The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'sarah records'


Backseat Mafia, a music blog from Sheffield, has an interview with Clare Wadd about Sarah Records:

I hate the term twee, loathe it. I think there was a lot of sexism in the abuse we got from the music press, we were girlie we were fey, we were twee, they were all bad things, but they’re feminine rather than masculine things. Most indie labels still are and were then run by men, I was co-running as an equal, we were called Sarah, & that was all a reason to put us down. Quiet concerning really. That said, I hate all the childishness side of twee that a few people embraced, I always wanted to be a grown up, felt required to be a grown up, I’m not a fan of escapism.
‘We don’t do encores’ your press statement said on ‘a day for destroying things’. does a little part of you, if only occasionally, think well……maybe if….
Not really, not now. It was weird at first, and someone said to me soon after “… didn’t you used to be…?”, but it’s 17 years since we stopped, I’m 45. One of the things I thought was good (although in some ways I guess it was bad) was that we were kids the same age as the bands, give or take, in that sense we could never be a proper record label.
It’s disappointing that nothing much seems to have changed, particularly with regard to feminism and the preponderance of bands or labels still to think the main role of women is decoration – a cool sixties chick on the sleeve or poster, some nice female backing vocal – and to fail to question what they’re doing and why. We tried to run the label we would have wanted to be consumers of, so we didn’t do limited editions or extra tracks or things designed to get people to buy the same record several times over, there’s a degree of respect for the audience and the fan that was completely lacking through a lot of the eighties and nineties – they were the little people essentially, and that’s a very Tory attitude.

(via Chickfactor) c86 culture indiepop interview music politics sarah records 0


A Parisian outfit named Rectangle Radio has an interview with Clare Wadd of Sarah Records, in the form of a podcast, in which she discusses the label's origins, history, end and legacy.

It was totally plucked out of the air; I guess you look back and I guess it was just on that cusp of, kind of.. lad rock, that whole kind of grebo thing, that then became the 90s Loaded thing; that's probably unfair on some of the grebo bands, but it was almost which side of the fence are you on. And record labels were run by boys as well, so I guess we were making a point about that. I ws reading “Emma” by Jane Austen at the time, so it kind of came from if a book can be called Emma then a record label can be called Sarah. It was never meant to be Sarah Records, it was just meant to be Sarah, but that was too difficult.
I think in a way, though, the thing I'm most proud of ... is the way we ended the label when we did and the reasons for doing it. One of the things that drives me absolutely crazy is when people think we went bust, or something like that. We always felt that there were about three or four ways to end a record label. One's to go bust, which happens reasonably often; two is to start putting out crap records and everyone stops buying them and you just kind of dwindle away. You could sell out to a bigger record label. We didn't want to do any of those. And then there's just getting to a nice round number ... throwing a big party, and taking out some ads in the press and saying, you know, we're basically destroying it. That I'm just so pleased we did, even though it was so hard to do.
Whilst derided, somewhat though perhaps not entirely unfairly, as twee at the time, and not getting much recognition in histories of alternative/indie music (Sarah Records is mentioned in a footnote in Richard King's alternative-music history “How Soon Is Now”, in reference to being even more idealistic and out of touch with commercial realities than the labels the book's about), Sarah seems to be finally getting its due, with a book about the label (by Canadian writer Michael White) due this year and a documentary in production.

Sarah Records as a label is gone, and definitely not coming back, but the name exists on Twitter; Clare uses it to post music-related items.

(via SarahRecords) culture diy history indiepop music sarah records 0


This year's Turner Prize has been awarded to video artist Elizabeth Price for her work The Woolworths Choir of 1979, a hypnotic video mixing footage of 1960s girl group The Shangri-Las performing with news footage of a fire in a Woolworths department store. If Price's name sounds familiar, it's because she was in 1980s Sarah Records indiepop band Talulah Gosh. (And, indeed, she is by no means the only Talulah Gosh alumnus to have a notable subsequent career; the band also boasts a senior government economist and an Oxford University Press commissioning editor.

Other contestants for the prize were visual artist Paul Noble, who had been nominated for a series of detailed pencil drawings of a fantastic metropolis named Nobson Newtown, filmmaker Luke Fowler, whose entry was a documentary on controversial Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, titled All Divided Selves, and the splendidly named Spartacus Chetwynd, a performance artist.

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There's a documentary in production titled "My Secret World: The Story of Sarah Records", giving an account of the legendary indie-pop label and including interview footage filmed at the Indie Tracks festival this year. Anyway, there's a teaser/trailer for it here:

(via Rob) culture history indiepop music sarah records video 0


BBC Radio 4 has a series featuring former teenaged rock musician turned New Labour home secretary Alan Johnson reminiscing about the rock career he never had; in the most recent episode, he interviews Amelia Fletcher, frontwoman of a number of indiepop bands from Tallulah Gosh onward and Chief Economist at the Office of Fair Trading (which came under his portfolio when he was in government), about combining music, a day job and parenthood, and how the international pop underground worked before the internet. (The stream is available for four more days only, and may or may not be available outside of the UK; apologies if it's not.)

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August is shaping up to be a good month for rereleases; now Cherry Red are rereleasing Another Sunny Day's "London Weekend" on the 17th. London Weekend contains indiepop classics such as You Should All Be Murdered, Anorak City and I'm In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist, and has been unavailable since Sarah Records shut down in 1995. The rerelease will come out with 6 bonus tracks and sleeve notes by Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley.

(Apparently the rerelease comes about through Harvey Williams having bought back the rights to the album, rather than Matt and Clare deciding to open the Sarah vaults, though there are (as always) vague rumours of more Sarah rereleases. Let's hope that they do happen and there's some Blueboy among them.)

(via Harvey) another sunny day cherry red indiepop rereleases sarah records 0


Bobby Wratten, of The Field Mice/Trembling Blue Stars fame, has posted an interview he did with a Spanish publication named Supernova Pop in July, in which he dismisses The Field Mice as being "like baby pictures", and asserts that only some songs on the first two of Wibbling Blue Stars' albums were about his breakup with Anne Mari (or is it Annemari?).

I also, think of The Field Mice as being like baby pictures; we were learning and it's not something I really want to look back on.I'd never want to listen to a Field Mice record whereas although I'd rather not I could stand to listen to a TBS record if I had to! If I were to be judged on anything I'd want it to be TBS. I think the songs are better and the records are better produced and more adventurous.
Then again, in my opinion, The Field Mice had something that's missing in Trembling Blue Stars; a sense of passion perhaps? And from a technical point of view, they can be hardly called shambolic; even their early 3-chord guitar-and-drum-machine songs (Emma's House, for one) are skilfully put together, and other tracks (Missing The Moon and Indian Ocean, to name two) show a technical polish far removed from what one could classify as juvenilia. Unless one means that they don't show an excess of enthusiasm.

Mind you, I also am of the opinion that Slowdive were artistically far superior to Mojave 3; what would I know?

I like all kinds of music, a lot of which has no direct influence on the music I make myself. But,there are four people who I'd say have directly influenced me(in TBS) and have inspired me more than any others; Jeff Tweedy, Robert Smith, Mark Hollis and Brian Eno.

(via xrrf) bobby wratten indiepop music sarah records the field mice trembling blue stars 0


Things I didn't know until today: there is a video to Another Sunny Day's You Should All Be Murdered, and it consists entirely of black and white footage shot through the window of a train as it moves through some industrial part of Britain. Which, when you think about it, is quite appropriate.

And here is some rather distorted footage from a performance at a Sarah Records backyard party. No idea who the band are, I'm afraid.

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Keith Girdler, frontman of Sarah Records band Blueboy and subsequent bands Lovejoy and Beaumont, has apparently passed away recently. From an email circulating:

Dear Friends

It is with immense sadness that I have to inform you that my dearest friend Keith Girdler died on May 15th 2007. Keith passed away peacefully after a recent deterioration in his condition - he was diagnosed with cancer in July 2004. Keith was a truly special person and I know that many people will hold very fond memories of their time spent in his company. Keith is survived by his partner, his siblings and their families. We are all devastated at the tragic loss of Keith and we will miss him enormously.

