'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #3 Summer 2015

'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #3 Summer 2015

Postby richpassivity on Tue May 04, 2010 12:57 pm

So here is the contents of my new zine/one-sheeter :D If you'd like a paper copy let me know....

‘LAST TRAIN TO EASTLEIGH!’ #1 – APRIL 2010
Welcome to the first issue of ‘Last Train To Eastleigh’! Hopefully it will be the first of many. The premise behind it was to try & provide a little bit of focus for the local indie-pop scene & with some gigs coming up in Southampton, the idea of a free one-sheeter appealed to me. There also aren’t enough paper ‘zines around anymore, plus I also felt the urge to be creative, just because I can! The format will deliberately concentrate on the words, with a noticeable absence of flash graphics! I shall try & put these out on a reasonably regular basis & will dish them out at gigs but can also mail them out for the price of a stamp. I shall also post the contents on-line at the Anorak & Southcoast forums (see Indie-Pop Resources section!) a short time after the paper version has come out.

The title is a play on the classic CHESTERF!ELDS song ‘Last Train To Yeovil’ & whilst I have been domiciled in Shirley for the last 11 years or so, Eastleigh is my hometown & I will probably be moving back there in the not too distant future. The title reminds me of going to see bands like THE SHOP ASSISTANTS; SOUP DRAGONS; TALULAH GOSH etc in London in the C86 era. If it was somewhere like the Clarendon in Hammersmith or the Bay 63 under the Westway in Ladbroke Grove, we’d often end up missing the 11.45pm train from Waterloo & having to wait for the 2.45am paper train to Eastleigh, getting home around 5 & going straight to work after little or no sleep! I could easily do that at 20, it’s a bit more difficult in your 40s!

Please feel free to offer any comments or feedback about the contents found within. They are of course only my opinions or take on events, not necessarily gospel (not that I believe!) truths. The Southampton indie-pop history piece is kind of a work in progress & I’d like to update/add to it when I can – our history is important & needs to be documented! Finally, thanks to all my friends & those who have supported me – you’re great! Rich 4/10…

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TOP INDIE-POP GIGS OF 2009…
THE JUNE BRIDES – London (Stoke Newington) Others Club
THE SCHOOL/POCKETBOOKS/LET’S WHISPER – (London Popfest) Brixton Jamm.
TENDER TRAP/ZIPPER/’ALLO DARLIN’/BETTY & THE WEREWOLVES – (London Popfest) Highbury Buffalo Bar.
COMET GAIN/MILKY WIMPSHAKE/LIECHTENSTEIN etc all-dayer – (London Popfest) Hoxton Macbeth.
HARVEY WILLIAMS & JULIAN HENRY/THE MIDDLE ONES/GREGORY WEBSTER – (London Popfest) Angel Salmon & Compass.
THE WEDDING PRESENT – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms.
THE SCHOOL – Southampton Joiners.
CRAYON FIELDS/MASCOT FIGHT – Buffalo Bar.
THE MOTIFS/THE MIDDLE ONES – London (Farringdon) Betsey Trotwood.
CRYSTAL STILTS/THE BATS/COMET GAIN – London ICA.
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART/SHRAG – Joiners.
THE LUCKSMITHS/’ALLO DARLIN’ – London (Kings Cross) Scala.
HARVEY WILLIAMS & JULIAN HENRY – Betsey Trotwood.
THE PASTELS & TENNISCOATS/VERONICA FALLS – London (Shepherds Bush) Bush Hall.

VINYL…
THE BLANCHE HUDSON WEEKEND ‘Letters To Daddy’ 7” – Squirrel.
In my first job, I worked with a woman who could not say “Squirrel”. It always came out as “Sqwhirl” or “Sqwiwel” to much amusement! Anyway, this 3 song debut from this Leeds band is in a similar vein to THE MANHATTAN LOVE SUICIDES, who they have evolved from/out of. We’re talking 60s girl group sound & that JESUS & MARY CHAIN/early PRIMITIVES fuzz, with a dark lyrical edge that reminds us that even THE SHANGRI-LAS had an undercurrent to them. Inspiring stuff & a new 7” is due very soon on Odd Box (http://www.oddboxrecords.com – also check out Bristol’s great THE KICK INSIDE 7”). (Squirrel, PO Box 481, Leeds, LS5 3TH & http://www.squirrelrecords.co.uk).

THE GARLANDS/THE SUGARPLUMS 7” - Atomic Beat.
4th release from London’s Atomic Beat Records. THE GARLANDS from Sweden were one of the hits of this year’s London Popfest (see review) & their 2 songs are simply amazing slices of speedy indie-pop, with Christin’s voice recalling GIRLS AT THEIR BEST!/TWA TOOTS. ‘Open Arms’ in particular is one of those rare life-affirming tunes that I can’t keep still to & the chorus slays me every time. Their CDEP on Cosy/Cloudberry is great too. Was hard initially not to neglect THE SUGARPLUMS side, what with being blown away by THE GARLANDS but perseverance paid off. Not sure where they’re from but I was reminded of Creation-era PASTELS & 1st LP BEAT HAPPENING (minus Calvin’s deep voice) & ‘Joyce’s Bicycle Gang’ ends on a bracing blast of fuzz. An essential buy I’d say! (http://www.atomicbeatrecords.co.uk).

THE MIDDLE ONES 10” – WIAIWYA.
Seeing Norwich’s MIDDLE ONES on the final afternoon of last year’s inaugural London Popfest was a real revelation. Fighting tiredness after 4 days of excess, I was swept away by their beguiling, infectious enthusiasm & superb melodies. The demo & a further London outing (with THE MOTIFS) confirmed it wasn’t a one-off, so I was really looking forward to this 10” (an under-used/rated format) – my expectations were met & some! Slickness is not in THE MIDDLE ONES’ vocabulary & they are all the better for it. Mostly acoustic instrumentation accentuates Anna & Grace’s heartfelt songs, that update THE MARINE GIRLS/1st LP TRACY THORN’s stripped down charm. Handmade scrapbook sleeve completes the sense of wonder. (http://www.wiaiwya.com).

SOURPATCH ‘Crushin’’ LP – Happy Happy Birthday To Me.
Debut album from a ¾ female San Jose (not even I would make a joke about them knowing the way!) group & it’s a refreshing delight to slap on the turntable after the rigours of the working day. From the opening salvo of a woman coaching a young child into extolling the virtues of SOURPATCH, we’re into enchanting songs at the punkier end of the K Records spectrum, or an American HEAVENLY or TALULAH GOSH. Would love to hear wonderful songs like ‘Toothache’; ‘Never (Ever Ever) Enough’ or the title-track live, so hopefully they’ll make it over one day. Vinyl version comes with a download code. (HHBTM, PO Box 742, Athens, GA 30603, USA & http://www.hhbtm.com).

THE WILD SWANS ‘Liquid Mercury’ 7” – Occultation.
‘Revolutionary Spirit’ by THE WILD SWANS was one of the greatest indie-pop songs of the early ‘80s. Liverpool/Zoo Records contemporaries of THE TEARDROP EXPLODES; ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN & WAH! HEAT but none of them made a record that can touch the thrill & atmospheric poise of ‘Revolutionary Spirit’. After they imploded all too soon, main men Paul Simpson & Ged Quinn had chart success with CARE & THE LOTUS EATERS respectively, before returning last year with the fantastic ‘English Electric Lightning’ 10” & some triumphant hometown gigs. This 2 song 7” is equally splendid. The title-track matches Simpson’s eloquent diary-entry style lyric with a gorgeous tune. The flip ‘The Wickedest Man in The World’ is another of their Scouse ‘Piss Factory’ monologues (the Liverpool bands were always in thrall to PATTI SMITH & NYC Punk) over duelling guitars & piano. Beautiful sleeve painting is less disconcerting than ‘English Electric Lightning’s tortured cat imagery & count me in for the forthcoming album. (http://www.occultation.co.uk).

THE DENTISTS/THE CLAIM – LONDON DINGWALLS – 25/3/10…
Soon as I heard that THE DENTISTS were reforming for a couple of gigs (Medway hometown Gillingham being the other) & that their ‘80s Kent gigging buddies THE CLAIM were also playing the London one, there was no alternative but to snag a ticket! In all my 25+ years of London gig-going, strangely I hadn’t been to this famous Camden Lock venue before. A fairly typical London venue really & full enough to create an atmosphere but not to be uncomfortable. I have to admit THE CLAIM passed me by in the 80s, which is odd as I love(d) their contemporaries like THE DENTISTS & THE JASMINE MINKS but whilst I’d heard the name, I never actually heard them until last year’s great Rev-Ola ‘Black Path’ retrospective CD. Talking to someone at work beforehand about what the bands I was seeing tonight were like, I said THE CLAIM were “halfway between THE JAM & THE SMITHS”. Of course that is an over-simplification but a more poetic JAM or rougher SMITHS isn’t too far away. They played for almost an hour & it’s clear I wasn’t alone in enjoying the hell out of them & likewise the band themselves seemed to be having a ball. Minor quibble was them running out of time & having to omit ‘Losers Corner’.

