Other Things To Do

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"Because Midway Still Aren't Coming Back" on Facebook.
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5318008 at gmail.com

Thursday 20 August 2009


Back to Brighton and Sarah Records again today with Brighter, a lovely little three piece who briefly illuminated the indie scene from 1989 to 1992 with Keris Howard on vocals and guitar, Alex Sharkey on bass and Howard's girlfriend Alison Cousens on keyboard.

For a change the internet knows a lot about the band; an interview on the marvellous Penny Black site with Howard and reveals his musical tastes as the usual Smiths and OMD and shows his thoughts of forming the band - more for the thrill of putting out records than performing live and hated being lumped in with other twee bands (but happy for the massive following that the band inherited); a similar interview on the Mundane Sounds blog; a bit of background from his own blog and lots more background from the also excellent Pop Matters site.

I rather like this twee little offering from their debut EP "Around the world in eighty days", but my big boys book of indie describes the band's output as "mediocre pop tunes" that lacked the "vital sparkle [of] other groups of the time" which seems little harsh; judge for yourselves...

Brighter - Inside Out (right click etc to download

And of course there's full discographies at discogs and tweenet

Tuesday 11 August 2009


Hello again, want to hear some Katydids? Good, because they're another of those bands that the internet doesn't know much about and nor do I.

We know, probably, that they were about from 1989 to 1991 and released four or five singles and an album or two; we know that they were Susie Hug (vocals) Adam Seymour (guitars), Dan James (guitar), David Hunter (bass) and Shane Young on drums - excellent, another lady singer, doesn't get much better than that! - but to be honest, that's more than even their myspace page knows so we're stabbing in the dark a bit and even the normally infallible discogs has nothing to report.

So, as we're a bit stuck for information, have a listen to this and please let me know if you know anytyhing, they were obviously a cracking indie band who could knock out a catchy tune, but seem to have been dropped from their label for commercial reasons; I guess being 1990/1991 nobody wanted punchy less-than-3-minute jangle and were only interested in grunge. More fool them.

Katydids - Lights Out (Read my Lips) [usual ways to download]

Wednesday 29 July 2009


Bit of an odd one today with Dart, a band I know very little about, but came up in my digging around because the B side to this single is a cover of an album track by Sarah stalwarts the Field Mice.

The internet doesn't know much about Dart so I thought it would be nice if you lot heard them as well, they're a rather nice swooping indie band from, apparently, San Francisco - making them only the third non-British band I've done on here I think.

So, what do we know? Well, the band contained at the very least three chaps called Rick Stone, Lauren Axelrod and John Stefan (the drummer), they seem to have been active from 1994 to 1995 and released three or four singles and an album on Che Records which is described as

"Just dramatic enough, just artistic enough, Dart created an understated treasure with 36 Cents an Hour, steering clear of most independent music trends in America and the U.K. of the early to mid-'90s to create something that couldn't quite easily be boxed up. Guitar pop? Shoegazing? Strings and piano? Indie rock? All of the above, with often striking results"
by the All music Guide; rather nicely I thought.

A myspace fan page gives a bit more background, but that really seems to be it, so if you know anything, please pop a comment below after having a listen to this:

Dart - Sleepless (right click etc...)

Excitingly the single is on red vinyl and this song contains either the longest false ending I've heard on a song for ages, or it's a very short song twice on one side. It's also a 33rpm 7", which is bound to lead to some Peel-esque wrong speed hilarity; I know it did for me the first time I tried to copy it...

Monday 27 July 2009

The Man From Del Monte

There are two qestions people often ask me; "who are you favourite 90s band named after a 1980s hat-wearing fruit-based advertising front man?" and "have you got any really scratchy 12 inch singles?". The answer to these questions is The Man From Del Monte and "yes, coincidentally I have a copy of The Man From Del Monte EP right here that's scratched to buggery, want to hear it?". Of course you do, so here it is:

The Man From Del Monte - Australia Fair (right click, save as to download, you know the drill)

The band in question are a great forgotten Manchester four piece; formed around 1987 mand consisting of Mike West on singing and guitar, Martin Vincent on guitar, Sheila Seal on bass and Howard Goody on drums (now, it's probably my mind playing tricks on me, but these names sound awfully familiar, did they go on to other things?) the first bit of excitement I had was discovering that the band were managed by Jon Ronson; yes, that Jon Ronson, him off the telly.

There's a nice little biog here and the usual wikipedia page.

