Last week I counted the amount of posts left for this year, not counting interviews. That’s 12 more posts including this one. I assume it will be 11 as I will be away for a week in November. So 10 more after this. I wonder then if this has been my most prolific year as a blogger. I ask myself too if people still consider themselves bloggers. Are there many blogs left? I feel many bloggers these day feel more like columnists, working for newspapers, magazines and such in their digital platforms. I saw though in the last couple of days the return of a favourite blog of mine though, 7 Pulgadas. When did his blog start? 2004? A long run from Alex, right? After a long standby as most of his records were in boxes thanks a very long move between houses in Madrid he is back. And it makes me happy that there are people who care about sharing their indiepop knowledge in the world, who respect bands and artists and who get involved in making this scene a better one. People who know Alex know that all of what I’m saying is true, not just because of his blog, that’s certain, but also from being part of the great Madrid Popfest, a regular indiepop festival attendee, and a good friend.
I started blogging in 2004 too. I had a Spanish language blog called Mira el Péndulo. The name came from a song by a Spanish band I was really in love then, El Niño Gusano. I still like them, but perhaps not as much. I started to blog inspired by the Indie-MP3 blog that was pretty popular then. That one was Tom’s blog. It closed some years ago and I wrote a big blog post about it I remember. As I was saying, I was inspired by it because they would offer an Mp3 from some new-ish band, or sometimes even an old classic band, with a link to their Myspace or to their website, and a little review. I thought that was the perfect format to introduce a band. And so I set up a blogspot, even with the same design and look as Indie-Mp3, and started blogging in Spanish because at that time there was nothing like it in my native language.
That’s the time when I discovered a couple of like-minded bloggers, all of them based in Spain. Their format varied, some wrote longer pieces, some shorter. Some wrote about old bands, some about gigs. Some preferred sharing many songs, some not even one song. But we all read each other, we all respected each other, and so a little community of indiepop bloggers was born. It’s funny that after many years I have actually met many of them, especially three that I always love to see at festivals together. That’s Alex of course, Manolo and Javi. Manolo had one of the best blogs in my opinion when it came to reviews of albums. His posts were long and he never shared an Mp3. The blog was called 360 Grados de Separación. It is still online but he hasn’t updated much in recent times. He is missed. Javi in the other hand, the biggest Go-Betweens fan in the world, had his blog Lost and Found where he introduced to all his readers, this time in English, lots of obscure indiepop gems from the 80s. It was him, and of course the Leamington Spa series, that influenced me on what to recommend and showcase in this blog. Because, for new bands, there are TONS of other blogs and pages.
Then of course Mira el Péndulo was hacked by who knows who. The wordpress was hacked and there was no way to bring all posts back. Everything was lost. Not just what I wrote but also what my collaborators wrote. Because at some point I shared my blog with other friends that wanted to write some indiepop related posts. I remember Romina, from Argentina, that would correct my terrible grammar and write amazing posts about the sweetest sounding bands. Then there was JC, from Chile, who wrote smart posts that questioned the established taste of indiepop kids. One of my best friends José Emanuel, who I had a band with once and who was lately in Eva & John, wrote a bunch of posts about very weird and quirky indiepop bands. Then also Carlitos, from Peru and Eva & John, wrote a bunch of posts of the tweest kind. All those posts lots. I didn’t know what to tell them. I felt ashamed. I should have kept a backup, but I didn’t. I believe that’s the moment where I stopped believing in digital formats. That’s when I knew an MP3 collection was nothing, not even dust, it was nothing. Because all these things don’t really exist.
After a year without blogging I came back in 2008 with this blog, and then the rest is history. This is of course the longest blogging career I’ve had. As a Cloudberry cake chef. I didn’t think this was going to last this long. I came back because I was bored but what I was reading and because I couldn’t find any information about the bands I wanted to read about. Those days I was very close to my friend Emma. I thank her for pushing me to write again. She insisted I had to do it, and she even used to help me in writing interview questions. There’s one that is a favourite of mine, to the band Pink Noise. She wrote all the questions. It’s quite whack. She also answered all the questions a fanzine sent me as a Cloudberry interview. The questions were so boring, the usual questions people ask, so I let her be wild with her imagination. I think the Twee As Fuck crowd weren’t pleased with those answers about monkeys and razor-blade vinyl records. But well, that’s another story.
