Saturday, June 29, 2019

Summer of Subway: Shop Assistants

Here's the one that started it all. Subway One. The four-song 7" "Shopping Parade EP" from Shop Assistants was released in August 1985 and stuck around on the UK Indie Chart for an impressive 38 weeks, peaking at No. 2. Not at all bad for Martin Whiteheads's little Bristol-based label. Obviously, there was more than one band on Subway inspired by the pioneers and these 10 minutes of fuzz.

Shop Assistants exited Subway right after that, and 1986 would really be their year. The Edinburgh band christened the legendary Scottish label 53rd & 3rd with another No. 2 indie smash ("Somewhere in China"/"Safety Net"), opened the B-side of NME's 'C86' cassette ("It's Up to You" from the "Shopping Parade EP") and signed with the short-lived Chrysalis imprint Blue Guitar. Their self-titled LP was released on Blue Guitar that year, peaking at No. 100 on the UK's album chart. By 1987, it was over for Shop Assistants as we knew it when Alex Taylor left the band for the Motorcycle Boy, also signed to Blue Guitar. There would be a brief two single reunion a few years later (sans Taylor) on Edinburgh's Avalanche Records.

Here is the "Shopping Parade EP" in all of its glory. Two years ago I conducted a poll asking readers for their favorite Subway single. This one took the top prize.

"All Day Long"
"All That Ever Mattered"
"It's Up to You"

So far in the Summer of Subway series:
The Soup Dragons
Rodney Allen
The Rosehips
Korova Milk Bar
The Clouds


Charity Chic said...

Nice one Brian
It always impresses me that you know many more Scottish bands from this era than I do!

Brian said...

You know more about Americana than I ever will. So right back at you.

Charity Chic said...


Dirk said...

I do hope The Flatmates will feature next: brilliant combo!