I first got into THE DENTISTS around 1985/86 when their ‘Some People Are On The Pitch…’ LP & ‘You & Your Bloody Oranges’ 12” turned up in Eastleigh’s fine but short-lived record shop Mr G’s (I bought numerous other C86-era gems there too) & even though I’d never heard of them before, I bought both as they looked interesting. That wasn’t to be the first or last time I’d unearthed gems by taking a chance. That same work conversation pegged THE DENTISTS as “BUZZCOCKS playing BYRDS songs or vice versa”. Opening with their classic debut single ‘Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden (It’s Wintertime)’ set the tone & I was grinning from the word go. First half was with original drummer Ian Smith (author Vic Templar) & then final drummer Rob took over. Seeing as singer Mick Murphy had arrived back from Kenya only days before, they were incredibly tight. ‘House The Size Of Mars’ remains a favourite & with a rarities collection CD ‘If All The Flies Were One Fly’ (hopefully reviewed next time!) joining Rev-Ola’s ‘Some People Are On the Pitch…’ CD in print, hopefully more DENTISTS back catalogue will see the light of day again. Inspirational night out & my only regret is that non-availability at the bar meant I couldn’t “have a few Ricards”…

FORTHCOMING SOUTHAMPTON GIGS…
Saturday 17th April – THE PRIMITIVES – The Joiners.
Sunday 18th April – THE CROOKES – Hamptons.
Monday 26th April – THE PIPETTES – The Joiners.
Monday 3rd May – BEST COAST – The Joiners.
Thursday 13th May – FUZZBOX – The Joiners

INDIE-POP RESOURCES…
Thought I’d take the time to detail some of my favourite internet places. In terms of record buying, I have mainly used Norman Records in Leeds for the last few years (http://www.normanrecords.com). More recently, Pebble Records in Eastbourne has come to the fore with a great selection & very quick turnaround of orders. They also have a label with singles & albums planned by reformed Scottish Sarah legends THE ORCHIDS & Preston’s THE CAVALCADE (http://www.pebblerecords.co.uk). My favourite blog is Fire Escape Talking, with Ben turning me on to more than a few pivotal discoveries in recent years (http://www.fireescapetalking.blogspot.com). TweeNet has a comprehensive directory of bands/labels – including an Ambition Records page (http://www.twee.net). The U.S. Indie Pages is good for MP3s; reviews & a message board (http://www.indiepages.com). The best U.K. indie-pop forum is the Anorak board, which has a fiercely D.I.Y. but very friendly heart to it (http://www.anorakforum.com). There is an indie-pop thread on the local punk/hardcore forum Southcoast, which is worth a look at & punk kids who frequent the board are often to be found at indie-pop gigs (http://www.southcoasthq.com)...

SOUNDTRACK…
As well as all the junk written about in here, the soundtrack to this issue has been BLONDIE; THE RAMONES; ANOTHER SUNNY DAY; THE COOKIES; FELT; indie-pop; punk rock; 60s soul & girl groups…

SOUTHAMPTON INDIE-POP CITY!...
Whilst Southampton may not currently have a thriving indie-pop scene, with gigs in fits & starts & a dearth of bands, this hasn’t always been the case. The city has a rich indie-pop history that has only partially been told before, so here goes!

The prize for the first indie-pop gig in Southampton probably goes to ORANGE JUICE supporting THE UNDERTONES at the Gaumont (now the Mayflower) in December 1980. This was the day before my 15th birthday & whilst there is little point in having regrets, I do rue the fact that my pocket money didn’t stretch far enough for me to go. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES also played the Gaumont in June 1981. Oliver Gray’s superb history of The Joiners ‘Access One Step’ book revealed that MICRODISNEY played there in July 1981. Australia’s amazing GO-BETWEENS supported their former Postcard labelmates AZTEC CAMERA at the Gaumont in September 1984. A few months later, THE JUNE BRIDES played the Mayfair (now replaced by flats at the end of Court Rd) & in January 1986 they came back to play Woolston’s Riverside (later burned down!). Chatting on line, JUNE BRIDE Phil Wilson told me he remembered both had scant attendance & to make matters worse their van broke down on the way back to London after one! THE MIGHTY LEMON DROPS played their first 2 gigs at the University in 1986 – the first was opening for goths THE MARCH VIOLETS but the second saw them supported by POP WILL EAT ITSELF. 1986 also saw some ‘student only’ gigs – me & my mate Mike sneaked into THE CHESTERF!ELDS/14 ICED BEARS at the Uni but didn’t get into THE BODINES at La Sainte Union (long gone college along the Avenue) & didn’t hear about 1000 VIOLINS at the Uni until after the fact.

The first regular indie night was The Tinderbox on Thursdays at the West Indian Club (now African-Caribbean Club in St Marys Rd) during the first half of 1988. Whilst not exclusively indie-pop, there were great gigs by MY BLOODY VALENTINE; BRILLIANT CORNERS; FLATMATES; DARLING BUDS & WEATHER PROPHETS amongst others. These sadly came to an end when promoter Ashley allegedly did a runner owing a ton of money. Then through 1988/89 DJs Gnome & Angus did a Friday night do at the Labour Club (on the Queensway, later McCluskys & since been empty for years). It had a dancefloor like a skating rink once drinks were spilled (I once had an entire pint of snakebite & black go over my jeans there!) but had memorable gigs by THE FIELD MICE (their 3rd ever gig although Sarah had already put out the class ‘Emma’s House’ & ‘Sensitive’ 7”s by this point); STRAWBERRY STORY; THE POOH STICKS (the ‘Trade Mark Of Quality’ live LP was recorded there!) & THE NIVENS. The Polygon Club (now The Maple Leaf) had indie nights & gigs too (CHESTERF!ELDS; EMILY etc) & during this era THE WEDDING PRESENT played their first Southampton gig at the Mayfair & at the University we had THE HOUSE OF LOVE with openers LUSH (would later play headliners at The Joiners & the Uni).

As the ‘80s morphed into the ‘90s, The Joiners became the home of indie-pop (& also that of most ‘alternative’ music) in the city. The Next Big Thing gigs there started in 1988 & early on Mint put on ROTE KAPELLE & THE WISHING STONES. Mint had eclectic taste & the NBT gigs went right across the spectrum but through to the mid-‘90s plenty of indie-pop greats graced the Joiners’ back room such as THE POPGUNS (x3); SEA URCHINS; HEAVENLY (x3 including an ace one with BRATMOBILE!); BRILLIANT CORNERS (4 times – 1 with 14 ICED BEARS); PRIMITIVES; ST CHRISTOPHER; MOTORCYCLE BOY; JASMINE MINKS (x2); JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES; BRIGHTER (x2); EVEN AS WE SPEAK; WOLFHOUNDS (x2); WEDDING PRESENT; BOB (x2); BMX BANDITS; BEATNIK FILMSTARS (x2); CHESTERF!ELDS; DRISCOLLS; THE CHARLOTTES… Most of these were NBT nights but Iain from THE MAYFIELDS put a few on & so occasionally did the legendary Rob the Postie! PRIMAL SCREAM also played a packed gig there in 1989 but sadly this was after they had disavowed the wonderful jangly gems of their 1st 2 Creation singles & they also turned their noses up at the veggie food lovingly cooked for them & skulked off to McDonalds!

Can’t talk about indie-pop without mentioning Ambition Records! The label was started in 1989 by DJ Gnome & the first 2 releases were 7”s by THE MAYFIELDS (‘World Of Your Own’) & JANE POW (‘Safe’). THE MAYFIELDS were actually from Salisbury but I saw both them & JANE POW numerous times as they were the supports at many of the gigs listed earlier. JANE POW had a 2nd single (‘Good Morning’ 12”) on Ambition before releasing albums on Target Records of Brighton (where they eventually moved to) & the US Slumberland Records. THE MAYFIELDS also had a 2nd 7” on the American Bus Stop label. Ambition later released singles by Southampton’s LOVE BUTTONS (‘You Can Never Have It All’ 12”) & the noisier EVOL (‘Seven Miles Up’ 7”) & Northampton’s GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND (‘Warm Around You’ 7” – they played a Joiners gig with THE SNAP DRAGONS). In the spirit of the times, the Ambition catalogue also consisted of a JANE POW/GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND flexi; a badge & ‘The Garden Gnome’ fanzine! Sharing roots with JANE POW in school bands were ACCRINGTON STANLEY & as well as often playing the Joiners, they featured on Ambition’s ‘Bobby Stokes Salutes The Fall Of Manchester’ tape of bands covering Manchester bands! More recently ACCRINGTON STANLEY had a track on Volume 3 of the ‘Sound Of Leamington Spa’ compilation CD series & played a reunion gig at Talking Heads. After the demise of Ambition, Gnome moved to Japan & has recently been in contact with friends from the Labour Club days, so maybe it’s high time for an Ambition retrospective CD?

After the mid ‘90s, the Southampton indie-pop scene went into decline as people moved on. This mirrored the national picture with Sarah Records stopping in 1995 & the scene went very underground. Locally there was the occasional gig with the punk rock gig collective I was a part of (the S.T.E.) putting on MILKY WIMPSHAKE at the Joiners in 1999 & a year or so later at Voltz (a gay bar in Above Bar, now the Aqua Lounge pole dance club!) & there was also HEFNER; EXPERIMENTAL POP BAND (ex BRILLIANT CORNERS) & COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS at the Joiners. Band-wise, SNAFFLER featuring ex (LOVE) BUTTONS singer Jo kept the flag flying with some great gigs & CDs (get ‘Bingo Knickers’ if you can find it).

Things picked up again as the 21st century progressed, fuelled by the popularity of BELLE & SEBASTIAN (Bournemouth is the closest they have come to playing Southampton!) & also the spread of the internet fanning a truly international scene. For me the keys to rediscovering my indie-pop past were the ‘Rough Trade Shops – Indie Pop 1’ 2xCD & the TEENAGE FANCLUB gig at the Uni in 2005 (they had earlier played Southampton at least 3 times in the early 90s). In 2007 myself & some friends formed a one-off band DE VLINDERS to play an all-dayer at the Hobbit. The short term nature of this meant it was quite shambolic (ask for a CD of the gig!) but out of it came the far superior (I wasn’t involved!) STAY TOGETHERS who played some ace local gigs. More recently we have seen the emergence of MONTAGE POPULAIRE. Gig-wise, The Joiners has hosted in the last 4/5 years the likes of LOVE IS ALL; BEARSUIT; THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART; PIPETTES; ABERFELDY; SHRAG; CAMERA OBSCURA; WEDDING PRESENT (x2); BRICOLAGE; VIVIAN GIRLS; LOS CAMPESINOS & THE SCHOOL, We have also had FANFARLO at Hamptons & CAMERA OBSCURA & GIRLS at Talking Heads…

LONDON POPFEST 2010! – 25-28/2/10...
I had such a great time at last year’s first London Popfest that when early-bird season tickets for this year’s 4 day event went on sale in November, I snapped one up straight away! Seemed forever before it came around but finally I was meeting old Southampton friend Tom (& my host for the duration) at Waterloo on a soaking Thursday evening. Due to line closures we opted to take the bus to Dalston & Café Oto, where we met Norwich friends Ian & Debbie. First time here & Oto is a large venue with a nice line in bottled organic cider! Unlike last year, where Popfest concluded with an acoustic gig, 2010 began with one. ROB PRICE sings in AIRPORT GIRL & his solo set was pleasant enough – although my attention did wander. Not seen THE PINES before (although singer & ex BLACK TAMBOURINE Pam Berry had accompanied GREGORY WEBSTER last year). Good stuff, especially when they were joined by ROSE MELBERG for one song. WITHERED HAND was a Scottish fella with offbeat acerbic & witty acoustic songs. We were sat in the far corner so not an issue but a few people got annoyed with those talking at the bar – often a problem at acoustic gigs. ROSE MELBERG finished the night off with her great voice to the fore & soon we were bussing it back to Tom’s Shepherds Bush gaff…

Bit of a lie-in Friday morning & then headed over to Borough for the afternoon’s films. After a swift Aspall cider on tap in a pub near Borough market, we headed to the Roxy Bar & Screen. Hadn’t seen the K Records documentary ‘Shield Around The K’ before & I was enthralled. Coming from the equally DIY punk scene, this aspect of indie-pop is something that I cherish & I had almost forgotten how great BEAT HAPPENING were. Even better was the DOLLY MIXTURE film ‘Take 3 Girls’. Director Paul Kelly introducing said it was still a work-in-progress but the film told the story of the influential late ‘70s/early 80s band, capturing fully their joie de vivre – loved the anecdote about them trying to play quieter to fade out a song! Tom had snoozed on getting a season ticket & tonight’s gig was sold out so while he headed off to a beer festival, me; Ian & Debbie went for delicious Thai Veg buffet in Highbury!...

