Yesterday evening was quite nice, as they always are when Ed Shelflife is in town. Started with some beers at The Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen, I had a filling pumpkin stout, followed by Indonesian food for dinner (beef rendang as usual for me) and ended walking through Times Square to reach Rockefeller center. Also, as usual, we talked indiepop for the entire time. This is a feat for me, you won’t believe me, but I don’t usually like talking about music much. But with Ed it’s easy. We share our label dreams, our future plans, and then the inevitable gossip about the people involved in the scene.
Of course I can’t tell you what he is putting out next, that’s not my business, but there are some really exciting releases in the horizon that are still unannounced. It’s impressive though that by the end of the year he would have released 13 records just in 2012. That’s quite something. Especially now that it’s harder and harder to put out records as people, well I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, don’t buy music anymore. I believe by the end of the year, Cloudberry will have released, 2 Cloudberry Cake Kitchen releases, the 3″ CD by Tiny Fireflies, the new fanzine, and hopefully 4 7″ singles. That’s 8 releases. 5 releases short. Tough. I joked with him about the end of year Twee.net polls, we already know who is going to win, that one label whose releases are sold out within weeks. Who knows how they do it. Must be a Copperfield trick.
But I can tell you about some of the upcoming Cloudberry releases though. These weeks I’ve been working hard on the label, and even on the blog, with a renewed excitement, and with plenty of ideas, and a revamped love for indiepop. Most of you do know that the next 7″ is the Spook School one that has “Here We Go” on the A side and “Cameraman” on the flipside. That’s coming out on October 10th. The Spook School also are showcased on the upcoming zine with an interview and a song on the CD compilation. Talking about this zine, it also contains interviews with Youngfuck, Earth First, Caucus, Nixon and Alpaca Sports. Yes, you read that right, Alpaca Sports are joining the label and will release a 7″ pretty soon. I’m very excited about that. As I write these lines they are finishing the songs that will appear on the A side. The B side will include that fabulous soon-to-be-classic “She’ll Come Back for Indian Summer”.
I’m calling this one the Emerald fanzine. As usual the color ink of the fanzine changes. I think the next one will be orange. This zine will come with a CD like always, it’s aptly titled “Exposed on the Cliffs of the Heart “. The heart being my favourite topic, and not from a biochemical, physiological, point of view. The cover is graced by the beautiful and one of the few movie-crushes I’ve ever had, Irene Jacob as Veronique, from Kieslowski’s masterpiece The Double Life of Veronique. The CD will include songs by Youngfuck, The Spook School, Caucus and two new exciting bands that are yet to make a splash in the scene, but I’m sure they will in the not so distant future! Hopefully by the end of the week there will be more information online about the zine, and perhaps a pre-order button.
Also by mid October the Strange Idols compilation will be out. It includes all the songs ever released plus many unreleased tracks, among them the 4th single that sadly never came out. There are in total 13 songs, and they are all brilliant. I’m very happy with this release and I hope that those people that missed them when they were around get the chance to enjoy one of the best contemporary jangle pop bands. And those who did know them and were lucky enough to see them live, well, to rediscover them, and enjoy all these new tracks that you haven’t heard before. This CD is pure indiepop bliss. It will definitely charm any indiepop fan out there. I feel so happy because I really wanted to release that 4th single back in the day, and now at last I can do it. I was a big fan of theirs since I discovered them late in 2005 I think.
And there are some news too on the 7” end. There are two new bands that will join the Cloudberry family soon like Alpaca Sports. From London, UK, the band Flowers, who will start touring with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart shortly, all over Europe. And from Hamburg, Germany, Tripping The Light Fantastic, a quite popular band in their country but sadly not yet abroad. The quality of both singles is amazing. So please support the label so I can release these records as soon as possible.
There, that was a breakdown of what’s in the pipeline for Cloudberry. It’s going to be busy, it’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be fun and rewarding. I can’t wait for all of them to be out. And now I have to start working on a new Cloudberry Cake Kitchen collection. I have a couple of ideas, a couple of bands that I would like to do a deluxe collection of their songs. We’ll see, I’ve also gotten some nice suggestions by friends and readers alike.
But this is not the only stuff that’s keeping me busy. I’ve retaken the amazing project that is The Sound of Starke Adolf compilations. I’m working now hard on volume 2, seeking down these swedes, that are so difficult to get in touch with. I persevere, I’ll keep bugging them until I got their songs, and everything else I need to make a quality release as volume 1 was.
