This week I’m thinking of doing two different posts. One for the obscure band and then one for the Sunday Indietracks review. The main reason for this is time. It’s easier for me this way, definitely.
The other reasons are that I don’t want this post to get lost among my usual babbling. Why is that? Because I really want to contact this obscure band and I’m hoping someone can help me. Why do I want to contact them? I dream of releasing a retrospective compilation of their stuff. Well, if they happen to have more than 8 songs recorded that is. I have to be reasonable sure. But I would love Shine! to be part of the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen series as I would love Nine Steps to Ugly as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Right now I’ve just announced The Rileys CD on the website, the 4th release on a series I’m every day prouder and prouder! And also this past week the first release of the series, the Feverfew compilation, achieved the status of sold out record. I’m very happy that releasing many of my favorite obscure bands have proven successful, that one doesn’t need to follow trends when the music is good and most especially, timeless.
Who were these mysterious people that released a flexi and a split 12″? Who were the enigmatic band that appeared on a couple of tape compilations? The answer is, I don’t know.
There’s a name that is recurring: Martin Neumann. But he took the photos for the cover artwork for both of their releases. Most probably he wasn’t part of the band. So that’s a dead end.
There’s a contact mail though on the back cover of the split 12″. The name is Alisdair Macdonald. There’s an address there. The town is King’s Lynn in Norfolk.
King’s Lynn, also known as Lynn, is a sea port and market town in the ceremonial county of Norfolk in the East of England. It is situated 97 miles (156 km) north of London and 44 miles (71 km) west of Norwich. The population of the town is 42,800.
The etymology of King’s Lynn is uncertain. The name Lynn is said to be derived from the body of water near the town (the River Great Ouse as it prepares to enter the Wash): the Celtic word Llyn, means a lake; but the name is plausibly of Anglo-Saxon origin, from the word Lean, implying a tenure in fee or farm. For a time it was named Len Episcopi (Bishop’s Lynn) while under the jurisdiction, both temporal and spiritual, of the Bishop of Norwich; but during the reign of Henry VIII it was surrendered to the crown, and it then assumed the name of Lenne Regis, or King’s Lynn. In the Domesday Book, it is known as Lun, and Lenn; and is described as the property of the Bishop of Elmham, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The town is and has been for generations generally known by its inhabitants and local people simply as Lynn. The city of Lynn, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, was named in 1637 in honour of its first official minister of religion, Samuel Whiting, who arrived at the new settlement from Lynn, Norfolk.
I have a strong gut feeling that’s where they were based.
The first release was the flexi. It included two songs, “Millions and Millions” and “The City can Wait”. It’s great. The trademark fast guitars are here. Sure it will remind you of the Wedding Present with vocals closer to the classic indiepop. And also the choruses, with backing vocals, again closer to the sort of indiepop that was loved in fanzines during the late 80s. This flexi at the time was only 50pence. How have times changed. I do wonder if the flexi, as it was accustomed at the time was sold along a fanzine. The flexi was out on March 1989 and was released as I said earlier by Baz McHat Records. The catalog number was MCHAT 01.
Who were Baz McHat records? The internet answers for us:
Funded from the profits of the nine Baz McHat Promotions (1988) and early Wilde Club gigs, this flexi-disc label was the pre-cursor to Wilde Club Records. Both Shine!’s ‘The City Can Wait’ and the Bardots’ ‘Sofaelaine’ received airplay on John Peel’s Radio One show. The label was run by Barry Newman, who began both The Wilde Club and Wilde Club Records.
There was another flexi on the Baz McHat label before it turned to Wilde Club Records. The second flexi would be a split flexi by The Bardots and Sofaelaine. This is an important fact as the next release by Shine! would be a split 12″ with, guess who, The Bardots.
Released in 1989, this amazing record, this split 12″, contains one of my favourite pop songs ever: “Bite the Apple”. The other song included is nice too and it was called “It Could Never Happen to Us”. Both of these songs were produced by Howard Turner and Shine! and recorded at Raven Studios in Norfolk during August 1989. It was released in the Wilde Club label and it was the first release ever put out by this label who’d get some more attention later when they eventually released Catherine Wheel. Both of the songs were on the B side while on the A side we had The Bardots with the immense “Sad Anne” and “Summerhouse”.
Some time later they would appear on a compilation released by their label called “I Might Walk Home Alone” with their song “Bite the Apple”. This was 1992 already. And this was the tenth release on the Wilde Club label.
In the blog we’ve mentioned the great “Everlasting: A Tape Compilation” cassette before. Among favourites of mine like The Aurbisons, Holiday Makers, A Riot of Colour and more, Shine! appeared on this compilation released in 1988. The song that they contributed was “The Art of Lying Low”.
But there’s another tape where they appeared, at least that I know, there might be more! The tape was called “Everlasting Happiness” and I believe I’ve talked a bit about it before too as it was made by a very good friend of mine from Hamburg while he lived in Scotland. Mr Andreas who I was happy to see once again at Indietracks not so long ago. On this tape Shine! shined (sorry for this terrible pun!) with the first song I ever heard from them and made me look for the rest of their records: “I Just Can’t Celebrate Today”. A blast of cheerful indiepop! I was hooked immediately.
I’ve been a fan for a long time. And this is as much as I’ve been able to gather about them. So maybe someone can help me. I know it’s not just me who loves them. I remember my friend Nana for her 30th birthday made the most beautiful flyer using the artwork for the Shine!/Bardots split 12″ which you can see here. That was the night I DJed in that city too. It was one of the best nights ever. And Shine! in a way, was part of it.
So yes, let’s try to find out more about Shine! And perhaps in the not so distant feature a new retrospective CD can happen of one of the bands I’m most curious about!
++ UPDATE: Andreas who made the Everlasting Happiness tape wrote me today with some corrections and some interesting details about Shine!
“Everlasting Happiness” was compiled in my wiggly hometown called Worms during the last year of secondary school in 1990 and released in early 1991 during my civilian service as a paramedic (first edition of 100 copies and second edition of another 100 copies sold out within weeks or months). The law studies in Glasgow happened three years later in 1994/95.
For most bands on “Everlasting Happiness” (and bands that didn’t make it on there) I have basically every song they had ever recorded until 1990 (including, for example, Nine Steps To Ugly, The Golden Dawn and The Mayfields). A notable exception is Shine! who had released two official demo tapes at the time and I only have the second one entitled “Numbrainedeadumbrain” (this is currently all packed up on the attic, I remember about 9 songs which are absolutely fantastic, i.e. this would be a very worthwhile retrospective compilation)
++ UPDATE 2: Andreas pointed me to some interesting stuff!
Found out the band members names:
Tim Warnes – Bass/Vocals
Andy Bunting – Guitar/Vocals
Paul Cator – Guitar/Vocals, the later of Ivy
Mark Coulson – Drums.
Yes, that’s the Ivy that was on Sarah Records!
Shine! – Bite the Apple