A thick green mist, a lush chill vibe; after 5 years and countless self-released tapes and CDs, Mega Bog -- the brainchild of songwriter Erin Birgy -- has complete her best work to date; a swirling pop cloud called Gone Banana. Influenced equally by the emotional psychedelia of Kevin Ayers and the pop whimsy of Steely Dan, Banana is a joyous declaration of artistic independence and purpose. Changing line-ups more than most people change clothes, Birgy is an enigmatic musician and a true weirdo.
Alternately a tender songwriting project, a blazin-hot jazz-rock combo, or an open forum for goofy one offs and fragile experimentations, Mega Bog is ultimately whatever Birgy wants it to be on a given day. For Banana, she gathered a loose group of Seattle's thriving experimental pop and improvised music scene. Sounding equal parts Ariel Pink and Prefab Sprout, they rip through 9 hazy burners with a sneaky tightness hidden behind layers of drizzle and reverb. Birgy's rich voice croons and bends around the shifting walls of sound, organizing and refocusing the swirl. An immersive listening experience for oddball pop addicts, peek into the life of a truly strange soul.
Gayna Florence Perry and Robin Surtees are perhaps best known for their work with cult Eighties band Shiny Two Shiny. Signed to Red Flame Records, they released one mini LP entitled 'Halfway Across The Rainbow' and one single 'Waiting For us' b/w 'Ritual Hate', in 7" and 12" formats.
A mixture of bright and breezy synth pop with some darker undercurrents both records made a dent in the indie charts gaining positive reviews in the music press for releases and live appearances and acclaim from John Peel as well as daytime airplay on Radio 1. They also toured Europe and appeared on TV. At the start of 1984 the band played at the 'Big Brother' music festival at the ICA in London, supporting Pink Industry. But by this time the writing was on the wall for Shiny Two Shiny.
Captured Tracks is pleased to present the Stockholm Monsters full catalogue in this special vinyl only reissue. Formed in Manchester in 1980, Stockholm Monsters were signed with Factory Records in 1981. Discovered at a show in Manchester when the band was still teens, New Order's Peter Hook took the young band under his wing and went on to produce the majority of the band's catalogue, under the alias Be Music. Their first single, "Fairy Tales", didn't appear until 1982, due to the tardiness of the songs producer Martin Hannett. Drawing early praise from influential music magazine's NME and Melody Maker, along with touring with New Order, the band seemed set for success. However through numerous line-up changes, delays in recording and the onslaught of bands such as the Happy Mondays the band never quite hit their mark.
During their time with the Factory Records, Stockholm Monsters released one LP (Alma Mater) and a series of 7"s and singles including a scathing take down of Factory's primary indie label rival, entitled "How Corrupt is Rough Trade". Available in a limited run, this complete collection gives new light to one of Factory's lost artists.
Lord is the debut from Seattle-based punks FF, a trio comprised of Claire Nelson, Harley Thompson, and Michael Abeyta. For the entirety of their nascent existence they have existed on the fringes of the fertile enclave that is the Northwest DIY underground, materializing a singular vision of gloomy, ethereal punk anthems along the way. For sure, the touchstones are there ? My Bloody Valentine, The Wipers, Sonic Youth, the Flying Nun Records cabal ? but the collection of songs that compile Lord breakout from the suffocating box of 90’s revivalism, and offer a profound alternative to an overwhelming culture of nostalgia.
Recorded over the bulk of 2013 with Seattle engineering wiz Dylan Wall (Weed, Craft Spells), Lord is a collection of songs that capture a band on the cusp of their potency. Lord will be released October 20, 2014 on Couple Skate.
HOMESHAKE (always in all caps) is Peter Sajar's baby and in the Shower ishis first proper full length after releasing a couple of cassettes to "cool blog critical praise". In the Shower contains ten songs that are best described as slow, sexy, R'n'B influenced indie pop. The music and vocals really are rightfully steamy and the album art work is wonderful and serene. It's going to be an instant classic.
During this past year Brad Laner, Elizabeth Thompson and Jim Goodall eschewed the 90's nostalgia touring circuit trod by their peers and instead dug deep to bring you "Home Everywhere": A collection of new songs created with a gaze that is omni-directional. An answer to no other band, movement or genre (don't be lazy, you). An ambitious work that could be no one else but said three lifer music weirdies in full inspiration mode.
MOURN is a very young quartet formed from the friendship of Jazz Rodríguez Bueno and Carla Pérez Vas - both born in 1996 in El Maresme, Catalonia, Spain. The duo armed themselves with inspiration from PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Sebadoh and Sleater Kinney and began writing material, which they quickly released, raw and acoustic, on their YouTube channel. These recordings caught the attention of their homeland's Sones Records. Despite being teenagers, earlier this year they came out of the studio (along with drummer Antonio Postius and bassist Leia Rodríguez) with a brilliant treatise of indie rock that has stunned those who have had the opportunity to listen to it. Jazz (18), Carla (18), Leia (15) and Antonio (18) came together to present these tracks with authenticity and self-awareness beyond their age. With the confidence only residing in youth, the Mourn debut was recorded live in the studio in two days, proof of which is in their live-in-the-studio videos for singles "Otitis" and "Your Brain is Made of Candy." Both tracks perfectly capture the bands' affinity for the brevity of The Ramones with the lyrical and melodic sophistication of The Pixies.
