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The Sarah Records thread

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 17:59
by Jangloid Mark
Going way back, I remember hearing a few things on the John Peel show that I really liked, theat he said were on Sarah Records....and seeing the label in reviews in the music press, and in the indie charts....but, couldn't get hold of anything for love nor money....until one day, the local ourprice, which then had an indie section to die for, started getting Sarah releases in. The first time they appeared, I didn't have much money, but, did buy one single, "You Deserve" by St Christopher....and making a mental note to bring a decent amount of money with me the next time I went there.

The run off groove contained the words "For Mark". If I wasn't hooked already....I was now.

I loved the music, of course, but also, there were those cute little inserts, with all the Sarah releases on one side, and poetry, or stories on the other...

Soon after that, I got hold of a copy of "Shadow Factory", which had tracks from the early singles that I had missed.

A minute and a half in (which was taken up with Another Sunny Day "I'm In Love With A Girl Who Doesen't Know I exist"), and I just knew I was going to have to buy lots more.....

Years later, and I've got almost everything....

Favorite tracks, in no particular order.... (although these change constantly) include....

Another Sunny Day "I'm In Love With A Girl Who Doesen't Know I exist"
The Field Mice "Canada"
The Sweetest Ache "Tell Me How It Feels"
The Orchids "What Will We Do Next?"
The Field Mice "If You Need Someone"
Heavenly "So Little Deserve" (although the Peel session version is far better than the single version.....does anyone have a copy of this peel session?)
Heavenly "Shallow"
Brighter "Noah's Ark"

Any more thoughts on the label are welcome.... :)

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 19:21
by humblebee
To be honest, I wish indiepop could move on a bit from Sarah Records. The label itself was built on a healthy disrespect for the past so it seems horribly ironic for it to be clung to so grimly after all this time, as if there weren't any decent indiepop around now.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 19:30
by whininggirl
I don't really have anything interesting to say, only that I happen to believe The Field Mice's "Emma's House" is simply perfect.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 19:40
by Trev
I'll say something controversial - Sarah Records has always been a little over rated and I was around at the time and into some of the bands they released. I can understand the way it ended helped build the mythology around the lablel and I do adore some of the stuff released on the label - but it wasn't always 100% great - but what label is? I guess. I agree, it's not the be all and end all of my indiepop tastes (back in the day, or now).

And I always preferred Subway Organisation, to be honest.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 20:15
by humblebee
I do think 95 per cent of what they released was fantastic, and I still listen to it a fair bit. And the attitude and the aesthetic were as important and brilliant and spot-on as the music.

It's just that I find myself asking a lot these days why indiepop is still such a tiny, tiny scene in this country when there is such a lot of brilliant music coming out of it, and I think a lot of that is because indiepop is seen by outsiders (and some insiders) as a sort of museum, with its acolytes fussing over ancient exhibits in glass cases, rather than the vital and exciting and NEW and FUTUREY, forward-looking genre that we know it to be.

So I think sometimes we don't help ourselves by fixating on things like Sarah.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 20:19
by Contravene
humblebee wrote:It's just that I find myself asking a lot these days why indiepop is still such a tiny, tiny scene in this country when there is such a lot of brilliant music coming out of it, and I think a lot of that is because indiepop is seen by outsiders (and some insiders) as a sort of museum, with its acolytes fussing over ancient exhibits in glass cases, rather than the vital and exciting and NEW and FUTUREY, forward-looking genre that we know it to be.
Maybe its our fault for not trying hard enough or loud enough

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 20:26
by humblebee
Contravene wrote:Maybe its our fault for not trying hard enough or loud enough
Maybe it is. I dunno really. Those are just some random thoughts I've been having. Is there a shrug emoticon?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 20:35
by Tomb
Have to agree with Humblebee about how small the indie pop scene is in this country despite all our best efforts which isn't for the want of trying! If a bomb went off at an indie pop gig in London the whole scene would be wiped out. I guess it would be the same for Sheffield or Nottingham. Maybe it's because so many indie pop fans are in bands? I dunno. The indie tracks turn out was pretty low. Is that what we can really expect overall? Maybe we should rename it nu-jangle or something.

