April at last. It’s been around a year since I did for the first time the Cloudberry podcast and I’m actually thinking about doing it again. See how it goes. While in France my friends insisted that I should record the podcast again. It definitely is a good idea. But then at the end it all depends on whoever helps me put all the tracks together. Thomas from Pale Spectres has offered. As soon as there are more news I’ll let you know.
Next week I will announce our next 7″. And I’m very excited about it. It’s a band you’ve probably never heard before, but it’s jangle heaven hailing from Sweden. It will include four songs. That’s all I can give you at the moment!
I did promise last week that I was going to check many of the bands that I haven’t heard ever from the lineup of Indietracks. So I’ll do that. But before it’s important to know that this year San Francisco Popfest returns. It’s happening on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June. You can check the event here. Many bands I’ve never heard are playing so I’ll do a review sometime soon. We do have some time! Also Lima Popfest is around the corner (April 30th), and I’ll do a review of their bands next week. It looks like a fine year for indiepop so far with all these festivals!
So I start in no particular order:
Two White Cranes: I like Joanna Gruesome quite a bit even though some friends of mine can’t stand them. Too nineties they tell me. I find them fresh and exciting. Two White Cranes is the project of Roxy Brennan from Joanna Gruesome. She is also part of Grubs (whose flexi was amazing). On Bandcamp there’s a CD for sale called “Radisson Blue”. I’m skimming through the songs. Definitely not Grubs or Joanna Gruesome. This is a solo project. Guitar,vocals, some drums. Very personal songs, and for sure there’s a good vibe in the songs, but I don’t fall head over heels for them. I miss the jangle and the pop hooks.
Songs For Walter: From Manchester and with an album already in their pockets. The same name album includes a bunch of songs and it’s been released on vinyl and CD and you can buy it from their Bandcamp. This is folk-pop. As you may know from the blog, I’m usually not a fan of folk-pop as it tends to be awfully boring. Songs for Walter is a bit better than that to my surprise. Laurie Hulme, the guy behind this project, crafts nice and melodious tunes, making sweet music. I couldn’t listen 5 of their songs in a row as it gets a bit too sugary, but if you were to find one of their songs on a compilation, I think it would be a delight, an actual highlight.
Seazoo: I’m listening to their newest single, “Telephone Jones”. There’s even a video for it. They’ve been showcased in a bunch of radio shows throughout the UK. They come from Wales and have released the “Ken” and “Car Deborah” EPs. It’s pop with indierock leanings, with solid songs but nothing new to say “wow”. It’s good though and enjoyable.
Prizefighter: Band from Derby, very close to Indietracks grounds. There are two songs on their bandcamp.
“There is a Light” and “Ghosts”. They date from 2014. Not sure if they have anything else new. Shambolic indierock would be my first thought. Not crazy for their songs, the A side being much much better than the B side that has this drone sound on the background that is really hard on my ears.
Maggie8: I’m very confused by this band. For sure this is not indiepop and doubt anyone would say I’m wrong by saying that. There’s a very eclectic mix of influences here. I read someone comment saying that it’s a mix of indiepop and South Asian music. I don’t see the indiepop part though. The strange thing is that this actually works. It sounds interesting and all. I’m not disliking it, and I would even argue that if they tried they could become a bona fide hipster band, and play often in Williamsburg. It has that appeal. This Leeds band formed by Mark Wright and Nivedita Pisharoty is not an anomaly at Indietracks (there’s been odd bands playing there before), but is perhaps the riskier sounding band I’ve seen them book.
So there are 5 or 6 more bands I’m not familiar with, but I’ll save them for another post. But how do you like these first bunch of bands? Anyone you don’t want to miss? Are they making you book a ticket to the UK? I won’t be going this year, but as always will miss seeing friends, which I think, is the beauty of Indietracks.
The Ryecatchers. I believe they hailed from somewhere in London. There’s not much written online sadly and it’s a bit hard to get any information from this band that was around in the late 80s, possibly between 86 to 89.
They released just one demo tape, recorded for Capitol Records. Then I find 4 songs on Youtube. “Apron Strings“, “Frozen White Rain“, “Where I’ve Already Waded” and “Flowers“. I can confirm that at least “Apron Strings” and “Flowers” appeared on that demo tape. I remember them from the time of Myspace. That’s when I first heard about them. Their cool haircuts and their obscurity were something I never forgot. I actually even thought I had already covered them on the blog, but it seems not! Well it’s never too late.
Going back to their Myspace I check that they have many more songs. But as it’s Myspace maybe half of them only play. The songs on Myspace are: “Frozen White Rain (4-track home demo)”, “Release Me (4-track home demo)”, “Don’t Even Try”, “Killing Horses”, “Butterfly Riot (4-track home demo)”, “The Worm and the Bird”, “Frozen White Rain”, “Mystery Prize”, “Where I’ve Already Waded”, “Flowers”, “Your Screaming”, “Apron Strings”, “Deeper”, “Butterfly Riot”, “I Get Confused”. The quality of the songs seem to vary. “Your Screaming” is definitely a favorite, check it out.
On one of the Youtube videos we find the lineup of the band:
Nick Evans – vocals and guitar
Jason Poland – vocals and guitar
Jim Allison – bass
Richard Deacon – drums
I actually end up finding Jason Poland’s Youtube account and there’s a solo performance, him and his guitar, possibly recorded at home in 2009, of the song “Frozen White Rain“.
The video for “Frozen White Rain” actually includes a lot of photos and press clippings. There’s a clipping written by Simon Williams were he says that “The frets clamber over each other, two guitars grating and mating like hedgehogs in Ecstasy”. What a description! He likens them to The Jesus and Mary Chain, though I think The Ryecatchers are less noisy, more jangly. He also describes them as “prime candidates for fanzine activity, all polka dots and polo necks”.
On a clipping found on their Myspace Nicholas says that he doesn’t understand the comparisons to the Jesus and Mary Chain. We also learn from that clipping that their demo included 6 tracks and was recirded un Brixton. Here Capitol Records is written Kapitol Records. We learn that at least they played twice at Portsmouth Poly, once as a support slot to Spaceman 3. That they also played at The Rock Garden in Covent Garden, The Sir George Roby and at Hype at the iconic The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town.
Of course that’s all I could find online. There’s very little. It seems they had a bit of a hype when they were around but sadly that didn’t translate into a proper record. I wonder which were the songs included in that demo. What happened to them afterwards, and if they actually released anything, perhaps on a compilation. Does anyone out there remember them?