16
May

Thanks a lot to Kieran Eaton for doing this interview! I wrote about the Dublin band Premonition a long time ago hoping to learn more about them. Luckily a month or so ago Kieran got in touch and was keen to answer all my questions about the band. If you have never heard them before, now it is a good chance to discover them, especially with Kieran’s thoughtful and detailed answers! It makes the interview very special!

++ Hi Kieran! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! How are you? Are you still based in Dublin?

You’re welcome!! How are you? I’m as fine as can be at my age, thanks. No, I’m now based in the picturesque seaside town of Dungarvan, County Waterford in the South East of Ireland.

++ Still making music?

I am. I was the bass player in Premonition. I also played flute in the middle of one song which involved some very deft manoeuvres from me and our roadie! I still play both regularly and also a lot of saxophone; mainly tenor with a little soprano and alto when the mood takes me!

++ I know so little about Premonition, there’s very little on the web as well. So let’s start from the beginning. What were your first musical memories, what sort of music was played at home while growing up?

That’s a funny one. A very eclectic mixture. My earliest memories are of my mother playing me records on an old mono record player, the ones that had an arm that held the record above the deck and somehow dropped it just in time for the stylus to land. She played me records by The Dubliners, Percy French and Bing Crosby. My Godfather lived next door and he was in his early 20’s at the time. I used to visit him regularly and he played me records which I now know to have mainly been The Beatles. My father didn’t play any instruments but was a huge opera fan and would often play us light opera records. In later years he traveled all over the world to attend operas. My mother played some violin and piano in her school years, but not much really. They both however loved to support the arts and so as children we were regularly brought to theatre performances so I guess it was an easy transition for us to become performers. And they were very supportive of us all learning music too so we really were very lucky. I have three brothers and a sister. My sister and eldest brother sing in our national philharmonic choir. The middle brother is a lighting technician for our national tv station and also works in stage production outside of his full time job. And Gerard who drummed with Premonition still plays but I’ll expand on that in the later question.

++ What was your first instrument?

Piano. Then tin whistle. Then recorders, flute, bass guitar and saxophone in that order.

++ Then were you involved with any bands before being in Premonition? Who were Loudness of Whispers?

No. I was in a school orchestra and a group that performed medieval music before Premonition but no prior rock n roll band.

I have no idea!! We initially called ourselves Loudest of Whispers and played out first gig under that name. But then we discovered that there was another band called Too Loud To Whisper so we changed the name to Premonition.

++ How did Premonition start as a band? How did you all know each other?

The original drummer, Jimmy, and original guitarist, Tim, lived a couple of doors from each other. They started the band. Neither of them could play; they were pretty much learning their instruments by ear in a garage. Tim played flute in the school orchestra that I was in. For some reason we didn’t get on together in school probably because both Tim and Jimmy were a year behind me in school so we didn’t mix in the same circles. After I finished school I started teaching flute in my school the following term. One day I arrived early and Tim was outside waiting for someone. We got chatting. He told me that he was starting a band and needed a bass player. I told him that I was planning to get a bass and that was it, I was in. For months I’d try to learn on the bottom four strings of Tim’s guitar and he would borrow his sister’s acoustic while I saved up for a bass. Tim and I were beginning to hang out in the Mod scene in Dublin at the time. I actually ended up buying my first Vespa before the bass!! Everyone was cool with that though, priorities are priorities and we all agreed that a scooter was way more important than a bass. We were useless anyway so I didn’t exactly delay the progress of the band. We still had no one to sing though. My younger brother Gerard by now had started to learn drums. Through conversation I heard from Ger that one of his classmates played guitar and both wrote and sang songs. So a small bit of arranging later and John came to the garage with his guitar and a songbook in hand. The book was the songs from the album “All Mod Cons” by The Jam. The garage, by the way, was the craziest place to be. Tim’s father owned a small grocery shop at the front of their house. They kept extra stock in the garage which was safeguarded by a German Shepherd who was only put out when we’d arrive to rehearse. It was almost impossible to find a spot to stand without getting covered with dog shit!! Anyway, John auditioned and impressed us all so much with his ability to play and sing simultaneously that he was accepted immediately. That’s no exaggeration; neither Tim nor I could play and sing at the same time!!

Well as you can see already, we all went to the same school, Synge Street school, the one used as a basis and location for a recent movie “Sing Street” which tells the story of classmates forming a band. Only for the fact that the movie’s band are still in school but we weren’t it could nearly have been about us!!

After a couple of years Jimmy quit the band. That’s when Ger came in; to replace him on drums. A year or so later Tim quit. He was replaced by Kevin, a classmate of mine who I’ve been friends with since we were two years old. So the final line up was Ger and his classmate John and me and my classmate Kevin.

++ Who came up with the name? What’s the story behind it?

Jimmy. No real story. Once we heard there was another band of almost the same name we decided to change. After rehearsal one night we were sitting around throwing out names and Jimmy, out of the blue, said Premonition. That was it straight away, we all said yes.

++ How was Dublin back then? What were the places were you hang out? Where were the venues to catch the bands you liked?

Rough enough. Mid recession so high unemployment and generally not the best atmosphere about. Daytimes were spent hanging out with other Mods in the city centre. For some reason Mods weren’t well accepted in city pubs or clubs so we didn’t hang out there at night. There was no point, we would be refused entry almost everywhere. But they didn’t cater for our music interests either so we didn’t bother much with city nightlife. We rehearsed several nights a week in the garage and usually headed to a local pub for a beer afterwards.

There were very few venues that catered for up and coming bands. The only two really were the Baggot Inn and The Underground, a tiny pub in a basement. The Baggot was a cool place though; everyone wanted to play there. The drawback was that the band had to pay to play there. They had an in house pa and sound engineer and we would have to pay up front for a slot there and hope to make the money back on ticket sales which of course we never did. That’s why so many Irish bands disappeared We couldn’t afford rehearsal rooms and gig slots never mind recording costs. We saved for months to raise the £120 we needed for our first demo. We also had to cover the costs of posters to advertise. By the time we were gigging properly as such three of us were also holding down full time day jobs. The Baggot was a place that was occasionally used by international artists to “try out” new material on an always surprised audience. Those kind of acts were never advertised as the venue probably only held about 100 people so there would be bedlam if there was advanced warning. The biggest artist I can think of who played the Baggot to a stunned audience was David Bowie. I wasn’t there for that unfortunately. Bigger bands like The Blades had a slightly bigger venue called the TV Club but it had closed its doors long before we began gigging.

There wasn’t much in the line of international acts either. We had a showjumping arena called the RDS and Shane Castle. I saw Queen at Slane and Michael Jackson at the RDS so I’m talking about that level of international. Both venues are still in existence and both still run concerts occasionally but we also have two stadia that can hold up to 80,000 concert goers and one 18,000 capacity indoor venue now too. Back then though the majority of acts avoided Ireland because of the “troubles” in the North of Ireland. There are six counties in the North that are still under British rule. Back then there was a lot of terrorist activity up there, regular bombings and shootings. We have peace now, both sides eventually came to a power sharing agreement which was strongly backed by the Clinton administration at the time. We reckon though that artists thought that the whole county was at war and gave us a wide berth.

++ On the website Irish Rocks it mentions that you were influenced by The Blades. What other bands would you say were influences in the band?

The Beatles. And all of the Mod bands from England in the 60’s, The Kinks, The Small Faces. Also the post punk Mod revival and new wave Brit pop of the time, The Jam, Elvis Costello, The Housemartins, The Smiths, Julian Cope, Billy Bragg.

++ You won the Dublin Millenium Battle of the Bands in 1988. How was that experience? 

Unbelievable. There were over 80 entrants. We thought we didn’t stand a chance. The two guys who ran the event, Steady Eddie and Pete the Roz, ordinary guys who loved new Irish music, persuaded us to enter. I think they probably persuaded us all to enter!! Looking back on it now we were so lucky to win. We actually got a vinyl release. Just before cd took over. We’d never have had one otherwise.

++ Were there any bands that you liked in the contest?

Yes but I couldn’t tell you any of their names at this stage!! The competition final was tough tough, the other two bands were excellent. We really were stunned when we were announced as the winners.

++ Thanks to winning this contest you got to record a single for EMI at Sun Studios. How did that go? Was it a straightforward recording? How was working with EMI?

It went very well. Sun studios was in Dublin, not the Presley one!! We had done quite a few demo sessions by then so we were very familiar with studio practices.

I think there was a limit set on the amount of hours available to make the recording but we finished it with plenty of time left over. We were well rehearsed. We would prepare by each recording our lines individually on an old cassette recorder and listening back to make sure it was all perfect so by the time we’d get to the studio it would be all systems go.

EMI Ireland was run by Rory Cowan, a hilarious character. I did all of the dealings with him on behalf of the band. He was very supportive and pushed the record as best he could. He got us airtime on national radio too, a thing that evaded most bands at our level. After EMI closed its Irish branch I worked with Rory again with a different band. He had set himself up doing PR for various acts. He is now a cast member and international star of an Irish TV comedy series called Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

++ The songs recorded for this single were “The Streets are Paved With Lead” and “Eye Like Sin”. If you don’t mind, would you care telling me the story behind both of these songs?

No problem at all. The Streets Are Paved With Lead is a song about the mass emigration of Irish people to London during the recession of the 80’s. London was of course experiencing a similar recession so many of our emigrants found themselves just as unemployed there as they were here. The Lead in the title was to counter the lyrics of an old song in which London’s streets were said to be paved with gold. John wrote both songs. I always liked the line about the Liffey. The Liffey is a river that Dublin is built on. Back then there was so much pollution that the Liffey stank like hell. Dublin is also a major port so the river is affected by the tide. When the tide went out the smell from the Liffey was so bad you could smell it all over the city centre. John’s reference is to say that leaving Dublin to be unemployed in London isn’t such a good idea. So many found themselves living in worse poverty in London than they had in Dublin. So “the scent of the Liffey is 10 times nicer than the stench of the Thames” basically means your shit life here is way better than your shit life there.

Eyes Like Sin is pretty much a song about an ex girlfriend of John’s. she broke off with him and he was still in love with her. He had a few one night stands with her over the following years. Through that he hoped the relationship would revive but she had no intention of that happening. That’s the basis of the song. Her willingness for occasional love action only prolonged his love but he knew deep inside that each time he failed to resist her he was setting himself up for more emotional hurt.

++ The record was produced by the band and Pat Dunne. How was the relationship with him and what did he add to the sound of the band?

We had a good relationship with him. He was easy to work with. I can’t say that he added much to the sound, we were very sure of what we wanted before we went in. But his knowledge of the studio was superb and he made the whole recording session very easy for us. He seemed to like what we were doing too so that really put us at ease.

++ And how did the creative process work for the band?

Simple really. At first John was the only songwriter among us. Then Ger started to learn guitar and write too. Whoever came up with the song would come to rehearsal and play whatever they had so far just with rhythm guitar. We’d all just join in and come up with our respective lines ourselves. And we’d keep going until we were all happy with the finished song. There was never any “you play this” we all just did our own thing.

++ Was there interest by any other labels after the release of the single?

No. 😞

++ I was just listening again to the A side, “The Streets are Paved with Lead”, what a fantastic song! It makes me wonder how come you didn’t release any more records?

Thanks for the compliment!! The simple answer is money, or lack thereof.

++ But did you record more songs? Perhaps there were demo tapes that you used to sell at gigs?

Absolutely. We had several demo tapes. And after the single release had come and gone there was talk that bands were beginning to get signed from demos alone without the traditional rout off trying to attract a+r people to gigs that they would never come to. So we got our hands on a Tascam portastudio and set into just recording so there are songs recorded but heard by nobody but us.

We only ever sold one tape recording that was made through the mixing desk at the Baggot. A 40 minute live set. We sold it to friends and family and used the cash to make our first demo!

++ Speaking of gigs, did you play many? What were the best ones you remember? And where was the farthest you played from home?

Yes, we played loads. I think the best ones ever were the launch night for our single, the night we won in Dublin and another competition we won in a town called Carlow about 50 miles from Dublin. My ex-wife is from Carlow and she saw it advertised in a local paper. The prize man net by today’s standards was small, about $1,000 but it was worth a lot more in 1986. It funded another recording session.

We never travelled overseas and Ireland isn’t that big so I guess about 150 miles. We were in Cork a couple of times and Sligo once. Dublin is conveniently situated about half way up the east coast of Ireland. Cork is about midway along the south coast and Sligo on the Northwest coast.

++ Were there any bad gigs that you wish not to remember?

