The Very Things special with The Shend in conversation.
When The Cravats split up in 1982, guitarist Robin Raymond (aka Robin R. Dalloway) and bassist/singer The Shend (aka Chris Shendo, born Chris Harz) formed The Very Things, recruiting drummer Gordon Disneytime (aka Robin Holland), bassist Jim Davis (guitarist with Redditch band CKV) for the first live gigs, followed by bassist Steven Burrows (aka Fudger O'Mad or Budge), who is band mate of And Also The Trees. The band also originally had a horn section of Vincent Johnson, John Graham, Robert Holland, and Paul Green. Debut single "The Gong Man" was released on Crass's label in November 1983, with "The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes" following in June 1984, now signed to Reflex Records. A short film was made based on the latter for Channel 4's The Tube.
The band's debut album was released in August 1984, after which the band was trimmed to the core trio. Several singles and EPs followed over the next few years, although a cover of R. Dean Taylor's "There's a Ghost In My House" was withdrawn in 1987 due to The Fall's version appearing at the same time. By 1988 the band had split up, although they had recorded enough material for an album release on One Little Indian, the Motown-influenced Motortown. The original albums, along with a collection of non-album tracks, were reissued by Fire Records in 1994.
Ian McNabb in conversation talking about a life in music, The Icicle Works & much much more.
The Icicle Works are an English were named after the 1960 short story "The Day the Icicle Works Closed" by science fiction author Frederik Pohl. They had a top 20 UK hit with "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" (1983). In the US and Canada, they had only one top 40 hit, the 1984 single "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)".
Led by singer/songwriter Ian McNabb, the band released five albums from 1984 to 1990 before breaking up in 1991. McNabb later convened a revised line-up of the band in 2006 to play live shows; this revised Icicle Works line-up still plays sporadic live dates.
The band was founded in Liverpool in 1980 when bassist Chris Layhe (who had been in a couple of local rock bands including Elanor and Blind Owl) answered an advertisement for a musical collaborator placed by 20-year-old Ian McNabb. The two got together and started writing. They quickly added drummer Chris Sharrock (who had previously drummed for the Cherry Boys), and began playing live shows as "The Icicle Works".
In 1981, the band recorded a six-song independently released cassette entitled Ascending. In 1982, they released the independent single "Nirvana", which made it to No. 15 on the UK's indie charts. The following year, the Icicle Works were signed to the Beggars Banquet label, who issued the single "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" on their subsidiary label Situation Two.
Later that year, The Icicle Works released their biggest UK hit, 1983's "Love is a Wonderful Colour", which was a Top 15 single. Their 1984 eponymous debut album followed shortly thereafter, reached number 24 on the UK charts and entered the US top 40. Appearing on the US top 40 singles charts at around the same time (and hitting the Canadian top twenty) was "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)", a retitled and slightly remixed version of the band's Situation Two release of 1983.
The Popinjays special with Wendy Robinson in conversation
The band was formed by Wendy Robinson (vocals) and Polly Hancock (vocals, guitar), initially with a drum machine. This line-up recorded the debut "Don't Go Back" EP on Big Cat UK (catalogue number BBA02) in August 1988) achieving "Single of the Week" in Melody Maker. A John Peel session, produced by Dale Griffin and recorded at the BBC studios in Golders Green, London, was first broadcast on 21 September 1988 and repeated on 11 October 1988. It featured four original songs; "Perfect Dream Home", "Fine Lines", "Dr Fell" and "Backward" Daydream. They then recruited Dana Baldinger (b. Seattle, WA), and signed to One Little Indian Records, releasing "Please Let Me Go" as a single in April 1990; this too attained Single of The Week in Melody Maker. Baldinger was eventually replaced by Anne Rogers of The Crowd Scene. In December 1989, the British music magazine NME reported that the Popinjays, along with others such as Power of Dreams, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and The Charlatans, were their pick as 'stars of tomorrow'.