There is one thing that I need to stop doing though. I have to stop buying so many records. As of late I’m winning so much on eBay and it’s just dumb. I shouldn’t be spending this much, but I’m not sure what has happened but eBay sellers are listing every single item I have saved in my four different usernames’ saved searches! That’s 400 saved search items. I’m nuts. But I tell you, it makes this heart happy and forgetful.
Let’s go all the way to Australia for the band of the week: Dreaming Genies. I’ve been looking for so long, after a tip of a friend (or was it because it was listed on Twee.net?), for their 1994 CD “Joan”. Still I haven’t had luck. I think because this was released in Japan, and it’s not very common for Japanese indiepop fans to be selling their collections. Or even to list items on eBay. Not common. Luckily some weeks ago, Heinz (again!), uploaded one of the tracks from the CD, and well, I fell in love with it.
The song is called “Sheperd song” and it’s just a wonderful blast of indiepop-punk, a la Eggplant, a la Juniper Moon, that I got hooked to it immediately. The band that I get reminded me the most is The Sorayas from Sweden though, do you remember them? I actually been looking to contact them so I can include them in one of The Starke Adolf comps. But ok, that’s another story. Let’s get back to the Dreaming Genies, let’s wake them up.
The band seems to have been formed in 1992 in Canberra, Australia’s capital. I try to recollect all my indiepop knowledge, and I can’t think of other bands coming from there. I can think of plenty from Melbourne, Perth or Sydney, but not Canberra.
The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. The word “Canberra” is popularly claimed to derive from the word Kambera or Canberry and mean “meeting place” in the old Ngunnawal language of the local Ngabri people
The band was formed by Mark Broomhead on guitars, Alex Castro on drums, Jeff Smith on bass, Heath Stephens on bass, and Tania Zadoroznyj on guitars and vocals. And aside from this Joan CD they had also released two other CDs: “Wistaria” and “Pretty Hell”.
The little I know about “Wistaria” is that it was an EP and was released in 1993. The name of the album probably comes from Wisteria (also spelled Wistaria or Wysteria) is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing vines native to the Eastern United States and to China, Korea, and Japan. Some species are popular ornamental plants, especially in China and Japan. An aquatic flowering plant with the common name wisteria or ‘water wisteria’ is in fact Hygrophila difformis, in the family Acanthaceae.
From “Pretty Hell” I could find one song on Youtube. It’s called “Breathe” and it’s said to be the 2nd song from this EP. The vocals are really nice, sounding like The Popguns, and the music it’s a bit rockier than the “Sheperd Song”. A sound that reminds me of The Heart Throbs. Not as engaging as the other one but still pretty enjoyable.
Let me figure out first where the word genie comes from:
The jinn (Arabic: جن ǧinn, singular جني ǧinnī; also spelled djinn), or genies, are supernatural spirits mentioned in the Quran and Islamic mythology who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans. Together, the jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of God. The Quran mentions that the jinn are made of a smokeless and “scorching fire”, and they have the physical property of weight. Like human beings, the jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent.
The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, meant a sort of tutelary or guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at their birth. English borrowed the French descendant of this word, génie; its earliest written attestation in English, in 1655, is a plural spelled “genyes.” The French translators of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights used génie as a translation of jinnī because it was similar to the Arabic word in sound and in meaning. This use was also adopted in English and has since become dominant.
So the Dreaming Genies. I found the names of other songs, but sadly I haven’t been able to listen to them, maybe some of you could help me: “Joan”, “Mina’s Story”, “Man with Backpack”, “Skeleton Man”, “Flowers”, “Thursday Night” and “Cyren”.
Going back to the “Joan” CD. It was released in Japan by a label called Behavior Saviour, and it was catalog BS009. This label seems to have been closely linked with a band called Tricycle Popstar, which I barely know and I guess could be reviewed on the blog sometime soon. Most of the releases on the label are by this band and in different formats from tapes to flexis. There were two CD compilations two, on both of them They Go Boom were included. On one of them Bulldozer Crash was included. We start seeing familiar faces.
And that’s all there is. All I could find about them. I wonder, are the rest of their songs as catchy and fun as this one? Some Japanese fan that I read (well, thru google translate), was saying the rest of the songs are more power pop style, and this “Sheperd Song” was anorak-sound. Was he right? Also whatever happened to them, the band? Were they involved with other bands before or after Dreaming Genies? Where are they now? And has anyone have a spare copy of this CD? So many questions, hope someone can help!