Sunday 26 February 2012

Fflaps - First LP (unreleased Les Morrison mix)

Here's a real rarity from 1988 - until now only ever heard by 5 people, two of who are sadly no longer with us. This would undoubtedly be the much sought after Holy Grail for hardcore Fflaps fans, if such people existed.

Fflaps formed at the very end of 1986 as an outlet for the songs of Ann Matthews, who had previously played with Alternative Destinations, Cut Tunes, Kärnarvøn Kästle and a seemingly un-named duo with Scott Saunders in addition to making guest appearances on recordings by Glass, The Casio Kid and Miracle Cave.

Initially named Picasso's Mind, the group was completed by A
lan Holmes from The Lungs and Rick Joslin, previously of Third Spain. By the end of the year, Rick left to be initially replaced by Emyr Tomos (also ex-Alternative Destinations) and then more permanently by Jonny Evans, who had previously been playing with The Paraletics and Harvey Star & the Moonbeams.

The group played regularly around the Bangor area and bega
n to add more Welsh language songs to their set after being introduced to the Welsh scene by groups like Anhrefn and Y Cyrff. At the time it was very unusual for a group to be bilingual, the two scenes having very little contact with each other. In breaking down this taboo, Fflaps paved the way for the success of later bilingual groups like Catatonia, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals. Sadly they were too ahead of their time to reap much benefit from this approach themselves, encountering a degree of ambivalence from both sides of the divide. Here we bring you the only recorded documentation of that period.

Following a few months of playing around Wales and beyond, the group released a 7" EP for Anhrefn Records and recorded a session for John Peel's Radio One show
. As a result of John Peel's interest, Geoff Davies of Liverpool's legendary Probe Plus Records invited the group to record an LP for his label.

The group decamped to Les Morrison's Unlucky Søn studio in Bethesda on the 25th April 1988 and recorded their entire live repertoire with a minimum of overdubbing and effects. Les actively encouraged the group to mix up the two languages on the songs, and two days later they emerged with the recordings we have here.

Upon presenting the 'finished' LP to Geoff at Probe Plus, it was suggested to the group that maybe they could spend a further day in Liverpool adding some overdubs, and also perhaps that the LP would be more coherent in one language. The Liverpool session with engineer Kevin Wright transformed these recordings into what became the LP 'Amhersain'. The record was as a result more quirky and psychedelic, but these original mixes by the late great Les Morrison more faithfully capture the live essence of the group at the time. In the highly unlikely event of there being a deluxe expanded 23rd anniversary edition of 'Amhersain', this would undoubtedly be disc 2!

Fflaps - First LP (Les Morrison mix)
recorded and mixed at Unlucky Søn, Bethesda 25th-27th April 1988

Ann Matthews - vocals, guitar
Alan Holmes - bass
Jonny Evans - drums
Les Morrison - additional percussion

1 Y Dyn Blin 3:39
2 Pethau Piws 2:44
3 Esgob Mawr 2:05
4 Tuesday 2:41
5 The Wicker Man 2:28
6 Dilyn Dylan 3:26
7 Chwildroi'n Gam 1:58
8 Blodyn Tatws 2:43
9 Clak Clak Clak 2:31
10 Victorian 2:52
11 Llosg Llech 2:25
12 Gina Dreams 3:02

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Thursday 16 February 2012

Some Noise

Following the dissolution of seminal Bangor punk group The Inadequates in 1979, frontman and songwriter Scott Saunders went on to form two new groups, The Verbs and Some Noise.
Some Noise were a spiky angular trio who would happily have fitted on the hip post punk indie labels of the time like Factory or Rough Trade, were they not based in Bangor. Scott was joined by bassist Martin Parry and teenage prodigy Mark Windows on drums. The trio played a handful of gigs in the area, and contributed a studio recording of the song "In Transit" to a compilation of local music "Overloaded and We're Running", released in June 1980.

By the time of the compilation's release, the group had pretty much split up, Mark going on to form A Silly Tree with Alan Holmes and Gary Stubbs in July 1980. By mid 1981, A Silly Tree too had split and Martin joined the original line-up of The Pinecones, leaving them in October.

Towards the end of the year, the original
Some Noise line-up temporarily reunited for a few gigs. Here are two recordings from that period that amply demonstrate what a great live group they were - sadly none are known to exist from the group's initial heyday, the sole studio recording being the only evidence of their brief incandescence. Although featuring almost identical sets and recorded just over a fortnight apart, these two shows demonstrate just how varied the group's approach could be, the Plas Coch set featuring looser extended dubby versions of the songs, contrasting with the taut compact renditions at the Glanrafon.