There’s one that springs to mind. We were booked to open for a better known band from Dublin called A House. The gig was in Cork city. We hadn’t a car between us. I was the only one with transport but we wouldn’t all fit on the Vespa so off we went on the train, guitars and gig bags in hand. Got to Cork and thought we’d walk in from the station as we’d not a lot of money. Eventually arrived exhausted at the venue. A House were sound checking so we waited our turn. Eventually their manager came to us and told us that there was another opening act booked by the venue and we were cancelled. By the time he told us we’d missed the last train home by only minutes. Kindly (I write with much sarcasm) he said we could stay for the gig and wouldn’t charge us entry fee!! I’m a seriously calm guy but if there was ever a time I felt like throwing a punch at someone it was then. We hung around for a while but we were so pissed off we didn’t enjoy a second of it. We ended up wandering the streets trying to find somewhere to sleep rough. We were such a bunch of naive fools that we put no forward planning in place. Nowhere to stay and equipment we couldn’t sleep in a doorway with. So off we strolled very slowly towards the train station. Along the way we found a late night pizza place which was open till 4.00 according to the neon sign. Only a small place so they weren’t too impressed to see us coming with all our gear. That experience is still remembered with hilarity; in fact I recently stayed in a hotel in Cork at a friend’s stag weekend and sent out a photo of the view to the Premonition lads and all came back with the same comments. It won’t sound as funny to you but try to imagine the group disappointment at the time coupled with the realisation that we were completely unprepared for the occasion. Into the pizza shop we went. Gerard is strictly vegetarian so ordered a plain pizza with extra cheese. Back then there wasn’t much available for vegetarians, especially ones who don’t like vegetables!! Out came the orders only for us to discover that this lot had never heard of mozzarella. Gerard’s pizza was thick with melted cheddar with a big pool of melted cheddar oil in the middle. Simple as that. At the time, probably because of the whole scenario, that was the funniest thing we had seen all day. Anyway, we hung around like a bad smell until they threw us out at about 4 am and wandered off towards the train station. We reckoned at that stage it would be the safest place to sleep in the waiting area. That proved to be the best decision because as it happened the first train of the day to Dublin was already on the platform and the staff kindly let us board so that we could sleep safely with our gear. We got to Dublin in time for me and Kevin to get to work on time. That was the worst gig we didn’t play.

++ And what about the press? Did you get much attention from them?

Yes, we did get good press. Again at the time it was difficult to even get a mention in the press because there was very little written about new and unknown bands. We got a small amount of mention in national press but every mention no matter how small was good. Always positive, we never got a bad review.

++ You did record a Fanning Session, and the blog Fanning Sessions Archive has two songs from that session. Were there more songs recorded at this session?

I can’t remember to be honest. I can only presume that there were only two songs recorded that time, otherwise more would be on the site. That was our second session though, there was a previous session that produced three songs but that doesn’t seem to be on the archive site.

++ And how was that, recording a session for Dave Fanning? That must have been important, a true highlight for the band?

Yes it was great to get to do it. Both sessions were very exciting. Fanning is famed for launching U2 so everyone wanted a session for his show. It took quite a bit of hustling to land the first session. I don’t remember how we got a second but to get to even record one in the studios of the only national radio station that aired new music was a fantastic experience. Then to hear the songs on air afterwards was amazing, it’s very encouraging to get experiences like that.

++ Then when and why did the band split? What did you all do afterwards? Music?

We never really split. We decided that constant rehearsal for few gigs and no nothing to come from the hard work wasn’t the way to go. Bands were beginning to be reported as getting recording contracts from demos alone so we chose that route. We borrowed a tascam portastudio from someone and recorded for a while. Ger was very interested in pursuing that option and invested in a bigger recording unit and built a small soundproof studio behind our parents house. But by the time he mastered the art of using it we had pretty much fizzled out.

Kevin continued to work in his job for a number of years. He eventually took a voluntary redundancy opportunity and now works as a very successful and award winning photographer. John continued to work in the civil service where he remains today. Ger continued recording and released material with his next band Las Vegas Basement. Well worth checking them out on bandcamp. I recorded some brass and woodwind parts along with my partner Pauline, a superb trumpet player. He also released some retro 80’s style material with another band, Les Marionettes and I played some more sax for him then. He has played with some of Ireland’s leading musicians. Drums with Jack L, keyboards with Mundy and Duke Special. He has a super collection of vintage equipment; some beautiful 1960’s guitars, a 1963 Fender Jazzmaster, a 65 Vox teardrop 12 string, a Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano to name but a few. He continues to play and work as a part time hairdresser.

I stayed in the civil servic. I’ve worked there for over 30 years. I’m currently on long term sick leave due to a neurological muscular condition that I have developed. But I’ve never stopped playing. I still play bass; my four string Precision and 5 string custom made fretless are the tools of my trade. I also play soprano, alto and tenor saxophones and concert flute. I play in several cover bands, usually on a “on call” basis. My favourite bands though are a local ska outfit that also includes my partner on trumpet and a 3 pierce Mod/New Wave band in which I’m the lead vocalist and bassist. I play in the Waterford Youth Orchestra too which keeps my classical interests up to speed and I teach all of my instruments privately.

I’ve done some nice gigs with all of the ska greats from the late 70’s revival. Supported Madness, Bad Manners, The Beat, The Selecter. I’ve played on stage with members of The Specials, the Best and the wonderful Rhoda Dakar. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t joined Premonition.

++ And these days, are you all still in touch? Will there be ever be a chance for a reunion?

Yes, we’re all in touch. Facebook is a great tool for that. I meet Kevin regularly, after all we’ve been close friends now for 49 years! I don’t see John much but that’s where social media shines. And of course I still see a Ger, we’re still brothers!! As for a reunion? Maybe, we never officially split so anything us possible.

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies do you enjoy having?

Me? Well before my illness I enjoyed lots of things. I spent a few years in my youth on the national kayak slalom squad and still paddle for leisure occasionally. I’ve also run six marathons and completed a full Ironman triathlon. I can still cycle a little despite the pain it causes and still swim occasionally. Again, despite the condition I can still swim up to two miles. I tend to avoid it though because it leaves me having to recover for a few days regardless of distance of distance covered.

I’m also a dedicated Mod since my teens. I still own and ride a 1968 Lambretta scooter which is currently being given a complete restoration by a friend who shares the same passion and whose business is only the import and restoration of classic Italian scooters.

++ Never been to Dublin, or to Ireland, so was wondering what would you recommend doing and checking out, what are the sights one shouldn’t miss, or the food one has to try?

Go to the Guinness exhibition centre. Go to St. Michan’s church where the keyboard used by Handel when he composed The Messiah is on display. There you also get brought to the crypts where bodies haven’t decomposed due to a constant temperature. You even get to touch one of them!! Christ Church cathedral is also with a visit. If you’re lucky one of the organists will be practicing. They have one of the biggest and oldest pipe organs in the country there and the sound from it is amazing. There’s also a rock n roll centre that celebrates our many international contemporary artists.

++ One last question, looking back to those years, what would you say was the biggest highlight for Premonition?

Just doing it. We had great fun and the experience was always positive and it really was a great thing to do.

++ Let’s wrap it here,  thanks again for the interview, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Not much to add really. I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to go down memory lane in detail, thanks so much for asking me. But if any of your readers are doing or thinking if doing the same thing, do it!! The financial and fame side of success isn’t important really, at least not to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am without having this experience. And I wouldn’t like to be anyone else!!

Thanks again. It’s off to a two day audience with a James Galway, the world’s greatest flautist with me now. I’ve watched him teach before. He’s an amazing musician whose advice applies to all players of all instruments so I’m looking forward to learning more about the most wonderful language in the universe, music.

So, it’s goodbye from me for now, or as we say over here in our native tongue, slán. (Pronounced slawn)

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Premonition – All the Streets are Paved with Lead

15
May

Still awaiting for news for the Pale Spectres 7″. Taking forever. I’ve sent a couple of emails today to pester the pressing plant to tell me what’s going on. The estimated shipping date is past due and I can’t really wait any longer. It has taken forever for this record and I really need it NOW!

On the other hand I already have an interview prepared to publish for tomorrow, which is a good thing, as interviews are a becoming rare these days on the blog, not because of me, I keep writing questions and questions, but sadly bands are not answering them. Which is a shame. Anyhow, there have been some interesting news during the past few days that I want to share with you, at least we can keep up to date with indiepop news.

Our friends The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are back and they have just shared the song “Anymore” on their Soundcloud. This song is taken from their upcoming July 14th album titled “The Echo of Pleasure”. This is their 4th album (damn, how time passes!) and will be released on their own label Painbow Records.

Perhaps the news that made me most excited the past weekend was  that “Right Here”, the documentary about The Go-Betweens, has been announced to debut at this year’s Sydney Film Festival (June 15-16). You can watch the trailer on Youtube and I just got the chills by watching that. I can’t imagine how I will feel when watching the documentary. The only problem for all of us, far away from Australia, is that we have no clue when will this be available for us to watch it. It has been announced that it will also be available this year on Australian TV channel ABC sometime later this year.

Speaking of movies, the Morrissey biopic “England is Mine” has been announced to premiere on July 2nd at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I couldn’t find a trailer for it but I found some video of Jack Lowden, who plays Morrissey, talking about it.

The Hepburns, one of my favourite bands, have a new free download song on their Bandcamp. The song is titled “Confusin’ Myself with Rock ‘n Roll“. It is a cover version of a song by Norwegian artist Frode Fivel.

The Lotus Eaters are re-issuing their classic album “No Sense of Sin”. The album includes an alternative mix of “You Fill Me With Need” and also accompanying it comes a free 7″ with the songs “It Hurts” and “You Don’t Need Someone New”. And by the looks on the photos, they release looks stunning! The record is being released by the label Vinyl 180 and you can pre-order it here as it will come out on June 30th. And so I just ordered it. 20 pounds with the shipping costs to the US.

And lastly, remember I talked about Paris Popfest some time ago? Well they have finally announced their lineup! The festival is taking place during two days in Septemeber, on Friday 22nd at L’Espace B and Saturday 23rd at Le Hasard Ludique. If you want to check out more information about the festival check out their Facebook page. There is only one unknown band for me in the lineup, Parenthesisdotdotdot, that I will check out now. The rest of the lineup so far include The Luxembourg Signal, White Town, Spearmint, Papa Topo, The Catenary Wires and Mehdi Zannad ft. Dorian Pimpernel. True, I’m not too familiar with the last band, but Mehdi was Fugu who released on Sugarfrost. At least, I know his band from back in the day. Maybe I should check what he has been putting out lately.

It is a strong lineup for their first festival. Would be good to know who is the surprise guest. I don’t know if it is worth for me to travel to France this time though, I’ve seen 90% of the bands. I need to give it some thought. But if you haven’t seen Spearmint or Papa Topo yet, believe me, those two bands for sure know how to put a good show! And they have fantastic footstompers of songs!

Okay I’m at Parenthesisdotdotdot website checking the music. It is a one-man band from London that has lived before in Norway and Ipswich. Simple electronic pop, I listen firstly to “The Run Out Groove” and I don’t like it much. I skipped the first song on the list as it is a remix, I prefer avoiding remixes, never been a fan. “Sixteen Weeks” sounds much better. I may give it another chance. Let’s listen to a third song. I choose “Parennie” which is the one with more plays on the list. Mmm, it’s alright. But not my kind of music.

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St Ives is a seaside town, civil parish and port in Cornwall. The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis, and the town is now primarily a popular seaside resort.

On Another Sunny Day’s reissue of “London Weekend” on Cherry Red (the original is the Sarah ones, you all know that), there were 6 extra recordings. A couple of them are duly credited to OMD (“Genetic Engineering”) and the Bee Gees (“Kilburn Towers”). There’s another cover though at least, “The Boy from St. Ives”, which is the 18th track on the aforementioned CD.

I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for the internet and digging here and there. This recording by Another Sunny Day comes actually from some early demos by the band. On Discogs an unofficial Another Sunny Day tape bootleg, released by the curiously named Baby Panda in 1991, includes this cover alongside “Eternal”, “Her Friend”, “I Guess I’m the One Who’s To Blame”, “I Want You”, “It’s OK if you Don’t Want Me” and “What’s Wrong”.

Through a forum I found out that “The Boy From St Ives” was actually a cover of The Rubbish Men, who as Harvey Williams from Another Sunny Day, also hailed from Cornwall. I stumbled upon this piece of information all of sudden. I think I was researching some other indiepop band at the time. In any case, I decided that one day I had to find out more about The Rubbish Men. Maybe, just maybe, I could find more information about them.

I wasn’t the first to go down this track. The blog Adding Machine starts investigating about the connection of the song, Another Sunny Day and The Choughs. The Choughs? Who? He posts both versions of the songs, the Another Sunny Day one (which he calls the best song ever by ASD!), and The Choughs. After closely listening to The Choughs version, I can be sure it is the same recording as The Rubbish Men’s I had listened before. But were they The Choughs or The Rubbish Men? Or maybe they just changed names at some point?

This blog wonders about if they were local heroes, or if Harvey had been in the band. He has no answers. There are no comments. And both of these posts were written in 2013. I guess no one cared to shed some light on this mystery.

Youtube will come to my rescue. I could find “The Boy from St. Ives” and there is a little info in the description area. We know that this song is a demo dating from 1986. We also get to know the band members, Brendan O’Casey, Jonathan Jago, Rick Williams and David Clive. And that’s not all! There are more The Rubbish Men recordings on Youtube!

I find another cool sounding song from a home demo from around 1987 titled “The Woolworth Tree“. Another one from 1986 titled “Moored“, and another one titled “Clocks and Ghosts” taken from a rehearsal tape.

And that’s not all! To my surprise there are 40 minutes of a live performance at the legendary Tropic Club in Bristol! Wow! And it sounds magnificent! The gig dates from November 13, 1986. I learn some more song names from their repertoire like “Wishing Well”.

