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

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.