Their debut album Bang Up To Date With The Popinjays was released in April 1990 and was followed by a live tour in May and June 1990 with One Little Indian label mates Kitchens of Distinction. In the autumn of 1990 Seamus Feeney joined the line up on drums making the band a four-piece for the first time. The band continued with live shows through the autumn, touring with both Cud and The Heart Throbs. The next single Vote Elvis was produced by Jessica Corcoran at The Greenhouse studios in London. In 1991 The Popinjays signed to US Independent label Alpha International and the single Vote Elvis was released in the United States in April 1991 entering the billboard Modern Rock charts the following month peaking at number 17 in June 1991.
On 11 May 1992 the single Monster Mouth was released by One Little Indian records and a UK tour to support the release of the album Flying Down to Mono Valley followed from August through to October 1992.
In 1992 the rhythm section was replaced by two brothers and former members of the band Airhead, namely bassist Ben Kesteven and drummer Sam Kesteven.
In 1994 the third and final album Tales from the Urban Prairie was recorded and released, again on One Little Indian Records. a BBC Radio live session with Mark Radcliffe was broadcast on 1 June 1994.
After a 21-year hiatus, in April 2015 The Popinjays original line up of Wendy Robinson and Polly Hancock played their first live show in 21 years at The Lexington, London on April 4, 2015, and again at Indie Daze at The Forum London on October 3, 2015.
Gary Clail in conversation - talking about the ups and down of his musical career.
Gary Clail English singer and record producer, and the founder of the Gary Clail Sound System. He was part of On-U Sound Records (and also the On-U Sound System) and led Gary Clail's Tackhead Sound System. They had a big hit in clubs with the 1991 song "Human Nature".
During the mid to late 1980s based in Bristol, he became a warm up act for On-U gigs. Clail first released a record in 1985. Several 12" singles were issued between 1985 and 1987, before Clail's first LP for Nettwerk, Tackhead Tape Time, a split effort between Clail and Tackhead. "Television: The Drug of the Nation" by The Beatnigs was remixed by Clail, Adrian Sherwood and Mark Stewart, on the Alternative Tentacles record label in 1988.
In 1989, Clail issued his own album, billed as Gary Clail & On-U Sound System, on On-U Sound, which marked Clail's entrance to the electronic underground scene in Bristol, eventually leading him to work with RCA a couple of years later. This output incorporated several singles and EPs, as well as the Emotional Hooligan album (1991).
Clail released a further album on Yelen Records, entitled Keep the Faith (1996).
In 2013 Clail formed the Gary Clail Sound System and began work on the album 'Nail It To The Mast'. It was released on 15 December 2014.
The Gladstone's guitarist Steven Hinrichs talking about life in music, the back and also For Against.
Quoted from Wilfully Obscure
The Gladstones - Jeremy (1990, Tall)
Rolo McGinty in conversation talking about life in the Woodentops
The band formed in 1983 in South London with an initial line-up of Rolo McGinty (vocals, guitar, formerly of The Wild Swans and The Jazz Butcher), Simon Mawby (guitar), Alice Thompson (keyboards), Frank DeFreitas (bass guitar), and Paul Hookham (drums).
After a debut single, "Plenty" on Food Records in 1984, which received a glowing review from Morrissey in Melody Maker, they signed to the independent label Rough Trade Records, releasing a series of singles in 1985 and their debut album, Giant, in 1986. Generally well received by critics, the album's sound was characterised by acoustic guitars, but also featured accordion, marimba, strings, and trumpet sounds. The album reached No. 35 on the UK Albums Chart. A single from the album, "Good Thing", reached No. 7 on the UK Indie Chart.
The band then became more experimental and frenetic when playing live, using more electronic sounds. This first became apparent as documented on the live album Live Hypno Beat (1987), which was recorded in Los Angeles in 1986. The band also started to become more 'raw' and unpredictable live, becoming one of the most exciting independent groups from the UK, while gaining an early hit on the burgeoning club scene in Ibiza with '"Why".
In 1987, Thompson left to be replaced by Anne Stephenson of The Communards. The more experimental mood continued on the second album Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway, released the following year, which failed to live up to the expectations set by their debut. Most notably, the listeners of Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM voted their song "Stop This Car" number 15 out of 106 in the KROQ Top 106.7 Countdown of 1988, outperforming many more established acts, and one of the album's standout tracks, "Wheels Turning", became a dancefloor favourite.