Don’t know what happened to The Rubbish Men. I could find that Jonathan Jago went to a hardcore band named Dog Bite and that’s about it. Then for Brendan O’Casey and Rick Williams I could find a photo of them on a tumblr titled Two Punks and a Tandem. Not sure how to link directly to the photo, but if you scroll down a bit you’ll probably find it. Both guys are posing with other friends at the legendary venue the Millhouse.

I couldn’t find much more on the web. Maybe some of you remember them? Maybe there were more recordings? What I’ve heard sounds good to my ears. Especially the 1986 songs and the live gig. I wold definitely want to know more, like who were The Choughs? and for sure help that blog, Adding Machine, and find out what was their connection with Another Sunny Day?!

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Listen
The Rubbish Men – The Boy From St. Ives

10
May

When time is on your side, you shouldn’t waste it. Is investigating indiepop a waste of time? It is one of my favourite hobbies, and while I wait for the Champions League semifinals to start in 45 minutes I can explore some new music I found on the internet. It is not easy though, it takes me some days to find a handful of bands worth recommending. I save their pages as soon as I find them so I don’t forget. A bit of disciple is necessary.

I have an interview to write to, for the blog. I’ve written a few lately but I haven’t got the band’s answers. Only Resque were quick enough to answer theirs and that one came out really nice. I wish bands in general were excited and quick enough to give me their replies. I know, I ask a lot of questions. They are long interviews. But 5 questions wouldn’t tell the story of the band. Especially of the bands I interview who have almost no information about them on the web.

Las Kasettes: this fantastic Pamplona band released two 7″s that I duly ordered when they come out on their hometown’s premier indiepop label Chin Chin Records. Seems that Chin Chin is closing shop though and that was truly sad news for me, as I was a big fan of theirs. Their design and their taste was immaculate when it comes to P!O!P! music. Las Kasettes have found a new home at KOTJ Records from Spain as well and they have just released their debut album, an LP titled “Bajo el Sol” and you can stream it on their Bandcamp. The band is formed by Edurne and Maier and the whole album is a parade of cover versions of different bands including The Beach Boys, Girls at Our Best or The Clovers.

Río Arga: another Spanish band on another Spanish label. 6 songs available to stream on Bandcamp and also released on tape (ugh tapes…) by Mondo Canapé Records, the same ones who released the wonderful Whalo. The label is based in Alicante and the band, I believe, hail from Pamplona. The band is formed by Txema, Alex, Nico and Laura and this is a really promising debut. I look forward to their next effort already! (and hope they release these 6 songs as a CDR at least)

Fazerdaze: I’ve heard many good things about this band, I see their record on my Instagram feed and also on my Facebook one. My friends seem to love this Auckland, New Zealand, band. Definitely being released in legendary Flying Nun Records gives the band important credentials. So I stream the songs from their debut album “Morningside” from their Bandcamp and I’m not impressed, it doesn’t have all the pop moments I’d like! But there is one song that I think shines over the rest, a song that is such a hit, a wonderful song, and that is why I recommend this record. Just for the one song. It is titled “Lucky Girl” and it is a rush of infectious melodies that I can’t get out of my head.

Brightener: is the solo project of Palm Springs, California, Will Sturgeon. He has a new album that was recorded between 2015 and 2017 and is  titled “Headroom”. It is a short one, 8 songs, but aren’t they nice? Soft jangle pop, performed with elegance, and available not only on Bandcamp streaming but on CD digipack. Just $8. There are some very good moments in the album like the songs “Filters II” or “Help U Better Then” where I can hear so many classic American indiepop bands from the 90s and early 00s.

Kidsmoke: here’s another one for my Indietracks organizers, another one that they missed. This band from Wrexham claims to be inspired by The Smiths and some other not so good bands like Wild Nothing or Real Estate. In any case, their songs sound fine to my ears and that’s what matters. Their last song is titled “And Mine Alone” and I’m guessing was released as a digital single last April. There are many more releases for us to discover and enjoy.  The band was formed in 2013 by Lance Williams on vocals and guitars, James Stickels on bass,  Sophie Ballamy on guitar and Ash Turner on drums.

Peonies: last band for today’s review and possible for the week! I don’t have any other saved discoveries at the moment so probably it will have to wait for next Monday, well if I don’t decide to write about something else altogether. Peonies is a band from Jakarta, Indonesia. That means they make good pop. Indiepop from Indonesia is nowadays strong, there are so many good bands there that it one doesn’t get surprised anymore by their quality at song craftsmanship! The band has been going since 2015 and is formed by Jodi Setiawan, Cinta Rimandya Marezi and Paramitha Citta Prabaswara. They have signed to Nanaba Records and I’m not sure if they have released something or not. I hope they have. You can listen to a bunch of their songs on Soundcloud.

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If you read my last post about Wrong Door Raid you will be at least somewhat familiar with the compilation “Dungannon Musicians Collective 5” where The Hasbeens also participated. As I previously mentioned, in this compilation there were 5 bands, all of them part of this collective (I don’t know if there were any more bands in the collective other than the 5): The Hasbeens, Tiberius Minnows, McGovern, Wrong Door Raid and The Moon. Today is time for investigating The Hasbeens, leaving just The Moon, whose song “Place” is very nice, and Tiberius Minnows for hopefully an interview later on as they seem to be available for contacting online. McGovern is a rockier band and so perhaps doesn’t fit well in the blog.

As you know this compilation came out in 1988 and was released by Castle Records (DMCAST1) and according to Discogs it was the sole release on the label. This compilation was put together with effort by the bands in the collective and the DMC chairman, Mark Hamill, playing gigs to raise money and so on.

I was surprised by my friend Tim Hall’s comment, saying that it was unimaginable that Dungannon could have an indiepop scene. Maybe it wasn’t really an indiepop scene, maybe it was. I don’t know. At least there were some bands making some great music, much of it flying under the radar. I believe only Tiberius Minnows ended up releasing further records. The other bands were to leave their 2 songs on this compilation as their legacy.

Luckily this compilation was well-thought, and the label put together a booklet with information about each band. The Hasbeens are the first band to appear on the booklet as they were also the first band on the compilation, opening the A side with the poppy “Trivial”. They were to close the compilation as well, with their song “Showbands Must Go” as the last song on the B side. The lyrics for the latter are included in the booklet.

There is a big difference style-wise between their songs. I love the poppier, happy-go-lucky feeling of “Trivial”, while I’m not a big fan of the 80s heavy and rockier “Showbands Must Go”. I wonder what style they preferred in their other recordings if they had any.

We get the band members first name only on the booklet. We know that the band was formed in March 1987 by:
Kevin on guitars, Gary on bass guitar, Patrick on vocals and Stephen on drums.

The photo I’ve posted was taken by Cathal McCall. I googled him and I could find a  Queen’s University Belfast professor with the same name. Could it be him?

Other people credited in the recordings were Karen Herron, Cathy McCausland, Sharon McKillon and Oonagh O’Sullivan. They were the kids that sung on “Showbands Must Go”. Maybe Karen Herron was the daughter of S.J. Herron from McGovern, another band in the collective? The band also thanks a Gary for the work in the studio.

Aside from these facts I couldn’t find any more clues about the band. It seems they just went into total obscurity. At least for Wrong Door Raid there was a Soundcloud, never updated and all, but there were was something tangible that they existed and left something. For The Hasbeens the web is virgin territory. There’s nothing whatsoever about them. It seems actually the only Hasbeens one could find online is a brand, Swedish Hasbeens, specializing in clogs shoes.

Anyone remember them?

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Listen
The Hasbeens – Trivial

 

08
May

While I eagerly await for the Pale Spectres 7″s to arrive any day now, I continue to find indiepop bands on the web. Not in the hopes of releasing them something, at this point I have already all releases for this year lined up, but to prove myself that indiepop is still going strong even though it doesn’t catch the attention of the press or festival organizers.

Sea Shrine: Cris from The Royal Landscaping Society shared with me their Bandcamp after falling head over heels for the song “Soft Alarm”. Upon listening to it, I also thought, “wow! this is truly great!”. It is  classic early 90s indiepop, the guitar strums and chimes the way we all love while the soft vocals blend perfectly. The band seems to be a one man project, a mysterious Thomas is behind it. He is based in West Virginia and he has 5 songs up on the Bandcamp, sadly I can’t say I love the other tracks, but “Soft Alarm” is totally a winner!

Skittle Alley: our friend Fanou has a new album out on Discos de Kirlián from Barcelona. It is titled “End of a Story” and it is limited to just 100 copies. The album includes 9 songs and it is very affordable at just 4 euros! It is just what you expect from the Limoges one-man band, lo-fi bedroom indiepop, perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Snowflakes: it seems the releases they have on Bandcamp are actually more than a decade old. This band from Tokyo, Japan, are firm followers of that they call neo-acoustic in the country of the rising sun. You can hear three releases on their Bandcamp, “Snowflakes” which was their debut 7″ in 2003, “Waiting For” that was also a 7″ released in the summer of 2007, and “Light”, their latest, released this year on tape. Not sure where you can actually find or buy the proper physical releases, but all songs are available for streaming and they sound pretty pretty.

Goodly Thousands: I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before on the blog, I love this band. They have released a couple of 7″s on Shelflife Records and now I found a month old song on their Soundcloud titled “Spree” that sounds glorious to my ears. Maybe it is already time for an album from this Dublin band. Check it out by clicking on the link!

Love Dance: they seem to be back with the song “All the Time”. I was very lucky to see them some years at Indietracks, where I remember they stayed at the same hotel as me, and would see them have breakfast every morning at the Mansfield Premier Inn. They put a fantastic gig that time. Since them they have been quiet, very quiet. I sent them a message some time ago, to check if they were still making music. They were. They told me they had a label already. I believe they meant Brilliance Records who are releasing digitally this beautiful piece of art titled “All the Time”. It is actually a single that will be included in their next album.

 Star Tropics:  the Chicago band is back with a CD album on Fastcut Records. I don’t know much about them to be honest as their Bandcamp and or Soundcloud are not updated, nor their Facebook page. None of these pages have any notice about this release. I wonder why. Maybe they are waiting for their US version of the release which I think is coming as an LP on Shelflife? Anyways, the Japanese version has the song “Tempest” as a bonus track. Would be nice to find out something else about this album, right? Previous songs on Soundcloud sounded pretty good.

And speaking of Shelflife I had a look at their forthcoming catalogue just now and noticed that there is a forthcoming The Keep Left Signs 7″!  That I look forward to!

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Dungannon (from Irish: Dún Geanainn, meaning “Geanann’s stronghold”) is a town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county (after Omagh and Strabane) and had a population of 15,889 at the 2011 Census. The Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council had its headquarters in the town, though since 2015 it has been covered by Mid-Ulster District Council.For centuries, it was the ‘capital’ of the O’Neill dynasty, who dominated most of Ulster and built a castle on the hill. After the O’Neills’ defeat in the Nine Years’ War, the English founded a plantation town on the site, which grew into what is now Dungannon. Dungannon has won Ulster in Bloom’s Best Kept Town Award five times. It currently has the highest percentage of immigrants of any town in Northern Ireland.

Today I decided to pick up another record from my collection, one of those rare ones, a compilation this time.

“Dungannon Musicians Collective 5” was a record I didn’t know about when we were looking through racks of old vinyl stock in Toronto. My friend Jessel introduced me to a world of fantastic records that afternoon. And he picked up for me this compilation LP that was released in 1988 mostly because it included two songs by Tiberius Minnows. Yes, I know, Tiberius Minnows, what a fantastic band, and yes they do deserve a post on the blog. Though I think an interview would make more sense as they are pretty active on their Facebook.

There were 4 more bands on it that I had no clue about, each one contributing 2 songs. There were The Hasbeens, McGovern, The moon and Wrong Door Raid, plus Tiberius Minnows. I had to explore them. See who were they. The record luckily comes with a booklet where some basic information is available for each band.

I think the first song that caught my attention that wasn’t by Tiberius Minnows, who I already knew thanks to the Leamington Spa series, was “Seasons” by Wrong Door Raid. I really liked the guitars. This was the opening track on the B side. They had another song, “Balance is Everything”, closing the A side, but for me, their better song is “Seasons”, even though they include the lyrics for “Balance is Everything” on the booklet.

This record was released by Castle Records (catalog DMCAST1) and we learn a bit about this release thanks to a “prologue” or introduction on the booklet. It says that the DMC (Dungannon Musicians Collective) began in 1987 with Keith Campbell who had a motivation to help up and coming bands. A small team was assembled at the time. Sadly Keith was to pass away but the team was to continue the project for the release of this LP. All bands that contributed were part of this team and they played many gigs to raise money for the record.

Mark Hamill, chairman of the DMC, and Paul Jackson, wrote these introductory notes on the booklet. They thank a lot of people among them people that worked for Dungannon’s government.

When I reach the page where Wrong Door Raid have their photo and “Balance is Everything”‘s lyrics, I find the band members names. That’s something. Maybe with them I can find out more about this band? These two songs were the only ones they seem to have released. It doesn’t seem to be anything.

