More indiepop for you! This 1990 Peel Session by The Field Mice goes around online and I’m happy to do my bit to keep it circulating. This session was recorded around the time that the superb and diverse Skywriting mini-LP came out, but rather than showcasing that record, The Field Mice chose to do four new and exclusive songs instead. These songs never appeared on any official release; they’re not even on the double-CD reissue of Skywriting, even though there’s easily room for them.
Let’s go a bit jangly with PO!, an ever-evolving line-up which revolved around songsmith Ruth Miller. I first became aware of Miller through her work with early-90s Leicester supergroup Ruth’s Refrigerator – well, actually that band was my introduction to the whole sprawling Leicester art-pop scene, given that its members were instrumental (and vocal) in a whole mess of other groups including, but definitely not limited to, Deep Freeze Mice, The Chrysanthemums, (Jody And) The Creams, Immediate, The Thurston Lava Tube, The Junipers and of course PO!. Throw the likes of The Originals and Jesus Couldn’t Drum into the mix, and even Pete Frame would struggle to sort that lot out.
Anyhow, Miller took the majority of lead vocals in Ruth’s Refrigerator (she fronted the aforementioned Jody And The Creams as well), but PO!, where she performed her own material, was her main and best outlet. As she describes the band on her own blog, they had “soaring and jangly tunes, but the words are often more reflective, miserable or aggressive”. I’d call it proper, consistently high-quality old-school indiepop. I’m sure she’s been dogged by these comparisons her whole career but if you like Amelia Fletcher‘s work (and why wouldn’t you), then PO! should be right up your street too. Thrillingly, the old PO! material will (if things go to plan) get a long-overdue reissue in the near future. Meanwhile, here’s one of the later works…
PO! – “The Alphabet EP” (1997)
Sunny for two days in a row… incredible.
Here’s a delightfully twee seaside-themed EP from 1992 by Confetti, which is Mark Randall of Fat Tulips and someone called Virginia Aeroplane, which I’d like to think is her real name, but probably isn’t. The EP had the overall title Sea AnemonE.P. and they followed it with PresentlE.P. (covering three songs by The Wedding Present) and eventually put out their collected works as a CD titled RetrospectivelE.P. Though it seems most people didn’t get the pun on that last one, given that every online reference I can find, leaves out the “l” and just calls it Retrospective EP. They should have used a serif font so it didn’t look like a vertical dividing line instead. On such tiny details do throwaway gags live or die.
When I first heard Confetti, I thought their minimal style was rather unusual and striking. At the time, I hadn’t heard of Young Marble Giants…
Earlier this year, my old computer died. Not the hard drive but the… other bits. I don’t understand computers. Anyway, happily my back-ups were not too far out of date so I didn’t lose much. And I did eventually work out how to get stuff off the old hard drive as well, though that’s a bit of a headache because… well, as I said, I don’t understand computers.
Anyway! This sent me back to my backups to try to figure out what I did and didn’t have backed up. I have about half a terabyte’s worth of USB sticks (most of them identical, which doesn’t help) and a shoebox full of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs (whatever the difference is… but they seem to work the same, anyhow). And this resulted in me rediscovering a load of stuff I’d completely forgotten I had, stuff probably downloaded from blogs that are now long gone. So this post is just some random stuff from one of my absurdly large number of discs, this one a TDK CD-R labelled, with my customary eye for detail, “BACKUPS”, and mainly containing out-of-date copies of the portable versions of several popular open source software products, but also some music. Of course if anyone actually wants an ancient copy of Audacity Portable 1.2.6 revision 3, I’ll happily upload that as well…
So what we have here is…
808 State – Bond
Featuring misanthropic miseryguts M Doughty from hip-hop-jazz-rockers Soul Coughing (and I really must post some of their stuff some day), this was one of the singles from ver State’s 1996 LP Don Solaris. I see the lead single, the loping 5/4-time “Lopez” featuring James Dean Bradfield, appear fairly often on the blogs I frequent, but this one not so much. (The other single, “Azura” with Louise Rhodes, is also pretty good and I hope it will turn up somewhere in my backups as well. I’ll post it if it does! Unfortunately the only physical CD I have of it is a one-track radio promo.) Basic album version here, plus a harder, rockier alternative mix and a bonus B-side.
Flor-De-Lis – Todas as Ruas de Amor
Chirpy Portuguese folk-pop that came somewhere in the middle of the table at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. Well, I liked it anyway. This version is from their album Signo Solar, which came out a couple of years later, though I seem to recall preferring the earlier versions.
Mauerblümchen Brie – Happyness Is Not For Me
Guitar-based indiepop. Seems to be the only thing this band ever released. Apparently off a 1998 compilation called What You Hear Today, You’ll Be Singing Tomorrow, which would be a great title for a blog, if anyone’s looking for one. I guess I didn’t think much of the rest of the tracks as this is the only one I backed up (unless the rest is somewhere else… which is actually quite likely).