Saturday, September 1, 2012

The end

Well my indiepop friends, after almost three and a half years I have decided to wrap up the blog. Sadly, I don't have much time for it any more, and because of this it's become more of a chore than a pleasure. So it's time to call it a day.

Many thanks to those who read and commented, those who regularly read without commenting (I know who where you are :)) and especially those who sent me stuff. I love getting stuff. Sorry I couldn't use it all.

Let's end this on a classic, shall we?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moss Poles - One Summer

1987 single from this London band who went on to release a debut album and then vanish. Though they were seen as sort of a peripherally C86 band, I actually think this comes very close to late '70s power-pop territory - it wouldn't seem at all out of place on one of those compilations with the likes of The Records, Bram Tchaikovsky etc. Great tune, anyway.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Last Days of 1984 - Wave Life

I've been kind of neglecting the local scene lately, so here's one to make up for that. Last Days of 1984 are more electronic than I would normally be into, but their stuff is nicely atmospheric and (most importantly) there are good tunes underneath it all. Here's one from their 2010 debut album, Wake Up to the Waves.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Driscolls - PC Roberts

Late '80s jangle-pop band from Bristol whose entire recorded output seems to consist of a handful of 7"s and compilation tracks. Most of which are worth tracking down, if not exactly essential.

This is from a 1987 cassette comp which mostly features bands of equal obscurity, though there are tracks from the McTells, Mayfields and Haywains - as well as a familiar one credited to "The Palesaints".

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Friday, August 10, 2012

The Specific Heats - End of an Error

From Brooklyn and they sound like it, although (as you might guess from the cover art) they do have a slightly more psychedelic tinge than most of their contemporaries. Only slightly, like.

Title so good you wonder why nobody ever thought of it before.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Bloody Valentine - Don't Ask Why

An atypical MBV tune, especially for their later years - it's almost minimalist, with unusually prominent vocals and some of their most heartfelt lyrics ever. That line, from the look in your face, I believe it's not too late, that gets me EVERY time.

I'd rank this in my top five MBV songs ever, actually.  Probably top three in fact.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Engine No. 9 - Waterfall

Great b-side to a 1991 Bus Stop 7" - the only Engine No. 9 release ever, although half of them went on to become Fudge (who I never particularly rated). It's a bit more serious and less twee than a lot of what Bus Stop put out, in fact I think it's just a tiny bit overwrought, but mostly as affecting as it tries to be. Actually it sort of reminds me of McCarthy with an American indie-rock accent.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Love Dance - Skisse #3

An absolutely stunning, upbeat shoegazey pop tune, the kind of song you fall in love with over and over again.

It was released earlier this year on the Beko 100 digital comp.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cowboys International - Aftermath

The Cowboys' first or maybe second single, released in 1979. It doesn't hit the heights of their masterpiece, "Pointy Shoes", which I've already posted, but it's still a good solid specimen of lost early new wave.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Peru - Clueless

East Midlands band who appeared on a couple compilations and a split 7" in the early '90s, disappeared for yonks and then resurfaced a couple years ago sounding like they'd never gone away at all. Which is always nice. You can get this one on their Across Blue Skies compilation on Jigsaw.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bedroom Eyes - Norwegian Pop

I could make up a good excuse for not posting yesterday, but why bother? Truth is I went out with friends after work and got plastered. So sue me.

Here's a great '80s-ish pop tune by Bedroom Eyes, who is really called Jonas Jonsson and is Swedish. From his 2010 album The Long Wait Champion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ash - Girl From Mars

Hadn't heard this for ages but it was on when I went into the shop today and it knocked my socks off all over again. Radio friendly alternapop just doesn't get much better than this.

From 1977, from 1996.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bunnygrunt - Favorite Food

Lo-fi punkish twee from St Louis, Missouri. I never saw Bunnygrunt, but listening to this makes me flash back to a million gigs in people's garages during my US East Coast visits of the mid-1990s. Anyway, haven't they got one of the best names ever?

From a 1993 EP, Standing Hampton.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Girl of the World - 5 Years Old

1993 single from a pre-Cat's Miaow band of Bart and Cameron. I think it's almost got a bit of a Britpop tinge to it. They went on to better things.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Graeme Elston - Take Me Back to Ealing

Lovely track from Graeme Elston (Eva Luna, Love Parade etc) which I think is an exclusive to last year's Indietracks compilation. There's a very '80s soft jangle-pop feel to it; it's one of those songs you'll swear you've heard before, even if you haven't.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dead Angle - Why Don't You

Lo-fi fuzzy girlpop from an LA band who used to be the Tartans (well, most of them anyway). It's familiar, but I still can't get enough.

Released last month on Loglady Records, part of a split 7" with Terry Malts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Minutemen - Doctor Wu

The Minutemen were such geniuses in their own right, I feel a bit guilty that their first appearance here is with a cover (of a Steely Dan song, of all things). I suppose the reason for that is that much of their music is the kind that I cerebrally appreciate without necessarily enjoying, if you know what I mean. Though lumped in with the LA punk scene, it would always be more accurate to describe them as post-punk - and even within that genre they were unique, drawing on jazz and funk influences to a degree almost unheard of by their contemporaries. Unfortunately, not being a fan of either jazz or funk, I couldn't really get into a lot of their stuff. But I always felt kind of bad about it.

In any event I did love this one, first of all because I thought it was brilliant that they covered it in the first place - an '80s punk band covering Steely Dan? Seriously? - and secondly because I love what they did with it, the dual vocals where one person sounds like he's trying to do a faithful version and the other is clearly taking the piss. As I said...geniuses.