Martin Campbell played drums, Stephen Conlon played bass, Paul Jackson (who I assume is the same Paul Jackson behind the introductory notes) on vocals and Noel McHugh on guitars. The piano on “Balance is Everything” was played by Paul Donaghy.

As you expect with these obscure bands it is almost impossible to find any information on the web. Luckily I did find a Wrong Door Raid Soundcloud by Paul Jackson. Sadly there is only one song on it and it doesn’t seem he updates the Soundcloud often. The song “People People” was uploaded 5 years ago. It does sound different to the ones on the DMC compilation. It is more like a country song. We also see that Paul is now based in Belfast. There’s nothing more.

I’ve written about a bunch of Irish bands lately. Seems like there is still a lot to discover, many hidden treasures. I wonder if Wrong Door Raid left more recordings from that time, with those chiming guitars that appear all of a sudden on “Seasons”. I really hope so. Anyone else remembers them?

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Listen
Wrong Door Raid – Seasons

04
May

On my last post I said I had mentioned all the bands worth recommending from the Latin American Twee 6th compilation. I missed one, The Spiracles, mainly because I thought they had appeared on the blog some time ago. But after a quick search I found out that they had no mention whatsoever here. So I want to make amends with my terrible memory now.

The Spiracles as far as I know are a Peruvian band though their Bandcamp has them hailing from Toronto, Canada. Might be a mistake? Or maybe some members have relocated? I don’t really know. The song that appeared on the compilation was “Beneath A Sky of Stars”, and it is a pretty dreampop song. The song is part of an April 2016 eponymous release that is available digitally. All of the songs on this digital release are reworks of already released songs, all of them had already appeared on their 2014 album “Last Night I Dreamt About You”. The band is formed by Romina Roggero, Enrique Medina, Luis Rodriguez and Franco Bahamonde. I like their music, just wish they were a bit more orderly when it comes to their songs and releases! It is a bit confusing having them all over the place.

After, I went back and did a quick recap of the Latin American Twee vol. 5 download compilation earlier today. On an earlier blog post I recommended from it Un Verano en Portugal, Verano del 83, 1994 and María. I missed some bands that deserve your attention too.

  • Las Piñas: the song that introduced me to this band is the catchy “Hawaii”. This song is included in their 2016 album “Espanto Caribe” which was released on CD and tape by the American label Yippee Ki Yay from San Antonio, Texas The band is formed by Sofía Cardich, Antonela Perigo and Celina Ortale, an all-girl band, just like my friend Jennifer has been asking for. They hail from La Plata in Argentina. I wonder, are they fans of Estudiantes or Gimnasia y Esgrima? Or Platense maybe?
  • Ruidas: another band from Argentina, also from La Plata. They don’t have a proper release yet, but 3 songs available dating from October 2016 to download and stream on Bandcamp. The first song I heard was “UUU” and I thought that it was great! The band is formed by Vitro Hache, Min H. Felt and Niña Niño. Of course those are not their real names. Anyhow, this sounds good and I look forward to hearing more by them!
  • María Morena: I don’t know anything about this band, just that they are from Lima, Peru. They had one song, “1996” on the compilation “Todos Mis Sentimientos Adolescentes” that was released by La Flor Records. It reminds me to the times I hunted for demos from up and coming Spanish bands on Soulseek sometime around the early 2000s. The naive sound, the girl vocals, are a weakness to me. There are some live videos on Youtube too.

I also had a look at the latest Indietracks announcements, checking out if there was anything that I was missing out, some new discovery perhaps. Definitely the best band to be booked this year by Indietracks is Luby Sparks from Japan. I have already recommended them on the blog and I can’t wait to get their 7″ from the Sailyard label (hello Masami! don’t forget about it!). Then Baby Arms could be another interesting addition to the festival. Their song on the CD16 compilation was a favourite. Of course there is also The Understudies, a favourite band of mine, but they are not a new name for the festival, and probably all of you have already heard their classy songs. But that’s about it. The rest of announcements are truly disappointments.

Among the DJs announced, I’d be curious about Evripidis’ Jukebox, that is Evripidis from the Barcelona based indiepop band Evripidis and his Tragedies. I feel he may play some good proper indiepop. Then How Does it Feel To Be Loved? repeats once again. The other DJs, Offbeat and Sweet Revange are unknowns to me. Who are they?

A new release on the Chinese premier indiepop label, Boring Productions, is available now. That means I need to get in touch with Jovi again, and it feels like yesterday since I ordered some of his latest releases. This time around it is not a Chinese band, but a Russian band: Малыш Камю. They have an 11 song album titled “Nobody Wants to Play With Me” and it is a fantastic continuation of beautiful bedroom pop after their debut on a 3″ on Cris’ Little Treasure Label. You can actually stream the whole release on Bandcamp, but it is available on both CD and cassette. So I urge you to get the physical release even though if you don’t understand a thing of Russian. On the CD booklet the lyrics are translated to English. For those new to the band, Malish Kamu (that’s how you say their name), are Evgeniy and Kate, a couple from Taganrog in Russia. Where is Taganrog? It is on the Sea of Azov, kinda close to Rostov-on-Don. Quite remote for indiepop lovers, right?

The classic Huntington Beach, California, band, The Arrogants, have uploaded a bunch of demos and rarities to their Bandcamp. The band was active between 1997 and 2005 and released some records on Shelflife Records which are true treasures in my CD collection. For some reason I missed their compilation “You’ve Always Known When Best to Say Goodbye” even though some copies were distributed by Plastilina Records. I could never get a copy sent to me from Lima to Miami. And then when I visited Lima on vacations, I believe Jalito never saved me a copy. That made me angry of course. Anyhow, you can check all these rare recordings if you click here.

I don’t know if it is sold out all over the place. I hope Ed Shelflife has still a copy somewhere for me. The Fireworks released on April 21st, a new 7″ with 3 songs and well, as usual, it sounds magnificent. The songs on this red-coloured sleeve record are “Dream About You”, “Better Without You Now” and “We’ve Been Wasting Time”. The record was released by Shelflife in the US and on Opposite Number for Europe. You can stream all songs on their Bandcamp. A must have!

And to close these week’s reviews, I discovered a South Korean band, from Busan, that put out a 7″ out for Record Store Day that sounds really good! I want to get this record! The band is called Say Sue Me and their EP is titled “Semin”. Sadly the story behind this release is not very nice, it is titled after the name of the original drummer in the band who has been in a coma for the last year. Two of the songs on the EP come from older releases, with him drumming: “My Problem” from their 2015 EP and “One Week” from their debut album. The two other songs “But I Like You” and “I Just Wanna Dance”, which are new, are drummed by their friend Casey McKeever. The band members are Jae Young on bass, Kim Byungkyu on guitar, Sumi Choi on vocals and guitar and the aforementioned Kang Semin. It has been a while since I heard a fine sounding Korean band, maybe since Linus Blanket. I need to investigate more. They are at the moment touring the UK.

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Another week that I manage to have enough time to write two posts. This time though it is not strictly indiepop archaeology. Not a guilty pleasure either. This is fantastic pop to my ears. Straight-up pop. And as I finally bought the 7″ with the songs “Tarde Para Amarte” and “No Empeñes Mi Visón”, I thought it was a good time to recommend this gem and to relive some memories that the A side of this record brings to me.

I can’t recall the first time I heard “Tarde Para Amarte” (translates in English as “An Afternoon to Love You”). I must have been a kid. I didn’t know who sang the song. I just grew up remembering the chorus. It is catchy, you can’t deny that.

No, my family didn’t have the record. I grew up in Lima, and during the late 80s, it wasn’t the best time to be around. My country suffered the violence of the terrorist group Shining Path. But musically it probably was a golden age. The radio in Peru would play fantastic and obscure pop from all over. And as there was a renaissance of pop sung in Spanish, radio DJs looked all over the place for novelties. And that is how, I imagine, Bongos Atómicos, from Valencia, Spain, became much more popular in Lima, than in their own country.

Yes, I found out that they appeared on a 1987 edition of Spanish magazine Rock Delux, their sort of NME. But it seems they never achieved much there. I’m sure some people in the Valencia region remember them. But talking to Spanish friends during the years, they honestly had never heard them ever. I guess they weren’t played much on Spanish radio. Whereas in Peru they were played since 1987, the year they released all their records.

I could find on a blog that Radio 1160 from Lima started playing “Tarde Para Amarte” on April of 1987. I was just 3 years old then. Radios would play it still during the 90s. It was a popular song, well known even at alternative discos. It wasn’t the only band from Spain that had more of a following in Peru than in their home country. Among others there was Religión, Club Naval, Flash Strato (who I’ve written on the blog before), Pato de Goma or Tiernos Mansebos, among others. Bands that never played in Peru. But their records and songs were important for a generation.

I wasn’t part of that generation that danced and partied with these songs. I came afterwards. I love the songs nonetheless. I always had a pop sensibility for melodies and catchiness. I think it is thanks to this pop education that I love indiepop. I think many of you will understand me.

I was to rediscover “Tarde Para Amarte” many years after. Around the early 2000s I was rediscovering all these Spanish bands that I once had heard when I was a kid, bands I didn’t remember their names, songs that I didn’t know belonged to this or that band. Through Soulseek I found out that this particular song was from Bongos Atómicos. Since then I’ve DJed it many times, and not only in Lima, but also in England and Germany.

I particularly remember the one time I DJed in Lima, at a Plastilina Pop Party. I saw people singing the song out loud and dancing like possessed! I didn’t expect that! And it wasn’t the older generation, it was my generation, younger people that loved this sort of music.

I only knew this song by Bongos Atómicos for a long time. It was only lately that thanks to Youtube I was to hear to more of their songs. They were varied, some good, some not as good. But it didn’t matter to me. The good thing was that the two songs on the 7″ I bought today are their best. And I’m glad they were released together.

But I don’t know anything about the band. My knowledge was limited to know that they were from Valencia, in Spain. I had read that somewhere. It is time to dig the web, see what I could find about them. There wasn’t that much, there was enough though.

The band started to make a splash after recording their first demo. It won the 2nd “Concurso de Maquetas” contest organized by the Rock de Lux magazine. Thanks to that the band was to record their eponymous mini-LP at the Pertegás studios in their hometown. 5 songs were recorded then: “Uska Dara (Un Cuento Turco)“, “Tarde Para Amarte” and “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Lejos” for the A side and “Puede Resultar Divertido”  “No Empeñes mi Visón” and an instrumental version of “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Tarde” for the B side. The record was released by Producciones Twins (catalog T 2518), the same label that became popular for releasing perhaps the biggest band of the Spanish 80s, Hombres G. The record came out with an insert including the lyrics for the songs.

This same record was released in Peru. Probably it is the only other country that released it. I don’t think it is as popular anywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world. In Peru it was also released in 1987 through the label Epic (catalog SE 3431).

From what I’ve gathered, in Spain their most well-known song was “Uska Dara” which was actually a version of a Turkish song that was popularized in the 60s by Eartha Kitt. You can hear her version here. This song was released as the first single from the mini-LP as a 7″ with “Puede Resultar Divertido” on the B side. It was released by Producciones Twins in 1987 as well (catalog T-1776). It was also released on a 12″ but on this version both songs get the remix treatment. “Uska Dara” gets the “Desacato remix” while “Nunca Debimos Llegar Juntos Tan Lejos (instrumental)” got the “Madrugada remix”. The 12″ catalog was T-1234.

Their only other release was the 7″ I am waiting happily to arrive home. Released by Producciones Twins (catalog T-1788) in 1987, “Tarde Para Amarte” was the A side and “No Empeñes Mi Visón” on the B side as I’ve mentioned before.

My first stop in my detective work was a blog called El Viaje Sónico. On a post dating from 2010 I learn some important facts about the band. First off the lineup:
– Rafa Villaba on drums and percussion
– Alberto Tarín on guitars and keyboards
– Rosa Elena on vocals
– Begoña aka. Kanekalón on backing vocals

The produced for their record was Esteban Leivas. During the recording of their mini-LP they had some help from different musicians including Nacho Mañó on bass (he was a member of the band Presuntos Implicados), Perico Sambeat on sax and Vicente Quintana who does the intro on “Uska Dara”. Their manager was Rafa Cervera, who at the time was perhaps the best regarded music critic in Valencia. He even appears on the back sleeve of the record.

The article mentions that the band would also record another song, “Bon Gos, Atomic Os” for a compilation titled “Un Poc de Rock” where 6 Valencian bands were included. It was released by the label Xiu-Xiu Records also in 1987 (catalog XIU-BN-4). Seems they were only around for that year. The curious thing about this contribution is that they are listed as Bongos Atómicos and Remigi Palmero. Who is this Remigi? And the song included, that is the first one on the album, is a play on words of the band name. In Valencian, “bon gos, atomic os” means good dog, atomic bone. This song was composed by Cervera, Tarín and Villalba. It is a very different song if you compare it to the mini-LP. It is probably my least favourite song by them.

After the band split, Rafa Villalba and Alberto Tarín went to join a much more famous band, Seguridad Social. The two girls from the band, Rosa Elena and Kanekalón disappeared from he face of Earth.

