Other Things To Do

It's the 21st Century apparently, so why not come join the Facebook group of the blog of the music. It's what people from the future do.
"Because Midway Still Aren't Coming Back" on Facebook.
If you'd like to contact me, the best way is probably to email:
5318008 at gmail.com

Monday, 17 December 2007

Mambo Taxi

Congratulations Mrs Internet, it's a post about early 90s riot girl combo Mambo Taxi!

Well, it would be but I can't even remember whey I bought this single or anything else about the band. The best bit of information I could find is from Stewart Mason's All Music Guide and goes like this:

"The short-lived all-female combo Mambo Taxi was born out of the U.K. garage rock scene of the early '90s, but their music mixed garage with punk, pop, and dance influences. The first-names-only group consisted of Delia (ex-Cornershop, future Family Way and Baby Birkin) on guitar and vocals, Ella on vocals and guitar, Andrea on keyboards, Lenie on bass, and Karin on drums. (Karin was later replaced by Huggy Bear's Anjali.) Mambo Taxi released three singles, 1992's "Prom Queen," 1993's four-song EP "Poems on the Underground," and 1994's "Do You Always Dress Like That?" as well as one album, 1994's In Love With Mambo Taxi, before splintering later that year."
Mambo Taxi were part of the "Riot Grrrl" movement of the early 90s, a group of shouty ladies in such illustrious bands as Huggy Bear, Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland; all bands that were full of energy and oestrogen and who were far more interesting than the latter day Girl Power shit of the Spice Girls et al.

Well, as it's Christmas and this is a pretty crappy post, can I make it up to you by offering you an mp3 of Mambo Taxi - Prom Queen? You'd like that? Well, Merry Christmas to you then! And here's my card to you. Print it out and imagine I posted it to you. For real excitement, why not staple a five pound note to it?

Friday, 14 December 2007

The Planet Wilson

To Hull then today for The Planet Wilson who, you may or may not recall from way back in the past, were the support band for Ned's Atomic Dustbin at the Duchess of York in Leeds in 1990 at my first ever gig and were, I guess, in that case technically the first band I ever saw live. That's top indie pop knowledge that is.

Anyway, hailing from Hull and formed (it says here) from the remnants of a band called the Red Guitars, The Planet Wilson released a couple of cracking albums - 1988's In the Best of All Possible Worlds and the follow-up Not Drowning but Waving - and possibly a couple of singles.

The first album has more than a hint of the late-Talking Heads, early-solo-David Byrnes about it (as you can probably hear on this recording of The Planet Wilson - Flap The Bird) and, for some reason, really reminds me of The Bees. Neither of these things can be considered bad (or at least very bad).

Trouserpress.com has a bit more information here, but that's about it again I'm afraid. Any more background gratefully received.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


There can't be many useful things to know about Welwyn Garden City can there? Nick Faldo started his golf career there, we know that. The city was built by Quakers, erstwhile England flapper David "Calamity" James was born there, I used to go out with a girl who lived there, isn't the bus station famous for some reason? That's all we know about Welwyn Garden City. Oh, and it's the home town of indie pop punk trio S*M*A*S*H. Officially the hardest band to Google in the world.

S*M*A*S*H were moderately famous in the early-to-mid 90s, supporting such indie luminaries as Pop Will Eat Itself and playing on the NME's "On Into 94" tour, but they never really made it big. According to Wikipedia

"The trio made a memorable appearance on Top of the Pops, singing "Shame" live to a backing track which had been recorded at a studio especially for the programme. They became the first to appear on the BBC's flagship chart show without officially releasing a single - their debut EP reaching number 26 in the album charts."
Oddly, once you get past the impossible to Google band name... and who'd have thought back in 1992 there's be idiots like me on the internet at half 10 of a Thursday night - incidentally I'm doing this now because the wife has gone to see Take That - desperate to search for information about long-forgotten indie bands; you wouldn't have called your band "Ride", the internet gurus would have told you to choose something easy to find.., but I digress, once you find the stuff, there's a few really good websites ou there devoted to the band, S*M*A*S*H.net and Self Abused to name but two.

The band made an attempted comeback early in 2006 and acording to the internet they were very good. But you have to wonder whether that's the same internet that remembers Moose as the founding fathers of shoegazing...

Well, here you go, what you're here for. After much deliberation you can have a bit of a listen and a mosh to S*M*A*S*H - Petal Buzz; my personal favourite off the Another Love EP and also the name of their fanzine. Enjoy.


Surely you can't want more jingly jangly indie nonsense? You do? OK, here are London based indie popsters Moose.

I hate copying willy-nilly from Wikipedia, but apparently, and I have no way of verifying this either way,

"Moose have been credited by some as being the first band to be called "shoegazers" which was inspired by an early gig of theirs at which [singer and guitarist] Russell Yates read lyrics taped to the floor."
Can this be true? Surely someone like Ride would have been the first shoegazers? Moose as the first shoegazers? It's the first I've heard of it!

I've got a load of old NMEs somewhere, I'll try and check at Christmas, but in the meantime, if you can prove this bold claim then please let me know! (This bit of typing is getting very exclamation mark-heavy, for which I apologise).

So, the band were possibly instrumental in the popularity of shoegazing, produced a load of cracking tunes in the early 90s, never achieved the fame they probably deserved, disappeared, reappeared to try their luck again around the millenium and promptly disappeared again. This is a running theme for bands on here.

There's a really nice little fansite here (which, by the way, would be a leading exponent of shoegazing as a style of web design, if such a thing existed. Take a look at it and you'll see what I mean. That site is the most shoegazingest website I've seen in ages).

And to keep you going and remind you of the alleged first ever shoegazers, from 1991's Reprise EP, have a listen to Moose - Last Night I Fell Again, it's rather good.

(Right click, 'Save as...' to download)

(And now, if you can imagine me wandering off, shaking my head and muttering "first ever shoegazers, I just don't know...", the illusion is complete).

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Charlottes

Today we have some cracking early 90s East Anglian indie pop action (it's not often you'll hear that said!) from much missed band The Charlottes. Swooping in on the C86 bandwagon, The Charlottes showed the way for a lot of those who came after. There's more than a hint of Ride in there and when the drummer Simon Scott went off to form Slowdive there was a straight line drawn from one to the other.

As with many of the proper indie bands, The Charlottes were firm Peel favourites, recording two Peel Sessions, and they toured extensively; playing to the massed ranks of shoegazing fops at such places as the Duchess of York in Leeds and the Old Trout in Windsor. We knew what we wanted and we knew were to get it!

According to MusicOMH.com, a pretty bloody useful review, interview and features website I'd highly recommend:

"Lovehappy [the debut album] from The Charlottes, described by the NME's Steve Lamacq no less as "altogether more sexy than Kylie", when awarding it 9/10. Sadly for the band it sold rather fewer copies than the diminutive Antipodean."
There's a pretty comprehesive biography here and on the Cherry Red site here and here is The Charlottes - Liar, in all its characteristic ding-dinga-dinga-ding indie-tweeness-glory.

Monday, 26 November 2007


An earlier version of The Wikipedia page for Loop sums the band's music up quite nicely for me: "Loop did not fit easily into any category but have variously classified as a shoegazers or indie rock band", but this has been changed to some piffle about "psychedelic/drone rock", which doesn't mean anything and lumps the band in with Spaceman 3, when to my ears they have more than a hint of Mudhoney about them. Still, each to their own.