Apart from that, if you can get pass the hissing and popping on the mp3 above you can get some idea of how different TMFDM (as I'm sure the NME would have called them) were from other 1989 Manchester bands. Not for them the ludicrous baggy of the Stone Roses or the shuffling miserableness of bloody Morrissey, no, these were a jolly jangly indie pop band, and one that I'm glad to have been pointed at; this is what we want.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Brilliant Corners

Bit of catching up to do I'm afraid, other things have called, research has been feverish, records have been bought and left in a pile. So, to start let's begin with the backlog and the Brilliant Corners.

Straight out of Bristol, the Brilliant Corners were formed in the early 80s by Davey Woodward (vocals, guitar), Chris Galvin (bass), Winston (can't get more indie than a one-named tambourine man!), Bob Morris (drums) and Dan (occasional keyboards) with the later addition of Phil Elvins on guitar. The band were incredibly active, knocking out single after single, a good half-dozen albums, touring extensively and recording three, yes three!, Peel Sessions

I shan't go on too much, there's an excellent official site and a surprisingly (though with misguided use of a The) good wikipedia page for further reading.

Unfortunately this is yet another post with a sad ending, Chris Galvin died of cancer in 1998.

So, enjoy this rather scratch and distorted offering, promise I'll be more active soon, I've got a couple of belters lined up!

Brilliant Corners - The Pope, The Monkey and The Queen (right click, 'save as...' to download

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.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

See See Rider

Bit of an odd one this time; it's See See Rider, a band who really would have disappeared without a trace were it not for some of their members. The first thing that you notice when reading about the band is that they only released two singles and, despite having sort of Nico-(sort of)-out-of-the Velvet-Underground style vocals from singer May Rock Marshall and having early support slots for Lloyd Cole and the Jesus and Mary Chain, they never really broke through into the public or press consciousness, although they were championed early on by Steve Lamacq.

So that would ostensibly be that, the band released the two singles on the same Lazy label as Birdland, had a big falling out on stage and split up.

But. While signing for Lazy, Wayne Morris, manager of the aforementioned moptopknobheads recommended a drummer for them; he turned out to be Phil Tweedie from The Primitives and during the self-inflicted delay between the band's only two single releases (after Marshall - possibly Rock Marshall? - fell off the back of a motorbike), they managed to managed to be joined by Phil King from Felt

Oh, and just to complete the Pet Frame style Rock Family Trees feel of this, the final nail in the band's coffin was King leaving to join Lush. He's in JAMC now as well. He gets about a bit does that boy...

This is the track one from the first EP - "See See Rider - She Sings Alone":

Right click, "save as..." to download

So there you go, read the excellent official site for lots more information. There's also a brief wikipedia page

Sunday 17 May 2009


Back into one-word band names again today with Spitfire. Coming out of the indie wastelands of Crawley, the band were another band formed by two brothers (Jeff and Nick Pritcher) and bulked up to the standard five-piece by Steve White, Scott Kenny and Matt Wise. Membership changes later in the band's life saw white replaced by Simon Walker (who latterly joined The Auteurs) and Kenny leaving the drum stool which was filled by Justin Welch (later a member of Elastica).

Formed in 1990, Spitfire released a good half dozen singles; leaving their shoegazing beginnings behind to go more indie pop/rock, a couple of albums (much delayed debut Fever eventually surfacing in 1993) and recorded a Peel Session in 1991. It's also suggested in a number of places that the band took the rock and roll lifestyle a bit too seriously with reports of less than subtle banging on in the NME and the like and freely handing out backstage passes to groupies; neither being particularly popular traits with their record companies needless to say!

This track "Rubber Rosie" is a bit of an odd one though. It's undeniably Spitfire (it appears on their 'official' site, but it doesn't get a mention in either of the places I usually look for background; discogs and in Martin Strong's Big Boys Book of Indie), so what we're supposed to believe I'm not sure. Maybe it's the rarest thing in the world ever? More likely it's just one of those things. This particular copy comes in a nice cardboard sleeve with Dickie Davies' World of Sport-esque "S" logo.

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

And of course, there's a wikipedia page as well. At some point I'm going to have to go through Wiki and update all these pages that are just bits and pieces memories and speculation. After all, this place must be all true by now...

Thursday 7 May 2009

Scorpio Rising

I've been meaning to do Scorpio Rising for ages, but kept forgetting. Then when I remembered I convinced myself I'd already done them. This is one of the perils of ageing. Still, better late than never.

The Liverpudlian baggy/fraggle funsters were formed in 1989 by Mickey Banks, "Sploote", Martin Atherton, Steve Soar (who left in 1993) and Colin Owens. That's a rock and roll name. Colin. There should be more famous rock star Colins. I can only think of Colin out of the Shamen off the top of my head. This is another peril of ageing.

