Optic Nerve Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
One of the great forgotten bands of the ‘80s indie scene, East Village, were formed by Buckinghamshire brothers Martin and Paul Kelly. Cubans In The Bluefields was their debut EP. The standout track of the three on offer is Strawberry Window, one of the most perfect slices of indie jangle pop you’ll ever hear. Blue coloured vinyl 7”, limited to 500 copies on Optic Nerve.
(There’s Always) Something On My Mind was the debut single by The Pale Fountains from 1982. The band was lead by Michael Head who went on to form Shack and make great albums with The Strands and The Red Elastic Band. The A side is reminiscent of Orange Juice, whilst on the B-side, Just A Girl, you can hear the influence Love have had on Michael Head. 7” coloured vinyl, includes poster, limited to 500 copies on Optic Nerve.
- Vinyl 7" (ON4)
- Coloured vinyl
Tess Parks has recently been working closely with Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre (see this year’s I Declare Nothing), but this release brings us back to her strong and smoky solo debut. Blood Hot was released in 2013, and is now receiving its first vinyl pressing: on red and black marble vinyl too!
As if in a dream I walked into the recent Sarah Records showcase at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and there in front of me was a man in a The Siddeleys t-shirt. Having only released two singles and a Peel session they are only just barely remembered even by obsessives of the scene like me. Here is their debut single re-pressed for 2018s audience which is presumably almost exactly the same as their 1987 audience.
Let's go back to 1987 and this rarity on Creation which featured the talents of Phil King (in literally every indie band of the era) and John Mohan who was only in Felt and the Servants. They are named after a Felt song and were tipped for great things after their one single. None of this happened and they've had to wait until 2018 for Optic Nerve to feel the time was right for a re-issue.
C86 originals The Wolfhounds were more gritty and intense than the fey, shambling reputation the influential cassette has now, as evidenced on their 1987 debut LP ‘Unseen Ripples From A Pebble’. Reissued and remastered featuring 15 bonus tracks and all of their recorded output for the Pink Label, this album has not been available on CD until now. Also included is a 7” version of single ‘Me’ that was originally released on Idea Records.
- Vinyl Double LP (OPT4-012LP)
14 Iced Bears
14 Iced Bears were a proper DIY indie band like they used to make back in the 80’s, enthusiastically operating out of Brighton. They were on the edges of the C86 scene, but with rather more garage and 60’s-psych in their sound than most. This reissue of their second and final album Wonder also includes a disc of highlights from three contemporary EPs. Coloured vinyl double LP on Optic Nerve.
14 Iced Bears were a proper DIY indie band like they used to make back in the 80’s, enthusiastically operating out of Brighton. They were on the edges of the C86 scene, but with rather more garage and 60’s-psych in their sound than most. This generous reissue pairs their debut album with their first three EPs. Double LP on Optic Nerve.
Another re-issue from the golden age of experimental pop music the early 80's with this rare artefact of challenging post punk that brings to mind the Pop Group and Talking Heads. Medium Medium marry tight afrobeat influenced rhythms with dub, new wave and a wailing saxophone that is sure to please certain areas of our office. Wildly interesting stuff.
Debuting in 1986, disbanding in 1990 and now back with their first full length standalone LP 26 years later, The Wolfhounds are as furious and energetic as they ever were. There is a dystopian reflectiveness to their disjointed and modern-twisted punk, with sample manipulation, dub freak outs and detuned jangly and raw rock and roll chords.
Folk Devils shone briefly in the mid-1980’s: Beautiful Monsters gathers together all of their singles and throws in a bundle of previously unheard demo recordings. Post-punk with an aggressive and political edge. This is the first release of these singles in quite some time, and the very first time on CD. All remastered. On Optic Nerve.
- Vinyl Double LP (OPT4022)
- Limited edition
Well we all remember Jane's 'It's a Fine Day' don't we? Don't we? Y'know the a cappella track that ended up being the base for Opus III's ...um 'It's a Fine Day'. Well that is here, as are a load of tracks featuring Jane and Manchester eccentric Edward Barton who had fingers in various pies through the '80s. Members of A Certain Ratio pop up from time to time too.
The Tempest were a John Peel-approved, semi-obscure 80’s post-punk outfit whose splintered members would later go on to do time in Venus Fly Trap, Spacemen 3 and Spiritualised. 5 Against The House has them rocking a angular guitar / funky bass combination that pins them to 1984. Reissued on blue / white splatter vinyl with a bonus CD version, in new artwork. On Optic Nerve.
- Vinyl LP (OPT4019)
- Limited edition
Helping indie rock find its feet as a toddler back in the 1980s, The House Of Love created a rich debut that caught a lot of cult favour but has since gone missing from alt-rock consciousness. This deluxe package offers all of their singles for Creation and a lot of unreleased demos, demonstrating the long and prosperous activities of a band who were all too briefly in our hearts.
The third Monochrome Set LP, 'Eligible Bachelors', is overlooked in terms of their more renowned previous work, but it is just as good as their first two albums. It includes many witty indie pop classics such as "Jet Set Junta” and "The Ruling Class". Released on coloured vinyl by Optic Nerve, included here is a poster and two bonus tracks.
McCarthy first picked up attention on that famed NME C86 cassette, where their shambling political indie shone brightly. I Am A Wallet, their debut full-length, came shortly after, and is now fondly loved. This 2LP comes generously adorned with posters, stickers, a booklet, press clippings, and a bonus 7” too! Very nice. On Optic Nerve.
Nothing like a little bit of horrifying industrial bloodshed to get you out of bed in the morning. On 'Nova Akropola', Laibach's unsettling sound recalls eerie, long forgotten film scores and ferocious power electronics driven with inflamed percussion, along with completely vulnerable vocals that range from opera to death metal growls. All the while it delivers potent political messages -- not that they're all that decipherable in this abstract, constantly morphing work. It sure sounds like a dystopia, though.
Girls At Our Best
Originally released in 1981, ‘Pleasure’ was the only full length LP to be released by Leeds’ very own but often overlooked post punk band, Girls at Our Best. With an indelible influence that can be seen on innumerable indie bands today, it now it gets the reissue treatment it deserves, via Optic Nerve. Pressed onto vibrant yellow vinyl with pink, red and blue splatter and featuring 6 bonus tracks, this special edition double vinyl is limited to just 500 copies.
Also included here are printer inner sleeves containing lyrics and rare photos, and just like the original, all copies include a “pleasure bag” which comes with 4 postcards, 2 stickets, 1 stencil, 1 A2 repro tour poster, 2 A3 repro promo posters for the 1981 and 1980 singles “Go For Gold” and ‘Politics/It’s Fashion’. For fans of 80s UK postpunk and C86-era indie.
The Monochrome Set’s compilation of singles and session tracks was released back in the (80s) day, but is given a new reissue here. Volume, Contrast, Brilliance makes for a pretty good introduction to this little institution-of-a-band - in their initial phase, at least. There’s a couple of bonus songs tacked on here, alongside some intriguing live studio moments. Blue wax, on Optic Nerve.