio.

++ Speaking of fanzines, during those days there was an explosion of guitar pop bands, did you ever feel part of a scene at all?

Yes, most definitely, something very special was happening, and it was a huge part of my life at the time. Life revolved around Sarah releases! Apart from the songs I was inspired to write my own fanzine “Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance” which lasted three issues (the title is from a Billy Bragg song). Through that I met Kim who was busy starting her fanzine and label at the time.

++ When and why did you split?

There was no real split… it all petered out. I found the recording process with the 4-track difficult and tedious. Computer recording today is so much easier and productive. Now once you’ve recorded a track you can edit it in endless ways and combine it with other takes with no loss of sound quality. It’s easy to double track and add effects, and correct mistakes. You’re only limited by your imagination.

++ What would you say was the biggest highlights for the band?

The single and the “Sound Of Music” song. Bringing out the “Here Comes The End” CD was a big thing too, quite a lengthy project as all the songs were remixed from the 4-track tapes to computer rather than from the master tapes to improve sound quality. But I think “Lyle Lovett On The Radio” is a important step forward in the MQOS journey, a continuation of the past but created in a completely different way.

++ Has Birmingham changed much since those days? I’ve never been there, but wonder if I was to go, what would you suggest someone doing in your town? Maybe the sights not to be missed, the traditional food or drinks?

I arrived in the city in 1986 and I remember thinking it was all a bit grim… the old Bull Ring wasn’t the greatest and all those underpasses everywhere. But it had great music venues as I mentioned in the previous interview. Today (as with most major cities) it’s a completely different place, it’s quite beautiful. The Symphony Hall, the new Bull Ring, the new New St train station, the new Central Library and the regeneration around Broad Street have all helped to make Birmingham a much nicer place.

I’m not sure if there are any must-sees in Brum… perhaps the rusty Iron:Man in Victoria Square… it’s a sculpture by Antony Gormley who’s better known for The Angel of the North. No, forget that… they’ve apparently moved it into storage to make way for a tramline. But there’s always the Museum and Art Gallery (a place I used to frequent habitually) and the new Bull Ring shopping centre. As for traditional Brummie food and drink, well, there’s groaty dick… washed down with a pint of mild. Kim suggests sheep’s brain on toast, bostin!

++ Thanks for everything Chris! Anything else you’d like to add?

You’re welcome. Thanks for the opportunity to chat about the past, it’s been fun! There will be more stuff happening in 2018 so watch out 🙂



Mary Queen of Scots – Another Sunny Day


I’m writing these lines before my trip to Portugal as I would be returning on the Sunday and this post should be up today, on the Monday. So yeah, not much about my Portugal trip or my experiences there. Hopefully in the next post I’ll tell you about my adventures in Lusitania.

There is of course the news of Madrid Popfest that was announced the week I was leaving, but I haven’t had the time to digest it because I really want to go and I don’t know if I’ll be able. So I’ll leave that for the next post, probably on Wednesday or Thursday. So today just a review of new sounds I’ve found on the web!

The Keep Left Signs: I recommended this band quite some time ago, I really liked their songs on SoundCloud and had no information about them whatsoever. Well, seems Shelflife and Kocliko Records are releasing their debut album on December 7th. What’s cool about this band is that they are members of some very fine Swedish bands like The Electric Pop Group and Cloudberry friends The Mare. You can listen to the seven songs that form the album titled “Tomorrow” on the linked BandCamp page! Fantastic jangle pop and a must buy!!

Day Wave: I just found out this LA one-man, fronted by a Jackson Phillips, band on SoundCloud and it sounds pretty good. Of course I feel that there is a bit of a “let’s push him” to be well-known attitude from the label and perhaps from the band which you know I don’t like. Maybe targeting to the hipsters. I guess it is not a bad idea as the music is friendly and hard not to like, I’m actually liking it a lot! And of course that matters the most. So far they have released an album titled “The Days We Had” which has 11 songs. So try to ignore that hipster vibe and enjoy the music, check out too the video for “Something Here” which is a very fine jangly and dreamy track!

Plastic Picnic: another hipster band that sounds good. Based where else but in Brooklyn, Plastic Picnic has a bunch of songs on SoundCloud that are part of their first single “Nausea in Paradise”. I check on Facebook their influences and I don’t like any of them really. Shame. I do like their songs though, and again, I have mixed feelings. Liking the music, not liking what the band represents. Again, try to ignore the hipster-ism and listen to the music.

Black Sea: the good people from Melotron Recordings from Thessaloniki in Greece will be releasing on December 1st the album by Los Angeles lo-fi guitar pop band Black Sea. This CD will include the album that was available only on tape plus 3 unreleased tracks. It will also come with 2 inserts and a sticker. In total there are 14 songs that were performed, recorded and produced  by Cole Devine.

Marc Elston: lastly our friend Marc has put together a limited edition CD titled “I’ll Build a Better Castle”. What’s in there? Well, 11 jangly pop songs by the ex-Bulldozer Crash and Liberty Ship! This is a very lovely release which I’m already enjoying streaming here. Now I need to order it. Classic indiepop sounds by Marc who got a little help from his brother Graeme (The Love Parade) on mixing and mastering these songs.


Finally, the 40th band on our worldwide review. And still there are a few more to cover in the next coming days and weeks. I’m quite impressed to say the least!

On this feature I’ve been back to the Myspace many times. It was a good time, 2005-2008, for indiepop, to discover bands. Also for bands to get in touch with fans and labels. I can’t recall exactly how I met Iowa Super Soccer, but it was definitely there, on Myspace, most probably around 2006. They sent a demo to the label I was running with my friend Jalito in Peru, Plastilina, and we liked it. But we couldn’t release it for many reasons at that time. It wasn’t the right time for us. Nevertheless we were quite impressed that for the first time we were listening to an indiepop band from Poland.

I remember reading on the indiepop-list about other “indiepop” bands from Poland, like Delons for example. I listened to them time after time, trying to find out where in the world they were compared to The Wedding Present. I couldn’t see it. So in my book there hadn’t been any indiepop bands in Poland up until Iowa Super Soccer appeared with their clear influences of Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, and chamber pop in general.

The band may have been popular in Poland, I mean, they do have a Wikipedia entry in their language. On it I find out that the band formed in 2004 in the city of Myslowice.

Mysłowice is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The population of the city as of 2008 is 74,912.  It is located in the south district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union in the Silesian Highlands, on the Przemsza and Brynica rivers (tributaries of the Vistula). Mysłowice is one of the cities comprising the 2.7 million conurbation – Katowice urban area and within the greater Silesian metropolitan area with a population of about 5,294,000.

It says that the band was part of a scene that included bands like Negatyw, Gutierez, Twisterella and Peru. I should try to check them out. Especially Peru, right? We also know the band lineup:
Natalia Baranowska – vocals
Kasia Włosek – cello
Agnieszka Bednarz – violin
Michał Skrzydło – acoustic guitar , vocals
Wojtek Sawicki – guitar
Piotr Sawicki – bass guitar
Slawek Plotek – drums

Some former members also listed were Monika Mendak on vocals, Marcin Fluder on guitar and Alicja Herma on violin.

In 2006 they released two EPs, both of them don’t appear on Discogs. The first one was the “Iowa Super Soccer CDr EP” that included 4 songs: “Letter to Nowhere”, “Strange Planet”, “My World” and “Morning”. The second was the “Teenage Dreams So Hard to Beat” that also had 4 songs, “The River”, “If You Die Die Tomorrow”, “10,000 Miles” and “The Straight Story”.  I start to wonder about the band’s name. Where does it come from? I used to love as a kid the Super Nintendo game Super Soccer. But why the Iowa part?

Their first album was to come out in 2008 on Gusstaff Records. This was a small Polish indie label that was based in Zielona Góra. The album titled “Lullabies to Keep Your Eyes Closed” (catalog GRAM 0803), had eleven songs, some which had appeared on the previous EPs. The songs on the album were: “One in the Grass…”, “She”, “The River”, “Screaming”, “Cold”, “Letter to Nowhere”, “Robin Hood”, “Naive Song”, “Let Me Die”, “Live as If You’ll Die Tomorrow” and “Tony.” There was a promo video for “The River“.