Sorry. formed in 1989, the band toured extensively with such indie luminaries as Ned's Atomic Dustbin, the Senseless Things and PWEI and I'm pretty sure I saw them support Carter USM in the early 90s, although my first port of call for all things Carter doesn't seem to back that up so it's probably my memory again.

There's not that much on the band kicking about on the internet, which is a shame. The myspace and wikipedia page say pretty much the same thing, although the book I have in my hand seems to suggest that the band's first single is called "Stangest Times EP", but both those pages call it "The Strangest Things Turn You On". The actual bit of vinyl is called the "Stangest EP" and the track is indeed "Strangest Things Turn You On"; the normally pretty infallible Discogs doesn't even list it. Come on internet, buck your ideas up!

Listening to it, it's definitely Scorpio Rising - The Strangest Things Turn You On:

Right click etc etc to download

Whatever it's called, it's a cracking bit of indie which possibly sounds a bit more Madchestery than I remember, but certainly has some lovely swooping guitar and that very recognisable indie drum beat that cropped up a lot in 1991.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Boo Radleys

Bit of an odd one this time, it's the Boo Radleys, but not really what you'd think of first when you heard the name; oh, and I've cheated a bit because this isn't on vinyl, it's on a bloody tape. A cover tape no less.

Cover tapes are an entirely different genre of music blog, so I'm only using it to illustrate a point (and show how much crap I carry around from house to house over the years; there's all kinds of rubbish in a box in the cupboard, if you're particularly unlucky I'll drag them out too).

This particular song is "Blues for George Michael" from the tape stuck to the 12 February 1994 edition of the NME. Here you can insert your reminiscences about how the NME was much better in our day and how we looked forward to cover tapes...

Apparently it's supposed to sound like this as well. Not what you'd expect from the band that brought you the singalong masterpiece of 'Wake Up Boo', or the swirling wonders of 'Lazarus', but there you go. It was the B-side to 'Wake Up Boo' though but the NME it came from was out in the shops a whole year before their massive hit, about the same time as the infinitely preferable Lazarus.

Right click, 'Save As...' to download

The Boo Radleys are one of those bands that hung around for ages before making it big. They were formed in 1988 by baldy singer Simon Rowbottom, his Liverpudlian chum Martin Carr, Tim Brown and Steve Hewitt. They recorded for a few years, recieving lots of indie love, recorded Peel Sessions and were darlings of the music press. Then suddenly in 1995 they exploded into popularity with a massive hit.

Anyway, you know the rest, and if you don't read the official site, the wiki, Martin Carr's page or this handy page from the Archived Music Press blog.

In a nutshell, the music press loved them, they signed to the Creation label, they had their massive hit which has been used time and time again on breakfast TV and radio and goodness knows where else, they hung around until a rather disappointing final album (1998's Kingsize) and split up.

You can buy "The Best of the Boo Radleys" here

Tuesday 14 April 2009


I think I mentioned before that I had a self-imposed limit for buying this crap off ebay; and this is only the second time I've broken it, the first was The Lillies and this time it's Tramway. So, who were Tramway? Why did I feel the need to spend over a tenner of my hard-earned on a little known 7" from an even littler known band? And why did I get all excited when I heard the recorded loveliness? Well...

As a bit of background, along with shit old C86 bands, one of my great loves is the sport of cycling; which is a good indie past time. Fruitbat out of Carter is a big cycling fan, as is Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit, so is the oft-mentioned Gideon Coe. Anyway, I happened across mention of a song called "Gianni Bugno Wheels" (Gianni Bugno was a great Italian cyclist in the mid-80s to mid-90s) on my meandering about the internet and as part of my hunt for the mp3 - which turned out to be a rather lovely instrumental number - I discovered the band who'd recorded it were called Tramway, were a bit 1991 and had also recorded a song called Tour Du Pont.

And then my interest was really piqued.

It turns out that the one time and briefly employed drummer in the band was one Jez Butler; which rang a bell but I couldn't place. Until I found his personal web page. Jez Butler had been in a band called "Cake" with not one, but two ex members of The Flatmates! Oh and the band's only two singles were released on - your favourite and mine - Sarah Records. That's got to be an indie full house! And is also why I had to dash over to ebay and waste my money on this.

right click, saves as, to download

The band released two singles, Maritime City (as above) and Sweet Chariot on Sarah and an album called 'A Brand of Lovin' (where Gianni Bugno is name checked) on the Siesta label. On 'Maritime City' the band consisted of Chris Young and Matthew and Nancy Evans, although the band variously employed the talents of the aforementioned Jez Butler and someone known only as A Henderson as well.