What we can't deny is that for 5 or so years from the end of the 80s, Loop were turning out pretty decent "alternative" rock at a steady pace, appearing with John Peel and carrying out their indie roles with some aplomb.

Again, the wikipedia page provides some good background and there's a very nice discography here.

Once more I was turned on to this particular recording as it's a giveaway flexi disk from The Catalogue magazine (November/December 1988 for the completists) and I think my love of the flexi is well documented.

Anyway, enjoy Loop - Torched, as it's a cracking bit of dirty indie rock that doesn't really fit in with the jingly-jangly stuff I'd normally put on here, but what the hell; I'll make it up to you with some Catherines stuff soon...

Buy "A Gilded Eternity" by Loop

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Another of your legendary Scottish indie bands today (Glasgow and Berkshire, the hotbeds of indie, you wouldn't bet on that would you?); with the wonderful and latterly-renamed Eugenius (due apparently to Marvel Comics being a tad miffed that the band were originally called "Captain America".

There's a really good Eugenius fansite here (again, it's Geocities, so get it while it's hot!) that gives us a really nice history of the band.

In 1987 Eugene along with Frances McKee joined to form the Vaselines in Edinburgh. The band also consisted of Eugene's brother, Charles, on drums and James Seenan on bass. The Vaselines dissolved in 1989 with the release of their first LP. In 1990, Eugene formed Captain America but was forced to change the name due to a possible copyright infringement suit by Marvel comics. Thereafter the band would become known as Eugenius. In Addition to Raymond Boyle and Roy Lawrence, Kelly borrowed Gordon Keen from the Bmx Bandits and Francis MacDonald from Teenage Fanclub to form the Eugenius line up. In 1994 Eugenius released their second album, Mary Queen of Scots. Following the Eugenius releases Eugene co-wrote "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You" with Evan Dando and has appeared on several compilations and other collaborations. Eugene has now completed a solo album tentatively scheduled for release sometime in 2003.
So there's not much point in me going over old ground again, but suffice to say, the band were one of the great unfancied indie bands that, despite Kurt Cobain - out of Nirvana (you never hear about them any more do you!) - being a fan, they never really lived up to the expectations of the indie kids.

Still, Eugene Kelly was still banging out the tunes until pretty recently so at least some good came of it all. And here you are, the crux of the matter (well done for getting to the bottom of this) Eugenius - Easter Bunny. Enjoy. I did, I'd forgotten how good the band were.

Buy Oomalama by Eugenius

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Carter USM

I have a confession to make. I fucking love Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. More than any other indie pop band, Carter are my absolute favourite. Don't get me wrong, The Family Cat and all the rest are the soundtrack to my jingly jangly youth, but Carter are my favourite by a long, long way.

So, it's taken me a long time to put them up here, not because they don't count, but because I wanted to wait and see how those rose-tinted memories stood up to the gigs that were played in Glasgow and London this year. I also wanted to make sure I could decide on an mp3 to put up here. Carter were my introduction to the world of indie pop. I remember vividly that I was on a coach back from a school trip somewhere and we stopped at a motorway service station. Being a bit of a sad bastard I didn't rush into the newsagents and buy a copy of Razzle like the hard kids did, I bought an NME. It had a review for 101 Damnations in it and it sounded to me like the greatest album ever produced. Of course, when I finally got to a shop to buy it and got it home, it was.

I'd hate to say that Carter changed my life, because that would be over-egging the pudding somewhat, but from then on I was hooked. I even grew a fringe like Jimbob - thank God there aren't any photos of that.

Over the next couple of years I saw them whenever I could. At least twice at the Poly in Huddersfield (I hope you've been paying attention, there's a quiz later on the support bands) and at the 1991 Reading Festival where, apart from the Sister's of Mercy and some no hopers called Nirvana, they were the best thing ever.

It's just a shame they weren't more fashionable. All the cool indie girls in their black and purple hoopy tights (you know you loved them!) went to Cud. Teenage Fanclub were the kings. Carter were my favourites. I don't care if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I decided. Much as Sheriff Fatman is the crowd pleaser and Only living Boy in New Cross is the big hit and After the Watershed is the one the Rolling Stones tried to ban and Bloodsport for All wasn't played on Radio 1 "because of the Iraq war", I had to go for Carter USM - Shopper's Paradise because when they played it at Brixton I had a smile a foot wide. This isn't the original Christmas special edition I'm afraid, just the one from 30 Something (admittedly a white label version :), but do you care? I don't. And I care even less that the photos have fucked the formatting on this.

Tell your kids, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Best indie band ever.

Monday, 12 November 2007


So what do we know about Perfume? Well, after being made aware of their existence in the Blab Happy post back in the mists of time, what we know is summed up in the Wikipedia page dedicated to them:

When Blab Happy split up, singer/guitarist Mick McCarthy and bassist Tony Owen recruited John "Johnny Wadd" Waddington to form Perfume, initially releasing records on their own "Aromasound" label.

Their first releases was "Yoga" in December 1993. Second single "Young" (which was perfume-scented) appeared in April 1994. Third single "Lover" was picked up on by BBC Radio One DJ's Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley (the latter getting the band in to record a session for her show), and they toured with Gene, the band's profile rising as a result, leading to a minor (UK Top 75) hit in January 1996 with the single "Haven't Seen You".

That year's success saw them sign to Big Star Records, who reissued "Lover", to be followed by the debut album One in 1997. Perfume performed at the Glastonbury Festival in 1997. The band split later that year, with a posthumous "best of" compilation Yesterday Rising released in 1998.
And now thanks to our old friend Mr eBay, of course, we also know that this tune Perfume - Lover is a bang on bit of indie pop, very much in the Big Star label's vein of Teenage-Fanclubbery.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


Now we're talking. For the first of this month's posts we have those excitable Reading based scamps Resque. Previously known to one and all as International Resque, the band dropped the first word sometime prior to this little offering: Resque - She Drives My Train.

There must be something in the water in Berkshire. Reading and Oxford seem to feature heavily in any list of indie pop home towns.

Resque toured extensively with Carter USM, which of course is where I was first introduced to them (specifically at a gig at Huddersfield Poly in probably 1991. It was in the Great Hall mind - ask your dads kids!); and it only took the first 30 seconds of this to remind me of their lovely jingly-jangly Beatlesesque pop offerings.

And of course, in 1993 or so after the band split, Wez, the Resque drummer was latterly recruited to the by-then slightly past it Carter to bolster the duo into a 'proper' band. It wasn't his fault...

There's a nice little fan site here for more information, but there's not much to be found about the band around the internet so I'm a bit at a loss I'm afraid. All stories welcome!

Monday, 29 October 2007

Thousand Yard Stare

You may not believe me, but I do have a kind of plan for where this page is going and what order I'm going to do stuff in. I've got a little notebook and everything (very reasonably priced, 79p from Sainsbury's). But then something comes along that makes me stop and shove something in that I'd forgotten about or was saving for later.

This is one of those times.

Partially because a chap called "cambridgemartin" linked to this blog from something called the Panic Club board and said it was great except for the upcoming band and partly because I'd forgotten that the featured mp3 is of one of my favourite football-metaphors-for-life records (right up there with Mathematically Safe by Half Man Half Biscuit). So ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Thousand Yard Stare!

Hailing from the much-maligned industrial wastelands of Slough, Thousand Yard Stare banged out a succession of pure jingly-jangly indie pop EPs of the finest quality for four years or so in the early 1990s and were right up there in the pantheon of the country's finest exponents of energetic dancey sing-a-long music that we love so much.