Luckily my investigation doesn’t end up here. I found an article penned by the band’s manager, Rafa Cervera, dated from February this year. From it I could gather even more information and some fine promo pictures.

The first thing I learn is that the band performed on TV on a morning programme hosted by Jesús Hermida in TVE. It doesn’t say the name of the programme. Or the year. I only wonder if this performance will appear someday on Youtube. It seems the host didn’t like the band.

Rafa Cervera tells that he was obsessed by some demo recordings by Rafa Villalba. he thought they were unique, they were unlike anything he says. He was in love in particular with a song titled “Chiquitere” and he was on a mission to release it. After a lot of convincing, Rafa C. convinced Rafa V. to start a band. The band was called initially El Discreto Encanto and they played live for the first time in 1985. They shared lineup with Juana La Loca, Comité Cisne and Muzak among others.

Before being in Bongos Atómicos, Alberto Tarín had been in a band Segunda Sección. Never heard them. And I had never heard how El Discreto Encanto sounded like. Did they record any demos? Rafa V. used to DJ at Brillante then. At the same club worked Rosa Elena Sanjuán as a waitress. She joined the band. And then Begoña Kanekalón too, who had been previously on a theatre group named Putre Plastics.

It was in 1986 that they changed their name to Bongos Atómicos after a Lydia Lunch song (“Atomic Bongos“).

The band didn’t play much live. There was an instrumental song “El de las Ballenas” that ended up being used by Diego Manrique as the theme song for his radio show “Solo Para Ellas” on Radio 3. The song that obsessed Rafa C. was a song from those early demos by Rafa V. titled “Chiquitere”. He thought about it as a hit. They re-recorded it at the Tabalet studios and they included it in the demo contest that they won. What other songs were included in this demo?

I mentioned earlier that the prize was recording a record for Twins. Well, there was another prize. They got an electronic drum machine by Roland. Rafa mentions his and Rafa V.’s influences. They liked Paul Haig, The Gist, The Raincoats. Good bands definitely. The record label director, Paco Martín, didn’t let the band record the song “Chiquitere”. He didn’t see it as commercial enough. So they went and recorded “Uska Dara” as the promotional single.

Rafa C. complains that the label didn’t care for the release. It wasn’t promoted properly, perhaps because the band wasn’t interested in touring the whole of Spain, but most probably because the label only thought about money. It seems it was a bittersweet situation for the band making this record. Even that TV appearance on TVE wasn’t meant for them, but for another band in the label. As this other band wasn’t going to be able to show up they gave the slot to Bongos Atómicos. Without a real lineup, Rafa C. ended up playing bass and they asked another friend, Luz Divina to play keyboards. The two other girls in the band were dressed in silicon dresses and it really didn’t fit for the children segment of the TV show, the time where they were slotted to perform! It was disaster. That was the biggest highlight for them.

Years later, in 1993, Rafa Villalba was to record “Chiquitere“. The lyrics being the same, but with a much dancier rhythm. More like a batucada number. Not for me. Not my style. But it was a success.

To my surprise Rafa C. links a Youtube video of a Peruvian band named Nicoleta (never head them before) covering “Tarde Para Amarte”. A surprise for them as well, having no clue how the hell their long forgotten record and songs ended up being classics in a South American country.

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Listen
Bongos Atómicos – Tarde Para Amarte

01
May

As I promised last week, I was going to recommend some new bands, mostly from the download compilation the Facebook page Latin American Twee put together like a couple of weeks ago. You can check out the tracklist by clicking here. There’s also a download link there if you want to get the whole thing. As I’ve mentioned before, Latin American Twee, is a cool Facebook page run by Impermeable Records’ (the ones who released CD16 late last year) Joel. He hails from Peru and seems to be on a crusade with the serious intention of documenting, revitalizing and promoting indiepop made south of Rio Grande.

Some of the bands on the compilation have already been mentioned on the blog, so let’s find out ones that I’ve never heard before.

  • Armisticio: armistice is a strange name for an indiepop band, right? Anyhow this is the product of just one man, Matías Soto, from Santiago, Chile. The song on the compilation is “Mantener” and it’s a dream pop number. I check out their Bandcamp and notice they have three releases, the first one dating from June 2015. “Mantener” is taken from his latest, “Espiral”, released in 2016. It is a 10 track album and is a mix of classic indiepop and electronic beats. It reminds me quite a bit to Spanish classic band Dar Ful Ful. This is quite nice indeed. Wonder if it was released physically? Seems to be available only digitally.
  • Ignacio del Pórtico: not a recent release this one. The song Joel has picked is “Cataratas del Paraíso” and it comes from a July, 2015 released titled “Regalos del Sosiego”. Not sure again if there’s a physical version for this 10 track album. It also seems to be a one man project. Ignacio seems to come not from Buenos Aires, but from Posadas, in Misiones province, in Argentina. That’s not common. At least I don’t think it is. The guitar work on the songs are my favourite thing about it, they jangle and chime, especially on the upbeat songs, which are definitely his best.
  • Clan de Venus: this quartet hails from León in Mexico. They are formed by Norman Orozco on guitars and vocals, Diego Chávez on guitars, Óscar Villegas on bass and Hugo Hernández on drums. They have a four song EP available on their Bandcamp, and it is from there that Joel has picked the song “Isla Nube”. So far, on this compilation, this might be my favourite song. All songs included in the EP, which is available on the super Emma’s House Records on CD, are upbeat and jangly, reminding me a lot to what Los Waldners from Costa Rica are doing these days.
  • Fish Magic: another one-man project, this time from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The man behind Fish Magic is Mário Quinderé and he has many more releases on his Bandcamp. The song on the comp is “Blue Light” and that is also the oppening track in his latest album, “Sky High”, that was released in December 2016. The album seems to have been released by the label Midsummer Madness though it seems only digitally. The album has some rockier moments, which are my least favourite, but when Fish Magic goes poppy, it is pretty good, like for example on “Into the Ocean” that sounds a bit like Lovejoy!
  • Useless Youth: finally a band that has released their record physically! Their debut 10 track album titled “The Coldest Ocean” is available to buy on their Bandcamp as well as a t-shirts. The band is formed by Pepe on guitars and vocals, Ian on guitars, Yak on bass and Emiliano on drums. They hail from Mexico City and from the tags they’ve chosen on their Bandcamp I see they must like c86, twee and shoegaze. They must know a thing, or two! I feel there’s potential on the songs, though they sound very thin a lot of the times. The guitars are nice, but I feel the bass and drums could be more present? Maybe I’m just being too demanding! The thing is, the song that gives the album its title, “The Coldest Ocean”, is definitely my favourite. There are very nice guitars throughout and that’s what I’m going to remember Useless Youth for.
  • Gativideo: there’s a 4 song EP on their Bandcamp, their only release it seems. This Buenos Aires band is formed by Renzo Montalbano (great last name! I’m a big fan of Inspector Montalbano), Ignacio Fischman, Juan Pablo Fenu and Ignacio Morelli. Sadly I only like the same song Joel liked, “Flash”, the opening track. The other 3 songs on the EP are not poppy at all. But “Flash” is dreamy and even has the class to mention Luis Miguel on its lyrics. That is quite risky if you want to be taken seriously, though maybe times have changed and now hipsters embrace “The Sun of America” as the Mexican crooner was once christened.

I think that’s the best I could pick from the compilation. There were other bands on it like Winter Waves, Jóvenes Adultos, Gaax or The Friendship that really didn’t do much for me. But maybe they are up your alley. You should check the comp out, there are great tracks from other bands I’ve raved here like Dan Dan Dero, Patio Solar or Medio Hermano.

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I’m a happy person, thanks to Carrick, last Saturday I got some amazing indiepop records at the WFMU record fair in Brooklyn. But of course the quest for all the holy grails of indiepop (in my book that is), continues. Can’t stop looking for bands and records that I’m still missing. Today I hope some of you could find me with 2 records, by the same band, A Better Mousetrap.

A mousetrap is a type of animal trap designed primarily to catch mice; however, it may also, accidentally or not, trap other small animals. Mousetraps are usually set somewhere indoors where there is a suspected infestation of rodents. The trap that is credited as the first patented lethal mousetrap was a set of spring-loaded, cast-iron jaws dubbed “Royal No. 1”. It was patented on November 4, 1879, by James M. A historical reference is found in the Alciati, Emblemata from 1534. Other mouse traps in art from: Gerrit Dou The mouse trap 1650, Nicolas de Larmessin, Rowlandson 1799, Francis Wheatley 1790s, Edmund Bristow 1787-1876 and more can be seen in a blog post by Patricia Bixler Reber. The conventional mousetrap with a spring-loaded snap mechanism resting on a block of wood first appeared in 1884, and to this day is still considered to be one of the most inexpensive and effective mousetraps.

There is very little on the web about A Better Mousetrap. We know they released one 7″ and one 12″, both in 1987, and that was it. So we’ll go investigate these releases first. See what sort of hints they can give us.

The 7″ had 2 songs, “The Road to Kingdom Come” on the A side and “We Are All Going To Die” on the B side, and was released by Cuddly Records (catalog CUD 001). Of course, this was the only release on this label. Is it safe to assume it was a self-release? The artwork is a black and white cartoon, you can tell there was sense of humour in this band.  I haven’t heard both songs, I’ve only had the chance to listen to the B side “We Are All Going To Die”,  but could it be “The Road to Kingdom Come” lyrics printed on the back sleeve? It looks that way. On the back sleeve we get to know the band lineup:
– Silas Sibbring on vocals
– Les Watkins on guitars, harmonica and vocals
– Gerry McGowan on bass and vocals
– Carl D’Inal on drums

This 7″ was recorded at Neosound Studios in Tottenham. It was produced and engineered by Mike Neophytou and the band. The art was by Mike Mitchell.

So Tottenham. Where they Londoners then?

The “A Nice Cup of Tea” EP was the 12″. This was their second release. This one was released by Tuff! Enuff (TUFFER 001). There is another release on the label by a band called Jeremy Gluck & Friends according to Discogs but I feel this is a mistake, an error. Both have catalog 001, so it must just be that there was another label with the same name. Meaning this was also a self-release?

On the EP there are 5 songs. On the A side we find “Goodbye Cruel World” and “Beautiful Place”. On the B side there are “Pigs Will Fly”, “The World is Mad” and “A Nice Cup of Tea”. The song I have heard from this EP is the opening one, “Goodbye Cruel World”. The songs, this time, were recorded at Airwave Studios on Kilburn High Road, London, “at the bottom of a narrowish staircase” on August 1987. They must have been Londoners!

The record was produced and engineered by Barry Lane and A Better Mousetrap with “much hilarity and little fuss” according to the back sleeve. Again we see the sense of humour all over the back sleeve, especially where the band members are listed! Like it says that Gerry McGowan makes spaghetti or Carl makes a teacup.

There was one other appearance by the band. With the song “A Road to Kingdom Come”, they would participate in a compilation in 1988. The compilation was titled “Vinyl Virgins” and was released by Mighty Sheffield Records (catalog CM 001). You would guess that by the name these were bands that haven’t been on vinyl before, but clearly A Better Mousetrap had been already.

A Better Mousetrap opens the compilation, they have the first song. Other bands on it are The Warhols, The Things, The Australians, The Gallery and more. It seems it was a mix of genres on it. Seems there was some punk and hard rock on it.

Then how to find more information? I wonder if those were their real names. Carl D’inal, sounds like cardinal, might have been a joke? What about the rest? I couldn’t find anything online about them.

I have no clue. Couldn’t find any information about gigs, or anything at all. Maybe some of you remember them? Maybe someone has some spare copies to trade with me? What about other recordings? Where there more? I’d love to hear both releases in their entirety as well. Anyhow, whatever help in this indiepop archaeology project is much appreciated!

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Listen
A Better Mousetrap – Goodbye Cruel World

27
Apr

Let’s end April on  a high mark. As the Pale Spectres 7″ release gets closer and closer and as I approved The Potting Sheds retrospective artwork proofs today, I think I can go ahead and prepare a new blog post for you all. Things at Cloudberry are looking good and I should start looking out for the next Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release. Do you have any suggestions?

There are some new music I want to share with you before I do some indiepop archaeology.