Oh and there's what turns out to be a Portuguese site (which I only worked out after some aimless buggering about with Google's translate thingy) which says of Maritime City it sounds a bit like Felt and "it is nothing but excite other that gives the disc a charming nonsense" and furthermore "wronged those bands that appear and vanish without leaving more records" - which I rather like the sound of.

So there you go. I'm no investigative journalist, but if that's not increased the sum of knowledge on the internet, I don't know what has.

Wednesday 8 April 2009


I wasn't too sure about putting up Menswear (or indeed Menswe@r as they appear to have variously branded themselves) as I've said that Britpop was rubbish on a number of occasions in the past, but then two things changed my mind.

One was the constant references to Wire in write ups about the song below and the other was reading that the band apparently signed a big money deal and appeared in long forgotten music mag "Select" before they'd even put a record out; apparently because they were at the forefront of the mod revival. Well, 1994's mod revival, there's a mod revival every other year pretty much; it's like the NME saying that Ska will be back this year in their "What's Going To Be Cool This Year" articles like they have every year from about 1904.

Sorry, I digress, this is Menswear's second release - Daydreamer, and excitingly it's taken from a 7" in special plastic bag:

Right click, "saves as..." to download

So, formed in London (Camden probably) in 1994 the band signed a major deal after only a few gigs and with hardly any material written. Menswear/Menswe@r were Johnny Dean, Todd Parmenter [who was replaced by Matt Everitt (who now does the music news on BBC 6Music fact fans)], Chris Gentry, Simon White and Stuart Black.

The band were briefly pretty popular in 1994/95/96 and surfed the wave of Britpop that was taking over the country; I'm pretty sure I saw them live somewhere at the end of 1995 but can't for the life of me remember whether this actually happened or it's just something I made up to sound cool. They definitely had a couple of appearances on Top of the Pops and recorded a Peel Session.

Excitingly, when Matt Everitt left at the end of the band's life, he was replaced by "Tud" the band's roadie and Chris Gentry may (or may not) be the boyfriend/husband of Donna Matthews out of Elastica.

There's a full story and some interviews on this page which is definitely worth a read and of course, there's a ubiqitous wikipedia page.

Wednesday 1 April 2009


Back to the indie heartland of Oxford today with the Candyskins and, in recognition of my planned trip to see England v Ukraine tonight, how about their 1993 jingly-jangly belter that is "Wembley"? I don't just throw this shit together you know...

So, the featured track reminds me of something that I've featured on here before so much that I had to go through everything I've done to make sure I'd not already done the band. I just can't put my finger on it and having been back through most of the old posts I just can't think what it is. Have a listen and see if you can help me out, it's going to annoy me.

Candyskins - Wembley (right click, "save as" to download)

Basically, the band were formed in 1989 in Oxford by brothers Nick and Mark Cope, Karl Shale (who was replaced by a chap called Brett Gordon on bass-bothering duties towards the end of the band's career) and John Holliday. They released some great early 90s indie before being buggered over by major label Geffen; apparently due to money shenanigans as so often happens, and subsequently didn't quite catch the brit-pop-proper wave, although their 1997 single "Monday Morning" did sneak into the charts. The band split in or about 1997 with their best years sadly behind them and just a posthumous album ("Death of a Minor TV Celeb") left.

I don't want to repeat too much of what's on this rather nice little fan site, so let's have a look at the wiki page instead.

Hang on, "regarded by the music press as one of the founders of Brit Pop"? That one has got to be up there with Moose as the first shoegazers? I had to go back to check my big boys book of indie music (well, Martin Strong's excellent "Great Indie Discography") to see if that could possible be true. As you can imagine, it's sort of true. According to Mr Strong's* hefty tome - Christmas money well spent that was! - they're a "seminal brit pop act"; so close but not quite, I've go fannied around with wikipedia so you'll have to check the history if you don't believe that's what it said...

Well there you go, not quite brit pop stalwarts, not quite proper indie legends, not quite major label players. Shame, the track above is ace. Now, I just need to work out what it sounds like.

* insert "and you'd have to be Mr Strong to lift it etc etc!" style joke here

Saturday 28 March 2009


I only just realised that I missed the 2nd Birthday of this place; I'd not expected it to last this long so it was a bit of an odd feeling, especially as more and more stuff keeps appearing in the Facebook group and in my email. So, to celebrate my belated birthday, have another band that I've been meaning to put up for ages and were promised back in July last year, yes, it's finally Denim!

Denim - Middle of the Road (right click, "save as..." to download)

Most of what I can say about the marvellous Lawrence Hayward - his supposedly OCD behaviour, his supposed eccentricity - is back in the Felt post from before, so I'll not go over old ground too much.

Suffice to say that after ten years of putting out Felt records, Lawrence split the band up, took a couple of years off and came back with Denim, a three piece with a far more polished and professional sound, unfortunately a couple of years before Brit Pop would break (and where the band would no doubt fit quite nicely), and we can only assume he was aiming at a whole new generation of indie kids; the first album "Back in Denim" was followed rapidly by the "Middle of the Road" single above; the follow-up album "Denim on Ice" was released four years later when Brit Pop had really taken hold. Blur and Oasis had already committed chart murder with their bloody Country House versus Roll With It shenanigans and we were seriously thinking of getting a new government.

Unfortunately, Denim on Ice didn't get the press coverage it deserved, it's a fantastic album and really should have made more of an impact - if you can face spending a fortune on ebay it really is worth getting hold of. Sadly for us and the face of indie, Laurence gave up with Denim and went off to do his own thing again with his newest band Go Kart Mozart.

So there you go, finally Denim get in. The Trouserpress page is very good and there's a wiki page needless to say.

Happy birthday!

Oh, and the first of Lawrence's new band's albums "Back in Denim"has recently been re-released.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Fat Tulips

We're covering two of my favourite musicky things today with the Fat Tulips; this one is a flexi disk and a cover. Two for the price of one! If only it was on Sarah Records it would be pretty much perfect...

So, Peterborough or Nottingham's (depending who you believe) Fat Tulips were formed around 1987 by artist Mark D (properly Mark Randall) and singer "Sarah C", who quickly left - if Wikipedia is to be believed - to study crop cirles in Peru. She was eventually replaced with the finalish line up of Sheggi Clarkson, Matt Johnson (not the one out of The The) and Paulie H; I couldn't tell you what the fascination with singularly letter-surnamed members is...

So, the band went about being populatr the old-fashioned way. They released a flexi disk before setting up their own label - Heaven - and getting a bit of Peel airplay and meandering about the early 90s twee scene for a few years, before splitting in about 1994.

Today's featured poptacular is this: a cover of Spandau Ballet's firsr release. The flexi in question is a split double-sided effort with Confetti, Mark D's side project.

Fat Tulips - To Cut A Long Story Short (right click & "save as" to download.

Of course, there is a wiki page as well.

Friday 13 March 2009

14 Iced Bears

...or possibly Fourteen Iced Bears depending on who you believe (I'm going with the numbers, I like a good number in pop) are another Sarah Records band and this time they're from Brighton.

Formed in 1985 by Rob Sekula, Nick Emery and Alan White, the line-up was pretty fluid over the years and featured, amongst others the fantastically named Dominic Minques, Kevin Canham, Will Taylor and Rob Colley. I've got a page of a book called "The Great Indie Discography" in front of me and, while they might not quite be up there with The Fall, there's certainly a few names on the page...

Anyhow, the band started off with some cracking jingly-jangly-Sarah-twee (I'd thoroughly recommend getting hold of "Come Get Me") before moving on to what the book calls "a more focused retro sound", which to my ears means going a bit rock, but hey! The featured track today is 14 Iced Bears - The World I love in the natty embedded player below (if only I'd realised what everyone else did 5 years ago you'd have had it more already!), and is from the latter stages of the career and is a bit more 'focused and retro' but still a cracking bit of very late 80s indie.

(right click and 'save as' to download)

The band released a good lot of singles (see Tweenet) including one on Sarah (which is why they're here, I'm finally doing a sweep of the label), recorded a couple of Peel Sessions, were on the semi-legendary Alvin Lives in Leeds compilation, belatedly released an album and split in 1991; not a bad half dozen years by anyone's reckoning.

There is of course a wiki page and a myspace. Happy Friday the 13th!

Oh, and you can buy the best of here: 14 Iced Bears - "In the Beginning"or 'Come Get Me' as a new-fangled mp3here

Thursday 5 March 2009

The Sea Urchins

As we roll headlong towards the second anniversary of this internet nonsense, I'm clearing still the backlog of stuff I wrote down ages ago and never got round to putting on here; so let's keep clearing the metaphorical decks with The Sea Urchins.

Formed in West Bromwich in 1986, the band were intially signed to the legendary Sarah label after being launched onto the C86 scene with a couple of split flexi disks which brought them to the attention of the label. Were flexi disks the 1980/1990s equivalent of Myspace? Discuss. There's a question for my newly thought of BA (hons) in Indie Pop, I'll probably run it out of one of the crapper ex-Polys.