It's also hard to imagine especially when an indie pop album release can apparently generate 100,000 sales in the likes of Indonesia as related to me the other week. Why is that?

Oh and another vote for Subway over Sarah from me!

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 20:58
by crystalball
A vote for Sarah for me! (Why are we voting by the way? Isn't it too late now?)

Indiepop is definitely tiny here, like you've all said, but is it the numbers that count or the intensity of feeling? Because, in our defense, I think that the indiepop scene here is very passionate and dedicated. Like Tomb said, most people who like indiepop write music. I invariably feel like an outsider in all of this because of my lack of talent. I think part of the reason why indiepop is so much bigger in non English-speaking countries is because of the fans' anglophilia and because they see the genre as quite exotic. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, I am just trying to find an explanation. But I love the 50 people who show up at most of the indiepop shows around Britain, always the same friendly faces, always the same warm hugs.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 21:02
by squirrelboutique
At least you guys get 50 people!

It was terribly humiliating to look around at the last Ladybug Transistor show I went to here and notice I was one of eleven people.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 21:19
by stolenwine
squirrelboutique, the same thing happend at a ladybug transistor gig in toronto a few years ago (although i wasn't there). i know the scene in london is small (when i first moved here, i was surprised it wasn't bigger), but to me it's amazing to go out to a gig/club and still see quite a few people. people here seem very passionate about it and it's something that exists in toronto, but only on a very very very small scale.

the indiepop scene in london is one of the reasons i love living here so much. i was so ready to hate london when i first moved here, and i know this sounds lame, but the easy indiepop access is of reasons i don't want to move now! i can't imagine going back to living in a city like toronto, where the scene is just too tiny and i can't go out indiepop dancing on a regular basis or have the choice to see so many bands.

sorry to go off on a tangent a bit...but this is the sarah records thread so i just want to say i do love a lot of the stuff on there (but not all of it) and i love the idea/spirit of the label.

so um yeah. indiepop! yay!

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 21:27
by Trev
I am not sure why indiepop is so small in the UK. I think Crystalball's insight into the anglophile/exotic aspects helps explain some of it. But bands who *start* as part of the indiepop scene can crossover and have wider appeal. I am just not sure what stops the people who get into the crossover bands digging a little deeper to see what is underneath - bands like Camera Obscura, Belle and Sebastian etc have a degree of success - and they're not that far removed from what goes on in the indiepop scene. What stops more people getting into, I dunno, The Orchids or The Pocketbooks for example. Is it the fact that no mainstream press or tv cover any of the bands? Just thinking aloud, here.

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 21:29
by westgatestreet
crystalball wrote: I think part of the reason why indiepop is so much bigger in non English-speaking countries is because of the fans' anglophilia and because they see the genre as quite exotic. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, I am just trying to find an explanation. But I love the 50 people who show up at most of the indiepop shows around Britain, always the same friendly faces, always the same warm hugs.
still i think that the indiepop scene in london is bigger than in Berlin for example. if you look at the local town mags, you will notice lots of club nights and live gigs announced as indiepop. but the people in berlin seem to have a different definition for indiepop. here, the arctic monkeys can still be indiepop rather than rock. there is not such a huge difference between indiepop and indierock. these terms get mixed up here.
when you look at the indiepop + indierock scene in my hometown altogether, it is quite huge. (well - compared to london it is still a lot smaller, we don't need brixton academy times three to satisfy the fans of maximo park, but there is a reasonable crowd that comes together to attend gigs of even bands which are not very well-known).
if you really want to meet people in terms of indiePOP as you in london understand this term, the scene is even smaller. when you go out you have to look very carefully which DJs are putting on the music. and as the difference between indiepop and indierock doesn't matter much here, you can go out and listen to field mice, maximo park, belle and sebastian, sex pistols, the twang and klaxons all on one night and venue.
i wish we had more pure pop nights around here.