This particular football-metaphor-driven ditty, Thousand Yard Stare - 0-0 AET featured the talents of Martin Bell of The Wonder Stuff on fiddle, topped the Indie music charts and even made its way onto the UK top 40 singles chart.

I'd forgotten just how good Thousand Yard Stare were and I'm sorry it took so long to get them in here; but it was all part of the masterplan. Promise.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Galaxie 500

I guess it should be pretty obvious that I'm a big fan of scratchy old indie records by now. What is probably less obvious is jus thow much I love flexi disks. A couple have snuck in already from The Family Cat and A House, and these are absolutely my favouritest things so far. It's pretty fair to say that if I had a load of money and nothing better to do then I'd get completely obsessed with them. Just take a look on ebay and see how much cool stuff there is.

Anyway, suffice to say when I found this combination of Galaxie 500 and top notch 'free off of a magazine' flexi disk I was as happy as happy can be. This particular flexi was given away with a magazine called "The Catalogue" which I have to admit I'm not familiar with and comes with another tune from a New Zealand band called "Straitjacket Fits".

Anyway, I digress. Galaxie 500 were part of the late 80s American shoegazing invasion and owe more than a nod (in this recording at least) to bands like Spaceman 3. For a couple of years the band swirled around the UK, banged out a Peel Session and made a lot of friends, not least Liz Phair who cited them as an influence. Unfortunately Rough Trade, their label, went bust in 1991 and that rather spelled the end of the band in the UK at least.

There's some really good stuff available here and an mp3 of the flexi here in all it's scratchy plasticky wonderousness - Galaxie 500 - Victory Garden.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Heavy Stereo

Ok, so this is going to be slightly different as it's more of a treasure hunt for information from anyone that can help.

What we have here is a a 1-sided 7" in a natty brown carboard sleeve with an insert promoting a few gigs, but that's it really. According to the only bits and bobs I can find about the internet it may well be a freebie sent out to fanclub members and is probably called "Mouse in a Hole", although during the warm up bit of the track the chap (presumably the aforementioned Gem) calls it "Tell Your Ma". The various copies on eBay seem to be being sold by people who don't know either.

I do know that Heavy Stereo were the stepping stone band for Gem Archer, current guitarist with the Oasis boys. I'm not too worried that this is edging into Brit Pop territory (shudder), as we've already had Ride and Andy Bell.

What I'd like to know is this: What is the bit of vinyl is pictured? Is it Mouse in a Hole? How did the fanclub get it? Is it a 5000-only limited run or similar? Did you see the band play?

I picked it up in a charity shop as it was right next to the first Sleeper EP (of which more later) and for a pound it seemed like a proper bargain. It's nice late-indie with a smattering of rock and more than a hint of the Oasis sound.

So this is the mp3 of it Heavy Stereo, but what?, help!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Bang Bang Machine

I was reminded of Bang Bang Machine when I was doing the Catherine Wheel post down there, so had to rush off to ebay and spend some hard earned (well, adsense-earned) cash on this particular 12". Partially because it turns out it was one of the last records the band released, partially because it was released in 1995 and that's the first missing year from the 90s in this blog so far, but mostly because it's an absolute cracker of a record.

So who were Bang Bang Machine? Well, they were only Worcestershire's finest purveyors of the indie-pop, jingly-jangly, shoe-gazing type of music that we all know and love. Actually, that's a bit unfair; the band experimented with various musical styles from proper indie pop to grunge to, well, goth really and towards the end of their existence firmly fell into the Brit Pop category.

The band's indie pop pedigree can't be denied of course, a Peel session and number 1 in the 1992 Festive 50 above such lumiaries as Pavement, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Wedding Present, Sonic Youth and The Fall attest to that, and if you've got a copy of Geek Love (said number 1) on CD, then that's worth about £20 on ebay to you guv!

There's a nice unoffical site here and for your listening pleasure, here is Bang Bang Machine - Breathless.

I think this post is going to be one of those where everyone remebers far more about the band than I do. This is probably due to an excess of snakebite in the early 1990s than anything, so please fill in the gaps!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

BMX Bandits

If ever there was a Scottish indie-pop super group, then it's these chaps, the BMX Bandits. Containing, in no particular order or time frame, members of Teenage Fanclub, The Soup Dragons, Arab Strap and Eugene Kelly out of Captain America/Eugenius, not only do the group give me loads more names that I'd forgotten to include, but it also provides a collection of some of the most talented musicians of the generation - and all are from a little bit of Scotland near Glasgow.

The problem of course with putting up such a well-regarded, if not particularly commecially-successful band is that there are lots of places around the web for them, probably the best being The unoffical tribute to the BMX Bandits.

A quick delve into Wikipedia shows just how influential the band were:

"Oasis did their first UK tour dates supporting the Bandits as a favour from Stewart to Creation label boss Alan McGee. BMX Bandits admirers include Kurt Cobain who was famously photographed wearing a BMX Bandits T shirt as he had been wearing T shirts of Daniel Johnston and Captain America (later renamed Eugenius) and Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits."
So, rather than go over too much old ground, here's BMX Bandits - Little Hands and a picture of Nicole Kidman (see also this page) in the Australian film of the same name...
oh Nicole!

Oh yes, and needless to say the bit of vinyl pictures above is a promo only copy retrieved from some record fair bargain bin in the mid-90s in the vain hope it would be worth something...

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Anastasia Screamed

We're cheating a bit here, I'm afraid. Not really cheating, but pushing the borders of what I'm doing here, for no other reason than because Anastasia Screamed are Americans and came "out of the same late-'80s post-punk Boston music scene that produced the Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., and the Pixies".

But they don't really sound like the Pixies or Dinosaur Jr (well, no one does I guess), this particular song sounds almost like an angry James, but with some really top notch jingly-jangly guitars - as all good Fire Records bands could turn out.

There are some pretty good biographies around the internet, not least the above and also here and here so I won't bother you too much with the details.

Instead, have a listen to Anastasia Screamed - Tornado and make up your own minds. Better than the Pixies? Probably not. Just about obscure enough to fit in to these pages? Probably.

I'm at a bit of a loss again I'm afraid. Even though I'm only putting this stuff up here so people can stumble across it and be reminded of the indie vinyl they've got kicking about in the loft, every time I do one of these and I'm not really 100% sure about the band I'm doing I feel like I'm cheating.

If it's any consolation there's a good BMX Bandits one coming...

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Pooh Sticks

More jingly jangly Welsh indie pop today with The Pooh Sticks. Although they keep cropping up on blogs lumped in with twee and shoe-gazing music, we all know they were far more pop than that, and if there'd been any spirit of humour and irony in music in 1991 they'd have been far more successful than they were.

Let's face it, if Blur can drive the country wild by knocking out shit like Country House, then such pop-comedy-classics "Indie-pop ain't Noise Pollution" and "I Know Someone who Knows Someone who knows Alan McGee Quite Well" deserved more than a brief mention in the NME's indie charts.

If you want a good biography, visit The Pooh Sticks fan page (it's on Tripod, so get it while it's hot!) For the meantime, take this from the same site:

Perpetual teenagers and perennial losers, The Pooh Sticks are the best-kept secret of the British indie scene. This is a band that swears eternal allegiance to the unholy trinity of the MC5 ("Back in the USA" era), 60s bubblegum music and mid-70s big pop. Girls are 'groovy' and, for the men, slouching and smoking in the boys' room are compulsory, as the sweet dreams of sussed but cute adolescence burn long and deep.