The Buffalo Bar is a tiny basement club next to Highbury & Islington tube station & it was pretty crowded. THE SUNNY STREET opened & had people from POCKETBOOKS & ELECTROPHONVINTAGE. I enjoyed their Sarah/El Records inspired pop songs. Not seen HOROWITZ since the Luminaire all-dayer nearly 3 years ago & they are now a duo. Love their records & boy was that fuzz loud! Sweden’s THE GARLANDS! Getting their split 7” (see review) days beforehand I knew exactly what a treat this was going to be – sublime songs & what a voice! I swear the hairs on my arms stood up when they played ‘Open Arms’. Contender for the pick of Popfest & all too soon they were gone. After that THE JUST JOANS could only disappoint & the cider began to kick in so after a few songs we bailed…

Saturday morning & Tom cooked a lush veggie fry up for breakfast & then had a game of Scrabble & Continuo & played with Tom’s cat Charlie (sadly he was hit by a car & killed 5 weeks later…), before getting the bus to Oxford Street. Tom paid in & then we went to a Samuel Smiths pub in Soho with ex MAYFIELDS Iain & Mark who we met outside. More great cider! Headed off for Indian veggie food & got to the 100 Club to find we’d missed GORDON MCINTYRE & PLOUF! but caught the end of RED SHOE DIARIES - good intricate indie-pop songs. The 100 Club still looks exactly like it did in the photos of the 1976 punk fest when THE SEX PISTOLS; THE CLASH & C86 influences BUZZCOCKS & THE SUBWAY SECT made history. When Norway’s SODA FOUNTAIN RAG started I uttered that you can’t go wrong with a singing female stand-up drummer! More guitar live than on the album, this was strident stuff & the vocal mistakes only added to the charm. It’s clear to see why Sheffield’s STANDARD FARE have a buzz about them – great songs & all the better that they seem to have stumbled into their sound without obvious indie-pop role models. Seen ‘ALLO DARLIN’ a few times now & they have finally gelled with me. Effervescent pop tunes & looking forward to the album. Sweden’s DOROTEA had reformed especially for Popfest & the international dancefloor loved them – I was more impressed with the singer’s ABHINANDA t-shirt & also had to commend DJ Roque for playing THE CHEFS’ classic ’24 Hours’ between bands! SHRAG & BALLBOY concluded affairs nicely & we could have danced on but after copious pints of Gaymers (“cooking cider” – Tom!), our beds were calling…

Up early Sunday & headed over to the Lexington at Angel for the Pop Quiz. Me & Tom teamed up with Ben ‘Fire Escape Talking’ & there was almost an international incident when the Swedes harshly marked our answers! Upstairs for the Swedish duo LEAVING MORNINGTON CRESCENT – really top notch female vocals, male guitar & drum machine combo, as cracking as their EP. Debbie knew Jyoti WHITE TOWN from Norwich & his acoustic guitar with backing tapes was ideal for a Sunday afternoon & yeah he played his No 1 single ‘Your Woman’. US duo HORSE SHOES had Jacob from THE DRUMS & evoked BLUEBOY & THE FIELD MICE perfectly. Tom thought reformed Factory/Sarah recording artistes THE WAKE were too drab but I loved them. Played all I wanted them to & a great way to finish Popfest. Stuffed from more Thai Veg buffet, I reflected on the train home what a swell 4 days it had been. Kudos to organisers John; Sean; Marianthi & Ian & roll on London Popfest 2011!...
Last edited by richpassivity on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby woody on Tue May 04, 2010 8:01 pm

Beastly Eastleigh! :D
Ye gods, I'm simply thrilled honey
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby Cawlio on Tue May 04, 2010 8:29 pm

A lot to take in there!

The Brilliant Corners eh! I walked past Davey Woodward (going in the opposite) on the way to work on Friday then 100 yards further down the road I spotted the noticeboard outside The Thunderbolt in Totterdown shows he's playing a solo gig soon.
I liked The Experimental Pop Band's (for a short time The South West Experimental Pop band) stuff too.

I remember seeing a few bands from the Yeovil area around the same time as The Chesterfields; Grape were one and I've still got a 7" single "Baby In A Plastic Bag" by them with Polly Harvey (now known as PJ) singing the chorus. Last time I checked It's worth a fair bit.
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby Jimbo333 on Thu May 06, 2010 12:16 am

WOW! That is one lengthy post!

I can relate to part of it, as I lived in Portsmouth in late 80's, and went to many fantastic gigs in Pompey and Southampton. I particularly remember the Flatmates when I went backstage after the gig :D

And I was also at that Field Mice gig and the Pooh Sticks also, both absolute classics!

Oh and one I don't think you mentioned in Portsmouth was 10000 Maniacs, what a gig that was, just amazing, above the now knocked down Tricorn Centre, 20 people there :shock:

I even played some gigs myself at Portsmouth Poly, anyone remember Rotate or Moist LOL :mrgreen:
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby woody on Sat May 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Jimbo333 wrote:WOW! That is one lengthy post!

I can relate to part of it, as I lived in Portsmouth in late 80's, and went to many fantastic gigs in Pompey and Southampton. I particularly remember the Flatmates when I went backstage after the gig :D

And I was also at that Field Mice gig and the Pooh Sticks also, both absolute classics!

Oh and one I don't think you mentioned in Portsmouth was 10000 Maniacs, what a gig that was, just amazing, above the now knocked down Tricorn Centre, 20 people there :shock:

I even played some gigs myself at Portsmouth Poly, anyone remember Rotate or Moist LOL :mrgreen:


I went to Portsmouth Poly between 1987 and 1990. We used to have an "All Day Jam" in the ents hall. Pretty sure I remember an act called Moist who had a guy on my course called Steve on guitar. We played there a couple of times too. Great times even though we were shite :lol:
Ye gods, I'm simply thrilled honey
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby Jimbo333 on Sat May 08, 2010 6:05 pm

woody wrote:
Jimbo333 wrote:WOW! That is one lengthy post!

I can relate to part of it, as I lived in Portsmouth in late 80's, and went to many fantastic gigs in Pompey and Southampton. I particularly remember the Flatmates when I went backstage after the gig :D

And I was also at that Field Mice gig and the Pooh Sticks also, both absolute classics!

Oh and one I don't think you mentioned in Portsmouth was 10000 Maniacs, what a gig that was, just amazing, above the now knocked down Tricorn Centre, 20 people there :shock:

I even played some gigs myself at Portsmouth Poly, anyone remember Rotate or Moist LOL :mrgreen:


I went to Portsmouth Poly between 1987 and 1990. We used to have an "All Day Jam" in the ents hall. Pretty sure I remember an act called Moist who had a guy on my course called Steve on guitar. We played there a couple of times too. Great times even though we were shite :lol:


OMG! I was there at the same time, great times indeed, I bet we were shitter than you though :lol:

Yes Steve was in Moist (and if I remember rightly was in Suck with us before that), and he did indeed mainly play guitar, sometimes bass. I mainly played bass and programmed the drum machine :D

Steve soon left Moist I think and we recruited a new guitarist and formed Rotate, who were equally rubbish, I can't believe someone remembered us, LOL :D
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #1

Postby richpassivity on Mon May 10, 2010 5:49 pm

Cawlio wrote:A lot to take in there!

The Brilliant Corners eh! I walked past Davey Woodward (going in the opposite) on the way to work on Friday then 100 yards further down the road I spotted the noticeboard outside The Thunderbolt in Totterdown shows he's playing a solo gig soon.
I liked The Experimental Pop Band's (for a short time The South West Experimental Pop band) stuff too.

I remember seeing a few bands from the Yeovil area around the same time as The Chesterfields; Grape were one and I've still got a 7" single "Baby In A Plastic Bag" by them with Polly Harvey (now known as PJ) singing the chorus. Last time I checked It's worth a fair bit.


THE BRILLIANT CORNERS must have liked playing Southampton as they kept coming back!
Cherry Red have done a recentish CD compiling 'Growing Up Absurd'; 'What's In A Word' & 'Fruit Machine'
http://www.cherryred.co.uk/cherryred/ar ... orners.php

THE CHESTERF!ELDS Joiners gig was supporting AUTOMATIC DLAMINI who had PJ HARVEY in them.
& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #2

Postby richpassivity on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:51 am

Almost 4 years since the first one, #2 of 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' is out!
Similar format to the first one - double-sided folded A4 single sheet with a Southampton D.I.Y. indiepop focus, the first review is in:- http://pleasurecityavenue.blogspot.co.u ... leigh.html
PM me or email me at richpassivityAThotmailDOTcom if you'd like one (ditto #1)
& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #2

Postby richpassivity on Thu May 01, 2014 4:49 pm

Here's the contents of #2. If anyone would like a paper copy then let me know...

