Archives for posts with tag: Shop Assistants

jeanines1-headerAnything released on California label Slumberland Records is worth checking out. Not everything on Slumberland jangles like crazy, but a fair chunk of the catalogue celebrates the jangling vibration of guitar strings. Jeanines have an LP coming out and here’s the ultra-jangling opener “Either Way”

It’s one minute and 44 seconds of pure pop. With its simple, effective drumming and classic, hook-filled melancholy melodicism it brings to mind the work of late 1980s Edinburgh band Shop Assistants – who added a bit more buzz-saw fuzz to their jangle – and Stateside contemporaries Black Tambourine.

Jeanines are from Brooklyn, NY. and are singer and songwriter Alicia Jeanine (guitar) together with multi-instrumentalist Jed Smith (bass and drums). Their 16 track self titled album is released by Slumberland Records mid June on LP, CD and Download.

 

 

FeatureFEATURE‘s album “Banishing Ritual” came out a year ago but was only picked up on PopLib’s radar last week. Here’s the opening track of buzz-saw punk, “Psalms”:

“Banishing Ritual” is a varied feast of fuzzy noise and a thrilling trip if you like your pop sharp, melodic, noisy and bristling with attitude.

“Psalms” – along with half the album, is in the kind of frenetic fuzzy melodic pop style of 80s Edinburgh (post)punks Shop Assistants, and half is a more sing-speak narrative in the style of 90s Brighton ‘Riot Grrrl’ band  Huggy Bear.  It’s a great combination of complementary song-writing styles adding up to a strong album worthy of your investigation.

There’s an LP version available from Upset the Rhythm.

Sachet Portion Control Front_Back_LPHere’s another song from Sachet’s excellent first album “Portion Control” – the fuzzy “Neenish Tart” which ends side one of the LP, which arrived in the mail last week from Sydney label Strange Pursuits.

“Neenish Tart” evokes strong memories of two very favourite (and related) Scottish bands from the mid-1980s – The Pastels (from Glasgow) and Shop Assistants (from Edinburgh).

It’s probably infuriating for new bands for a comparison to be made between a song they released in 2017 and the music from 30 years ago of some bands they may never have heard of. However, there are thousands of fans of those two bands who have never heard of Sachet who would love this song and album if they knew about it… so here we are.

Sachet represent in 2017 the spirit of the DIY 80s when “indie” was really independent pop music. Self-recorded, unapologetically under-produced (that’s a good thing), self-releasing through their own label (which also releases a few other excellent bands), and largely overlooked, unseen, unheard by an audience who would appreciate their music if only they knew it existed.

The Pastels and Shop Assistants were around in the era of vibrant music print media and influential radio shows. They were written about (and mythologised) with the help of grainy photos in newsprint weeklies, in fanzines and in glossy music monthlies. The only places you could hear their music were a few BBC radio shows hosted by independent DJs, which anyone who wanted to hear the new sounds of the Pop Underground would listen to if they could (even around the world by exchange of cassette tapes).

Sachet exist in the era of information overload and perhaps even new music overload, where visibility across the thousands of websites depends on a budget for a PR campaign that a self-funded DIY label like Strange Pursuits can’t afford. Visibility today, even once obtained, is fleeting; quickly cached into online – and human – memory.  It’s a shame really, as Sachet – as with Lani & Sam’s previous band Day Ravies – represent a strong a pulse within the still-living International Pop Underground.

If you were wondering what a Neenish Tart is… according to Wikipedia it is an Australian invention (yeah, right. cf: Pavlova) but “the lemon-flavoured version of the tart most familiar to New Zealand residents is found in the Edmonds Cookery Book. It includes a filling made from butter, icing sugar, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice in a flour-based pastry base topped with half standard white icing and half chocolate (cocoa added) icing.”

Fireworks

This thrilling sub-two-minute blast of fuzzed out feedback pop comes from London band The Fireworks from their “Switch Me On” album, released last month.

It could just as easily have come from Edinburgh label 53rd and 3rd in the late 80s, so perfectly does it recreate the energy and style of The Shop Assistants, even down to the perfect vocal style of Emma Hall.

Sure, this has familiar elements of C86 fuzz-pop and The Shop Assistants (“Let You Know” manages to combine everything by stealing the chords of the Shoppie’s “Somewhere in China” while sounding like Jasmine Minks or Stars of Heaven). But it also mixes in some Jesus And Mary Chain feedback and Buzzcocks style power-pop.

So it’s not exactly doing anything new, but it IS very good indeed and there were never enough songs of the quality of this album released in the 80s anyway. Good clean fuzzed-up fun.