Formed by Hue Williams (vocals) in late 1987, the line-up was completed by Trudi Tangerine (tambourine/piano), Paul (guitar), Alison (bass) and Stephanie (drums) - they are loath to reveal their surnames. The early sound was a bizarre genre-hopping hybrid of two-minute jangle pop, 'enthusiastic' harmonizing, three-chord punk, girl-group cuteness and, beneath it all, a sharp wit aimed squarely at the po-faced indie scene of the time.

In the best spirit of marketing disasters ... early Pooh Sticks singles were released in a boxed set, prior to being transferred on to the debut album, Pooh Sticks (1988). Japery occasionally lapsed into tweeness ('Goody goody gumdrops, my heart is doing flip flops'), but generally The Pooh Sticks sidestepped smugness in favour of genuine charm and enthusiasm.
So here you go, some cracking early 90s Monkees-style indie pop to listen to: The Pooh Sticks - The World Is Turning On in all it's 'less than two minutes long' glory. Bloody lovely stuff it is too.

Oh yeah, and this particular mp3 is copied from a really fantastically warped blue vinyl 7" single. Don't let anyone tell you that digital downloads are the best way of listening to music. Oh, don't get me wrong, you can use the above to capture the overall essence, but I've got a wobbly 7" that you need to put a weight on so it plays; and even then it's 50:50 whether you'll get the whole thing. That's music. The kids of today just don't understand. Wankers.

Oh, and you can have the video too if you like:

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The High

Formed in Manchester, the Stone Roses would go on to change the face of indie pop with their seminal 1989 debut album (called "The Stone Roses", oddly enough). However, while still young and unknown in 1984, the band had a guitarist called Andy Couzens. Unfortunately for young Mr Couzens, in 1986 a disagreement with the band's the manager ended with him leaving the soon to be massive Roses.

Fortunately for us though, the departed guitarist went off and set up his own band with three former member of another local group called Flag of Convenience*. This new band was called The High.

The band played their first gig in 1989 at the Ritz Ballroom in Manchester - a fantastic venue with a rather springy dancefloor - and were signed straight after to London Records, who they chose over local label Factory amongst others.

Anyway, the usual story follows, hotly-tipped Manchester band, release well-received singles and critically-approved debut album then fail to live up to expectations, hang around for a few years but never recapture the hey-day and split up. They did release a new album in 2004 though. No, me either.

I feel I'm doing the band a disservice, but I'm a bit sketchy on all the details. I was requested (for want of a better word) to put them up and I just can't remember that much about them, so apologies if I've misrepresented.

So this is The High - Box Set Go; the original version of this record was produced by legendary Madchester producers Martin Hannett and John Pennington. Unfortunately this recording is of the 1991 version. The vinyl is in a gatefold sleeve though!

* The fourth member of the band, one Steve Diggle, would soon re-form his original band, The Buzzcocks, you might have heard of them

Kitchens of Distinction

I get a lot of google searches for Kitchens of Distinction coming in to this page from an earlier mention, so it's about time I got about to doing them properly.

Looking about, you get a nice little quote about the band here:

Formed Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1987; Cult band Kitchens of Distinction like to shroud their origins in multiple myths. Sometimes they say that they met in a Turkish sauna; sometimes in a satanist temple in Amsterdam; sometimes - most credibly - at a Dutch gig by the reggae legend Burning Spear.
The band are/were another of the early 90s swooping guitar, wailing feedback, muffled vocals bands that we all love so much.

There's loads about the band around on the internet in places like the One Little Indian site, so I feel a bit like I'm cheating putting them up here, but at the very least I've posted one of these for September and let you have a listen to a nicely scratchy post-vinyl mp3 of one of my favourite recordings.

I've actually got a white label of this: Kitchens of Distinction - Breathing Fear, but it appears that there are more of them out there than actual bought versions, so I'm not going to retire on the profits just yet...

On a side note, there's a shop just up the road from where I used to live that advertises Kitchens of Distinction; it always raised a smile when I wallked past.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Catherine Wheel

You don't get much in the way of rock and roll from Great Yarmouth; it's not your hot bed of music like Manchester or Liverpool. Granted that bloke out of sub-van Halen cover band The Darkness was from that neck of the woods, but apart from him, the only real contributers to music - and certainly the only ones we're interested in, were Catherine Wheel.

Formed in 1990, the band had Bruce (off of Iron Maiden) Dickinson's cousin on guitar; Fortunately for all of us however, he was far more interested in swooping shoegaze feedback and vocals than cod-metal.

In true indie style, the band split in the mid-90s, then reformed to chance their arms in the indie-revival of 2000, before finally calling it a day and going their separate ways.

The official website now redirects to newer bands, but this list of their gigs suggests that they toured extensively. And I've a nasty feeling I saw them at the Boardwalk in Manchester being supported by Bang Bang Machine; but I can't be 100% as they appear to have played the city a lot in the years I was there so it might have been upstairs at the Hop & Grape with someone even less famous...

Check wikipedia for more information and listen to Catherine Wheel - Crank. It's very good and true to form, I've got a "not for resale" 12" version of the single. Of course, "not for resale" these days means "cheap off of ebay".

Monday, 20 August 2007

The Popinjays

Just for the sake of it, open this mp3 (The Popinjays - Monster Mouth) and take a guess at who produced it? Which influential indie legend was heavily involved in the career of the Popinjays?

Anyone who didn't answer "Why, Ian Broudie off of the Lightning Seeds" should probably leave now.

The problem now of course is that I remember nothing about the band other than they were a twee little band on the semi-mythical One Little Indians label. Oh, and if the sticker is anything to go by, my 7" version of the attached single apparently cost me 99p.

The entire wikipedia entry is:

Popinjays were a pop band from the late 1980s and early 1990s on One Little Indian Records. Members included Wendy Robinson and Polly Hancock.
Anyone able to help?

In the meantime, enjoy the top notch jingly jangly pop of the Popinjays; it's rather lovely and catchy. It makes me remember just how much fun being young and stupid in the early 1990s was.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Milltown Brothers

I don't know why, but I had in my mind that the Milltown Brothers were from Ireland; they're not of course, they're from a little town in Lancashire called Colne - which I discovered as soon as I opened up Wikipedia.

And do you know what only just occurred to me? The band are called the Milltown Brothers; we know that. We also know that the band contains two brothers, Matt and Simon Nelson, so far, so Columbo. But, hang on, Colne is a Lancashire mill town. So, hold your horses here... You mean they're brothers, from a mill town? Christ I must be thick, it's taken me the best part of 20 years to work that out...

I shan't bore you with all the details of the bands history, that's well documented on their myspace page, which is well worth a visit. But suffice to say that the band can be added to the long list of "indie bands that were far better than you remember and should have been far bigger than they were, if only the record company had spent some money and nobody had invented Nirvana".

The Milltown Brothers are, almost inevitably, still pottering along; they released a new album in 2004, but for a perfect slice of 1991 indie pop, have this here mp3: Milltown Brothers - Which Way Should I Jump?, it's got the standard "ding-ding-ding-dinga-dinga-ding-ding" jingly-jangly indie guitar riff in it, so that rates an 8/10 on the Carter Scale of indieness and frankly, dear reader, that's all you need to know. Get the fringe flicking and have a dance round the lounge. You won't regret it.

