you know a fantastic indie single that didn't quite set the charts ablaze
as it should've done? Then celebrate it here. Send your nominations
to email@example.com including artist name, single name, label and some passionate
prose about why it's a Great Lost Single
Garon & The Desperadoes
The Rain Fell Down
To my mind, the finest jangle single ever released. The guitar pitches
perfectly between wistful and melancholic, making you think of fresh
rain on city pavements at night and sudden silences during a long walk
home. Live the band were hindered by a singer - Andrew, I think - who'd
rant comically between songs for what seemed like forever, but there's
no such distraction here. Just a beautifully simply melody, a bassline
that feels infused with hope, a single note guitar solo lifted straight
from "Just Like Honey"-era Mary Chain, and lyrics about wishing
your way out of whatever rut you've stumbled into. "The town is
mine tonight". "The world is mine tonight". Listening
to "The Rain Fell Down" you believe every last word.
To be honest, it could have been either this or their "Nerve Pylon"
single. It was post-punk, Pre-Postcard and very little POP!! music to
celebrate. These two came out of nowhere (well, Wales, to be a bit more
accurate) and sounded so fresh, tuneful and hopeful. I know nothing
of The Lines, and have no idea why these songs aren't lauded as pop
classics. Find them. Buy them.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did. All together now "All the stars
Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes
You'll Never Be That Young Again
I think that 'You'll Never Be That Young Again' by Jesse Garon is a
lovely lost single that people bypass. It is so heart warming that it
made me cry whenever i play it. It still give me that shivers now after
so many years.
Cellos, that aching feedback after the guitar solo, Paul Quinn's magisterial
tones. Like the Bunnymen but somehow more real. It aches, it drives.
The call/response vocals in the bridge before the bridge before the
chorus..."you ought to get some sleep..."
The Wild Swans
Simply the single most perfect single ever released. It soars like no
other record ever has or ever will. It's the sound of euphoria mixed
with a steamhammer desperation and urgency. The piano screams, the drums
hammer like a bastard and Paul Simpson sings as if posessed by god.
Words are just so fucking inadequate.
The Cherry Boys
Almost a remake of "Ferry 'cross the Mesrey" - and I don't
mean that in a bad way. A lazy, hazy vignette which evokes the dreary
dole-days in an affectionate, intelligent and unsentimental kind of
way. I remember Peel loved them at the time. I've still got two sessions
on an ageing C90 which is rapidly shedding its oxide. They'll never
be released, which is a pity, but that somehow makes them more special
- more mine...
P P Arnold.
I think this song scraped the top 50 when it came out in 1998 which
i guess isn't too bad from an artist who was at her most popular in
the 60s and 70s. She is probably most famous for singing with my favourite
band of the 60s: The Small Faces. Anyway I don't know too much about
the actual song except I believe it was written by woolly hatted Mike
Nesmith and I also have a copy of The Pastels singing it and I do like
that version but I find P P Arnold's one far superior. It's not even
because she has a great soulful voice, I think it is mainly because
the string arrangement is one of the best I've ever heard and carries
the song along at such a pace that you can't help but sing along or
dance to it. The only problem is that just as the song gets really going
the end fades away and cuts the song about a minute before it should
end. But still it's the one song that ends up on pretty much every compilation
tape I make for people whether I think they will like it or not.
Peter James Baldwin
Hangman's Beautiful Daughters
They Fell for Words Like Love
This single on Dan Treacy's Dreamworld label has everything a great
pop song needs - a chiming "Mr Tambourine Man" guitar intro,
lyrics concerning great loves lost, a killer chorus and lots of shalalalas.
It wasn't a hit of course, but it certainly deserved to be. Seek out
the 7" version if you can find it as it's far superior to the album
version. This single always reminds me of the first flat I lived in
in Edinburgh, must have been about 1989. There seemed to be loads of
bands around who seemed limitlessly talented but got nowhere, off the
top of my head: the TVPs, the Prayers, Close Lobsters, 14 Iced Bears,
the Chills, etc, etc. All dismissed as "twee" or "shambling"
and never given another thought, very depressing. I often wonder if
they were simply around in the wrong time, and if they were around now
(when you can get into the top 40 by selling 30 singles down at the
car boot sale) they would be really popular. I guess we'll never know...
OK not really indie in the flowery jangly sense, too many shades of
eighties power pop. But this one song by Skin Games is outstanding.
Glorious guitars and emotionally uplifting lyrics. Always cut well through
the home compilation without seeming out of place. I think it was released
as a single but I have found it on an album called ( I think) "The
Blood's Rush". Skin Games are a collaboration between the singer
Wendy Page and a guitarist and obviously some other musicians. The guy
who drums with Mazzy Star was trying to find Wendy some time ago for
a euro project he wanted to do but I don't know what came of it.
The Band of Holy Joy
Who Snatched The Baby?
This is almost perfect. The sound of disillusionment and urban desperation
that manages to be tragic, beautiful and broken in equal measure. A
tale of lost babies, pills ("those nasty little things"),
derelict houses and dirty towels. Trumpets,banjos and accordians lurch
and reel as Johny Brown's vocals become more and more desperate . "I
don't understand this world anymore!" he wails at the end. Nor
do I Johny - why wasn't it a number one?
The Sea Urchins
For me, 'Pristine Christine' represents everything that the perfect
pop single should be. Snappy title, spangly, undulating guitars, soaring
middle eight....all in just under three minutes. Of course, if 'Pristine
Christine' had occupied the number 1 spot in early 1988, as it deserved,
then everything that Sarah Records stood for (fierce independance, two
fingers for the majors, etc) would have been destroyed. But still, this
glorious, pure pop song continues to make my life, and doubtless many
other lives, happier-despite it's rarity status. A misty-eyed classic,
and the beginning of the way of life that was Sarah records!
Wintercomessummer" (Too Pure)
A tale of - I'm not sure what, actually - but it sounds like the life
of a small English town seen through the haze of corner shop alcohol
and October evenings, sitting with your mates, watching the world go
round, as the day dissolves around you in orange and gold, later racing
through the city on the train home, as the light turns even the most
mundane urban dereliction into dazzling action paintings. Reflecting
- and even exceeding - all the wit, drive and verve of the Blue Aeroplanes
at their very best (with a smidgeon of the Fall for good measure), for
the four minute duration of this song, you could easily believe that
you need never hear any other music again. The B-side, "I was drunk
in the underworld" deserves special mention here, too.
An opening line which goes "Like a stiff on the tide, he washed
in with his halo of flies" should tell you that this is no ordinary
record. And it's not. Three chords in as many minutes, and Dave Jackson's
aching falsetto breaking through a wall of acoustic guitars and Mo Tucker
Estrangement and despair have never sounded so uplifting. In all honesty,
I could well have chosen absolutely anything by The Room or Benny Profane
(possible exception - "Parasite"), here, but "Devil Laughing"
will, for me, always be the sound of my 21st birthday, drinking cider
and eating Maltesers in my flat and playing with my new Scalextric set
(rallye super - present to
myself). There was a party, later - kisses and dancing, friends, girlfriend,
bandmates and family - but when I hear this song, I'm always taken back
there. On my todd, half-pissed and crashing little plastic Escorts.
Happy as fuck.
"Love Your Shoes"
"We're going to have the best time - the time of our worthless
lives". Actually lost twice, this little gem, first on a self-produced
ep in '84 and then on release as a follow-up to the awesome "Brilliant
Mind" a couple of years later. Simply put, this should have been
a massive hit, but the collapse of Stiff records effectively killed
off any serious chances. Jim Irvin's enunciation makes Nick Drake sound
like Pat Butcher, and the wonderfully understated production allows
the dynamics and simple beauty of the song to shine through. The guitar
shines, sparkles and jumps as the song's tale of love in spite of reason
and sense rushes joyously to the end of one of the most glorious three
minutes you'll ever hear.