‘LAST TRAIN TO EASTLEIGH!’ #2 – DECEMBER 2013
Welcome to the second issue of ‘Last Train To Eastleigh!’! Almost 4 years since #1! I have made several attempts to start this during that time & some bits from those have been recycled but the bulk of this issue was put together whilst I recovered from a hernia operation in October. Same format as last time, with the emphasis on the words. Further copies of this (& #1) are available on request. As you can see from the address below, I now live back in my hometown! Another positive change was starting ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ (see overleaf). If you’d like one of the badges Sam made for the first birthday night, get in touch! Likewise any feedback or comments gratefully received to the contact points below.

In addition to those explicitly written about here, there have been many great records released since the last issue. As well as reissues (ORANGE JUICE, SUGARGLIDERS, BRILLIANT CORNERS, GROOVE FARM, HURRAH!, BLUEBOY, the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ box), we’ve seen new ones by reformed giants (JUNE BRIDES, PRIMITIVES, WILD SWANS, THE WAKE) & (more vitally) new discs by PALE LIGHTS, ANDERSEN TAPES, DREAM DIARY, PASTELS, SOURPATCH, CAMERA OBSCURA, HEATHERS, LA SERA, BIG WAVE, VERONICA FALLS, BLEACHED etc. This is vibrant & happening now! I’d like to thank the Joiners & Cellar staff for all their friendly help with ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ & all who have supported it. R.I.P. Lou Reed - without THE VELVET UNDERGROUND pretty much none of the stuff written about here would exist. Finally, this is dedicated with love to Geraldine & Rhys for putting up with it all! Rich – December 2013…

COMMUNICATE!...
Rich
17 Oak Tree Way,
Eastleigh,
Hampshire,
SO50 4JN
UK
07824-742755
richpassivityAThotmailDOTcom

INDIEPOP RESOURCES….
Straight into the breach, direct from the bands/labels themselves aside, the best places to buy indiepop records in the U.K. are still Pebble Records (http://www.pebblerecords.co.uk) & Norman (http://www.normanrecords.com). Ben stopped his ‘Fire Escape Talking’ blog but started ‘Did Not Chart’ in a similar vein & he still has great taste! (http://www.didnotchart.blogspot.co.uk) ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ regular Andy’s ‘Pleasure City Avenue’ blog covers indiepop, cats and football (http://www.pleasurecityavenue.blogspot.co.uk) & his ‘Hopping Around Hampshire’ concentrates on non-league footie grounds in our fine county! (http://www.hoppingaroundhampshire.blogspot.co.uk). Roque is an indiepop obsessive & as well as running the swell New York label Cloudberry, he also does an ace blog of the same name that has mined some of Southampton’s indiepop history! (http://www.cloudberryrecords.com)
The Anorak forum remains the online focus of U.K. indiepop and one of the places where you can find the contents of this fanzine online, along with details of future ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ events (http://www.anorakforum.com). The SoundsXP forum has more of a London focus (http://www.soundsxp.com) & you can sometimes find punk kids talking about indiepop on the Collective board (http://www.collective-zine.co.uk). Dandelion is an internet radio show inspired by the spirit of John Peel & Rocker from the reformed FLATMATES & THE ROSEHIPS does a great show (http://www.dandelionradio.com). Was pleasantly surprised to hear the plasterer we had at our house last week, working to 6Music rather than the usual radio dross! Gideon Coe’s ace weekday evening show has recently aired old sessions by the likes of HEAVENLY, MCCARTHY & THE SERVANTS, as well as new records by JOANNA GRUESOME & THE FIREWORKS & Gideon read out a post-operation text I sent from my hospital bed last month! I also enjoy Marc Riley’s show too. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music)...

SOUTHAMPTON INDIEPOP CITY (PART 2)!...
One of the centrepieces of #1 was a look at Southampton’s indiepop heritage. It was always intended to be an evolving work in progress, so here goes with a bit of gap-filling and an update on some of the things that have happened in the area during the last 3+ years!...

An early gig I omitted to mention was the amazing DOLLY MIXTURE supporting BAD MANNERS at the Gaumont (now Mayflower) in November 1981. Sadly they had to avoid abuse, missiles & stiff right arms from boneheads there to see the headliners. On a happier note, 2010 saw the release of their brilliant ‘Everything & More’ CD boxset & hopefully Paul Kelly’s ‘Take 3 Girls’ documentary film will get a DVD release soon. The sleeve-notes to Cherry Red’s MIGHTY MIGHTY ‘Pop Can’ discography 2xCD (http://www.cherryred.co.uk) talk about this ace Birmingham group playing the University in February 1987, with the John Peel Roadshow. I didn’t hear a thing about this gig, so I’m guessing it was a student-only affair – luckily for me I had seen them in London the year before.

Talking about THE MAYFIELDS last time, I overlooked their 1988 split 7” flexi with THE BADGEMAN? on Compact & Bijou & there has been talk of a retrospective CD & even some gigs to tie in with it! After THE MAYFIELDS, bassist Iain was in THE FIREKITES & their ace ‘Tears & Togetherness’ tape was reissued on a 3” CD by Cloudberry, with the packaging including a re-print of a 1991 ‘Due South’ article on the band by Ged Babey. More recently, Iain has played in more garage/mod bands in Portsmouth like VORTEX BUZZ & THE SUPERSONICS. MAYFIELDS drummer Mark is now playing in the Bristol based indiepop band THE HI-LIFE COMPANION, who are just about to release their 2nd album ‘Our Years In The Wilderness’ on their No Pudding Annie label (http://www.thehilifecompanionboy1971.wordpress.com).

Another Southampton band from the early 90s were WHIRLPOOL HEART. Sounding to me like a more indiepop COCTEAU TWINS, they debuted on Ambition’s ‘Bobby Stokes Salutes The Fall Of Manchester’ tape. Their first gig at The Joiners sadly clashed with an England game during the Italia ’90 World Cup, which meant a very sparse crowd! Carol & Colin from the band are still around in Southampton & Roque has written about them on his Cloudberry blog (see Indiepop Resources section). Mentioned THE LOVE BUTTONS last time & I see drummer Pete from time to time at St Marys Stadium, as he sits near us at Saints’ games!

The American Hyped To Death label has issued a superb series of ‘Messthetics’ CDs covering regional UK D.I.Y. bands from the late 70s & early 80s. ‘Messthetics #108 South Coast D.I.Y. ’77-81’ features bands from Bournemouth to Brighton including THE CHEFS (their own ‘Records & Tea’ retrospective CD on Damaged Goods is essential!), POISON GIRLS, THE LILLETTES & from Southampton GREETING NO. 4 & CATHOLIC GIRLS/ ALMOST CRUELTY (http://www.hyped2death.com). One band Chuck couldn’t get hold of for the CD were THE BITTER LEMMINGS but they have recently appeared on Dave Sharpe’s excellent ‘Boredom City – Southampton: The Punk Scene 1977-82’ CD (sharpproductATtiscaliDOTcoDOTuk).

From over the Solent in Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, were the great TRIXIE’S BIG RED MOTORBIKE. Last year the band’s own Lobby Lud label released the ‘All Day Long In Bliss’ CD, compiling their brilliant indiepop minimalism, that anyone listening to John Peel in the early 80s couldn’t fail to have heard! The CD features sleeve-notes from fans like Amelia Fletcher & members of THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN. Now based in Japan, the band have played recent gigs and recorded a new single. (http://www.trixiesbigredmotorbike.bandcamp.com)

Also faves of the late, lamented John Peel (their albums featured in his online record collection archive) were Southampton indiepop band ACCRINGTON STANLEY. They have been very active in the last few years with lots of gigs (some as part of the Sofa City Collective – I DJed at their ‘Kick Over The Statues!’ gig at The Cellar) and late last year they released a decent new album ‘Exactly’ Their back catalogue has been made available digitally too (http://www.accrington-stanley.com).

The nicest surprise to come out of Southampton in recent years were THE NOTES. Backed by a drum machine were Lauren, Sam & Aaron (regulars at ‘The Sun Shines Here!’). Their 2010 double 10” ‘Wishing Well’ on San Diego’s Bleeding Gold label (http://www.bleedinggoldrecords.com) looks gorgeous with its gatefold sleeve and coloured vinyl discs but even better the 12 songs within (mostly written in Greville Road, around the corner from my old Shirley flat!) are a glorious mix of SHOP ASSISTANTS & YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS. Although they mostly played abroad (France & Spain), I did get to see THE NOTES at London Popfest 11 before they faded away (http://www.myspace.com/wearethenotes).

Aaron from THE NOTES also recorded under THE PIPERS moniker & had a split 7” with the French MARC DESSE also on Bleeding Gold Records (http://www.thepipers.bandcamp.com). After Sam moved to London, he formed FLOWERS continuing in a similar vein but even more prolific than THE NOTES, touring Europe with THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, playing NYC Popfest & releasing 3 great 7”s in 2013 on Cloudberry, Odd Box (http://www.oddboxrecords.com) & Fortuna Pop. Early on, Rachel & Sam sent me a CD of FLOWERS songs to play at ‘The Sun Shines Here!’, with a drawing of me on the handmade cover! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to DJ at one of their gigs soon. (http://www.flowersdomusic.bandcamp.com)

Formed in Southampton but now based in Winchester WILD SMILES play superb fuzzed out pop songs & this year had the ‘Tangled Hair’ 7” & ‘Take Me Away’ 12” on Invada (http://www.wildsmiles.co.uk). Following their ‘Something Or Nothing’ (Fear & Records) & ‘Bodies’ (Communion) singles, PALE SEAS have rightly garnered BEACH HOUSE & FELT comparisons, with a debut album soon (http://www.soundcloud.com/paleseas). MONTAGE POPULAIRE (http://www.myspace.com/montagepopulaire) split in 2011 but main-man Luke has teamed up with Jimmy from THOMAS TANTRUM (they too called it a day after the release of their ‘Mad By Moonlight’ album in 2011 http://www.thomastantrum.co.uk) in SPECTRAL PARK. There’s more of a 60s psych-pop feel than previous bands with a debut album out on Mexican Summer (http://www.mexicansummer.com) & they have just toured Italy!

