Jesus and Mary Chain – Honey’s Dead

This came out in what I fondly remember as the golden era in indie music 1992. I remember watching the charts to see if Reverence made it in the top 40. Often wondering how the radio stations were going to cope with lyrics like, ‘I wanna die just like JFK, I wanna die on a sunny day.’ It got into the top 10, banned from Radio 1 and Top of the Pops.

It has much more venom than the previous album Automatic, it spits out bile. It is a real grab you by the throat album. Teenage Lust has a bass line that reverberates in your spine. Catchfire is drenched in feedback, and when you think they can’t saturate it in anymore. The song goes to another level in feedback. These two songs capture the very heavy slow burners that appear alongside, feedback infested pop such as Far Gone and Out and Tumbledown.  There are moments that could be straight out of Darklands such as Almost Gold.  I am not sure why but Sugar Ray reminds me of Automatic, this could possibly be because  the previous album contained the similarly titled songs UV Ray and Sunray.

Jesus and Mary Chain : Honey’s Dead

Teenage Lust
Far Gone And Out
Almost Gold
Sugar Ray
Good For My Soul
I Can’t Get Enough

A Shoreline Dream – Whirlpool

Originating in Barnum, Colorado, A Shoreline Dream is Ryan Policky (vocalist/guitarist/producer) and Erik Jeffries (guitar). They have been creating music for the last decade.  Whirlwind was conceived after recent death of singer Ryan Policky’s father, and a murder occurring right next door to where A Shoreline Dream writes, practices and records.

The dark inspiration is captured perfectly by the layers of filthy guitars and insistent drums.  What drew me to this duo was the comparisons to Bauhaus.  Despite the many layers within the song it has an unmistakable bleak 80s gothic style.

Spitfire – Minimal Love

Another slice of retro rock from Spitfire. It is the type of single that you can almost smell the leather through the cigarette smoke. Fuzzy and raw just how a Spitfire single should be.

At this point in their career, Spitfire had worn thin their ‘Rock God’ ironic image. They were seen as a novelty band by many, which was not a true reflection of their actual brilliance. So swagger over and listen to Minimal Love.

image_236192_3_1_3_5_8_6_6_10_1_6218Spitfire : Minimal Love

Minimal Love
The Ballad of Jet Harris

The Belltower – Popdropper

Although not strictly in the shoegazing scene, The Belltower are always associated with the genre. They were American, their music was upbeat and you could make out the vocals. So you can see why the jury’s out if they are shoegazers. I was fortunate enough to see them in the Chapterhouse, Five Thirty and The Belltower tour. In the excitement of the evening I couldn’t remember much about them. Only later on after getting the album I really appreciated them.

Popdropper is their only album and it thankfully showcases what The Belltower is all about. It is mainly
based around the talented vocals of Britta Phillips. Britta was the singing voice over of holographic cartoon female vocalist Jem which appeared in a cartoon series in 1985.  I do get transported back to 1985 in songs like Slipstream because she sounds so Kim Wilde.

The Belltower : Popdropper

In Hollow
One Dimensional
Too Late
Outshine The Sun
Eyes On The Time
Plastic Man

The Boo Radleys – Ichabod and I

The Boo Radley’s debut album, not revered by many.  Weighing in at just under 30 minutes long, only 500 were released in 1990 on Action Label.  Sounding very grungey and no suggestion of any influence from the 60s or Love, Forever Changes; which was a major part of the follow up Everything’s Alright Forever.

Kaleidoscope is probably the best track on here with shoegaze leanings. Sice’s vocals are at the forefront, which is very rare on this album. Walking 5th Carnival shows promise, but there is a really heavy guitar chorus that sounds quite sloppy.  It is not as good as their later work, but well worth a listen.

Boo Radleys : Ichabod and I

Eleanor Everthing
Bodenheim Jr.
Sweet Salad Birth
Hip Clown Rag
Walking 5th Carnival
Happens To Us All

Midway Still – Dial Square

Midway Still had a brief period of popularity after the decline of baggy. Vaguely sounding like US counter parts Dinosaur Jr, Husker Du, and Neil Young.  Strangely, these comparisons did not help them attract any interest from the followers of the grunge scene.

The NME stated that Midway Still had the most boring logo and ran a competition for readers to design a new logo. The winning entry was a design based on the Converse All-Star logo. Except it said ,’Midway Still’, and amusingly where Chuck Taylor was written on the Converse logo the winning logo said ‘Chuck Off’.  I met Paul Thomson from Midway Still a few years back and asked him if he had any of the Converse logo t-shirts, but he said that ebay would be the only place to get them.

Dial Square is beautiful poppy punk without a grebo aftertaste, the songs have aged well and I am probably enjoying them much more now.

Midway Still : Dial Square

Better Than Before
Me In You
Making Time
Killing Time
Come Down
Make A Start
What You Said
Brand New

Captain America – Flame On

Captain America existed briefly between 1991 and 1992. Before Marvel comics decreed that their superhero’s name could not be used and they became Eugenius. They were famously championed by Nirvana and joined them on tour in 1991. Unfortunately I did not see them until they appeared at the Joiners Arms, Southampton in May 1992. Another regret was not purchasing a C & A parody t-shirt at the gig.

They were formed by Eugene Kelly, after his previous band The Vaselines folded. The rest of the band comprised of friends, former members of BMX Bandits and Teenage Fan Club. They are often cited as a grungier version of Teenage Fanclub.

Captain America – Flame On

Flame On
Indian Summer