On the credits for this first album we see that the artwork was created by Maciej Porczek, the photography was taken by Michał Skrzydło and Piotr Pisek while the record was produced and mixed by Błażej Nowicki, Grzegorz ‘Kuba’ Kubek, Michał Skrzydło and Zbyszek Olko. It was recorded at Cyberstudio in Katowice between 2007 and 2008.

Their second and last album came out two years after. In 2010, again on Gusstaff Records (catalog GRAM1001) they released”Stories Without Happy Ending”. On this album they had 12 songs: “Someone Like You”, “Wake Up”, “When You Return”, “My World”, “Sunday Comes”, “Little Joe”, “Scary Book”, “Oh, My Heart”, “Suzanne”, “Mr. Lonely”, “The Story of Our Picture” and “Rolling Around”. I remember a Cloudberry friend, John from Nottingham writing to me about this album. He was really loving it, especially the song “My World“, which had a fun cartoon video.

Discogs lists two compilation appearances. The song “My World” being included in the 2010 compilation “Gusstaff Ina Pill Vol. 10” and “The River” on another label compilation, “Gusstaff Ina Pill Vol. 7”. Both CDr promo samplers.

Wikipedia on the other hand has the track “10,000 Miles” appearing on a compilation titled “Alternative Trippin'”, a compilation released in 2007 by the label Chaos Management. Another compilation appearance would be on the “Alternative Program – Agnieszka Sydlowska” compilation from 2008 with the song “One Day in the Grass”.

Also in 2008 they had that same song, “One Day in the Grass”, on the “Offsesje 1” comp, which I believe is a music program on Polish Radio #3 run by Peter Stelmach every Friday.  Lastly that same year they would appear with the song “The River” on the compilation “Pop Nation 02” released by the Spanish label Bonvivant Records.

The band played many gigs according to the Wiki. They played at the first Off Festival in Katowice. They appeared on TV and radio, like on Trójka, TVP 3, Radioactive, Radio Kampus and Gazeta Wyborcza. There were other gigs like supporting Myslovitz, Lonely Drifter Karen, Troy Von Balthazar and Chris & Carla. Also a concert at the Polish Radio Studio.

So I look for these gigs on the web. And I find a BalconyTV gig in Poznan where they play “My World”. Also I stumble upon some acoustic presentations for the songs “One Day in the Grass” and “I Can’t Live Without You“. But more surprising is to see them playing in Lviv in Ukraine in 2010 or in China, in the city of Lijiang in 2010 at the Snow Mountain Festival. In general on Youtube, there are many live performances by the band, at festivals like Maj Music Festival or smaller gigs like the Art Festival Piotrków Trybunalski.

I look for more information about them on the web and there is not much, which is strange. As you saw on Youtube there were many videos. How strange. Also not much information about their albums. So why not check out the band members on Discogs, what else had they been involved with.

I see that Błażej Nowicki had played in the band Negatyw and also on Miss Polski. But what about the rest? Only Iowa Super Soccer seems to be listed for them.

There is not much more I could find. I look and look. Of course there’s the difficulty of the language, but still, even Polish sites have very little details about them, just like discography or band lineup. I wonder if they are no more. What are they doing now? Still making music? Anyone out there remembers them? And how come they got to play China? That must have been an experience!


Iowa Super Soccer – My World


So very happy, Peru qualified for the World Cup, a party we haven’t been part since 1982!! I need to be in Russia next summer. I dream of it. Getting tickets to the games is going to prove the most difficult thing, but hopefully there’s a way. I’m very excited.

This is also the last post before I head out on vacations! Hope you’ve been enjoying this series of bands from all around the world. There’s been a lot of nice comments and messages especially from people that heard these bands for the first time. Also have gotten in touch with many of them! Some of these contacts have resulted in interviews and some others well, in nothing much. But still, I think it’s been a fun exercise and I still have at least a handful more countries and bands to feature after my vacation.

Having said that, it is time to discover some new indiepop on the web!

The Mallorys: what a nice discovery! I see a heavy influence of The Smiths in the songwriting and the music of this Lake Forest, Illinois, band. Their self-titled album has just been released on Bandcamp and also on home made tapes the band is selling for 8 bucks. There are 9 songs in total, all of them having witty song titles. The credits tell me that behind the band there’s one Danny Robles with the help of Emily Murmun on backing vocals. That’s it. Very talented this Danny!

Dumb Things: more tapes. 2017 has been the invasion of tapes. Cassettes and more cassettes. I have a few and since moving I don’t know where to put them. Oh well. I think I’m alone preferring a CDR as a cheap alternative over tapes. In any case there’s a fine label in Toulouse, France, named Hidden Bay Records that has been releasing a bunch of great records. I recommended them when they put out the Brunch Club tape remember? Well now it is time for Dumb Things from Pop City Brisbane. The band is formed by Pat, Maddie, Adam, James and Andy and they sound really great on the 10 songs of their self-titled tape debut!

Clemente: Daniel Soto from Culiacán, Mexico, goes under the name Clemente. He has just released on November 10th a CD EP on the same-city label Discos en Verano. The EP titled “Buenos Aires Soundtrack” has 6 songs and according to Daniel the songs are vignettes of the time he spent in Argentina. Right now you can stream two of the songs to be included, “Lobby Boy” and “Foto del Mar” and they are really nice, clearly influenced by Spanish bands like Family or Dar Ful Ful.

Sensaciones: Well after discovering this Mexican label I decided to explore what else is in their catalog. And I find this joint project by Daniel from Clemente and Jesús Sandoval from Emma’s House Records and Pure Morning. There is only one song titled “El Eco de Tu Voz” and the sound is not much different to the classy one that I was enjoying with Clemente.

Night Sports: And the last recommendation for this week is the latest release by Kocliko Records from Spain. The 10″ by Night Sports will be released on November 23rd but you can already enjoy the 6 songs to be included on BandCamp. Who are Night Sports? It is our friend Caspar Bock who used to be in Champagne Riot and for a bit on Northern Portrait, who I met just once, curiously in Spain. There are 6 songs of classy synth driven indiepop which would be great at an indiepop party (are there any still?!). I can’t wait to get mu hands on this record. Kocliko keeps surprising with very fine and unmissable releases!

Ok! I’m off to Lisbon for 9 days! See you in a little more than a week!! 🙂


Our 39th band in this review! Quite amazing, isn’t it? As I said in previous posts I thought I was going to only be able to review around 30 bands, but this exercise has surprised me. I’ve found many new bands from all different corners of the world and I’ve been surprised by their quality. I hope you’ve been enjoying our “world tour” and today it is the turn for Canada. Who do I want to feature? A classic band who I know very little, Cannon Heath Down.

I remember listening to their music for the first time maybe 10 or 12 years ago on Myspace. I can’t remember if it was an official page or not. In Myspace a fan could set up a Music page for the band they wanted. That may sound odd as today that is not common. In any case I don’t know if it was official or not, but I was happy to discover a jangly band that was obscure but sounded brilliantly.

The band released one album during their time and with that album they reached cult status. I still don’t own it. That is embarrassing. I see a copy that is not expensive on Discogs now but it says the jacked has stains. I don’t need it mint, but stains? That is not good for me. The album was released in 1987 on the label Bongo Sunrise Records (catalog BSLP 5866-01). This label doesn’t have any other releases listed. Maybe it was a self-release?

The album had 13 songs, 6 on the A side and 7 on the flipside. On the A side we find “Light Your Eyes”, “Julia Rainbow”, “Je Suis Certain”, “Ma-de-moi-selle”, “Fortunate” and “A Charming Sound”. The B side had “Blue Skye”, “Bone of Contention”, “Having Dreams”, “Not Now”, “Safe as Milk”, “Quagmire” and “Belly Through”. It says that the album included a printed lyric sheet. The cover art has a cool color photo of the band.