  1. My friend Jonas from Bedroom Eyes, who I haven’t seen in many years, but continues to release fabulous music, have a new album out this May 12th of the label Startracks. The album is titled “Greeting From Northern Sweden” and at the moment he is promoting it with the song “After I was a Kid But Before I Grew Up”. The song has all the classic ingredients that are the trademark of Bedroom Eyes since 2006 (was it that year when I first heard his music?). Meaning smart lyrics, catchy melodies, and straight-up guitars.  For the song Bedroom Eyes has made a nostalgia video, with VHS feeling, and more than a nod to Twin Peaks. Looking forward to getting y hands on the album!
  2. More friends making fantastic music. Some time ago I recommended the song “Modern Art” by Burning Hearts. Almost a year ago I think. That song was part of their new album that will finally be released on May 19th on Solina Records. As far as I know it is only available on vinyl and digital. The album is titled “Battlefields” and they are now promoting it with the song “Bodies as Battlefields” which you can stream from Soundcloud. The album contains 9 songs and I’m really hoping to be able to buy it when I visit Finland at the end of May. It will be my first visit so I hope someone can recommend me some record stores where I can buy it I can’t miss this new gem by Jessika and Henry.
  3. The Sailyard label, sister label of Fastcut Records, run by Masami  from Wallflower and Atsushi from Miles Apart Records have a new release that I need to get. I don’t know how I will manage to get it, as I already asked Masami for some of the previous releases, but now there are more and more! Seems like they are on a roll! Well, on May 27th they will release a 7″ by Mariana in Our Heads. I’m sure I’ve recommended this band before, when they released their debut cassette on Miles Apart Records. On this new 7″ they release two songs, “Anemone” and “Yarn”. The song that is available for streaming is “Anemone” and it is brilliant. So so dreamy.
  4. Fastcut Records is not leaving everything to Sailyard, they have a fantastic sounding new release by Cloudberry-favourite band Wallflower coming out late May. After I’ve listened a few times the song “Nowhere“, remembering the terrific show they put in New York Popfest, I can only say the band keeps getting better and better! So happy for my friends in the band them! Their new release is a 7” vinyl record that will come with a mini zine and it was produced by Ian Catt. I need this record as well. I’m going to be so poor soon!
  5. Continuing with this roundup of friends making news, Papa Topo are part of a movie, did you know? They are main characters as well. The movie is called “La Maldita Primavera”, I suppose a nod to Mexican legend Yuri’s classic song of the same name, and it is going to be debuting the D’a Film Festival of Barcelona on May 4th. It seems too that Elefant Recods will be releasing the soundtrack of the movie. There’s a movie teaser available in Youtube. Looks like a fun movie and I hope it will be available to watch this side of the Atlantic soon enough!
  6. Pacífico, the Barcelona band that shares band members with Papa Topo and Jessica and The Fletchers are also going to have a new release sometime soon. It will be a tape, which is a shame for me as I haven’t changed my mind about tapes, I still dislike them, with 3 songs on it. The good thing is that the song they have leaked, “Noches Blancas“, sounds fab. Crash-pop at its best, wonderful shambling! The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be released by El Genio Equivocado.

And that’s it for now. I still have for next week to go through the Latin American bands on the latest compilation of Latin American Twee! and also I haven’t checked the newest additions to Indietracks and see if there’s anything to recommend on here. So there’s still stuff for next week!

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Sedgemoor is a low-lying area of land in Somerset, England. It lies close to sea level south of the Polden Hills, historically largely marsh (or “moor” in its older sense). The eastern part is known as King’s Sedgemoor, and the western part West Sedgemoor. Sedgemoor is part of the area now known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. Historically the area was known as the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor.

That’s where they came from. Sedgemoor. Somerset.

4 years ago I was DJing in London. Jennifer had invited me to a Colour Me Pop event where The Secret History, Comet Gain and Pale Spectres played. I think that was the first and only time I got to play The Sedgemorons’ “Drop Dead Darling” to more people than me, myself, and I.

From that time, no, earlier than that, I’ve been meaning to recommend it on my blog. Why I didn’t do it before? I don’t really know. I guess my band selections do come randomly. Perhaps affected by moods. Or what record I’ve just got on my mailbox or which one I rediscovered at home. Sadly The Sedgemorons is not a record I own. That definitely might have been a cause for me not having investigated them before.

So yes, I do hope to find a copy. And that is going to be a goal for this year, definitely. I love this song. I figure that when you think of that compilation that everyone has raved about, the “Sharon Signs to Cherry Red”, that has even been reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day, you wonder why the hell a song like this one wasn’t included? I know, I can be very demanding. But I do think there are better songs, like this one, that many that are included. I hope though, if the compiler does a 2nd volume, please read this blog, I’ve recommended so many female fronted bands from the mid 80s that have terrific songs and would make a better compilation. Seriously.

The Sedgemorons had two releases. Only their 2nd, the 7″ is listed on Discogs. Let’s start there, that’s the one I want. The 7″ included two songs, “Drop Dead Darling” and “I Need a Girlfriend”. It was released in 1985 by the Sheep Worrying Records label. Catalog was SW102.  The art for the record came printed in a cool fuchsia tint. On Discogs, only another release is listed under this label, a 1982 7″ compilation titled “Sheep Worrying”. Let’s see if we find more.

On the labels, we see some credits for the songs. “Drop Dead Darling” is credited to Kane and Smedly while “I Need a Girlfriend” to Beaslley and Smedley. Both songs were recorded at Monitor Studios and produced by the band.

I do find information about their label on a website that looks like it was made during the time Geocities reigned supreme. And here we will learn something important about The Sedgemorons, that they were created to pay a debt!
This label grew out of the Bridgewater-based magazine and entertainments promoter, Sheep Worrying, founded by Brian Smedley. It released the single “False Nose/County Councillor”(1980) and two tape albums, Internal Organs (1978) and Going Shopping (1980) by The Dangerous Brothers. Sheep Worrying Records Former Address: 34 Alfoxton Road Bridgwater, Somerset. Was formed by Brian Smedley. In 1984 the Sheep Worrying Organisation had got itself into debt and needed funding to keep it going. No-one involved had any money-and so the editorial team determined to form a band to gig themselves out of debt. The Sedgemorons was formed to play cabaret style music in pubs and clubs simply to raise money quickly.. Although this started to happen and during the 2 years of the groups existence, the debt was paid off the initial remit  was ditched as the individuals involved began to write their own music and  came up with a classic rock-send up stage show. The band Brian Smedley (Lead Guitar), Stuart Croskell (bass), Gareth Beasley (Rhythm Guitar), Kevin Freeman (drums), Anne Dixey/Betty Bonkers & Lianne Bruce/Bobby Bland (lead vocals) and later Barry Thompson (sax), Distributed By Sheep Worrying Records.

On that website there’s the whole catalog for the label, actually only 3 releases. We also learnt the band lineup. It was a big band! More than 6 members! But what about Bridgwater? I never known that place? For some reason on Wikipedia it is not spelled BridgEwater but Bridgwater. I suppose that’s the correct spelling?

Bridgwater is a market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 35,886. Bridgwater is at the edge of the Somerset Levels, in level and well-wooded country; to the north are the Mendips and to the west the Quantock hills. The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett, 10 miles (16 km) from its mouth, has been a major port and trading centre and maintains a large industrial base. It is linked to Taunton by the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Bridgwater is between two junctions of the M5 motorway and Bridgwater railway station is on the main railway line between Bristol and Taunton. Historically, the town had a politically radical tendency. The Battle of Sedgemoor, where the Monmouth Rebellion was finally crushed in 1685, was fought nearby. Notable buildings include the Church of St Mary and the house in Blake Street, largely restored, which was the birthplace of Admiral Blake in 1598, and is now the Blake Museum. The town has an arts centre and plays host to the annual Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.

A quick stop on the John Peel wiki tells us that on May 13th of 1985 Mr. Peel played “Drop Dead Darling”.

From another early-internet era looking website we learn that the band was actually played several times by John Peel, and that it got reviews on Sounds and Melody Maker, and that even Cherry Red (who didn’t include them on the compilation I was complaining about earlier!) courted them. From this page we learn about their first release. It was a cassette album titled “We’re Bonkers” and it was recorded live. I haven’t been able to find a tracklist for it. I hope I do!

The band also toured a stage musical named “Rock n Roll is Pretty Exciting” where they played songs such as “Car Park Attendant of My Dreams”. On these shows the band also performed poetry.

By the end of 1985 the band was over. Beasley and Dixey formed the band “The Inflatable Ducks” while Smedly and Bruce formed “Red Smed & The Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band”. Croskell went to college and formed “The Bernard” while Freeman played with “The Alkaloids”.

Speaking of Red Smed, I found a blogspot of theirs. Luckily there is a 2014 post about them where there’s even more information about The Sedgemorons. From this post we learn that the Sheep Worrying debt ascended to 1000 pounds and some more details about their musical. But the gem to be found here is a Youtube video for the song “I Need a Girlfriend“. It actually it was filmed while The Sedgemorons were rehearsing in the upstairs room of the Bridgwater Arts Centre when BBC2 was filming a documentary about this place!

On Youtube I would find more stuff. Brian Smedley has an account and on it I could find the performance of the poem “Greed” at the Antelope Inn Sherborne on September 22nd of 1985. On the same account I could find a cover of “Drop Dead Darling” by Brian’s later band, Red Smed & the Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band. Sounds cool! But I think I like better the original! Something about the vocals I think.

That’s a lot of information I could dig up. I couldn’t find the tracklist for their live cassette or any song to stream from it. I hope I listen to it one day. I really like both songs on the 7″. I hope to find a copy too sometime. It’s much better to listen to it on your turntable, right? And now I hope to investigate the bands they formed after too. Maybe there are some pop gems there. I’m crossing my fingers.

Do you remember them?

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Listen
The Sedgemorons – Drop Dead Darling

24
Apr

How to start a new week? With indiepop of course.

If last week I shared teaser songs for The Primitives and BMX Bandits new releases, now they have new videos to promote them. The Primitives have released a video for the song “I’ll Trust the Wind” that is part of the “New Thrills” single out on Elefant on May 5th. It sounds like classic Primitives, so no complains on my part! Great stuff!

The BMX Bandits new video is for the song “How Not to Care” which will be part of their new album “Forever”. This record will be released on May 19th also on Elefant. It’s not one of the poppier BMX Bandits song that everyone loves, but a nice introspective song.

And lastly, another new Elefant Records thanks to Lia Pamina. The song that gets the video treatment is “Better Off Without You” that was included in her debut album “Love Is Enough”. A lovely song, and an evocative video too. It seems it is summer already in Spain.

Another favourite artist of mine, Rose Elinor Dougall, also has a new video out taken from their wonderful last album. The song that gets the video is “Space to Be” and I recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet.

Again today I found out about a new download compilation of Latin American pop bands on the Facebook page “Latin American Twee!”. I haven’t yet listened to the songs but hopefully many of them will be good discoveries for next post. What do you say?

Also the not so very nice label Cherry Red has announced a 3CD compilation titled “C88”. It is already up for pre-orders and it continues the trend they started when they reissued C86 with extras as a boxset in 2014, and then later they continued with the C87 boxset. I don’t understand why the write the song first on the tracklist and the artist second, but here is the tracklist for this release:

DISC 1
1. ON TAPE The Pooh Sticks
2. ELEPHANT STONE (7” Version) The Stone Roses
3. WHERE DO YOU GO (Flexi Version) The Popguns
4. (WILL NOBODY SAVE) LOUISE The Man From Delmonte
5. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? (Molesworth Version) The Charlottes
6. THE THINGS YOU WANT The Snapdragons
7. A SHELTERED LIFE Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
8. ONE SUMMER Moss Poles
9. LIES Bridewell Taxis
10. DEFY THE LAW The Orchids
11. HAPPY LIKE YESTERDAY The Groovy Little Numbers
12. JULIE CHRISTIE The Driscolls
13. HIGH – Choo Choo Train
14. CREMATION TOWN The Poppyheads
15. TATTERED, TANGLED AND TORN Bradford
16. SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE Thrilled Skinny
17. SISTER GOODBYE The Prayers
18. ANORAK CITY Another Sunny Day
19. SHE’S GONE The Train Set
20. BARNOON HILL Pacific
21. FOREVER HOLIDAY (Ediesta Version) Blow-Up
22. MARY’S GARDEN The Mock Turtles
23. THE PENNINE SPITTER King Of The Slums
24. COLOURS AND SHAPES (Demo) Pale Saints
25. THE BALLAD OF JET HARRIS Apple Boutique

DISC 2
1. THE HILL The House Of Love
2. DYING FOR IT The Vaselines
3. KIRSTY Bob
4. SLACK TIME Cud
5. PLEASE RAIN FALL The Sea Urchins
6. SHAME ON YOU The Darling Buds
7. PRIZE Kitchens Of Distinction
8. TOO MANY SHADOWS The Heart Throbs
9. DO IT FOR FUN The Bachelor Pad
10. THEY FELL FOR WORDS LIKE LOVE Hangman’s Beautiful Daughters
11. GIVING WAY TO TRAINS Murrumbidgee Whalers
12. WHAT’S GOING DOWN The Shamen
13. HEAVEN KNOWS The Flatmates
14. SPELL IT OUT The Waltones
15. MRS SUSAN SPENCE The Wilderness Children
16. YESTERDAY – The Nivens
17. REAL WORLD Baby Lemonade
18. VILLAGE GREEN The Clouds
19. FIRE ESCAPE Rote Kapelle
20. MAD DOGS Emily
21. THE 18:10 TO YEOVIL JUNCTION Bubblegum Splash
22. MICHAEL FUREY Metro Trinity
23. THEME FROM COW Inspiral Carpets

DISC 3
1. SUN, SEA, SAND The Revolving Paint Dream
2. SURFAROUND The Fizzbombs
3. PLASTER SAINT The Church Grims
4. CRUSH THE FLOWERS (Demo) The Wake
5. SUNSHINE THUGGERY The Siddeleys
6. CLEAR Whirl
7. A MILLION ZILLION MILES Annie & The Aeroplanes
8. YOU OPENED UP MY EYES Fat Tulips
9. CINCINNATI Holidaymakers
10. THE CAMERA LOVES ME Would-Be-Goods
11. ANYWHERE BUT HOME The Caretaker Race
12. WHO WORKS THE WEATHER The Great Leap Forward
13. CUBANS IN THE BLUEFIELDS East Village
14. BYTHESEA ROAD The Haywains
15. THE OLD ROAD OUT OF TOWN The Wishing Stones
16. SHAKE The Corn Dollies
17. LAND OF GOLD Bluetrain
18. THE SUN SLID DOWN BEHIND THE TOWER Reserve
19. APPLE OF MY EYE Remember Fun
20. MORNING O’GRADY Yeah Jazz
21. DON’T BURY ME YET The Raw Herbs
22. CURRY CRAZY Bad Dream Fancy Dress
23. ON MY WAY The Claim
24. GLASTONBURY Rodney Allen

A few cool songs that are not too popular like the ones by Annie & The Aeroplanes, The Wilderness Children or Murrumbidgee Whalers on the compilation. That is cool, definitely, to introduce some obscure gems to the casual fan. Then there are a bunch of good choices like The Fat Tulips’ “You Opened Up My Eyes”, definitely, it is great to see especially CD #3. I think that one is pretty strong.