The Woodentops continued to play live, touring the world until 1992, and tracks such as "Tainted World" became a regular on New York radio station Kiss FM with DJ Tony Humphries.
Vocalist and guitarist Rolo McGinty, who also wrote all Woodentops' songs, resurfaced with the DJ band Pluto in the 1990s, the Dogs Deluxe electronica project and also provided vocals for Gary Lucas's, Gods and Monsters. Guitarist Simon Mawby was briefly a member of The House of Love in the early 1990s.
The Woodentops returned to live performances in September 2006 and, in October 2009, they performed in a special concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London's South Bank. They also curated the events in the Front Room of the same theatre with an exhibition of works by artist Panni Bharti, and concerts by musicians Worm, Othon and Ernesto Tomasini.
Lush special with Miki Benrenyi talking about life in music, Lush, reunions and her new musical outfit, Piroshka & much much more
The band formed in 1987 in London, initially named the Baby Machines (after a line in the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Arabian Knights"), with a lineup of Meriel Barham (vocals), Anderson (guitar, vocals), Berenyi (guitar, vocals), Steve Rippon (bass) and Chris Acland (drums).[ Their influences were diverse; they were inspired by the garage rock scene of the Nuggetsseries, Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Beach Boys and the Byrds.
Anderson and Berenyi had been school friends, having known each other since the early 1980s, and together published the Alphabet Soup fanzine. In 1986, Anderson joined the Rover Girls as bassist, and Berenyi joined the Bugs, also as a bass player. Neither band lasted long, and in 1987, they joined Barham and Acland in the Baby Machines. Rippon joined shortly thereafter, and the band members decided on a change of name to Lush, making their live debut at the Camden Falcon on 6 March 1988. Barham left the band and later joined Pale Saints. Berenyi then took on lead vocal duties.
Anderson said of the band's beginnings: "We were kind of punk rock in one way. We did think, 'Well, if they can do it, why the fuck can't we?' Basically, our idea was to have extremely loud guitars with much weaker vocals. And, really, the vocals were weaker due to nervousness – we'd always be going 'Turn them down! Turn them down!'" Berenyi said, "We started by writing crappy riot grrl anthems... which was probably charming in a juvenile way. But there was a very rapid shift from the minute we started to write for records. The music, the lyrics became much more thoughtful and expressive, more important, really. I remember that change beginning when Emma wrote "Thoughtforms," it certainly made me think I needed to get my act together."
The Screaming Blue Messiahs special with Kenny Harris in conversation
The Screaming Blue Messiahs were a rock band, formed in 1983 in London by guitarist and singer Bill Carter, bass player and backing singer Chris Thompson and drummer Kenny Harris. The group emerged in the wake of the pub rock and punk scenes that had been very predominant on the UK capital's live music circuit during the late '70s/ early '80s. The band, a classic power trio, was active between 1983 and 1990 and released three major label LPs. They toured extensively throughout Europe, North America and Australasia, garnering wide critical acclaim for their aggressive blend of rhythm and blues, punk and rockabilly.
Before founding the Screaming Blue Messiahs, its three members had played together as The Small Brothers. Thompson and Carter had been part of the Captain Beefheart-influenced band Motor Boys Motor; together with Tony Moon on vocals, they recorded several tracks under that name on 24 August 1981 for John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1 and released a self-titled album. Initially, after Harris joined Carter and Thompson, the band briefly continued to perform under the name 'Motor Boys Motor'. According to Carter, the final name was chosen upon the suggestion of Ace/Big Beat's Ted Caroll, who was concerned that the band's initial proposal of 'The Blues Messiahs' sounded too pub rock.
Carter employed a rhythmic, blues-influenced, feedback-laden guitar style, using mainly Fender Telecaster guitars together with two combo amps: a Mesa Boogie and an HH outfitted with Gauss speakers. For his occasional forays into slide, he favoured 'the mike stand, or whatever is handy', and that he only used open tunings 'when the strings go open by accident'.