Blistering fast songs about love, hate, death, and all things in between. Los Angeles based punk trio, Girl Tears blaze through 12 catchy tracks, complete with hooks and no nonsense sentiments; all in land speed record breaking time. All of this goodness packaged in the wonderful black and white art of Tristan Ellis.
Walter TV is comprised of Mac Demarco's back up band, but the band did not start out as Mac's band. The trio started as friends in a small apartment in somewhere in Montreal. It was there that the friends created the outer space frenetic sounds that are heard all throughout the bands' official debut- Appetite. Available now for the first time on CD and LP from Sinderlyn.
The Outsiders, hailing from Wimbledon, England, were one of the many bands to rise up through the UK is punk explosion of the late 70s. Citing the Velvet Underground as their primary influence, The Outsiders were fronted by Adrian Borland, who went on to form the seminal post-punk band The Sound following the demise of the band. Gaining exposure through opening for acts such as The Jam and The Vibrators. Bob Lawrence (bass) and Adrian Janes (aka Jan, drums) rounded out the band.
The Outsiders were the first UK punk band to self-release a full album (their first LP Calling on Youth), on their own Raw Edge label. With Close Up, the band matured and further developed into the punk sound that was clearly a gateway to Borland's work with The Sound. The band were clearly influenced by the Detroit rock sound of The Stooges and were even joined on stage by Iggy Pop himself for their rendition of 'Raw Power'. Long out of print on vinyl, this reissue provides a great look into not only the development of the legendary Adrian Borland, but also a look into the transitional phase of UK rock from classic to punk.
This release includes diary entries from the diary of Phil King (Lush, Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, The Servants) written during The Outsiders' active years as a band, and includes memories of attending their shows, buying instruments from Adrian Borland and the original art from his diaries.
Available on vinyl only in a run of 1,000.
Over the last four years, Olympia-based punk trio Naomi Punk - featuring singer/guitarist Travis Coster, guitarist Neil Gregerson, and drummer Nic Luempert - have been lighting up DIY warehouses and large concert halls alike with their singular brand of mid-tempo, cathartic punk. Commencing their breakout 2012 debut The Feeling, Naomi Punk return to the fold with their sophomore record, Television Man - their first for Captured Tracks. A key fixture in the Northwest DIY punk scene, Naomi Punk channel a similar energy to their contemporaries (Milk Music, Broken Water, Vexx, Gag) and their fore bearers (Wipers, Dead Moon, Nirvana) while cultivating a body of work and aesthetic that is wholly their own.
Home recorded in Olympia, Washington over the Fall and Winter of 2013, and mastered by Rick Fisher at RFI, Television Man is a collection of oblique punk anthems and collaged instrumental pieces which best showcases the cathartic aggression that has become their signature.
Tom Diabo was late-70s/early80s punk musician from Wuppertal, Germany. He played in several bands, most notably Western Force and X 112 For Dancing, and also curated a series of legendary local cassettes called "Talfahrt". Diabo passed away from cancer in 1988 shortly after his 30th birthday. He left behind a cache of home-recorded songs that eventually came out posthumously as an LP called "Dark Star" that same year. An expanded edition will be released on Body Double in 2013.
The legendary lo-fi band Cleaners from Venus formed in the small town of Wivenhoe, southeast England at the turn of 1980s by Martin Newell. The man, the myth, but to rock singer and part-time kitchen porter with a love of sunny 1960s pop music, punk rock and musical comedy. He never cared much for any kind of musical rule book and broke new ground with music that garnered a cult following and a highly-influential sound that continues to inspire. These 4 albums are the final chapter in the unveiling of the entire discography from the band, spanning the end of Martin Newell's long, storied run as the Cleaners from Venus (1985-1992). Included are Living with Victoria Grey, Number Thirteen and My Back Wages, which Newell considers a new release as it is finally being released as he originally intended it. The fourth album is a collection of rarities and unreleased material from the time that My Back Wages was recorded, called Extra Wages.
The beautiful 4xLP box set includes original liners written by Newell himself with unreleased photos, as well as a 16 pages book of Newell's poetry.
The beautiful CD foldout wallet with booklet includes original liners written by Newell himself with unreleased photos.
The late summer of 1985 was a rather pleasant one for Martin Newell. Now past 30, and sick of being at odds with the London music industry, he decided to give up - not music exactly - but any attempt to make a living from it. Though Newell and his new musical partner Giles Smith continued to casually record and "Under Wartime Conditions" continued to pick up good reviews, including one in the UK's Sound magazine, there was no intent to continue on. Yet it was due to this sporadic period of recording that the Cleaners came to, quite non-chalantely, release the cassette "Living With Victoria Grey".