The album was produced, mixed and performed by Cannon Heath Down. It was recorded and co-mixed by Cal Stephenson and Tom Ferris at Limited Vision, Coquitlom. Additional recording at Limited and the CHF Mobile. Preproduction at Bedrock Studio, Vancouver, British Columbia (David Osborne and Darryl Neudorf), and The Loving Room, Vancouver (Bill Sherbet and Bayou Drachma). Tape editing by Greg Reely at Mushroom Studios, Vancouver. Mastered at Location Recording, Burbank, California. Type and layout at Camart Studio, Burnaby, British Columbia. Photography: Chris Magnusson. Hair by Cair. Yeah, HAIR.

Discogs also lists one appearance. The band contributed the song “Bone of Contention” to the 1991 double CD compilation “Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988” that was released by Zulu Records (Zulu 5-2).

This song, “Bone of Contention”, actually had a promo video which is available on Youtube. It was the only video they made.

I find the website for the Museum of Canadian Music. This museum, based in Calgary, says that has the most comprehensive catalogue of more than 100 years of Canadian sound recordings. In this website I find a bunch of interesting information about the band.

The band was formed by Jeff Hay-Roe on guitar and vocals, Christopher Davenport on drums, Jonathan Brotherton on vocals and guitar and Cameron Brown on bass and they were based in Vancouver. The whole band lived together in a house in East Vancouver, Jon, Frank and Cam on the upper floor while Jeff and his wife Jacquie (and eventually their first daughter too) on the first floor. They had many cats.

Before being Cannon Heath Down the band was called The 5th of November. At that time only Jeff and Cam were in the band. Another friend of theirs, Rod, was the other member. Then they changed the name of the band to Bayou Drachma and during this period they used French names to call themselves, Pierre, Henri, Guy and Luc, all with the same last name, Lafleur. Later they would change their name to Cannon Heath Down after the book Watership Down which none of the members had read at the time.

Jon joined the band after seeing an advert for a drummer. In the end he didn’t end up being the drummer of the band, that was Frank. Now, who is Frank? I suppose that would be Christopher Davenport.

They also mention some bands they opened for like Grapes of Wrath, 54-40, Game Theory and the brilliant The Water Walk.

Another blog that wrote about them before me was the very fine Wilfully Obscure. Here he mentions a very interesting detail, that the band released in 1989 a tape titled “Peace Bum Days”. What was on it?!

To my surprise my search would made me go to Flickr. Here I found another release, a tape titled “Safe a Love” also released by Bongo Sunrise Records. There are also a bunch of clippings. On one I find that the band formed in the Autumn of 1985 and in January 1986 the band had already completed their first demo “Ma-de-moi-selle” which was released under the name of their previous band Bayou Drachma. This song received airplay on UBC campus radio station, CITR. The next spring the band started working on a recording project at Nettwerk’s Limited Vision studios. During the summer the band played its first gigs, playing with bands like U-Men, Go Four 3, The Rainwalkers and Stubborn Blood. Then the band went on a hiatus from performing but after their album was released they resumed gigging. It also mentions that the song “Bone of Contenetion” got airplay on CITR and SFU’s CJIV.

Finally I find the tracklist for “Peace Bum Days”. It says this was their 2nd album demo and was recorded on February 1989. What is strange is that says it was only made by Jonathan Brotherton and Christopher Davenport. What happened to the other two? The songs on this tape were “Julia Rainbow”, “Sunset Jim”, “Safe as Love”, “Ten Days for Boys”, “Like a Daughter”, “Deft H.”, “Baby Pool”, “Bright and Funny Too”, “Arms Around”, “Deft S.”, “Green Monkey”, “Je Suis”, “Feel Free” and “Day By Day”. Many songs!

I keep digging on the web. The band used to play a lot at a venue called The Town Pump. Another venue they played was the Commodore Ballroom.

I’ve heard only a handful from their album, but I start thinking that they would make a very nice collection for a reissue. Why hasn’t that happened yet? Maybe it could be a Cloudberry release? I definitely would like to listen to all their songs, but maybe this could be a good idea? I’m just thinking out loud.

There’s not much more on the web. Would be interesting to know what happened to them afterwards, if they continue making music. What are they doing now? Would love to know if there were recordings by their first band 5th of November. I would also love to hear the songs on the “Peace Bum Days”. There’s not much on the web about them, though can actually listen to a few songs on Youtube. They are these lovely jingle jangly songs, just as I like them. If you don’t know them yet, this is a good time to do so!


Cannon Heath Down- Bone (of Contention)


Just a few more days for vacations. So needed! But my commitment to indiepop continues, hopefully with at least one more post before Friday. This year I want to finish this exercise of finding fine guitar pop, indiepop, around the world. I think I’m getting closer. Maybe at the end I can do some sort of diagram or graphic of the countries I found bands worthy to be featured here.

But as it is usual I don’t only care for the old, the classic, pop. I also want to find new sounds, new bands, the new generation of indiepop. So here are 5 recommendations to start this week!

For this review of new indiepop I must thank Pierre and his indiepop Facebook group Twee Lovers Club. It is there where I’ve found all of these!

The Primitives: The classic and legendary band has a new video by The Primitives for the song “Oh Honey Sweet”. This song is being included on the 10″ titled “New Thrills” that is being released by Elefant Records.

Math and Physics Club: their label, Matinée, has just unveiled the song “All the Mains are Down” on SoundCloud. This song is the first single from the forthcoming album “Lived Here Before”.  It is a brilliant and lovely by this already classic band who I’ve seen a few times, but never in the US I think! There are no more details about the record, so we can only wait!

The Legendary House Cats: John Girgus from Aberdeen has a new release out on his Bandcamp under this name. There are 12 songs which as the Bandcamp says are a collection of digital and streaming releases by this project. There are some remixes and some covers as well as some originals, and happily it is available on CD.

White Shoes & The Couples Company: the Indonesian band who has been around now for so many years (I remember we featured them on my very very old indiepop blog Mira el Péndulo) has a new video for the song “Hidup Hanya Sekali”. Here they add quite a Latin flavour to it. Or maybe that’s their new style? I haven’t been following them for years now if I’m honest!

Rocketship: the Portland based band has a new flexi disc out titled “Songs from Yorozuya Detective Story”. Yes, these are songs that were included in the movie with that name which I haven’t seen. Have you? The songs which are very very short are “Sisyphus Strut”, “Low Moon in Cancer” and “Low Strings in Cancer”. They are nice instrumentals, though I wish of course they had lyrics. You know me, I need lyrics to love my indiepop. But then, that is just me.


Approaching the 40th featured country/band little by little. Today it is number 38 and it is the turn for Austria and the band Bicycle Thieves! Don’t confuse them with The Bicycle Thieves from the UK that we covered many years ago on the blog!

I know very little about the band to be honest. I only discovered about a week ago! I was trying to find out fine guitar pop from Austria and it turned out to be a difficult task. I knew of Die Brüder which Uwe had once recommended me and even made me buy one of their albums from a second hand shop in Berlin. But I thought that they were quite popular, not very obscure and you could easily find information about them on the web. So I had to dig further.

It was thanks to a blog called the Austro-Rock-Lexikon that I was going to find out about Bicycle Thieves. I thought their name sounded poppy enough, especially as there has been an English band with that name in the mid-eighties, and I tried my luck.

I was to find a treasure trove of press clippings and photos. They all looked very much DIY, in the indiepop spirit. I was sure I was in the right path to finding something interesting. What’s even luckier was that as soon as I searched for them on Google I was to stumble upon their Bandcamp. Now I could listen to them too!

So while I have their music playing I start my indiepop archaeology on Discogs. There I end up finding out that their first record, a 12″EP, came out in 1989 on Moon Records (catalog Apollo 1).  The “Gospel Marmite” EP is perhaps their poppiest, and definitely my favourite of their releases. On it they had 3 songs on the A side and 4 on the B side, 7 in total. On the A side there was “Mirror Man”, “Leaving By Train” and “There She Goes My Mind” and on the B side, “Bullets in My Gun”, “Sunflower Island”, “Down by the Fishes” and “Worms for Breakfast”. I listen to these songs and I think of Flying Nun Records. Don’t you?