It's from their 1984 (third) album Double Nickels on the Dime.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Full Sun - Anxious

Here's some very lo-fi punk-pop from what appears to be this band's second release, Bare Floor, from earlier this year. The first release was called High Ceiling. I'm sensing a pattern here.

They're from Indiana and have a bit of a late 1980s Homestead Records feel to them, though with a bit more melody. This one's dead catchy, anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Julian Cope - Sunspots

A great tune from Julian's second solo album, Fried, from 1985. Sometimes I think it's one of the most straightforward pop songs on the album, other times I think it's just weird in a different way. I'm actually particularly fond of the horns.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lone Justice - Ways to be Wicked

The first single, a Tom Petty cover, from their self-titled 1985 debut album. I didn't care for this at all back in the day but Maria McKee and her massive voice got their charms into me eventually and I grew to love it. Still not sure about a lot of the rest of the album, though.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Would-Be-Goods - The Camera Loves Me

1988 single and title track to the Would-Be-Goods' debut album, a collection of ornate and sophisticated twee girlpop with lyrics and vocals so contrivedly upper-crusty I almost feel like a class traitor just listening to them. I always thought they had a bit of the novelty act about them, though they're not without their charms.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baffin Island - You Make Two Weeks Two Days

As much as I love the idea of EardrumsPop - I mean, free downloadable indiepop, what's not to love - I do think you have to be willing to wade through a fair amount of mediocrity to get to the really good stuff. Fortunately, tracks like this one make it worth the wade (sorry). It's a Mel Hermit Crab/Jeremy Very Most collaboration, a charming '60s-influenced bubblegum girlpop tune from a 2010 EP which you can get here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Stupid Cupids - Big Blue Bus

Definitely up there with the worst band names ever to appear on this blog, though in fairness, the Stupid Cupids weren't a real band so much as one of the many identities used by Paul Chastain and Ric Menck (the Springfields, Velvet Crush) over the years. And besides, it's hardly like they were trying for a good name.

This pleasant and fun little tune was released on a 1987 Bus Stop flexi, and was later re-recorded by another Chastain/Menck alter ego, Choo Choo Train, under the title "Big Blue Buzz".

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cosines - Winter A-Go-Go

I know I promised you something ultra-twee yesterday, but I don't like to be predictable. Here instead is a fabulous piece of indie keyboard pop. It's a Yo La Tengo cover, but Alice Hubley (of Arthur and Martha)'s marvellously nasal vocals add considerable weight to what was, in my view, an all too typically vapid YLT original. You can download it for free here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rites of Spring - For Want Of

This is a little bit, well, quite a bit heavier than most of what gets posted on this blog and I don't expect it'll be to all readers' tastes. Maybe I'll post something ultra twee tomorrow, just for balance, like.

Rites of Spring anyway were sort of the original "emocore" band, bursting out into the US (specifically DC) hardcore punk scene in the mid-1980s with performances that allegedly left their audiences in emotional smithereens. Their lyrics were unusually personal and introspective and it's hard to imagine your average combat-boot-wearing spikey-Mohawk-head getting much out of them, but somehow they managed to spawn the development of an entire punk subgenre - quite unintentionally, I'm sure.

This was always my favourite of theirs and plus, it contains what is probably the defining emo lyric: If there's nothing here, then it's probably mine. Genius.

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ultra Vivid Scene - Guilty Pleasure

Track from the second UVS album, Joy 1967-1990. It's a bit overproduced - some would argue that's par for the course on this record - but catchy enough you stop noticing after a while.

Monday, July 16, 2012

All My Friends - Up and Down the River

Pleasant little indiepop tune from a 2008 EP by this Glasgow band featuring members of Butcher Boy. Bonus points for clocking in at exactly two minutes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another holiday

I know I just took one, but I'm taking another one. Because I can. See you on Monday!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Good-Natured - Rose

More electro-pop, while I'm in the mood. This one was released on a 2009 Eardrums Pop compilation called Birdsongs, Beesongs, which is quite fitting because the song is quite reminiscent of The Bird and the Bee.

Now if only they'd come up with a better name...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

They Go Boom!! - Everything is Weird

A rare Bring On Bull foray into synthy music. TGB's music actually did have much in common with the type of bands that label was better known for; it was only the instruments they played it on that made them different.

This is actually the least twee song on this 1993 EP. And ironically I also think it's the best.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Smittens - Gumdrops

I was going to post an Indietracks 2012 exclusive but unfortunately my electronics aren't co-operating, so here's something wonderful from a few Indietrackses back. I'm still on a high after the wonderful weekend gone past.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Church - Too Fast for You

1981 single, also released on the (self-titled) UK version of their debut album. The guitars are quite lovely in this one, apart from a brief interlude before the final verse where they get a bit wankery. I always thought the Church's sound in this era promised more than it delivered but this is one of the high points.

I'm off to Indietracks for the weekend - see you Tuesday!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Colour Me Wednesday - Holiday From Your Life

Here's another one that I knew I would like before I ever heard it, just from the band's name and song title. To say I was not disappointed would be something of an understatement. In fact, I fucking love this song. They're cute as buttons, too.

It's from a 2011 demo. How good will they be when they start making proper releases?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Neighbors - Henry's Party

From the recently-released second album, John in Babeland, by these very Pavement-influenced Seattle lads. I'm still on the fence about them, but this is pretty good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pink Floyd - Bike

Guaranteed to be the only Pink Floyd song you'll ever see on this blog. And if you don't already know why it deserves a post here, just listen. You're in for a treat.