As you know this label attitudes and ways are not of my liking. It is hard to support them or give them a recommendation. But I can’t pretend that this isn’t a fine compilation. It is. I just hope they treated all bands right, and that they were duly informed that they were included in this record.

Mostly I buy these compilations because of their booklets, to see what extra information about the bands is available. Hopefully there’s some good biographies on this one. Still nothing like the good old The Sound of Leamington Spa compilations, with these sort of compilations I miss them more and more.

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Last week while I was doing my investigation of Feargal is the Applejack I ended up discovering a band I had never heard before, The Skips.

My introduction came through the “Dostoevesky lose its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?” compilation tape that was uploaded to Youtube by the Disques Fridge account, which is of course the label Mickey Rourke’s Fridge from Dublin, Ireland. The second song, after “Limbo Police” by Freres Jackman, and just before the fab “Talking to Yourself” by Feargal is the Applejack, is a sweet pop tune called “My Silver Cloud” by The Skips. I fell for it immediately.

As I mentioned before, this compilation was a tape released in 1992 and was the fourth release in this label (catalog MRF 004). Where else to find information about them? I tried Irish Rock.org but there was absolutely nothing there. Thankfully our friends from The Fanning Sessions Archive had two posts about them, each with two songs!

All four songs are from the same 1988 Fanning Session. On the first post, you can stream the songs “What do You Mean” and “You’re in Love”. On the second post the ones that you could listen are “Scream From Within” and “Forever Free”. There is also a bit of information about the band and thanks to that we can say that the lineup was:
Amanda Claxton on vocals
Derrick Dalton on guitars
Pete Corrigan on bass
Darren Nolan on drums

The Fanning Session was produced by Ian Wilson.

Ian Wilson was one of the founding producers of RTÉ 2FM. He produced Dave Fanning’s rock show for 11 years; began the Fanning Sessions in 1980; organised the ‘Lark in the Park’ outdoor concerts all over Ireland and also kicked off the country’s first free outdoor dance shows, ‘The Beat on the Street’.In the meantime he launched 2FM live, for 16 years now the main live broadcast and recording operation on the island, with over 1,000 acts recorded and broadcast at every major festival and live event. He founded and was chair for six years of the EBU’s Eurosonic group, co-ordinating the activities of Europe’s main 67 music/rock/ young radio stations, and started the Eurodance cross Europe live dance shows. He also brought the 2FM Dance sessions live from clubs all over Ireland with a full video stream on the Internet. At the moment Ian is in charge of alternative music and music production on RTÉ 2FM. In past lives he worked on pirate radio, for In Dublin magazine, was president and vice-president of the student bodies in TCD, following on from being Ents officer for two years. He is married to ‘Morning Ireland’ presenter, Aine Lawlor.

Sadly on these same posts it says that Derrick Dalton passed away in 2008.

And then I decide to turn to Google and see what else I can dig. Sadly what I was to find were mostly news of Derrick’s passing away. Probably the most interesting article is the one by Hot Press. On it many musicians remember the late Derrick Dalton. Among them, the vocalist of The Skips, Amanda Claxton, leaves some words:

I first met Derrick when I was 17 and singing in a band called The Skips. He was the guitarist with Hey Paulette. We had no guitarist at the time and they had no drummer, so a fair swap was made and we traded Darren for Derrick! It was an arrangement that worked very well for many years, as we played music together and became firm friends. Derrick once told me that he would quite happily play guitar in his bedroom and didn’t care if no-one ever heard his music, so long as he was happy with it. That was Derrick to the core; it was just about the music. I’m the better for having been his friend and he will be greatly missed.

So Derrick had also been in the most amazing band Hey Paulette and then left for The Skips.

Another article I found was the one on The Irish Times. On it Derrick’s wife, Laura James, remembers her late husband. IT also mentions some other bands he was in like Crumb, The Deportees, and Aeromodeller. This last band I remember very much as I loved this album released by Yes Boy Icecream in 2010. I suppose then posthumously. I didn’t know then that was the case.

The last newspaper article I found comes from The Independent. It dates from 2010 and it says that then, for the two year anniversary of Derrick’s passing away, there was a special tribute gig with The Dinah Brand, Thread Pulls, Richer Than Astronauts and Little Beauties. It was also the release gig for the Aeromodeller album.

I believe The Little Beauties is the band Amanda and Darren have now. They have released an album titled “A Rude Awakening”.

I found then an Irish Music Database website where there are some family trees. That way I could find out that Derrick Dalton had been in so many bands. Aside from the ones I mentioned already he was in The Bus Pigs, Mexican Pets, $1000 Wedding, Melba and Villa R. I have never heard these bands. Would love to see if I can find any MP3s or releases by them. I’m very curious now.

I tried then googling the rest of the band members, but I couldn’t find anything else music-related. Possibly they went to other bands. I hope so. I couldn’t find if the band had any proper releases or perhaps other compilation appearances. So far I only know these 5 songs. But I would love to hear more. So far with the Irish bands I posted lately I haven’t had much luck finding out more about them, perhaps because I only posted Irish bands now and then before, mostly they were English and so perhaps the Irish didn’t pay much attention to the blog? Who knows. But I definitely want to learn more. It seems there was a fabulous scene in the late 80s in Dublin. I want to hear more jangle pop from it.

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Listen
The Skips – My Silver Cloud

22
Apr

Thanks to Mark Lyons for the fantastic interview! Resque released one album and a string of popstastic singles in the early nineties, with “Yeah!” becoming big in Japan! They also recorded many promo videos, and toured extensively. As there is not that much written about them on the web I asked Mark if he’d be up for an interview after he commented on my blog. Hope you enjoy the interview and that you discover (or rediscover) the brilliant Resque!

++ I got in touch with you thanks to a comment you left on the Hookline & Silverfish post I did some time ago. You mentioned the Majestic gigs. I was never there of course, so I’m curious about them. Care telling me a bit about them?

The majestic gigs were two big charity shows organised by the local Reading radio station ‘Radio 210’. We shared the bill with bands like ‘Hookline and Silverfish’, ‘The Jeremiahs’ and ‘Sometimes Sartre’. They were legendary. Completely packed the largest venue at the time in Reading and certainly launched International Rescue locally.

++ Resque was formed in 1989. So I wonder if you were in any other bands before that?

I was in a band at school called ‘The Unknown’. Honestly we were like a art experimental band! We were like a cross between Psychic TV and Echo and the Bunnymen. At least we thought we were! I was 14/15 years old when we we started gigging. I once got spat at by about 50 skinheads at Reading town hall. Pretty scary for a 15. Luckily it got better quite quickly after that experience. Couldn’t get any worse.

++ And going further in the past, what would you say are your first music memories, like what sort of music you grew up listening to? And what was your first instrument?

My first musical memory is my mum playing me ‘Help’ by the Beatles when I was 7 years old. It was a real ‘lightbulb’ moment. I loved how it was a really catchy pop song with a really dark message. My first instrument was an second hand acoustic guitar at 12 years old.

++ Resque actually formed as International Resque. Why did you drop the “International”? And who came up with the name?

We actually called ourselves ‘International Rescue’ originally. Dave Simons, the lead singer, came up with two choices ‘International Rescue’ or ‘The Men from Uncle’.

++ Who were the members of the band? What instruments did each of you play?4

The original line up was Dave-Vocals/guitar/Harmonica, Andy Lawlor-drums,Tim Banks-percussionist, Jem King-bass, me on guitar.

++ What would you say were your influences at the time of forming the band?

We were really influenced by 50/60’s music, Def Jam and skate punk.

++ How was Reading back then? What were the places to go to? The venues to go check out up and coming bands? Were there any like-minded bands?

Reading back then was a completely different beast. There were only a couple of pubs and 3/4 music venues. ‘Cartoons’ wine bar was a great bar, the legendary ‘After Dark’ club, the ‘Majestic’ and 21 South St. There were lots of excellent bands in Reading at the same time. Too many to mention to be honest. Apart from the ones already named above there was ‘Jo Jo Namoza’, ‘The Jaybreaks’ and ‘Jonah Reece’ but most of the bands at the time in Reading were very good.

++ Your first release was the popstastic 7″ single “Yeah!”. What a song! I have to ask, what is the story behind this song?

Our first release wasn’t ‘Yeah’ but ‘Love in the right direction’. It came out on local record label ‘Acorn records’. There were only a 1,000 pressed I think. Maybe only 500. It’s actually worth a few quid. Especially in Japan now. It features a saxophone solo from the chap who, I believe, played with Dexy’s midnight runners. But I may have imagined that! It got lots of radio play on 210 and really helped cement our reputation locally. We were completely filling venues in Reading now. It was at this point that myself and Dave decided we wanted to take the band more seriously and make it our full time job. This decision caused a few of the band to re think their positions within it. It led to the only major personnel changes in the bands history. We welcome Roger Wells on bass and Wez on drums. With full respect to the first line up (who I still love dearly!!) this, for me, was the classic Rescue line up.

It was also at this point that we had to change the name from International Rescue to International Resque. We’d recorded the first single in Gerry Anderson’s (Thunderbirds creator) studio and he didn’t like the fact we’d stolen his name so we had no choice. It was then that we signed to ‘Davy Lamp’ records. Steve Lamacq’s co owned indie label based in Harlow. We put one single out with them called ‘Yeah’.

++ This song also had a promo video and it looks like you had a blast recording it. Where was it recorded? Who were the girls on it? Your girlfriends at the time? And how was that first experience doing a music vid?

We got good airplay nationally with ‘Yeah’ but the video really pushed us up the ladder. We recorded it on a rooftop in London. I had a friend who worked for a top modelling agency (Jess Hallett from Storm agency) and she got some of the girls to appear in it with us. The policeman in it was 100% real. He was very understanding.

++ This 7″ came out in a great label, Davy Lamp, who released another favourite band of mine the Blind Mice, how did you end up with them? How was that relationship?

We didn’t really have a relationship with The Blind Mice. We were from different parts of the country. I remember they were good though.

++ Your 2nd single “So Way Down” came out on Groovy Tunes. Never heard that label, was it a self-release perhaps?

The next single was on the ‘Groovy tunes’ label. The only other act on Groovy tunes were ‘Jive bunny’!! Their success paid for our single. We did go on lots of record labels. We enjoyed the signing parties!! 7 and 12 inch releases were all the rage at the time.

++ This 2nd release of yours came out in both 7″ and 12″ formats. What was the intention with that? And what would be your favourite format for music?

We did extended versions for the 12 inch.

++ Again, for “So Way Down” you recorded another promo video. At that time you wouldn’t see so many indie bands making videos, how important do you think they were for you in promoting your music?

At the time videos were a really important promotion tool. The video for ‘So way down’ was a nightmare to record though. The director wanted us to play on the tube at closing time on a Friday night in London. It was an awful experience with half of London drinking population shouting abuse and throwing things at us!! If you look closely you can see how terrified we were.

++ It is just after releasing this single that you changed your name to Resque. And then on 1991 you were to release your debut album “Life’s a Bonus”, a record full of fantastic pop tunes. I read a bio about Resque saying that if you had released this album some years later you would have been accepted as a Britpop band, that at the time you didn’t fit anywhere. Do you agree with this?

We then signed a longer deal with ‘Musidisc’. A much bigger label home to ‘The Levellers’ and ‘Zodiac Mindwarp’.  I think you’re right about the britpop comparison. Just a decade to early!! And we definitely didn’t fit into any genre at the time.

++ Was wondering if there were any other labels that were interested in your music at that time? the big labels perhaps?

We did have interest from the ‘major’ labels at the time. But Musidisc seemed to understand us the best. They were supportive of us. And we had all the normal band v label nonsense as well but they did their thing well.

++ You contributed to a couple of compilations. There was a song called “Move It” on a 1990 tape from the BRAG agency. Was it like your promotional agency? Or who were BRAG?

Brag agency was our booking agents. Lisa Bennet was the most incredible agent I’ve ever worked with. We pretty much toured non stop for years and years and she was truly superb. A major factor in the bands (small) success. We also had a superb manager called ‘Gary Pettit’ who really was the fifth Beatle.

