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

Thousand Yard Stare – Mappamundi

Mappamundi is unlike the debut and anything else that they did before. It became the quirky Slough Student shoegazers parting shot. They would of undoubtedly carried on if the album had been a success, and if the album wasn’t so poorly received they would not of been dropped by Polydor.

Despite having a huge live following, they had become complacent after early success. Mappamundi lacks the freshness and spontaneity of early work. The content is a psychedelic journey rather than dealing with everyday quirks, Their quirkiness was epitomised by the classic 0-0 A.E.T. (No Score After Extra Time). It was definitely a new direction for Thousand Yard Stare and I think that was very brave. Just think if My Bloody Valentine never experimented with reverse reverb and soundscapes, they would be just a second rate Marychain clone.

Thousand+Yard+Stare+Mappamundi+393572Thousand Yard Stare : Mappamundi

Version Of Me
God’s P45
Tragedy No. 6
One And All
Small Change
Monsieur Bour And His Goat
Naturesway (Earthwatching)
What’s Your Level ?
Downtown Mystic

The Dylans – Spirit Finger

The Dylans were named after the rabbit in the Magic Roundabout, not Mr Zimmerman. I have only recently discovered this fact, for years I thought the name was a tribute to dear Bob. After their eponymous debut album they looked for a different direction for their new album. Gone is the hallmark wah and organ (it is there but in the background).

The whole psychedelic sixties feeling has been stripped away. This is not to say that it is a bad album, I think that another album like the first would have been too much. They would of been branded a sort of novelty band. Spirit Finger didn’t fare too well. Subsequently they were dropped by Beggars Banquet Records.

The Dylans : Spirit Fingerdylans405633

Children Of The Flame
Kill Rave
Just One Big Plastic Hassle
Hell No
Smarter Than You
I’ll Be Back To Haunt You
Wise Bird
Live In The Now
How Little You Know
Get It Together
Two Tomorrows

Stella Diana – Nitocris

Italian shoegaze outfit that transports the listener to dark drone new wave 80s.  But it is not all about moping around in your long coat, there are glorious psychedelic guitar sweeps.  They wear their influences on their sleeve with a song titled Psychedelic Furs.

The album is named after an ancient Egyptian queen and the last Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, Nitocris. Apparently very beautiful. The album artwork defines the album’s title – an abandoned woman, who is beautiful, but sad and suffering. Ethereal and elusive, without a face.

“It’s likely that “she” did not exist in native Egyptian inscriptions,” comments Stella Diana frontman Dario Torre. “This ‘not existing’ thing is very interesting and fascinating. Often you do something, you live, you breathe, you work hardly, you love. Nevertheless, for the people you don’t exist.”

Trembling Blue Stars – Bathed In Blue

Bathed In Blue is the second single/EP from the Trembling Blue Stars fifth album, The Seven Autumn Flowers. Clocking in at over half an hour long it is more of a mini album. It opens with the first version of The Sea Is So Quiet, the title is misleading. I was expecting a sombre ballad of melancholy, but instead it is a jangly upbeat song. This is one of the few times that the Trembling Blue Stars have done this. The other version of The Sea Is So Quiet is a longer version, the vocals do not kick in till halfway through. It starts off very slowly, building up atmosphere. Not as jangly as other version. The Silence And Games  is sung by Annemari Davies sounding like Strawberry Switchblade without the tinny background melody. Bobby Wratton’s love for the Cure can clearly be seen if the fourth track, darkly goth vocals and a little bit of electronica in the background. The Cure theme is carried on in the rest of the EP. In Branches there is a harpsichord or a very tinny piano, the only other song that I can think of with a harpsichord is, The Field Mice, This is not Here. If you were expecting something similar you would be disappointed, the harpsichord sounds like it is being played in a horror film score.

Trembling Blue Stars : Bathed in Blue

The Sea Is So Quiet
Through The Silence And Games
The Sea Is So Quiet (Long Version)
Wounded Light
This Is Bliss