Anyway, I digress. Formed by James Roberts, Patrick Roberts, Simon Woodcock, Robert Cooksey, Bridget Duffy and Mark Bevin (who was replaced by the time the first "proper" single came out), the band were flexible in membership over their life and had split due to contractual shenanigans before Sarah released an album of all their recordings in 1992. Latterly the band have reformed on and off for gigs and an album 2000; in the meantime, several members of the band had continued to play as Delta.

If you want some train of thought ramblings, try the myspace page and if you want a brief overview, the band are on wikipedia.

So, for your Midlands listening delight today, here is The Sea Urchins - Please Don't Cry, and it might just be me but didn't Oasis steal this lock, stock and barrel for whatever that dirge with Rhys Ifans in the video was?

And this is a test of a nice embedded mp3 thingy, let me know if you like it.

Saturday 28 February 2009


Ok, so more cleaning up of the notes and forgotten bits today with Po!, a lovely jingly-jangly band who plied their trade around Leicester in the late 80s and early 90s; prime indie pop!

It's also time for "Return of the Flexi Disk". Hurray!

So, formed in 1987 by American artist Ruth Miller and featuring Julian Glover (latterly Mary Mills) on bass and Mark Fuccio (later replaced by Jan Frazer) on drums, the band were an opportunity for Miller to write and record songs that would, apparently, drive away and abusive boyfriend.

Initially the band were a threepiece that later in their career swapped between being all female and part male, then expanded to a five- or six-piece towards the end of their career.

The band deatured heavily on what appears to be called the "Leicestershire fanzine scene", which is where the 'Hop-Scotch in the Snow EP' featured here saw its release - on long forgotten fanzine Samantha which made a special feature of finding new bands' demos and releasing them as cover flexis.

The band released a good lot of singles and albums, recorded a Peel Session and toured extensively; releasing and playing some pretty good indie that I'm glad I stumbled upon when looking for something else!

There's a really nice site here that will tell you everything you need to know, the wiki page as all the bits and bobs as usual, and your TweeNet page will give you the full discography.

This is Po! - Appleseed Alley, which is track 2 on the EP. Remember kids, if you swallow an apple pip, a tree will grow out of your mouth.


Thursday 19 February 2009

Land of Barbara

When I was clearing up the mess of notes I've got for this place, I remembered that I'd been pointed towards Land of Barbara by Mark from The Nilon Bombers way back when and I'd forgotten that they're rather good; there's a sort of Flowered Up vibe about the keyboards and cowbells, coupled with something I can't quite put my finger on, but still makes for a nice bit of indie-dance-rock.

We're a bit sparse on information about the band unfortunately, but some good internetting provides us with the knowledge that the band released at least three singles; "Silence is the Virtue" in 1992, "Alcohol" in 1993 and the featured-below "Kid Whiskey/Limited" double A-side in 1994 and I had a brief email conversation with Martin from the band last year - it's taken a while to get round to doing this - where he suggested they had loads of unreleased stuff, recorded at Toe Rag Studios, that he'd like to get released at some point.

The band played the Phoenix Festival in 1994 and had previously been scheduled to record a session of Mark Radcliffe's legendary Radio 5 programme "Hit the North" in 1993 but "their van broke down on the way to the session and they couldn't make it so Wonky Alice came in at very short notice and did a session instead".

But that's about it. The band members listed on the 7" are Martin Yelswel (vocals, guitar, flageolet), Tom King (guitar and backing vocals), Jon Skin (bass), Dr NJ Tudman (organs, grunts) and John Clube (drums); so there we go and here you go, it's Land of Barbara - Kid Whiskey. Enjoy.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

The Weeds

So, for a long time I had a note in my little indie notebook that said "The Weeds - 1986, one single, too early?"; which to be honest, when I was reading through in November to check I'd not missed anything important, I was still thinking it was. Granted pretty much everything on here is a direct descendent of the NME's C86 tape - and some bands were even featured on it - but I wasn't sure whether to plumb the depths of the early 80s, after all, I'd started doing this page to feature early 90s stuff.

I was still umming and ahhing as the only thing a quick google found was pretty much taken direct from Barry Lazell's "Indie Hits: The Complete UK Singles and Album Independent Charts, 1980-89" book (which I've used every now and again for background) and tells us that the band were a "Manchester trio fronted by Andrew Berry, whose career was notably short - 'China Doll' was their debut single and they had split up before it had even been released". So I'd shelved the idea.

