Monday, January 08, 2007

UK Early-80s Indie Pop - part 3

Scotland was the driving force behind the industrial revolution,
and it also delivered a large chunk of great early 1980s indie pop.

The Pastels were the archetypal indie band, although they always rejected that term.

Formed in Glasgow in 1982, eventually stabilising around a core of stephen on guitar, katrina on drums and aggi on bass. Their early singles were shambolic, jangling seven inch circles of tweeness, and quite adorable - the tracks on their first EP 'Songs for children' being perfect examples. They managed to combine a wilful naivety with inspired amateurism, and as a result encouraged dozens of others, including luminaries such as Jesus & Mary Chain, Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub.

Truck Train Tractor was from their 1986-7 run of excellent 45s and pre-empted the classic album 'Up for a Bit With the Pastels'. The Pastels' musical interests have diversified somewhat, and Stephen can nowadays be found working in a record shop and doing the occasional DJ set too.

The Pastels, fan site -
The Pastels, fan site -

Josef K were one of the bands on Postcard records ("the sound of young Scotland"), along with Orange Juice, managing to create an amazing collection of songs and then implode within about the space of just two years. Their legend lives on.

Originally coming together in 1978 as TV Art, guitarists Paul Haig and Malcolm Ross and drummer Ron Torrance were joined by David Weddell on bass and changed their name to Josef K in the summer of '79, in honour ofthe Czech writer Franz Kafka. Their first single, Chance Meeting, was released on Absolute it's one and only release). They joined Postcard, released Radio Drill Time in April 1980 and then recorded their debut album in November that year. They cut it, test pressed it, and then decided to can it, claiming dissatisfaction with the mix. The favoured mix was eventuially released in July 1981 as 'The Only Fun In Town' and was universally panned, rightly so, for its disastrous production. Their "farewell" single The Missionary was released on Les Disques du Crepescule, a beautiful jangling battery of guitars.

Paul Haig:

"I think we committed commercial suicide. When we were mixing
the album, we wanted it to sound like a live concert, because we were so into
playing live. I purposely mixed down my own vocals. God knows why. I regret

Sorry for Laughing is the first single they made for the Belgian record label, Les Disques du Crepuscule.

Josef K, the website -
Josef K, the story -

the two best collections to buy

earlier episodes here: see part one and part two

No comments: