14 Iced Bears – Inside

The debut single from 14 Iced Bears, Inside. Released on their own Frank record label in that classic year for indiepop 1986.  14 Iced Bears were always associated with Sarah records but it looks like Come Get Me was their only Sarah release but it appears on Air Balloon Road and Shadow Factory compilations.

It would be obvious to think that they are twee, even their moniker has a saccharine taste.
But Inside and Blue Suit has thumping drums and a deranged guitar sound.

14 Iced Bears : Inside

Blue Suit


The Fall ‎– The Frenz Experiment

When talking about The Fall John Peel said, ”they are always different, they are always the same.” This is true despite the ever changing lineups the whole experience is the same. Mark E. Smith looked liked he had lived the three decades of rock and roll to the full. When he appears onstage, I at once felt relieved that I had given up smoking. .

I first saw The Fall just over 25 years ago, which is recent in their 40+ year history, it was at Glastonbury in 1992. Between every song people were shouting, Hit the North. This was their most famous song and was made popular by Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 5 programme of the same name.

Hit the North is on the album The Frenz Experiment which contains most of The Fall’s commercial songs such as There’s A Ghost In My House and a cover of the Kinks’ Victoria.  There is some criticism that the cover versions on this album are not performed with enough irony and they are a cash-in.  Yet other songs such as Frenz are completely uncommercial, held together very loosely by Smith’s vocals. Guest Informant is one of the all time classic Fall moments, it’s paranoid and quirky at the same time. A song about a hotel that becomes a deranged scene from Cluedo,

The miserable Scottish hotel,
Resembled a Genesis or Marillion, 1973 LP cover

This album featured Brix Smith (before she went off with violinist Nigel Kennedy), and her and Marcia Schofield (keyboards) on the album cover has a strangely glamorous feel.  Each different format of the album has different songs on it.  It is not the best Fall album, but it was released at a time when indie music was gaining mainstream recognition.

The Fall ‎: The Frenz Experiment

Carry Bag Man
Get A Hotel
Athlete Cured
In These Times
The Steak Place
Bremen Nacht (Alternative)
Guest Informant (Excerpt)
Oswald Defence Lawyer
Tuff Life Booogie
Guest Informant
There’s A Ghost In My House
Hit The North Part 1

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven

Almost immediately after it’s release in 1991, Rough Trade collapsed (until the labels resurrection in the late 90s). The Boo Radleys were snapped up by Creation Records. Rough Trade were in difficultly beforehand, and their demise is nothing to do with The Boo Radleys. Rough Trade had told them that they did not have enough money to fund an album from The Boo Radleys.

Every Heaven is, not unlike the other early EPs, but produced by Alan Moulder. Its shows that they were not just another shoegaze band, as they started to show their influences. It is a massive leap in terms of quality from the Ichabod and I. The beginning of The Finest Kiss has a New Order bass opening. Which carries on throughout the song but is lost at times with the crashing roaring guitars. Tortoiseshell is a big track with grandeur the guitars alternating with the vocals. Bluebird is an upbeat tune, and lastly, Naomi is a slice of early 90s psychedelic indie. The guitars grind and swirl at the same time.

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven 

The Finest Kiss

Another Sunny Day – London Weekend

Another Sunny Day was a project for the former The Field Mice, The Hit Parade, Blueboy and now occasional Trembling Blue Stars member, Harvey Williams. The multi-instrumentalist Williams released a series of singles through Sarah Records and these were collected on the album London Weekend.

The album is what you would expect from a Sarah Records release, songs such as Anorak City, which celebrate the twee anorak, enamel badge and fanzine indie scene.  This song has been likened to sounding like Morrissey fronting The Stone Roses by another reviewer.

I’m in Love With a Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist is a slice of forlorn love.  This subject matter was very popular in the late eighties and early nineties with indie types. Every song is a vignette of some life episode. This would be considered a bit wet.  The most well known song is You Should All Be Murdered which is widely regarded as a Smithsesque single.

Strangely enough, the second generation twee popsters Belle & Sebastian have a single called Another Sunny Day. The similarities do not end there; Another Sunny Day’s singles artwork featured photos with a strong single tone colour in the background, this became the trademark of Belle & Sebastian’s album art.

Another Sunny Day : London Weekend

Anorak City
I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist
Things Will Be Nice
The Centre Of My Little World
What’s Happened To You, My Dearest Friend?
Can’t You Tell It’s True?
You Should All Be Murdered
The Very Beginning
I Don’t Suppose I’ll Get A Second Chance
New Year’s Honours

Catherine Wheel – Painful Thing

Catherine Wheel’s second single on the Wilde Club label, and it would be their last. The Wilde Club was a local Norwich label. They were causing waves in the indie scene, so they signed to a major label, which was Fontana. There were initially only 4000 pressings of the single, half on vinyl and half on CD. With availability so scarce the single was never going to chart highly, but at least they released it on CD. Their first single, She’s My Friend was vinyl only.

The single features early versions of Shallow and the fantastic I Want to Touch You, the latter rightfully got it’s own release as a single later on. They would both appear on the debut Ferment. The version I Want to Touch You that appears on this single is really raw. I can almost imagine them sounding like this live at Norwich Waterfront.  The whole EP feels like it is recorded as a session.

All four songs are very strong and defines the early sound of Catherine Wheel, Painful Thing has very hard and aggressive music and thoughtful vocals. Probably the best track that never made it onto Ferment. The reason that this song was omitted is that it would not fit in with the general flow of the album.

Catherine Wheel : Painful Thing

Painful Thing
I Want to Touch You

Chapterhouse – Mesmerise

After the debut album Reading’s Chapterhouse tried a different tack.  Mesmerise was unlike anything they had done previously and it marks a high point in their career.  The production was much clearer on this EP too

In the title track a piano tinkles at the beginning, soft electronic beats and trademark floaty vocals appear. It is a lazy hazy summers day of a song rather than the melancholic moods that were associated with indie music at this time.  Precious One is more like the Chapterhouse that we know and love, with the synth buried deeply in the song and the guitars at the forefront.  The guitar work does sound a bit like the Cocteau Twins.

Summer Chill has a paper thin feel with soft weak vocals perched on a delicate effervescent guitar wash and light percussion buried down deep. Then We’ll Rise finishes the EP on a more upbeat note with both acoustic and electric guitar, but the vocals are still quiet.

Chapterhouse : Mesmerise

Precious One
Summer Chill
Then We’ll Rise

See See Rider – See See Rider EP

This EP is sometimes called the She Sings Alone EP. Even I was unsure what its name was. Particularly as it was quite fashionable at the time to have no writing on the record sleeve.  This was their debut single, which was released to the excited indie world in March 1990. No one would of realised that See See Rider would become one of the bands with the shortest discography ever.

As they hailed from East Kilbride, home of the Jesus and Marychain, they drafted in Mary Chain’s Douglas Hart to play on early recordings.  He appears on this EP playing bass on See See.

On She Sings Alone May Rock Marshall’s singing is very Nico. Snowfall has a chugging T.Rex swagger and the finale See See has vocal enunciated in a Leonard Cohen style.

See See Rider : See See Rider EP

She Sings Alone
Slip So Slow
See See