Then a few weeks back I was flicking through Dave Simpson's book "The Fallen" - which is a great read - and there, in black and white on page 218 was the line "Simon Wolstencroft was playing in a band called The Weeds and they'd supported The Fall...Smith recruited him [after checking out the opening act]".

Wait, hang on, Simon Wolstencroft, one of The Fall's longest serving drummers, was in The Weeds? The same The Weeds? Surely not..?

Well, a quick bit of investigative journalism later there it was; on the genuine "official" Fall website: "Simon Wolstencroft: Jun 1986-Aug 1997 drums: Member of The Patrol which became The Stone Roses. Also in The Colourfield for a short while and was the drummer in a band called The Weeds (which included Andrew Berry on vocals). Considered joining an early version of The Smiths but wasn't impressed by Morrissey. After leaving The Fall, played with Ian Brown on the Golden Greats album". Fuck me.

So what of Andrew Berry then? The 'Indie Hits' book seems to think he's the only band member who warrants a mention and he gets a name check on The Fall site. Now I had a couple of names and a bit more guff to look for, it only bloody turns out that Berry is Manchester royalty. He was only Johnny Marr's "best mate" and shared a flat with with the soon-to-be Smiths guitar botherer. That link is from an Uncut magazine article and is well worth a read if you can get past the lack of formatting. Oh, and even better, the Cerysmatic Factory site - home to everything you'll ever want to know about Factory Records, tells us that Berry was "a resident DJ at the pre-house Haçienda [and] set up a Factory Records hairdressing salon - Swing (FAC 98) - in the Haçienda's dressing room". That's right, one of the most influential record labels ever had a hairdresser. Oh, and the band supported the Happy Mondays.

So, finally, apart from the obvious fourth lady member you'll see on the cover above and hear doing backing vocals and "woohoo"s on the link below - goodness knows who she is, (anyone?), the writing credit on the 7" is Berry/Arrojo. Who is Arrojo?

Cerysmatic Factory provides another hint: "Vidal hairdressers were no strangers to certain nights at The Hacienda, but regulars may recall one in particular: Nick Arrojo was a popular attendee and would occasionally turn DJ alongside Pickering and Sasha". Wait, what the fuck?

Now, I've no idea whether that's the same "Arrojo", but he's a Haçienda regular and knows a bit about a short back and sides, it's got to be him surely?

So enough of investigative journalism (although if I ever write a book about this place, then this stuff is going in Chapter 1), this is The Weeds - China Doll, what a bit of history! Oh, and just to complete the Manchester-royalty of it all, the 7" was released on Marc Riley's In Tape label. Also latterly home to Frank Sidebottom. You know it is, it really is...

Oh and if you'd like me to go back in time, let me know.

Monday 2 February 2009


I'm afraid I've not got any snow-related pop to hand, so in the meantime, how about some Chapterhouse?

Sneaking in (and often lumped in) with the shoegazing boys, Chapterhouse were much more than just another raggle taggle bunch of floppy-haired chaps, these Reading-based boys knew how to put together a swooping bit of indie dance-cum-pop that is vaguely reminiscent of the mid-90s MegaDog-style world dance nonsense that I'll admit I had a brief flirtation with; but again, they're much more than that.

As usual there's a wikipedia page but there's actually a dearth of fansites about, which is pretty unusual for a band that made a fair impact in their time. But the background is that half a dozen fellas from Reading put together a band and, instead of just banging out a demo tape and disappearing, toured extensivly with such luminaries as Spaceman 3 until they were good enough to release records - not something you could really imagine happening these days!

Most of the band's releases came out in 1990 and 1991, but they hung around until 1993 at least, still touring, still putting out a bit here and there, then finally splitting and shuffling off to join other bands. Later on Cherry Red re-released some of their stuff and there was a brief reformation at the 2008 Truck Festival.

So, how would you like to hear Chapterhouse - She's a Vision? I thought as much.

And you can buy the reissued debut album Whirlpoolhere, should you so wish.

Monday 26 January 2009

The Servants

The fame of this place is spreading. If you're the young lady who was talking to my mate Dan at the weekend about music and mentioned this place out of the blue, this one's for you! Also, if anyone wants signed photos or me to open their local Spar, let me know. My rates are very reasonable.

But I digress. Today for your delight and delectation it's The Servants. A cracking C86 band, featured on the tape of the same name and immortalised in Peel Session, The Servants came out of the indie heartland that is Hayes in Middlesex, the band were fronted by David Westlake and Auteurs stalwart Luke Haines (with whom there's an interesting interview here) and Phil King, latterly out of Lush - I don't just throw this crap together you know!

There's a nice biog on the Cherry Red site here and here's the usual wiki link, plus a little review of the Best of... album.

