Today is the summer solstice, the longest day, midsummer. This time last year we were deep into a heat wave and weeks of wall-to-wall sunshine. This year less so. But still, we should have a celebration of midsummer nonetheless.

St Etienne’s early singles were so carefree and joyous, hopped up on the spirit of the times and the possibilities that 1990 seemed to offer. Their debut 12″ cover of Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart and the follow up, their cover of The Field Mice’s Kiss And Make Up, are both prized records for me. In a way, if they’d done nothing else I’d have been happy. Obviously they went on to record loads of good songs and several really good albums but there’s an innocence and purity about the early days singles that sets them apart.

The Kiss And Make Up 12″ came in a green sleeve with the European Union flag stars in white, reversed for the remix 12″ where Pete Heller takes the original and makes it even more loved up. The vocals on this are pre- Sarah Cracknell, with Dead Famous People’s Donna Savage at the mic. Turn it up a little bit louder and celebrate midsummer as the sun stays around longer than on any other day.

Kiss And Make Up (Midsummer Madness Mix)

Kiss and Make Up (Midsummer Dubness Mix)

I Could Never Hate You

Heavenly Records is twenty five years old this year, founded and run by the seemingly all round good guy Jeff Barratt, and they’re running a series of celebrations. Saint Etienne’s second single, released in September 1990, is one of the label and group’s absolute high points, a cover of a Field Mice song and in the original version with vocals by Donna Savage (this being before Sarah Cracknell joined them). The single was followed by a second 12″ with some remixes by Pete Heller, which are just perfect.

Kiss And Make Up (Midsummer Madness Mix)