Merry Christmas to everyone! And Happy New Year!!

Last post for the year!! Remember I’m heading to Mexico tomorrow (Friday) night, so please let me know if you need any records! I can mail them within Mexico too if you are not in Mexico City. Not a problem! Just want to help avoid the terrible shipping costs of the United States Postal Service!

Well, as this is the last post of the year, of course I have to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! As always there are no best of the year lists on the blog as I don’t know how to organize my memory to do one. I’ve listened so much music this year, I think much more than last year, so that makes it even harder to create one. I’ll let the cooler bloggers around the world do that (though it is true that they don’t list much indiepop in their lists too, shame).

I wonder what would be the best way to start the year? I was thinking about doing some sort of feature for next year, as I did the indiepop world tour where I featured 45 bands from 45 different countries. I was thinking perhaps each month showcase a band that has written a song about that particular month, for example for January I could feature the Most Wanted Men because they had a song called “January” or for November the Desert Wolves. But then, some of these bands are not that obscure, that is true. And another thing is that it may happen that the song named after the month might not be their best song or neither my favourite song by them. I could probably just feature the band and post the song I like most anyways, right? And mention that they did have the one song named after the month. That could be ok, right? It could be interesting, and also it gives me time, it would be just the one post that month that follows this rule, the rest of the posts can be random. Also say for example, it may not be that difficult to track down the Most Wanted Men, maybe an interview would prove more interesting too. Let’s see how this idea pans out.

Anyways, I hope too that when i come back after January 1st I can share with you more Cloudberry news, like what more new releases are in store! I can’t wait to share them it is hard to keep quiet!

So what new indiepop did I found these days?

Rose Melberg (with Larissa Loyva): there is just the one song titled “Dues” on the Lost Sound Tapes label BandCamp for this duo by the legendary Rose. This song was part of the recording session for her album “September” but remained unreleased until September 29th when it was uploaded. Here Rose sings duet with her long time friend Larissa who plays in the band Fake Tears. The digital track is sold for a buck and all proceeds are to be donated to Girls Rock Camp Vancouver.

Hoop: it is clear that I’m not a tape fan. My relationship with cassettes is not one of love. As much as I dislike streaming music, I prefer that over tapes. CDs and vinyl are fine with me. But tapes, I have a heard time. So I’m not surprised that I haven’t checked the Lost Sound Tapes label BandCamp in like forever. So now I find myself checking the catalogue out and find that in February this Seattle band released a tape album titled “Super Genuine” which is actually really nice! There are eleven songs of introspective pop, sweet and melancholic. The band is formed by Caitlin Roberts, Pamela Santiago, Leena Joshi and Inge Chiles. An all-girl band which sounds really fine.

Shrouded Amps: one more from this tape label from the Northwest. This band formed by Tracey Vath (bass, vocals), Matthew Budden (guitars, vocals) and Eirinn M.  (drums) released a 6 song cassette that is catchy and powerful too! Noisy and upbeat, this EP titled “Come Along to The Chocolate Church” was released in May and I’m really enjoying it. The songs are “Chocolate Church”, “Cross-Cat to the Black Path”, “When You Asked”, “Flags”, “Concerning Naming Children” and “Lost Creature Land”.

Bitter Cherry Jam: don’t know much about this band but I see that their limited edition cassette titled “2012” is already sold out. I think that this was actually a re-release of their CDR released in 2012 on the Tulip House label which the band also runs. Well, that’s what I believe is the story. The songs on this release by this sweet sounding Japanese band are “Go With Me”, “I’m Truly Happy”, “You Can Live Your Life”, “Rebirth”, “Limitation”, “So In Love” and “Good-Bye Friends”.

The Vegetables: and this is another release I found on the Nagoya, Japan, based Tulip House label Bandcamp. It is a 7 song tape titled “2” and includes “Your Secret”, “It’s Also Fantasy”, “It’s so Sad”, “Don’t Mix Danger”, “When You Start to Sing”, “Ilevan” and “A Wonderful Night Will Come”. From what I got from Google translate I can see that this is the second mini-album by the band and also it is the culmination of a 20 year career. The tape is still available mind you, 3 copies available at the time of writing this post!


It was many months, maybe a year or more, when I wrote about a obscure band called North By North West on the blog. The band’s only released songs were a compilation called “Shiver Me Timbers” released by Rutland Records in 1991 (RUTT 16). They of course weren’t the only band on that compilation, there were many and at least half of them were unknown to me. One of them were the jingle jangly The Brickfields.

I have never heard the tape in its entirety, only loose songs here and there. On Discogs there is a scan of the tape sleeve but there is no information about any of the bands. There were many bands from other countries other than the UK, there were Australian, German and Spanish bands. I can imagine them lovingly packing their tapes and mailing them to Leicester were the label was based.

Where were The Brickfields from? I couldn’t confirm it but they must have been from the UK, England most probably. I look for any Brickfields in the UK, maybe it was a town there? Well, I do find that there is a stadium in Devonport, England, with the name Brickfields Recreation Ground that is mostly used for rugby by the Plymouth Albion. It was built in 1915. Could I doubt that it was their inspiration.

I do find one more Brickfields, and this could be probably my best bet. There is a Brickfields in Bletchley, England. In this area there is a nature reserve called The Blue Lagoon. Could they have been from the surrounding area? Somewhere in Milton Keynes?

How many were in the band? How long did they last? Were they involved in other bands? Their only output seems to have been this one song they had on the “Shiver Me Timbers” compilation titled “Weekends Stop Here”. There doesn’t seem to be any other compilation appearances, nor any demo tapes listed on Discogs. But I’m sure that if they recorded one song, they must have recorded at least another one, or more. But how can one find out?

I wonder if maybe whoever compiled the tape for Rutland might remember them, maybe they knew them personally. Maybe. Or maybe you saw them play live back in the day? Anyone remember them? I really like this little lo-fi jangle gem, would love to hear more!


The Brickfields – Weekend Stops Here


Finally My Light Shines for You’s “Detective EP” 7″ is finally out! It took a while, but I’m very very happy how it came out. Love the songs, love the artwork. Good thing too is that popkids around the world are supporting this release. If you haven’t checked them out yet we have one of their songs streaming on SoundCloud. Check out “Detective” and you can of course order the record from our website.

What else is new? Those who are on Instagram and follow me might have seen the work in process form the artwork for our next Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release. Yes! We are doing a full retrospective for The County Fathers from Manchester! If you don’t know who they were you should check the interview I did with Mark Radcliffe some time ago. The release should be coming early 2018! We are just finalizing some details at the moment before it goes to press!! Very very exciting!

So what are the new discoveries I’ve made on the web these past days?

Bedchamber: definitely not new, but they are new for me and that’s what matters, right? But to be fair, it seems that their latest song, “Out of Line”, seems to be brand new on Youtube. This song is included in their debut album titled “Geography” that is being released by Kolibri Rekords from Indonesia. Yes, the band is also Indonesian, from Jakarta, and it is formed by Ratta Bill on vocals and guitar, Abi Chalabi on guitar, Smita Kirana on bass and Ariel Kaspar on drums.

Megaflora: this London four piece formed by Max, Frank, Ellen and Chris released a 12″ album a year ago titled “Redwoods”. It seems to still be available on their Bandcamp so I’m not terribly late in recommending them. There are 7 songs in total, “London”, “A Mess”, “We’re Not Here”, “Progress”, “Stories”, “Confidence” and “Anxious”. This straight up classic indiepop, poppy, jangly, with boy/girl vocals. Good stuff!

Fenix: cool sounding duo from Eskilstuna, Sweden, formed by Stefan Eriksson and Louise Marchione. Not exactly indiepop, but a catchy and classy sounding synth-pop band that I’m really enjoying!! They have released an album on Bandcamp titled “Drömlösa Nätter” which has 8 songs: “Faller”, “Bleka Hjärtan”, “På väg därifrån”, “Vårld av glas”, “Kall snö”, “Kom i Mitt Mörker”, “Om Vi Blundar” and “Allt Blir Bra”. It sounds great to me and I hope it gets released in a physical format, would love to play this at home properly!

Kosmonaut: our friends from the north of England (who had a 3″ on Cloudberry) released a limited edition CD titled “Days of Our Lives” which now seems to be sold out!! Damn, I hope it gets repressed! There are 12 brilliant indiepop songs in here, a collection of early singles, compilation tracks and songs previously unreleased. They are “Days of Our Lives”, “She Walks Away”, “Desert Song”, “Bee Song”, “Was It You”, “Listen to the Radio”, “Never Realised”, “Superman”, “Fadeaway”, “Northern Angel”, “In My Head” and “Almost Prayed”. I hope there’s a way for me to get a copy of this!!

Just Blankets: lastly some punky pop from Brighton, UK, from this girl-fronted quartet. They have released a 7″ titled “Like Velcro” that has 4 songs last October. The songs being “Short Walks”, “White & Orange”, “Longshore Drift” and “Britain’s Least Used Stations”. The band is formed by Claire Swift, Tom Baker, Nick Streeter and Harry Partridge. They do seem to have been releasing stuff since 2015. I don’t remember hearing them before, have they played Indietracks perhaps?  Their name do sound familiar!


While I was doing my research for indiepop bands from the Netherlands I discovered this small gem of a band: Crockett & Jones. As I didn’t have their one and only 7″ I decided to order it from Discogs (you can find it for fair prices) and upon arriving home I was to feature them. And that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing now.

As it is the case with small bands that release one single record in their lifetime the information on the web is thin. There’s not much to dig. But whatever there is to dig, I’ll dig. So first things first, the band’s name. I thought it was pretty funny when I found their song “Peter Ustinov” on Youtube and saw a comment saying “Annoying little tune that seems to have nothing to do with Peter Ustinov or Crockett and Jones. False title.” Was this person serious?!

So Crockett & Jones is actually a shoe manufacturing company, established in 1879 by Charles Jones and Sir James Crockett in Northampton, England. They were able to establish the company with a grant from the Thomas White Trust. It specialises in the manufacture of Goodyear-welted footwear. It is currently being run by the great grandson of its co-founder, Charles Jones. Crockett & Jones produces both men’s and women’s footwear with three collections offered for men (Hand Grade Collection, Main Collection and Shell Cordovan Collection) and a limited range of boots and low heeled shoes produced for women. Is it the first time I see an indiepop band named after some shoes? Maybe. I remember the song “Clark’s Commandos” by Three Little Piggies, but that’s a different story.

So the 7″ EP is titled “Peter Ustinov”, just like the opening track that reminds me a lot of the Television Personalities. Who is Peter Ustinov?

Sir Peter Ustinov, was an English actor, writer, dramatist, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. A respected intellectual and diplomat, he held various academic posts and served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement. Ustinov was the winner of numerous awards over his life, including two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards for acting, and a Grammy Award for best recording for children, as well as the recipient of governmental honours from, amongst others, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. He displayed a unique cultural versatility that has frequently earned him the accolade of a Renaissance man. Miklós Rózsa, composer of the music for Quo Vadis and of numerous concert works, dedicated his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 22 (1950) to Ustinov. In 2003, Durham University changed the name of its Graduate Society to Ustinov College in honour of the significant contributions Ustinov had made as chancellor of the university from 1992 until his death.

Okay, we got that covered. What other songs were in this pretty 7″? Also on side A we find “Crockett’s Jig” that features accordion played by Cees Schoone. On the B side there is “Her Majesty” and “Patience’s Not a Beauty Case”.

The record came out on September 1990 as a co-release between the Dutch label Noet Lachten Records (NOET 11) and the German Roman Cabbage Vinyl (GREY 3). Noet Lachten was a label from the city of Breda while Roman Cabbage is a label much more familiar with indiepop fans as the brothers Achim and Markus Buss who run the label put out releases by Jowe Head, The Merricks, I, Ludicrous and more.

The credits for the record mention Ton Geerts as the bass player and vocals and banjo by Bart Cornelis, who also wrote the lyrics. Was it a two man band then? The songs were recorded at “War in Bart’s Bedroom” studio in Breda, March 1990. Where they from Breda then? I doubt it, as the contact address on the back sleeve has an address in Amsterdam. That seems more likely.