Friday, 3 August 2007


The internet is an amazing thing. You can find all kinds of long lost and barely needed information (and photos) about Headmen gigs, but try and find out when the mighty Thrum were formed and you'll be searching in vain.

What we do know is that they were Glaswegian (probably), had a female lead singer called Monica Queen who, as you'll hear on the attached mp3, has a haunting voice that deserved greater success and that courtesy of the Ready Steady Go website, that if you

...imagine a band with Tammy Wynette on vocals and Neil Young on guitar. That’s the deal with Glasgow’s country rockers, Thrum.
All I can remember about Thrum is that I saw them in early 1994 - and I've pinned this down courtesy of a Manchester Academy website and a bit of good, honest, hard thinking.

I remember that me and a bunch of friends won two pairs of tickets to any gig at the Manchester University Student Union or Academy; a big prize in those days. I went to see Thrum support somebody - and there's a good chance it was the Sultans of Ping - with my mate Daisy, and my other mate Stu went to a Megadog (proto-rave-hippy-bollocks club nights, you took loads of cheap speed and danced to Transglobal Underground and the like; they were great).

The only other thing I've managed to glean about the band is that Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley were big fans. I have this on good authority; specifically a genuine sighting of Ms Hurley and Mr Grant standing at the side of the stage as the band played at the 1994 Phoenix festival (now, whatever happened to that festival?)

So here you go, the wonderful Thrum - So Glad for your delight and delectation.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy some cheap amphetamines and dig out my Drum Club - "Live in Iceland" CD.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations

Likened by many to Jimi Hendrix's band because, well, because their guitarist was a black chap with dreadlocks, Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations were an "an underground indie psychedelic rock band based in the north west of England in the early to mid 1990s" (thank you once more myspace.

From humble beginnings - meeting on a music course at South Cheshire College of Further Education - and taking their name from a Hammer Horror film, the band experienced moderate early 90s success: releasing a couple of albums, a handful of EPs, playing at Glastonbury in 1992 and recording a Peel Session and very possibly a session for Mark Radcliffe.

Unfortunately, once more there doesn't seem to be a lot around to remember the band by, although they do seem to have inspired something of a cult following, leading to a sketchy wikipedia page and a few internet-recorded memories of people, like me, who can say "I saw the band play at [pub] in [town], [supporting/being supported by] [other band] and they were [brief critique]; where mine is "The Wharf", "Huddersfield", "being supported by", "a local band called, if I remember correctly, The Walking Seeds" and "pretty good if you like that sort of thing, but we were only there because they'd serve 16 year olds and there was an indie disco after".

Rummaging around ebay and the like seems to turn up the possibility that there was a 12" version of the 1991 Hazy Lazy hologram EP - of which an mp3 to follow - that included a free copy of the 7" version. This is the lead track from the EP: Dr Phibes etc etc - Hazy Lazy Hologram. This is the radio edit version of the free insert 7" single as, to be honest, the 12" version is rather long and you'll hear everything you need to in this version.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Sugar Rays

A brief yet invogorating diversion here from vague recollection to absolute obscurity. Ladies and gentleman, I give you The Sugars Rays. Who the hell they were is something I think i'll never know, but they certainly infringe on 'indie pop' by the sounds of the attached mp3.

All I know about this flexi disk (I certainly have no idea where it came from, I'm not even 100% sure it's from 1992) is what's on the insert, a promotional quote that says:

"The Sugar Rays are Nottingham's finest cartoon guitar band. With a garage load of energy they leap and bound the smallconfines of the stage like they actually enjoy the music. And so you can't help liking them because you know they couldn't give a flying one about the number of record companies present. This attitude shows through the music which hooks and winds its way around the three minute song with nonchalant affection and grinning humanity."

And that's it, the one mention on the internet I can find is here: that seems to suggest this flexi is the only thing they ever created.

It seems like a bit of a shame, I've certainly heard an awful lot worse music scraping into the charts, and I'm pretty sure it holds up against some of the other stuff on here fairly well.

So here it is Sugar Rays - Sugar Rush. Surely this can't be the only living memory of the band? Shame. The Sugar Rays, we salute you (and then leave you in the box marked "HX2").

Hang on, it just occurred to me! ebay! Home of all the world's jumble! And there it is £2.99 ONO to you sir!

The Headmen

How did we manage before the internet was invented? Before everyday people recorded everything they ever knew on web pages, I'd have been left with a vague recollection of a Huddersfield-based band called The Headmen who I saw play a few gigs at places like the Top Spot Snooker Club when I was a lad - presumably where I picked up the 7" plastic here - but really nothing more.

Now of course I know that they did indeed play at Top Spot - with other local band of legend Fluffpulp - thanks to a collection of photos here and that courtesy of bass player Dave Pattern's blog they

"were signed to a local label (Positive Records) and released a demo tape ("The Happy Shoebox"), a single ("Kissed to Pieces") which got quite a bit of Radio 1 airplay, and a 12" EP ("Reach the Sky") — the demo tape was supposed to named "The Magic Shoebox", which was the name of a shoe shop opposite the "4th Wave Records" shop in Huddersfield."

There is also a flickr group of photos from their gigs here. I've been looking through the photos for the past half hour and mercifully they're all from Halifax and Hipperholme gigs so I'm not in any of them.

So actually I feel a bit dirty posting an mp3 of the music; so dirty I'm going to email Dave and ask him if it's ok. But because you've probably not heard of them and they are as deserving of going on here as any one else, catch while you can, The Headmen - Kissed to Pieces.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Blab Happy

So, who the hell were Blab Happy?

I really don't remember buying this EP - Mad Surge, from 1991 - and only stumbled across it while looking for something else. But it's a lovely, sign of the times piece of early 90s indie twiddlery, and that's what I'm here for.

According to the sleeve of this EP, quoted from no less an organ that Time Out:

"Leicester's Blab Happy are a raw, rockin' cross between the Beatles harmonies of, say, The La's (only a little less retro) and the fuzzy guitars of That Petrol Emotion."
This of course means what we expect by now, they sound a bit like Teenage Fanclub.

Googling around I find two useful pieces of information about the band. Firstly, this bit of vinyl is worth 9 US Dollars to the good burghers of ebay and secondly, according to this 2003 article in the Guardian, the band had supported such noteables as Radiohead and Kingmaker. Yes, Kingmaker.

So, long-forgotten, but briefly famous Blab Happy, we salute you; and here is Blab Happy - Never No More in all its crackly vinyl glory.

As I've now been pointed to a video on youtube, by the band's singer/guitarist of all people, it's probably best to embed it here as well; by crikey those are proper indie haircuts...

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Midway Still

I guess this blog thing is called what it is because Midway Still are up there with the greatest of the early 90s indie pop bands. More directly it's called what it is because I was in the pub with my mate Rich and he made some lucid and forceful point about early 90s indie pop bands by tapping his finger rather too hard on the table and making his conclusion by saying "you've got to remember this stuff, because Midway Still aren't coming back!"; or words to that effect.

Really it was more the point that noone remembers these bands and noone wants their vinyl any more (well, except me), but he could have used any of the bands listed so far, or those that are coming - and let me tell you, I'm looking forward to Kitchens of Distinction...

Anyway, Midway Still, as it turns out, capture everything that was good about indie in 1992. The music is jaunty and happy, the words are apparently carefree but turn out to be well written when listened to. And most of all, they sound like Teenage Fanclub who in turn, of course, are just a Big Star covers band.