Anyhow, the thing is that I started blogging in Cloudberry Cake Proselytism in October 2008. It’s October 2013. That’s 5 years, right? Well, Happy Birthday to Me!!
Have you ever heard The Candy Dates? Probably not. But they have an album that is a gem of indiepop. Fun, bright, smart, bouncy, and a treat to the ears. Sure, some of you might say they remind one to Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan!! And that might be true, these fellow Germans have that same taste for great pop music. But who cares, the Candy Dates are great in their own league and I recommend you getting their album Yep! that was released in both LP and CD. And trust me, it’s not that hard to track down!
The CD version was a sole release of Twang! Records (catalog TCD 5899) while the LP was a joint release between Twang! and Semaphore (catalog 27 777). I believe Semaphore was a Dutch label with an office in Germany also. Twang! was definitely a German label and had some nice releases.
The tracklist was:
1 Downtown Park
2 Six Tambourines
3 Big Big Kiss
4 Happy Hills
5 My Absolute Favourite Girl
8 Top Ten Idol
10 Brian On The Roof
The CD has an eleventh track, but it’s a 2 second one. So don’t worry about it! It’s a hidden track. Both the album and LP were separated in half, the first five songs were under the side called Cake One, and the last five songs were in Cake Two.
The album was produced by Andi Jezussek who was in a band called Breeder I believe.
The Candy Dates were formed by Gunnar Berndorf on vocals, drums and tambourines, Tobi Friedrich on vocals and guitar, Jockel Staron on vocals and guitar, and Lothi Berndorff on vocals and bass.
The band, as the label, were based in Berlin. The record was released in 1992 and the artwork reminiscing Roy Liechtenstein was made by the band themselves with help from Pat on Riesen for the layout. The photo of the band on the back cover was thanks to Frank Wegener.
There are some thank you notes on the CD. It says:
Robyn Wills, Andy, Frank, Pat, Manu & Uwe, Daniel Sprock, Herr Hanich, Hopek, Ralf Bieneck (DT 64), Antje Tiemeyer (RRB), Malum, Peter Perett, Raymond D. Davies, Joe Nolte.
Cool thing on the CD is something a lot of people are missing these days. All lyrics printed so one can sing along!
But let’s get back to that Thank You list. Is Uwe the Uwe from Firestation records? Probably but probably not. But Herr Hanich. That one we know. That’s Matthias Hanich who was also in Angry Flowers and later in the Groovy Cellar. But most importantly Matthias Hanich had been in a band with Gunnar Berndorf in the mid 80s. Yes! In 1984 they had been together in a band called The Artpress.
A little bio found on Facebook says:
The Artpress, whose melodic and beautifully constructed power pop made the band an instant success in Lower Saxony and other parts of Europe, released their one and only piece of vinyl under a long term deal with Worldcup Records in 1988(?). Due to management and distribution problems the single entitled “Mystery Girl“ c/w “Get Smart“ only reached 101 in the pop charts. Both numbers are up-tempo, guitar-fuelled with a wonderful 60s mod feel. This is your second chance – so don’t miss it.
They were based in Göttingen and the band members were: Harald Fischer, Matthias Hanich, Gunnar Berndorff, Ronald Kruschak
(Carsten Richter, Ralf Fricke, Jörg Waltje).
I also tracked down that Tobias Friedrich had a band afterwards called Viktoriapark who released an album in 2008 called “Was Ist Schon 1 Jahr?” and also another album called “In Teufels Küche”.
I also found out that Gunnar wrote a book along two other authors, Barbara Berndorff and Knut Eigler. This book is called Musikrecht and shame on me that I don’t know much German so I cant tell what it is about!
And that’s about all I could find about this fantastic band, that I don’t know much about, but did record this one fantastic album! I really recommend tracking it down if you can. And if you know anything else about them, if you ever saw them playing live, if you happen to have any more unreleased songs or anything, please share. There’s a nice comment section right here!
Edit: Andreas again comes to the rescue with some new insights:
Regarding your blog entry for The Candy Dates (and The Artpress), Gunnar Berndorff is also the drummer for The Groovy Cellar who’ll play Berlin Popfest on Saturday (and whom, along with Most Wanted Men, I’ve put on as supports both in Berlin and Hamburg in the past). He’s actually a colleague, i. e. a lawyer, and “Musikrecht” translates into “music law” (part of media law). A very nice guy, too.