Another important fact about this record is that the press was limited to just 600 copies.

Even though they didn’t release any other records they did have a bunch of compilation appearances. The first one dating from 1987 when on the LP compilation “13 Great Bands from the Low Lands” released by Noet Lachten (NOET 4) they contributed the song “Wet Handkerchief”.

The year after, 1988, they had yet another song on a Noet Lachten release. On the “Who Wants to Be a Popmusician Nowadays?” (NOET 8) LP comp they contributed the song “Heaven = Hell”. In 1989 they had one song on the classic LP compilation “Diamonds and Porcupines” released by the German label Beat all the Tambourines (TAMBEAT 3), “Red Baloon”.

Their song “Willy Nilly Postman” was to appear on 1990’s “El Dorado” LP compilation released by Roman Cabbage (GREY 2), and in 1991 they were to have three songs on another Roman Cabbage compilation. “Heaven & Hell”, “Our Cat Can’t Get Canned Food” and “There’s No Toilet Like Your Own” appeared on the LP comp “Sorry… Sold Out” (GREY 6). The funny thing about this compilation was that there was no tracklist on the sleeve, instead at the beginning of each side you can hear the legendary Joe Foster reading the tracklist for the particular side you were playing!

Again “Heaven and Hell” was to appear on two more compilations, this must have been their most popular track! Now on Mermaid Records from Germany the compilations were “He Didn’t Even Draw a Fish on My Shower Curtain” (MIRABELL 001) and “Mermaid Employee of the Month: Gustav Sackmüller” (MIRABELL 665). You can read a bit more about this label on the Tender Whiskers interview I did months ago.

Lastly Discogs lists a compilation titled “First Noet Lachten Compilation of Lokal Bands”. It has no year, but the catalog number is NOET 2, so must have been sometime in the late 80s. Here Crockett & Jones contribute two songs, “I Count Sheep to Fall Asleep” and “Swirl”.

I check if the band members were involved in any other bands. I couldn’t find anything for Ton, but for Bart I see he played in a band called Four One and Only’s who had releases on Noet Lachten and also on Roman Cabbage. That can’t be a coincidence.

I keep looking for the band members on the web. I find out that there is a Bart Cornelis who is a curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the National Gallery in London. Might this be the same Bart? It seems that prior of being in the National Gallery he was an assistant curator at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, so at least the city matches. Could be! On the other hand Ton Geerts seem to be a much more common name and it is hard to pinpoint which Ton Geerts could be the one I’m looking for.


Crockett & Jones – Peter Ustinov


Thanks so much to Brian Smedley for getting in touch and answering all my questions for this interview! I wrote about The Sedgemorons some months ago as I love their song “Drop Dead Darling” and was looking for more information about them. Happily a few days ago Brian got in touch and was kind to be up for an interview! And even better he tells the story of the band, his label Sheep Worrying, and even the town of Bridgwater with lots of detail! I love interviews like these! Hope you also enjoy it!

++ Hi Brian! Thanks so much for getting in touch and being up for this interview! How are you? Are you still based in Bridgwater? Still making music?

Ey up. No problem, thanks for the interest. I’m in Bridgwater. In fact I’m in bloody cold freezing wintry Bridgwater today which is very unusual here in the Tropical south west of England. How am I? I’ve got a cold. Still making music -not so much -spend more time touring other bands round -check out NYC band Gangstagrass -I drove them round UK & Europe last year. Played my last gig in April this year with a Jamaican guitarist a Czech bassist and an Italian drummer – that’s International Socialism for you. I sang ‘Car Park Attendant’ a song I debuted in the Sedgemorons.

++ So let’s start from the very beginning, like what was your first instrument and how did you get it? Was it easy for you to learn how to play it?

Instrument? Probably a piano accordion that laid around the house as a kid. My grandad was a captain of sailing ships and brought it back from Nazi Germany in the 30s. Having been liberated from Fascism it featured on and off in bands through the years. I did some session work with John Parish’s band ‘Automatic Dlamini’ (featured PJ Harvey) in the 90s and played it on that. Song called ‘Roland Barthes didn’t do country’ (1992) and again later with a US band called ‘Ensenada Joyride’. You can also hear it on the Red Smed track ‘Partisan Song’ (currently on 374,000 views- that’s more than Uncle Freds Lucky Tandem!!). Anyway – learning that led me to piano and then one day I moved to guitar at about 16 and taught myself that. Never had no lessons nor nothing. Hence shit technique.

++ And what sort of music was listened at home while growing up? When did you know you wanted to be in a band?

My dad was never at home as he worked away at power plants but when he came home he’d sometimes bring comedy records with him – Jake Thackray, 5 Penny Piece, Spike Jones, Blaster Bates, My mum would sing old movie songs around the house. So no help there then! I was a kid in the mid 60s and so the Beatles were the first thing I listened to –  also the Monkees. And it was their TV series that made me want to be in bands. So I formed a garage band aged about 10 when I lived in North Wales (called ‘The Thundermakers’) I sang (and wrote) and we played in the garages on our council estate and invited the neighbourhood kids in to watch us. They paid a penny each then we’d take the cash and spend it on Batman bubblegum cards. Rock n Roll or what!!

++ Had any of you have experience in being in bands before being in The Sedgemorons? If so, which bands were you in?

Just me and Nervo the drummer really. We’d been in punk bands together since the late 70’s (mainly ‘The Dangerous Brothers’).Stuart the bass player had been singer in a punk band called The Market Gardeners, but he was also in the Royal Navy and so didn’t gig too often (apart from Falklands War and the Cod War) (that was a real war about fish against Iceland)(Aggressive little sods) (the fish I mean) Anne, Lianne and Gareth -SMs was their first band and Bazza the sax man had only just learnt his instrument (I think)

++ How did you all know each other to form The Sedgemorons? Was there some sort of recruiting process?

Well, the Dangerous Brothers were the heart of the Bridgwater music scene and we formed an organisation around us called Sheep Worrying -which was not just a record label it was also a fanzine, a theatre company, we put on gigs and so on and it was very DIY indie punk stuff. So all the people in the SMs were an integral part of Sheep Worrying. It was a bit like recruiting the Magnificent Seven. First there was me and Nervo, then Stuart, then Anne, then Lianne, then Gareth then Bazza and then we shot up a Mexican village. There was nothing like ‘auditions’ except maybe me teaching Stuart to play the bass.

++ Where did you usually practice? And how was the creative process for the band?

Sheep Worrying had an ‘office’ on the top floor of the Labour Party headquarters Unity House. We did everything there -wrote the fanzine, rehearsed the plays, etc and so we rehearsed the band there too. The creative process was mainly me writing stuff and bringing it to the band and them adding to it with ideas. Later Anne or Gareth wrote whole lyrics. ‘Girlfriend’ lyric was mainly by Gareth with me putting music to it. Then I’d teach Stu the bass line, then Anne and Lianne would work out some harmonies and then Gareth would fall off a chair or out of a window.

++ The sound of The Sedgemorons is quite unique I think, so I wonder, what would you say were your influences?

In truth we decided to break away from the quirky punky feel that came from the previous bands I’d been in and aimed for more indie pop and more accessible music. We formed the band to raise money (not for ourselves) so we wanted mainstream gigs  and to be a bit cabaret to earn cash-but we very quickly weren’t satisfied with that and kept pushing the boundaries, sending ourselves up and the audiences and so influences were quite eclectic. Personally my guitar influences were always Eddie Cochran, Hank Marvin and Wilko Johnson so that mix is where you get the fast jangly rhythm and the twangy lead sounds. But the underlying influence was punk attitude I’d say.

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

Well, the district we live in is called Sedgemoor. You can checkout that it’s also the scene of the last battle in England (1685) so it didn’t take much to add ‘morons’ in there.

++ How was Bridgwater back then? Where did you usually hang out? What were the places where you would go out and check bands? Where there any like-minded bands?

Bridgwater was and is a small provincial town but with a radical history. 75% working class but by the 80s that was in decline due to Margaret bloody Thatcher. Unemployment was high and money was scarce. So we were a mix of the fightback against her and trying to create a scene ourselves that was original and local and encouraged all bands to work together and put on stuff together, share gigs, share gear etc. However, we basically took over the local Art Centre (which incidentally was the first art centre in Britain-1946) and put on it’s music programme and our original theatre  and mainly hung out there. So it was us that put on the local gigs 4 bands at a time -and brought down big alternative bands of the day such as Crass, Toy Dolls, Chumbawamba that sort of thing. Bands rarely came to Bridgwater that we didn’t put on so you’d have to go to the nearest city-Bristol to see big gigs. However, Glastonbury is only 10 miles from Bridgwater and there’s that massive music festival there every year which we all went to. We used to help them with the traffic control -these days I supply workers for the bars there.

++ Your first release was a cassette album titled “We’re Bonkers”. I haven’t found much information about it aside that it was recorded live. Is there a tracklist? When was it released? How many copies were made?

’We’re Bonkers’ was the first thing we did yes. It was a mix of a live gig at the Antelope Inn Sherborne where we played with The Chesterfields. Simon Barber recorded us from the PA and in fact his voice is on the album wishing me a happy birthday (it was my birthday) -but we also went into a studio to add maybe 6 more tracks. The album was basically a mix of the ‘cabaret’songs we’d been doing to raise money (‘Sorrow’-The Merseys,’Don’t Get Around much anymore’-Duke Ellington plus our on stage opener ‘Y Viva Espana’-played Shadows Style) then some of the newer originals we were writing including an early version of Drop Dead Darling and some of the ‘poems’ (which I wrote for a stage play and Stuart read). Recorded 22 Sept 1984. Don’t think we made more than 100 copies Track list –1 Y Viva Espana (Trad) 2 Sorrow (trad) 3 Don’t Get around much anymore(trad) 4 Greed (Smedley) 5. Window Box of life (Smedley) 6 Drop Dead Darling (Smedley/Kane) 7 Ethiopia Utopia (Smedley) 8. I walk the line (trad) 9.Twist n shout (trad)

++ Your second 7″ came out in 1985 on the label Sheep Worrying Records. This was your own label, how was the experience running it?

Sheep Worrying’s first release was ‘False Nose’ by the Dangerous Brothers in 1980 and then we did a few others and as it was our umbrella organisation it was natural the SMs would be part of it too. In fact it was our 3rd 7” release -the second was ‘the Sheep Worrying EP’ (1982) which featured me and Nervo + others in a band called Club Whoopee doing a song called ‘You’re sort of ok’ (written by me and horror writer Kim Newman). Running a DIY indie label with no money was a nightmare but so was the 1980s. We were in a massive political struggle and no one involved had any money, few had jobs and gigs were a political statement more than building a career. We also went on demos, actions, protests all that stuff. The establishment hated us. One local newspaper labelled me ‘the most dangerous man in somerset’ at this same time.

++ I read that because the label needed funding to keep going you formed The Sedgemorons to get out of the debt. Is that true?  Did it work out in the end?

Yes that’s true. We built up our fanzine to a ‘Listings’ magazine with 1,500 circulation but it had to be paid for so we used advertising. Sometimes we didn’t get enough to cover it so we just kept letting the debt build up then one day we were staring at a £1,000 debt..so we said ‘let’s form a cabaret band just to pay this off’ -hence the Sedgemorons. After a year we paid it off and by the second year we were gigging for fun and actually gaining a reputation and enjoying it so stuck with it.

++ This 7″ had two songs, “Drop Dead Darling” and “I Need a Girlfriend”. I found a video for the second song, all of you playing it at the Bridgwater Arts Centre when the BBC2 was filming a documentary about it. How was that experience? Was it the only time the band was on TV?

The clip is from I think 1985 and upstairs at the art centre. We’re playing acoustically but I dubbed the single version over the youtube clip.I’m in the white car park attendant coat,Lianne in the bobby socks, Anne with a broken arm, Gareth singing ‘Girlfriend’ Stuart on tea chest bass playing with his motorbike gloves and Nervo and Bazza sat on a window sill, I don’t recall the SMs doing any other TV. We got a fair bit of radio play.