Keith was known to many as the singer in Blueboy - a brilliant band who are still seen as influential many years since they last released a record. He was a gifted songwriter and he had a beautiful voice. I considered Keith to be not only my best friend but an amazingly talented person. It was a huge privilege to know him. Despite continuing to release records with his other groups Arabesque, Beaumont, Lovejoy and The Snowdrops, Keith's focus shifted away from music in recent years. He enjoyed a successful career, first by training as a qualified social worker and then developing a skilled role as Volunteer Services Manager for Age Concern Eastbourne. He was passionate about his work and the need to stand up for some of the most vulnerable elderly people in our society. Keith was exteremly brave and he continued in his work for as long as possible during his illness. I know that Keith was very highly regarded by his colleagues and the people for whom he provided care and support in his work. He was a selfless and gentle person who genuinely affected everyone he knew with his warmth, kindness, humility and humour.

Keith wanted to be remembered, to use his own words, with 'happiness and smiles' - which for those of us fortunate enough to have known him, will come all too easily despite our grief.

Words cannot really come close to describing the feelings we have about Keith. However, I know that many people will want to express their sorrow at this news and their sympathy to his family and friends. If you would like to send a message of condolence, or share your memories of Keith, please send an email to snowboundipc (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk.

Messages and tributes to Keith will be published online in the near future, when a suitable web location has been established.

Richard Preece May 22 2007

(via Bowlie) blueboy indiepop keith girdler obituary sarah records 1


This blog has been quiet recently because your humble correspondent has been in bed with a cold for the past two days (a state of affairs which may or may not have had something to do with watching indie bands on chilly railway station platforms in Derbyshire on the weekend). Anyway, in lieu of new content, here are a few old links and random things:

  • Here is a photo gallery of eerily empty former advertising billboards and hoardings in São Paulo, Brazil, where all outdoor advertising is now banned. Not surprisingly, the advertising industry is concerned about the human rights of those who might want to be advertised at:
    "I think this city is going to become a sadder, duller place," said Dalton Silvano, who cast the sole dissenting vote and is in the advertising business. "Advertising is both an art form and, when you're in your car or alone on foot, a form of entertainment that helps relieve solitude and boredom."
  • Stylus Magazine has an interesting guided tour of the first 50 Sarah Records singles, going beyond the usual "twee/jangly indie pop" cliché that the label is often dismissed as. As for actually hearing the records, Clare Wadd said a while ago that there were plans to release the entire Sarah back-catalogue as downloads, though nothing seems to have come of that so far.
  • And a few videos from The Blow's recent gig in London: Hey Boy, a spoken-word interlude, and an acapella version of The Long List Of Girls.

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The indie-mp3 blog has just posted some demos by Another Sunny Day, the Sarah Records indie-pop project best known for You Should All Be Murdered. They're rather lo-fi, though interesting enough, and there are some decent songs there. The blog also claims to have some Field Mice demos which they will be posting shortly.

(via indie-mp3) another sunny day indiepop mp3s sarah records 0


The latest in LTM's line of Sarah Records rereleases is an Aberdeen retrospective, one of the bands linking Sarah Records to American teen sitcom soundtracks. This includes various songs from the Californian band's career, both during the Sarah days and afterward (their most recent releases date back from 2004!), and contains a cover of The Field Mice's Emma's House.

(via Bowlie) indiepop ltm sarah records the field mice 0


The indie-mp3 blog appears to be running a Sarah Records retrospective, including MP3s. The first item is, naturally, Sarah 001, or The Sea Urchins' classic floor-filler Pristine Christine.

(via cos) indiepop mp3s sarah records the sea urchins 0


1990s shoegazer band Secret Shine (who were fellow Bristolians Sarah Records' foray into the Scene That Celebrated Itself) are back. They have a web site, a new EP (which is said to be pretty good), and have put up MP3s from one of their live gigs for the downloading. For those who want to catch them live, they're going to be doing a few gigs, including one at London's Club AC30 in July and a few US dates later in the year.