Featuring a sound described as "rockabilly from hell" and a strong passion for Americana, cars, guns, aeroplanes and broadcast evangelism, the group released the mini-album Good and Gone on Big Beat Records. Its six songs, which had been selected from eleven songs recorded in spring 1984 with producer Vic Maile during a session at Elephant Studios in Wapping, London, included a version of Hank Williams' "You're Gonna Change". Upon its release, the EP entered the top twenty in the UK independent record chart, where it remained for six months.
The Screaming Blue Messiahs played their first official gig at 'Downstairs at the Clarendon', Hammersmith, London on 11 June 1984. On 24 July 1984, they performed the songs "Good And Gone", "Someone To Talk To", "Tracking The Dog" and "Let's Go Down to the Woods And Pray" during their first recorded session for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1. Broadcast on 2 August, the session proved so popular that it resulted in two BBC releases, one a 4-track 12" and a later inclusion of 'Good And Gone' on an album sampler of Peel Sessions. In December of the same year, The Screaming Blue Messiahs appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test on the BBC, playing two live songs: "Let's Go Down to the Woods And Pray" and "Good And Gone", and then undertook a short tour of the Netherlands.
The Hit Parade special with Julian Henry talking about life in music, the creative process, starting a record label & much much more
The first Hit Parade's records were released in 1984. The Hit Parade's second and third singles "My Favourite Girl" and "The Sun Shines in Gerrards Cross" were played on BBC Radio 1 by DJs John Peel, David "Kid" Jensen and Janice Long but were dismissed by the music press as twee and inconsequential. The band originally consisted of three schoolfriends, Julian Henry, Raymond Watts and Matthew Moffatt. Watts moved to Berlin in 1989 to work with KMFDM, Henry developed a business in marketing and journalism, while Moffatt founded his own film lighting company. But they continue to release records, proclaiming the Latin motto "Semper Eadem" ("alvvays the same").
The Hit Parade record for JSH UK record label producing 7" vinyl singles in limited editions. The first Hit Parade single 'Forever' was released in 1984 with a mock-vorticist manifesto. A year later The Hit Parade signed to Stiff Records but the label went out of business before anything (other than a track on a compilation album) was released. The first pressing of the band's 'See You in Havana' single JSH5 with Stiff Records logo is collectible. The first Hit Parade LP "With Love From The Hit Parade" was released on their own label in 1988 to unfavourable reviews: 'mire of cheesy mundane tunes' 'oblivious to musical developments of the last 24 years' (Q Magazine) 'twee like you wouldn't believe' (MM), apart from NME which declared the Hit Parade to be the 'perfect pop machine'.
But the band's diy approach was lauded by fanzines (Caff, Are You Scared To Get Happy, Especially Yellow) and the album sleeve was self-taken 'selfie album cover'. The album has been re-issued and is now regarded as 80s indie classic.Following its release Henry was approached by Cherry Red Records and arranged nine songs on the first Would-be-goods album. In the 1990s, The Hit Parade signed to Sarah Records label and recorded "In Gunnersbury Park" b/w "Harvey".
After live shows in Tokyo shopping malls in the 90s the Hit Parade were linked to the Shibuya-kei movement alongside groups The Pastels, Orange Juice and Flipper's Guitar in Japan. The Hit Parade signed to Vinyl Japan and later Polystar Records, had a minor hit with "Hello Hannah Hello". They toured Japan several times, played at the opening of the Virgin Megastore Shinjuku, Tokyo, appearing on MTV Japan and other music TV shows, and signed to Minty Fresh Records, Chicago, in the United States releasing their first US single, "Hello Hannah Hello".
The Hit Parade produced their fifth album with St Etienne producer Ian Catt in 2006 The Return of the Hit Parade, and 9th single "My Stupid Band", the story of a failed pop group doomed to a life of obscurity. It was published with a Manifesto that called for Food Lovers Fairs to be banned and for JG Ballard to be knighted. In 2007 the Hit Parade single "You Didn't Love Me Then", appeared on Sanctuary Records C86 double album Cd86: The Birth of Indie Pop.
The 10th Hit Parade 7" single was a tribute to Le Corbusier's 'Unite D'Habitation', featuring Manchester singer Cath Carroll. "I Like Bubblegum" b/w "Zennor Mermaid" raised funds for the Porthmeor Studio in St Ives Cornwall restoration fund and was voted one of the best singles of 2010 by Drowned in Sound. Julian Henry was interviewed in The Guardian in 2011.