"Moves Like You"
Before this, "sublime" had seemed such a perfectly adequate
word. Afterwards, it seemed that the English language had a reeking
hole where there should be a word for use on occasions when "sublime"
wasn't enough. This record is one of those occasions. Like Bjork's big
sister, (but without the irritating "wackiness"), Cath Carroll
tears words to pieces, rendering them meaningless, breathless syllables
floating on a bed of the smoothest machinery. This is technically a
dance record, but I can't imagine dancing to it - more likely standing,
dumbstruck at the sheer beauty of it all. Obviously influenced by jazz,
house and latin musics, this gem transcends them all to become so much
more than merely the sum of its parts. Play outdoors, on a beach, with
friends, vodka and a sunset.
A long time ago (1980) in a rainy northern city there was a record label
Object that released a dozen or so quirky singles, Joanne being the
incandescent purple of the plumage. A stop-start paean to young love
among the rocks kissed by the North Sea surf, the jittery nervousness
of that first crush, the awe in which the loved one is observed while
doing the most mundane things, these are touchingly conveyed. "From
Scarborough Harbour to Whitley Bay, I'm gonna love you for just one
day", they sing and then declare, in glorious contradiction, the
genius line "Will you marry me before I go gay?" If they had
been a hundred miles further north they would have been Orange Juice.
The b side has two tunes called "The Affirmation of Existence"
and "Gggdadgadadad" so they were probably art students who
eventually merged into one and became Tracey Emin, but for the sake
of Joanne we can forgive them that.
The Railway Children
First love distilled into the perfect crystalline pop single. Gary Newby
had that rare thing in the maelstrom of post C86 guitar bands, a voice,
a rich and rounded singing style that perfectly evoked the yearning
sentiments of this single. The ambiguity of the lyrics make this a great
love song because of the way it SOUNDS rather than what it actually
says. Couple this with ambitious production and heart stopping guitar
breaks and you will understand why The Railway Children were Wigan's
greatest wide eyed romantics.
Destiny (Dalek I Love You)
There was this girl at school right, she was attractive, smart and into
'Dalek I' but I never realised just exactly how smart she was until
after blagging a copy of the album 'Compus Kumpas' from her (it started
out as an excuse for conversation) and hearing the single 'Destiny'.
An almost perfect Eno-esque piece of electronic pop that starts off
with the obligatory synth riff of the time and descends into some sort
of distanced critique of modern life via emotions towards Dr Who's evil
enemies. No, I don't really know what it is about but it sounds similar
to how the future might have sounded in those pre-Gorbachev, pre-apocalypse
times. Frightening but beautiful.
Unkiss That Kiss
how Stephen never became a household name is one of lifes mysteries.
In fact I could have chosen any of his solo and Lilac Time singles.
The quintessential romantic english pop song, quirky lyrics and a beautiful
Walk Out To Winter (Seven Inch version)
A superior version
to that featured on 'Highland, Hardrain' album. The chorus is not as
rushed and Roddy Frames guitar solo and outro is sublime. Only available
on the Japanese rare cd and that is the 12"version.
Cubans in the Bluefield
Inexplicably under-rated amongst jangling late 80's guitar bands, were
they just too good? East Village looked right, had the coolest guitars
and wrote magnificent singles like Cubans. All the ingredients are there,
chiming 12 strings, harmony vocals and a deceptively simple song structure.
Vaguely political lyrically Cubans in the Bluefield exemplifies the
sound of East Village, obviously influenced by 60's folk rock but still
as fresh as the morning.
The Teardrop Explodes
It was a hit but does anybody remember it? The Teardrops were a splash
of psychedelic colour in the gloom of the early 80's. Passionate Friend
finds Julian Cope gloriously and optimistically English in his vocals,
where Ian Mac had studied cool ,Julian was boundlessly enthusiastic.
This tune sounds like The Turtles on happy pills with sitar guitars
and ba, ba, ba's. It is absolutely one of the most hook laden singles
of all time and along with X.T.C.'s Senses Working Overtime goes to
show that great guitar pop was alive and well in the 80's.
The Mighty Wah!