In 2010, my old S.T.E. friend/DE VLINDERS bandmate Ross formed SCALE MODELS in Melbourne, Australia. My time and space here is too precious for nepotism, so I can truthfully say their self-released/titled 2012 CD is a fine blend of TSUNAMI & SLEATER-KINNEY, sometimes featuring trumpet that evokes the best of BELLE & SEBASTIAN, JUNE BRIDES or THE PALE FOUNTAINS. Sadly moves across Australia ended the band not long after the album came out. (http://www.scalemodels.bandcamp.com)

Gig-wise since #1, The Joiners has hosted the likes of THE PRIMITIVES (x2), BEST COAST (the CD version of their ace ‘Crazy For You’ debut has photos from their 2010 Joiners gig!), THE PIPETTES, FUZZBOX (R.I.P. Jo), CRYSTAL STILTS, HERMAN DUNE, WAVE PICTURES (also played The Cellar), SUMMER CAMP, THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE, THE CROOKES (from Sheffield but I think one of them is originally from here & they also played Hamptons, The Cellar & Lennons), DUTCH UNCLES & SWEET BABOO. Club Psychedelia (http://www.psychedelialimited.co.uk) have been putting on gigs/club nights at Lennons & The Cellar for a while, featuring a number of the locals written about here. Their Saturday nights at Lennons have also included notable sets by STANDARD FARE (won over an initially disinterested crowd) & BLACK TAMBOURINES (I resisted the temptation to shout for ‘Throw Aggi Off The Bridge’!). Following SHRAG’s 2009 Joiners gig supporting THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART (after which we introduced them to the delights of Hammy’s night at the Dorchester!), they supported THE CRIBS at The Guildhall & were due to play at Talking Heads before they split. Talking Heads also hosted THE NIGHTINGALES.

Up the M3 in Winchester, the Railway Inn is one of my favourite venues & has had gigs by I, LUDICROUS, BEARSUIT, THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO, WILD SMILES & MISTY’S BIG ADVENTURE. This summer, Seattle’s fantastic SEAPONY were due to end their first European tour at the Railway but sadly had to cancel the gig due to throat problems. To say I was gutted would be an understatement (Geraldine said I’ve got over girlfriends quicker than this!) and have had to console myself with their splendid ‘Go With Me’ & ‘Falling’ albums on Hardly Art (http://www.hardlyart.com). Emily from BETTY & THE WEREWOLVES (their Damaged Goods album ‘Teatime Favourites’ is a fine one!) & TENDER TRAP is originally from Winchester too!

THE WEDDING PRESENT have played gigs as part of their ‘Bizarro’ & ‘Seamonsters’ anniversary tours at the Wedgwood Rooms in Portsmouth, which is also where CRYSTAL STILTS supported WARPAINT. Glasgow’s GOLDEN GRRRLS played at the Nell Gwynne in Southsea a couple of years ago & this year’s Southsea Fest had a very indiepop-friendly slant to it with sets by VERONICA FALLS, BLACK TAMBOURINES, DIGNAN PORCH & TYRANNOSAURUS DEAD. Bournemouth has had BELLE & SEBASTIAN & THE WEDDING PRESENT at the Academy & the likes of BLACK TAMBOURINES & THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE at the delightfully-named 60 Million Postcards. Apologies if I have missed anything worth mentioning – omissions will be rectified next time…

‘THE SUN SHINES HERE!’…
My friend Ben said that every town should have an indiepop night & of course he’s spot on! Taking these words to heart, I started ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ in January 2011 at the (Soul) Cellar (http://www.southamptoncellar.com), after a one-off ‘Monday Social’ at Goblets in November 2010. The by-line on the flyers says: “Indiepop/C86, Punk Rock & 60s Girl Groups” but that’s only part of the story and basically the premise was/is to air songs that weren’t being played elsewhere in Southampton. Songs that I would want to hear! This is a manifesto of sorts…

Inspired, influenced & informed by a lifetime of D.I.Y. organising & punk rock ethics. DJ Hammy, Gnome & Angus & Southampton’s indiepop history from THE MAYFIELDS to THE NOTES. Postcard, Rough Trade, Subway, Kent, Creation, 53rd & 3rd, Sarah, Flying Nun, K, Slampt & Kill Rock Stars. ‘Where The Girls Are’, ‘One Kiss Can Lead To Another’, ‘Rubble’, ‘Nuggets’, ‘Nederbeat’, ‘Messthetics’ & ‘Do The Pop!’ compilations. The incendiary call to arms of ‘Are You Scared To Get Happy?’ fanzine – Matt got me into HURRAH! (from whose great debut 7” our name comes from) & I loved the way he also extolled the brilliance of THE JAM’s ‘When You’re Young’ & noisier masterpieces by SQUIRREL BAIT, MEAT PUPPETS & HUSKER DU, as well as the more obvious indiepop. Vic Godard, Mark P, Saints Julian & Edwyn. 60s strum & jangle masters (VELVETS, LOVE, THE BYRDS & THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL). 70s mavericks (MODERN LOVERS & BIG STAR). ‘How Does It Feel To Be Loved’ (their LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS & TENDER TRAP Brixton gigs were pivotal for me) & London Popfests!...

As the VIVIAN GIRLS put it: “Dance If You Want To” but if you like to come out & just enjoy the tunes, that’s great too. Request driven as long as it’s within the remit of what I want to play – ask for THE COURTEENERS, you’ll get THE CORTINAS! As likely to play current greats like PALE LIGHTS or THE SPOOK SCHOOL as THE POPGUNS or THE FIELD MICE. The aim is to vary the set list each time but I will always find room for SHOP ASSISTANTS’ ‘Safety Net’ & THE HONEYBEES’ ‘She Don’t Deserve You’.

Been quiet of late because of working on this summer’s S.T.E. 25th Birthday bash and then I had my hernia but hoping to kick-start ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ off again very soon. Sometimes I have a dedicated night downstairs at The Cellar, other times I play sets between bands upstairs there or at The Joiners. I love both scenarios – it’s great to play to a crowd of indiepop regulars but I also got a buzz from playing THE ORCHIDS’ ‘Caveman’ or JEAN WELLS to a virgin audience when THE VACCINES did a fundraiser for/at The Joiners (http://www.joinerslive.co.uk) earlier this year.

To sum up, ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ is the poignancy of THE WEDDING PRESENT’s ‘My Favourite Dress’’; the excitement of BUZZCOCKS’ ‘Get On Our Own’; how VERONICA FALLS’ ‘Bad Feeling’ gives me goose bumps; the 3 line beauty of ‘Poppy Day’ by BRIGHTER; the unaffected cool of SUBWAY SECT’s ‘Ambition’; the sweeping majesty of THE WILD SWANS’ ‘The Revolutionary Spirit’; how certain lines from THE COOKIES’ ‘I Never Dreamed’ make me melt; the sheer joy of THE GO-BETWEENS’ ‘Lee Remick’; that ‘Single Girl’ by LUSH or SPIZZ ENERGI’s ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’ never fail to get a reaction. Above all it’s the music…

‘(I’M ALWAYS TOUCHED BY YOUR) PRESENCE, DEAR’…
You find fans of good music in the oddest places! On holiday at Croyde Bay, was walking on a quiet headland & as we passed a couple, my TEENAGE FANCLUB t-shirt elicited a “great band!” from the woman! However, it hasn’t been the delights of ‘Sparky’s Dream’ that has been the in-car soundtrack to summer drives along narrow Devon lanes – that honour falls to 2 old tapes I made for Geraldine, with the pop perfection of the first 4 BLONDIE albums.

While the thrills of ‘In The Sun’ & ’11:59’ will now be indelibly linked in my mind with sunny Woolacombe, previously whenever I heard ‘Denis’ I was transported back to Quilley school discos circa 1978! BLONDIE’s first big hit (a cover of 60s doo wop group RANDY & THE RAINBOWS’ ‘Denise’) was my initial exposure to this amazing band, although I’m sure I recall a school friend buying the 12” of the earlier ‘X Offender’ single from Eastleigh’s legendary Jack Hobbs. That was also where I bought my first BLONDIE album – a tape of ‘Parallel Lines’ but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

As this is more of a personal recollection, I won’t go too much into the BLONDIE back story but Debbie Harry had gone through the hippy era in WIND IN THE WILLOWS and then the grittier STILLETTOS with partner Chris Stein, before BLONDIE emerged from New York’s mid-70s punk scene. They first arrived here in May 1977 supporting TELEVISION & their first U.K. gig was a tour warm-up at the Bournemouth Village Bowl (with SQUEEZE). Their self-titled debut LP had come out at the end of 1976 on Private Stock, later reissued by Chrysalis & my vinyl copy is a cheap Music For Pleasure version that I bought in the mid-80s from Eastleigh’s Mr G’s, after reading Tony Parsons & Julie Burchill’s praise for it in their punk demolition book ‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’. The album set the BLONDIE template - a brilliant mix of 60s Girl Group charm (the CD version has a demo of THE SHANGRI-LAS’ ‘Out In The Streets’) & 70s suss, with killer tunes like ‘Rifle Range’, ‘In The Flesh’ (a hit in Australia) & ‘Kung Fu Girls’.

Their debut wasn’t a big seller but the success of ‘Denis’ meant its early 1978 follow up ‘Plastic Letters’ made the top 10. I again bought this album in the mid-80s (starting work then meant I could buy more records!). I used to think it was the weakest of the first 4 albums (the classic singles ‘Denis’ & ‘(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear’ aside) but that Croyde holiday taught me how great cuts like ‘Youth Nabbed As Sniper’, ‘Contact In Red Square’ & ‘I Didn’t Have The Nerve To Say No’ are. BLONDIE really hit the big time with their 3rd LP ‘Parallel Lines’ in Autumn 1978. It is a peerless record from start to finish! ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘Picture This’, ‘Heart Of Glass’ & the sublime ‘Sunday Girl’ may have been huge hits (last 2 were No. 1s!) but you shouldn’t overlook gems like ‘Will Anything Happen?’, ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’, or the truly wonderful ‘Pretty Baby’.

I may (like many teenage boys then!) have had a Debbie Harry poster on my wall but it was my sister who first bought the vinyl copy of ‘Eat To The Beat’ on its release at the end of 1979. The hits ‘Dreaming’ & the superb ‘Union City Blue’ set the standard but ‘Shayla’ & ‘Accidents Never Happen’ are ace too. BLONDIE made 2 more patchy albums after this, split in 1982, reformed in 1997 (‘Maria’ was a fine single!) and continued to record and tour.