On the back of the jacket we see that the band was formed by Ronald Hartwig, Peter Fally, Fritz Hartwig and Johannes Hönlinger. They were based in Vienna and the songs were recorded between January and February of 1989 by Gebhard Sengmüller. All songs were written by Ronald and the extra backing vocals on “Sunflower Island” are credited to Gary Danner. The artwork has these very cool insect diagrams. I like it a lot.

After this release their first album was to be released in 1991, “King Backwards II”. It came out on Moon Records (Apollo 2) and had 10 songs. I start to suspect that the label was their own. The A side had “Joe”, “Applecake Town”, “Belgium”, “God” and “Miriam”, while the B side had “Mesmerized”, “Romania”, “Christian”, “Karen” and “Magic Bus”. Here I see what instruments each of them played. Peter played bass, Michael, drums, Fritz guitar and Ronald guitar too. It says that the LP came with a lyrics sheet. This LP was recorded in Berlin and the art was made by Amina Handke.  On a review of the record their sound is compared to the Postcard bands.

Lastly, in 1992, the second album was released. Titled “The Liquid Dandies”, the 10 song record came out now on a different label, Sacro Egoismo (102). This was a label based in Baden and was around in the 90s. The songs on this record were “Mafia Methods, “The Liquid Dandies”, “Dead Line”, Life on One Leg” and “Gospel King” on the A side and “Stamboul Train”, “Losing My Religion”, “I Swallowed the Spoon (Instead of the Soup)”, “The Fryzas” and “Kafka’s Last Words” on the B side. 300 copies were made of this record.  This record was released after the band had already split. They are actually demo recordings it says, and yes, “Losing My Religion” is a cover of REM, but in a sort of tango.

I keep looking for information and notice that after the demise of the band Ronald was involved in a band called Trelkovsky. With this band he was to release a couple of CD albums. I could find a website for him but everything is in German, and I can’t seem to find different information to that on the Austro Lexikon site. It also seems that today Ronald is making music under the name Diatopia.

I look carefully to the press clippings, see if there is something interesting in them. I see one where it says that the band was around from 1986 to 1991. One that mentions them playing on October 29th 1989 at a venue called Chelsea. Another from 1991 when they played the Termine venue on February 20th.

I see on Youtube a little story on the Franz Bilik channel. Here he tells his experience about finding about the band: “first came across the Bicycle Thieves when Rainer Springenschmied mentioned them in an episode of the Punkerecke in FM4 (which was about a million times better than this travesty called “Basement Show” by the way) when he asked Panza if he paid attention to any of the bands after the first wave of Austrian punk bands and mentioned the Bicycle Thieves as an example. The Bicycle Thieves existed from 1987 to 1992. Musicwise they had a British post-punk influence going on with a lot of jangling guitars and hushed vocals. And while I definitely wouldn’t call the Bicycle Thieves punk in a musical way they certainly had a bit of the DIY spirit to them as well as releasing a record on the Viennese punk label Sacro Egoismo. After their split in 1992 guitarist/vocalist Roland Hartwig and drummer Michael Peter formed the experimental outfit Trelkovsky, who you can also hear on this channel.

I start to wonder if they appeared on any compilations. I couldn’t find any. Nor if the other members of the band were involved with other bands. What did Fritz or Peter do afterwards?

This is definitely the first time I mention an Austrian band on the blog, perhaps there are Austrian readers and can help. What else do you know about them?


Bicycle Thieves – Leaving By Trains


Just one more week before going to Portugal! Yes, next Friday I’m off. Will be returning on the 27, so any orders placed after the 16 will be posted on the 28th. But any orders placed before the 16 will be posted this week. Promise.

There are still many more discoveries and recommendations while we patiently wait for the My Light Shines For You! 7″. Also very soon I’ll be announcing the next release on the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen, so keep reading the blog.

Youthcomics: I know about nothing about this Kyoto band. The thing I know is that they are releasing a tape on November 11th on the very very fine label Miles Apart Records from Japan. The limited edition cassette is titled “Shower of 411 sec.” and I don’t know how many songs it will include. The only certainty is that the song “Youth In Our Backyards”, which I’m loving now on SoundCloud will be included. It seems that Japan doesn’t stop producing superb guitar pop these days!

Sound and Fury: the Chengdu band who I was raving not so long ago on the blog signed to Boring Productions. With the label, which our friend Jovi runs, the band will be releasing an album titled “Sprout” on November 24th. Now they are promoting it with a video for the song “Honey Knows” which is brilliant! I think this might be one of my favourite Chinese bands ever. And I want to visit Chengdu someday too.

Corrections: I have to thank Rich Farnell for posting this band on his Facebook, that’s how I discovered this Queensland, Australia combo. I think what caught my attention was that Rich described their drum machine a bit like The Field Mice. “Idolatry” is the name of the album the band has released digitally on Bandcamp. Will it appear on a physical record? Who knows. The jangle pop here is a bit darker, a bit post punk, so some songs are not exactly what I love, but sometimes like on “Shout” or “Underground City”, which might be their poppiest, are pretty good!

Salad Boys: another find by Rich. Yes, I keep an eye on my friend’s Facebook pages to find out new music. Salad Boys hail from Christchurch, New Zealand, and what Rich shared was a bit old, a 7″ that was released in November0 2015 titled “Scarce Tracks”, which is a collection of 4 songs of non-album recordings. Their latest though is a limited tape titled “Giving Compliments to Strangers” which was originally released by the band to sell during their 2017 tour in Australia. Now it has been released “properly” by Shit Teeth records. The band is formed by Joe Sampson, Ben Odering and Matt Scobie.

I Won’t Have To Think About You: Compiled by Bayu and Moopie: that’s the name of the Australian pop compilation the Melbourne/Berlin label A Colourful Storm is releasing. And what a compilation this is! The bands on it are fantastic, you get The Cat’s Miaow, The Pearly Gatecrashers, Love Positions, The Cannanes and more. Wow wow wow! There are also bands I’ve never heard before on it like The Particles, Ya Ya Choral or Maestros and Dipsos. This is a must order! And actually you can now, it is a bit pricey for me, 23 euros including postage for the world. So if you want to buy me a Christmas gift…


The 37th band on the Cloudberry Cake indiepop world tour hails from Malaysia! More specifically from Kuching, Sarawak, in Borneo.

Kuching, officially the City of Kuching, is the capital and the most populous city in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. It is also the capital of Kuching Division. The city is situated on the Sarawak River at the southwest tip of the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo and covers an area of 431 square kilometres with a population about 165,642 in the Kuching North administrative region and 159,490 in the Kuching South administrative region—a total of 325,132 people.[5] Kuching is a major food destination for tourists and the main gateway for travellers visiting Sarawak and Borneo. Kuching Wetlands National Park is located about 30 kilometres from the city and there are many other tourist attractions in and around Kuching such as Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), state assembly building, The Astana, Fort Margherita, Kuching Cat Museum, and Sarawak State Museum. The city has become one of the major industrial and commercial centres in East Malaysia.

Before finding about them my only knowledge on Malaysian guitar pop was that of Ferns who were part of the Cloudberry split 3″ series. They shared one of our 3″s with the British band The Shandy Express back in 2009. Before that they had an album on Fruit Records titled “On Botany” which is very recommendable. But aside from them, I had no clue about any other Malaysian band making melodic and catchy pop.

Now, because of this exercise of finding indiepop from all corners of the world, I was to be introduced to Nice Stupid Playground or Nicestupidplayground as it is sometimes written on the web. I’ll start on Discogs which has become the usual first stop for finding about bands. There I see that the band released two records. The first one, “My Life is My Parents’ Biggest Television”, was released in 2000 on the label Positive Tone from Malaysia. Even though it was on an indie label it was distributed and published by EMI. The record had 10 songs and they were: “Stereo Girl”, “Girlfriday”, “What If It Rains”, “Ballistic”, “Adult Life”, “Two”, “Nineteen”, “Discouraged”, “Favourite” and “Thank You”.