"Heart as Big as Liverpool"
To come back from obscurity, injury, heartbreak and bankruptcy with
a song so utterly drenched in hope and love is remarkable. For that
song to also be a completely gorgeous, life-affirming, wall-of-sound
8 minute epic is incredible. When it is the pre-cursor to a great lost
album, one that refuses to go down the predictable bitterness-and-bile
route that getting f*cked by friends, record companies and God would
normally entail.... Well, that's when words stop and you just go with
the tingles running up and down your spine. Majestic.
This song was the finest of the Brilliant Corners' tracks, well just
about, its difficult to pick one they were all so great and hold some
fantastic memories of wearing curtains for skirts and badges on our
cardies and all in all thinking we were the coolest people in the world.
This extremely jangly number had a fantastic cover, a still
from West Side Story's dance at the gym. I caught them live twice when
they played a tiny pub in Newcastle called the Broken Doll and a small
hall in Stockton on Tees, obviously we were all in love with Davey the
singer but they were of a higher quality than a lot of the other cutie
jangly stuff around at the time. Having not heard them for years and
with my vinyl packed away in the loft, I borrowed their "What's
In A Word" album from a friend recently and wondered if it would
still sound great...pleased to say it did, even better than I remember.
These things happen
The most heart-scratching jingle jangle plucked guitars that nearly
sound like mandolins. Rain and shine. Fragile boy-from-behind-that-cloud-voice.
Indeed, it feels a little bit like Christmas every time I listen to
it. No, it feels rather better than that. Much warmer. But it`s fine
by me knowing that it never's become a hot sold hit single in this cold,
cold world. Because this way it seems to be more mine. Mine, mine. I
don`t have to share. Do I?
"Hey, it`s not right to love someone to death."
A glouriously laid back tune with breathless vocals, 'She' by Angel
Pie is one of those songs that I seem to have acquired over the years,
and have no idea how I came about it. I have a vague memory of seeing
the band on Naked City (at least I think the show was called that; Caitlyn
Moran pretending the studio was her flat, and Collins & Maconie
being sarcastic on a rooftop. You must remember it). It's a great lost
single because the first reaction of anyone when I mention it is Lard
style "WHooooooooo?" And then they listen to it and realise
its beauty. As far as I can tell, Angel Pie only ever released the one
single. I've tried to find the album, 'Jake', for years but it was probably
never released. Which is a shame; but then would anything else they
did live up to 'She'..?
You Don't Want A Boyfriend
Just lovely. Resigned sadness of guy saying goodbye to girlfriend.and
realising "maybe you hurting me wasn't a bad thing." Jangly
guitar and strings at the end. Don't own it. Remember hearing it. Anyone
remember this. Think they were Irish...
Dislocation Dance were four rather geeky looking chaps from Manchester
with a prediliction for squonky trumpet daubed vignettes of variable
degrees of listenability. With Rosemary, however, they inadvertently
stepped into the realm of the perfect 3 minute commercial popsong. The
trumpet player stopped squonking and played the most obvious and simple
and goddamned uplifting melody ever commited to vinyl, the singer bemoaned
his boudoir shortcomings in gorgeously understated tones and the whole
thing skipped along happily, even finding a space for a lovely bit of
"London's Burning" style round singing. As one might imagine,
the British public ignored this pulchritudinous piece of pop perfection
and bought Wham instead.
Blushing Girl, Nervous Smile
Peter Brickley should have been. He had supported the Smiths with a
previous band and impressed enough that Johnny Marr offered to produce
the Wallflowers' first album; Andy Partridge produced their terrific
third (and final) single, "83.7 Degrees"; Janice Long championed
thenm. But it never happened, despite the support. The Smiths split
just as Marr was due to produce the Wallflowers, their label folded
and another pop dream collapsed. But this first single, from 1986, holds
all the promise that was never fulfilled: a chiming, soaring guitar
line, to suit a song about the joys and fears of The First Time ("Take
off your halo for a while, my angel / Lay down beside me in the dark
on the recreation ground"), which never descends into either salciousness
or coyness. This was the kind of 60s-inflected pop that some of the
C86-ers were striving for but had not yet seen quite enough of life
to manage. Marvellous. And nothing to do with Jakob Dylan.