After sending the nearly unmarked cassette to a few fanzines and selling the cassettes for $2 apiece (or even giving them away), Newell once again forgot about music until a young man named Andy McQueen offered Newell an interesting deal: though there would be little money, he and Smith could record a high quality Cleaners record without the interference of a producer. The two began working on "Going to England". Although 7 of the songs from "Living With Victoria Grey" would appear on the album, the cassette was all but forgotten, the only master copy having been lost. It wasn't until almost 10 years later that Newell was approached by a man he'd never met before who said , "You sent me this, many years ago and told me to look after it. I did. I thought you'd like it back now.". It was the master copy of "Living With Victoria Grey". Over 10 years after it's initial, quiet release, Captured Tracks are pleased to present "Living With Victoria Grey" on vinyl for the first time as part of the final installment of the Cleaners from Venus collection.
Following the release of "Living With Victoria Grey", Martin Newell and the Cleaners from Venus once again began taking their musical careers seriously, releasing a few singles and two vinyl LPs. However by late 1988 Newell and bass player Peter Nelson left the band and ended up forming a side project by the name of The Brotherhood of Lizards. After busking and loosley recording some demos, the band were signed to the independant label Deltic Records. Newell and Nelson gained quite a bit of media attention for their guitar driven rock by refusing to tour by anything but bicycle. This generated a lot of attention for the band, but unfortunately Nelson left the band before it could fully come to fruition.
What we find in "Number Thirteen" is a transitional period from Newell. Intended as a demo, the cassette received positive feedback, but ultimately led no where. At 37 years old, Martin Newell reflected upon the almost two decades of hard work and musical activity which had led him to this point. One morning he got up and began to coolly put his instruments away. He turned his small upstairs music studio into a room for books and writing. He decided to turn to the life of gardening that he'd always thought upon. However the simple life of a gardener would not last long. Newell soon found renowned with his poetry and writing, penning a semi-regular column for London's Independent, appearing on many TV and radio programs and publishing several collections.
Finally, in autumn of 1992, through another series of connections and coincidences, he was asked if he would like to make a solo album, with none other than XTC's Andy Partridge in the producer's chair. The first thing which he did, before dusting off his long abandoned instruments, was send Andy Partridge a handful of songs from the Cleaners from Venus' "Number Thirteen" cassette. Four of these would eventually form the basis of what became his first solo album and international success, The Greatest Living Englishman. The quartet of songs chosen by Partridge were, "The Jangling Man", "Home Counties Boy", "A Street Called Prospect", and "Christmas in Suburbia".
"Number Thirteen" is one of the many stepping stone releases that have led Martin Newell and the Cleaners From Venus through their storied career. Available for the first time on vinyl, and seeing it's first wide release, Captured Tracks are pleased to give you "Number Thirteen".
Considered the "last ever" Cleaners From Venus release, "My Back Wages" is comprised primarily of songs written in 1992 while Martin Newell was quarantined with the Chicken Pox. While some songs made it onto Newell's "The Greatest Living Englishman", many fell into obscurity, never to be released.
That is until some 8 years later when long time Cleaners supporters JAR Music Germany, a small DIY label, released a collection entitled "My Back Wages". Newell claims to have had no knowledge of the release, but the punning title of the album has his paw prints all over it.
After spending the years between 1992 and 2000 focusing on his writing, poetry and gardening, and when the release surfaced in 2000, Newell had little recollection of even sending the songs to his friends at JAR. When Newell heard it, he was surprised to find that musical additions had been made to the tracks, which polished up his spontaneously and sometimes sloppy recording style. Newell felt touched that anyone would be interested, or even care about something which he'd regarded as a rag-bag of demoes. Conversely, as a natural musical anarchist, the idea that anyone, anywhere, considered that they knew better than he did, annoyed him.
This version of My Back Wages as issued by Captured Tracks, therefore, is Martin Newell's own 'producers cut' of oddities, out-takes and 'orphan songs'. "Crane Drivers" for instance, was made after a friend with a brand new Roland U20 keyboard, lent it to Newell for two days, challenging him to make a complete song using only the sounds contained within its pre-sets. "Haunt Your House" was a demo written for The Damned, who were short of songs for an album at that time. It was never used.
Over 20 years later, Captured Tracks are thrilled to give Newell the chance to release this material on his own terms and put the Cleaners to rest once and for all.
Parting is such sweet sorrow!
We at Captured Tracks have been so honored to release the wildly expansive catalogue ofMartin Newell and the Cleaners From Venus that we couldn't say goodbye without just onemore!
This bonus LP contains the remaing outtakes from Newell's 1992 recordings that resulted in"My Back Wages", along with a few other rareities. It would be nice and tidy to be able tosay that the Cleaners from Venus story ended right here with this rather more than definitivecollection of broken or misshapen tracks.
The truth of the matter, however is that the story may not quite be over yet...
Donovan Blanc is the realization of a purified version of the duo's work, fit for consumption by disciples of technicolor baroque and singer-songwriter pop music. The record's aim isn't to evoke nostalgia, but rather to re-contextualize the familiar and foreign to create new moments; some that are bold and exuberant, and others that are reserved and melancholic. Donovan Blanc delivers a glimpse of the lush textures and vivid colors of pop's golden age through a modern lens.