(via indie-mp3) club ac30 indiepop mp3s sarah records secret shine shoegazer 0


Dickon Edwards, frontman of indie band Fosca, author of the second-last-ever Sarah Records single, club night DJ, star of a million photographs and flamboyantly white-suited chap about town, is running for political office. Dickon is standing for the Green Party (yes, one of those exists in the UK) in the Highgate Ward of Haringey Council:

I promise to refrain from ever using the words inappropriate or error of judgement in official statements. That alone makes me pretty unique.
If nothing else, I want to generate a bit of publicity and visibility for the Green Party and for the local elections themselves, which tend to have a notoriously low turnout. Getting people to use their vote is something I do feel strongly about.

(via xrrf) dickon edwards fosca green party politics sarah records uk 0


The top 100 indiepop albums, according to an Italian website. The descriptions are in Italian, though the choices look mostly quite sound. The top 3 are C86, one of the Sarah Records compilations and Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister, which sets the tone and gives an idea of the aesthetic involved. The rest doesn't disappoint: The Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy is #11, #13 and #14 are Orange Juice and The Pastels, Japanese pop band 800 Cherries have #21, The Hummingbirds' loveBuzz takes #55 (and I didn't think anyone outside of Australia had heard of them; perhaps the next one of these that comes out will name-check Clag or Mid-State Orange), meanwhile Lush's Split has #67, Slowdive get #89 (along with what looks like an arch comment about the decline and fall of Creation), and The Radio Dept.'s Lesser Matters comes in at #83.

(via xrrf) belle & sebastian c86 indiepop lush orange juice sarah records slowdive the hummingbirds the pastels the radio dept. 2


Following this year's rerelease of the entire Field Mice back-catalogue on CD, LTM are turning their attention to another Sarah Records band: The Orchids:

Unofficially there is a rumour about the reissue of the complete Sarah Records catalogue of The Orchids in the next autumn. Three CDs are in the plans but the track list is still in progress.

Uncharacteristically, the band appears to still be together and planning to play live in the summer; not only that, but they have 8 new songs too.

Anyway, it's good to see Sarah material being remastered and rereleased; the whole lot has, naturally, been available on various file-sharing services, though MP3s recorded from well-loved vinyl records at home tend to be of variable quality. Anyway, hopefully LTM or someone will get around to putting out some Blueboy next, and/or Even As We Speak. It'd be nice to see some of the more obscure stuff like The Sweetest Ache and Gentle Despite come out as well, though that's probably less likely.

As far as Sarah Records rereleases on other labels go, US shoegazer imprint Clairecords has a CD with most of Secret Shine's releases (which is worth getting; they're right up there with the best of the shoegazer movement of the early 1990s), and, of course, Olympia skronk merchants K Records have everything Heavenly and Talulah Gosh ever released, all on individual CDs.

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It looks like the three Field Mice rereleases from LTM are out today. And I was under the impression that their releases were staggered over a few months or somesuch.

Anyway, I'll probably end up picking them up, for the handful of songs not on the Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way retrospective released by Shinkansen some years back (now also out-of-print), and also for the liner notes which they are said to have.

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I'm listening to The Wake's Harmony and Singles (the LTM repackaging of the stuff they recorded for Factory/Factory Benelux in the early 1980s). They sound very much like New Order circa Movement, down to the drumming sounding identical in places, with similar digital reverb, the same keyboard sound, and angsty, ambiguous lyrics delivered with Caesar's Bernard-Sumner-imitating-Ian-Curtis-esque vocals. It's much in the way that early In The Nursery sounds like Joy Division, only more so.

It's funny to think that they're the same band who released Tidal Wave of Hype, an album of Blueboy/Field Mice-style jangle-pop with baggy and indie-dance influences and songs about provincial discos, obnoxious people, masturbation and John Major, on Sarah Records. Though, come to think about it, probably not much odder than New Order having done a football anthem and a Balearic acid album.

Anyway, if you're ever disappointed that New Order didn't record enough albums in the early 1980s, this CD is for you.

(Come to think of it, one could do a compilation of "songs/albums/artists that sound like New Order but aren't". I'll volunteer this CD, The Bodines' Heard It All and The Field Mice's Missing The Moon.)

