Thursday, May 24, 2012

Are You Being Served? Two From Shop Assistants

Are you free, Mr. Lucas? Wait, wrong shop assistants. These Shop Assistants weren't on the floor very long, but their small stock of songs have left a lasting impression on this customer.

The first song I heard from the Edinburgh band was "It's Up To You" on the legendary 'NME C86' compilation. Like many tunes of that ilk, it was fuzzy and catchy, but I didn't run out and look for more from the band. I have no excuse. I didn't hear anything else from Shop Assistants until two decades later when they showed up on the often criticized (but not by me, I can assure you)
'CD86: 48 Tracks From the Birth of Indie Pop' compilation. One great song could have been a fluke. This second song, "Safety Net," finally got me off my duff. There was but one full-length album to be had, a 1986 self-titled affair sometimes called 'Will Anything Happen,' but it was in and out of print for years. It took me quite a while to track it down, but then I found out that Four Men With Beards, a reissue label with damn good taste, had dusted off the classic and released it on 180 gram vinyl. It was worth the wait. Here is a quick look at the label's offerings.

Here are a couple of singles from Shop Assistants. "Safety Net" was released as a 7" in February 1986. "I Don't Wanna Be Friends With You" was the first single from the band's one and only album. The single came out in September 1986, and the LP followed in November.

Shop Assistants - Safety Net (mp3)
Shop Assistants - I Don't Wanna Be Friends With You (mp3)

If, by some slim chance, you were expecting this post to be on more B-level American power pop from the late '70s and early '80s, as I mentioned last time, I apologize. My USB turntable is acting up again. The plan was to have obscure tunes from the Pop and the A's, but it will have to wait.


Unknown said...

Great post - I've always been a fan of female vocals and jangly guitars (throw in a bit of low-fi distortion and I'm as happy as a pig in brown sticky stuff) and was a huge Dolly Mixture fan back in the day.

Not sure about the UK these days, but exiled as I am here in So Cal, there's been a real resurgence of the female bands. The Dum Dum Girls are probably the closest to the Shop Assistants, but you've also got Vivian Girls and the La Sera side project, not to mention LA's very own Warpaint and Best Coast...

Ed said...

Love the Shoppies. Had barely heard of them before I moved to Edinburgh ten or eleven years ago, but have tracked down a lot of the vinyl releases. Eventually picked up the album in Aberdeen a few years ago when I'd driven up there to see Morrissey and the Sons & Daughters on the same bill.

And the likes of Best Coast et al...well worth it, too!