With regard to indiepop, BLONDIE were part of the punk pop sensibility (see also BUZZCOCKS, THE RAMONES & THE UNDERTONES) that informed the C86 era - THE PRIMITIVES & DARLING BUDS are obvious examples. JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES covered the song that gave this article its title on the flip of their joyous ‘Splashing Along’ 7”. Fellow Scots THE DRAGSTERS put out their ace singles on the Union City label & Sean Forbes who compiled the ‘Rough Trade Shops –Indie Pop 1’ 2xCD (one of the keys to me getting back into this stuff!) loves BLONDIE! I normally play BLONDIE at ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ & they always go down well!

You can find 2nd hand vinyl copies of the LPs easily and the CD reissues are cheap with bonus extra tracks. The ‘At The BBC’ CD/DVD is also well worth checking out, with some essential ‘Top Of The Pop’ & ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ performances. It may seem obvious to write about a band that sold millions of records & had number 1 hits but these first 4 BLONDIE records are timeless masterpieces that every home needs!...

DISCS…
BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE ‘Have You Seen Faith?’ 7” – Matinee.
Glasgow’s BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE may appear to be the product of an indiepop name generator (likewise main-man Laz’s other combo STRAWBERRY WHIPLASH!), but the music they make is way beyond pastiche. Whilst STRAWBERRY WHIPLASH update THE PRIMITIVES/ DARLING BUDS’ template – 2012’s ‘Hits In The Car’ album (Matinee) is a modern indiepop classic, BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE take early PRIMAL SCREAM as a starting point. Following 2 fine albums & some singles (also all Matinee), comes this swell new pink vinyl 7”. The lead song sparkles with guitar breaks that THE BYRDS or JASMINE MINKS would be proud of & flipping over, ‘Cool Guitar Girl’ is presumably a riposte to HEAVENLY’s male counterpart. Lovely & a new album is imminent. (http://www.matineerecordings.com)

THE CLEAN ‘Vehicle’ CD – Flying Nun/Captured Tracks.
My first exposure to New Zealand’s wonderful Flying Nun label came via Creation’s CHILLS’ ‘Kaleidoscope World’ LP in the mid-80s. This led me to Flying Nun UK releases like THE BATS’ ‘Made Up In Blue’ 12” & THE CLEAN’s ‘Compilation’ LP. Whilst I bought other CLEAN records, strangely I never picked up this 1990 gem, which makes its reissue (with the ‘In-A-Live’ 12” tracks as a bonus) all the more timely. Powerful songs that are both simple & quirky - a tune like ‘Dunes’ worms its way into your head so that you wake up humming it! A very influential record – PAVEMENT are fans for sure (they invited THE CLEAN to support them on their 2010 reunion tour) & you’d be a goon to overlook this one now. (http://www.flyingnun.co.nz & http://www.capturedtracks.com)

THE GARLANDS CD – Shelflife.
These Swedes’ debut album came out at the end of last year but it is far too great to overlook. Fulfilling all the promise of THE GARLANDS’ earlier singles & gigs, this album truly is a masterpiece that stands up against those from any indiepop era. Wonderful, jangly guitars complement Christin’s great voice to perfection. I raved about the split 7” version of ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ staple ‘Open Arms’ last time but the one here is even speedier & new songs like ‘Don’t Cry’ & ‘Things Just Sound So Easy For You’ have quickly attained classic status with me. Listening to this on my Walkman striding home washes away the stresses of the working day & I may be grey-haired & in my late 40s but I have to admit I sniggered like a schoolboy at the “GARLNADS” misprint on the digipak spine! (http://www.shelflife.com)

JOANNA GRUESOME ‘Weird Sister’ LP – Fortuna Pop/Slumberland.
Have to admit I was initially put off checking out this Cardiff group due to the punning nature of their name. More fool I because this is a cracking debut. Take the best bits of VERONICA FALLS, THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, HUGGY BEAR & the intensity of hardcore punk & you’re almost there. The guitar sound is righteous & the hooks capable of standing up to constant plays (& they certainly have!). My current favourites are ‘Graveyard’ & ‘Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me?’ but there truly isn’t a dud on this outstanding album. JOANNA GRUESOME have been my washing up music of choice for the last few weeks & even Geraldine likes this! Album of 2013 for me & Southampton gig soon please! (http://www.fortunapop.com & http://www.slumberlandrecords.com)

ZIPPER ‘Punk’ 7” – 7iete Pulgadas & ‘La Casa Rural’ 7” – Elefant
When I saw this Madrid trio at 2009’s inaugural London Popfest I was blown away by their punk rock energy and tuneful charm. I bought their debut album at that Buffalo Bar gig & then subsequent singles, all of which replicated that live thrill. These latest 7”s (white & orange vinyl respectively) continue the 100% hit rate. Like SWEATER GIRLS (their 2012 Happy Happy Birthday To Me LP ‘…Were Here’ is sublime!), ZIPPER delve into TALULAH GOSH/GO SAILOR/AISLERS SET territory but throw in heaps of their own personality. The ‘Punk’ tracks have English lyrics, whilst the words to the Elefant 7” are in Spanish. ‘La Casa Rural’ has an ace SHANGRI-LAS intro before racing away in trademark ZIPPER fashion. Possibly the planet’s best! (http://www.grupozipper.bandcamp.com, http://www.elefant.com &
http://www.7ietepulgadasrecords.com).
& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #3 Summer 2015

Postby richpassivity on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:48 pm

Only 18 months after the last one, #3 of my paper zine/one-sheeter 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' is out now! :)
Similar format to the last 2 with articles entitled 'Pop Anarchy!', 'Southampton Indiepop City' & the usual reviews.
PM me if you'd like one or email at richpassivityAThotmailDOTcom
& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #3 Summer 2015

Postby richpassivity on Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:34 pm

& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #3 Summer 2015

Postby richpassivity on Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:31 pm

Just realised I hadn't posted the contents of the last issue that came out last summer so here it is:-

'LAST TRAIN TO EASTLEIGH!’ #3 – SUMMER 2015
Welcome to the latest ‘Last Train To Eastleigh!’ & only a mere 18 months since #2! Once again there are no fancy graphics, with simply the words & the band names in bold to break up the text! The premise remains to keep a local indiepop focus, both from a contemporary & an historical perspective. The Wedge gig review is a little old I know but it’s not as if this is the ‘NME’ & in particular I wanted to include the stuff on the fantastic FLOWERS! All feedback or comments are appreciated & further copies of this (along with #1 & 2) are available for a stamp from the contact point below, or you can just send me something nice like a mixtape/CD!

In addition to those mentioned elsewhere within this issue, once again there have been plenty of superb albums since #2. As proof I offer those by the likes of GOLD-BEARS, ALPACA SPORTS, THE ORCHIDS, THE HOBBES FANCLUB, THE HIT PARADE, FEAR OF MEN, ALLO DARLIN’ (3rd LP ‘We Come From The Same Place’ is by far their best!), THE PRIMITIVES, TRICK MAMMOTH, ALVVAYS, THE CATENARY WIRES, ULTIMATE PAINTING, VIC GODARD & THE SUBWAY SECT, THE VASELINES, LIGHTNING IN A TWILIGHT HOUR, JOANNA GRUESOME & TIGERCATS (not forgetting 7”s by JUNE BRIDES & ZIPPER!) as examples! Also reissues by ST CHRISTOPHER, 1000 VIOLINS, THE CHILLS, JASMINE MINKS, A RIOT OF COLOUR & the expanded ‘C86’ boxset. Forthcoming are new albums by SEAPONY, STRAWBERRY WHIPLASH & THE SCHOOL… it’s a good time to be into this stuff!

I turn 50 in December & at least 2 bands mentioned in these pages will be playing my Birthday gig/all-dayer at The Joiners (http://www.joinerslive.co.uk) on Saturday 12 December! Thanks to all my friends & everyone who has helped with or said kind words about ‘Last Train To Eastleigh!’ &/or ‘The Sun Shines Here!’. Above all, this is once again dedicated with love to Geraldine & Rhys. See you all next time! Rich – June 2015…

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‘THE SUN SHINES HERE!’...
Last time out there was a Manifesto for my DJ sets under ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ banner, so I thought I’d update what’s been happening since then…

Doing this is something I absolutely love & sadly it doesn’t happen often enough! I was privileged to DJ THE FIREWORKS gig at The Cellar last year & then the last Sofa City Collective (http://www.issu.com/sofacity) gig there just before the Cellar closed in December. At the Joiners, I’ve DJed gigs by THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE & WILD SMILES. The emphasis remains on indiepop old & new, with a smattering of classic punk rock & ‘60s girls.

I get a kick out of strangers coming up & asking what the ANDERSEN TAPES & ANOTHER SUNNY DAY songs are I’m playing. The onstage praise from Kip at the PAINS gig about the quality of tunes I’d played was nice & seeing the reaction to THE GO-BETWEENS’ ‘Love Goes On!’ at THE FIREWORKS makes everything worthwhile!

If you picked this up at the ALVVAYS Joiners gig, I hope you enjoyed my set before/between bands. You can normally see playlists posted within a day or two of the gig on the Anorak forum (http://www.anorakforum.com), as well as the contents of this fanzine & future ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ events…

SOUTHAMPTON INDIEPOP CITY (PART 3)!…
Time for a report on what’s been happening locally since last time & stuff that I’d overlooked… Southampton’s DEAD RABBITS are an ace mix of shoegaze, psychedelia, & THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN. They’ve played on mainland Europe a fair bit & just released their 2nd album ‘Time Is Your Only Enemy’ on Fuzz Club Records (http://www.deadrabbitsuk.tumblr.com). PALE SEAS followed up their 7”s with the ‘Places To Haunt’ 10” EP (Native Pop) (http://www.soundcloud.com/paleseas). WILD SMILES released their debut ‘Always Tomorrow’ album (Sunday Best) last Autumn & completed a European tour (http://www.wildsmiles.co.uk). DEAD RABBITS, PALE SEAS & WILD SMILES all played May’s ‘Common People’ festival in Southampton.

ACCRINGTON STANLEY (http://www.accrington-stanley.com) continue to gig in the local area & frontman Dan O’Farrell has also been playing solo gigs. Also part of the Sofa City stable are THE STURMEY ARCHERS. Mainly the vehicle of prolific songwriter Paddy Conner, their gigs with NEKO ROSHI (http://www.soundcloud.com/neko-roshi) have been fun & how could a BLONDIE fan like me fail to enjoy a STURMEYS song like ‘I Love You More Than Debbie Harry’? (http://www.soundcloud.com/paddyconner). Also check out THE DIAMOND AGE & SWORDZZZ (more on both next time!).