And this is a good thing. Here's their biography from the Fire Records site:

Taking their muse from Husker Du, Midway Still have described their music as being just the noise and tunes of a punk rock band into The Byrds and The Beatles. Yet their power-chord melodies catch classic strains of The Who and the Jam and in another era, they would have made a great mod band.
So even the band and their label admit it. Sort of. (The wonders of Fire Records is another project all in itself of course).

But the point for me is, sort of, that they epitomise the 90s music that I loved and want to remember here; listen, if you will, to this offering ("Midway Still - Better Than Before") a couple of times and tell me you're not singing along and tapping your feet, yearning for those happy days of snakebite and cheap roll-ups at the student disco.

As a footnote: Midway Still did of course make a brief comeback last year in London to celebrate the life of the late Darren 'Wiz' Brown, erstwile Mega City Four singer/guitarist.

PS. Arse, Mega City Four. I'd forgotten about them...

Buy the Best of Midway Still

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

A House

That's right, it's flexi-disk time once again! This one courtesy of Irish indie funsters A House. formed in the mid-80s, once more this is a tale of not living up to potential; the band never hit the big time as was hoped, with "Endless Art" - an indie disco favourite nonetheless - the only release to even think about possibly trouble the chart compilers.

The band's wikipedia entry suggests that they were signed to some big labels (Parlophone, Setanta, Blanco y Negra, MCA), and also suggests that the band are still going, but there's not a lot of information around. Mind you, that's not why you're here...

The flexi pictured and featured was apparently sent to their fan club members in the Christmas of 1992. I don't remember being a member of the fan club, but there's the flexi with my name and address on, so I must have been. Drinking in Manchester in the early 1990s was a dangerous thing for the impressionable and gullible music fan like myself.

A House - Slang

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Five Thirty

More jingly-jangly 1991 indie pop piffle today with Oxford's Five Thirty. Those of you keeping track will note the similarities between this band and those other monsters of shoe-gazing Ride - it was all floppy hair and wailing guitars round Oxfordshire in those days. And boy did we love it.

Not as popular as their local counterparts, Five Thirty relocated to London to try and make it in the big city. Unfortunately they failed to trouble the chart compilers in their brief existence (1985ish-1992), but they did produce some good old screaming and gnashing guitar music.

It's suggested that they were years before their time and the band would have made more of an impact in the Britpop years, but we've seen it before; another band unfairly doomed to the obscurity of indiepop completist's record collections and fading memories of simpler times.

Once more this is from a promo bit of vinyl - funny how those are the ones that survive so well: Five Thirty - You.

As it's now the 21st century and nothing gets to lie in state quietly and somberly, let's visit Youtube again:

Monday, 18 June 2007

World of Twist

I'll admit that I had to have a good rummage around on the internet to refresh my memories of World of Twist. 1990 was a bit early for me to be getting into the Madchester "baggy" scene that gave us the Happy Mondays. Fortunately, later experimentation with living in Manchester brought it to my full attention - need less to say two years too late. Then of course, further experimentation with snakebite and recreational drugs rather dulled my memories for these later years.

Anyway. Originally formed in the mid-80s and re-invented in 1989/1990, World of Twist were yet another highly-regarded band that never quite made it as big as they should have. Although feted by Alan McGee of Creation Records as better then Pulp, creative differences (that old chestnut) and generally poor critical and pubic reception of their debut album saw them split after only a couple of years.

Sadly the best bit of guff I could find about the band comes from the Guardian's obituary of the band's frontman Tony Ogden:

World of Twist's style fused glam-rock sensibilities with pulsating psychedelic pop, dazzling sell-out crowds at the Manchester Ritz, London Astoria and Sheffield Leadmill. An eccentric fusion of high- and low-tech visuals featuring spinning cut-out heads of the band's members, pyrotechnics and fake fur was the backdrop to Tony's magnetic presence, darkly handsome in sleek-fitting clothes.

However, their singles, including Sons of the Stage (1990), adopted by Oasis as their opening live number, and described by BBC radio's Mark Riley as "one of the greatest songs of all time", failed to break into the top 40. Their only album, Quality Street (1991), featuring Ogden on the cover in a soldier's uniform looking like Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd, disappointed critics, fans and the band alike.

Radio 1 sessions for John Peel and Mark Goodyear came closer to capturing the sound and energy of their live presence.

So, enjoy this offering: World of Twist - The Storm.

It's not the famous naked cover of "Sons of the Stage", but it is a cracker nonetheless.

Also on YouTube!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Bit of a mystery this one. A band called HX2 who must have been from Halifax although I'll be honest and admit I don't remember anything about them.

A chance conversation reminded me that I said I'd put this up and I've finally got around to doing it. I remember getting the 12" white label from my mate Simon, and it even says on it "Happy Birthday", but beyond that it's a bit of a puzzle.

Still, it's pretty good early 90s indiepop and even better it's as rare as rocking horse poo. A white label 12" from a small band in West Yorkshire.

So, this is HX2 - Good Times, enjoy. And if you know anything about the band then let me know.

PS, I've just realised that that's Kylie on the picture (which is of the sticker that was on the sleeve); curiouser and curiouser.

Madder Rose

"Do you really need anymore of this shit?" asked the good lady wife as a Madder Rose 10" maxi-single dropped through the letter box courtesy of Mr eBay.

Fighting back the urge to say "Yes, I need all of this 'shit' as you so delicately put it; because if I don't remember Madder Rose then who will?" I simply put the kettle on and began to explain at length how important proper indie pop was before Blur got all wanky and invented "BritPop". That soon sent here to sleep.

So, Madder Rose then. Turns out they were an American band. It also turns out that the word "twee" is used an awful lot when describing them. They've got a brief page on Wikipedia and John Peel let them do a session (presumably whilst high on ether) and Rolling Stone magazine of all publications says:

As rock & roll teeters on the edge of the millennium, dream pop has swirled onto the music scene. It's as if the global psyche were dividing: the brutality of grunge or the buttercup sighs of the Cranberries, the Sundays, Frente! and Slowdive. But the alloy of the two sounds is most compelling...

Which tells you nothing. Still, it's very nice and in the interests of archiving the early 90s, here it is:

Madder Rose - Panic On

Friday, 1 June 2007

Molly Half Head

Hands up who remembers Molly Half Head? No, me either really; beyond a vague recollection of seeing them supporting somebody when I was at university; possibly somebody like Babes in Toyland but possibly not. It might have been at the Boardwalk in Manchester, of course it might not have been.

Still, they're a band that lie there on the outskirts of memory and so deserve to be "remembered" here.

This is lifted from TrouserPress.com which has turned out to be an invaluable resource in my indie wanderings:

"This Manchester quartet, whose complex arrangements and skewed pseudo-poetry have roots in the members' avant-noise origins, produce an intricate and original post-punk roar. But despite superior instrumental chops, it's singer Paul Bardsley who remains front and center. Second only to Mark E. Smith in the Potentially Annoying Vocal Affectation Pantheon, Bardsley is fond of pronouncing almost all of his consonants as z's. That idiosyncrasy aside, Sulk is a revelation. Moody yet muscular, it manages to blend the tuneful dynamics of grunge with Bardsley's Smith-like inscrutable dada-esque scribblings ("Green hits a hole that just about buries me/Peeling spuds was taking five/Sad therapy? No."). The domestic blisters of "Barny" and the scarily obsessive "Taste of You" highlight a stunningly assured debut filled with songs that try to say something in a way only some listeners are likely to understand.

