Seems I’m going to have a very busy week ahead covering Hurricane Irma. When I lived in Florida I was lucky not to have to experience such a dangerous hurricane. I lived through Katrina and Rita, but they were quite “nice” to Florida. This time it seems it is going to be rough. Hope all my Florida friends stay safe.

The Proctors are back with a new song and it is damn glorious. “You and Me and the Sea” is right now streaming on Soundcloud. I believe this will be a new 7″ in the near future on Shelflife. The band has also uploaded another song, I just noticed, titled “Silhouettes” and even though I like the first one best, maybe because of its immediacy, this one is also very good. Wow. They had been quiet for the past year or so, but this is quite a comeback!

It has been a while since I discover a new good Swedish pop band. Well, here is Lilac from Stockholm, with their new digital EP “Sun”. Four dreampop, shoegazy songs, just out of the oven: “Daydreaming”, “Sun”, “07.07.97” and “Toucan”. Which is my favourite? Maybe “07.07.97”, it has some beautiful jangly guitars all over carrying the song. Though be sure to check out “Sun”, that even though it is an instrumental, the guitars chime and chime the way we love.

Also it has been some time since I recommended a Hong Kong band on the blog, maybe since the comeback of Fantastic Day. Today I discovered the band Foster Studio on Bandcamp and even though so far they have only one song on their profile, it is a pretty good one! The song is titled “Houston” and they share the lyrics for it if you want to sing along. Not much information about the band, only that it is a 3 piece and that they try to blend indie dance, guitar and synth pop.

Disney Tabbilos, originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, relocated to Anchorage in Alaska. That must be a first I thought, Alaskan indiepop! Under the name Slow Blink he has recorded 5 lo-fi poppy songs: “Stage 2”, “Cold Hearts of Summer”, “Sense of it All”, “The Wind Never Blows…” and “Take it Slow”. The “Momentary Bliss” EP is a bit of a ramshackling fine mess , and that’s the allure of these songs. Lo-fi in all of its honesty.

And if anyone was feeling some nostalgia for the 90s, Oklahoma City’s The Lamps bring American twee pop from that decade back to live. The band formed by Audrey, Nora and Drake have 5 songs streaming on their Bandcamp and they bring to mind to Pop American Style bands, think of The Receptionists, Sissy Bar or Holiday Flyer. And this is a first one too, first time I hear an Oklahoma indiepop band!


The world tour continues. Some important countries are still missing in this summer revision of indiepop bands from different countries. The time comes now for the Netherlands and the band Formica or was it Formica 2000 (?!)?

Indiepop bands from The Netherlands are not that common. Maybe even less common is to see an indiepop Dutch band releasing records on English labels. That was the case of Formica in the mid and late 90s.

The mystery about their name has to do with these two releases. On the first one they appear as Formica 2000 (?!). On the second they are just Formica. It made more sense the simpler name. But I’m still curious why the name and why the change?

Both of their releases were 7″ singles. The first one came out in 1996 on the fab label Spirit of ’86. This record had the very good “Johnny & Anita” on the A side and “Wire” on the B side. The catalog number was SOES 7. This label is great by the way if you are not aware of it. Bands like Pastel Collision and Modesty Blaise were part of it!

There are some credits on the back cover. The songs were recorded at Vuurland and Sandwijck. The artwork is credited to Noortje Bergmans who also played guitar and sang. Edske played bass and did backing vocals. Burt played drums. Marjolijn Hoelen played guitar and backing vocals and is also credited for the photography and the art. Tom also is credited for photography. Michel was the producer and the songs were recorded by Guus Van Der Heijden and Hans Blieb. V.D. Woude who is credited for writing the songs alongside Gregory. V.D. must be Van der. That’s a Dutch thing.

I check out Burt, he is one of the few on Discogs that has more information. His real name is Michel Van Der Woude. Strange. He is credited as Burt for drums, Michel for production but his last name for the songs. Why? I notice he has been involved in many bands like International Language (who put out the “Rodney’s English Disco” song that Helen Love would later cover), Avengers, Beatle Hans & The Paisley Perverts, Dangerous Pyjamas, Ron & The Splinters, Sweet Faces, The Daxls, The Kliek and even The Pooh Sticks! Even more amazing I see that he had produced the most brilliant single perhaps to come out from The Netherlands, the “Go Eliza” 7″ by The Nightblooms!!

Then why not check out who Gregory is? Here is a big surprise. It is Steve Gregory, co-founder of the classic label Fierce Recordings. Also he had been involved in The Pooh Sticks, Crash Action Winners and What To Wear as a musician. How did this connection happen, Michel Van Der Woude, Steve Gregory and The Pooh Sticks?

Two years after, in 1998, Formica was to release their second 7″ on Damaged Goods (catalog DAMGOOD 147). This time there were four songs, two on each side. On the A side there was “No Doubt About It” and “Look At Your Game, Boy” while on the B side “Cross My Mind” and “Encore”. I notice now that there are new names on the credits. Hoelen, Van Der Woude and Bergmans are already familiar names but I see that the bassist is new. The first two songs has Hard Cor playing bass, while “Cross My Mind” had Ron and “Encore” had Hanneke. Hard Cor is the alias of Cor Van Ingen, a bassist from Utrecht who had been in bands like Implosions, Speed 78 and more.

The artwork is credited to the band and someone named Yves. The photography on the sleeve was taken by Kathalijne Van Zutphen and the producer was The Inflatable Pill. The songs were recorded by Hans Blieb and Sylvia Vermeulen, who was a producer and engineer at Studio Moskou in Utrecht. Does this confirm my suspicion that Formica hailed from Utrecht?

Utrecht is the capital and most populous city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation and is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 330,772 in 2017. Utrecht’s ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It lost the status of prince-bishopric but remains the main religious centre in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was surpassed by Amsterdam as the country’s cultural centre and most populous city. Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university in the Netherlands, as well as several other institutions of higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport. It has the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. 

I look for the rest of the members, I know quite a bit about the bands Michel Van Der Woude was involved with, but what about Noortje or Marjolijn? I find a Noortje Bergmans that is involved with Greenpeace who lives now in Switzerland. Is she the same person as the one in Formica? I can’t be sure. I do think I stumble upon the right Marjolijn, a LinkedIn profile comes up, she is a professional photographer. That makes sense, she was took the photographs for the records.  Then I find her website. This must be her! There is no email though, but a contact form. I never liked those. But maybe it is the only way to find out more about Formica. I’ll give it a try.

I couldn’t find much more about Formica. Strange. They didn’t participate on any compilations? That’s odd. In the 90s there were so many indiepop compilations!! No other releases but the 7″s. Why not an album? Why did they call it a day? Did they play live much? And did they make more music under other names? There’s nothing written about them on the web. No blog posts. Not even in The Netherlands are they remembered or what?


Formica – Johnny & Anita

3 Responses to “:: Formica”

Hugh Pooh Stick ran the Spirit of 86 label. Michel Van Der Woude also played on the Pooh Sticks records and Steve Gregory was in a relationship with one of the Nightblooms girls.

September 7th, 2017

i think one of them worked at Da Capo Records in Utrecht, one of the greatest record shops ever.

September 8th, 2017

Wow! You’ve really done your homework!

September 8th, 2017