Their 2006 album “A Beautiful Life” was self released. It also had 10 songs, “Beautiful Life”, “Miracle”, “Happy”, “Chasing Butterfly”, “Telecommusication”, “If All Else Fails”, “Stronger Than Before”, “Closer”, “My Teenage View” and “Because We Are”. Clinton Ang, their now manager, was the one that offered to fund this release according to a biography on Last.fm. Not much more information about these two releases on Discogs, but I’m sure I’ll find more about them elsewhere. But first I want to check their compilation appearances.

In 1996 they had 4 songs on the compilation “Boys & Girls 1+1=3”. They were “Bedroom Window”, “She Wants”, “And I Don’t Admire (The Things That You Do)” and “Bedroom Window (Reprise)”. This release was released by Positive Tone on both CD and tape format (catalog PT 3004). These songs don’t appear on any of the albums.

“And I Don’t Admire (The Things That You Do)” also appears on the 1997 CD and tape compilation “Name of the Game (Malaysia’97 Fifa Coca Cola Cup)” that was released by Positive Tone (PT 3006). This CD celebrated the Fifa World Youth Championship that was held that year in Malaysia were the champions were Argentina.

In 1998 the song “Bedroom Window” was included on the CD compilation “Radio Friendly Songs!” that was released by Pony Canyon (PMCL 0534) in Malaysia. Later in the year 2000 “Stereo Girl” was to appear on two CD comps, “Pheaw! Vol.1” and “They Came From Planet Earth”, both released by EMI in Malaysia.

The last compilation appearance on Discogs dates from 2014. On the cassette sampler “Tales of the Insomniac Raksaksa” they contributed the song “Beautiful Life”. This tape was released by Teenage Head Records (THRRR01).

I start some searches on Google. I am going to stumble upon an old Tripod website for the band. Do you remember Tripod? Those were the days! On it there are some tidbits about their releases. For example “My Life is My Parent’s Biggest Television”‘s name comes from their second demo. The album was recorded at Craze Studio and Synchrozsound Studio between June and November 1999. “Stereo Girl” was the first single the band used to promote the record, and “Two” was the second.

They also mention the compilation “Boys & Girls 1+1=3”. They say the songs they contributed were actually the first professional recordings the band did since signing to the label Positive Tone. Bedroom Window was the first single from the album and the song itself lifted Nice Stupid Playground’s name at the local music scene when it was handpicked by a Hong Kong movie producer to be featured as a soundtrack song in this Holywood movie called “The Chinese Box” starred Jeremy Irons and Gong Li. This Boys & Girls album also won the Best English Album at the AIM Awards in 1997 and the album achieved a double platinum in the same year.

Listed here is also the demo “…Of Course We Didn’t” that was released in 1992. This demo was released in 1992 and was actually a sort of split demo with the band Mr. Wilson’s Garden, a side-project Charles fronted alongside Mady and Andy from Faded Face. Hmm, would love to hear the songs by this other band. Also we know have some names. Let’s keep digging.

The second demo, as I mentioned earlier, was titled “My Life is My Parents Biggest TV”. This tape came out in 1994 and was recorded at Sutera Music Studio. The songs included were “Shampoo Your Head”, “Drain Dance”, “Do Re Mi”, “My Life is My Parent’s Biggest TV” and “Flu in the Morning”.

The last thing that is listed in this page’s discography is a third demo titled “Thirtyzeroeight” that was released in 1995. They say this was the most success of their demos, getting rave reviews and getting the band signed to Positive Tone after Paul Moss, one of the label’s producers saw their potential. It had five songs, “And I Don’t Admire The Thing You Do”, “Kurt Goes to Heaven”, “She Wants”, “Bedroom Windown” and “Swinging Hair”.

There is also a news section which seems to have been updated last in 2013. It says the band was currently working on their 3rd album. It mentions that this album would represent the band’s first batch of new material since 1997. Wasn’t the album of 2000 and 2006 new material? Strange. Before saying that, in 2007 they were playing with the idea of releasing a Best Of compilation. I don’t think that happened either.

I also notice that the band lists here a few gigs they played, Rock the World in December of 2004 to an estimated crowd of 20 thousand (!!) and also the Band Fest in 2005. Other piece of interesting news is that for their second album the band recruited a new guitarist, Nappy, who used to be in the band Radish Fan/Blue Wagon.

What was I to find next? Guess what, a Wikipedia entry, in English. Here I get the band members, Charles Rossem on vocals, John Boniface on bass, Abdul Aziz on guitar, Nellfee Alwi on guitar and Danny Jopi on drums. Also Adrian Ed is listed as a guitarist. There is also a small biography: Frontman and lead singer Charles Rossem started Nicestupidplayground in 1992; and modeled the sound after a distant early 1980s British rock sound, citing his initial influences as the Cure, the Smiths and The Stone Roses. After several contributions to compilations, their hit song Bedroom Window landed on the album Boys & Girls 1+1=3 which featured their song as the first and main single; the compilation won several awards. After being let go from Positive Tone Records in 2003, Nicestupidplayground continued to tour minimally, offered meetings with fans upon the album release of A Beautiful Life.

The band won a couple of awards, like best music video on the show Video Muzik for “Bedroom Window”, a Double Platinum for “Boys & Girls 1+1=3” and Best English Album by Anugerah Industri Muzik for that same release in 1997.

The curious thing is that I can’t find the video for “Bedroom Window” on Youtube. They also made a video for “Stereo Girl”. I can’t find that one either. There are some live clips and many audio only Youtube videos, but not their promo videos. Why? Maybe EMI doesn’t allow them to be online? Or what?

What you will find though is several bands and people covering their songs. It seems they did make a mark in the Malaysian alternative (and perhaps mainstream?) music.

From the live videos, I can think that the band still plays up to this day. Probably not too often. They don’t seem to have a Facebook nor other presence on the web as a Bandcamp or a SoundCloud. So it is quite hard to know what they are doing these days. I think their latest gig was at a big festival called Rocktoberfest Borneo last October.

I wonder what happened to that third record they started working on. If there were any other similar Malaysian bands? I see the name of the new BorneoPop in some articles, there must have been more bands for there to be a scene, right? I would also love to hear the songs from their earlier tapes. I’ve found some on Youtube but not all. Also would be nice to hear Charles other band I mentioned. There are many questions unanswered, the internet don’t have much written about them but it has been quite a discovery for me to hear these songs coming all the way from Malaysia!


Nice Stupid Playground – Stereo Girl


Thanks so much to Alistair Wilson for the interview! Some time ago I interviewed Ali about his band The Legendary Hearts and now it is time to talk about the band that came before, Watch With Mother!! With this band he released only one 7″ and made a promo video. That 7″ by the Edinburgh based band is still on my wishlist, hasn’t been easy to track down. On this interview Ali talks about his new projects, Edinburgh in the mid 80s and more. Hope you enjoy it!

++ Hi Ali! Thanks so much for being up for another interview after the one we did about The Legendary Hearts! Let’s start with the present before we talk about the past. I noticed The Legendary Hearts are back and there are new songs on your SoundCloud and Youtube. When did this comeback happen and what can you tell me about these songs?