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Yes! The entire back-catalogue of the greatest English indie band ever, The Field Mice, is being rereleased on CD, by LTM (they're the outfit who specialise in obscure Factory Records rereleases and such). The CDs will be Snowball + Singles, Skywriting + Singles and For Keeps + Singles, and will feature unreleased tracks and detailed biographical notes (I wonder how they'll differ from Clare Wadd's candid writeup of the Mice's history in the Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way booklet.)

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The Guardian has an article on 1980s C86 indiepop, talking to the likes of Matt Haynes and Amelia Fletcher (complete with current job descriptions), and mentioning the current London indie night How Does It Feel To Be Loved and the recently released Rough Trade Shops Indiepop 1 compilation, and mentioning a revival of this aesthetic (and about time too):

The indiepop sound - in its classic form, an awkward collision between the Byrds, the Ramones and cut-price Phil Spector - has been asking, rather diffidently, for some attention for a while. Belle and Sebastian owe an explicit debt to the so-called "shambling" bands of the mid-80s, and the return of Morrissey this year suggests a renewed appetite for guitar music that champions uncertainty above aggression. Franz Ferdinand bear an uncanny resemblance to indiepop pioneers Orange Juice and Josef K. And now a new compilation in the excellent Rough Trade Shops series has brought together 46 songs that will catapult listeners back to 1986, the high water mark of indiepop.
That sense of self-reliance was what punk had been meant to be about. Indiepop put it into practice: for all its apparent amateurishness, C86 made politics a practical matter. Even more importantly, it allowed women a place in music that more apparently ideologically sound movements had not. "The political aspect has been neglected," says Amelia Fletcher, who was lead singer with Talulah Gosh (and is now director of economic and statistical advice and financial analysis at the Office of Fair Trading). "It was very, very open to women. Although it wasn't overtly political, women felt involved because musicianship wasn't at a premium: you could make the music you wanted to the extent you were able."
The very things the critics objected to - the childishness, the complete absence of testosterone, the Luddism - were political acts. What better way to reject the phallocentrism of rock than to deny masculine values? And why not invest the tired concept of the "generation gap" with some actual meaning by adopting badges of childhood rather than incipient adulthood?

Btw, some people may find it amusing that one of the bands on Indiepop 1 is called Eggs.

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A quick review of various items which arrived at my PO box today:

  • Various artists, "Romantic and Square is Hip and Aware": a Smiths tribute album featuring mostly guitar-based jangly indie-pop bands who can probably trace their lineage back to Manchester's Finest. They're not bad, though many of them don't add much in the way of new ideas to the originals; don't look for too many radical reinventions here. Brazilian band Pale Sunday's bossa-tinged take on I Know It's Over is quite good, Anglo-Spanish popsters Pipas do a slightly dubby take on This Night Has Opened My Eyes and Jason Sweeney does a good Morrissey impression over bedroom electronics. Meanwhile, Australia's national indie band The Lucksmiths' take on There Is A Light That Never Goes Out sounds much like the original, only as a duet, deviating from the master about as much as Neil Finn's version from some time ago, while The Guild League's take on Panic has a jaunty, slightly brass-bandish take on it. The liner, by someone from The Snowdrops (who cover Bigmouth Strikes Again) notes are much the usual autobiographical tale of growing up awkwardly in the bedsits of Thatcher's England with one's Smiths records. (via Traffic Sounds.)
  • Harvey Williams, California: I had the MP3s for this, and decided to get the CD. In the decade or so between Another Sunny Day (who brought us bedsit anthems like Anorak City and the unforgettable You Should All Be Murdered; check the filesharing nets for them) and this 1999 release, Harvey Williams had mellowed somewhat, bringing a CD of piano ballads, both touching and satirical, with a wry, and very English, turn of phrase, about the usual boy/girl situations. In a parallel universe, some of these have probably been picked up by Working Title for a London-based Gwyneth Paltrow romcom and Harvey has become the next Badly Drawn Boy. But there are some nice tracks here; the Bacharachesque instrumental Introducing..., for one.
  • The Autocollants, Why Can't Things Just Stay The Same?. Lo-fi sweet indie-pop which starts off OK, though sounds a bit samey in places. Perhaps it's the production (the guitars sound like they were recorded on a four-track in someone's bedroom), or perhaps Laura Watling's voice is just that much too breathy for prolonged listening.
  • Stereolab, 2004 Tour CD: whilst the groop don't look like visiting Australia this year, a copy of this 3" disc has made it into my hands courtesy of an American source (ta, bfd!). Contains three tracks, with the exquisitely Labbish titles "Banana Monster Ne Répond plus", "Rose, My Rocket-Brain!" (subtitled "Rose, Le Cerveau Electronique De Ma Fusée!"), and "University Microfilms Limited". And, yes, it's quite good; this isn't mere filler. The first track has an epic, multipartite quality akin to the best of the Lab, in its 5 and a half minutes, the second one sounds like the output of an automatic Stereolab song generator (in a good way), and the third one's not bad either.

