Thursday, March 25, 2021

Edge of the Road

Another day, another pivotal label sampler from my youth. Once or twice a year I dig around online with the hope I'll discover someone has stepped up to the plate and released a compilation featuring all the work by the Raw Herbs. I strike out every time. I have had this discussion with Mister Prime, reader and occasional Nottingham correspondent, and we can picture the release so vividly. It's perfection, really. One beautiful piece of wax featuring all four singles and two songs from the sampler featuring today...

Side A
1. Old Joe
2. That's How It Is
3. She's a Nurse But She's Alright
4. So Wired
5. Don't Bury Me Yet
6. I'm Falling

Side B
7. In My Bones
8. The Storm
9. At My Funeral
10. The Second Time
11. He's Blown In
12. You and Me Again

If you want to get fancy, put it out on CD as well and include the rumored album that was completed and shelved. Then have an interview with Andy Wake, founder of Medium Cool Records, in the booklet filled with photos and reminiscences from the band. All of this is a pipe dream. First, I think Cherry Red owns the Medium Cool catalog. There was a double-disc retrospecive of the label planned, but that was about 15 years ago. Other than occasional songs popping up on Cherry Red comps (such as 'C88,' for one example), nothing. Then there is this sad piece of news. I somehow missed that Wake passed away. Must have been at least a year ago, maybe longer. I didn't know him, but his label has always meant a lot to me. Medium Cool had very early releases from the Siddeleys and the Popguns, for cryin' out loud!

After reading about Wake, it seemed appropriate to put on 'Edge of the Road.' Four bands, eight songs. All great. Here's a taste. Rest in peace, Mr. Wake. Now, c'mon, Cherry Red. If you really do own these gems, don't sit on them. There is an audience for this stuff. I promise.

The Raw Herbs - At My Funeral
The Waltones - Bold
The Corn Dollies - Mouthful Of Brains
The Rain - Dry The Rain

Friday, March 19, 2021

Red Sleeping Beauty Returns With a Buddy

Talk about two great tastes that go great together. Stockholm-based band Red Sleeping Beauty has teamed up with Mary Wyer from Sydney outfit Even As We Speak to produce one of the all-time great guest appearances in indie-pop history. Wyer's voice belongs in the same conversation as Wendy Pickles', Beth Arzy's and Amelia Fletcher's as the genre's most beautiful, and she sounds perfect here backed by the trio's vintage drum machines and synthesizers.

"Second Time" is the first single from Red Sleeping Beauty's fifth album, expected later this year, and you can pick up the song at Matinée Recordings and streaming outlets everywhere. While we wait patiently for this one to fill the floor of your favorite club, and it surely will someday, I have it on good authority the kitchen makes a fine spot to shuffle your feet. Click below. Give it a go. It's the best you'll feel all day. "And let's try it all a second time, let's fall in love for real this time..."

Thursday, March 4, 2021

In Love With These Times

Well, no, not these times. Let's go back to 1989. Lately, we have had a lot of chatter on these pages and in the comments about Flying Nun, and that has had me thinking about one of my favorite label samplers from my youth. The legendary 'Dunedin Double' was before my time, but another one of Flying Nun's comps came out at exactly the right time to reel in this impressionable very late teen. If a label sampler is worth its salt, when the dust settles you have picked up at least a few new albums and started following a couple of bands you stick with for the rest of your days. 'In Love With These Times' was that type of album for me. It wouldn't be long before I went back to get the 'Dunedin Double' either, but that's a tale for another day.

Three of the four bands on the 'Dunedin Double' were still going strong seven years after that release and appeared on 'In Love With These Times.' That would be the Chills, Sneaky Feelings and the Verlaines. (Who could have guessed all three of those bands would have new albums two decades into the 21st century?!?) The original version of 'In Love With These Times' featured 13 bands on vinyl and a whopping 19 bands on CD. I have the vinyl, which is cool, but in hindsight, CD would have been better because Dead Famous People would have been on my shelf much earlier. 'In Love With These Times' has been reissued a couple of times, including once as a 13-track CD edition that accompanied Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd's 2016 autobiography of the same name. I haven't read this book, but I couldn't resist ordering it earlier this evening.

Here are a few from 'In Love With These Times.' This song from the Chills appeared on the 1987 album 'Brave Words.' I know there is at least one reader who really like this album. He even uses a song title from the album for his online moniker. Look Blue Go Purple sure knows how to get their jangle on. If you don't have the band's comp 'Still Bewitched,' pick this one up right away. This song from Sneaky Feelings is two minutes of off-kilter pop that sounds so very Flying Nun to the ears of this Yank. Apologies for not picking something from the Bats, Snapper and all of the other bands on this sampler. They are all certainly worthy.

The Chills - Rain
Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat
Sneaky Feelings - Trouble With Kay