I had lost interest in songwriting some years ago, but my interest was rekindled in 2014-15 when I spent 18 months working with a great Scottish songwriter, now based it Brooklyn, NYC, named Freddie Stevenson. He has several albums available and also co-writes with Mike Scott of The Waterboys. Shortly after Freddie headed back Stateside, I wrote 4 new tracks and decided to record them and release them on 2 CD singles, as well as downloads and streams. The first one “Make A Home / Rescue” was released in October of 2016, receiving worldwide radio play and some decent reviews. The second, “Faded By The Sun / Oceans And Small Streams” , released in February 2017, performed similarly well. The songs were influenced by my three children, the area of Scotland where I live and also by the curtains in my kitchen, which had been “Faded By The Sun”…although, at the end of the day, the song isn’t actually about curtains! We also released a “soundscape” entitled “Coney Island Rain” a couple of months ago. Basically its a piece of music rather than an actual song. Videos for three of the tracks are available on YouTube. Search “The Legendary Hearts – Scotland”. Be aware that there are 3 or 4 bands all named The Legendary Hearts! We’re the Scottish ones. The original and best! 🙂

++ And are there any releases coming in the future? Perhaps a Legendary Hearts album?

I hope so. I’ve been talking about doing an album since 1987, but I want to release something I’m 100% happy with, so it may take another 10 years!

++ Aside from The Legendary Hearts, are you being involved in any other music adventures at the moment?

I make my somewhat meagre living from teaching drums and playing drums with various bar bands and function bands. I hope to work with Freddie Stevenson again in the future. I recently played two gigs on drums for New York based, maverick, raconteur and troubadour, rock’n’roller, Willie Nile, in Edinburgh and London. That was a lot of fun!

++ So let’s go back now, because we talked about The Legendary Hearts in detail last time, but before there was The Legendary Hearts there was Watch With Mother in the mid 80s. At that time you were living in Edinburgh, before that you had been in Stirling with the band The Curious Reign, is that correct? But where in Scotland were you originally from?

I’m from Edinburgh but spent 6 years living in Stirling, where I played with my High School band “Graven Image” and then, aged 19, I joined “The Curious Reign”.

++ And another curious question that springs from the previous one is about The Curious Reign. Never heard about them, but did you release anything? Were there any recordings? And music-wise how did you sound?

There are videos and songs on YouTube posted by Brian Robinson, the old Curious Reign guitarist, now based in Canada. Search under his “silverscot 11” channel. I don’t think anything was ever released, but we were invited to support “The Thompson Twins”, before they became a successful chart trio, on a UK tour…at which point our singer left and the band and the tour never happened. We also supported “Orange Juice” once in Stirling and also “Those French Girls” who were also from Stirling and had a deal with Safari Records.
“The Curious Reign” were influenced by The Stranglers, Magazine, Bauhaus and Van Morrison. We had prominent keyboards on all tracks…but we were not synth-pop!

++ So Watch With Mother, how did the band happen? Who were the members and how did you meet each other?

The band formed in 1985 in the small coal mining village of Rosewell, 10 miles south-east of Edinburgh. Most of the 7 members lived there or in the surrounding countryside. A couple were Edinburgh based. They gigged mainly in the Edinburgh area, through the latter half of 1985, and I answered an advert for the drumming job in March ’86, after their original drummer left. The line up in 1986 was Ged Hanley (vocals and guitar), Annette Haig (vocals), Patricia Patterson (vocals), Lawrie Ball (keyboards), Maurice Dudley (bass), Alex Weir (saxophone) and myself on drums.

++ Where does the name of the band come from?

The name came from BBC Television. In the 1960s, they broadcast a kind of “Children’s Hour” strand entitled “Watch With Mother” and featuring shows with characters such as “Andy Pandy” and “Looby Loo”. Kids’ TV for the under 5s basically!

++ How did the creative process work for the band? Was it similar as in The Legendary Hearts?

Ged Hanley wrote most of the material, although we all submitted songs at various times. We took them to our rehearsal room and knocked them into shape rapidly, as we were always gigging and were keen to get new material out there fast.

++ And which bands would you say influenced the sound of Watch With Mother?

Quite honestly, everything we’d ever heard. From Killing Joke to Neil Diamond. From Half Man Half Biscuit to Simon & Garfunkel.

++ The 7″ was released by the label “Surfin’ Pict” which was your own and we talked a bit about it last time, but this time I was wondering who came up with the awesome logo for the label?

I designed that label whilst working as a city planning assistant in Edinburgh and drew it whilst sitting at my desk instead of working!

++ The 7″ had 2 songs, “Suzanne” and “Something So Wonderful”. Was wondering if you could tell me the story behind these songs? Was Suzanne a real person perhaps?

You’d need to ask Ged wherever he is. He wrote them and I guess there’s a little bit of fact and fiction contained within each. “Suzanne” was meant to be the B-side but was flipped around at the last minute.

++ The two songs on the single were recorded at Frontline Studio by Paddy O’Connel. What do you remember from the recording session? Any anecdotes that you could share?

Paddy had had a hit with “17” by The Regents. I cant remember if he produced the song or was in the band. Later, he wound up a few miles east of Edinburgh and set up a studio there. I remember little about the recording session aside from the very early Roland electronic drums I was forced to use which, due to vibrations, made sounds randomly when other parts of the kit were being played. I think they call it “cross-talk”. Really annoying. I wish I’d been able to use an acoustic kit. I think Paddy, Ged and Maurice did most of the production, although we were all credited. It was all so long ago!

++ The record sleeve has a very cool photograph that was taken by Louise McKay. Do you happen to know where is the location of that place?

Yes. The photo was taken outside The Usher Hall, a beautiful concert venue, on Edinburgh’s Lothian Road.

++ What is very cool is that a promo video for “Suzanne” was made. How did that go? Was it aired a lot on TV? And how was the experience of making it?

It was a fun video to make, although I don’t recall it ever being aired on TV. I remember we tied a double bed to the roof of our van to use on the video shoot. When we got to the studio, the bed was gone. We turned the van around and found the bed a quarter of a mile away, in the middle of a road in central Edinburgh, obstructing the traffic!

++ I see on Discogs that a song called “Sleeping” by Watch With Mother appeared on a 1981 compilation titled “In Colour/Music By Numbers”. I’m guessing this is a different band with the same name, do you know what is this about?

No, that was not us.

++ And was there any compilation appearances by the band or not?

Not that I can recall. We gigged hard, but didn’t do loads of recording. I recall a few sessions, at one of which we recorded about 10 songs in a day. The results were not great.

++ You were telling me that in 2008 you went to the local recycling facility and gave away 100 copies of the single to be destroyed. What made you take that decision!? And how many copies from the pressing are left now?

Yes!…I was moving house and getting rid of stuff and I had a box of 100, possibly even more, original, unplayed, copies of “Suzanne”. I decided that after 22 years they were going to be of no use to anyone, so dumped them in a bin at my local recycling facility. Two weeks later I discovered a used copy selling for $80 on eBay. So technically, I threw away over $8,000 worth of records. Now I only have one left. Thanks for reminding me!!!

++ And how come there were no more releases by the band?

The band started to fragment in late 1986. Ged left, followed by Maurice. We continued for a couple of months with a new bass player and Annette and Patricia took over lead vocals, but my heart wasn’t in it, so I then left and immediately recorded a demo of my own songs under the name “The Legendary Hearts” with Maurice and Lawrie from WWM.

++ Were there any other recordings by the band?

A second single, the name of which escapes me, was recorded for release on Paddy O’Connel’s “Big Noise” record label, but never was released. In fact I don’t think it was even completed. Altogether there are about 20 tracks recorded by Watch With Mother in demo form.

++ What about gigs, did you play many? What were your favourites and why?

I played well over 100 gigs with WWM in the year I was with them. We did one short British tour in mid-1986. “The Jailhouse” in Edinburgh was a favourite, as was “The Cunzie Neuk” in Fife and “The Front Page” in Carlisle, England.

++ Were there any bad gigs?

The gigs were always rowdy and a bit mad. we played a biker bar in West Bromwich, England…Thankfully they quite enjoyed the show…and the fact that there were two ladies in the band helped!

++ Did you get much attention from radio or press?

We got a great, short and sweet review from a gig we did at Liberty’s in Derby, England. It was written by a fella named Patrick Weir and it appeared in the hallowed *NME* in October of 1986. Otherwise we had some local stuff printed and won a Battle Of The Bands competition in Fife.

++ Then what happened? When and why did you call it a day?