++ I must say that I love the song “Drop Dead Darling”, was wondering if you could tell me in a few sentences what is the story behind it?

Ha! When the SMs formed in 1984 I lived with Debbie (Kane) and we jokingly wrote the song together. Mainly her lyric and directed at me. And then she left me. Reality imitating Art. She also did the design work on the cover which is meant to represent a lipstick message on a mirror! I wrote the music. Actually the original idea came from writer Kim Newman (who I wrote musicals with) and who was trying to write a pastiche of ‘Move Over Darling’ (Doris Day) but when I was trying to put music to that basically me and Debbie just totally re-wrote it and we changed all the words except his title so he asked not to have a credit. I played the new song to the band and it became our most popular song and sort of set the scene for the next 2 years.

++ How was the recording process for these songs?

We recorded them at the Milborne Port studios near Sherborne early 1985. It was an 8 track studio and the producer was Chris Hardcastle. It took us an afternoon and evening I think. We brought in Bazza to do some sax on ‘Girlfriend’ and he also did the ‘whistling’-which he ad-libbed in a jazz style. Bazza was basically Gareths mate who we’d barely met. Gareth wrote the words to ‘Girlfriend’ and sang it and also spontaneously did the scat singing bit (without asking us). Anne sang lead on ‘Drop Dead’ with Lianne doing backing. I over dubbed the lead guitar and then at the end I put in some piano. There’s only one ‘mistake’… during the almost last line of ‘Girlfriend’ Stuart is slightly late on a bass note – and now I’ve told you that you’ll hear it all the time!!

++ Did you appear in any compilations that you remember?

The SMs didn’t. We did ‘We’re Bonkers’ then ‘the single’ and then we went into a studio in Weston Super Mare to record 4 more tracks which we never released. Although the photo that we use on most of our promo stuff was taken that night on the stormy seafront in the town of John Cleeses birth. We only lasted 2 years

++ And so, why weren’t there more releases by the band? Was there any interest by other labels?

When we did ‘We’re Bonkers’ we tested the water with record labels and in fact Cherry Red were really keen and sent us a hilarious fan letter back. This really boosted us and made us take the cabaret band into the more original direction hence the single -which was distributed by Rough Trade and led to good coverage in the music press and some good gigs.

++ Are there more recordings other than the ones mentioned, any unreleased songs by The Sedgemorons?

Just the 4 songs from Weston – 2 Anne lyrics (my music) ‘Small town’ and ‘women only’ and 2 of mine ‘Rock n roll is pretty exciting’ and ‘Trotsky’. Both these songs are on you tube done by my later bands but I might put these original recordings up as now I think of it theres some comical bits there plus me playing a banjo and some backward vocals from Nervo to sound Russian and backward cymbals to sound Pink Floyd. We also played one gig at the Thekla (a boat owned by Bonzo Dog Doodah Band frontman Viv Stanshall) which we recorded and I think there’s an unreleased tape of that somewhere..I’ll have a look!

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? Any particular great ones that you remember and why?

We played lots of gigs mainly in the south and west of England. Best gig was the Moles Club Bath after which we had a review in Sounds (music paper) and then Peel played our single and the next days gig at the Exeter Art Centre was packed with people who’d heard it. The Bristol Thekla gigs were good, lots of obscure pub gigs and of course a lot in Bridgwater and surrounds. Our last gig ever was in St Pauls Bristol at the Tropic Club, but Nervo couldn’t find it so we had to borrow a drummer from the audience

++ I read that you toured a stage musical named “Rock N’ Roll is Pretty Exciting”, how were this musical? What was special about it?

Yes this was a send up of teen rock musicals like ‘Summer Holiday’or more likely ‘the Young Ones’-or maybe check out ‘What a Crazy World’ or ‘Gonks go Beat’. We all wrote lots of sketches based around our songs and then glued them together to make a show. It was about a car park attendant (Rockin Brian) whose car park was going to be closed and turned into a discotheque. So -like Yul Brynner did, but with more hair – I had to get ‘the kids’ to help me save the car park. (oh, that’s ‘parking lot’ in American). We did all the songs and we all acted in it. Then we toured it to a few other places. We considered reviving it recently with my daughter – but then she grew up. For this show we all gained our stage names -I was Rockin Brian-a particularly tedious man with a flat midlands accent (ref Noddy Holder from Slade, Ozzy Osborne or anyone in the cast of ‘Peaky Blinders’), Lianne was Bobby Bland-a rather starry-eyed teeny bopper, Anne was ‘Betty Bonkers’-a hard bitten feminist, Gareth was ‘Bing Beasley’-a twat who fell over a lot , Stuart was the abstract poet ‘Ghenghiz 2-Stroke’ Bazza and Nervo were just themselves really.

++ And where there any bad gigs at all? Any anecdotes you could share?

We didn’t do bad gigs because we made out we were bad and argued with each other on stage so no-one could tell the difference. We played one gig at Cheltenham College where the rugby team tried to disrupt it but couldn’t work out if they had or not so gave up. The ‘legs’ photo on the sleeve is from there. By our last gig at the Tropic club we’d actually fallen out with each other for real so the atmosphere wasn’t good. Our last song played together was an acapella version of ‘Silent Night’. It was excruciating, we just sang the words ‘silent night,silent night’ over and over.

++ Did you get much attention from the press or radio? I see John Peel used to play you. What about fanzines?

Yes Peel liked us and played us a few times as did other radio and we got a fair few reviews here and there. Fanzines -well, we reviewed ourselves and so did a few other ones.

++ When did the band call it a day? And why? What did you all do afterwards? I see you were involved in many bands even covering some Sedgemorons songs!

I’m pretty sure it was late 1985 which now I think of it meant we were only going for a year and a half. We started off as great mates with an aim – to raise money – we did the album then the single -got good reviews-looked like we were on the up and up and then I reckon egos came into it a bit. We sort of split into 2 ‘partner’ factions , me and Lianne against Anne and Gareth with Stuart in the middle. Nervo was always in demand with other bands and was a very good ska-reggae drummer playing with the Alkaloids and another good indie band ‘India’ then I think this reflected in what we all wanted to do next. So when we got to the Christmas 85 gig we in fact formed 2 bands -me and Lianne formed ‘Red Smed and the hot trot smash the system boogie band’(which did the comedy political stuff) while Anne and Gareth formed the ‘Inflatable Ducks’ which were more maybe ‘Smiths meet the Cure’ type of sound. Then people moved on and the band wound up. Anne left music and went into journalism (she was actually the main reporter for the Bridgwater Mercury at the time anyway) but moved to another part of UK and in fact to NYC at one point. She went on to make a name for herself as a producer of current affairs programmes for the BBC radio 4. I met her a coupe of years back in London for the first time in 20 years. She has 2 daughters. Lianne, who I dated at the time, went off to RADA and then became a successful stage manager of largescale childrens theatre productions  around the world. I haven’t seen much of her since she left-but I always get a xmas card. She lives in Coventry. Or possibly Belgrade. Gareth went to Manchester and studied acting-which is what he does now with his one man shows. He’s very good. I met up with him again mid 90s and we produced a Czech-English musical together called ‘Czechomania’. Stuart left the area to study drama and became a teacher. He moved back to Bridgwater mid 90s and I got him playing for the Red Smed band on and off. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years by the way – until today!! Weird or what? He wants to get another band together. Bazza went off to London and did his own thing as an electronic music session player and recently moved back to Bridgwater and I bump into him rarely. Nervo (real name Kevin) played in every band I was subsequently in (Red Smed, the Visitors, the Spanners) but about 10 years ago his doctor told him he couldn’t drum anymore. So he just stopped.(Nervo i mean, not the doctor)

++ Are you all still in touch? What do The Sedgemorons do today? Has there been any band reunions?

We’re not really in touch. I had a go recently to see if I could get a reunion, but it didn’t seem likely. That said Stuart seemed keen today, so you never know….

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies do you have?

Well, in 1990 I got elected to the council as a Labour councillor and have done that for 27 years. Today I’m the Leader of Bridgwater Town Council-which is a strong socialist council and so I’m trying to instil some of that original punk ethos into the local political scene and I think It’s working. I also became very involved with the Czech and Slovak Republics after the collapse of Communism and so spend a lot of my time taking people backwards and forward there – every year organising a rock tour for instance -and lots of other stuff too. Not sure that gives me time for a hobby – football maybe. I’ve organised international football teams and tournaments and only stopped playing myself a couple of years back (with a sensational hat-trick in Hungary against a fat team of Czech factory workers). I like encouraging young bands -especially original ones – and I like driving and touring musicians. One of the last gigs that Clash Frontman Joe Strummer played was here in Bridgwater in 2002-a month before he died (he lived round here and called Bridgwater ‘a Clash Town’) – me and Nervo supported him on stage and from that gig we keep an annual link up with KEXP radio Seattle who do a live link up for their ‘International Clash Day’ (c. Feb 8th). We twinned Bridgwater with Seattle – check out the youtube click of me reading the proclamation.

++ Today how is Bridgwater, Somerset? Has it changed much since The Sedgemorons days? If I, or any reader of this interview, was to visit as a tourist someday, what would you suggest checking out in your area?

If you or anyone who wasn’t a total fkwt wanted to come to Bridgwater you would be welcomed with open arms. Today it’s a bit of a boom town…yes, we now have 3 nuclear power plants…..and 6 new hotels. A lot of music and a lot of history and all in the beautiful surroundings of the cream and cider drenched West Country. The Bridgwater Art Centre is still going, the Engine Room film and media centre was set up following the Strummer benefit gig and is a great progressive place, and the river has the 2nd highest tide in the world (after somewhere in Canada). Check out the Green Olive meze restaurant, the Blake fish and chip bar, the Cobblestones indie music pub, the Fountain Inn (an old sailors pub..if you like old sailors), Wetherspoons-for the cheapest drinks in town (and Nervo) and my flat in the elegant 18th century Georgian Castle street (a bit like Boston) home of the Swedish Womens Netball Team – well, it would be if they were looking for a home.

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

1. Getting the fan letter from Cherry Red 2. Getting played on John Peel 3. The early days when we were one big happy family

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Maybe some web links?

The Sedgemorons – Drop Dead Darling

The Sedgemorons – I Need a Girlfriend

Red Smed

Bridgwater International

Somerset Labour

Bridgwater Westover Web

Clash Day Proclamation by Brian Smedley


The Sedgemorons – Drop Dead Darling


Tomorrow is our official release date for My Light Shines for You’s “Detective EP” 7″! Very very excited! All pre-orders have been posted by now, and I hope to get getting orders as the record is GREAT! It is classic indiepop in the vein of The Haywains or Strawberry Story if you have never heard them before. So check them out on our website or SoundCloud!

Also please remember that next week I’m heading to Mexico, let me know if anyone there wants me to bring you any records so you can save on shipping!! AND mark your calendars, I’m going to Madrid Popfest next year! First time since 2013.  So same thing, if you need me to bring any records to Madrid (or Spain) let me know and I’ll happily do so!

Now, I what new music have I found?

El Último Vecino: it seems it has already been 3 weeks since they unveiled their latest promo video for the song “Donde Estás Ahora”, but only now I found out about it! The Barcelona band is one of the best bands around if I may say so and I still haven’t been lucky enough to see them live. I doubt that my week in Spain will coincide with a gig of theirs in the area I’ll be staying (Madrid), so I can only cross my fingers. Anyhow, the new song sounds great but not sure how or when it will be properly released!

Remington Super 60: the Norwegian band seems to still be going. I remember them from the days Alexander from Radio Khartoum used to promote them on the indiepop-list in the early 2000s. I got a nice email the other day from the Frederisktad band telling me they have a new song out, a Christmas song. Titled “Another Christmas Song” it is available as a digital single on their own Cafe Superstar Recordings label.

Stutter Steps: an indiepop band from The Andy Warhol Museum’s Ben Harrison. That’s how the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, promotes themselves. They have a new EP titled “Floored” available on both 12″ vinyl and CD, and I must say that it sounds really great!! There are six songs in total, “Floored”, “Dim”, “Submarine”, “Identical Eyes”, “Weak Restraint” and “Encino”. The sound is poppy, with chiming guitars, it is classic indiepop sounding! The band is formed by the aforementioned Ben Harrison on guitars, vocals and drums, Cindy Yogmas on keyboards and vocals, David Horn on bass and keyboards, Phil Jacoby on guitar and Sean Fin on drums.

