Sunday 27 May 2012

The Enthralling Moods of Pearl Necklace (2007)

Comprising ex-Lungs and Glaring Green bassist Tim Parry and solo legend and ex-Cut Tunes / Glaring Green keyboard wizard Stephen Davies, Pearl Necklace are a pub covers duo like no other. Although playing the regular pub entertainment scene around the Bangor area with their traditional guitar / keyboards / backing rhythm format, the duo's repertoire includes works from such unlikely sources as Nick Cave, Joy Division, Black Sabbath, Lou Reed and Suicide. On one occasion, they even performed an entire set of covers of songs by local groups from the past, many of who we've featured here at Turquoise Coal, such as Cut Tunes, A Silly Tree, The Lungs and The Kaseo Kid!

Pearl Necklace live at The Harp, Bangor 2006
The duo can be seen live in action, performing a selection of Nick Cave numbers at the Bulkeley Hotel, Menai Bridge in 2007 on YouTube here, here and here.

Below we bring you a mere selection of twelve songs from their extensive repertoire, which were released as the limited edition CD The Enthralling Sounds of Pearl Necklace back in 2007. Unlike most of the groups featured on the blog, the duo are still going strong, so keep an eye out for them at your local pub if you live in the north Wales area!

Pearl Necklace - The Enthralling Moods of Pearl Necklace (2007)

Tim Parry - guitar, vocals
Stephen Davies - keyboards

1  Nobody but You
2  Opium Tea
3  Bad Moon Rising
4  Breathless
5  Whiskey in the Jar
6  Mad World
7  A Forest
8  Dance Away
9  Love Will Tear Us Apart
10  Loom of the Land
11 Ray of Hope
12  96 Tears

get it here


Saturday 26 May 2012

Cut Tunes live 1984

Cut Tunes 1984 - L to R: Gary Cut, Ian McMillan, Maeyc Hewitt, Alan Holmes

Here's another missing piece of the Cut Tunes jigsaw, capturing one of their very first gigs, somewhere in Bangor (possibly the University Students Union) in early 1984. The set was pretty typical for the time, featuring a more experimental and industrial sound than displayed on the group's records. The songs are pretty much all unreleased, although a radically different version of Eat The Dog, Eat!! would eventually appear on 1989's Strange Drum LP and a formative duo version of See Him!!! Draw (Zip Zap Zap) appeared on the 1983 local compilation Just When You Thought We Were Dead.

Along with the previously posted 1986 demos, this recording shows just how vital a group Cut Tunes were at their peak, something that is only hinted at on their official releases.

Cut Tunes - Live in Bangor 1984

Gary Cut - bass, guitar, vocals, Casio VL-Tone, xylophone, metal
Ian McMillan - percussion
Maeyc Hewitt - guitar, bass, percussion
Alan Holmes - trumpet, violin, xylophone, chimes
Phil Layton - saxophone

1  Fanfare / Mr Entretoute
2  Nice, Appealing
3  See Him!!! Draw (Zip Zap Zap)
4  The Monkey with a Thousand Faces
5  Sada and Kichi
6  The Pillar of Warmth
7  Écrasez l'Imfâme
8  Eat the Dog, Eat!!

all songs by Gary Cut

get it here 

Friday 25 May 2012

Cut Tunes 1986 demos

Although Cut Tunes were quite well documented on three official releases for the Central Slate label, general consensus is that, splendid though those releases were, their awesome live power was never truly captured for posterity. We have unearthed some rare recordings that go at least some way to rectifying that.

First off, we have a rehearsal tape from 1986, capturing the group at the very peak of their power. In just over a decade of existence, Cut Tunes went through an astonishing 23 members, with only leader Gary Cut remaining a constant fixture. Of the myriad of line-ups, Gary often cites the 1986 version as the definitive one, although sadly not one to have made it into a studio. This may not necessarily be a bad thing as the group were not particularly suited to the sterile studio environment, and this excellent quality recording of a group practice arguably sounds better than any of their official releases.