I also got a copy of that CD of HP Lovecraft-themed retro fonts. Had I paid any more for it, I'd be disappointed; some of the letter spacing is a bit inconsistent, and more annoyingly, all the fonts have "HPLHS" as the style (where "Bold", "Italic" and so on should be), with the different weights and slants in each family showing up as separate faces. I suspect that the designers are not professional typographers (btw, who would call a font "Italic"?)

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A pretty good explanation of the C86 phenomenon; the trend in UK indiepop that emerged in the 1980s, took its name from a NME compilation tape, and gave rise to labels such as Sarah Records, and later influenced everyone from Belle & Sebastian to the extensive US twee/indiepop scene of the 1990s and today. (found on LiveJournal)

C86 was a subculture and a fanzine culture (Kvatch, Sha-la-la and Are You Scared To Get Happy?). It spoke to alienated teenagers bored with mainstream culture and hooked on DIY lo-fi sensibilities, an almost asexual child-like affectation, Sixties pop and girl groups, seven-inch singles, bedsit socialism and a romantic, pastoral, holding-hands vision of England.
The influences are basically classic, melodic pop music from any era. The most obvious ones are The Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, The Smiths and Orange Juice. Other icons include fanzine writers Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd (who set up Sarah) and Mathew Fletcher (the Talulah/Heavenly drummer who tragically committed suicide in 1996). Alan McGee would have been an icon if he hadn't committed so many crimes against pop music since.

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A package from Twee Kitten arrived today; in it were two Northern Picture Library CDs today (their album Alaska and the Still Life compilation of EP tracks). They're very good, containing lots of lush, layered, skilfully crafted tracks, ranging from pop to ambient soundscapes to electronica. There's a real sense of progression there from the fey pop of the Field Mice, and an increased sophistication and maturity. (As opposed to the later Trembling Blue Stars material, which is mostly boring and weak.) Also, Annemari's voice really shines in this material, more so than in the earlier material. (Hmmm; I may well have to revise my list of favourite female vocalists.)

I also got a copy of Fosca's On Earth To Make The Numbers Up, but am not as yet overly impressed. It's mostly 80s-retro synthpop production (with extra cheese!) and too-clever-by-half, vaguely self-deprecating lyrics; a bit like Baxendale, only somewhat flatter and less varied, and it starts to grate after a while. Maybe if they made their chord progressions and sequences a bit more varied, or just made their songs shorter...

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Tonight I went to night 2 of the 555/Red Square/&c popfest at the Empress. It was perhaps even better than night 1; for one, the music was a bit more diverse. There were also fewer people there, perhaps because something else was on.

First up, Guy Blackman and Mia Schoen played a set (of which I missed the start); with Guy (who also co-hosts Untune The Sky and runs local indie label Chapter Music) singing and playing guitar, and Mia playing piano. a MiniDisc player on the stage floor; a common sight these days Then Fog and Ocean came on; they consisted of people from various bands (including Stuart and Jen, and Kellie from Sleepy Township) singing, and noodling (or miming) on toy instruments over a MiniDisc of prerecorded electropop. They had a lot of fun doing it, and pulled it off with style. (At one stage, Kellie pretended to play a Casiotone keyboard (which had "WE DON'T ROCK" written on the back in black marker) with a piece of paper on the keys.) Julian Teakle played overdriven electric guitar riffs and sang about timeless themes such as parties being over; his style sounded very pub-rawk.

