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27 Feb
Sundae – Arte y Ensayo

I just recently found out about the Spanish band Sundae (thanks to a tip from Joel Felipe) and felt they deserved a mention here. They have a really nice sound, definitely more shoegaze than indiepop and very heavily influenced by The Radio Dept. (which is an influence I can get behind). The vocals remind me of Javier Aramburu’s old group, Family, which is probably the highest compliment I can give. Also turns out I know one of the members, Cris, from his past group (Shizuka) and record label (Bubbletone Discos). Good to see he’s still making great music.

Their song “Arte y Ensayo” is so far my favorite track and you can listen to it below. The band just posted their freshly mixed demo on their myspace page. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Listen to Sundae – Arte y Ensayo

26 Feb
The Lavender Faction – Ride

The Lavender Faction “Ride” 7″ is one of my favorite early 90s shoegaze/noisepop singles. Rumor has it that Ride based their band name from this song after seeing The Lavender Faction perform it in Oxford (I believe I read that in This Almighty Pop fanzine), although Wikipedia says the band chose the name after a graphic design piece Mark Gardener created for a typography class. Who knows…

The “Ride” single was released on Lust Recordings, Stephen Joyce’s follow up to the fantastic Woosh fanzine and label. Lust released a number of other fine singles between 1990-91 featuring Aspidistra, Feral, The Keatons, Mr. Peculiar, St. James Infirmary, and a few more from The Lavender Faction. I’ve owned (and sold) many over the years, but the “Ride” 7″ has remained on my shelves. Definitely worth tracking down and usually costing just a few dollars. I wish I kept the 12″ version.

Listen to The Lavender Faction – Ride

24 Feb
The Singing Ringing Tree

The Singing Ringing Tree were a mysterious Scottish guitar pop band from 1986 consisting of Colin Fullerton (on vocals), Jack Hamilton (on guitars), and David Mulholland (on keyboards and percussion). They released one lovely 7″ single on their own Singing Ringing Records that came with 3 inserts and 2 stickers. I wager one of the members worked at a print shop by the look of it.

The A-side “The Hanging Tree” is fantastic and one that I deejayed on many occasions. The flip “Breaking The Backs” is a little too “tv theme song” sounding for my taste, not to mention suffers from being too long for it’s own good (running over five minutes), but it was the 80s afterall.

Listen to “The Hanging Tree”

Listen to “Breaking The Backs”

Here’s all the inserts:

There are two other singles by Singing Ringing Tree, but I think it’s a different Singing Ringing Tree, if you can believe. They are “Good Day Good” b/w “Generally Dancing” on Sample (SAM1S) and “Tales From Europe” b/w “A Promise” on Sample (SAM2S). I’ve only seen them briefly on eBay and sold for more than I could afford. Turntable Revolution posted “Good Day Good” on his Imeem account, listen here.

22 Feb
Requested: Send No Flowers

By request for King Rodrigo Maranan.

Send No Flowers were a Liverpool band from 1981 to 1983 featuring Lyn Sangster (on guitar and vocals), Jake Wakstein (on drums), Paul Sangster (on bass), and Timmo O’Shea (on guitar). They had songs on two compilation cassettes (“Adventures In Reality” and “Index #2″) before signing to the Praxis label (the label that also released The Balcony). It appears they released just one 7″ “Playing For Time” b/w “Wall of Convention” and “One More Day” before calling it a day. Lyn Sangster and Jake Wakstein both went on to form the fantastic Play Hard Records band Kit and Paul Sangster went on to play sessions in The High Five.

Other notable things… Robert Blamire (who played bass in Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls) co-produced the “Playing For Time” single. I also read that the drummer of The Wild Swans, Alan Wills, played with the band during live performances.

Listen to Send No Flowers – Playing For Time

Speaking of Kit, here’s a nice review by Neal from The Hellfire Sermons. I’m planning to do a post about Kit’s “Unshakeable Faith” LP soon.

20 Feb
Hey Marsha – My Optimism Flamed

Liverpool’s Hey Marsha formed in 1986 with George Wilson (guitar & vocals), Steve Pettitt (bass & backing vocals), Steve Sefton (drums & backing vocals), and Kathy Morrison (keyboards). They released their first recording “Everbody’s Friend” on the legendary “Modesty Kills” compilation LP, the debut on the Audio Visual label (Run by Ken Kelly who was in Get That Smile and Innervision). Their next release came in 1988, a 4 track 7″ single called “Optimism” (also on Audio Visual), features my favorite track “My Optimism Flamed,” which you can hear below.

The follow up “In A Living Hell” 12″ was released two years later in 1990. The band became a three piece with bassist Pettitt replaced by Steve Jarrett and drummer Sefton by Damian Walsh leaving only original member George Wilson. Their sound also changed and unfortunately not for the better (losing their way like most good 80s bands did in the 90s).

I’m not sure if there were any other Hey Marsha releases, but do pick up their “Optimism” 7″ if you ever see it. The rarer “Modesty Kills” LP is also quite nice to have and I’m planning on writing a separate post about that one soon.

Listen to Hey Marsha – My Optimism Flamed

“Everbody’s Friend” on Modesty Kills LP, Audio Visual (AVA 001), 1987
“Optimism” 7″, Audio Visual (AVV 001), 1988
“In A Living Hell” 12″ Audio Visual (AVV 003), 1990

Anyone know what AVV 002 was?

16 Feb
The Maps – I’m Talking To You

It’s nice when you can make new discoveries in your own record collection. This single by The Maps is exactly that. I purchased it about 5 years ago at a record swap meet based entirely on the artwork and hadn’t played it in years. So when I was looking through the collection for things to post about, I thought I’d give it a shot (yes, thanks to this blog I’m actually listening to my records). Wow, “I’m Talking to You” is surprisingly great! Not sure I even knew what I had when I bought it.

The Maps were a Boston post-punk band featuring Judy Grunwald (later in Salem 66) on vocals, Robert C. Valentine on guitar and backing vocals, Daniel Salzmann on bass guitar, and James Clements on drums. The “I’m Talking to You”/”My Eyes Are Burning” 7″ was self-released by the band in 1979 and remains their only single.

Listen to The Maps – I’m Talking To You

More written on the band can be found here:

13 Feb
Thieves Like Us are here!

The Thieves Like Us “Play Music” LPs just arrived and I’m super excited. We’ll put these on presale on sometime next week, official release date is March 10. I must admit the album sounds utterly fantastic on vinyl! We’re also now doing the cd version for North America to be released sometime in April and a new 4 track 12″ EP will be coming towards the end of May.

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