In 2014 the Hit Parade released "Cornish Pop Songs", songs set in South West England, described by Cornishman art critic Lee Trewhela as 'the best album made about Cornwall this century" and "a glorious collection of melodic, memorable guitar-based tunes". The album was re-issued on vinyl in 2016.
Henry and Watts have been recording new Hit Parade material for 2019 release ; their 13th single "Happy World", released in 2018 to mark Record Store Day was described by the Arts Desk as "the very definition of twee Eighties style indie".
Dave Jackson talking about life in music PLUS The Room, Benny Profane, The Room in the Wood & much much more
The Room formed in 1979 with an initial line-up of Dave Jackson (vocals), Robyn Odlum (guitar), Becky Stringer (bass), and Clive Thomas (drums, percussion). Early releases on their self-financed independent label, Box Records saw the band compared to Joy Division, The Fall and fellow Liverpool band Echo & the Bunnymen, and gained them strong support from the music press and John Peel. They released a cassette album 'Bitter Reaction' in 1980 and two double A-sided singles, 'Waiting Room/Motion' (1980) and 'Bated Breath/In Sickness and Health'(1981) via Box.
In 1982 the group signed to Red Flame records, debuting with the single "Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl", followed by first vinyl album 'Indoor Fireworks'. 1983 saw major changes to the line-up, with Odlum and Thomas departing to be replaced by ex-Wild Swans drummer Alan Wills, guitarist Paul Cavanagh, and keyboard player Peter Baker. The new line-up released the mini-album Clear! in late 1983. Brass player Phil Lucking was added to the line-up in 1984, but departed before third album, In Evil Hour, which was part-produced by Tom Verlaine,who the band had played several dates with earlier that year, the remainder produced by John Porter. An EP of tracks recorded for Saturday Live and Janice Long's BBC Radio One programme proved to be the band's final release while still together, in 1985. Clear! and In Evil Hour were later reissued as a double-LP set, titled Nemesis, and an EP of one of the band's four sessions for John Peel's programme was issued by Strange Fruit Records in 1988. Jackson and Stringer formed a new band, Benny Profane, in 1986, and later formed Dust and The Dead Cowboys. The Room's studio catalogue has since been issued on remastered CDs by LTM, with sleevenotes by Dave Jackson.
Jackson released his first solo album, 'Cathedral Mountain' in 2010, recorded with John Head (Pale Fountains & Shack) and Tim O'Shea (Send No Flowers). He is currently finishing a low-budget fantasy feature film called 'Violet City' and has a book of song lyrics called 'Songs from Violet City' due to be published by Headland in 2011. The book includes some Room lyrics and the accompanying CD includes rare Room tracks.
The Chesterfields special with Simon Barber talking about life in the band, the ups & downs & much much more
The band was formed in summer 1984 by Dave Goldsworthy (vocals, guitar), Simon Barber (bass, vocals), and Dominic Manns (drums), joined in 1985 by Brendan Holden (guitar). Early recordings included contributions to the Golden Pathway tapes, that captured the West Country music scene of the time, such as "Stephanie Adores" and "The Boy Who Sold His Suitcase", the latter with a female lead singer, Sarah.
The first vinyl release was as one half of a flexi disc; "Nose out of Joint" shared a single side with The Shop Assistants' "Home Again", and was given away free with copies of London's Legend fanzine and future Subway Organisation boss, Martin Whitehead's own Bristol fanzine.
They signed to The Subway Organization, releasing three well-received singles, before Holden was replaced by Rodney Allen. The debut LP Kettle was released in July 1987, with a compilation of the early singles, Westward Ho! issued later the same year. Allen left to join The Blue Aeroplanes, to be replaced temporarily by Andy Strickland of The Loft/The Caretaker Race, before a more permanent replacement was found in the form of Simon Barber's brother Mark.
The band then moved to their own Household label, issuing two more singles and a third album, Crocodile Tears. Manns left and was replaced by future PJ Harvey drummer Rob Ellis but when Goldsworthy departed in late 1988 the band effectively split. The Barber brothers continued as The Chesterfields for a final single, "Fool Is The Man" in 1989.