Deadly video, too, whoever made it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Golden Rule - Now I Hear the Train

This is a really nice little piece of gentle jangly guitar pop. Chicago band, from a self-titled 2009 EP.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Birthday Kiss - Starting to Come Back to Life

Wonderful song from this new(-ish) project of Ben from The Lodger (but featuring someone called Sarah on vocals). It has a real '60s feel but not in a psychedelic or Phil Spector sort of way - this is more up the Sandie Shaw alley. It dates from last year, I think.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Annemarie - Lovely Afternoon

One of the leading lights of Indonesian indiepop - and with the quality of bands coming out of there in recent years, that's quite a compliment indeed. What makes Annemarie stand out is their singer, Rima, who may well have the sweetest voice I have ever heard in my life. It's almost unreal.

This is a track from Fall to Fall, a 2011 split EP with Italian band Tiny Tide.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eternal Summers - Able To

When I first heard the name of this band and saw their cover art I expected something twee and/or blissed-out, but Eternal Summers are in fact a minimalist lo-fi indiepop band with a decided No Wave tinge. They're from somewhere in the middle of Virginia, which makes me like them even more.

This is from a self-titled 2009 release, nearly every song on which clocks in at under 3 minutes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

World of Pooh - Mr Coffee-Nerves

Great track from World of Pooh's sole album, the obscure 1989 classic The Land of Thirst. Really, don't feel bad if you've never heard of it. I probably wouldn't have either if I wasn't kicking around San Francisco at that time.

To the extent it's known at all, it's probably only because Barbara Manning was in the band and she's got a bit of a cult following among American indie fans. This song isn't one of hers, though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Billy Bragg - A Lover Sings

Always loved this one from his 1984 album, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg. The opening line alone is one of my favourite things he's ever written.

 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sometimes Always - Disch-Me

Indonesian one-man "band" who sounds like he listens to Ecstasy and Wine-era My Bloody Valentine a lot. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This is a 2011 track that I think may be only available online.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tiny Fireflies - Snow

I liked this band as soon as I first saw their name, before hearing them or knowing anything else about them. How could a band called Tiny Fireflies not be filled with indie twee wondrousness? Then I found out they were actually a collaboration between members of Tiny Microphone and Fireflies, the same members who also collaborate as Very Truly Yours, and I still didn't need to hear them to know I would love them. And then I finally actually did hear them and even with my high expectations they still knocked me out. This is almost unbearably gorgeous, I could listen to it for hours.

You can get it here. Do yourself a favour.

 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Joy Division - Isolation

A lot of Closer, Joy Division's second album, is too bleak for my tastes. Musically, that is; it's all pretty bleak lyrically but I don't find that quite as off-putting. Especially when those bleak lyrics are as stunning as some of these ones are.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fanzine - Low

A very Dinosaur Jr-esque number from this London band, the title track to their debut LP, released last year. Heavier guitars than I would normally like on my lo-fi but when the tune's as catchy as this one I can't really complain.
    

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dream Diary - Something Tells Her

Yet another Brooklyn band, this one specialising in clear pure indiepop that brings to mind such greats as the Razorcuts and Poole. This is from their 2011 debut album, You are the Beat.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Colourbox - Arena

Like "The Moon is Blue", my favourite Colourbox track (which I've already posted), this is kind of an oddity in terms of the general style of the album, which is oriented towards a much more upbeat type of dance music. Unlike "The Moon is Blue", this one didn't grab me the first time I heard it - or the second time or even dozens of times later. It's not really my kind of music at all, to be honest. But after two and a half decades of hearing it just because I put the album on to hear "The Moon is Blue" and didn't bother taking it off afterwards, I guess you could say it's grown on me. And I now think it's rather stunning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Golden Grrrls - Beaches

Absolute cracker of a debut single by this Glasgow trio, released last year. It's got a bit of lo-fi, a bit of shoegaze, a bit of Twilight Sad and some really cool tribal drumming. More please!

 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gang of Four - I Found That Essence Rare

Entertainment! is a great album from start to finish but this is probably my personal favourite on it - catchy as hell and with sharp, clever lyrics, the kind that sound good even if you don't know what they mean and sound even better once you work out what they do mean. This is why I love the Gang of Four.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Stone Roses - Waterfall

I was going to post another song from the Roses' debut album since I assumed I must have posted this one already, because it's my favourite song from that album, and not only my favourite song from that album but my favourite Roses song, and not only my favourite Roses song but one of my favourite songs ever by anyone. But I can't seem to locate a post for it. Blogger's search function is a bit wonky so it could well be that I did post it and just can't find it now, but I'm not going to worry about it too much: if any song deserves a double-post it's this one. Just listen to it. It's perfect, in the way that "Just Like Honey" is perfect.

 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everything But the Girl - Riverbed Dry

B-side to the 1984 "Native Land" single, which I've already posted. I think it's really quite a majestic little piece in its own way. Tracey's voice kills me on it, but then, it usually does.

 

Friday, June 15, 2012

SOA - Public Defender

Been a while since I've posted any '80s punk, so here's a classic bit of harDCore from an early Dischord band featuring one Henry Rollins on vocals. He was still going by Henry Garfield then.

This isn't an official video, if you couldn't guess.

 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Short break

I'll be unexpectedly away for a couple days and won't be able to update. Back on Friday, I hope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Soft Cell - Torch

File this one under "songs I never realised were actually as good as they were". This 1982 single was actually Soft Cell's second-biggest hit, something that surprised me to learn because I would have assumed it was "Say Hello Wave Goodbye", which certainly seems to be better remembered. This one's not as instantly memorable as that or for that matter "Tainted Love" but it's really quite nice in its own little way.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Au Pairs - Armagh

Powerful piece from the Au Pairs' 1981 debut album, Playing with a Different Sex, written about the (mis)treatment of Irish female political prisoners in a British jail. I always think of the opening lines to this song whenever Guantánamo is in the news.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon

I'm just back from watching a dreadful Ireland performance in Euro 2012, which will probably depress me for the rest of the week, but the DJ in the pub where I watched the match had the good sense to play this song afterwards which at least managed to cheer me up as much as anything could, because I absolutely loved this song as a teenager. I'm a little bit drunk so don't expect me to say anything more about it.