Named after the BEAT HAPPENING song, ‘Honey Pot’ ‘zine #1 was a cool-looking mix of cut n’ paste graphics/art and strips. Ayesha has left Southampton for Newcastle and hopefully there will be another issue soon (http://www.honeypotzine.tumblr.com). Talking of former Southampton residents, last time I wrote about the superb SCALE MODELS & Ross has since left Australia for Madison, Wisconsin & formed AUTOMATICALLY YOURS. They have just issued their 9 track album ‘The Trouble With The World Is Me’ in tape & digital formats & it’s indiepop of the highest calibre! (http://www.automaticallyyours.bandcamp.com). Ross is also involved with a weekly indiepop radio show on WSUM (http://www.wsum.org) called ‘One, Two, Twee!’ (http://www.onetwotweeradio.tumblr.com).

Gigwise, last year Talking Heads saw PROPER ORNAMENTS (decent LP on Fortuna Pop!) supporting TOY & then SWEET BABOO. There was a fun SHOPPING/DOG LEGS gig at Avondale House last year too. New West Quay Road venue the Engine Rooms has hosted JULIAN COPE (WIRE & BUZZCOCKS too) & THE WEDDING PRESENT play there on 16th October! (http://www.engineroomssouthampton.com) BLACK TAMBOURINES again played Club Psychedelia at Lennons (& the Railway Inn Winchester also).

Talked about the 1987 MIGHTY MIGHTY John Peel Roadshow Uni gig last time & my mate John has confirmed that it was a student-only deal. He & his mates chatted to the legendary DJ there & even got THE PRIMITIVES played for them on Peel’s show soon after! Have somehow previously overlooked THE SIDDELEYS’ Labour Club gig that Rob the Postie put on around 1989! SIDDELEYS frontwoman Johnny Johnson was actually from Southampton & their great ‘Sunshine Thuggery’ 12” is being reissued on Firestation (http://www.firestation-records.de). THE MONOCHROME SET played Southampton Uni a couple of times in 1982 & 1985. More recently in 2009, THE LOVELY EGGS played a poorly attended gig at Hamptons that I would have gone to if I’d known about it – lucky for me then that they are playing at Talking Heads on 5th November!

Pompey saw BELLE & SEBASTIAN/DUM DUM GIRLS at the Guildhall in May. 2014’s Southsea Fest again had an indie pop presence (FEAR OF MEN, ULTIMATE PAINTING, MARTHA & PROPER ORNAMENTS). Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl (http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk) had an in-store by ‘80s Peel faves BOB – check out their reissues (http://www.3loopmusic.com). Saw Gosport’s PAUL GROOVY & THE POP ART EXPERIENCE at the Wedge last Xmas - nice mix of ‘60s garage covers & fuzzed out originals! There’s been talk of a retrospective CD & also a book of photos from the early ‘80s indiepop era (http://www.thepopartexperience.bandcamp.com). Also from Gosport were Sarah Records’ ACTION PAINTING! & members later played in SOCIALIST LEISURE PARTY, who did a 7” on Cloudberry called ‘Turktown Saints’ - Turktown being a colloquial term for Gosport! Anything I’ve missed (THE STOCKHOLM MONSTERS played Southampton in the 80s or did I just imagine that?) & further updates next time…

POP ANARCHY!…
“Pop meets anarchy & I love them both!” ‘Pop Anarchy!’. A gem tucked away on a 1987 CHESTERF!ELDS b-side but one that has always struck a chord with me and my feeling that indiepop is intrinsically political and D.I.Y. Here are some thoughts, examples & experiences based on that idea…

It is an undeniable fact that there would be no indiepop scene without the influence and spirit of punk rock. BUZZCOCKS’ ‘Spiral Scratch’ & THE DESPERATE BICYCLES set the template for D.I.Y. records & Mark P’s ‘Sniffin’ Glue’ did the same for fanzines. It may sound like a cliché but punk rock really did change my life. I grew up on a council estate with Labour-voting parents. My grandfather was a Communist in the 1930s & at the East London mural commemorating the 1936 Battle of Cable Street (Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts did not pass!), there is a photo of my Grandad from the day on the information board. However, my politics/beliefs (leftie/veggie) predominantly came from my punk rock education that began at 13. It remains the biggest cultural influence on my life.

I started working in 1985 & began widening the scope of what I bought beyond straight punk rock. Records by JASMINE MINKS, JUNE BRIDES, THE WEDDING PRESENT & particularly SHOP ASSISTANTS’ amazing ‘Shopping Parade’ 7” were key indiepop entry points for me. The violence I’d seen at a CONFLICT gig in Salisbury around the same time impacted on me & musically it didn’t really take much of a leap from HAGAR THE WOMB or THE LOST CHERREES to SHOP ASSISTANTS!

Others had clearly made the same journey. Early on THE JUNE BRIDES played with anarcho-punk bands like THE MOB & APOSTLES at the Anarchy Centre & old Ambulance Station in London and in the sleevenotes to Cherry Red’s ‘Every Conversation’ 2xCD discography, talking about the offer EMI-owned Parlophone made to THE JUNE BRIDES, Phil Wilson said: “We believed in the independent ethic & don’t forget that we’d been on anti-capitalist marches, done miners benefits & several of the band considered themselves anarchists. Signing to EMI would have felt like an absolute betrayal of our ideals”. When I read this I got a surge of pride & if I hadn’t already known that THE JUNE BRIDES were one of the greats, this would have only reinforced it! THE CLOSE LOBSTERS covered THE MOB’s ‘Mirror Breaks’ for their 1987 Peel session. Before he co-founded LUSH, Chris Acland played in the Cumbria anarcho band A TOUCH OF HYSTERIA. Just prior to his tragic suicide in 1996, Chris returned to his punk roots drumming on the 1st HARD SKIN LP. HARD SKIN continue to this day with Fat Bob on bass – Fat Bob is Sean Forbes who compiled and provided sleeve-notes for the ‘Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop’ compilations – hearing the first around 2005 was key to me getting back into the indiepop.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves here though. Back in the early ‘80s, pioneers like THE MONOCHROME SET lampooned Latin American dictatorships in ‘Jet Set Junta’. Cork’s MICRODISNEY married gorgeous tunes to often caustic lyrics (‘Pink Skinned Man’) & titled an album ‘We Hate You South African Bastards’ – toned down to ‘Love Your Enemies’ for the post-Apartheid era in the recent Cherry Red reissues! THE CHEFS challenged expectations of what a woman should look like in ‘Let’s Make Up’. THE TV PERSONALITIES’ ‘King & Country’ explored similar anti-war territory to THE JAM’s brilliant ‘Little Boy Soldiers’, while a glorious record like THE WILD SWANS’ ‘The Revolutionary Spirit’ made you feel like anything was possible. ORANGE JUICE were important for their non-macho stance, both lyrically & in the way they presented themselves. Ditto THE SMITHS & the words to ‘Meat Is Murder’ impacted on a generation of indie kids in the same way that FLUX OF PINK INDIANS’ had on punks like me – although Morrissey’s recent views on UKIP are a totally different story!

Bob Stanley’s notes for the ‘CD86’ compilation talked about the “socialism in practice” of the C86 era & the D.I.Y. aspect of how things operated – self-released/independent records, gigs & fanzines. On a trip to Rough Trade in London in early ‘86 I bought #2 of Matt Haynes & Mark Carnell’s ‘Are You Scared To Get Happy?’ & Matt’s solo ‘The Sun Shines Here’ fanzine & as a result all later ‘AYSTGH?’. As well as turning me on to many great bands (HURRAH!/CARE etc), I loved the incendiary attitude & passionate ideals.

Matt had also been a part of the great Sha-La-La flexi label (some came with copies of ‘AYSTGH?’) & with Clare Wadd started Sarah Records in 1987. Sarah got off to a flyer with THE SEA URCHINS’ sublime ‘Pristine Christine’ 7” & over the next 8 years they released some wonderful records & with impeccable integrity laid down a marker on how a label should operate.

Last year there was a Sarah exhibition ‘Between Hello & Goodbye’ at the Arnolfini in Bristol, with an accompanying zine. The zine makes it clear the U.K. music press perceived the label as simply being shy boys singing of unrequited love & in reviews used wholly inappropriate phrases like “slackwristed”. Not that there’s anything wrong with singing about love/lust per se but it certainly wasn’t always the case with Sarah. First anti-Poll Tax record? THE ORCHIDS’ ‘Defy The Law’ on their 2nd Sarah 7” in 1988. The song’s sentiments were backed up by the “ORCHIDS Say Pay No Poll Tax!” on the insert & “Fuck The Poll Tax!” on the run-off groove! Fellow Scots THE WAKE railed against the then Prime Minister on their ‘Major John’ 7”. BLUEBOY’s ‘Clearer’ & ‘Fontelle’ protested the Tories’ anti-gay Clause 28 law & in gems like ‘This Love Is Not Wrong’ & ‘So Said Kay’, THE FIELD MICE kicked back at society’s idea of the norm in relationships/sexuality, while ‘Sensitive’ questioned perceptions about what it is to be a man.

There’s been a glut of Sarah-related activity recently. As well as the Arnolfini exhibition, last year saw Lucy Dawkins’ ‘My Secret World’ documentary film (screenings around the world & hopefully a DVD release) & Michael White’s ‘Popkiss’ book on the label is published by Bloomsbury this autumn. Details of all these events & links to all things Sarah (music & fanzine texts etc) can be found at their excellent official website (http://www.sarahrecords.org.uk).

Lyrically the most political indiepop band were MCCARTHY, who between 1985-1990 produced some of the most amazing music from any era. Fusing a defiantly, sharp left-wing stance to incredible melodies in classics like ‘Red Sleeping Beauty’ (“While there’s still a world to win, my Red Dream is everything”) & ‘We Are All Bourgeois Now’, which sounds even more prescient now than it did at the height of the Thatcher-era. In 2014, Cherry Red issued the ‘Complete Albums, Singles & BBC Sessions Collection’ 4xCD box! (http://www.cherryred.co.uk) Optic Nerve have also been issuing expanded vinyl versions of the LPs (http://www.opticnerverecordings.com). LAETITIA SADIER who sang on the last MCCARTHY LP & went on to STEREOLAB, continues the class war on 2014’s ‘Something Shines’ album (Drag City) but sadly her Winchester Railway Inn last year was cancelled.