In the few months since the release of their debut 12" EP , the group had lost wind section Ann Matthews and Jim Prosser along with founder member and multi instrumentalist Alan Holmes. In their place were keyboard player Pete Townshend (no, not that one) and drumming duo Steve Tate and Nick Hadley. This greater emphasis on the rhythm section propelled the group to new dynamic heights, and after support slots with Here & Now, Yeah Yeah Noh and Mud, they seemed destined for greater things. However, this was sadly not to be, and it was to be another three years before yet another line-up was to record the next official Cut Tunes release, the mini LP 'Strange Drum'.

L to R: Nick Hadley, Pete Townshend, Gary Cut, Steve Tate, Maeyc Hewitt, Ian McMillan

Cut Tunes - 1986 demos

Gary Cut - Bass, Vocals
Steve Tate - Drums
Nick Hadley - Drums
Maeyc Hewitt - Guitar
Ian McMillan - Percussion
Pete Townshend - Keyboards

1  Still a Problem
2  See Him!!! Draw (Zip Zap Zap)
3  Touch Me
4  The Mouth Factory
5  Shapeshake
6  L'Immamou d'Amour
7  Nice, Appealing

all songs by Gary Cut except track 3 (Vega/Rev)

get it here

Thursday 10 May 2012

More of The Inadequates

For the most important cultural entity to have emerged from the north Wales city of Bangor to date, The Inadequates' legacy remains grossly under-documented. Their sole official release was the previously posted compilation The Loudest of the Inadequates (where full and detailed information on the group can be found in the included booklet). We have now managed to unearth three full live performances by the group from consecutive years during the height of their reign.

The first show, recorded in Bangor Students' Union on May 1st 1977 features a group line up that still included pianist Nigel Sawyer and original guitarist Chris Pilditch performing a set that interspersed the group's originals with a selection of astutely chosen covers by the likes of Dr Feelgood, Patti Smith, AC/DC and Ian Hunter.

The second set, from the 27th October 1978, saw the group playing at the legendary Eric's Club in Liverpool as part of a 'new bands' night, alongside fellow unknowns Teardrop Explodes and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. By this time the group had dispensed with the covers and blasted out a ferocious barrage of original classics such as Watch Your Step, Let's Fuck and Damage.

The third recording here documents the group's final performance, at the Cod Club in Bangor Students Union Jazz Room on April 20th 1979. The bill also featured a set by teenage Cemaes Bay punks CBL and the debut appearance by The Verbs, both of who will appear here in the weeks to come. The one cover in the set was a version of local rivals Hot Water's recently released debut single Different Morning, retitled I'm In Mourning. By a quirk of fate, drummer Mark was to go on to join Hot Water following the dissolution of the Inadequates.

All these recordings are of excellent quality... unless that is, you are the kind of person who judges quality by such parameters as audio fidelity/clarity/frequency response etc...
It is live rock 'n' roll recorded on first generation auto-level cassette recorders 35 years ago for fucks sake - still sounds better than anything coming out of today's state of the art studios though! Just crank up the volume and jump around the room!

The Inadequates - Students Union, Bangor  1st May 1977

Scott Saunders - vocals, guitar
Chris Pilditch - guitar
Nigel Sawyer - piano
Alan Wilkinson - bass
Mark Thomas - drums

1  Up and Down
2  Police Dog
3  Leave the Kids Alone
4  Riot in Cell Block #9
5  The Deal
6  Plaster Caster
7  Momma Always Warned Me
8  I'm a Hog for You Baby
9  Live Wire
10  Live with Me
11  If It Feels Good
12  Inadequate
13  Stepping Stone
14  Free Money
15  Once Bitten Twice Shy
16  Steady

get it here

The Inadequates - Eric's, Liverpool  27th October 1978

Scott Saunders - vocals, guitar
Peter Dudley - guitar, vocals
Alan Wilkinson - bass, vocals
Mark Thomas - drums