Some Noise - Glanrafon Pub, Bangor
27th November 1981

Scott Saunders - vocals, guitar
Martin Parry - bass
Mark Windows - drums

1 Modern Air
2 Peninsular
3 Eat
4 The Monk
5 Cannibals
6 In Transit

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Some Noise - Plas Coch, Llanedwen
15th December 1981

Scott Saunders - vocals, guitar
Martin Parry - bass
Mark Creathorne - drums
1 Modern Air
2 Peninsular
3 In Transit
4 The Monk
5 Cannibals

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Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Pinecones - Glanrafon Pub, Bangor 22nd January 1982

On the 22nd of January 1982, The Pinecones played what is often regarded to be the greatest live performance of their career. Indeed, at least one attendee cited it as the greatest Bangor gig ever! The gig took place at The Glanrafon pub (now The Old Glan), where the Gwynedd Union of Musicians put on weekly Friday night events at the time. Being a regular event, the facilities were in place to make recordings and many of the events there were captured for posterity, as is the case with this performance.

The support band were, rather incongruously, a trad jazz act whose identity is lost in the mists of time. They do briefly appear at the end of this recording, in a joint encore where both groups unite for a rendition of the old standard "When the Saints Go Marching In". Happily, fate smiled upon us that day and the tape ran out after a mercifully short 43 seconds of that unique event.

The Pinecones - Glanrafon Pub, Bangor
22nd January 1982

Maeyc Hewitt - drums
Alan Holmes - guitar/bass/vocals
Maria Hycz - vocals/bass/guitar
Gary Stubbs - bass/guitar/xylophone

1 Forward 4:10

2 Red Dress 5:07
3 Can you Show Me? 4:52
4 On My Mind 5:12
5 Break 3:10
6 Friday 6:34
7 Calling 7:35
8 Whys 8:46
9 When The Saints Go Marching In (excerpt) 0:43

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Wednesday 8 February 2012

The Lungs - Bloody Hell! It's The Lungs (1987/88)

The Lungs existed for a relatively short period of time during which they made an impact on the music scene completely in proportion to their level of success.
Rising from the ashes of Third Spain in late 1986, Maeyc and Alan recruited bass player Tim Parry to form a lean, stripped-down trio that played short fast songs that were described by Huw Prestatyn as like "Johnny Cash on speed" and by John Robb as comparable to The Minutemen.

The only official Lungs release during their lifetime was a calendar, entitled "Bloody Hell! it's 1988" which feature
d 366 reasons for a party, together with 12 portraits of the group. They appeared on two compilation cassettes, Central Slate's "Burning Down The Chapels" and one put out by the late Welsh studio wizard Les Morrison, and had a retrospective "best of" entitled "Bloody Hell! it's The Lungs" released some years later on Central Slate Records, originally as a 9 track cassette and later as an expanded CD reissue featuring 20 tracks. It is the CD version that we feature here, containing as it does, virtually the entire repertoire of the group, except for a handful of covers that the group would sprinkle into their live sets. These included The Modern Lovers' "She Cracked" and "Old World", The Fall's "Rebellious Jukebox" and "Totally Wired", Nico's "Janitor of Lunacy", Third Spain's "Better Myself" and The Saints' "This Perfect Day". Versions of some of these songs may well appear in a future post covering The Lungs' live recordings.

In their initial incarnation, The Lungs played the following gigs:

27th November 1986 Trax, Bangor
23rd December 1986 Trax, Bangor (with Cut Tunes, Picasso's Mind, Alex Hutchings)
9th January 1987 Dolbadarn, Llanberis (with Cut Tunes)
20th January 1987 Trax, Bangor
19th February 1987 Royal Victoria, Llanberis (with The Jukes & Chris Walker)
22nd February 1987 Bangor University main bar (with Y Cyrff & The Strand)
3rd March 1987 Trax, Bangor (with Y Cyrff, Zod Maelstom & Krystalnacht)
17th April 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with APV & The Tarantulas)
1st May 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with Traddodiad Ofnus & Cut Tunes)
9th May 1987 JP Hall, Bangor (with Anhrefn, The Jukes, Fflaps & APV)
3rd July 1987 Carlton Club, Salford (with Anhrefn & Parade)
11th July 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with Cut Tunes & Garden Of Eden)
24th July 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with Anhrefn, Tynal Tywyll & Fflaps)
29th July 1987 Princess Charlotte, Leicester (with Anhrefn)
28th August 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with The Membranes & Chain Gang)
24th September 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with APV & Yr Orsedd)
29th October 1987 Jazz Room, Bangor (with Fflaps & Krystalnacht)
12th November 1987 Trax, Bangor (with 4Q & NRG)
4th February 1988 Jazz Room, Bangor (with Walkingseeds & Dinistrio'r Diniwed)
27th February 1988 Victoria Hotel, Menai Bridge (with U Thant, Eirin Peryglus & Richard Hopewell).. 24th May 1988 Jazz Room, Bangor (with The Jitters)
16th June 1988 Bangor University Mandela bar (with Eirin Peryglus & Radio 23)
28th June 1988 TJ's, Newport (with U Thant & Fflaps)

30th July 1988 Jazz Room, Bangor (with The Trees & Burnham Burnham)

However they did reform briefly during 1992 for a further handful of gigs, of which no record has been found. If anyone remembers being at these events, possibly at the Normandie / Barrels in Bangor, we would be grateful for further information.

The Lungs - Bloody Hell! It's The Lungs

Maeyc Hewitt - drums/spanners
Alan Holmes - guitar/vocals
Tim Parry - bass

1 Stalagmiteman 2:00

2 Scumbag 2:54
3 Charming Bastards 2:49
4 The Orange 2:02
5 Derek V12 2:38
6 Ruth Is on a Train 1:50
7 Raising Cain 2:37
8 In the Capital 2:03
9 Oleoleo 2:15
10 Scrabblebrain 3:23
11 Out in the Sunshine 2:17
12 Hey Peter 1:59
13 Silver Star 2:02
14 Bang! 3:13
15 Heartbreak Hotel 3:14
16 Do As You Are Told 3:03
17 At the End of My Street 2:02
18 The Place Where Time Stands Still 1:55
19 The Day James Cagney Died 2:11
20 Tra La La 4:57

all songs by The Lungs except 15 (Axton/Durden/Presley) and 16 (Stephen Davies/The Lungs)

tracks 1-15 recorded at 5 Regent Street, Bangor on 25th & 26th November 1987
track 16 recorded at 5 Regent Street, Bangor on 16th June 1987
track 17 recorded at 5 Regent Street, Bangor in January 1988
track 18 recorded at 5 Regent Street, Bangor on 5th May 1987
tracks 19 & 20 recorded at Unlucky Søn, Bethesda by Les Morrison on 1st March 1988

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Thursday 2 February 2012

The Ominous Dr Clip Clop

The secret identity behind the mysterious Ominous Dr Clip Clop turns out to be none other than Maeyc Hewitt, later to be the mastermind behind Strength Through Joinery, Radio 23 and Nixon & Jarvis among others. Each performance featured a different selection of guest musicians providing back up for the Doctor's idiosyncratic but ultra-catchy songs. The Doctor himself would sometimes appear on stage with a fake second head protruding from the neck of his white lab coat. During his run of gigs in 1981, the cream of the local music scene queued up for a stint in his group - John Cratchley, Rebecca Ward, Annie Williams, Alan Holmes, Mark Thomas, Chris Pilditch, Owen Hughes, Scott Saunders, John Lovering, Phil Layton and of course the glamorous Clopettes - Annie Stubbs and Maria Hycz all making appearances.

Here is a long-awaited opportunity for the good doctor's legacy to be reassessed as we present four complete live performances, recorded between June and December 1981. There appear to be no photographs of the Doctor in action in our archives - if you have any you would like to share here, please send them to thearchivist(at)

The Ominous Dr Clip Clop - Glanrafon Pub, Bangor
18th June 1981

Maeyc Hewitt - guitar / vocals
Rebecca Ward - drums
John Cratchley - bass
Annie Williams - organ
The Clopettes - vocals

1 Far Out
2 Picture of Beauty
3 Animal Magic
4 Jingle Jangle Girl
5 Go for Gene
6 Nid Rwyf Eisio Mynd i'r Ysbyty
7 Animal Magic (encore)

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The Ominous Dr Clip Clop - Plas Coch, Llanedwen
14th July 1981

Maeyc Hewitt - bass / vocals
Owen P. Hughes - drums
Chris Pilditch - guitar
Alan Holmes - trumpet / bass

1 Nid Rwyf Eisio Mynd i'r Ysbyty
2 Jingle Jangle Girl
3 Go for Gene
4 Milk & Cookies
5 Animal Magic

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The Ominous Dr Clip Clop - Plas Coch, Llanedwen
29th September 1981

Maeyc Hewitt - guitar / vocals
Mark Thomas - drums
Alan Holmes - bass
The Clopettes - vocals

1 DJ's intro
2 Jingle Jangle Girl
3 Animal Magic
4 Picture of Beauty
5 Nid Rwyf Eisio Mynd i'r Ysbyty
6 Go for Gene
7 The Big Footprints

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The Ominous Reverend Clip Clop - Plas Coch, Llanedwen
15th December 1981

probable line-up:
Maeyc Hewitt
- bass

Mark Thomas - drums
John Lovering - guitar
Scott Saunders - vocals
Phil Layton - saxophone
The Clopettes - vocals

1 Intro
2 The Big Footprints
3 Animal Magic
4 Go for Gene
5 God Is My Friend
6 Milk & Cookies
7 Nid Rwyf Eisio Mynd i'r Ysbyty
8 Jingle Jangle Girl
9 Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas (incomplete)

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Wednesday 1 February 2012

Cut Tunes - Shapeshake EP (1985)

Although Cut Tunes was the first official manifestation of Gary Cut's long running Cut project, its roots can be traced back to the first incarnation of A Silly Tree, where Gary's interest in repetitive rhythm-based music first came to the fore. Indeed, one of the staples of early Cut Tunes sets, 'Still a Problem' had also been a regular fixture of early A Silly Tree gigs.