I Melt With You
Modern English were in the same end of the pool as the Bunnymen, Lotus
Eaters, Depeche Mode and Bauhaus in the early 80's and yet they failed
to become a household name or even have a major hit in the UK. If every
one of their songs had been as perfect as this 1982 single however,
they just might have been contenders. Guitars chime and twang and rush
along beside upbeat synth and a bass line that Peter Hook must have
left behind somehwhere as crashing drums propel the whole thing towards
the perfect pop song never heard. Nouvelle Vague prettified it on their
covers album recently but the original is the real deal; listen to it
once and you'll go back to it again and again.
She Looks Right Through Me
(Medium Cool, 1988)
Perhaps the nation's record-buyers looked at the name and assumed it
was some sort of country-styled hoedown, recorded by an inbred family
ensemble. Or maybe it was that all the Waltones looked suspiciously
well-scrubbed and nicely presented, when the indie norm of the day was
tending towards scuzziness. There must have been an explanation for
the universal apathy that greeted such pop perfection. Probably it was
just that no one heard the damn record, which was an utter delight.
She Looks Right Through Me had everything that makes the great indiepop
single: it had the lovelorn lyric sung by an everyman loser ("People
laugh behind my back, I can see their smiling faces / They wouldn't
be laughing quite so hard if it came to changing places"); it had
the big, muscular jangling guitars, pitched somewhere between the Wedding
Present and the Bodines; it had the great big chorus; and it had the
delicious layered harmonies over an extended fade-out. If you could
criticise it at all, it would be for being a bit too perfect: where
were the bum notes, the undernourished drums and the crappy mix beloved
of the Chelsea-booted dogmatists? Nowhere to be found on this record.
House With A Hundred Room
(Flying Nun, 1987)
Lord only knows what they put in the water in New Zealand. There must
be something, though: how else to account for the seemingly unending
stream of bands that emerged on the Flying Nun label in the early and
mid-80s and gave rise to the "Flying Nun Sound", a ramshackle
confection of fairground psychedelia, pure pop and punk's DIY ethos.
If the Clean came first - and anyone who has never heard their "Tally
Ho" should immediately track down a copy of the 2CD anthology -
Martin Phillipps of the Chills refined the sound. The great Chills songs
drip with unresolved melancholy, and this is no exception; over an almost
spidery backing dominated by piano, Phillipps unfurls another tale of
loss (though, unlike the marvellous Pink Frost, at least no one dies
in this song) before an oddly uplifting organ ending. That the mid-80s
indiepop scene somehow managed to sideline the Chills is one of life's
great mysteries. Perhaps the lack of order to their career - dozens
of lineups, albums that were disowned, never knowing where they were
based - put people off. They should have perservered, for the recorded
legacy of the Chills lays clear the enormous gulf in quality - of songwriting,
of imagination, of ability - that existed between them and the bands
we revered in Britain. Oh, to live in Dunedin.
This Brilliant Evening
I first heard In Embrace on the Janice Long show years ago with their
previous single “Shouting In Cafes” (which come to think
of it could just as easily fit the bill as a long lost classic) and
I was completely lost: rarely had pop sounded so romantic to my ears.
In Embrace sounded to me like Edwyn Collins fronting Felt,
with a little bit of “The First Picture Of You” by the Lotus
Eaters thrown in, all reference points which meant that I was lost to
their gorgeous sound. It was indie-music, but it was perfect pop at
the same time and it held the promise that this stuff could really take
over the charts. “This Brilliant Evening” even made Single
Of The Week in Smash Hits at the time.
But (and sadly there is always a but with these things)
of course it never happened. Being on the Glass label couldn’t
have helped. Two more In Embrace singles slipped out (all equally wonderful,
especially “Room Upstairs”) and an album called “Songs
About Snogging” (a more appropriate title was just unthinkable)
was promised, but sadly never released (apparently it was – and
still is - held back by the producer John A. Rivers because of financial
reasons). I am still waiting, cause I’m sure a more romantic pop
record has still to be released.
"This Brilliant Evening" is still number
one in my parallel pop universe!
In the early Eighties, I was a new romantic and an electropop freak,
but by ’84 the new pop dream was all but over, so I turned my
attention to something new and exciting. And what could have been more
exciting to a young man’s ears than the great guitar indiepop
that was being released by Creation records. The Jesus and Mary Chain,
Felt, early Primal Scream, House of Love became my new idols (replacing
my old Human League posters). However in their wake there came a second
wave of bands and labels which were equally as fine, but nowadays seem
to be totally forgotten.
I think the Pink label had the rather wonderful McCarthy
(still one of my favourite bands of all time) too, but the jewel in
their crown must be this wonderful single by Rumblefish. “Tugboat
Line” starts off like “Atmosphere” by Joy Division,
gracefully building up with a rather mournful bassline and the vocals
gliding over the top until this most joyful of trumpetline comes bursting
in and transforms the song into something totally different.
I never heard anything else by Rumblefish (I think
they left the Pink label soon after this single) although I saw a CD
by them not long ago in a second hand shop and was very tempted to buy
it, but somehow couldn’t cause I was afraid it would not live
up to the standard of “Tugboat Line” and somehow tarnish
its brilliance. I mean, it’s quite unthinkable that they ever
scaled the heights again of this most wonderful of singles.
The Lighthouse Song
Rosemary’s Children had a single out before on the enigmatic El
label (a label which I now hold in very high esteem, but I won’t
pretend I was really up to date with their stuff at the time of their
release – I had seen the rather gorgeous sleeve-art and been intruiged
by it, but there always seemed to be other stuff to buy so I never got
round to buying El record releases at the time), but it was their second
ep on Cherry Red records, and especially “The Lighthouse Song”
that did it to me.
Their sound was a strange mix: I could hear a bit of the
Buzzcocks in there, but also some Felt, but the lyrics made them something
else again. “The Lighthouse Song”, for example, seemed like
a medieval folk tale, about the daughter of a lighthouse keeper luring
ships onto the rocks. And then they disappeared without a trace.
I’ve been pestering Cherry red records for a
re-release on CD (as with the In Embrace stuff), but without avail.
I suppose they are to busy re-releasing Toyah records.
The Field Mice
OK. It got into Peel's Festive Fifty, but did it dominate the nation's
airwaves like it should have? Quite simply the greatest 7 inch ever
committed to vinyl. Was there ever such a perfect a & b side? Great
sleeve, great band, great label: great God!! Why has this not sold a
million? Sheer perfection.
Another Sunny Day
I'm In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist.
For me, the finest Sarah record ever produced (though it is pressed
hard by The Sea Urchins' 'Pristine Christine' and St. Christophers'
magnificent 'All Of A Tremble').
The song captures everything about that period of my life. The jangly
guitars I adored (and still do), the painful ache of unrequited love
I felt and the relief and joy of finding a song that shared my emotions
and played them out more beautifully than I could ever hope to. I still
listen to the song now and it stands the test of time magnificently.
I know Another Sunny Day wrote this song for me and me only (they must
have done, it fitted so perfectly). If I could only listen to one song
for the rest of my life, it would be this one.
Saturday Looks Good To Me
A great lost track track from just last year (2004) but one that would
sit comfortably alongside anything by Tallulah Gosh or Heavenly. Starting
with a Farfissa organ and rhythm guitar intro, a vibraphone riff is
added and then the drums crash in. Like a cross between Talulah Gosh
and sugary, heart-wrenching Motown girl-pop, Ultimate Stars wistfully
tells the story of a girl being stood up: "If I don't see you soon,
I don't know just what I'm gonna do", she repeats over and over.
As the tempo speeds up towards its climax, you wonder if this is by
design or accident but by then it doesn't really matter. Fantastic and
so gorgeous, Ultimate Stars is a potential dance floor filler; you need
to hunt this down before it gets too forgotten.