1  Gospel
2  Lasers in Space
3  Energy Waltz
4  Do the Pram
5  Programmed
6  Damage
7  Let's Fuck
8  Inadequate
9  Ain't no R'n'R in Bangor Town
10  See Her Face
11  Steady
12 Nihilistic Romance

 get it here

The Inadequates - Cod Club, Bangor  20th April 1979

Scott Saunders - vocals, guitar
Peter Dudley - guitar, vocals
Alan Wilkinson - bass, vocals
Mark Thomas - drums

The Inadequettes - vocals (track 15)

1  Do the Pram
2  Hey God
3  Energy Waltz
4  Party Time
5  The Deal
6  Let's Fuck
7  Steady
8  Watch Your Step
9  Programmed
10  Gospel
11  Inadequate
12  I'm in Mourning
13  Damage
14  Fuck Off
15  Nihilistic Romance

get it here

Monday 7 May 2012

Radio 23 - Unreleased EP (1992)

Radio 23 provided two of the (many) highlights of Central Slate's 1988 compilation 'Burning Down the Chapels'. The group played live sporadically at the time, with group mastermind Maeyc Hewitt augmented by various accomplices including ex-Cut Tunes keyboard player Meryl Barton.

poster for rare live Radio 23 gig, April 22nd 1988

In September 1992, Radio 23 recorded a potential five track EP that has remained unreleased to this day. This period was a turning point in the group's trajectory and within a matter of months Radio 23 had metamorphosed into Nixon & Jarvis, although it was to be another 14 years before the group would release their classic 'Untilted' LP on the Frankfurt based Pure Pop For Now People label.

1  Life with Nina Ricci  1:56
2  Dilworth  1:14
3  Murdered  3:42
4  Untilted  2:54
5  The Gettysburg Address  5:51

all songs by Maeyc Hewitt except track 5: (Maeyc Hewitt / Abraham Lincoln)
all instruments and vocals by Maeyc Hewitt

get it here

Sunday 6 May 2012

The Pinecones - Llanberis 4th March 1982

On Thursday 4th March 1982, The Pinecones travelled up into the hills to play what was to be their penultimate gig. It was a headline performance organised by the legendary Dennis Carr, better known as Denbo, who was later to achieve fame fronting north Wales' premier Cajun act, Cajuns Denbo. At the time, Denbo was promoting free weekly music nights at the Padarn Lake Hotel in the small mountain town of Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon and was keen to support a wide cross section of the local music scene.

The PInecones were arguably not on as fine form as recent incendiary performances at Plas Coch in Llanedwen and The Glanrafon in Bangor and tested the audience's tolerance with a more left field sound than the more down-to-earth boogie aficionados might have preferred. This recording however, is not without charm, faithfully capturing the rowdy ambience of the venue and the spiky edges of the Pinecones' final days. In addition, audience comments can be clearly made out in the gaps between the songs, making this an entertaining and valuable document of the period.

The Pinecones went on to play only once more, supporting local heroes Fay Ray a week later at the Victoria Hotel in Menai Bridge, but sadly no recording of this event is known to exist.

The Pinecones - Padarn Lake Hotel, Llanberis  4th March 1982

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

1  Just a Glance  6:58
2  Forward  3:53
3  A Hat  4:05
4  On My Mind  4:34
5  Looking at Flags  5:41
6  Can You Show Me the Way Please?  4:24
7  Break  2:14

get it here

Saturday 5 May 2012

The Kaseo Kid 1982-1984

When Anglesey new wave combo Straightjacket split in 1981, keyboard player Dewi Evans decided to go solo as The Casio Kid. He played regular gigs in the area, often at Plas Coch in Llanedwen or The Glanrafon Pub in Bangor, performing his infectious synth pop songs on his portable Casio keyboard. Although synth pop was catching on nationally at the time with the emergence of groups like Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, the north Wales scene was slow to embrace the new technology, generally clinging on to more traditional guitar based rock of one variety or another. Dewi however was ahead of the pack, and thanks to the pioneering work of the Casio company in introducing portable and affordable synthesisers to the market he was able to perform live without the encumberance of other musicians.