1985, I think.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed

FB3's version of the song that Terry Hall co-wrote with Jane Wiedlin (he sent her the lyrics, she put them to music). I've always preferred it to the Go-Go's version, but then I never really thought the Go-Go's were up to much.

Released on their wonderful second album, Waiting, from 1983.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Soft Boys - Insanely Jealous

A real cult favourite from the Boys' second album, 1980's Underwater Moonlight. It's a remarkable track, showing off what a brilliant lyricist Robyn Hitchcock could be when he wasn't being insufferably clever;  musically it's haunting and atmospheric and builds into what must be the frenzied crescendo to end all frenzied crescendos. I was surprised to see that it's only a little over four minutes long - I would have guessed it much longer than that, not because it's boring or anything but just because there is so much going on it.

I'd go so far as to say this was the Soft Boys' (and indeed Robyn Hitchcock's) masterpiece.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Whistler Post - Sebastian Says

One of a number of great bands to come out of Indonesia over the recent past. This 7" was released last year and reminds me a lot of the Nightblooms (for those unfamiliar, that means it sounds like the Cardigans on shoegaze). Very nice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honeybunch - I Won't Stand In Your Way

A track that never made it onto any proper Honeybunch release, and only saw the light on their compilation album Time Trials 1987-1995. It says something about the quality of a band when even their outtakes are this good. True, it's not really a patch on their previous entry at this blog (here), but then there aren't many songs anywhere that reach those heights. This one is perfectly charming in its own right.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Depeche Mode - Dreaming of Me

The first-ever DM single (1981) and one I've always loved. It's sort of a perfect pop tune, synth-pop style. I can't believe there doesn't seem to be a proper video for it.

 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pencil Tin - Friday

Side project of Bart Cummings from the Cat's Miaow and Robert Cooper from the Sugargliders and Earthmen. Their only 12" release was the album A Gentle Hand to Guide You Along, put out by Bus Stop in 1996 though it had been recorded two years earlier.

This is one of Robert's songs, a gorgeous and very Sarah-esque track.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Byrds - The Bells of Rhymney

The Byrds were a huge influence on a lot of the bands who appear on these pages, from the 1960s up to today, so it's fitting to give them a post of their own. While they had better-known songs than this one, it's pretty much always been my favourite, and I think it's one of the clearest expositions of that classic Byrds Sound that so many have tried to emulate. I love everything about it.

Pete Seeger did the original, btw.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lisa Mitchell - Neopolitan Dreams

This may have been ridiculously overexposed a few years ago through being used in about twelve different companies' advertising but, erm, that's because it's really really good. I never realised she was "discovered" on Australian Idol, and actually did pretty well on it; the TV audience for singing competitions must be different down under because I can't imagine a twee-indie-folk artist getting beyond the first round over here. In saying that I suppose I have to admit I never watch those programmes anyway.

From her second (2008) EP, Welcome to the Afternoon.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sensible Jerseys - Go to Work

Lately I've posted a lot of great bands with crap names so here's a band with a great name. Who weren't a crap band, if that's where you thought I was going with this.

On the other hand, they weren't a great band, either. They didn't really have time to be, appearing and disappearing all in the one year (1985), and their extremely limited output really did no more than hint at what they could have been. Pleasant jangly guitar pop, sounded great, but the tunes were kind of average. At least the ones they had time to release before splitting up, like this, the b-side to their second and last single.

I think they were from London, but I could be entirely wrong on that.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dignan Porch - Like It Was Again

One of my favourite songs of the past couple years and I can't believe I haven't posted it yet. It's simple and sweet and could actually break your heart if you were in that sort of mood.

It originally appeared as "Like It Was" on their 2010 debut album Tendrils, but was re-recorded, re-titled (sort of) and re-released for last year's Deluded EP. Which is a wonderful release, if you don't mind the atrocious cover art (seriously, this is what-were-you-thinking??? territory).

Oh, and they're from Tooting.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holly Beth Vincent - Honalu

The gorgeous opening track to Holly's second album (titled Holly and the Italians, but credited to her alone), from 1982. This would be on all those New Wave Classics collections, if there was any justice in the world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simple Minds - Chelsea Girl

Now here's a trip down memory lane. What a different band Simple Minds were back then! The keyboards remind me of a Van Morrison song (not that one), Jim Kerr looks like Gary Numan, and there's some rather wankery guitar in the middle. Still, there's an infectious song underneath it all, and I love an infectious song no matter how embarrassingly it's dressed.

Their second single, from 1979.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tiger Tape - She is Fiction

I posted another track from this album just last month, but surprisingly Tiger Tape still haven't taken over the world yet so I'm gonna give them another go. They're a bit...quirky, which can be a big ol' red flag for a lot of people, and the vocals might not be to everyone's taste - but personally I find them pretty close to irresistible.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Boo Radleys - Skyscraper

Boos posts are always popular round these parts so here's another one from my favourite album of theirs, Everything's Alright Forever. It's kind of just a straightforward album track, but it shows the quality of their songwriting at the time that they could come up with album tracks as solid as this one, which certainly wasn't the case for a lot of their contemporaries in shoegazeville. As with so much on this album, it's mostly about the way they get everything right in terms of arrangement, soundscaping, and letting the music take the lead where it matters instead of throwing in totally unnecessary words just for the sake of it.