Palehound: just heard their song “Sea of Bloodl” on their BandcCamp and it sounds great! The band from Yonkers, New York are releasing a 7″ on January 26 with this song as a B side and with the yet un-streamable song “YMCA Pool” on the A side. There’s not much more on Bandcamp but I found out on the band’s website that they have released two albums and an EP already.

UK Cinema: lastly this Hamilton, Canada, band that has this gorgeous track titled “English Girls” on Bandcamp. There is not much more other than this song so that’s quite sad, but at least some band details are available. They are a five piece formed by Josh Kemp on vocals, RJ Kemp on guitar and vocals, Wes Lintott on guitar and vocals, Matt Lintott on drums and Chris McLaughlin on bass. Check them out, this one song is a winner.


Last post of this exhaustive world tour were I’ve featured bands from countries all around the world! This will be the 45th and last post, hoping I didn’t miss any country that has produced indiepop in the past (I’m not counting contemporary bands, for example the case of Costa Rica) as this is an “archaeological” exercise. If I missed anything please let me know.

Today it is the time for Iceland and the band Rúnk which I discovered a few days back trying to find any information about any guitar pop done in that country other than the well known Dyrdin. It took me a while as it wasn’t an easy task. I found a mention about a “C86” band called Mússólíní, but couldn’t find any tracks by them (any help would be appreciated). In the end somehow I stumbled upon Rúnk on Youtube, I played their quirky “Atlavik 84”, and I thought, I need to know more about them. I found yet another song there, “Klapparstígur”, which was catchier, kind of sort of sounding like the lo-fi indiepop of the late 90s or early 2000s in the US. So the search started. At the same time I ordered their CD for less than 10 dollars on Discogs.

It was easy to find the lineup of the band, though not 100% sure what each of them played. The band consisted of Benedikt Hermann Hermansson (who had been in the band Mósaik and Benni Hemm Hemm), the cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir (formerly of múm and Stórsveit Nix Noltes), Björn Kristjánsson aka Borko (Skakkamanage), Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson (Skakkamanage & Prinspóló), Óli Björn Ólafsson (of the band Yukatan, Unun, múm, Kanada, Slowblow & Stórsveit Nix Noltes)

Rúnk only released one album, “Ghengi Dals” in 2002. It was released by the label Flotur Kúltúr & Gott Music (FK & GM 002). According to Discogs this was the only release by this label. I don’t think the name of the record is Icelandic. True it kind of sounds like Ghengis Khan but, that’s not it either. What does it mean?

The album had 10 songs, “Atlavik ’84”, “Rúnk”, “Yamaha Algleymi”, “Wall Street”, “Andhóli”, “Þörungaspitt”, “Klapparstígur”, “Men and Motors”, “Friends Forever” and a 10th untitled bonus track.

The band also has listed one compilation appearance. The song “Innipúkinn” was included in the double CD comp “Alltaf Sama Svínið” released in 2002 by the label Smekkleysa (SM 100).

I find an article on RokMusik from two years ago by Win Van Hooste where he recommends some obscure Icelandic bands from the 80s and 90s and Rúnk is among them. Here he mentions that the band’s name could be translated as The Jerk-offs or something like that. That the album went largely unnoticed, but those who noticed started a cult following. Another interesting fact is that Óli Björn Ólafsson performed with Emiliana Torrini and at age 14, in 1993, he wont the annual music competition known as Músíktilraunir with his band Yukatan.

The band used to have a Myspace, but as you can expect, you can’t stream the songs there.

Then there is a trove of press clippings on the very fine blog Icelandic Music Museum. The problem is that I don’t understand Icelandic and to copy/paste images to Google Translate, well, that doesn’t work. So can’t really tell what it says, if there are any important details in there. I see they appeared on many papers like DV in July 2001, Fréttabladid on August 2001, Morgunbladid on August 2001, DV on October and December 2001, Morgunbladid again on June and July 2002 and more.

On the CD foldout sheet that comes in a pocket inside the digipak I could understand a few more details, everything is written in Icelandic mind you. I understand that the recordings were done at Studio Polyrunk Vesturporti while the extra bonus track was recorded at La Mariagne. I see some credits here too, like Bobby played guitar, bass and drums, Jimmy the organ, synths, drums, bass, and vocals, Orlando the drums, organ and guitar, Pamela sang, clarinet, glockenspiel, harmonica and more while Suawey played guitar and bass. Clearly these aren’t their real names. What’s going on? Some other credits I see are for trumpets (Erikur Orri Olafsson), chorus (Karlakorinn Grettir), photography (Borkur Sigdorsson)and design (Honnunardelid Runksins). THen you see all the lyrics of the songs on this foldout, most of them in Icelandic of course with some exceptions in English.

The post ends up being quite short. The truth is that I can’t seem to find any other information about them. Sure, you can probably find many more details about the bands that they were involved in afterwards. But I’m curious about Rúnk. If they record any more songs? If they appeared in any other compilations? Did they play many gigs? Did they ever play outside Iceland? What inspired them to create this music? Was there any other like-minded bands? Aside from the big names of Icelandic music, I feel, the smaller bands, live in obscurity, really not fair.


Rúnk – Wall Street


Okay popkids, 4 more days and the My Light Shines for You 7″ is out. Copies have already started shipping to everyone who pre-ordered it though. So if you want a happy Christmas why don’t you order some Cloudberry Records this season?

This 7″ is the last for this year but worry not, there are a few surprises for the year to come. At the moment I’m working on one Cloudberry Cake retrospective by a Manchester band and three other 7″s which I will be announcing as soon as we have the art and the songs ready to be shared. So just wait a bit and you’ll see what we have in store, it is very special!

Also I have to mention that from the 23rd of December to January 1st I’ll be in Mexico. If there are any Mexican fans who would like some records please let me know and we can save in shipping by me bringing them to your beautiful country.

So what’s new today?

The Perfect English Weather: Matinée has a new surprise for the end of the year. The Brighton duo of Simon and Wendy Pickles (from The Popguns) are releasing their second CD and it is titled “English Winter”. It is a 4 song EP where the band changes a bit their style, less guitar-driven to a more electronic one, think Saint Etienne. The songs on the record are “Still”, “Christmas in Suburbia”, “Cold Out” and the Go-Betweens cover of “Dusty in Here”. I could listen two of the songs on SoundCloud, “Still” and “Christmas in Suburbia”, and they are gorgeous. Can’t wait to have this at home on repeat. James Matinée, I need this!

Bradford: I mentioned some posts ago that the classic band Bradford were getting a reissue. Now I can finally share a link to that fantastic story. The German label A Turntable Friend who resurrected last year is putting “Thirty Years of Shouting Quietly” on both vinyl and CD. There are all in all 30 songs in total on the double CD, not sure how many on the vinyl (this one already is almost sold out, only 90 remaining as I write this post). Of course I’ll choose the CD when it comes out on February 9th, 2018. The records come with a booklet with lyrics and also liner notes by Fergal Kinney from Louder Than War. It is fantastic to see this classic record being re-released!!

Pale Lights: the band who are releasing their second album very soon (Dec. 15) on the German label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten has a 3 song taster EP titled “Jean, Bring the Flowers” on Bandcamp. And what can you expect? Well, beautiful guitars, timeless melodies, and classy lyrics. The New York (or is it fair to say the Brooklyn?) band keeps showing they are one of the few worthy bands in the area. The three songs on the EP are “Jean, Bring the Flowers” (which has a video), “Streamlined” and “The Soft City”. This last song actually released many years ago on Cloudberry by The Soft City, Phil Sutton’s previous band. I hope now that this EP gets a release, even if it is on limited edition CDR or something. I want my Calico Cat Records collection complete.

Dianas: a new discovery for me. A tape titled “Leave Love” by 2 girls from Melbourne, Australia. Nathalie Pavlovic and Caitlin Moloney. Now a 2nd pressing of 50 copies. 6 songs in total, “Intro”, “Leave Love”, “Heart of Me”, “Somebody Else”, “For All I Know” and “Priorities”. The songs are dreamy, with surf textures and fine melodies. Don’t know much about them but I see they have more releases other than this tape, the oldest dating to 2012. Well, I got late to the party. I should check them out.

Vacations: more from Aussie. This time from Newcastle. Again a new discovery for me. The band latest track uploaded to Bandcamp, titled “Moving Out”, is a lovely jingle jangly track. Vacations are Campbell Burns, Jake Johnson, Nate Delizzotti and Joseph Van Lier. I had a very quick listen to their backcatalogue and I feel this might be their best track so far.


I remember back in the early 2000s when there was this sort of rumour that Fotomoto were going to release on Elefant. I wasn’t surprised by it. Their sound fitted perfectly with the Spanish label then. That never happened and the Ukrainian band didn’t get to be a household name for indiepop fans.

I lost sight of them too. Only know that I’m being a revisionist, featuring bands from all corners of the world that they came to mind. And to my surprise they’ve kept busy in all these years. It is true that they are not exactly a guitar pop band, they are more of an electro-pop band, but when I hear songs as beautiful as “Lune” or “Chat”, songs with a fantastic pop sensibility, I know Ukraine had to had an entry on my blog.

My first stop this time is not going to be Discogs, I will check that later, but the John Peel Wiki. Yes, the band did indeed record a Peel Session. But let’s start from the beginning.

The group formed in 1999 in the city of Zaporozhye as a duo with Sergey Sergeyev and Anton Sigurov playing all sorts of instruments.

Zaporizhia is a city in southeastern Ukraine, situated on the banks of the Dnieper River. It is the administrative center of the Zaporizhia Oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and serves as an administrative center of Zaporizhia Raion, though it does not belong to the raion. Until 1921 the city carried the name of Aleksandrovsk after the name of a fortress that was part of the Dnieper Defense Line. After the establishment of the Soviet regime in Ukraine, in 1921 the name was changed to Zaporizhia (Zaporozhye), after the historical region Zaporizhia. Itself Zaporizhia literally means Trans-Rapids or beyond the rapids, alluding to the rapids which used to exist on the Dnieper River  at the time, before the construction of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station in 1932. Currently the city is the sixth largest in Ukraine.

Ah! Would love to visit Ukraine one day! Anyways, the band would become a trio when Olya Volodina was to join on vocals, and then a quartet when Alexander Ivanov joined in 2002 to do midi and drum programming. Olya was to bring something special to the band aside from her vocals, Fotomoto’s signature French lyrics. Why did she choose to sing in this language instead of Ukrainian? That’d be a good question to ask.

So how did they end up meeting Peel. Here the story says that a Mike Eardley, brother of a Rich Eardley from a band called Melys (which I’ve never heard), sent John Peel a demo of Fotomoto in the year 2000. Mike was distributing records by the Russian label Snegiri. This label had actually released Fotomoto’s second album “Suranov, A?”. Peel must have liked it as he played the song “Je Suis Fotomoto” on December 14th of 2000. In 2004 he would invite the band to record a Peel Session. The band took a 70-hour bus from Ukraine to the UK. Peel didn’t get to meet them, but on his June 24, 2000, show  Peel said that he just missed meeting the group when they performed their session. However, he thanked them for their gift of a bottle of wine – “Tonight it’s going to prove fabulously useful.” (England had been knocked out of the Euro 2004 tournament that evening.)

So, what was their first album? According to Discogs it was a self-titled CD released by the Russian label Taiga Sounds (TS002) in 2002. The album had 13 songs which were “Sever”, “Le Sport, La Musique”, “Bogunskaya”, “Le Passage”, “Une Planete de Gopak”, “La Lune”, “Je Suis Fotomoto”, “Bela”, “Couquillage”, “Ballado”, “Le Melange”, “Dino Zaor” and “Ma Faute A Moi”.