Here you go then: The Servants - It's my turn, that there is some fine jingly-jangly! And they use the phrase "the light at the end of a tunnel is a train", which is kind of used by Half Man Half Biscuit, so that's nice; and coincidentally they are right before HMHB on the C86 tape. Coincidence?

ps. Don't worry, it's not your eyes, I've just realised how blurry the photo of the sleeve is, I'll sort that out at some point.

You can buy Reserved - The Best of The Servants here

Tuesday 20 January 2009

The Passmore Sisters

The more observant amongst you may have noticed that I'm never exactly regular or consistent with putting these things up; normally it's a case of when I've got 10 minutes to kill at work, although in this case it's because I'm listening to last night's Gideon Coe show on the 6music iPlayer thing (incidentally, if by some chance you don't listen to this regularly you really should, it's the best show on the radio anywhere) and he played a BBC Session recording that reminded me that I've not put up The Passmore Sisters. So here you go.

Continuing the West Yorkshire theme, The Passmore Sisters were from Bradford, formed in 1983 or 1984 and snuck into the indie charts in 1985 with their debut single 'Three Love Songs'. The band put out half a dozen cracking singles and an album before splitting in 1987. The also, importantly, recorded two Peel Sessions; and if you can get hold of "Story Of A Working Man" from the first session in 1985 I'd highly recommend it (Gideon plays it on the Monday 19th January show, so you've got a week to hear it at least).

So, as usual here are the links you'll want. There's a TweeNet page, a myspace, this post on the excellent Take The Pills blog and a really good write up on the Foxdude page. The myspace page also offers you a link to download the first album First Love, Last Rites which I'd also heartily recommend.

And finally, your aural delight, here's The Passmore Sisters - Safe Place to Hide, which is a cracking bit of indie pop.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

The Parachute Men

I've been looking forward to doing this one since I became aware of its existence. It's The Parachute Men. I think mostly because the track in question is this one:

The Parachute Men - Leeds Station.

(Right click, 'save as' to download

When I was a lad living in the arse end of West Yorkshire, Leeds seemed like a mythical, exciting, forbidden location that promised all the wonders of the big city that you couldn't get in Huddersfield, the closest proper town, and certainly wasn't available in Holmfirth; where the only thrill you might get was seeing the filming of Last of the Summer Wine or an underage pint in The Nook. Leeds Station after all was the gateway to the Duchess of York, that weird shop that sold goth clothes and Jumbo Records. And it was where David Gedge was from.

Anyway, The Parachute Men. Formed in 1985, released two albums and half a dozen singles and had what I've previously called the most indie of things: A lady lead singer. For all your actual information there's a Wiki page, some guff on the Fire Records page and this short interview.

The track above is great, it's a swooping homage (oooh, get him!) to that wonderful feeling you get arriving home when you get to that bit you recognise and know you're almost there. We've all got one, the wife likes the "Welcome to Essex" sign on the M11 for some reason, I've got the "Welcome to Kirklees, Home of Longley Farm" sign on the road over the tops from the M1 into Holmfirth, I used to know a bloke who swore by the "Oldham - Home of the tubular bandage" thing painted on the railway bridge on the way into town from wherever it was. Everyone's got something that tells you you're almost there and you're almost safe. You'll have to excuse me, I'm getting a bit tearful and emotional.

So, enjoy the track, have a good old reminisce about home, and with the wonders of new mp3ery you can buy the band's first single Sometimes In Vain here! Isn't living in the future great?

Oh, and I've just remembered, the vinyl this is taken from is a white label 12", how indie is that!

Saturday 3 January 2009

The Holidaymakers

Happy New Year all, let's see what Santa's got in his sack for me shall well? Why, it's only The Holidaymakers! What a lovely way to start 2009.

The song in question is The Holidaymakers - Everyday; the first few chords really remind me of Midway Still's Better Than Before, which is kind of why I put this up as the welcome back post, but also because that jolly old fat man in red was very nice and provided it to me on a flexi disk; a shared flexi with The Nivens no less. Bearing in mind it's a 20 year old bit of PVC will also explain why the middle bit of the recording is so scratchy.

The big problem we have here is, I'm afraid, a lack of any useful information about the band. I'm 99% sure they're from Scotland (thanks to the Tweenet page) and from the bit of plastic you can see that at least one member of the band was called Adrian Smith, but let's face it, that's a pretty hard name to get any useful information on from google.

We also know that there was a follow-up to the flexi featured called Skyrider, but that's it I'm afraid, bit of a rubbish start to the year but I'm breaking myself back in slowly!