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 19:15
by humblebee
I feel a bit bad now for derailing Mark's thread. Come back Mark!

I listened to Boyfuckingracer the other day on the way to the football. It sounded bloody fantastic.

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 20:54
by Anonymous
I was about to wax lyrical about how when working in a record shop (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) we couldn't give away Sarah singles (despite my high expectations) as the 'hip' kids sneered at Sarah and the local venue fraggles didn't have a clue what Sarah was, or cared

it was just me and a shy pale ginger lad who bought them

but it went on too long so I just summarised instead... Sarah happened to a few and then happened for a more few later on and will keep happening to somebody every year for the foreseeable, it provides an easily graspable and accessible alternative to bog standard indie schmindie for folks hungrily looking for something 'other'- something sparkly! something jangly! something soft and something strong!

regardless, leaping ahead, talking to Bunnygrunt they were thrilled to be playing proper venues rather than friend's basements when they were over and were pretty philosophical about playing to 'selective' crowds

it pisses me off though that at a lot of gigs I've been to of late a lot of people having paid for their ticket fuck off to the downstairs bar and don't return- I suppose they consider they're supporting the scene by buying a ticket- but that just sucks to me

I don't know, at Ladyfest in Brighton a few years back Tobi from the Bangs complained that British audiences are too reserved, she wondered if it was to do with us taking live music for granted, y'know that you didn't have to go nuts at this gig because they'll be another one tomorrow, conserve your energies- that rather than being part of a life-affirming event (if you're lucky) it was one more thing to tick off on your cultural calender (I'm sort of paraphrasing but that's definitely what she was getting at)

I dug it at Indietracks when Liz made everybody come closer to the stage in that big locomotive barn during the School's set, because before that the crowd seemed so polite/hungover and while the School were playing their exquisite POP! the crowd was just stood there passively spectating until she took charge

what am I rabbiting on about? I have no idea

PARTICIPATION!

more passion, less fashion

the bands have it in spades (the passion- and the fashion!), perhaps the audiences need to wake up and realise they're part of the performance too and participate more

have I gone batshit mental or am I making some sembelance of sense?

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 22:16
by Trev
andygrunt wrote: have I gone batshit mental or am I making some sembelance of sense?
Makes sense to me. But you could still be batshit mental.

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 22:53
by cath
whininggirl wrote:I don't really have anything interesting to say, only that I happen to believe The Field Mice's "Emma's House" is simply perfect.
That is a particularly cute comment, given that t'Mice themselves thought it was far from perfect as Robert 'Bobby' Wratten was full of cold when recording that, and felt his vocals were somewhat nasal. Imperfection is sometimes what makes a classic tune perfect. And it must be classic, given that Aberdeen were moved to make a spiffingly masterful cover of it :D

Me, Sarah Records - finally growing out of that phase. Having been a sixth-former when it were at its prime. Happy daze, all gone now. Wo.

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 00:08
by Jangloid Mark
cath wrote:Aberdeen were moved to make a spiffingly masterful cover of it :D
WOW!!!! I didn't know about that!!! What is it on, Cath?

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 00:09
by Jangloid Mark
humblebee wrote:I feel a bit bad now for derailing Mark's thread. Come back Mark!
Hehe...no worries....:)

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 13:47
by cath
Jangly Mark wrote:
cath wrote:Aberdeen were moved to make a spiffingly masterful cover of it :D
WOW!!!! I didn't know about that!!! What is it on, Cath?
The Boy Has Gone Away EP: http://www.juno.co.uk/products/239689-01.htm

Incidentally, Aberdeen features Beth Arzy (who doesn't sing on Emma's House), who is also in Trembling Blue Stars with Mr Yoda Wratten :wink: