Friday, March 23, 2012
Prospecting for Gold at Pastime Records
We like Exter, UK, musician Andy Botterill not only because he writes and records music we like, but because he is one of a number of UK musician who are keeping the jangle pop/C86 banner waving. Andy releases his music through Exter-based label Pastime Records, which he also runs. And today we are prospecting for gold in Pastime Records' recent catalog by highlighting some excellent 2011 releases from the label that should be of interest to readers who, like me, never tire of the C86/jangle sound. (Facebook link for Pastime Records)
We'll begin with Andy B, which is the recording name for Andy Botterill. Andy released two solo LPs in 2011, Buttons and Badges and Letters Home. For these projects Andy played guitars, keys, piano, bass and sang lead and backing vocals (and drums on the first LP). However, various musicians, including Elisabeth Bennett, Andy Fonda, Andy Ward, and Ant Smith helped out with instruments and vocals on some of the tracks. Andy Fonda (who also plays with Phil Wilson) provided the excellent production.
Andy's recordings feature the classic C86 sound, a "storytelling" feel and Andy's winsome, heartfelt vocals. Here is "Daisy Smiles" from the uniformly delightful Buttons and Badges --
Letters Home begins with one of my favorite Andy B songs, "Television Girl". It is a taut post punk track and showcases Andy's talent for songwriting. It is followed by the more relaxed jangle pop of "At the End of the Day" --
The third track presented here from Letters Home is "Nice to See You Again" --
Andy is a dedicated and industrious guy. In addition to running the label and recording his own music, he plays in Falling Trees and National Pastime (which is discussed below). And he is an articulate and passionate advocate for the music he loves. It is easy for us to urge to to support him.
In additional good news for fans, Andy has recorded new music that we can expect to hear later this year.
Facebook for Andy B
In 2011 Pastime also released the Coma EP by National Pastime, which is the band's second EP for the label. This band consists of Andy Botterill, Andy Padfield, Ant Smith and Chris Head. This four track recording is a really fine C86 nugget. The band has its roots in lo-fi guitar pop, but my current favorite track, “Goldsworthy Gurney”, suggests that the band is fully capable of greater breadth. Here is title track "Coma" (which also appears on Andy B's Letters Home) --
Bright Lights, Big Zombie
The noisiest of the 2011 Pastime releases we are covering today is the delightfully named Bright Lights, Big Zombie. Also based in Exter, the band is comprised of Leo Collett (guitar and vocals), Tom Davies (drums), Sam Hemmings (bass), and Dan Wright (guitar, piano and vocals). Bright Lights, Big Zombie count Ride, Syd Barrett, The Velvet Underground among their influences, but I hear a bit of Weather Prophets and BMX Bandits in there as well. I recommend that you stream the entire album here, but if you don't have time for the whole thing right now, listen to the first track and the jangle delights of "Figure" and "Voices in the Dark" --
As you see above, The Morrisons wear there style on the sleeve--their album sleeve for their Rainy Day EP displays a Rickenbacker. And the jangly C86 indie pop inside matches the cover. This band's style is a bit different than the bands discussed above. The vocals are very much to the fore in the mix with warm male vocals and female harmonies.
The fourth track, "Brighter Days" --
By way of background, The Morrisons were formed in 1986. They disbanded in 1988, but reformed in 2004 and have been recording and playing new material. The members are: Elaine Churchward (vocals); Adrian Maxwell (percussion); Dave Clifford, an original member (bass); Ian Churchward, and original member (guitar and vocals); Phil Andrews, and original member (guitar and vocals); and Guy Bolt (drums, keys and vocals since 2004, but currently on leave to spend time with his family).
The Morrisons also have a full length album scheduled for release on Pastime records this year. If this EP is a good indication, it should be a "must have" for any fan of the jangle pop sound.