Mary of Even As We Speak and another guitarist

Even As We Speak, Sydney's contribution to the Sarah Records fey-indie-pop sound of the early 90s, were scheduled to play next, and did, with a drastically reduced lineup. (Only Mary, the vocalist, made it down to Melbourne.) She had a go at playing the guitar lines and singing, and then enlisted another guy to help her on acoustic guitar. Her set was very lovely indeed; nice chords and melodies and touchingly sincere lyrics delivered in a mellifluous voice. It's good to know that Even As We Speak are still around; apparently, they're working on new material; their Peel Sessions CD is about to be released, and they're negotiating with the Sarah Records people to rerelease their back catalogue. I look forward to hearing more from them.

They were followed by Minimum Chips, who played a very tight and groovy set of their brand of retro-styled pop. They played mostly new, as yet unrecorded, songs (though one does appear on the souvenir CD that was given away at the door). It was then that the crowd started gathering in earnest. When they finished, they lent their Yamaha organ to Huon.

Finally, Boyracer came on (this time consisting of Stewart and Jen, with the guy from Bend Over Boyfriend on drums) and tore the roof off the house; seriously rocking out with some frantic power-pop. As usual, Stewart (who, in his Lambretta shirt and red-and-blue-target-logo boots was more Mod than Damon Albarn and both Gallagher brothers put together) jumped around like a maniac and thrashed the hell out of his guitar.

(Once again I ended up buying too many CDs, as one does at these sorts of events. Tonight I picked up the retrospectives from Boyracer and Minimum Chips, a rather nice guitars-and-bleeps pop record from an outfit called The Love Letter Band and the new Tracey Read album. I've spent a ridiculous amount on CDs this weekend. Though, upon listening to some of them, I'd say it was money well spent.)

Anyway, it was a great night. For those who missed it but wish you hadn't, Boyracer, Mary of Even As We Speak and Ashtrayboy are playing at Pony tomorrow (Sunday) night.

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It's good to run into people who appreciate brilliant, long-forgotten bands few others have heard of. I went to the Empress Hotel this evening to check out the bands. The first up was a touring English indie duo named Partition; two guys with a guitar and a drum machine singing slightly humorous indie numbers, with a subtle Sarah Records feel in places, only a bit more punk in others. (Among the songs they did was one about thinness obsession to the tune of Billy Bragg's New England, and a slightly punky yet touchingly heartfelt rant-over-guitar-strumming piece about having fancied some girl for 10 years and then finally going out with her for two disastrous weeks, which reminded me a bit of The Cure's So What), finally ending with a funny little dance to a drum machine pattern. Whilst on stage, they wore white T-shirts, reading "APART" and "APRAT".

Afterwards, I noticed that one of the members of the group (Martin) was wearing a T-shirt with the Field Mice soundbite "CHOCOLATE LOVE SEX" printed on it; I asked him whether it was a Field Mice reference, and it was. It turned out that he used to go and see many of their gigs when they were around (late 80s/early 90s), and was into the whole Sarah scene. Anyway, we ended up talking a bit about bands and such. He also mentioned that Partition have written one Field Mice-inspired song, but they didn't play it tonight, as it's not finished yet.

Anyway, Partition seem like a fairly interesting outfit; with any luck they'll record something soon.

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Site of the day: The War Against Silence. Record reviews, more thoughtful than most. (Their article on The Field Mice, going on to Sarah Records and the whole question of pop melancholia and optimism, is quite worth reading.)

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Yay! Field Mice guitar tabs. And one more here. Not particularly detailed ones, though, and not for every song I'd have liked, but still..

Speaking of the Field Mice, it's a small world; I just found that the only Field Mice website is run by someone at Monash, whom I'm probably two or so degrees of separation from, and quite possibly passed in corridors in years gone by.

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