Thursday, 1 December 2016

Indie Top Video Take 3 - Distant Cousins and Tangerine

Year of Release: 1990

Sorry to disappoint you good Ladies and Gentlemen, but "Take Three" of the Indie Top Video series really doesn't contain that much unheard material. It takes its cues almost entirely from the Volume 8 album, leaving us with only a couple of exclusive titbits. Still, marketing the videos and records in this combined way surely made a hell of a lot more sense to everyone.

There's a distinct decrease in the number of shite videos made by groups titting about with camcorders as well, which can only be a good thing.

1. Inspiral Carpets - Move (Mute)

2. Dub Sex - Time Of Life (Scam)

3. Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Mute)

4. Spacemen 3 - Hypnotized (Fire)

5. James - Come Home (Rough Trade)

6. KLF - Kylie Said To Jason (KLF Communications)

7. The Shamen - Omega Amigo (One Little Indian)

8. Kitchens of Distinction - Elephantine (One Little Indian)

9. Wire - In Vivo (Mute)

10. Distant Cousins - You Used To (Ghetto) - Bonus Video

Oho! Now we're in highly curious territory. While Distant Cousins hailed from Manchester and were often lumped in with that "scene", in reality they produced a sophisticated and intricate blend of soul and pop, and possibly arrived a few years too late with their sound.

"You Used To" is probably one of their finest moments, filled to the brim with moody string arrangements and itchy, jazzy little touches to the rhythms and piano lines. It's much more suited to a long post break-up weeping session in the back of a taxi in the small hours of the morning than some Hacienda dancefloor action. As such, it feels more like the sort of moment you would find on a K-Tel "Night Moves" compilation than "Indie Top 20".

None of this makes it a bad record in the slightest, though, and it's certainly one of the most carefully crafted pieces of work to emerge on an indie label in 1989. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when Ghetto Records collapsed the group made a jump to Virgin and tried their luck with this single yet again in 1992 - but when it and other singles flopped all over again, they gave up and called it a day.

11. Tangerine - Sunburst (Creation) - Bonus Video

And here we have it, folks - the first ever Creation Records release to make its presence felt on anything related to the Indie Top 20 series (though we'll have a longer wait before we get to a proper compilation LP or CD with Creation product on it).

The main member of Tangerine was Mark Dumais, who had previously been a member of Crash with Kurt Ralske before the latter moved on to form (or create) Ultra Vivid Scene. Left on his ownsome, Dumais created the altogether poppy and more synthetic Tangerine and released one solitary single (this) and album before calling it a day. At the point of release "Sunburst" enjoyed strong evening airplay and an appearance on BBC2's "Snub" programme, so the fact that no further singles were released seems somewhat baffling in retrospect. Two factors may have combined to create the situation - Creation were often in precarious financial states during this period, and may have simply found the sales of both records too weak to bother continuing with any promotion. In addition to this factor, Dumais had AIDS and his health would deteriorate so badly that he passed away in May 1992, a mere few years after "Sunburst" emerged.

Looking back on it now, "Sunburst" is actually a supremely joyous piece of synthetic indie-pop, sounding like a blissed out and doped up Stock Aitken and Waterman protege wobbling down the stairs in a pie-eyed state. It's everything skewed pop in the indie sector was and still could be, if it wanted to. Creation released some truly horrendous records in the late eighties and very early nineties, many of them by bands who would never be heard from again, but this is far from being an obscurity to apologise for.

12. Loop - Arclite (Situation Two)

13. The Telescopes - To Kill A Slow Girl Walking (What Goes On)

14. Thee Hypnotics - Earth Blues (Situation Two)

(Sorry Chaps - I don't have the video for this one, and it doesn't seem to be up on YouTube either). 


  1. Sunburst is great; lovely track. Have the 12".

    I just did a mammoth 110 track virtual sophisti-pop box set that can be streamed on Mixcloud (part 1 - The Distant Cousins tune would have fitted very nicely :( but totally forgot about it. Need to do a mop-up next year.

  2. Here's the Loop video