I Never Know Where You Are
(Tenor Vossa - cat. no. Breath 8)
Sadly, Breathless are perhaps best known as a sleevenote on This Mortal
Coil's latter two albums, for the unique, bewitching vocal contributions
from lead singer Dominic Appleton ("The Jeweller", "Tarantula",
"I Am The Cosmos"). However, Breathless' own contribution
to the field of emotional pop may be less known, but is no less affecting
in its own way. Speaking personally, they seemed to possess an uncanny
ability to write songs that would perfectly fit the state of the relationship
(or absence thereof) that I was currently in - no matter what that state
might have been! In one interview I read, Appleton said (to paraphrase)
that he hoped they evoked that feeling you sometimes get when you realise
you're falling in love and you think "Oh no - not again! I don't
want this to happen!" but you can't help yourself. As if to echo
this idea of loss of control, the songs would often seem to gather momentum
like a runaway train - starting with relative serenity, but building
to a gut-wrenching cathartic climax. (check the B-side of this single,
"Heartburst" for a perfect example.) The tracks also seem
to possess an "organic" quality - a life of their own - almost
as if they were just jamming when the tracks were recorded. They were
also blessed with having a guitarist, Gary Mundy, whose voice compliments
Appleton's own so much that you sometimes can't actually tell who is
singing which part of their multi-layered vocals. This all helps to
evoke that sense of disorientation felt in obssessive relationships.
They are still going, though probably past their superb peak, which
can be heard on their two late-80's albums, "Chasing Promises"
and "Between Happiness and Heartache" (on which this song
would appear, having been released between the two). Though still relatively
obscure, I would argue that they were influential within the burgeoning
indie scene of the mid-late 80s, as (refreshingly) they weren't afraid
to make "emotional" indie, but nor did they feel compelled
to make it twee, simply because it was emotional. I swear I can still
hear their influence on some (oxymoronically) "big-name" indie
bands to this day! Check them out at: http://www.breathless-uk.com/
Yes, another Sarah single, and another brilliant Sarah single at that.
This disc in particular stands out in my mind because it seems quite
different compared to many of the songs in the deservedly revered Sarah
canon. Texturally, the songs are awash in gallons of lazy reverb, full
of chiming guitar notes and sweetly angular chords with gently sung
lyrics on top, virtually beatless except for some carefully tapped ride
cymbal and subtle kickdrums. They evoke dreamy images of sunlight shining
through slowly swaying leaves, reflecting the bright orangey-red cover
art. Structurally, they're not quite 'standard' ABA pop songs, and yet
they're still packed with hooks and memorable lyrics, saturated with
loneliness, longing, love and other things beginning with 'l' (Lasciviousness?
Possibly not). I'm fairly sure this wasn't a double A-sided single,
but it may as well be, because both songs are real stand-outs. I found
this at the not-so-tender age of 13, lying at the bottom of a box of
old and dusty records that belonged to my Dad. I bothered him for ages
to get a record player that worked so I could listen to it, having been
intrigued by the lyric sheet and the Sarah discography on the back,
which had thus far only got to no. 58. When I put it on, I was blown
away. These two little beams of cloudy sunshine still make me feel the
same way after 5 years of listening. And you can't go wrong with a band
named after a gay porn magazine. So yes, sorry it's another Sarah record
single. But actually, I don't think I'm that sorry. Oh okay, maybe just
a little bit...
The Stars of Heaven
Never Saw You
As with most of the releases in this list, another record courtesy of
Peelie. A great plaintive single, with some lovely jangly guitar throughout.
Always sounds like its going to take off, but manages to restrain itself.
This was the first song of theirs I heard and, apart from the session
featuring "Unfinished Dreaming", on a C90, I didn't own anything
else of theirs for years. A rolling country feel to a lot of their work
and, yes, sadly underrated.
Scotland's greatest lost band. This was the only 7" release of
theirs, the rest being EPs, 12"s and albums. "Eternity Road"
features the trademark chiming guitars and Craig Lorentson's powerful
and emotional vocals deep in the mix with the driving bass of Will Heggie.
This was an introduction to a band I became pretty obsessed with, and
still am to an extent, thanks solely to Radio Scotland's Peter Easton,
wherever he is these days. There's still the potential of new material,
there's been nothing since 95 and I truly hope this comes true. A band
to treasure, seek out their records at all costs.