His first official release was an appearance on the Gwynedd Union of Musicians compilation 'The Adventure Continues', which rounded up much of the music that had been heard live in the Bangor and Anglesey area between March 1981 and March 1982. At the time, he was also a member of the legendary Alun Rhys Jones Task Force, an extended line-up of The Alun Rhys Jones Band, with who he performed a memorable gig in Bangor's Glanrafon Pub on the 13th August 1982.

Pleased with the response to his live shows and compilation track, Dewi decided to record an album of his songs. He got in touch with Alan Holmes, guitarist of the recently disbanded Pinecones and recorded six or seven songs at Alan's home studio between August and November 1982. In order to expand the tonal colour of the songs, Dewi invited a few friends to guest on the album, resulting notably in the extraordinary, if somewhat out of character, extended jazz composition 'Take It or Leave It' - clearly Dewi was no one trick pony! The studio recordings were augmented by a pair of songs recorded live at Plas Coch on May 18th that clearly required no further adornment. When the album was released in early 1983, it appeared under the slightly altered name The Kaseo Kid, due to Dewi's nervousness of possible copyright litigation from the electronics company!

The album was a resounding success, housed in a futuristic dayglo yellow cover that echoed Kraftwerk's contemporary 'Computer World'. The music inside perfectly melded classic pop teen angst with space age robotic rhythms in a manner that put to shame all the area's retro obsessed pub rockers.

A year later, Dewi released a second album, this time under his own name. Oddly though, 'Blank Expression' was not so much a follow up to 'Hey, It's the Kaseo Kid!' as more of a remake/update of it. The album's eight tracks included new versions of five of the previous album's songs, along with two new compositions and a cover of The Ominous Dr Clip Clop's 'Jingle Jangle Girl'. It seems that Dewi had been unhappy with the versions of the songs on the first release and decided he could now do them greater justice. In retrospect, he has intimated that perhaps this move was a mistake and that now he actually favoured the earlier versions, which for all their naiveté seemed to possess a youthful vibrancy absent from the more considered follow up. Here is your opportunity to compare the two versions and decide for yourself!

Dewi of course later went on to work in such noted acts as Go Johnny Go, Mass Reaction, Technomania, Silo 7, Paul Murray & Easy Street, Aquarelle, Rheinallt H Rowlands, Cut 23, The Daylight Alien and Parking Non-Stop as well as guesting with the likes of Fflaps, Ectogram, Wrightoid and John Harley. He also wrote the definitive tutor 'Play Rock Keyboards' and provided the music to countless stage and TV productions. You can find full details of his current and past projects at

The Kaseo Kid - Hey It's The Kaseo Kid! (1983)

Side A
1  Positive Thinking  4:20
2  Ammunition  3:40
3  Photo-Love (Part One)  4:42
4  Formation Dancing  3:05
5  Trendy Nightspots  7:22
Side B
1  The Smoker  7:48
2  The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine  3:15
3  Take It or Leave It  11:07
4  Trendy Nightspots - Reprise  0:26

all lyrics, music and arrangements by The Kaseo Kid except 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine' by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio.
Produced by Alan Holmes and The Kaseo Kid August - November 1982 except 'Photo-Love' and 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine' recorded live at Plas Coch, Llanedwen by Bryan Griffiths on May 18th 1982.

The Kaseo Kid - lead and backing vocals, synthesisers, piano, acoustic & electronic percussion, harmonica, rhythm unit operation, sleeve design
Ann Matthews - backing vocals, saxophone
Alan Holmes - backing vocals, guitar, violin, trumpet, electronic sound effects & treatments, programming
Maeyc Hewitt - bass guitar, acoustic percussion
Phil Layton - saxophones

get it here

Dewi Evans - Blank Expression (1984)

Side One
1  Trendy Nightspots  5:26
2  Ammunition  3:31
3  Royal, Loyal and True Blue  4:45
4  I Ask Myself Why  5:52
Side Two
1  Photo Love Stories  10:11
2  Jingle Jangle Girl  4:07
3  Formation Dancing  3:14
4  Positive Thinking  5:05

All songs by Dewi Evans except 'Jingle Jangle Girl' by Maeyc Hewitt
All instuments and vocals by Dewi with guest vocals by Ann Matthews

get it here