Didn’t get a chance to blog during the week (I did post an interview though!). It’s already Sunday and to be honest I’m forcing myself to leave a weekly post here before this week is over. Thing is that it’s been very busy at work this week and I expect to continue to be like this during the next weeks. September will be a bit tough to do full fledged posts I’m afraid. Also I think as indiepop it’s been so quiet as of late it’s kind of hard to find topics that matter at the moment.
Of course I could do some sort of summary of new releases, new bands, or news that are worthy to mention. But I’m not that terribly excited about any new releases. Most of my last purchases have been of old records. The last records I got excited about to buy their whole discography were of Star Horse from Sweden. Then I think this week I liked a Facebook page after some time too, it was a band called Boys also from Sweden. It’s not the same Boys from the early, mid noughties, those that sung the amazing song “New Girl Born”, but a female led band. Sounds good though.
Another idea is also try to pick a scene and check what bands are interesting there, like what I did about Peru not so long ago, and what I did last week with the Spanish scene of the early 90s. Don’t know if these posts tend to be interesting to you, in the end they are a list of links and I wonder if anyone has the time to go through all of them. I’ll continue doing these, though every time I end up doing a post like this, I feel kind of empty hearted, I start thinking, damn, this fine collection of songs, why isn’t it released on a physical format?
And that same question is the one that like a ghost inhabits my head. Why are so many good collections of songs are not released anymore. There’s a big void since Firestation decided not to release the Leamington Spa series. Those were the best compilations ever. In the beginning they were all so popular, even released in both vinyl and CD format. Then as time went by, as volumes were released, it seems only the hardcore fans were into them. Without them I would have never discovered so many amazing bands like The Deddingtons or the Thin Gypsy Thieves, and wouldn’t have been able to interview so many bands that have been featured on the blog.
In general I’ve found compilations are much harder to sell than regular albums. Could be because many times the quality varies between bands and songs on them. But in cases like the Leamington Spa series this shouldn’t have mattered. It was more of a document of a time and period, and it included a booklet that illustrated and gave perspective with the bands bio and discography. Not so long ago Cherry Red did something similar with the box set of Scared to Get Happy. Problem with it, is that it was just a one-off and that it included mostly well known bands. Even though it was curated nicely, the rewards weren’t that many. It was a great introduction to indiepop perhaps, but it didn’t dig enough for those who are thirsty for the next perfect pop song.
At the same time the ideas of doing similar sort of compilations with German, Australian and Greek bands started to vanish. First of all because they are difficult to make. If it’s already super difficult to deal with one band, dealing with 20 and at the same time ends up being a headache. Some bands are easy and helpful, others are complicated and forgetful. It requires patience, and it requires for one not to lose hope. With all those difficulties, and having Cherry Red kind of taking your ideas, sales not helping, and of course, the internet, well, these compilations even though they are missed, become a very difficult enterprise to undertake.
I still dream of making one, perhaps the day the blog ends up in book format it could include a first volume compilation or something like that. Who knows. I just miss discovering new bands though compilations. I’m not going to lie, it’s easier that way, than me digging and digging online to find something. Whoever compiled the songs already did the job for me. And that’s awesome, you can only be grateful for that. People like Uwe, who knows so many fantastic bands, that releases the one single, or not even, just a demo tape, are the perfect people to do these compilations. Who knows, perhaps one day music will matter again and it just won’t be bandcamps and soundclouds, and we’ll get to spend a night listening attentively the songs and while doing that, reading about them on the booklet. But that is just wishful thinking.
I guess then if there was going to ever be a sort of German compilation of guitar pop bands from the late 80s, early 90s, 7 Roberts would be in there for sure.
Even though I know so little about them, and only have heard one of their songs, I know they were quality. You can tell by the sound of a guitar. That song I know is “When You Smile”. How do I know it? Well, it appeared on the tape compilation “Heaven Sent” (catalog HS002) that was released by the Heaven Sent fanzine in Germany. In this compilation we find bands we’ve featured in the blog like The Wilde Plains and The Sohfas and also many other well known bands like The Haywains, The Jesterbells, Remember Fun, The Penny Candles and so on. A true pop compilation, compiled with great taste.
Robert: from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht. It has been a very common English name since that time.
But 7 of them Roberts. Doubt there were 7 band members called Roberts. Wonder where the name comes from. The only thing I know, as I said, was that they released on 7″ that included two songs: “Heaven’s Spell” and “September”. It’s interesting all this “Heaven” associated to them.
Sadly I haven’t heard these songs. Are they as good as the one that appears on the compilation?
They were released by a German label called Sworm Records. There is no catalog number and it seems this was the only release on this label. It was released in 1987.
The cover artwork is very new wave. I wonder then if they consider themselves more of a new wave act than an indie guitar pop band. Also I would like to guess the name of the label is a play on words, as they came from Worms. How did I know that? Well, there was a connection with The Wilde Plains.
Years ago I interviewed Bernd from this great German bands and when I asked them about fellow bands in their hometown they told me:
In the late eighties Worms was crowded with guitar-pop-bands. It all began with “Autumn’s Chant” in 1984 (with later Wide Plains members Bernd and Robert amongst others). When “Autumn`s chant” split up in 1986 “The Blue Eyed Bandits” (Bernd),”The Blue and White collar workers” (Robert) and a little bit later “The 7 Roberts” (Robert) were founded. Around that time Jürgen played in “The Rayn”, Christian formed “Drab Hotchpotch” while Andi joined “The Wallflowers” and later “Sonic Flower Groove”. After all the “Wide Plains” started in 1989.
And that’s all I know about 7 Roberts. Did they have more songs? Did they appear on other compilations? Would love to know a bit more about them!
7 Roberts – When You Smile