++ There was also the “Disposable But Happy – Dozen” tape released on the fanzine of the same name. It came with a bunch of other awesome indiepop bands like The Penny Candles, The Rileys or Shelley’s Children. How important was for you, and the independent pop scene in general, the fanzine culture of the late 80s, early 90s, do you think?

The fanzine culture at the time was a big asset for us at the time and we were regularly championed.

++ There was also a flexi-disc shared with The Hinnies on Why Not! Records in 1991. How did this happen? Were you friends or played gigs with The Hinnies perhaps?

I have no idea about the Hinnies Flexi disc!! You know more about that than I do!

++ In the hypothetical case of you being able to chose a band that was around the time as Resque for a shared flexi or 7″ what would your dream choice had been?

My dream choice for a shared Flexi disc with us back then would have been ‘Senseless things’. We were fortunate to play a lot of the gigs with them and they were truly excellent in my opinion. Great songs and they looked fantastic.

++ I saw on Youtube a TV appearance of Resque playing “Watch Me When I Fall”, which was your next single released by Musidisc. What TV programme is it? How was that experience? Did you get to be on English TV again?

The ‘watch me when I fall’ tv appearance was on a Saturday kids television show called ‘Eggs and Baker’. Hosted by Cheryl Baker of ‘Bucks Fizz’ fame. It was actually one of the last things we did as a band in the U.K. And I think you can see we were tour frazzled after years and years of constantly playing most nights.

++ There is also a Japanese video of a Resque interview on Youtube. On it there are bits of a promo video of “She Drives My Train”. Will that be ever uploaded to Youtube perhaps?

We did make a video for ‘She drives my train’, our most successful single. We got met by armed police at Brighton train station as we’d let off a smoke canister while filming on the train. I don’t think it’s online. We got played on Radio 1 with this I think. It’s so long ago now! It was another push up he ladder either way.

++ Speaking of Japan, you had several no. 1s there in the independent charts. Do you remember which songs were the ones that reached that number?

We only actually had one Japanese number one and that was with ‘Yeah’.

++ And how was your experience touring Japan? What cities did you play? And what was what surprised you the most of that country? Have you been back?

It was one of the highlights of the bands career. The tour of Japan was incredible. We were s lot more popular there than anywhere else. We had people waiting at the hotels for us to sign albums. That hadn’t happened before. Both signing and hotels!! We played about 14 gigs in 16 days all over Japan and the islands. Finishing with two nights in Tokyo. We loved Japan and they loved us. We did consider relocating there at this time but it never really materialised. I’ve never been back but I’d love to.

++ What about gigs? I read you supported Carter USM several times. What other bands did you play with? And what would you say are the gigs you remember as the best and why?

We played lots and lots of shows with Carter USM and that was probably the most important factor in the whole Resque story. This really helped us get a following national and we got to the point where we were confident of pulling punters in all over the country now. Not an enormous following but a really amazing little cult following that would come to most gigs. Bunking off college and school to come to see us play. They were fantastic. The hardcore even had their own name. They were the ‘Bros rape squad’. They were a group of about 12 girls who would just turn up wherever we played. They were such a mad following. It wouldn’t have been the same without them.

The gig I remember most was the first time we played the famous ‘Marquee’ club in London. Not only was it an amazing show but it was the first national review we received. Melody Maker called us ‘The Monkees of the 90’s’. We were more than happy with that.

++ Where there any “bad” gigs?

There were bad gigs but not many considering we toured non stop for so long. Without blowing our collective trumpets we were really good live. In my humble opinion.

++ There is a fantastic gig of International Resque on Youtube were you play songs like “Things Our Mother Said”, “Take Me Back in Time”, “Social Worker”, “Bounty Girl” and “Hobbies” I believe at a venue called The Square. What do you remember of it? What year was it?

No idea when that Harlow gig was but I do remember it. Just. As you can imagine they do blur a bit as age creeps in. It’s probably the only ever recorded version of our post modern classic called ‘Hobbies’. One of the most popular songs we played live.

++ What about the press and the radio? Did you get much attention from them?

We got great support from both press and radio over the years. We weren’t press darlings but we only had one bad review as much as I can remember. That was from Caitlin Moran in the melody maker. She said of our cover of Prince’s ‘Alphabet Street’ that we didn’t murder it as such but we threw it’s still twitching body into the boot of a car and drove it over a cliff! Apart from that one it was all good.

++ Was wondering if Resque left many more unreleased tracks? Or if everything you recorded was released?

There was one last recording session that remains unreleased. It did have one really great song called ‘Fairweather friend’ which was going to be the next single but unfortunately it never saw the light of day.

++ What happened in 1992, why did the band broke up? Did you keep in touch?

In 1992 I left the band after the Japanese tour as I’d given it 7/8 years and really wanted to try something different.

++ I read many of you went to different bands afterwards. Wez to Carter USM, you went to form Chuck and Roger joined Airhead. Do you think there were any similarities to the sound of Resque in these bands?

I don’t think Resque’s sound influenced the bands we all joined afterwards to be honest. Not because we didn’t like it but just we all needed a change.

++ Has Reading changed much since those days? If one was to visit, it is one of the many cities I haven’t been in the UK yet, what would be the places, the sights, one shouldn’t miss?

I’ve not lived in Reading for about 14 years now. When I go back it has changed a lot since the 80’s but that’s no bad thing. Everything moves on.

++ Thanks again Mark for this extensive interview! One last question though, what was the biggest highlight for you in Resque?

The biggest highlight of being in Resque for me was the fact we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I got to travel the world with my closest friends. I pretty munched laughed from start to finish. We’re all still really close and it was a huge part of my life. Im very proud of what ever little we achieved and I think we’re generally remembered as a good band.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for showing an interest in my past. I really enjoyed reminiscing.

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Listen
International Resque – Yeah!

20
Apr

There’s been a bunch of interesting news this week! So I can do two posts this week!

Firstly let me start with the most important news according to me, the one that involves the label. That is that finally I can announce the 9th Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release: The Potting Sheds!!!!! Right now I have uploaded a taster for you all on Soundcloud. That is the song “Take it Away (quickly)” that you can start sharing and loving all around! The album contains 20 songs and it is your classic Cake Kitchen custom made digipak, meaning it comes with our classic indiepop fanzine design plus full liner notes. More info and pre-order button very soon on the website. The album will be out this summer, hopefully early July. I’ll keep you informed here!

Stephen Lawson from the band Bluenose B who I was in touch and interviewed just some weeks ago has two new solo songs on Youtube. They sound fresh as a lettuce and you can check them both if you click the links for “Summer Girl” and “Marianne“. Very nice videos indeed, DIY style, with cool images of Stephen on about town.

The Legendary Hearts, who I interviewed as well, have two new singles out. Both have their accompanying videos on Youtube. You can check out the jangly goodness of “Faded by the Sun” and “Make a Home” if you click on the links. Really nice stuff!

John Douglass and Steve Hogg from Kid Sinister, another band I interviewed some years ago, have a new album titled “September Song” out on July 6th. That same day they will be performing a launch gig at The Cube Cinema in Bristol if you are around. You can listen to two tracks from the album on their Soundcloud. I link them here: “The Devil I Know” and “Blues in the Morning“. I especially like the poppier “The Devil I Know”. It is great to see both John and Steve back in action!

Thanks to the Sugarfrost Records Facebook page I got to know about some cool live recordings from B-flower. There is a very nice cover of The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” dating from November 1990 in Kyoto. Then from the same year there’s covers of Felt’s “Rain of Crystal Spires” and “Don’t Die on My Doorstep“. And later from 1991 another Smith’s cover for “You Just Haven’t Earned it yet Baby“. And that’s not all, there’s an 1988 live cover of The Smiths’ “Asleep“. That’s very early B-flower!

Two other classic bands have new releases coming up on Elefant Records. I’m talking about The Primitives and the BMX Bandits. The Primitives are at the moment promoting their new single “New Thrills” with the song “Oh Honey Sweet” which I suppose is the B side as Tracy Tracy is not singing! The BMX Bandits, on the other hand, are releasing an album titled “Forever”. The song “It’s In Her Eyes (With Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab)” is the song the band and the label are using to promote it. Good to know that both bands are still going strong!

And last but not least, in this recap of classic band news, it seems the Scottish documentary about post-punk (1979-1985), Big Gold Dream, is available on Youtube now. I ordered the DVD and I’m happy to have supported this effort as I hope there will be more documentaries where indiepop/c86 is covered.  (Not anymore, seems because of copyright, it has been taken down)

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Applejack is a strong apple-flavored alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period. The name derives from “jacking”, a term for “increasing” (alcohol content) and specifically for “freeze distilling”, the traditional method of producing the drink.

I’m going to guess that the band, being Irish, named themselves after Feargal Sharkey. For those unaware Feargal Sharkey was the vocalist of The Undertones! A little bio coming from Wikipedia too:
Seán Feargal Sharkey (born 13 August 1958) is a singer from Northern Ireland most widely known as the lead vocalist of pop punk band The Undertones in the 1970s and 1980s, and also for solo works in the 1980s and 1990s. His 1985 solo single “A Good Heart” was an international success. After becoming less musically active in the early 1990s, he has performed various roles supporting the UK’s commercial music industry, winning several awards and honours for his work in that area.

Or perhaps, the vocalist of Feargal is the Applejack was actually called Feargal? Could be too, no?

It is definitely a disappointment that Discogs doesn’t have Feargal is the Applejack in its database. This will complicate our detective work. Where to start? As last week I decided to check on the website Irish Rock. Yes, even though I’m not sure where in Ireland they were from, I’m 100% sure that they were Irish.

Irishrock.org doesn’t have them in their database either. But they do have a compilation on there that Feargal is the Applejack contributed to. Titled “My Favourite Things”, this tape compilation was released by the label Mickey Rourke’s Fridge in 1993. The catalog was MRF11. This label does appear on Discogs, it was the label that released the classic (and favourite band of mine) Hey Paulette.

On “My Favourite Things” the band Feargal is the Applejack appears on the B side with the song “Come On Home”. I look forward to hearing this song sometime. Other bands that appear on the compilation were The Dadas, The River Babies, The Wiporwills, Eilleen Gogan & Niall O’Sullivan, 16 Again, Freres Jackman, Interference, The Quack Squad, Revenants, Hank Halfhead & the Rambling Turkeys, Rapture, The Deportees, Sean Foy, Sean A. McDermott & The Wayfaring Strangers. Aside from The Dadas  I’m not familiar with any of them!

Then I stumble upon Boards.ie, an Irish message board. On a post dating from September 18, 2008, a user remembers Feargal is the Applejack:
Feargal Is The Applejack – a small Dublin band which sounded very like the realism of Whipping boy and the spoken word type vocals of Fearghal McKee.

So the band must have been from Dublin. A quick googling tells me that Feargal McKee was part of the band Whipping Boy. Honestly I’m not familiar with this band and I believe there is no connection between them. From some of the songs I hear on Youtube, they sound much rockier, 90s alternative sounding.

The one song I do know from Feargal is the Applejack is titled “Talking to Yourself”, and what a song it is. I love the vocals, the guitar, the melodies, the vibe. Top song. This song seems that came from another Mickey Rourke’s Fridge compilation, one titled “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?”. This compilation is available in its entirety on Youtube. It was released in 1992 and was the fourth release on the label, catalog MRF 004. The other bands to appear were Freres Jackman, The Skips, Hey Paulette, Icehead and Grievous Angels. The compilation was compiled by Seán McDermott.

The last mention I find on the web about Feargal is the Applejack comes from a PDF thanks to the Westland Library. It is a scan of the Westland Observer from Westland, Michigan in the US. Strange, no? How did the tape “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?” gets a review in such  a place? Who knows! But there it is on the June 22nd, 1992, edition of the paper. It says:
…Side two stays more’with convention, albeit damn fine sounding. An Irish ska band? “Limbo Police” by Freres Jack-man deftly captures a bit of the blue beat spirit while; Feargal is the Applejack’s ‘Talking to Yourself is sugary pop gloriously doused with arsenic….

I also could find an abandoned Myspace for the band, one where the songs don’t stream anymore. At least I could find out that the band recorded some more songs. From the same demo tape as “Come On Home” and “Talking to Yourself” come the songs “You” and “Fire Alarm”. There were also live recordings for the songs “Beautiful (Gerry)” and “Talking to Yourself”. There are also a bunch of press photos available.

Then there is also the connection with the band Cliff Edge Panic. As I wrote about them in my previous post, after this short-lived band split, some members went to Feargal is the Applejack.

Not much more on the web. I would love to know who where the band members. Would love to listen to their other songs. If they had more recordings other than the demo tape. If they played many gigs. What did they do after. So many questions. Maybe someone remembers them? In the meantime I’ll enjoy this song and maybe discover some more Irish indiepop on the “Dostoevesky Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?” tape on Youtube.

EDIT 22/04/17: Seán McDermott from Disques Fridge reminded me that there was a promo video for Talking to Yourself. I had seen it on Youtube and thought I talked about it on the post, but seems it totally slipped from me! If you hadn’t seen it yet, please check here.

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Listen
Feargal is the Applejack -Talking to Yourself