Hey indiepoppers! Now back from 9 days abroad, vacations in Peru, Lima and the Amazon jungle, Iquitos and Nauta, the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Lots of good food, hanging out with friends and showing my girlfriend my hometown. It was really good but now back to reality, work and the US with its new government. What should one feel in this situation?
Not easy, isn’t it? But Cloudberry is very much alive with new releases around the corner. So that’s what I’m going to be doing the next few months. And I’m very excited about that! Have you heard already Some Other Day? And pre-ordered the CD? You don’t want to miss this album!
What news happened while I was away? Will have to catch up. The only news worth mentioning that I have is the release of a a compilation album on a new Peruvian label named Impermeable Records. This compilation is titled CD16 and is kind of a tribute to the C86 tape. It celebrates 20 years of the release of the mythical tape and includes 22 tracks from all over the world.
I actually got a copy already of the CD and started listening to it today. You can order it from the label Bandcamp and also stream the compilation for free.
Among the bands included we find two Cloudberry friends like Pale Spectres or Stephen’s Shore. Also there are bands I have championed in the blog like The Bv’s, Whalo, Eva & John and Yumi Yumi Hip Hop. And of course there are a bunch of bands I’ve never heard before that I need to check out.
Also would like to mention that while in Peru I had the chance to see some bands at the Paraíso Vacío festival that happened last Saturday. Sadly I had a flight very early on Sunday so couldn’t stay late and had to leave halfway through the Dan Dan Dero set. They were really good performing the three songs I had the chance to listen, as good as the last time I saw them a year or so ago. The other band I enjoyed was Serto Mercurio, who looked like very young school boys wearing shorts (not the usual look for a shoegazy bands) and who didn’t sound much as the album I raved on the blog years ago. But in due honesty, their last song though was brilliant.
It seems like I keep checking out what’s left on the WOOSH label that hasn’t yet been dug on the blog. Esmerelda’s Kite appeared on one of their flexis and that’s the one I own of their two proper releases.
They appeared first in a flexi on the Sunshine label in 1988. This was the only release on this label as far as I know. On this flexi they appeared along the band The Williams who I interviewed years ago. When I asked The Williams about this flexi they told me:
++ You released a split flexi with Esmerelda’s Kite that came with the Shoot The Tulips zine. I read this was the best selling of them, 800 copies. It even got airplay by John Peel! Was that the biggest highlight of The Williams? How did you end up on this flexi?
The flexi was a good thing – recorded on the strangest 4-track recorder in our bedroom – I remember that I’d met Jo in Leeds- she sold me her fanzine and introduced me to pale saints – we hit it off and discussed the possibility of doing a joint flexi together. Suffice to say my band was going on it – so in some ways it was a vanity press sort of thing. She knew a band from Leeds called Esmerelda’s Kite – of whom the singer would go on to become The Gentle Despite who released some stuff on Sarah records. I think it cost a bit – but we made it back from the sales – she sold out and so did I – it was bizarre – I’ve still got a couple left but generally that flexi is out there.
Jo hated the fact that I called the label Sunshine [in retrospect she was right] and when we got it back from the manufacturers it had three tracks as opposed to the two listed – so it was even better value for money. The John Peel thing was a highlight – Jo rang and said he was going to play the flexi – and we thought he’d play Esmerelda’s Kite – it sounded more garage etc. but we had forgotten that he had a son named William. I remember him introducing it and Paul and I just trying to tape it – it was weird to hear it on the radio. After that it got picked up by some other European stations and even ended up in some charts. Having John Peel play your record means he had to listen to it – make a decision and programme it – it was John Peel do you know what I mean – I listened to him every night. Still he never gave us a session – despite the hundred of tapes we gave him.
From that answer we get to know a couple interesting facts about Esmerelda’s Kite. They were from Leeds and they were to become Gentle Despite. We also know that Sunshine was a label run by The Williams.
The song that is credited on the flexi to Esmerelda’s Kite is “Roundabout” but there is a third song on the flexi, after The Williams’ “I Know I’m Nothing Special To You”, that is attributed to Esmerelda’s Kite and seems to be called “A Whirl.”
The next year, 1989, they were to release a red flexi with the Woosh label (WOOSH 006). This time they were to share the record with The Groove Farm. Esmerelda’s Kite contributed “Vampire Girl”. This flexi came along the fanzine Woosh No.3 that also came with another flexi by The Pooh Sticks.
“Vampire Girl” was also to appear on the “Ten Little Records” compilation that Jigsaw Records released in 2014 collecting most of the songs that Woosh put out on those classic flexis in the 80s.
Where else to dig? Well we do know the connection with Gentle Despite and so the Popkiss book written and researched masterfully by Michael White ends up being a good source of information. From it we know that it was Simon Westwood from Gentle Despite the one that was on Esmerelda’s Kite. Don’t know the rest of the band members but at least we know one now.
The book mentions Esmerelda’s Kite just twice:
Paul Gorton and Simon Westwood had been friends in their native Leeds since the age of twelve, playing together in a succession of teenage bands that followed the trajectory of 1960s rock from speed-fueled garage-punk (The Cavemen) to acid damaged psychedelia (The Emptyhearts). Westwood had been the drummer in both groups, but stepped out front to become a singer after parting company with Gorton and joining a “knockaround joke” endeavour named Esmerelda’s Kite.
Wadd and Haynes had been encouraging Westwood about the Esmerelda’s Kite demos, so they were familiar with his name when he sent them the first trial recordings of Gentle Despite.
Sadly early in 2015 Simon Westwood passed away.
I wonder though who else was in Esmerelda’s Kite and about those demos they used to send to Sarah. How many did they record? There’s really not much more on the web, but I wonder if anyone knows more about them?