From 1992.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crystal Garden - Heaven's Kiss

Apologies for my no-show yesterday folks. I was suffering from Irish Sunstroke, a widespread affliction on this island in which the rare occurrence of a warm sunny day renders the population absolutely physically incapable of sticking to usual schedules or obligations. Seriously, it's like a spell of mass hysteria gripping the nation.

I'm over it now.

So anyway, here's a track from a 1993 Waaah! 7". It was something of a clever marketing ploy by Bring On Bull Records, putting the (relatively) well-known Orchids on the cover to make it look like a new Orchids single when the b-sides were actually by two different bands: Bouquet and this lot whom I know absolutely nothing about. Theirs is actually my favourite track on the record, though, a nice little bit of lo-fi twee pop with delightful boy-girl vocals and possibly the worst drum machine ever.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Bloody Valentine - Honey Power

The title kind of makes me cringe now (weren't there just way too many indie songs about honey and sugar and all that back in the day?) but apart from that, this is a great song. It's from the 1991 Tremolo EP but I think it's more in the vein of earlier MBV, which I, apparently alone in all the universe, prefer to their final couple years. Not early early MBV of course, who were shit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Horowitz - The Knitwear Generation

More DIY indiepop-punk from somewhereinEngland. This one came out on cassette only last year, the title track to a three-song EP, and I'm sure they won't thank me for saying the opening bits remind me of "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins. I actually like that song, though, so don't take it the wrong way fellas.

It's one of those songs that you might need to listen to for a while before it starts growing on you. But it will.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oporto - Actors Studio

A short-lived band formed by Andy Davies after the Cudgels' split. As far as I know the French Blue 7", to which this was the opening track, was their only release; it came out in 1994 on Sunday Records. Twee pop fans will want to get it though to be honest I don't think it's up there with the best recordings on the Cudgels family tree.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Psychedelic Furs - Sleep Comes Down

Not one of their best-remembered songs, I don't think, but this track from 1982's Forever Now has always been a favourite of mine. It's simple and sing-songy, almost effortless in its dreamy perfection. I can recall hearing a slower live version too which I'm not sure the source of - any info would be appreciated.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anguish Sandwich - Leave My Brain Alone

Super lo-fi fuzzy pop from Northampton. I can't decide if their name is crap or brilliant, which probably means it's brilliant.

From their just-released four-song EP, Bermuda Triangle.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The New Lines - Buildings to Photograph

Great spacey psychedelic pop from, where else, Brooklyn. This is the closing track of their 2011 debut album All That We See and Seem. It was also the first song I ever heard of theirs and I wondered at first if it had been uploaded at the wrong speed, but no, it's just beautifully languid.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Big Country - Inwards

Not very fashionable I know, but I always had a sneaking regard for The Crossing, Big Country's 1983 debut album. Sure they were a bit bombastic and overwrought at times, but when you think of the bands they were usually lumped in with, they really didn't have any of the irritating self-righteousness of U2 or the, erm, general crapness of the Alarm. (Remember the Alarm? Giggle.)

I hadn't actually heard it for a good couple decades when I put it on again recently and I definitely think it had a lot more going for it than most of us gave it credit for. Some quite decent album tracks, like this one.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Drivin' 'n' Cryin' - Ghost Party in the Attic

Most of Drivin' 'n' Cryin's stuff is unmitigated rubbish but this is a wonderfully quirky little burst of energy, under two minutes long, totally unlike anything else I've ever heard of theirs.

I'm not sure where it comes from. I have it on an old cassette dating from the mid-1980s (hence the atrocious sound quality), but I can't seem to find any information on its source. It seems to have been later reissued on an album called Everything Looks Better in the Dark, released in 1987 under the name of Frank French and Kevn Kinney (the latter being DnC's singer/guitarist), but I'm not sure if it was this version or a re-recording. My cassette version definitely preceded that release.

Anyway, that album's probably as unlistenable as everything DnC did after this song, so this is really all you need.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Charlatans - Just When You're Thinking Things Over

I pretty much lost interest in the Charlatans after their debut album but this song, from their (self-titled) fourth, was nearly as good as their early material. It does the same kind of Stones-to-a-'90s-dancebeat thing that Primal Scream are so well known for, but without the self-importance that ruins the latter band for me.

From 1995.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cleaners from Venus - Follow the Plough

I'd said pretty much all I expected to say about Cleaners from Venus here but the renewed interest in them recently, sparked by the reissue of their first three albums for Record Store Day, gives me a good excuse for another go. Plus, I was kind of wishing I'd put up this song in the first place. It's a bit atypically mainstream-sounding, but just tell me that hook doesn't get you.

It's from 1987's Going to England LP, which was their eighth or something.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Beat - Save It For Later

One of those songs that I seem to have known forever, and always liked, but have only come to properly appreciate in recent years. It's pretty much a straightforward pop tune, so I can understand why it wasn't the most popular with their original fans. But it's got such a great, classic melody, with Dave Wakeling's world-weary vocals adding a particularly affecting quality. Can't really imagine why it wasn't a bigger hit.

From their final album, 1982's Special Beat Service.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Radiators from Space - Television Screen

You'd never know it from looking at most British accounts of the era but there was more to 1970s Irish punk than the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. Dublin had a thriving scene too, and the Radiators from Space were probably the best known, or at least they're the best remembered now. They were one of (if not the) earliest Dublin punk bands, formed in the pub rock era. You can hear that influence on this song, which was their first single, in 1977.