Whilst THE ROSEHIPS wrote self-explanatory songs like ‘Bloodstained Fur’ & (the instrumental) ‘A Slow Painful Death To Vivisectionists’, sometimes things weren’t as obvious as they first appeared – THE OGDENS’ 1988 single ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ initially comes across like a typical ba-ba-ba happy ditty until the “Government has had its day, people out there throwing bricks, listen to the sound of breaking glass, it’s a beautiful day” verse kicks in. Edinburgh’s JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES may have jangled whilst “Splashing along through George Square” but they also eulogised about “Bringing down the Grand Hotel” in Brighton with Thatcher & members of her Tory cabinet inside. When the news broke that the witch was finally dead, the first song I thought of was HEFNER’s ‘The Day That Thatcher Dies’ & mainman DARREN HAYMAN’s latest album ‘Chants For Socialists’ (WIAIWYA) is based on the 19th century words of William Morris.

The Riot Grrrl scene of the early ‘90s & bands like BIKINI KILL, HUGGY BEAR (1994 Joiners gig) & BRATMOBILE (ditto 1993) influenced and impacted on indiepop with its inspiring feminist message and can-do sense of empowerment. The equally politically-charged D.I.Y. hardcore scene has also cross-fertilised with indiepop. Canada’s FUCKED UP covered songs by DOLLY MIXTURE, SHOP ASSISTANTS & ANOTHER SUNNY DAY & played gigs with compatriots ALVVAYS. Onstage at the VIVIAN GIRLS’ 2010 Joiners gig, Katy dedicated their set to the man (me!) in the SSD hoodie! More recently Katy herself has sported POISON IDEA & TALK IS POISON t-shirts in LA SERA photos. MILKY WIMPSHAKE covered ‘Barcode Punk’ by their Newcastle friends EBOLA on their debut LP & played gigs for the S.T.E. (punk/hardcore collective that I was part of here in Southampton). Guitarist Pete Dale was also one half of the fervently D.I.Y. Slampt label & this year’s ace ‘Encore, Un Effort’ yellow vinyl LP (Fortuna Pop!), retains MILKY WIMPSHAKE’s political suss, as witnessed at a recent fine Brighton gig with labelmates MARTHA (ace ‘Courting Strong’ album!).

Exciting, current bands like JOANNA GRUESOME & THE SPOOK SCHOOL confront misogyny/sexism, both in song & interviews. Advances in communications/technology have expanded international indiepop cooperation, with labels like Sweden’s Fraction Discs releasing 7”s by MOSCOW OLYMPICS from the Philippines. This isn’t however some kind of dominant imperialism – it’s a two-way process with the Peruvian Susy Records releasing discs by Swedes ALPACA SPORTS & the U.K.’s ST CHRISTOPHER. In these xenophobic times with the lurch to the right, anything that can help understanding each other’s cultures/differences is important. Locally, ACCRINGTON STANLEY played a benefit at the Joiners for the campaign against C4’s divisive & stereotypical ‘Immigration Street’ TV programme about the Derby Road area in Southampton.

THE JASMINE MINKS sang: “I’d like to write songs about flowers & holding hands…but the world’s no place for a romantic today”. Of course that last line is untrue but it is a timely reminder in this climate of the Tories’ austerity con cutting public services, while they & their wealthy friends get richer, that a political edge is a vital facet of indiepop…

THE WEDDING PRESENT/FLOWERS – PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS – 4/11/14…
Following their ‘George Best’, ‘Bizarro’ & ‘Seamonsters’ tours, THE WEDDING PRESENT similarly showcase their ‘Watusi’ album from 1994 in its entirety. Seeing as this was not their biggest selling album it wasn’t a bad Tuesday night crowd at the Wedge.

Was umming and ahhing about this gig & the announcement that FLOWERS were the tour support was the deciding factor to go. My initial impression about their Bernard Butler (SUEDE) produced debut album ‘Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do’ (Fortuna Pop), was that whilst the songs were great, I kind of missed the fuzz from the singles & the demos Rachel sent me. This notion didn’t last long & the album was soon a firm favourite. FLOWERS ooze charm without needing to say too much on stage. From those who hadn’t seen them before there were a few raised eyebrows at Rachel’s 1 string bass but her crystal-clear voice that wouldn’t be out of place on some early ‘70s ‘acid-folk’ album (like TREES), won the crowd over. In #2 I wrote that Sam was a ‘The Sun Shines Here!’ regular at the Cellar & watching him play these fantastic songs, I almost had to resist the urge to shout: “He’s one of our own!”. Lovely to chat to them afterwards & Southampton gig soon please! (http://www.flowersdomusic.bandcamp.com)

The first time I saw the WEDDOES was in Summer 1986 at the Timebox club at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town & a bill that also included MIGHTY MIGHTY, THE CHESTERF!ELDS & CLOSE LOBSTERS. I’ve seen them a dozen or so times since & they never fail to entertain. ‘Watusi’ was never my favourite album of theirs but perhaps I should re-visit - Edsel have reissued deluxe versions of the albums (http://www.scopitones.co.uk), because in this context at least those songs stood up. There were a few gripes that the following set contained too few early songs but I was pleased with the clutch of ‘Take Fountain’ tunes (‘Perfect Blue’ & ‘Interstate 5’), as that 2005 album (along with GO-BETWEENS’ ‘Oceans Apart’ & TEENAGE FANCLUB’s ‘Man Made’) helped steer me back down the indiepop path.

Chatting to Andy & Lou on the way down, we discussed that there are two things you can always count on at WEDDING PRESENT gigs. Firstly David Gedge will explain that they don’t play encores. Secondly early on at Pompey gigs he will make a joke about how great it is to be in Southampton and vice versa. I was surprised tonight that he didn’t do this but the reason he didn’t became clear when he introduced the band & finished with “drummer Charlie’s from Southampton!” to good-natured boos & cheers & a quip from Gedge that he’d “been waiting to say that all night”!

The drive home listening to Andy’s tapes of John Peel’s ‘Festive 50s’ from the ‘80s rounded off what had been another fine evening…

DISCS…
THE FIREWORKS ‘Switch Me On’ CD – Shelflife.
First album on an American label from a London/Brighton band, following 2 fine singles (both also on Shelflife) & a killer Sofa City gig on Good Friday last year. This is as sublime as those tasters hinted it might be. Mostly this is energetic fare recalling SHOP ASSISTANTS & their U.S. nieces & nephews BLACK TAMBOURINE or AISLERS SET, complete with the fuzz & feedback snarl of early JESUS & MARY CHAIN. Sometimes when Matthew sings & THE FIREWORKS slow it down (like on ‘Tightrope’), they recall PRIMAL SCREAM (when they were good!) & closer ‘In The Morning’ conjures up some kind of SYD BARRETT/VELVET UNDERGROUND hybrid! An album that the band & fans alike can be truly proud of! (http://www.shelflife.com) (http://www.thefireworksgopop.bandcamp.com)

LIME CRUSH 7” – Fettkakao.
Saw this Austrian band at a hometown gig at Rhiz in Vienna last month & was blown away by their energy & sharp melodies. This 3 song 7” comes across as akin to JOANNA GRUESOME, LOVE IS ALL or even KLEENEX & like the live set sees them swapping around their instruments. The closing ‘Honk Tonk’ probably just about takes it if pushed but it’s all a splendid punk rock rush & I look forward to hearing more very soon. Costa DJing THE EASTERN DARK’s ‘Johnny & Dee Dee’ 7” at the Rhiz reminded me what a great single that was & so is this! (http://www.fettkakao.com)

PALE LIGHTS ‘Before There Were Pictures’ LP – Calico Cat.
I first heard this New York-based band led by Englishman abroad Phil Sutton (ex COMET GAIN/VELOCETTE) via the Cloudberry blog (http://www.cloudberryrecords.com) & one blast of their ‘The Boy Of Your Dreams’ led me to send off for the single it came from. This subsequent debut album came out in Spring 2014 & was my favourite of the year. Literate pop songs that hold their own against THE GO-BETWEENS, FELT & Flying Nun deities like THE BATS & THE CHILLS & some tasteful guitar breaks contribute to an album of enduring charm. ‘The Boy Of Your Dreams’ reappears here & remains the finest indiepop song of the last 5 years but the rest are top drawer too. Due to its age I was considering not reviewing this album, until I heard the news that they (Calico Cat is Phil’s label) had issued it on CD (with added single/digital tracks), so it’s still relevant & in any case, it’s not as if this superb album or band has been over-exposed! (http://www.palelights.bandcamp.com)

PERSONAL BEST ‘Arnos Vale’ LP – Specialist Subject.
Debut album from a Bristol group but one with a local connection as bassist Tom Hussey has played in Pompey/South Coast hardcore bands for years. PERSONAL BEST are way poppier than anything Tom’s done before though & this is a stunning collection of punchy songs, with hooks & tunes to die for. Kate’s fine voice leads us through strong words that address the emotions & politics of relationships/sexual identity & particularly how they are perceived (“There is no such thing as unnatural. There is no such thing as abnormal…”). ‘This Is What We Look Like’ gave both Geraldine & I goosebumps when they played it at their Joiners gig last month but the other 9 songs here are equally swell. Lovely orange vinyl & download code complete the deal & this is without a doubt the album of 2015 so far! (http://www.personalbest.bandcamp.com) (http://www.specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk)

THE POPGUNS ‘Pop Fiction’ CD – Matinee
First time I listened to this I was slightly disappointed, deeming this highly-anticipated return of THE POPGUNS to be a mite too polished. What was I thinking? Subsequent frequent airings have changed my opinion for the better & I now rate this as highly as their classic ‘80s/‘90s material. ‘Still Waiting For The Winter’ references past glories & like THE FIELD MICE, THE POPGUNS’ music evokes a certain poignancy that is hard to express with mere words. Wendy’s voice is as strong as ever & I’d defy anyone not to be bowled over by ‘If You Ever Change Your Mind’ or ‘I’ll See You Later’. There’s been talk of a Joiners gig (they played there several times in their original heyday) so hopefully that comes off. (http://www.matineerecordings.com)
& I Won't Be Tempted By Vile Evils, 'Cos Vile Evils Are Vile Evils!
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