SARAH Records

Sarah Records was a record label based in Bristol UK which ran from 1987 to 1995. It is forever associated with ‘twee’ pop – a term intended as an insult by the music press in the UK, who were more fixated on championing various ‘laddish’ genres (who remembers pre-grunge ‘grebo’?) than sensitive guitar pop. Sarah Records was the home to The Orchids, 14 Iced Bears, The Field Mice and Talulah Gosh but also later to Secret Shine, another of my favourite bands in the early 90s. Secret Shine were more ‘shoegaze’ – another UK music press term initially intended as a derogatory insult.

Sarah Records, as with so many of the smaller independent labels operating in the UK at the time was always much more than ‘twee’ pop (whatever that even was). There was a lot more social commentary & politics (often of the personal or gender kind) going on from bands on Sarah than most of the other noisy genres championed by the UK music press at the time.

Labels like Sarah Records (and The Subway Organisation, another small label also based in Bristol at the time, and 53rd & 3rd from Scotland, all of which had releases by some of the same bands) seemed a natural extension of the DIY ethos from labels like Postcard & Creation in Scotland several years earlier and continued music of that spirit.

A Sarah Records Catalogue. This one came with my copy of Sarah 23 (The Orchids) along with a postcard.

A Sarah Records Catalogue. This one came with my copy of Sarah 23 (The Orchids) along with a postcard.

There’s a documentary called “My Secret World. The Story of Sarah Records” which tells the story of the label. Here’s a trailer for it, just released on 1 January 2014:

The film has yet to be premiered and still has a way to go before it is available on DVD or screened widely. But hopefully it will get the support it requires to become available in some format sometime this year.

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