The band started to fragment in late 1986. I think it had simply run its course. It was a bit like being in the middle of a firework display. Lots of bangs and crashes for a short while…and then it’s all over.

++ Are you still in touch with the band members? Did any of them continue making music like you did?

I still see a couple of them now and again. As far as I know, all members are still performing and making music and are still based in or around Edinburgh.

++ Lastly, what would you say was the biggest highlight for Watch With Mother?

The NME review…plus a brief reformation to support The Waterboys and We Free Kings at “Pict Aid” at Letham Village Hall in 1987.

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

Not really. It’s all in the distant past now…and I need to lie down now, having been reminded about all the records I threw away!

Thanks Roque…until the next time. Slainte!


Watch With Mother – Suzanne


It is so soon that I’m going on vacation. Just for a week, but still. I really look forward to it. Need some rest, so I come re-energized to keep Cloudberry busy! And the blog too of course. Need to finish this world tour of bands, there are still a handful of countries that I want to “research”!

But of course there are indiepop news all the time so why don’t we get into that. That way I leave you with a lot of new music before I’m away. Also don’t miss tomorrow that I’ll publish one new interview!

Doble Pletina: Sadly I still haven’t got around to get the Barcelona band’s last album from 2016 titled “Así Es Como Escapó”. Not that easy to get indie releases from Spain in the US. Sometimes Jigsaw Records carries them, but if they don’t, I need to hope my friends help me. This is a shame, because I really like this band which I’ve seen once in Madrid and once in New York. But I’m not here to talk about how difficult it is to get their records but about their new video for the song “Mausoleo” which has just been released. It is a very strange concept perhaps, but who cares, the music is lovely of course.

The Seashells: Our friends from The Seashells, who we put out their return 7″ last year, have a new song! And that is brilliant news of course if you like jangly guitars, the classic melodies of indiepop, and that Swedish sensibility that we’ve been fans in indiepop since like forever now! The new song is titled “Moments of Being” and it just appeared out of the blue, according to the band to celebrate All Saint’s Day!

For Tracy Hyde: Since I discovered them not too long ago this Japanese band has become one of my favourites from that country. I remember when I wrote about them and I was pointed out that I didn’t do my research correctly, that they actually had an album out! I claimed that they didn’t! Embarrassing! Well, I made amends. I bought their album and has been played a lot on my personal CD player. The news now is that the band has a sweet new song on their SoundCloud titled “Floor”. And that is not the best news. Actually the best news is that this song will be part of a new album that will be released  on the 2nd of November. Well, we are past that date. Maybe it is out already! The new album titled “He(r) Art” has a whopping 17 songs. I look forward to having it!

Dan Dan Dero: The Lima band has been a usual in the blog. In the last few months they’ve released a couple of videos and now finally their debut album is out. It is titled “La Gran Implosión” and it has 9 dreamy indiepop songs. Most of the album is sung in Spanish but there are a few songs in English like “Tangerine” or “Muriel”. I think this is a very fine debut but I’m concerned about it being released properly, at the moment it is only available digitally. Will there be a physical release in some format? I really hope so, as I would love to have it in my collection!

The Hummingbirds: Well, it only says “Coming Soon”. It is not available yet to order. What am I talking about? An LP that will be available on the “Hindsight – A Night for Simon” that will be celebrated at the Factory Theatre in Merrickville. 9 tracks that were never before on vinyl, only available on CD on the “IV Recordings”. But it seems it won’t be easy to get hold of one of these beauties. It doesn’t really say how many copies will be pressed but ONLY if there are any copies left after that gig these LPs will be sold on a first come, first serve basis on Monday December 4th noon Sydney time and only limited to one per person. That means 16 hours less in New York so 8pm of Sunday??? I will need to set an alarm!


36th! That is the number of countries I’ve featured so far and there are more to come! Now I’m very happy to present a band from Portugal, a country I will be visiting next week!!! I’m traveling for 8 days starting on the 17th! So yes, mark that day because I’ll be on vacations and won’t be able to post any records. So if you need any Cloudberry releases order now and there won’t be any delays!

Portuguese indiepop is not very well known. To be honest there have been only a few bands. On Cloudberry I released a 3″ back in 2007 of a band called Safety Matches. A fun twee-ish band. I lost contact with them so I’m not sure what they are up to these days. I really liked them. Aside from them I knew nothing, so once I asked a Cloudberry supporter if he could recommend me some  bands from his own country. He recommended me the band Jaguar. I thought they were alright, so I decided to explore any connections I could find with any other guitar pop bands. This is how I discovered the DIY label Bee Keeper that was around from 1994 to 1999 and released more than a few gems.

The story says that the Lisbon based Bee Keeper started out as a joke by Elsa Pires, and was about making things happen and about making music fly as far as you want it to go. Against boredom, inercia and foolish jealous competition. Bee Keeper defended a spirit of cooperation between everyone who care. You can do it if you really wanna do it. Make your little riot happen and do it yourself.
Act now, react now.
 That text appears on a BandCamp I found for the label, and it is very inspiring!

The label wasn’t only Elsa’s. Luis Futre was also part of it. There is a small story of the label and also the whole discography on a blog post by Under Review, a Portuguese blog that covers indie music. The discography, which I haven’t heard all, seems to be a mixed bag of music. There are all sorts, from indie rock to indie pop, everything done the DIY way. One of the few bands that made indiepop from the Bee Keeper bands was Captain Clown.

Their first appearance on the Bee Keeper catalog was on the CD compilation “This is Not a Damage Fanclub Tribute” that was released in 1996 (catalog BEE020). The edition of 500 copies was divided into two distinct parts. In the first part, 10 bands covered the  band Damage Fanclub. After these, 11 more bands appeared playing their own songs in a sub-titled part “Supermarket Music”. Captain Clown appears on the latter part with the song “Super Red Taxi”.

That same year the band was to release their one and only record, “7 Superheroes in Pink Driven Ambulance”. It came out on a format I’m not a fan of sadly, a tape. I haven’t been able to find a copy of it and haven’t had the chance to listen to the songs. I’m writing this post on the strength of the song from the compilation and in my curiosity of hearing this tape. Maybe someone could help.

The city of Castelo Branco  is a municipality and former bishopric in Castelo Branco District, in Centro Region, Portugal. The name means “white castle”. Castelo Branco gets its name from the prior existence of a Luso-Roman castrum or fortified settlement called Castra Leuca, on the summit of the hill of Colina da Cardosa. The population grew on the slopes of this hill.

The band hailed from Castelo Branco and according to the blog Under Review the band had 3 vocalists who sang true stories and that the band had 3 brothers who were in the band Mammies & Kids. Luckily this blog has a scan of the tape art and here I can find many important details. First the band members, Nuno Valente, Luis Valente and Inês Barata on vocals, Ricardo Mota on bass, Rui Osório and Vasco Daniel on guitars and Renato Jacobetty on drums. The songs were recorded in June 1996 at Estudio S. Tiago in Castelo Branco and produced by the band.

The fun art of the tape, a collage of different cartoons reminds me a bit of what was happening just across the border in Spain, with an interesting pop scene helmed by Elefant Records. Maybe there was some sort of influence. Or not. The tape included just 7 songs which were: “Super Red Taxi”, “Hello Again”, “17 (Seventeen)”, “Little Smile”, “Buzz”, “Friend” and “For Someone Special”.

What strikes me of course after all this information was to read the name Nuno Valente. It rang a bell almost immediately, an easy thing to a football fan like me. I remembered immediately the Portuguese player Nuno Valente that was part of the Portuguese national team in the Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. I’m sure it is just a case of homonymy, but couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I look into the Bee Keeper discography for Mammies & Kids, see what they were about. It actually was a band that was around before Captain Clown. They released a tape titled “Pink Elephant is Gone?!” in 1995 (catalog Bee008) which is said to be influenced by Pavement. I do read on another blog, Braga Parks, that on this tape there was a Tullycraft and a Smudge cover. Which songs? I don’t know.