They've reformed in the past few years (hasn't everyone?) and just released a new album. I haven't heard it yet but it's been pretty well-reviewed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Limiñanas - I'm Dead

A brilliant, buoyant, very '60s-influenced pop tune from this south-of-France band. It was their first single, released in 2010, and they've since followed it up with a self-titled album on the Trouble in Mind label. They do actually sing in French on some of their songs, which is something I always like in a French pop band. Not because it's French, I just think pop bands shouldn't always feel they have to sing in English, if their native language is something else. Anyway, great tune, this one.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Voice of the Beehive - Monsters and Angels

Voice of the Beehive's debut album was a hit-and-miss affair, but its high points were, really, quite fabulous. The audaciously-titled follow-up, Honey Lingers, was inferior in terms of both the number and, erm, height of its own "high points": there's really only a couple of worthwhile tracks on it, and if they never existed you wouldn't really miss them. In fact, you could pretty much turn it off after this song - the first on the album - which would be a keeper for its opening couplet alone.

From 1991, though still seems stubbornly stuck in the '80s.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Panda Kopanda - Ocean of Fire

No idea if this Belfast band is still around but over the past half-dozen years or so they had a number of releases which were really nice in a lo-fi Death Cab sort of way. This was one of my favourites of theirs, the title track from a 2006 EP.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game Theory - Together Now, Very Minor

The song that closes out their epic Lolita Nation LP, from 1987. It's kind of a nice way to end the album, after all the chaos that preceded it. Actually it's a lovely tune and musically quite unlike anything else Game Theory ever recorded. Same incomprehensible lyrics, though.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mission of Burma - Trem Two

MoB's second 7", from 1982. It's not an obvious single, I don't think; it strikes me as one of those album tracks that you don't really notice for the first couple dozen listenings and then one day you think, "Fuck me, this is bleeding brilliant." Or maybe that's just how I reacted to it, having first heard it as an album track a couple years after the fact. Whatever. It's a great song either way, a tense and moody piece that sounds like MoB were listening to a fair amount of Manchester post-punk in that Boston garage of theirs.

 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Holidays!

It's a bank holiday weekend in Ireland and I'm taking a long one, starting now. See you back on Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Felt - Evergreen Dazed

I don't think I've posted anything yet from the Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty mini-LP, Felt's 12" debut, even though it's my single favourite thing they've ever released. Every song on it is so exquisitely crafted, the vocals (where there are any) wisely downplayed, Martin Deebank's guitar doing its intricate dance around (and occasionally with) Lawrence's strums, the almost tribalistic rhythms, and the austere production rendering it all even more fragile. It's a stunning work, and I can never decide if I wish it were a full-length because there might be more of it, or if I'm glad they left it at six songs instead of risking spoiling it with filler. I've been pondering that question for almost thirty years now.

This is the opening track, an instrumental, a perfect instrumental where you don't even notice there aren't any vocals or if you do, you don't miss them because the song has everything it needs without them. Everything.

And if I sound like I'm swooning, well, this record does that to me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In Embrace - This Brilliant Evening

They had a terrible name but this Coventry band might have had a very bright future ahead of them in the world of mid-1980s jangle pop, if only their label (Glass) hadn't evaporated and taken a whole album's worth of unreleased material with it. In Embrace did, however, have the good fortune to release a couple singles on Cherry Red, like this one from 1985. It's our good fortune too because without that label's fondness for compilation albums, I suspect they would have disappeared down the memory hole entirely.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The 6ths - As You Turn to Go

I have mixed feelings about this particular Stephin Merritt project, but it's hard to be ambivalent about this track, a lovely two-minute-long twee ballad performed entirely on zither (whatever that is). Its sheer sublime gorgeousness is all the more surprising when you realise the vocals are provided by Momus, who's usually pretty creepy.

It's from the second 6ths album Hyacinths and Thistles, from 2000.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bush Tetras - Things That Go Boom in the Night

Here's a classic of the no wave genre, which I've developed a greater appreciation for in recent years. It was Bush Tetras' second single, released in 1981. Its predecessor "Too Many Creeps" seems to be the song they're best remembered for but I think this one is much better. It's rather Au Pairs-ish which is no bad thing at all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Space - Female of the Species

Ha. Remember this one? Back in the day - 1996, to be precise - this song was, like, humongous. It was everybody's favourite song for a while, lavishly praised by the critics, a guaranteed dance floor filler notwithstanding that it was really quite difficult to dance to. I was thoroughly sick of it within weeks.

Watching this video now in retrospect, a few things strike me:

1. Who on earth cleared this video for release? It's appalling.

2. They had the most uncharismatic lead singer I've ever seen.

3. Their "fashion" sense. Oh my.

4. Still, it really was quite a catchy - and clever - little tune.

It appeared on their debut album, Spiders, which you can safely skip.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Belly - Dusted

This is an album track (from their debut, Star) but a slightly different version preceded it on EP and was really the start of Tanya Donelly's "solo" career. As someone who always thought she was wasted in Throwing Muses, I snapped it up and fell in love with it instantaneously. And it still kicks my ass almost twenty years later.

One fucking great song.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weed Hounds - Hard Drivin'

Weed Hounds, who are unsurprisingly from Brooklyn, blend the best of American indie-rock, lo-fi and shoegaze to surprisingly distinctive effect. This is a track from their 2010 split 7" with Dude Japan.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Rain Parade - Blue

Gorgeous little track from the Rain Parade's 1984 EP Explosions in the Glass Palace. Of all the Paisley Underground bands I always thought they had the most perfect sound.

Monday, April 23, 2012

28th Day - I'm Only Asking

28th Day's first and only album, released in 1985, didn't get much attention at the time and isn't remembered by many now but it was a pretty nice collection of folk-tinged jangly guitar pop - the kind then being played on college radio stations across the US. One of their singers, Barbara Manning, went on to greater renown as a solo artist and collaborator with the likes of Stephen Merritt and Stuart Moxham.