The more challenging sophomore effort, co-produced by Craig Leon, rocks harder as Bardsley waxes even less intelligibly (imagine a drunken Zima pitchman singing the lines "In grimstitch snortel form you can't be nursed/It's time to learn to take your soup with fork"). Here's one band for which lyric sheets are mandatory — if all but useless.

After the end of Molly Half Head, Bardsley and his songwriter partner, Phil Murphy, formed a band called Wireless."

So, this is "Barny" and as you can see from the photo it's on limited edition one-sided vinyl; my early 90s obsession with future rarities catching up with me again - paid £3 in 1993, still worth £3 today.

Looking back it occurs to me that lots of bands were paint-by-numbers indie pop like this. Of course that's the whole point of what I'm doing here and I still love it to this day.

The attached (for your enjoyment) mp3 is exactly that; a genuine example of what the indie bands were doing just after acid started to rot in the corner and before grunge really took hold.

If anyone is reading this and has a really good story about the band (or any other band for that matter) let me know.

Molly Half Head - Barny (it cuts off a little early, I think there's a scratch right at the end of the groove - still, shows it's vinyl I guess).

Further to the comment below from "anonymous", have the video for Barny. I guess as he/she says it is a bit Oasis, but it's also one of those "walking up the road" videos and features a fantastic jacket and haircut combination. It also look slike it's been recorded off the tv with a handheld video camera which means that watching it makes you a criminal and those people that show their advert before films at the pictures are coming to get you.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Teenage Fanclub

At last! A bit of plastic that's worth more now than when I bought it. Teenage Fanclub's cover version of The Ballad of John and Yoko, released for one day only in 1990 on one-sided 7 inch single; by crikey if it's not worth about 20 of your British Pounds Sterling today.

Of course records are deleted all the time and it was always a good way of picking up a few extra sales back in the good old days, but there's only 5000 copies of this particular single in existence. See, 5000 copies.

Teenage Fanclub are still going of course, but in the early 90s the "fannies" were the epitome of indie-pop. I've seen them live a couple of times back in the dark ages and Bandwagonesque is still one of my favourite albums from those halcyon days. It's dated now of course, but it only takes the first couple of seconds of Star Sign to get me up and dancing around my living room.

Here you go, a nice scratchy (and one of only 5000 copies in existence) vinyl mp3 of Teenage Fanclub - Ballad of John and Yoko.


Now I remember Lush being around much earlier, and a quick wander round Wikipedia suggests that this single - Ladykillers - is actually the band's penultimate release; funny how your memory plays tricks.

So, the official story is: British shoegazing band, formed 1998, featuring Steve Rippon, Emma Anderson, Chris Acland and Miki Berenyi.

It's probably Miki that chaps of a certain age will remember most fondly. Apart from the jolly old indie pop that Lush could bang out on occasion, Miki was the way to a young man's heart in the early 90s. Part-Japanese, Part-Hungarian, all lovely.

We should also remember that sadly, Chris Acland the band's drummer committed suicide in late 1996 at the age of just 30.

This is the Ladykillers, jolly sing-along britpop jangleyness in its pomp. Recorded from the 1996 green vinyl 7" single. Enjoy.

Lush - Ladykillers

Friday, 4 May 2007

Jesus Jones

There was quite a fashion in the early 1990s for 'indie dance' music; along with Jesus Jones, bands like EMF, The Shamen and Pop Will Eat Itself were plying their trade around the indie discos and concert circuit and were making quite a name for themselves.

Jesus Jones were the next big thing. Again big in Japan, they also had not inconsiderable success in the USA; something few English bands manage at the best of times, and something usually reserved for middle-of-the-road cobblers.

Info Freako was the band's first EP and it's still as good today as it was then. A grinding, shouting, emotive primal scream of a record. The 12" was originally something of a rarity and at the height of their fame a copy would set you back £15 if you could find one. I know this because my mate Will bought one (from Vinyl Exchange in Manchester I think) as he was convinced Jesus Jones were going to be the next U2.

They weren't of course and you can now pick up a copy for £3 off ebay. And you should. It's fantastic. I've listened to this track 10 times in a row today and it still sounds as good.

Jesus Jones - Info Freako

Monday, 23 April 2007

Bridewell Taxis

Ah Manchester, you gave us baggy trousers, ecstacy and the Hacienda. Manchester, home of grown men with pudding bowl haircuts and 35 inch flares. Manchester: Moss Side murders, Hulme squatter and Tony Wilson.

They might have had all that, but we were from Yorkshire and any sane person knew in their heart of hearts that we were better. Let's be really honest here The Wedding Present were (and indeed still are) far better than The Smiths. Noone does angst-ridden misery quite like a man from Leeds. Morrissey? trying too hard, a bit wet. No one can strangle his vocals quite like David Gedge.

And as for the Happy Mondays? Where did they play their mega-gig to end all mega-gigs? Elland Road. Leeds. Home of the Bridewell Taxis.

In the first coming of the city on the right side of the Pennines, the Bridewell Taxis were the cool band, the local lads made good, the scruffy oiks who took music by the scruff of the neck and showed those blood Lancastrians how to do it.

Ready Steady Go says it far more eloquently than I can right here:

"Local legends the Bridewell Taxis were carrying the torch for the city at the time of the Madchester scene. Their impact and success was more remarkable than that of our current crop of leading lights because back then, in 1989, the media was no way near as powerful as it is today.

Lesser bands today are rewarded with far more media exposure than most successful bands did back in the early 90s.

Even in retrospect their legacy should be applauded. Even if they didn't conquer the world they did become the most successful band Leeds has ever produced prior to recent success of the Kaiser Chiefs. Back in the day, this band was the cool band to name drop."

A lovely bit of nostalgia here, the band's second EP and a bit of vinyl that could set you back all of £2 on eBay now, a bit of vinyl that probably cost me £3 from Big Tree Records in Huddersfield - money I should have been spending on cheap bitter. That's 3 quid I'll never see again. Unless they come again and make me a millionaire...

The Bridewell Taxis - Give in

I don't know why I'm flying the flag for Leeds, I'm from Huddersfield. We had some of the best new-wave of new-wave punk in the country; our 'Madchester' bands - and if I can find my white label HX2 12 inch then you'll hear what we had to offer (here it is!), and the Popcorn Groove, they were a band that should have made it - were just swamped.

Leeds? So much to answer for...

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Sultans of Ping

Formed in Ireland in 1988, the Sultans of Ping leapt to public consciousness with their catchy singalong pop masterpiece "Where's me Jumper?" - a searing tale of sartorial loss at a disco. Something we can all relate to.

Signing to Epic Records the band almost went from strength to strength and could have been contenders. They recorded with Japanese funsters Shonen Knife, did sessions for John Peel and toured extensively. Although for some reason I'll always associate them with Frank Sidebottom.

As with so many of our early 90s favourites they mae a brief comeback in 2005 and played a number of gigs with Jim Bob from Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.

To avoid being overly cliched, this is the Sultans' second single, "Stupid Kid". Still as catchy and energetic, still as funny as Where's me jumper. An indie pop classic.

Sultans of Ping FC - Stupid Kid

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Power of Dreams

Once upon a time there was an Irish band called Power of Dreams; in 1989 they released a debut EP that had all the majors fighting for their signatures. Caught up in the early 90s indie tidal wave they were feted as the next big things.