That same year they were to release a split 7″ with the band The Workhouse. This limited edition record came out on the Jonathon Whiskey label  Hershel Whiskey 43). This label was actually under the operation of Norman Records, the Leeds record store that still is around to this day. Fotomoto was to contribute the song “Le Sport, La Musique” while The Workhouse had the song “Nancy”.

Their second album came just a year after, in 2003 they put out “Suranov, A?” on the Лёгкие (Snegiri) label. Catalog was LG-035-2. This album had 10 songs in total, “Dances Et Popuski”, “Saccharine”, “Dolya”, “Le Blat Ska”, “L’Amour Africaine”, “Hydrocomfort”, “Goran Philips”, “El L”, “Uran Defense” and “Anonyme Infini”.

In 2005 the Danish label CPH-Sound was to release what seems a compilation of 13 Fotomoto’s songs under the title “Model”. This CD had songs that had appeared on both their previous releases as well as some exclusive recordings. The tracklist included “Le Coquillage”, “Passage”, “Nord”, “Lune”, “Ma Faute”, “Morozzzko”, “Mélange”, “Monster & Belle”, “L.S.L.M.”, “Zaor”, “Planete de Gopak”, “Vyuga” and “Les Nuits Géorgiennes”.

They also had a bunch of compilation appearances. The song “Le Sport, La Music” was to appear on a few. It appeared on the 2001 CD comp “Лёгкая Осень” released by Лёгкая and on the 2002 “Лёгкие 2001 – MP3 Коллекция ” CD-Rom compilation with MP3s on the same label. On this same compilation they had another song, “Morozko 333”.

There is another CD-ROM MP3 compilation listed by the same label, “Лёгкие 2003”. On this one the band had 9 songs! These were “Dances et Popuski”, “Saccharine”, “Dolya”, “Le Blat Ska”, “L’Amour Africain”, “Hydrocomfort”, “Goran Philips”, “El L”, “Uran Defense” and “Anonyme Infini”.

This same format seem to have been popular for this label. They band was to contribute the songs “Sever” and “Edmund” to the CD-ROM MP3 compilation “Легкие Представляют: “Сезонная Серия” 2002″ released in 2003, and contribute the songs “Sever” and “Morozko 333” “Счастливая Электроника Легкая_Зима” released in 2007.

The song “Sever” also appears on the 2002 CD compilation “Легкая Зима 02” released by the same Russian label whereas “Morozko 333” appears on the CD comp “ElkaElka” released by them too in 2001.

They were to have some flirt with an indiepop label on 2001. The Italian tape label Best Kept Secret included one of their songs, “Monster & Belle”, on a compilation cassette titled “We Are Not Alone Songs for the Lo-Fi Generation Volume 5”.

The last compilation appearance I see is the one on the compilation “Вечное Лето” released by the Ukrainian label Stereo & Video (S&V 076) in 2004. Here they appear with the song “Le Blat Ska”.

I look at any other credits the band members might have. I see only Olya has any other than Fotomoto. It seems she has writing credits for a Russian pop singer called Натали (Natali).

Youtube ends up being a trove of Fotomoto goodies. I find a video from 2009 for the song “Denis“, the official 2009 video for the song “Chat” and them playing the song “Chat” at Duma Club in Moscow in 2008, playing the song “La Lune” at the “Harper’s Bazaar” journal party on December of 2009, playing Ukrainian Fashion Week, and more and more.

There are a bunch of clips of them at the Shuzz venue in Odessa. I find videos for “Le Blat Ska“, “Aligote“, “Sever“, “Une Planete de Gopak“, “Kukushka” at the Shuzz venue in Odessa on May 2010,

There seems to be clips from another gig at Buddy Guy in Kiev too. I find clips for the songs “Bella“, “Ballado“, “Ma Faute” and “Edmund“.

What else? Well there is even an article on The Guardian written by Matthew Collin in 2005 titled “Curious Orange“. On the article Collinn ends up describing their sound quite right, he mentions that in their sound there are hints of Stereolab, St Etienne, Depeche Mode and Serge Gainsbourg. That there is a certain elegant charm and a quality of innocence. it is definitely a great article, worth taking the time to read it. It is not just about the band but also about the Ukraine.

Finally I find the tracklist of the BBC Session, “BBC Inc”, “Be One”, “Park Bun” and “Denis”. Took some time. I also found out that the band were in Huw Stephens BBC show doing a session in 2006.

I also find a very old looking website being hosted at Mike Eardley’s domain. Here is the link. There is a cool gallery of the band in London, visiting places like Rough Trade. Here I find too that the band played the Progress Festival in Ghent in 2005 as well as London’s Spitz venue that December.

A 2007 blog titled “Filles Sourires” mentions that the band had made covers of songs like “Joe Le Taxi” and “Voyage Voyage”. I want to listen to them!

But the there is not much more info about them. As they say, they weren’t popular in Ukraine, that no one knew them in their home city, so it was going to be difficult to write many people championing their sound all over the world. I remember them fondly, I remember playing their quirky songs fifteen years ago. I lost touch and now I’m only rediscovering them. Whatever happened to them? The last date I found was that gig at Shuzz in 2010. What are they up to now? Anyone remember them? I should also try to get their records, maybe the Danish compilation is the best way to start? And was it true that they were going to release on Elefant??


Fotomoto – Chat


We are very close to 2018 and what news will bring the new year? There will be many new releases on the label and I can’t really wait to announce them. I’m sure in the next few weeks I’ll start letting everyone know the next Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release as well as the new ones on the 7″ series!

Speaking of which, don’t forget that the My Light Shines For You 7″ is coming out next week, on the 15th! Order it now at our website!!

So you want new recommendations?

The Hit Parade: Best news in a long time is that The Hit Parade are back with a new song and single, “Oh Honey I…”!!! Damn! I need to order the 7″ right away. It is classic Hit Parade, one of my favourite bands ever!! Where do I get the record? I need to find out! It seems to be available only on British sites at the moment. Will Jigsaw Records carry it? I hope so! The B side is “History of Art” and as usual it is released on their own JSH Records. Legendary.

Bubblegum Lemonade: the Glasgow band have a new release coming up this December. On the 7th they are releasing a 6 track EP titled “Laz Christmas” on the venerable Matinée Recordings. What will the tracklist be? I don’t know yet, but for the time being we can have a very good time listening on repeat the songs “Number One Christmas” and a cover of the classic “Silent Night”!!

Sky Faction: more friends keep releasing fantastic music. This time I see Sky Faction, which has members of Starry Eyed Cadet, releasing 5 songs on their Bandcamp. And how beautiful they are!!! Are these songs going to be released in any way? Physically I mean? CD? vinyl? I hope they do. The five delicious slices of perfect pop are “No One Else”, “Mar”, “Miss Solitary”, “Lactose Intolerance” and “Feathers”. Do you remember The Shermans? They remind me a bit of them, maybe to that sound that Shelflife used to purvey back in the early 2000s. The band from San Francisco is formed by Lillian Yee on keyboards and vocals, Sally Jati on rhythm guitar, synth and vocals, Rex Padayhag on bass and vocals, Roberto Burgos on lead guitar and, the top Rob Uytingco on drums.

Glass Arcades: 9 songs, some of them already available on the web, that’s what “Milquetoastesque EP” is. The new Glass Arcades release on Bandcamp is pretty good. Of course I’ve recommended the Cardiff band before on the blog. We know what they are about and every time they have a new thing on Bandcamp here I am telling you to check them out. The songs in this collection were finished in 2016 but it says that for a reason or another it wasn’t published until this day.

The Eleventh Door: Found two songs that sell for $150 dollars on Bandcamp. Quite expensive? Probably it is some sort of way for the label Hail Atlantis Records from Salt Lake City, Utah, to make it impossible to order them? I guess they want to wait for the official release date of January 1st. That is when a 10″ will be released by The Eleventh Door who seem to be a duo formed by Catalina Gallegos and Rocky Maldonado. More latin people in indiepop is always good in my book. They seem to hail from Salt Lake City too and the two songs on the record are “Tellement Tendresse” and “Fever Dream”. 2 songs for a 10″? It is an odd choice, maybe there will be more? I hope so. Both songs were mastered by the one and only Joe Foster at Poppydisc in Glasgow.


About to finish our world tour of guitar pop bands and today it is time for the 42nd band/country, Gradapenda Rosindale from Northern Ireland!

But first I wanted to share a map I did where I colored the countries that I have covered in this special feature on the blog, as well as a list of the names of the 44 countries that will be covered. Yes, there are 2 more to go. Maybe you could help me adding to the list? Maybe there’s something from Costa Rica aside from the contemporary bands? Or what about Croatia or Slovenia?

Of course I found out about Gradapenda Rosindale from the Sound of Leamington Spa series. They were featured on the 5th volume of the series that will soon have an 8th volume according to Firestation Records (can’t wait!). On this compilation released on 2005 the band contributed the song “Bad Days Must End”.

As usual on this series the booklet included a bio of the band, which has a lot of interesting details about them:
“Gradapenda Rosindale took their name from a mishearing of a line in the single version of the Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers’ song “Roadrunner”. They formed in June 1990 when Sean Mason and Sean Pemberton began demoing songs and playing gigs around Derry in Norther Ireland. The line-up of the band finally settled into Stephen Doherty (guitar), Andy O’ Doherty (drums), Sean Mason (bass, vocals) and Sean Pemberton (guitar, vocals). This line-up recorded the Exit EP in Forge Brae Studios in Donegal and it was released in the summer of 1992. The release was follower by airplay on various radio stations, reviews in the music press and gigs around Ireland including Belfast, Dublin, and Cork. In February 1993 the band recorded a session for the Dave Fanning show on Irish radio. Shortly after this the band split up. They reformed as a three piece with Sean M. and Stephen, and a new drummer Gary, and played Cork Rocks in the summer of 1993, but finally folded in October 1993. When we released the Exit EP our main hope was to get it played by John Peel. He played it three times.”

I was to find a Bandcamp page for the band and there there are even more details about the band:

In February 1993, Gradapenda recorded a four song session for Dave Fanning on RTE Radio in Ireland, but shortly after this split up. They reformed as a three-piece with Sean M. and Stephen, and a new drummer, Gary, and played Cork Rocks in the summer of 1993. They recorded one demo, “Five”, but folded in October 1993. Although they never gigged as Gradapenda again, Sean M. and Stephen went on to record two more demos (“Sitcoms, Bombs, and Proft” in 1994, and “Take A Look At Me Now” in 1998) as Gradapenda Rosindale. “Ceasefire from “Sitcoms” received airplay on BBC Radio Ulster, and the same demo’s “Nothin’ In Our Heads” was played by Steve Wright on BBC Radio 1. Nowadays Sean M. records under the name Shine May Sun, Stephen is an infamous luthier, and Sean P. is in Mars Field. 

Let’s check then the “Exit” 7″ that was self-released in 1992. There were four songs, two on each side. On the A side the band had “Bad Days Must End” and “And Baby Not” while on the B side there was “Michael” and “You Hate”. As said before the songs were recorded at Forge Brae Studios with John McGrory and Neil McGrory as the engineers. There is no catalog number on this release but on the runout etchings it appears as GRAD 1. This was the only proper release by the band.

But there were more recordings. As mentioned before 4 songs were recorded for the Dave Fanning session. These songs were “Control”, “Hello Joe”, “Flowers For Sale” and “Love Like the Bomb”.

On Bandcamp one of the demos recorded in 1994 is available, “Sitcoms Bombs and Profit”. For this demo the now two-piece Gradapenda Rosindale recorded seven songs, “Nothin’ In Our Heads”, “Ceasefire”, “War Pays”, “What Could Be More Beautiful”, “Pushin’ the Wheel”, “Emily Lloyd” and “Hip Hip Hooray (Instrumental)”. Oh and all of these songs are also available on SoundCloud.

The very good website IrishRock.org has the tracklist for the “Five” demo. Recorded in 1993 it had the songs “Five”, “Little Girl”, “What I Want”, “Sometimes”, “Tell Us Bout Your Friends” and “I Can’t Take It”. So many songs they recorded and I haven’t even heard them! Would love to do so someday.

Then I found a Facebook page which hasn’t been updated in a very long time. There I found some press clippings that are very favourable to their sound.

