A freebie LP single sided and recorded at the Moles Club, Bath on the 11th September 1989 . This was given away to gig ticket holders during the band’s October tour. It defines the raw energy and chaotic live performances. I never saw Birdland they appeared at Southampton University just before I really got into going to gigs. In the NME back in 1994 they asked indie luminaries about their best gig they saw, James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers said that the best gig he saw was Birdland.
12/01/90 – Town Hall, Maesteg, Wales: “It was on the ‘Sleep With Me’ tour. Not many people turned up: there must have been about 150 there. They just started smashing everything up, and beating up the security in front of hysterical screaming kids. It was just great: I felt a bit like Joe Strummer seeing the Sex Pistols or something … not quite that far maybe, but it but it made me feel like I wasn’t so far out of place. We used to play in our school shirts and things and it gave us the confidence to think that if we got any shit, we were still cool.” [James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers; ‘Best Gig I Ever Saw’ NME, 10 September 1994] (Note: according to one-time Birdland associate … the Manics were big-time Birdland fans, following them to shows and pestering for autographs)
Birdland : Live
See No Evil
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger
This is a gem of a single featuring beautifully crafted songs with dreamy melodies. I would say that this is superior to the Box Set Go single but sadly does not have such a memorable title. Each of the songs on this 12″ single makes an appearance elsewhere in The High back catalogue; Make it Happen appears on the b-side of the More single, Up and Down and Bombay Mix are on the album Somewhere Soon. Bombay Mix was reworked and for the album and became Dreams of Dinesh, and sadly had guitars and drums swamping out most of the tabla’s. Although the album version has much better vocals and more purposeful guitar parts. On the sleeve notes to Up and Down it does not mention if it was the master percussionist Pandit Dinesh on the tabla and conga drums. But I would like to think it was
The High : Up and Down
Up & Down
Make It Happen
The unfinished and unreleased album that See See Rider were working on when Lazy Records folded in 1991. They were then snapped up by Elektra Records, and there was hope that this album might see the light of day. Unfortunately an onstage bust up, that included a brawl, ended everything. Drummer Pete Tweedie left and the band split up. Bassist Phil King joined Lush and was a touring bassist with the Jesus and Mary Chain.
It’s a shame that this album was left on the shelf. This shows the potential of a greatly underrated band. It is a bit Birdland and The Primitives (Tweedie used to be in The Primitives). It sounds raw and rough, that might be to do with it being unfinished. I like to think that the later work of See See Rider would be a bit more caustic.
See See Rider : Dust Rocks & Flakes
She Sings Alone
White Flake Elite
Three Whale Trip
My seventeen year old daughter suggested that we have a family Sunday out in Bristol. This roughly translates to Dad paying for train fare to Bristol and lunch, while daughter and mother wallow in four floors of Primark (Bristol has a Primark of gargantuan proportion). I agreed to this after calculating that it would take me roughly two hours to walk to Air Balloon Road and back from Temple Meads station, I guessed that after two hours wife and daughter would only be on floor three of four in the bargain vestment emporium.
So I walk across not the most picturesque areas of Bristol to Air Balloon Road. I arrive there and I now have to negotiate the awkward selfie with a road sign. This is not helped by teenagers who can’t believe that someone wants a selfie next to road marking, and they found this highly amusing.
Air Balloon Road is another collection of songs from the Sarah catalogue in a similar vein to There and Back Again Lane or the Shadow Factory. It caused controversy at the time of release because it was available on a CD format, but with a tracklisting as strong as this it would be a travesty if it was not made available to the masses. Notably The Field Mice End of the Affair which is one of the greatest love songs ever, and led to a girlfriend leaving me because I listened to depressing music all the time, anyway her loss. It has the first Sarah Records song; The Sea Urchins, Pristine Christine.
Various Artists : Air Balloon Road
The Orchids – It’s Only Obvious
Another Sunny Day – I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist
The Sea Urchins – Please Rain Fall
The Field Mice – If You Need Someone
The Orchids – Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink
St. Christopher – You Deserve More Than A Maybe
The Field Mice – The End Of The Affair
Gentle Despite – Darkest Blue
The Golden Dawn – George Hamilton’s Dead
The Field Mice – Sensitive
The Wake – Carbrain
Brighter – I Don’t Think It Matters
The Sea Urchins – Pristine Christine
14 Iced Bears – Come Get Me
The Golden Dawn – My Secret World
The Springfields – Sunflower
Another Sunny Day – You Should All Be Murdered
St. Christopher – All Of A Tremble
Action Painting! – These Things Happen
The Poppyheads – Dreamabout
Another Sunny Day – Green
The Orchids – Blue Light
Brighter – Noah’s Ark
A collection of early EPs, put together to give the public the chance of hearing Th’ Faith Healers at the start of their short lived career. It starts off with Pop Song which is a raw distorted angry punk song, anything except a pop song really. The vocals are almost spat out.
All the songs have a lo-fi production quality about them, and sound that the band have a free rein to push their instruments, and let go of themselves. The whole experience is very cathartic. There are blasts of intense noise rather than the mesmerizing drone that they would later become associated with. It is refreshing to hear, “ SLLLAAAAGG” being screamed out in track 3 and not outside a kebab shop on a Friday night
It is interesting to compare the raw performance of Reptile Smile and Gorgeous Blue (Flower), before they appear on later more polished recordings.
Th’ Faith Healers : L’
Not A God
Gala was an introduction to Lush for the American and Japanese markets. It contains the band’s first three EPs which were only available in the UK. They needed to get a foothold in the American market with their debut album about to be released and a place secured on the Lollapalooza tour.
It showcases the catchy melodies, distortion,effervescence and everything that made Lush what it is. There are a selection of outtakes and a cover of Abba’s underrated divorce-pop masterpiece Hey Hey Helen. Produced by Tim Friese-Greene (Talk Talk), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and John Fryer (This Mortal Coil), who produced Sweetness and Light EP, Mad Love EP and the Scar mini album accordingly. This means that there are two versions of Thoughtforms one produced by Guthrie the other by Fryer. In retrospective reviews it was the production that received criticism, but upon a recent listen I would disagree. The production adds the the 90’s feel of the album and transports me away to that happier time.
Lush : Gala
Sweetness And Light
Leaves Me Cold
Hey Hey Helen
Scarlet (New Version)
Released roughly the same time as Lido. Don’t Jones Me is more darkly repetitive and less grebo lurch/sugar sweet than the album. It does not sound like a Loop or Spacemen 3, there is still a grebo crusty undercurrent. Th’ Faith Healers used a droney mesmerising sound in the EP particularly in Gorgeous Blue Flower. This song marked a high point in their career.
Pop Trivia fact – Roxanne Stephen from Th’ Faith Healers guested on Moose’s XYZ album in 1992.
Pop Trivia fact #2 – Th’ in the band’s name used to be The’, but the band joked that the missing e’ had been stolen by Thee Hypnotics. Allegedly.
Th’ Faith Healers : Don’t Jones Me – And Then Some
Don’t Jones Me
Gorgeous Blue Flower