The band split for good in the summer of 1989, Simon Barber forming Basinger, and Mark Barber joined Grape. Goldsworthy fronted several more bands, including Furnt, Diceman and Mujer 21 (Band). The Chesterfields reformed briefly in the 1990s to tour Japan after their material was re-issued there. Dave Goldsworthy (Davy Chesterfield) was killed by a hit & run driver in Oxford, UK, on 9 November 2004.
The band's continuing fanbase saw much of their back-catalogue re-issued by Vinyl Japan in the 1990s.
In June 2014 to celebrate the legendary NME C86 tape, Design (fronted by Barber) along with Andy Strickland of The Loft/The Caretaker Race played a set of songs by The Chesterfields at the 92 Club in London. Following the success of The Chesterfields set at the NME C86 gig, Design continued to play classic Chesterfields songs such as'Johnny Dee', 'Lunchtime for the Wild Youth' and 'Last Train to Yeovil' throughout 2014 & 2015.
In 2016, The Chesterfields with their new line up of Simon Barber, Andy Strickland, Helen Stickland and Rob Parry played Exeter's Cavern Club and The 100 Club in London, with further gigs announced including a return to Yeovil with The Haywains. The Chesterfields have been announced as playing the NYC Popfest in New York, from 19–22 May 2016 to coincide with a new EP release, the title of which is still to be confirmed at this time.
Journalist Neil Taylor in conversation - alongside Roy Carr & Adrian Thrills compiled the original NME cassette.
C86 is a cassette compilation released by the British music magazine NME in 1986, featuring new bands licensed from British independent record labels of the time. As a term, C86 quickly evolved into shorthand for a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures, although other musical styles were represented on the tape. In its time, it became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called "shambling" (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music) and underachievement. The C86 scene is now recognized as a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK, as was recognized in the subtitle of the compilation's 2006 CD issue: CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop. 2014 saw the original compilation reissued in a 3CD expanded edition from Cherry Red Records; the 2014 box-set came with an 11,500-word book of sleevenotes by one of the tape's original curators, former NME journalist Neil Taylor.
The C86 name was a play on the labelling and length of blank compact cassettes—commonly C60, C90 and C120—combined with 1986.
Close Lobsters with Andrew Burnett in conversation talking about life in music, the indie scene and much much more
Close Lobsters first came to wider prominence with the track "Firestation Towers" on the NME's C86 compilation. They signed to Fire Records and released their debut single "Going To Heaven To See If It Rains" in October 1986. They released a second single "Never Seen Before" in April 1987 which strengthened their reputation as one of the leading emerging indie bands. They went on to release two albums: Foxheads Stalk This Land was released in 1987 and Headache Rhetoric in 1989. Rolling Stone's review of "Foxheads Stalk This Land" called it "first-rate guitar pop from a top-shelf band. Close Lobsters could have been just another jangle group, but they have a lot more going for them than just chiming Rickenbackers."
Their popularity on United States college radio stations led to an invitation to the New York Music Seminar in 1989, which in turn led to an extensive American tour. They toured extensively in the UK, Germany and the United States of America and Canada. The band eventually took an extended break.
Their 'Best of' Singles retrospective, Forever, Until Victory! - the title is from the reputed last sign-off in a letter from Ernesto 'Che' Guevara to Fidel Castro 'Hasta la victoria siempre!' - was released on 5 October 2009 on Fire Records.
Close Lobsters's song "Let's Make Some Plans" was covered by the Wedding Present on the B-side of their "California" single in 1992.
In March 2012, Close Lobsters reformed to play the second Madrid Popfest, Glasgow, third Popfest Berlin and the 2013 NYC Popfest.
In May 2014, Close Lobsters played the Copenhagen Popfest and released new EP, "Kunstwerk in Spacetime". Lead single "Now Time" received significant attention, and the band hinted at more new music to come in an interview with Sound.wav Music in July 2014.
Close Lobsters's song "Let's Make Some Plans" was covered by The Luxembourg Signal on the B-side of their "Laura Palmer" single in 2017.