This is a haunting little track from that album.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chalk and Numbers - I Really Wanna Work This Out

There's a lot of very '60s, Phil Spectorish girlpop around these days but few of the bands take it quite this far - going beyond a mere "influenced by" or even "very influenced by" to actually sounding like a lost relic of the Gold Star studio. Whether that makes them unforgivably derivative or deliciously authentic is probably a matter of personal opinion. FWIW, I fall unapologetically into the latter camp.

Their debut EP, He Knew, was released last year and can be downloaded for free here.

From Brooklyn, of course.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Catnaps - Lullaby

Catnaps are from Philadelphia, used to be called When I Was 12, and play such ridiculously appealing twee indie girl-pop that part of me wants to just turn this into the Catnaps Blog for a while and post nothing else. Except they already have their own blog (here). So this will have to suffice. Just listen, though, you'll know what I mean.

It's from their 2011 album Why Don't You Whisper?, their first under their new name.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Eggstone - Hang On To Your Eco

I seem to have been posting a lot of Swedish indiepop lately but, well, why not. Eggstone were around in the 1980s and '90s and put out three albums, which I'm told were fairly successful in Sweden although they didn't make much of a dent in this part of the world. I'm not sure they really deserved much more than they achieved, but they did have their moments.

This is a track from their second album, 1994's Somersault.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sneaky Feelings - Trouble With Kay

Hope this makes up for my (technologically-enforced absence) yesterday. It's from a Flying Nun band who, sadly, seem to have been largely forgotten. This was a 1987 single and track from their debut album, Sentimental Education.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The School - I Want You Back

Cardiff band. Dreadful name, Heavenly music. And I do mean capital-H Heavenly.

This was originally released on a 2008 EP and subsequently reappeared on their 2010 debut album, Loveless Unbeliever, on the wonderful Elefant Records.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tiger Tape - Let's Work Things Out

Tiger Tape are an indiepop band from Stockholm who used to be called Moofish Catfish. The less said about that, the better. This is a rather striking tune from 2010, from their debut album I Woke Up in Hökarängen. The vocals have a great don't-give-a-fuck quality to them.

 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nick Heyward - On a Sunday

Nick was one of my very first pop star crushes and I still get a bit silly and girly watching this. I don't think much was expected from him when he left Haircut 100, but his solo debut North of a Miracle, from 1983, was actually pretty good. It's lightweight, sure, but so is a lot of the stuff on this blog. In a different sort of way. I take retrospective vindication from the fact that no less a label than Cherry Red decided to reissue it a couple years ago.

This was my favourite single from that album (and oddly enough, the least successful).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

See See Rider - Rosey Singer

B-side from this East Kilbride band's 1991 Stolen Heart EP. It's good enough to be a single in its own right, if not as enthralling as the EP's title track (which I've already posted, here). Really wish they'd stuck around a bit longer.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Catherine Wheel - Flower to Hide

While I'm in a '90s shoegaze mood (as if I'm ever not, ha) here's an album track from CW's debut that I particularly liked. Actually, I think a lot of their album tracks have held up better than their singles, but maybe that's just me.

From 1992.

   

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunbear - Leadbelt

Sorry about yesterday, folks, you wouldn't believe what my computer was doing to me. Anyway, here's an absolutely gorgeous tune from a Dublin shoegaze band who really should have been better known back in the day. It's from their 1996 EP Bits and Pieces, or you can also find it on a recent compilation called Bits. And, really, you should.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dazzle

The opening track to 1984's Hyæna, and the last Banshees single I really liked. 'Twas all kind of downhill from here.

There is an official video on YouTube, but I think Siouxsie's antics in it detract from the song so I'm posting this one instead. Just listen.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids on a Crime Spree - I Don't Want to Call You Baby, Baby

Oakland, California band. If you're into the whole Beach Boys-meet-the-Ramones-in-the-garage-with-Phil-Spector-producing thing you'll want to check them out.

It's from their 2011 debut EP, We Love You So Bad. On Slumberland, naturally.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nick Drake - Cello Song

One of these people who I decided I better listen to just because so many of the bands I loved as a teenager were citing him as an influence. (See also: Big Star, Love.) Some of his more straightforward folk stuff I find pleasant enough without being particularly inspiring, but this one I think is just epic. It's from his 1969 debut album, Five Leaves Left.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Brilliant Colors - Absolutely Anything

Not to be confused with '80s Bristolians the Brilliant Corners, or Dublin's Gorgeous Colours, these are a San Francisco band with short fuzzy pop tunes that recall the punkier side of the Shop Assistants. And with that description you just know it's gonna be on Slumberland, don't you? I'm not entirely sold on the vocals, but the tunes are great.

From their 2009 debut album, Introducing Brilliant Colors.

 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Yeh Deadlies - Magazine

Another Dublin band (with a brilliantly Dublin-esque name), this one is led by Annie Tierney, a former member of The Radio who I put up here a few days ago. She's been/remains a member of about a zillion other Irish bands, too - I told you The Radio were a supergroup - though if you're outside of Ireland you probably haven't heard of them.

This was a 2010 single, which makes me think of a lo-fi Go-Gos.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Mondays - Kinky Afro

I wasn't their biggest fan to begin with and I was particularly befuddled about the hype over Pills 'N Thrills And Bellyaches, but I give them credit for this song because (a) it's just a good song, simples and (b) the opening couplet is sheer brilliance. Remember when 30 seemed old? Jeez.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Squarehead - Fake Blood

One of my singles of the year last year. Squarehead are a Dublin band who sound sort of like a cross between Teenage Fanclub and Green Day. They do a very nice, faithful cover of "Cathy's Clown". How can you not like a band that covers "Cathy's Clown"?

