Baby Honey

More 80s Creation for you- this one from The Pastels, a gloriously amateurish racket and a genuine indie classic. This is the 12″ version from 1984, coupled on the A-side with Million Tears and Surprise Me. They re-recorded it for their 1987 album Up For A Bit With The Pastels but this one ois better by far.

Baby Honey

Stephen Pastel runs Glasgow record shop Monorail. He was there when we shopped there at the International Bloggers Convention back in May last year. He doesn’t look that different from the picture above despite there being about thirty years between the two.



Creation Records put out all sorts of chaotic, inspired, noisy and wilfully uncommercial music before they had their heads turned by Oasis (after which scruffy kids in suede jackets and scuffed winklepickers were largely shown the door and sales and charts and being the biggest band in the world became the order of the day). The Telescopes started out in 1987 in Burton-on-Trent and landed on Creation in the early 90s. Flying came out as a single in 1991. It is described as shoegaze but it’s squally and discordant rather than dreamy and mesmerising. A lot of music in 1991 was in this vein, bursts of art and noise and hidden melodies, flying from the arc started by punk 15 years or so before and the mid 80s re-discovery of the Velvets, Suicide and 60s psyche-rock.



Trance Europe Express was a double cd or triple vinyl compilation of early 90s dance music that came with a 192 page booklet (or it was a 192 page booklet about early 90s dance music that came with a double cd). It was an offshoot of the Volume series of compilations which had a broader focus musically. Both series were excellent, high quality songs, often unreleased or different mixes/versions. Trance Europe Express wasn’t really trancey at all, more progressive house, ambient and techno. But none of them made sense in the title- Techno Europe Express ?

I think I’ve expressed this view before but it struck me again- at the time we took this music for granted, imagining it would always be this good, that the innovation and leaps forward taking place here would be sustained (for most of the artists the culmination of several years work, of getting the best out of new technology, of watching what was happening on the dancefloor in clubs and at raves). Across disc 1 there are easily 5 or 6 tracks that are as good as anything else released at that time in that area- Orbital’s Semi-Detached, Spooky and Billie Ray Martin’s Persuasion, Celestial Symphony by Scubadevils (a David Holmes project), a jaw dropping track by Xeper (The Black Dog) and Midnight In Europe by 030. Outstanding work from everyone involved but the one from disc 1 that has turned my head the most is this one from Bandulu.

Gravity Pull (Remix)

A different version from the one on their Guidance album (released on Creation offshoot Infonet). Oscillating synths. Clattering rhythms. Abstract but with a sense of forward motion. Mind popping stuff.

Here is their remix of The Times’ cover of Blue Monday, something I’ve posted before but which is ripe for a re-post. A remix that makes me feel like I’m gliding around underwater through bubbles and bliss.

Lundi Bleu (Bandulu ‘Smiling’ Remix)

The Spy

Listening to some of 2017’s shoegaze survivors put me in mind of 1988’s great indie guitar hopes, Creation’s House Of Love. Signed in 1987 Guy Chadwick, already a veteran of several bands but in 1986 inspired by seeing The Mary Chain, put a band together from an advert in Melody Maker and Terry Bickers dropped into his lap. Bickers was an understated but mercurial whizzkid. Much of the ‘sonic cathedrals’ aspect of shoegaze can be traced back to Bickers wall of fuzz and melody. Singles Christine and Destroy The Heart took them to the top of the Festive Fifty and the NME and briefly they looked like the boys most likely to. Then drugs, disagreements, major label problems and ego took over- and so did Manchester- and they never really recovered (despite making some songs that still stand up on various follow up lps and singles). But as well as the indie shimmer they could also be direct and full on. Road is drama filled, widescreen late 80s indie, chiming, ringing guitars and existential dread in the vocals followed by Guy’s indie boy dream of freedom- ‘Steal a car, the highway calls, stick some pins, in your toes, suck your cheeks, dance boy down the road’.


