Other Things To Do

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"Because Midway Still Aren't Coming Back" on Facebook.
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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Close Lobsters

Close Lobsters 7" anyone? That's handy, because that's exactly what I've got here and we're instantly back in familiar territory with a band that were featured on the legendary C86 tape and were released on the marvellous Fire Records; erstwhile home of Teenage Fanclub, Pulp, Spaceman 3 et al.

So, formed in Scotland by brothers Andy and Bob Burnett (vocals and bass respectively), Tom Donnelly (guitar), Stuart McFadyen (drums) and Graham Wilkington (possibly also bass; two basses! RÖCK!), the band were moderately successful and troubled the indie charts scorers regularly from 1986-1989; they supported such luminaries as the Jesus and Mary Chain (although from a quick look around the internet it seems that pretty much anybody from Scotland who ever picked up a guitar supported JAMC at some point) and latterly had a song covered by The Wedding Present in their 12 singles in a year phase.

Their official site is a Geocities monstrosity, so you'll be lucky to see it (one day I must get around to rescuing all those poor band pages that live on Geocities...) and there's a wiki and myspace page needless to say.

I'll apologise in advance for the terrible quality of this recording, the vinyl was just too battered for even the old tuppence-on-the-arm-trick to work:

("Close Lobsters - Nature Thing", right click, 'Save as...' to download)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Have I done Gene? I can't remember. This isn't about Gene though, this is about Sp!n the band that Martin Rossiter's band mates were in before they were in Gene. And yes, there really was an exlamation mark in the name. No matter what blogger wants me to do with the title, it's Sp!n, not Spin.

So, before Gene came along, Sp!n were doing their thing. Ok, this is where it gets confusing and I've been informed by a world-leading authority on the band that I got it arse-about-face. So:

Consisting of Lee Clark on singing/guitar and initially Daz Walton on bass, the band were formed in that London in 1988. Soon after, John Mason replaced Walton on bass and Matt Wingley (possibly aka Matt James) took over drumming. Subsequently Steve Mason (John's brother) joined to play geetar. Right, now, now that's in order... By 1991 the band had knocked out a few good EPs and an album when a serious motorway accident left John Mason in a coma and their tour manager and sound man seriously injured. Unable to carry on, the band split and the remaining members went off to form Gene with Mr Rossiter and the rest is history. I don't know what happened to Daz Walton mind you.

There's other speculation and rumour on wikipedia as you'd expect and amuch more in depth history here and here

This track is great, it's got that early 90s wicky-wicky-wicky guitar noise that appeared so often throughout 1989 and 1990, probably because the Stone Roses thought it was a good idea:

Sp!n - Scratches (in the Sand); right click, 'save as...' to download

And there you go, oddly placed punctuation marks, only one bloke away from becoming Gene, a lovely bit of indie guitar, what more can you ask for? Wasn't Martin Rossiter famous for something else? I'm sure he was, I just can't drag that bit of information out of the back of my memory at the moment, I'll come back to it.

Ps, there is a Gene 'Best of' that's worth getting as well.

Monday, 15 June 2009

1000 Violins

Are you lot still here then? Apologies for slow/few updates recently, long story; can I make it up to you with 1000 Violins?

We're going back in time again to the heady days of 1986 with this one. Blimey, 1986, the NME's C86 tape was to become the yard stick against indie was measured, Maradonna did for England with the 'hand of God' goal and I was still in short pants (albeit about to get a sexy French lady form teacher at school) and still probably listening to Huey Lewis and the News...

Anyway, 1000 Violins were brought to my attention when I was sorting out The Dylans at the end of last year; I made a little note in my book and then forgot all about it until the other day. Turns out you see, that Colin Gregory the guitarist of this lot went on to form the Dylans where he knocked out cracking indie pop in the early 90s.

This lot however were around from the mid-80s [with a line up of Darren Swindells on bass, Colin Gregory on guitar, John Wood singing, David Walmsley on keyboards and guitar and Peter Day on drums] until about 1989, released a load of good jangly singles and an album, recorded a couple of Peel Sessions and snuck into the indie charts with this track (andmy what a scratchy chap it is!):

1000 Violins - Please Don't Sandblast My House (right click, 'save as...' to download)

After the band split they fantastically became big in Japan - the ultimate indie dream; however, by that time they had unfortunately lost David Warmsley to cancer in 1992. Another of those sad losses that I've stumbled across doing this nonsense.

You can of course have more in the All Music Guide and wikipedia pages should you wish. Apparently the internet is helping the band gain latter day popularity, so it's nice to be able to help them along in some little way. The 'Best of...' is occasionally available on (Amazon) and is definitely worth hunting down if you can.