I start looking for more information about the band members. It is a difficult task as Captain Clown only has the previously mentioned compilation listed. But I do a good search and find that in 2010 Renato Jacobetty played percussion on the band Musgo’s CD album “O Negro de Boumkubé”. Also I see that Inês Barata played violin on a classical record by António Pinho Vargas. Is this the same Inês? I wonder as this CD was released in 1994 before she was in Captain Clown. If it was the same Inês wouldn’t she play violin on Captain Clown?

I couldn’t find anything else on the web. It seems like that era of Portuguese indie is not that well documented. There is barely anything written about that time. I do see that on Vimeo there has been an effort to unearth this music with small documentaries about the Bee Keeper bands. Sadly there’s nothing on Captain Clown, but you can find clips on Everground, Plasticine, Toast, Radioactive Man and Dr. Frankestein. It is said though that the intention was to release a full-fledged documentary about the label in 2012. Don’t know if that actually happened.

Do you remember them? Did they record any other songs? Did you ever see them play live? Would be interesting to get in touch and see if they can tell us the story of their fun band!


Captain Clown – Super Red Taxi


A new week and it is already November. I always think of the classic Desert Wolves song, “November”, when the month starts. I guess that would be an interesting exercise to do next month or next year when our indiepop world tour ends. Try to feature a band that had a song for the corresponding month. Could be fun and interesting for our indiepop archaeology. What do you think? Good or silly idea?

There have been some new indiepop finds in the last few days, so I share with you, maybe there’s something you fancy!

Makeout Point: I got an email from this very young Swedish band promoting their fuzzy and upbeat indiepop. They shared with me a bunch of songs and I can see a lot of potential here. They remind me a bit of Joanna Gruesome in a way, they are poppy but also rough in the edges. You can check the video for the songs “Indie Girlfriend” and “My Name is Blank” too. The band is formed by Shiva, Simon, Theo, Alma and Andreas.

Submarino: I recommended the Lima, Peru, band Submarino some time ago when they released their latest EP “Transatlántico” in May. The 4 song EP had as its closing song the very fine “Dominique Crenn”. And now, the song named after Dominique Crenn, a French chef best known for gaining two Michelin stars for her restaurant, Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco, California, has a cool video to promote the record that was released by Faro Discos.

Glass Arcades: always recommended on the blog, Glass Arcades from Cardiff have three new songs on their Bandcamp. Naturally they are great! The one-man band by Anton Salmine has “Underachievement”, “The View From Your Rooftop” and “Home (Videos)” available for streaming now!

Wanpaku Graffiti: there is barely any information about this American band. There is a Bandcamp with two very fun songs and that’s about it. I like the artwork they’ve created for this digital single, with different toys and especially the opening track, “Shake your Ghost”. The other song is the fuzzier “Devil World!!!”.

Girlatones: it is becoming very common to feature Melbourne bands in my new discoveries. There are so many! It is a good thing that they like pop music and that they keep creating really fun music. The Girlatones continue that tradition and have released their first album on Zenith Records on November 3rd. The 9 song album is titled “Fitting in Well” and it was recorded on a 4-track cassette. The band is formed by Jesse Williams, Leah Senior, Tam Matlakowski and Jacob Booty.

Cheap Fantasy: lastly in this review of new cool discoveries here is a band from Minneapolis that mixes boy and girl vocals. That always wins me. More synthy than our usual guitar pop fare, but nonetheless very recommendable and enjoyable. Their latest release was a tape EP titled “Life of Glass”. It includes 5 songs, “Life of Glass”, “Chain in the Night”, “Glisten”, “Ain’t Hard” and “Out of Phase”. The band seem to have been around for a bit lomger, their first release on Bandcamp dates from 2016. But who are they? Are they a boy/girl duo? Or a full-fledged band? Bands should have more information available in their sites!


When I think of Thailand I think of Smallroom Records. Why? Because that’s how I got introduced to pop music made there. How? It was thanks to a compilation released by Apricot Records from Germany in 2002 called “The Sweets of Siam: A Bangkok Pop Compilation”. Yes. that’s going to be our 35th country and band in our world indiepop review!

Yes, it was through that CD that had a beautiful look thanks to él Design I found out about many Thai bands from the time like Penguin Villa, Groovy Airline or Armchair. One of the bands that I liked the best on it was Death of a Salesman who appeared on this compilation with the song “Spin”.

I was not going to find their songs in Latin script anymore after this hit. Only Thai. And they don’t even have a presence on Discogs. But I do know, thanks to Youtube, that they released one album. I will need to find out more. I do know it was released by Smallroom. But did they release anything else? Perhaps other compilations?

I find on Last.fm a small biography and also an article from the Bangkok Post dating from May 7th, 2003. The bio says: A synthpop duo from Thailand, consisting of Krachai Chattalada (vocals,guitar, lyrics) and Prinn Amornsupasiri (guitar, lyrics). These two young guys have been producing their own songs since they were in high school.

While from the article titled “Till Death Do Us Start” and penned by Yingyong Un-Anongrak gives a lot of details about the band:
First it gives us the real name of Krachai, it is Chaturavidh. Also that the duo won the indie “Best Newcomer” award from the Channel V Music Video Awards. That both of them know each other since kindergarten but that their friendship only happened when they began university. It was a perfect match.

At the start they were a five piece, but for some reason that is not explained they ended up being a duo. Krachai is a master degree student in England but that doesn’t mean they took their name from Arthur Miller’s play. Well they did, but it wasn’t their idea. They hadn’t read it at the time. A friend just suggested it. Then at some point they heard Smallroom:001, the first compilation on the most known Thai indie label, Smallroom. When they did, they got inspired, and excited, they wanted to be on the label, so they made sure the label got their demo. The label loved it, and they offered a release.

My next stop happens to be Wikipedia, but the Thai version. Here I could find the tracklist for their self-titled album, and yes it is all written in Thai. There are 9 songs on it and they were: “เรือชูชีพ”, “สปิน”, “มีฉันมีเธอ”, “เพียงแค่หนึ่งวัน”, “ไปในดาว”, “เหม่อ”, “วันใหม่”,  “มอเตอร์ไซค์” and “รักในสิ่ง”.

I found also another article from the Bangkok Post on the web dating from 2006. On it they write about an October 8th, 2006, show called “Another Sound in the Room”, a concert where many Smallroom acts were to be featured like Death of a Salesman, Goose or Lemon Soup. The writer compares the sound to Swedish pop or twee.

Another link I find is from LAMPtv. They have a video on Youtube of a Death of a Salesman reunion from December 2014 at the Moose venue in Bangkok. The cool thing is that there is English subtitles and we see the duo talking about the band, mentioning that their album was to be remastered for vinyl. Was it released on vinyl then?

I would have liked to find that album when I was in Thailand a year ago. I didn’t even visit a record store in Bangkok. I guess I was just having such a nice vacation that record shopping didn’t cross my mind?! What a shame. But now I’m rediscovering the music of the bands from Smallroom Records and there are a few worth purchasing.

I especially like the song I share here in this post. It translates to “vacant”. I do find some Youtube videos by the band, promo videos. There’s video for “สุขใจ” and “เรือชูชีพ“.

That’s not all, there is a clip from a gig at the Keep On the Grass Music Festival 3 uploaded to Youtube. This happened on January 31st of 2015. Here is another clip from that same gig. There are some more goodies from the same channel. I see the band playing at a train station the song I like “เหม่อ“.  There is a second part for this video where they play the song “มีฉันมีเธอ“.

Then I see a listing on Tower Records from Japan a Smallroom compilation which I can’t figure out the title. On it I know Death of a Salesman had the song “Sook Jai”.

It ends up being very hard to find any more information. Everything is in Thai and even with Google Translate I can’t figure things out. I wonder about if their album was rereleased for vinyl as they intended. If they are still playing. If there are any unreleased songs. I really like when they go poppy and jangly, they can craft very fine songs. On which compilations did they appear? And where can I find a proper Smallroom Records discography?!


Death of a Salesman – เหม่อ