Album track Salome enters on driving drums and a killer riff before Guy comes in with ‘I love the way she cries…’ Bickers fires off blasts of guitar. Echoes of The Bunnymen in this one, not least Chadwick’s closing lines ‘Salome is dead, the king is free… I’m sailing on the sea’.


The dreamier side of them is captured well on this 1989 appearance of Channel 4’s Big World Cafe. Whatever it is, they had it briefly.

Hypnotise Us

Two slices of early 1990s dance music to whisk us away from December and all those pre-Christmas irritations. First up is a song I’ve posted before but only recently saw the video for the first time.

Released by Creation in 1990 Dream Beam is a wonderful slice of house music, bleepy and spaced out with vocals from Denise Johnson. It was this song that got her the gig with Primal Scream and led to her singing on Screamadelica. Tony Martin’s production is perfectly in tune with the times- he put an album out too, also called Hypnotone, which is worth pulling out from the shelf or looking out for if this kind of thing is your bag. Dream Beam is also on Creation’s definitive 1991 Keeping The Faith compilation, along with Fluke, Weatherall’s MBV remix, World Unite, Sheer Taft, Love Corporation, Primal Scream and a couple of others. Keeping The Faith is among the very best things the label ever released.

I saw Hypnotone perform at a mini-festival in Sefton Park, Liverpool (I think it was summer 1990). Larks In The Park was an annual affair starting in the early 80s. Famously in 1985 The Stone Roses and The La’s played the same night. Hypnotone went on way after dark. We were on a grass bank across the boating lake from the stage and the bleeps came  from the bandstand, drifting across the water towards us, followed by Denise’s voice. Everyone was very chilled and happy. It was one of those moments.

Dream Beam (Danny Rampling Remix)

I posted Papua New Guinea by Future Sound Of London fairly recently, back at the end of August. August seems like a long time ago now. This is another video I’d never seen before until recently, FSOL playing Papua New Guinea on Top Of The Pops in 1991. And playing it live. Papua New Guinea is one of those records that takes you away from it all.

Weatherall’s remix takes things up several gears, a thumping kick drum over that throbbing synths and the rushing rewind sounds. Tom toms. Seagulls. Chanting.

Papua New Guinea (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

To Talk In Rhyme

Let’s stay in 1987, a year that has a bad reputation as being at the height of 80s excesses, but there is plenty of gold to be found. Darklands for example…

A very simple song- a couple of chords, some fuzz, some do-do-do-do-do-doo backing vocals and William’s tale of teenage alienation.

Ten years later Primal Scream covered Darklands and did quite a job on it- murky, numb, disturbed and distorted. The Scream had bene in a hole for some time at this point and began to climb out with Vanishing Point. This cover was the B-side to the If They Move, Kill ‘Em single.


Run Run

A friend posted this tune on social media yesterday. I could place the title but not how it went. A lot of Bandulu’s mid 90s techno worked very well at the time but does sound, two decades later, very thump-thump-thump techno. Bandulu were also capable of moments of ambient magic and Run Run is one of them, a righteous piece of ambient dub from their 1994 ep Presence (and 1994 album Antimatters) with a vocal from John O’Connell. The dub swirls and storm clouds gather. A piano fades in and out. Smoke bubbles. Half time, off beat rhythm. Seven minutes where all is good.

Run Run

The picture was taken on a visit the other weekend to Mellor, in the hills above Stockport. I read a reference to an iron age hill fort and burial mound up there, out beyond Marple Bridge but before you get to New Mills (Half Man Half Biscuit once told us ‘No frills, handy for the hills, that’s the way you spell New Mills’ and this caused some excitement when we detoured through it, as you can imagine). The photo was taken within the boundary of the hill fort, partially excavated, looking back towards Manchester. You can see for miles, way beyond the city and out to Cheshire and Merseyside. A 5 minute drive away, down the dip and up again, is the field where the barrow is (sadly on private land so not accessible but visible). We stood on the hillside looking at the same landscape, give or take a large city, that local people 10, 000 years ago would have been looking at.