They signed a megabucks deal and toured worldwide to rave reviews. Their classic indie-stylings earning rave reviews. They were, along with many other indie bands, "big in Japan".

Alas their fame would not last and in 1994 the band split. Members went their separate ways - some to release solo material, one to play with the Sultans of Ping - of whom more later.

They're making a comeback now. I'mnot sure I hold with all these old bands coming back for one last money-making scam, but there we go. The power of the 35-year-old man's disposable income is what it is.

So here we are; Power of Dreams - 100 Ways to Kill a Love.

Not much of an entry, but it'll do for now.

Monday, 9 April 2007


Ahhh, Ride. The very peak of early 90s shoegazing. Discovered by Creation Records svengali Alan McGee supporting the Soup Dragons (I'll have to do them as well, I think I've still got a rare early tape somewhere) and famed for their soaring feedback and rhythm guitar.

Despite never really gaining the fame and fortune that they deserved, Ride put out three EPs: "Ride", "Play" and "Fall" in 1990 that set the marker for the swooping indie pop guitar that bands would follow - with varying successes - for the next few years. While Madchester was all electric dance and ecstacy; shoegazing kept the indie kids dancing aimlessy in circles while wearing hoopy jumpers and felling slightly more happy with life than the poor saps who were still in love with Morrissey.

They were great. My mate Si espoused their wonders after a gig at the Duchess of York in Leeds; they made us all want to buy wah-wah pedals and learn to break amps; I went out with a girl who loved them; ahhh, the 90s.

In 1995 Ride departed; Mark Gardener went off to join Oasis and we all got our haircut, Radio 1 destroyed our ears with Celine Dion and Oasis and Blur fought out a number one with two frankly dull records.

So, Taste. Not the earliest of vinyl, probably not their best record either, but one I bought on one-sided 7 inch "radio play" vinyl at a record fair. Hell, I probably thought they'd go on forever and this bit of plastic would make me rich. Like so many others, it never did and never will; unless in the post-oil apocalyptic world people are fighting for old plastic.

Here it is Taste, by Ride, from the Fall EP

Friday, 6 April 2007


For a band that were hotly tipped and loved in the early 90s and almost broke into America at the height of indie pop, Kingmaker soon fell from the heights of fame. Now sadly largely forgotten, the band rode the crest of the wave from 1991 to 1995 and could have been big. Now, if they're here it's because the ony way you'll hear them is if you spend £3 on ebay and hope for the best.

The best biography you'll stumble across in the internet and the only real site written by a real fan is:

"Formed in 1990 in Hull, North Humberside, England. Disbanded in 1995.

Teenage schoolmates in Hull, England, Loz Hardy (guitar/vocal) and Myles Howell (bass) placed a want-ad for a drummer and met John Andrew. The rocking Brit-poppers began playing and touring together, gradually picking up a following around Great Britain. After signing a record deal, the band released Eat Yourself Whole, later landing an American deal with Chrysalis. Sleepwalking, their sophomore album, was released in 1993. The group called it quits after the 1995 release of Best Possible Taste, their commercially disappointing third album."

Wikipedia says that in 1991 "With a fan following building up, and lyrical austerity in their melodic music, they were tipped by some as the "next big thing"; but by 1995 "...despite their promising debut, the band rapidly fell out of favour. Paul Heaton of local stars The Beautiful South heavily criticised them as being middle class pretenders, and the rot set in thereafter."

We do know that Loz Hardy had a nervous breakdown before recovering and writing songs with and for Elastica (who are playing on the radio as I type this, so it appears that they're remembered at least) after the band were royally screwed over by their record company.

Anyway. To remember Kingmaker in all their scratchy vinyl glory, here's Eat Yourself Whole, from the Killjoy Was Here EP from 1991. A true classic which, until I started rummaging around in the cupboard, I'd forgotten how good it was. Ahh, the happy memories of jumping around in the Cellar Bar at Manchester University... whole, whole, Eat yourself whole...

Kingmaker - Eat Yourself Whole.

[Update, 21st June 2007] I had to drive 250-odd miles today for work, so to alleviate the boredom I had my mp3 player with me and was listening to the miscellaneous bits and bobs I've collected. One of them was the aforementioned Eat Yourself Whole and I'll be honest, I listened to it five times in a row it's that good.

I'd almost go so far as to say it's my new favourite indie pop song.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Senseless Things

A genuine rarity this one, no fannying around. Selling for almost £15 on some sites I give you one of 1000 original copies of "The Shape of Things to Hum", a 7inch EP that came with Issue 8 of "Cloth Ears" a fanzine that I must have bought at a gig in either Top Spot or The Wharf in Huddersfield in about 1990.

The EP features outings from such luminaries as Exit Condition, Playground and Perfect Daze, but it's the Senseless Things that are getting an outing here, what with them being a proper indie band and that, as well as being chums with cartoonist Jamie Hewlitt - he of 2000AD, Tank Girl and latterly Gorillaz fame.

Wikipedia has this to say about the band: "Before they split up, the Senseless Things consisted of the following: Mark Keds - vocals/guitar Ben Harding - guitar/vocals Morgan Nicholls - bass Cass Browne - Drums

The Senseless Things formed around the musical partnership of songwriter Mark Keds (vocals, guitar) and Morgan Nicholls (bass, originally guitar), who as 11-year-old schoolboys in Twickenham, London, England, put together Wild Division in the early 80s. With the addition of drummer Cass 'Cade' Browne they became the Psychotics, playing various venues in their local area despite still being at school. Their first gig together as the Senseless Things followed at the subsequently demolished Clarendon in Hammersmith, London, in October 1986. Auxiliary members at this stage included a keyboard player Ben, then a guitarist, Gerry, who deputized for Nicholls while the latter was studying for his 'O' Levels.

In 1995, the band released a final album Taking Care Of Business, and a controversial single "Christian Killer" (renamed "Christine Keeler" for the album). They split up after one last UK tour.

Before they split up, the Senseless Things consisted of the following: Mark Keds - vocals/guitar Ben Harding - guitar/vocals Morgan Nicholls - bass Cass Browne - Drums

Keds went onto form Jolt then Trip Fontaine and now The Lams. He very briefly played with The Wildhearts. Ben went onto join 3 Colours Red and is now a press officer for Help the Aged. Morgan joined Vent with Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff then went on to play with The Streets. He is now part of Muse's live set-up. Cass went on to sing for Delakota and then Gorillaz. He also briefly played with Urge Overkill."

The EP was released on 4th Dimension Records (FD22 for completists), a proper independent label based in Kent. In the olden days there were loads of these real 'indie' labels that had grown from the late 70s/early 80s punk scene and were knocking out this sort of stuff. Before the internet and myspace, this was one way to learn about new bands and had something to show for it at the end of the day (or indeed century as this offering shows).

The whole things has survived remarkably well and recorded with only a minor jump and scratch on the first try; the insert for the "Things" reads: "Their intended track for this EP was "I'm on black and White", a real stormer of a song with a truly amazing chorus...However their manager ran off with the master reel on the day it was due to be cut and so poor mark in panic took along a newly-recorded, unmixed version of "Teenage" as a desperate attempt to save the whole thing from total chaos..."; which explains why the record and sleeve say one thing and the actual music says another.

And the fanzine? Well, it's what you'd expect (if you were a chap of a certain age with an unhealthy early addiction to punk, indie and and gigs dirty pubs); although it's got a picture of a rabbit on the cover.

So here you go, "Teenage" by The Senseless Things.