Having had to bow out of A Silly Tree due to art school commitments in 1980, Gary worked on his masterplan before returning to Bangor, joining The Pinecones and re-uniting with old school-chum / band-mate Alan Holmes to form the first of what were to be many versions of Cut Tunes in 1982.

The only record of this initial duo appeared on the compilation tape "Just When You Thought We Were Dead: Music from the Bangor Area April '82 - April '83" which featured an early version of the future Cut Tunes classic "See HIM!!! Draw (Zip Zap Zap)"

The duo played live on 12th May 1983 in Bangor University, but were very much dependant on the use of pre-recorded backing rhythms and so Gary promptly recruited a rhythm section of Ian McMillan and Maeyc Hewitt. Saxophonist Phil Layton was also added to fill out the sound. This line up quickly earned a reputation as one of the hottest live acts in the area, and when Phil left the area, he was replaced by two further wind players, Ann Matthews on Clarinet and Jim Prosser on Saxophone. It was this line-up that travelled down to R.S.C. Studios in Bath in May 1985 to record the debut Cut Tunes 12" EP, which appeared as the first release on the nascent Central Slate Records that October.

Five tracks were recorded during the sessions, the three strongest appearing on the record. The EP received airplay on John Peel's show but further line-up changes prevented the group from capitalising on the attention. Here for the first time, we can let you hear the remaining out-takes - a version of the old A SIlly Tree favourite 'Still a Problem' that somehow failed to capture the live power of the song, and 'That Joint Was Cooking' - Gary's observation on the 1981 Toxteth riots which he had personally got caught up in a few years previously.

Cut Tunes went through many further line-ups before morphing into first Cut 23 and then Cut 72. The full story can be found on Gary Cut's official site.

Cut Tunes - Shapeshake EP
Central Slate Records (SLATE 1) 1985

Maeyc Hewitt
- Guitar / Drums / Vocals
Ian McMillan - Drums / Vocals
Alan Holmes - Trumpet / Vocals
Ann Matthews - Clarinet
Jim Prosser - Saxophone
Gary Stubbs - Vocals / Bass

1 Shapeshake 3:01
L'Immamou D'Amour 4:17
Panther Bosale 4:58

bonus tracks/out-takes
Still a Problem 3:52
5 That Joint Was Cooking 3:34

all songs (Stubbs)

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A Silly Tree - 7th June 1981

By June 1981, Maria had been back in the group for a few months and had contributed to a bunch of new material. For a gig at Plas Coch on 19th May, Scott Saunders had augmented the group on organ. The group were pleased with the way the extra tonal palette enhanced the material and so for their next gig, scheduled at the Glanrafon Pub in Bangor on June 8th, they invited saxophonist Phil Layton to play with the group.

Mark had recently moved from Pen-y-Bryn Manor to the similarly named Penybryn Farmhouse in Bangor and this is where Phil got together with the group for a run through of the material the day before the gig. Oddly enough A Silly Tree had already covered Phil's song 'White Sky' at their previous gig and this was of course added to the set again, along with a new song by Mark, 'Falling Back'.

Here then, is a straight run-through of the set that they would play at the Glanrafon the following day, together with two bonus tracks from the previous month, where Maeyc, Alan & Maria work out a new song 'It's Too Late'.

Penybryn Farmhouse, Bangor 7th June 1981

Mark Creathorne - Drums (1-7)
Alan Holmes - Guitar
Maeyc Hewitt - Bass / Drums (8, 9)
Maria Hycz - Vocals
Phil Layton - Saxophone (1-7)

1 It’s Too Late (Hewitt/Holmes/Hycz) 4:40
2 She’ll Never Know (Holmes/Hycz/Stubbs) 4:05
3 Falling Back (Creathorne) 4:00
4 Isn’t Life Such Fun? (Holmes/Hycz/Stubbs) 3:20
5 White Sky (Layton) 2:20
6 Parting Gift (Creathorne/Hewitt/Holmes/Hycz) 4:27
7 Guilty Feeling (Holmes/Hycz) 5:38

bonus tracks:
Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor May 1981:
8 It’s Too Late (Hewitt/Holmes/Hycz) 4:26
9 It’s Too Late (Hewitt/Holmes/Hycz) 4:24
(early trio rough versions)

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