But that was about it. They do have a bunch of “official” presence on the web but really not much information about their time as a band. Like where did they play gigs? If they had any other songs released, maybe on compilations? Or what did the band members do afterwards? Maybe they were even in bands before being on Gradapenda Rosindale?! Does anyone remember them?


Gradapenda Rosindale – The Bad Days Must End


Thanks so much to Japs Sergio for the thorough and illustrative interview! I wrote about Daydream Cycle on the blog a couple of months ago, when I was featuring the Philippines, and luckily Japs got in touch with me through Twitter. He was up for answering my many questions and he was even kinder to send scans of different memorabilia from the band. Daydream Cycle released two fantastic dreampop albums which were limited to small runs in their home country. If you have never heard of them, now is a good time to discover them!

++ Hi Japs! Thanks so much for being up for this interview and tell the story of Daydream Cycle! What are you doing these days? Are you still based in Manila? Still involved with music?

Ey, Roque! It is my pleasure. I have no idea how you even found out about Daydream Cycle, but thanks for your taking the time to listen to our younger selves. Yes, I am still in Manila and I’m definitely still involved with the local music scene. In early 2011, a few months after I left my more mainstream band, Rivermaya, I started making songs that was initially intended to be released one at a time online via soundcloud, just for the heck of it, since I was pretty much band-less anyway. It ended up being my debut album as ‘japsuki’ called ‘Monologue Whispers’ that I wrote & recorded for 3-4 weeks in the summer of 2011. It was released later that year and was supposed to be a one-off album… but yeah, right to that one-off thing! Hehe. Making this album was definitely the cure for my depression around that time, so its theme is pretty much a depressed me finding ‘the light’ through the process of musical creation.

Shortly after that, I was on a roll. I was already making a lot of other new stuff, but this time making music in the total opposite direction with a more guitar rock sound, and eventually formed a band called Peso Movement. I like to call our music ‘dirty rock’, and I call it the ‘Mr. Hyde’ to japsuki’s ‘Dr. Jekyll’. We released our album ‘The Gentle Sound of Chaos’ in 2014.

In 2015, I initially planned to do another solo alter-ego that would be my ‘release’ for songs that are more stripped down with more basic arrangements and all in Filipino. I also wrote and recorded it a few weeks in the summer of that year, and at the last minute, I just decided to release it as japsuki. The music definitely has a different style than the first one, so I was a bit wary of that, but the thought of making all these new social media accounts and explaining to people the difference between this and that made it an easy decision to just stick with ‘japsuki’. The album’s theme is about my observations of Filipino pop culture over the years, and it is called ‘Pinoy Pop’.

Last month (October 2017), I released a 3rd japsuki album, and this was a conscious effort to be a sequel to the debut album. I tried to capture a bit of the feel I had during the first album, but since I was not depressed this time around, it kinda messed up my mind a bit, and as much as I loved conquering another challenge, I certainly won’t do that again. Hah! The album is called ‘Stereo Mood Swings’.

*scrolls down the rest of the questions* Goodness, I have already taken up 1 page and it’s only the 1st question hahah

++ This new project of yours going solo under Japsuki, how would you describe it? How similar or different would you say it is to Daydream Cycle?

Japsuki’s mantra is ‘steady’ and it’s just me and my outdated MacBook and I record and mix everything on a Snow Leopard-era GarageBand. I’m the only one silly enough to be releasing albums like that haha! I try not to do the usual stuff I do with DDC – chords, effects, etc., mainly ‘cos I really got tired of it, but for my just-released 3rd album, there are a handful of songs I made that I would have made for DDC, if we made an album this year. I think it has been a decade since I ‘got tired of the usual DDC stuff’, so it’s about time I did it again.

++ Is there a way for people to buy them or listen your new releases?

Yeah, as I mentioned above, I have just released my 3rd baby last October, and all 3 albums (plus Peso Movement) are available in most music streaming sites. Just search for ‘japsuki’ and ‘Peso Movement’.

++ Let’s start from the beginning, what are your first music memories? Like what sort of music did you grow up listening to at home? And what was your first instrument ever?

Oh wow! I am the youngest of 5 kids, so there were a lot of times when I got to hang out with the oldies, mainly ‘cos they couldn’t really ditch me, so I got to listen to their music – anything ‘80s like Spandau Ballet, Shakatak, Kenny G, Michael Jackson, Swing Out Sister, Basia, aaaand I think you get my drift… hah! Around that time, house parties were huge and we had a neighbor that was the usual host for such parties ‘cos they were also a ‘mobile’ – the term for DJs then. I got to listen to a lot of groups that I had no idea who they were at the time, ‘cos of our neighbors and the radio, like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, The Smiths, etc. This was my pre-teen years so I wasn’t really THAT into music yet, but it definitely planted the seed. I remember going to another neighbor’s house, and they had this dusty old acoustic guitar that had only 1 string on it. I fooled around with it, as a young kid, trying to play the bass line of “Boys Don’t Cry”, a song that was huge on the radio for years. That was my earliest recollection of playing something on the guitar.

When the late ‘80s-early ‘90s came, it was the time when I was getting into the rock stuff with Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, britpop, the whole Seattle scene, and the like, and was starting to learn the guitar. We had this crappy acoustic guitar that me and my brother Dok (also from Daydream Cycle and other bands) shared, and I pretty much learned it from reading local music magazines that had songs with chords and chord charts.

++ At what time did you find out that you had to be in a band? What was your first band?

I’m pretty sure the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind had a lot to do with wanting to form a band with my school friends. When the idea of forming a band was brought up, everyone wanted to be the guitar player, and by virtue of them being fast enough to have dibs on the stringed instruments, the only instrument left vacant was the drums. My sister was going out with a drummer then, so I just said to myself, “How hard could banging those round things be, right? I could just have him teach me,” plus of course, the fact that I had no choice if I really wanted to be in the band, so I told them I knew how to play the drums, and instantly became the drummer. The next step was to actually learn how to play the drums. I was initially taught the basics, but the problem was the drumset he had was still in the province way up north from Manila, so I had to learn it, initially, using drum sticks and throw pillows, and for some reason, it actually worked. We had our first band gig in December 1991, at a Christmas party of a tennis clubhouse where our vocalist’s parents were members. We were called ‘Crash Course’. Looking back, it was actually a fitting name for a first band, but I just got it from Metallica’s song ‘Crash Course in Brain Surgery’.

++ What other bands aside from Daydream Cycle had you been involved with?

In my school years, as I’ve mentioned, the first one was Crash Course that eventually became Water No-No’s, from the school days. In 2000, after college, Bogs and I started what eventually became Daydream Cycle. After DDC’s 2nd live gig in 2001, I eventually became the bass player for Rivermaya. I left Rivermaya in late 2010 and took a ‘break’ from music making, and then Japsuki happened.

++ And when did Daydream Cycle start as a band? How did you all know each other? Was there a recruiting process? Lineup changes?

Shortly after college, in the summer of 2000, Bogs and I started to fool around with making our own music. He had just bought this BOSS DR-202 drum machine, and being a drummer for pretty much the whole of the ‘90s, I wanted to do something else, so I would bring a Strat-like electric guitar to his room, and we would jam along with songs of Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps, Portishead, and the like, playing in the background. I eventually borrowed the drum machine and started making guitar riffs playing along with it. Bogs’ computer had a freshly installed loop-based recording software, Acid, so we recorded a couple of instrumental stuff that we were quite pleased with, but knew that it lacked a voice, and listening to pretty much the same stuff, we also knew that we wanted a female voice.

We were schoolmates with Kathy in college and we had mutual friends. She was steady with a hippie vibe, so I thought it was right up our alley, and I knew she wrote poetry, so I asked her if she would be comfortable singing it in a band, and that was it. The first album’s lineup was born.

++ Why the name Daydream Cycle?

In the first few months with the 3 of us, I thought of the name Electric Smooth, but at the time, there was a local band called Electric Kool-Aid, and I thought it was too similar, so that name didn’t really last. I think a handful of other names were thrown after that. The name Daydream Cycle was a product of a recurring dream that I was having at the time, and it was just perfect for our music, too, so yeah, that definitely got everybody’s vote. A few years ago, I found a test print of an idea for an album cover with the name Daydream Cycle and the former name Electric Smooth reassigned as the album title. (Photo attached)

++ How was the scene in Manila, in the Philippines, at that time? It seems there were many like-minded bands, right? Were you friendly with them? Which were your favourites?

In the early 2000s, out here, being an independent band was a no-no. It was like there was this unwritten rule that the only way you would be accepted as being a legit band was when you were signed to a major label, so yeah, we played alongside groups that were mostly underground independent types like us, and it was fun. We met a lot of different people in different fields of art, and we had mutual admiration for each other’s work, and a lot of ‘em are now huge in their fields of art. There were a lot of great bands that I was (and still am) a fan of, from Sonnet LVIII to the Buzz Nite production bands of that time, to that rare dreampop band that was signed to a major label, Sugar Hiccup, to name a few.

++ And what were your usual hangouts in Manila then? What were the venues you used to play or check out bands? Or the record stores to waste time?

A lot of small bars like 6 Underground, Mayric’s, Millenia, Sanctum, and I remember even playing once at this place called Club Sex where our slot was sandwiched in between dark metal bands hah! For some reason, we were also invited to a few metal gig prods, at the time. We were like the calm before the storm, I guess. Haha! And yes, I would spend hours inside Tower Records listening to different stuff. We were also so DIY then that I would go to select Tower Records stores myself to have DDC CDs consigned.

++ How was the creative process for the band? How did that work out?

For majority of the songs, I start with the guitar/bass riffs, and then I go to Bogs’ place and we throw it into his computer, then he puts in the beats and other magical stuff. After having a usual 4-min arrangement, we’d give it to Kathy, who then writes the words + melody, then we record it. We never really jammed out in a room to create a DDC song, especially for the first one. The music always went straight to recording and then just figured things out for live performances later.

++ The first time I heard your music was through the Shelfife Records compilation “You’re Still Young at Heart”. You contributed the song “Lousy Judge of Character” to it. Do you remember how did you end up there?

I think the guys over at Shelflife Records were checking out some bands from our neck of the woods, and we eventually signed with them for a brief time. My memory is not really that good, especially from those ‘daze’ haha, so I don’t exactly remember how we ended up on their radar, but I do remember that Laura Watling from The Autocollants, somehow, got to listen to our stuff and enjoyed it, and she was quoted in an article saying so.

I think the label gave the bands the song to interpret and we ended up with that song from The Shermans. I remember sending an email to one of The Shermans’ members and, being my young and shy self, asking for the song’s chords just to make sure we don’t fuck up their song. They didn’t really send the chords and told me to just have fun with it, so, yeah… I definitely had fun with it. Heheh. Doing our ‘process’, I started out with that guitar riff that drove the music to a totally different direction, and we went on from there. I never found out if The Shermans liked it or hated us for it haha. I do hope they found it interesting, at least.

++ That happened in the year 2000. And your first album came out the next year, in 2001. I read somewhere that this first album was originally going to be released by Shelflife Records. Is that true? If so what happened?

Ah no. Shelflife found out about us after we released our debut album in 2001. The Shelflife ‘You’re Still Young At Heart’ anniversary compilation album was released in 2003, said Google search (definitely not relying on my memory on this one haha). I don’t remember if the 1st album was supposed to be re-released under the label or if we were to do a few new songs for them, but either way, we didn’t really last long enough with them, after the compilation’s release. From what they told us, the label was having financial problems so they had to stick with their main guns, and we were one of the bands that had to be cut loose. It was a fling, but we certainly enjoyed and appreciated the Shelflife experience, especially being an underground band (even in our own country). It also gave our music the opportunity to be heard worldwide, and it’s amazing that, even up to now, more than a decade after, we still get to ‘meet’ people like you from different parts of the world, thanks to social media.

++ As I said your debut self-titled album came out in 2001 and had 12 really strong songs. It was released by your own label Metronome Recordings. How was that experience, doing the label part? Did you enjoy it? Was it hard or easy?

The label was just more of a formality. Having a registered label name was a requirement to be able to release and sell albums. It wasn’t really a legit label that had a roster of bands and all of those things that come with it.

++ What do you remember for the recording sessions of this first record? Any anecdotes you could share?

It was very ‘experimental’… ‘cos we really had no idea what we were doing. It was the first time Bogs and I got to really fool around with a music recording software. We didn’t have real gear back then. We bought a cheap ass imitation mic worth around US$2 (in today’s exchange hah) and used that for all of the vocals. I had an electric guitar and borrowed Dok’s bass guitar. Being a drummer for majority of my music life then, I didn’t even know the importance of having a tuner, but I knew how to tune a guitar, so all of the songs in that album are not really in standard guitar tuning. The tuning would be based on what felt ‘right’ at that moment when the guitar was in Bogs’ room… and it was definitely not standard, and I just tuned the bass following the guitar’s tuning. Haha. I feel sorry for those who tried to fiugure out the guitar bits… and it didn’t help that I used a lot of open chords, too. Hehe. It was literally a bedroom recording with me and Bogs seated on his bed with our heads glued to the computer. A lot of dog barking and passing car sounds also made its way onto the album, and it was all intentional, of course, ‘cos we really wanted to capture the art of noise brought about by things we were clueless of. Hahaha yes, bullshit, I know.

When Kathy hopped on board, as I mentioned earlier, Bogs and I had already made, maybe, around 5 songs, and there was no real & solid plan of releasing a full-length album. We were just genuinenly enjoying the discovery process of creation, so we made an EP’s worth of songs just for us and our friends to enjoy. To be a bit presentable, we printed out an album cover for the CD’s case, and it had a grayish vibe going on, so there is an even more rare DDC CD out there with those earlier versions of some of the songs on that album. (attached photo).

We were already happy with that, actually, but to our surprise, those songs were really enjoyed by our friends, who then passed it on to their other friends, so we decided to make it a full-length album. It was really DIY all the way. I went to a bookstore and really took a long time to pick just the right paper to be used for the CD’s sleeves. I chanced upon this glittery one that was piled under a lot of other usual paper board stuff. It was Dok who made the artwork for the grayish version and the one that ended up as the final version. We used sticker paper for the actual CD’s cover, then we printed it out using that old school dot matrix printer that took a long time to print for just 1 CD. We also just used CDRs and burned them one by one using our desktop PC. A lot of trial and error happened to achieve all of that. Haha.

It was only until after finishing the album that Bogs, Kathy, and I really thought about how the hell we were gonna play the songs live with just the 3 of us. It took some time to figure out the live part, to the point of inviting some of our friends who weren’t really musicians to try and help out in pushing buttons and stuff, and eventually, I got sober enough to realize and eventually ask my brother Dok, who is in a band with Jerome in one of the big rock bands out here called ‘Teeth’ and who happen to like our music, if they were interested in joining the band. Shortly after that, we had our first gig in the early summer of 2001, and the rest is… a lot more dazed and confused but fun times.

++ I read that this album is quite rare, that you don’t even have copies of it. How come? How many copies did you press?

The master files were only saved on zip discs, ‘cos a zip drive was the shit back then, and we just lost ‘em. The CDs weren’t really professionally pressed, as I’ve mentioned earlier, so we just printed out a few by batches before going to a gig. I remember trying out a more professional replication service, but a lot of the CDs they gave us were duds, so we ended up doing the DIY printing and burning. There were times when people wanted to buy the CD, but since they were not available in the conventional record stores, we ended up selling our personal copies, so yeah, we didn’t really get to keep one for ourselves. I have no idea how many total we sold on our own, but I’m sure it was only in the few hundreds range.

++ About your second album, “Underwater Kite“, there is very little information on the web. I don’t even think it is listed on Discogs. When was it released? Where was it recorded?

I had to double check the info at the back of the CD’s case for this one haha. It was released in 2005. This one took a longer time to be released ‘cos I was already busy with my outta nowhere mainstream band life. It was still recorded in Bogs’ room, with pretty much the same process, but with a mildly upgraded gear and a couple of years’ worth of “musical knowledge.”

++ To promote this album two promo videos were made, for “Avenue” and “Roses and Cadillacs“. How was that experience doing videos? And which one do you like best and why?

The main guys in charge of the “Roses…” video, Mark Mendoza & Manny Angeles, were fond of our music, and we had mutual friends in the art scene, so we ended up doing a quickie shoot one night with the green screen, and they just fooled around with it in post-production.

I posted on our yahoogroups looking for young video makers interested in making a music video, and one of the replies I got was from this then-college student, King Palisoc, and we exchanged emails and he ended up doing the music video for “Avenue”. That video became his “gateway drug”, and he is now a director of big films and videos, out here. We even had the chance to work together again in 2014 for my band Peso Movement’s music video for “Bawal Simangot.”
Unlike the first video, this was a half day shoot with a lot of extras in a house we borrowed from one of King’s friends. The idea was to make us become the calm, laidback kind of light in the middle of chaos & darkness, characterized by rave-like dancing.

They are 2 very different videos, in terms of the process and the execution, so I love ‘em both equally. They were also done within the confines of our limited DIY budget, hehe, so we owe a great deal of gratitude to every single one of those involved in those videos.

++ I really like the song “Roses and Cadillacs”, wonder if you could tell me the story behind this song?

I think this was the only song that was born out of a live jam. One day, after rehearsal, Bogs started it out with his then-new gadget, a Roland MC-505 Groovebox, then we both played along with it for what felt like an hour straight, with me on guitars and Bogs fooling around with the Groovebox and a bass guitar. I recorded that jam with a tape recorder, and we eventually arranged it on his computer. Like always, Kath was fully in charge of the words, and I’m not exactly sure what the story behind the song is.

++ There is also a Christmas song, “Christmas is Here”. Was this song released in any way? I could only find it on Youtube.

It was a Christmas giveaway single, released in December 2008, and I eventually just put it up on my bandcamp page japsuki.bandcamp.com. There was never a plan to release a Christmas song. One day, I bought a new bass guitar and I wanted to immediately try it out, so I got home that night and I tried to record a riff, and the first riff that came out was the bass riff for this song. I was happy with it so I ended up recording the rest of the music that night. I think it was late-November or early-December that’s why the music came out Christmas-y. I sent an mp3 to Kath and I didn’t really mention “Christmas”, but when we recorded her vocals, she nailed it, as always. Bogs was not an active member already by this time. Actually, that year, we weren’t really active as a live gig band anymore, it just so happened that I did a lot of music that I wanted it to be for a 3rd album. I was sending them mp3 copies of the music, every time I finsished a song or 2, so we were still in contact with each other, DDC-wise. For this song, Jerome was the designated engineer & co-producer when we recorded the vocals and did the overall mix.

A few years after that, a group of college kids sent me a message wanting to make a video for the song for their school project, and maybe that was the one you saw on YouTube. I think they won some school awards for their project, too, so that’s an added bonus.

++ Did you appear on any compilations?

As far back as I can remember, it was just that Shelflife Records “You’re Still Young at Heart” compilation album, released in 2003.

++ On Facebook it says you recorded a 3rd album. What happened to it? Will it see the day of light someday? Are there any other unreleased songs by the band?

As I mentioned earlier, I was making a lot of music, in 2008, designed for a DDC 3rd album. Somewhere around that year, my laptop crashed and, me being me, I didn’t get to back up my files, so a huge chunk of DDC stuff got eaten up, but I got to salvage a few that was more than enough for a full-length album. We actually managed to record probably around 7-8 (??) songs with Kathy’s vocals already, but we didn’t really get to finalize the mix. I still get to listen to those songs, every time I get friends to listen to them, and being almost a decade old now, if we were to release any of those stuff, I would want to re-record most of ‘em, if not all. Out of the many songs I made for that album, I think at least 4 of ‘em would make it, and everything else would be scrapped. I remember Jerome even telling me, almost 10 years ago now, that a track or 2 sounded like this “Chill Wave” thing starting to heat up then, and I really suck at subgenres, so I had no idea those “…wave” type genres would be as big as it is now.

Listening to them years after its supposed release, some of the music are just too “technical” for me now, with a lot of samples going on, and it doesn’t sound as “fun” to me anymore. I’m pretty sure age had a lot to do with why I did it then, and why I feel this way now. Hehe.

++ And from your whole repertoire, which would be your favourite song and why?

Aah I’m really not the guy to ask for “favorites”, especially if it involves stuff I’m a part of, but just for the heck of answering your question hehe, from the 1st album, I’ve always liked “Slow Return” the most. Last year (2016), I chanced upon this cool video on YouTube with Enigma’s “Return To Innocence” vibe going on with the slow mo reverse thing. It was made on an iPhone and this dude’s travels. I shared it on my facebook, and I got to meet the guy a few months after that when he popped up in one gig. The connecting power of the internet! Phew!

++ What about gigs? Which are the ones you remember fondly? And were there any bad ones?

There were definitely a lot of good and bad ones. There was this annual, end of the year rock awards show out here, courtesy of the now-defunct radio station NU 107.5, and in 2002, we were invited to perform on the main stage. As an independent DIY band, this was a big deal for us, and we were the only indie band to play on the main stage, and this was the era when the Korn-type bands reigned, so you can only imagine how the crowd’s raging hormones reacted to our steady music. We were like hobbits in the land of Mordor. The performance was actually not good, and majority of it was ‘cos of the terrible sound system that, after doing all of the usual sound checking earlier that day, conveniently forgot to play a crucial bit of our intro that heavily depended on a sampled track.

This was also an era when being an independent musician was a big no-no out here, so as much as the performance was not really good, as a band from the underground, unknown, and independent world, it was my most memorable DDC performance and I highly appreciate the recognition given to us by NU. It was a small “win” for us and the independent scene.

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

Not really. From the FM world, it was just NU, RX 93.1, and probably 1 or 2 more who supported us and played our songs, with NU being the one who played it more. As I’ve mentioned earlier, we were active in a time when the independent scene was really underground. We would occasionally end up on some music magazines, music TV shows, and the like, but of course, being part of our other major bands helped out with that, too. Also, we were briefly adopted by a local independent label, Terno Recrodings, shortly after we released Underwater Kite. Toti, the label’s main man, definitely helped us out a lot, too. It is unfortunate that we didn’t get to release an album fully under his label.

++ Then what happened? When and why did you split?

We never disbanded. I guess it’s just the normal perception when a band is inactive. We are just always on hiatus. We created DDC for the pure love of music making, and the experience gave us other opportunities. In my case, I got to be part of one of the most influential bands of our local pop history, shortly after just our 2nd live DDC gig. And in most cases in the art world out here, something built on pure love is not realistically sustainable as the years go by, especially in this new internet era. Some people, back then, have said that we were ahead of our time, and I never really took it seriously then, but looking back, yeah I’d have to agree.

++ There have been a few reunion gigs, right? Will there be more in the near future?

Yeah, a couple, but it was more of just helping out friends’ events. I’m not ruling out anything. Nothing is ever final with this band. I definitely miss DDC that’s why after a decade of intentionally avoiding the DDC style, I finally did some of my usual + old DDC tricks on my latest japsuki album. “So why not just get the band back together?” is the usual question I get asked. Haha. It’s really challenging to get us all in one room, with different schedules and all, and for me, the time and effort to do all of that would be more productive directed elsewhere, as selfish as that may sound. Haha!

++ And what are the other band members doing these days? Still making music?

Kathy is probably the busiest, being a mother to her lovely kids. Dok & Jerome are bandmates in both Teeth and Pupil, and are also doing some album producing, engineering, mixing & mastering for other bands. Bogs is one of the main men in the top music & sound advertising supplier out here.

++ Aside from music, what do you do? Do you have any other hobbies?

Right now, I just finised an album that really drained me, and sticking to the DIY roots from the DDC tree, I have to take care of the usual stuff that comes along with an album release, so it’s mainly music for me, and I’m not complaining. ☺

++ How is Manila today, has it changed much compared to the Daydream Cycle days? If I was to visit, what would you say are the places one shouldn’t miss? And what food one has to try?

In terms of the independent music scene, it has changed tremendously, in a good way! This era is definitely way better for the indie bands, and it’s great how the younger generation can easily access & discover music from literally anywhere, nowadays. I have always been confident that the quality of local music will never dry up, and even with the help of the internet, it’s hard to keep up with the number of great new local acts coming out. I am happy for all of them/us who are still active in the music-making world. I’m not really active in the gigging scene, but do buzz me if you plan on wandering in our neck of the woods, and I’ll help point you to the right people/direction.

++ Looking back in time, what would you say was the biggest highlight for the band?

For me, the 2 albums with all of their embedded stories are basically it. It amazes me that even up to now, there are still some people, from all ages and different parts of the world, who send us messages telling us that they have just discovered our music. I don’t even know how people discover our music now, ‘cos we are not even on the usual streaming sites. That is just one of the things I love about album-making – life will go on, and eventually, as we grow older as music fans & music makers, we realize that life is not 100% about music, but through songs & albums, the music will always live forever.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. I would like to thank you, Roque, for this interview. I still have no idea how you even found out about us, but answering these questions definitely brought back a lot of great & precious memories! I truly appreciate your interest not only with DDC but with our local independent music scene. If there’s anything else I can help you with, music-wise, just buzz me anytime. Cheers!


Daydream Cycle – Roses and Cadillacs


Little by little getting closer to Christmas, and another vacation week for me. Kind of back to back vacations this year. At the end of the month I’ll be heading to Mexico, so if there’s anyone in Mexico interested in any Cloudberry Records do let me know and we’ll sort it out. Also, very important news, the My Light Shines For You 7″ will be arriving very soon and we have set the official release date for December 15th! Have you ordered your copy yet?!

Let’s start then with our review of indiepop news, and sorry if some of these are a bit older, but I have a backlog of news because of me being away in Portugal!

Tiny Fireflies: So very happy to hear this beautiful slice of pop by my friends Kristine and Lisle. I was missing them, I was wondering where were they? Why no new songs? And suddenly I see that the band has uploaded to their SoundCloud the song “Nothing” which will be the A side for a 7″ that they will release in 2018. It will have two songs, this one, and also one called “2040′ which I haven’t heard yet. It doesn’t matter, the quality of “Nothing” will make you buy it anyways. The song also have another friend of mine, Hampus Öhman-Frölund on drums, and even has the class of Ian Catt on mixing duties. A brilliant song, and I hope one day I get to work with the talented duo again!

Las Tetris: The Peruvian girl band who have already been featured on the blog have released their first album and it is available to stream on BandCamp at the moment. The self-titled record has 10 songs, and I’m hoping here that it gets released properly, physically I mean. The band is formed by Claudia Castillo on vocals and guitars, Angiela Carranza on vocals and drums, Majo Fernández on bass and Grecia Fernández on guitars. I don’t understand why they are not more of a household name in the Lima scene, I see great tunes here! Very much influenced by the Spanish pop scene of the early 2000s, the so called tontipop, I’m really enjoying it!

The Spook School: Our Edinburgh friends are releasing a new album on January 26 on Alcopop Records and Slumberland Records. It will be titled “Could It Be Different?” and to promote it the band have just released a fun video for the song “Less Than Perfect” which you should check it out! Catchy as always, The Spook School never disappoints. Looking forward to the release of this long-awaited 3rd album! It feels like yesterday when we put out the first 7″ (which by the way is down to its last copies).

The Room: I found a complete gig from 1985 by the classic Liverpool band. Truly a surprise. This gig happened on the 2nd of March of 1985 at the Royal Court in Liverpool. That time they supported Killing Joke. Here it says that for this gig Alan Wills, the drummer, had his hand injured so Joseph McKechnie sat on drums. Alan Wills still attended and made this boombox recording.  How cool! Wish I had been there!

Penny Arcade: My friend Vernon just recommended me the album “A Girl from Penny Arcade”. Never heard about them. Had to look for them on SoundCloud and found this song “T.V. Personalities” and indeed it is really good! Then I notice this is a mid 80s guitar pop band from Tokyo! And I’m like wow! Now how do I get a copy? This band had members that would later form Flipper’s Guitar, Debonaire or even Venus Peter. It is like the seed of everything that came after. Very very important release. So now I will need to order it! And also, would love to interview them! and find out more about them!


Years ago I featured a Czech band on the blog, Sebastians. I thought this time it would make sense to cover The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, the shoegaze band that is quite well known. After doing small research I thought that there was already quite a bit of information about them so decided to dig much deeper, try to find something I’ve never heard before, something good, something exciting. That’s how after a lot of investigation on the web I stumbled upon the band Toyen.

Of course, this series of guitar pop bands from around the world is not a review of bands everyone knows, I want to find new music and share it with you. With Toyen there have been 41 bands featured now, and have two more in store for next week from Northern Ireland and Ukraine. After that I don’t think I have any other countries to feature. Maybe some of you know of any bands from any other countries missing? Please let me know. Would be great to find out more great guitar pop from another corner of the world.

What do I know about Toyen then, well very little. But they do have a Wikipedia entry and that is a lot of help. The band formed in 1988 and had named themselves after the nickname of the famous Czech surrealist painter Marie Čermínova. it says that three of the four original Toyen members had been involved previously in a band called Letadlo who had been banned by the communist regime in the early 80s. Toyen had no issues with that as they formed just after the Velvet Revolution.

The band members were Petr Chromovsky on vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboards, Ivo Heger on guitars, Petr Vaclavek on bass and Jiri Simecek on drums.

Here I learn that the band actually came to the US to perform. That is quite surprising, and definitely not common for a Czech band. How did that happen? It seems a guy named Scott Murphy who worked for the TV channel ABC saw them performing in Prague. He loved them and offered to prepare a US tour. It is at this moment that they start recording their first EP, “Following The Disappeared Railroads”. This EP was to be released in 1991 by the Rotag label (catalog RG 002-2 311) and had 6 songs. They were “Following The Disappeared Railroads”, “Guys”, “Matthew 27:24”, “Lucky Tears”, “Questions” and “Broken Hearts”. The first song was actually a big hit in the local charts. The EP was recorded at Studio Smetanova Divadla in Prague. The engineer for the record was J. Celerin. The photo of the band on the cover was taken by the famous photographer Tono Stano.

Toyen would travel to the US and would play at the Broadway club The Shooting Gallery. Then they would also play a gig at CBGB. Playing NYC would open the eyes of Sony Music to offer them a contract. With them they were going to release their album “Last Free Swans!”. For this album they had the help of producer Colin Stuart and lyricist Matt Black. The art for the record got a Czech Grammy nomination. Thanks to this album they also got invited to play in England and Wales where they played the Open/air summer Festival in Cardiff. They would also play in Austria. It seems this was a good time for the band, at a music competition in BREGENZ, the band met Paul King from the UK MTV channel. He was to feature the video clips of the band and also live footage from Prague in the 120 Minutes program.

So yes, “Last Free Swans!”, the album that opened the band many doors. It was released by Bonton which I believe was a subsidiary of Sony in 1992. There were 10 songs, “The Flowers Inside”, “Puppet Show”, “Last Free Swans”, “Don’t Turn Away”, “Perfect Person”, “Y”, “Skočím Jen Jednou”, “Freight Train”, “Falling Higher” and “I’m Rolling”. The record was recorded at Sono Studio in Nouzov between June and August 1992. The engineer was Pavel Karlík. It was mastered at Rudolfinum Studio in Prague. The tambourine on this record was played by Milan Cimfe. The art for the album was created by Václav Jirásek. It is important to mention that a video was created for the song “Last Free Swans” which was directed by David Ondříček. The album was released on CD, cassette and LP formats.

The song “Last Free Swans” was to be released too by Bonton as a 7″ in 1992.  The B side was “Skočím Jen Jednou”.

In 1993 Ivo Heger was to leave the band to start his own band The WAY. Toyen was to leave Sony to sign with BMG CZ. They were to replace Ivo with Jiri Krivka and embark on a new US tour. They were to release the album “Malíř smutnej” (Blue painter) that same year with the help of Jan P. Muchow from The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa as a producer. That same year they opened for Depeche Mode in Prague.

“Malíř Smutnej” was released under Ariola that year. It came out as a CD and tape. It also had 10 songs, now all of them with Czech names:  “Po Stopách Zmizelých Železnic”, “Ten Druhý”, “Srdcerváč”, “Myji Si Ruce”, “Fotky”, “Příběh Lásky”, “Sv. Jan”, “Železnice”, “Železnice (N.Y.C. Summer Mix) Remix” and “Bestie (Dancing Groovie Mix)”. The opening song “Po Stopách Zmizelých Železnic” had a video too. The record was recorded at West Studio in Pizeň.

According to this Wikipedia entry after this record things kind of went downhill. When they toured to promote the album they added Frantisek Sahula as a guitarist and after the tour the band changed once again the guitar player for Petr Vana. With him they were to release their last album “La Orana” in 1997. For this album their long-time friend Ivo Heger, who had left the band after the first album, would be the producer. and very important to mention a movie about the band was made by David Ondříček for Czech TV in 1997.

“La Orana” got released as an enhanced CD and cassette. It included the history of the band in multimedia format with the two promo videos I mentioned plus a video of “Železnice (N.Y.C. Summer Mix)” and the MTV Presention on 120 Minutes by Paul King. Aside from that the record released by Indies Records (MAM 041-2) had also ten songs: “1 Možná Svítání”, “Swans”, “Teenage Shout”, “Father’s Son”, “You Don’t Ask”, “Tomorrow”, “Late Now!”, “Heavenly Cry”, ” Tětiva Luku”, “Tehdy V Římě”.

In 2010, the original lineup would reform and play again.

Where to start? Well, I would say their first album is very recommendable, guitar pop with psychedelic vibe, catchy chorus and good lyrics. It actually is in its entirety on Youtube. But that’s not all, they also contributed to many compilations.

The first one was on the “Nové Horizonty” cassette released by Monitor in 1990. On it they had two songs, “Byl Tu Chvíli” and “Ten Druhý”. That same year two other songs appeared on the compilation “Monument (Nový Horizont)” released by ESTA in their home country. The songs were “Malíř Smutnej” and “Příběh Lásky”.

In 1993 they were to contribute the song “Adresát Neznámý (From Me To You)” to the compilation “HerGott!!! Volume 2” that was released by Supraphon and the next year the song “Náhrobní Kámen” appeared on “Klaunova Zpověď” released by Monitor-EMI.

Another 1994 appearance was with the song “Bestie” on the CD compilation “Hitalbum” released by B&M Music.

It would take the new century for them to have two more compilation appearances. First on the “Little Darla Has a Treat For You Vol. 17” released by Darla Records in 2001 with the song “14 Pints”. Two years after, in 2003, their song “Following The Disappeared Railroads” was to show up on a very interesting compilation called “Hurá, Kytary!” that was released by Ultram:x as a accompanying CD of their magazine of the same name. It seems this compilation was showcasing the early/mid nineties guitar pop scene of the Czech Republic.

Then of course I start clicking on the band members, see what else they’ve done. I notice Ivo Heger not only was on The Way but also on Colorfactory and helped producing The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, Sebastians and more. Jiri Simecek and Petr Václavek played also on a band called Stará Kovarná who released an album in 1994.

I found a Myspace by the band and here there is an article from what seems the Telegram and Gazette from November 14 of 1991. This is a newspaper from Worcester, Massachusetts. Here they are compared to The Smiths and U2. Some others to The Vapors (?!). You can read more about how Scott Murphy, a Worcester native, found about them and how he brought them to the US on this article which seems to have been written just before their last gig of the tour at Chadwick Square Dinner in Worcester.

There are many Czech websites mentioning a bit of the story of the band but from what I gather I think I’ve covered the important details. Also I must say it is hard with the language trying to find interesting details. The translation by Google not being the best either. So as you suppose there are many unanswered questions about them.

I’m especially curious about why they switched to English and then to Czech again. Or where else in the US they played. What about that 2nd tour that is mentioned? Did they record any more songs? Now that they reunited in 2010 where did they play? Did they release anything? What bands influenced their sound? And most importantly, how do I get a copy of their album “Last Free Swans!”?


Toyen – Last Free Swans