You can pick up their full debut album, Yeah Nothing, here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Three Johns - Death of the European

I heard this song for the first time shortly after it was released (1985) but I always assumed it was older than that. It has a really early-'80s post-punk feel, I think, even though it's fairly pop by the Three Johns' standards. Though you certainly couldn't accuse them of going mainstream where the lyrics were concerned. Or the cover art for that matter.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Teardrop Explodes - Camera Camera

B-side to their 1979 debut single, "Sleeping Gas". It barely sounds like the Teardrop Explodes; in fact, to my ears it barely sounds like Julian Cope singing. Come to that, it barely sounds like "singing" at all. But it's still a good song.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Lodger - A Year Since Last Summer

Leeds band active since the mid-2000s but recalling all your favourite '80s indie/jangle-pop. My only reservation about them is I'm not mad about the vocals, but the songs are (mostly) strong enough to compensate.

This is a track from their second album, 2008's Life is Sweet.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Radio - One of Two Ways

2007 single and track from The Radio's second album, Charm Offensive. The Radio were occasionally referred to as an Irish supergroup, although Rollerskate Skinny is probably the only related band that will mean anything to anyone outside of Ireland. And they sounded nothing like Rollerskate Skinny, instead being something of an early '80s (very early '80s) new wave revivalist band. There was inevitably a touch of the novelty act about them, although they were never as crass in their retroism as a similarly-influenced Irish band around at the same time, Neosupervital, who bizarrely seemed to be a lot more popular. Anyway, The Radio had some really nice tunes and were pretty fantastic live. Awful name though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guatafán - Cucurucho

A song that grabs you from the very first note, this is an utterly delightful piece of perfect twee-indie-girl-pop, sung in Spanish. It's also a wonderful video, every bit as joyously full of life as the song itself is; if you haven't fallen completely in love with Guatafán by the first 30 seconds of it you're probably at the wrong blog.

It's a 2010 single, on Elefant Records.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Low - Lazy

Low have the distinction of being the only band I've ever heard to cover Joy Division ("Transmission") and sound like they get it. That in itself would make me love them, even if their original music didn't - which, mostly, it does. Atmospheric and minimalist at the same time, they were the perfect bridge between Factory-style post-punk (I hear a bit of Durutti Column in this) and shoegaze... not entirely unlike Galaxie 500, but, well, lower. And slower.

This is a hypnotic track from their 1994 debut album, I Could Live in Hope.

Monday, March 26, 2012

East River Pipe - Make a Deal With the City

A lovely song from 1993's Goodbye California, from a band I'm not normally that enthusiastic about. (They were actually a project of Fred Cornog rather than a proper band, but let's not split hairs.) ERP started off on Sarah and ended up on Merge - a label which, in the 1990s, I always associated with a distinctly US South aesthetic - and I don't think it was so much a change in musical direction as a case of them finally reaching their natural home. You can hear a lot of that sort of Mitch Eastery '60s-influenced pop even in their early material, though with considerably less slick production.

Anyway, whatever about the rest of their music, this is a gorgeous track in its own right.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crystal Stilts - Crystal Stilts

Another band I can't believe hasn't made an appearance here yet, Crystal Stilts are of course one of the reasons I regret not being in Brooklyn anymore. Obviously I was way before my time.

This track, from their 2008 debut album Alight of Night, always reminds me of the Mary Chain's "Kill Surf City".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hey Paulette - Our Immeasurable Differences

Absolutely astonished to realise that I haven't posted any Hey Paulette, one of the best-loved Irish indiepop bands. They were from Dublin and wonderfully C86-y, although their heyday was a couple years after that album. Seriously, tell me you don't love this.

It's from a 1989 Peel Session and the song was later released as a b-side to the single "I Really Do Love Penelope", which I think it just marginally outshines. A compilation called Long Ball into Nowhere was released a few years ago and, really, you must get it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Modern English - Just a Thought

I would guess that over 90% of the people who know Modern English at all know them only for that song. And most of them would probably hate this. It's from their 1981 debut album, Mesh and Lace, which is a pretty dark affair...sort of Bauhaus meets the Sound or the Comsat Angels. They were on 4AD after all!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Go-Betweens - Five Words

Conversation with myself tonight:

Ah feck, CG, you don't have time to update the blog today.

No worries, just put up some Go-Betweens. That'll make everyone happy.

So here ye are. From Spring Hill Fair (1984).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Echo Lake - In Dreams

Atmospheric electronic music with heavenly female vocals. Not always my cup of tea, but this London band do it rather nicely. Actually, they remind me a lot of an Irish-based band I've seen a few times recently called Low Sea. I must put them up here some time.

Anyway, this is a track from a 2010 EP called Young Silence.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aztec Camera - Oblivious

1983 single, from their classic debut album High Land, Hard Rain. It's hard to convey how nostalgic I get hearing this. I think I played this album so many times I actually know every drum beat by heart.

Sounds so innocent today, doesn't it?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dirty Pretty Things - Deadwood

It was easy to hate the Libertines. Their music was incredibly derivative, their fans obnoxious beyond belief and, well, generally they seemed like arseholes. But at times they won me over nonetheless. Carl Barat's post-Libertines material has been less successful in that regard, although this catchy number which opened up the Dirty Pretty Things' 2006 debut Waterloo to Anywhere did fill me with high hopes which, alas, were not fulfilled. Not that I really expected them to be.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Honeycrash - One False Move

Twee, very English indiepop from a Stoke band who seem to have disappeared with only this 1989 7" to their name. The a-side was pretty awful, but this and the other track showed a bit of promise. No idea what their members went on to.

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