Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Promise Kept



This one goes out to Dearest Colin of And Before The First Kiss, along with an apology for tardiness. You see, Colin was my first real cyberfriend, and he remains a shining example of blogging at its best. About a year ago, we had a brief comment exchange about Bleach, a lovely band from Ipswich that lasted only a few years in the early nineties. I promised to rescue my vinyl copy of their self-titled compilation EP from the basement of my New York childhood home and digitize a few tracks for Colin's (and my) benefit. Alas, for all my good intentions, one thing happened, then another, then something else, and the record, now sitting in Vancouver, remained unripped.

Oh, the guilt.

But this weekend, miracle of miracles, the planets aligned. Having only just managed to coax my ancient record player back to life (aside: have any of you ever crimped a stylus cartridge with your teeth?), I cleaned up the EP and got a-ripping.

Let me fill the rest of you in on the group, which shouldn't be confused with either the Japanese girlie punk combo or the American Christian rock band which share their name. Bleach was formed in 1989 by brothers Nick and Neil Singleton. Steve Scott joined on drums, and Anglian TV researcher Salli Carson was enticed onto vocal duties. Their layered sound was dominated by a swirl of fuzzy guitars mixed with stark, jerky post-punk spikes. It was lovely stuff, complemented by Salli's voice, which ranged from the strident to the ethereal. My introduction to them one dark night while listening to the late, great John Peel.

Initially celebrated by press and punters alike, Bleach soon became a problem. Were they shoegaze? Kinda, but they're a bit too brash. Were they grunge? No way, too much gauze and not enough flannel. Britpop? You're having a larf. Salli was accused of being a sex symbol, and she responded by shaving her head. Their EPs were followed by a full-length album in 1992, but it was a bit of a disappoinment. They subsequently faded rapidly from view, though Salli's voice did resurface on Idlewild's 1999 album Hope is Important (and it IS, you know??).

So here you go, Dearest Colin, as I promised all that time ago, four Bleach tracks, including the one I think you liked the best, 'Dipping,' and my favourite, the storming 'Wipe It Away.' And I'm very, very, very sorry for the delay.

P.S. All the rest of you lovely folk can download and listen to them too.

Bleach - Dipping
Bleach - Bethesda
Bleach - Wipe It Away
Bleach - Burn

All tracks can be found either on Bleach's eponymous compilation EP, or between 1990's Eclipse and 1991's Snag. But easy to find they are not...

11 comments:

Natsthename said...

Oh, this is excellent, excellent, excellent.

JC said...

I'm pleased that you've been so tardy....otherwise I would never have gotten to find such cracking tunes.

Thank You.

Oh and is it OK to say that Colin was also my first cyber-friend? I owe him loads....

merz said...

excellent tunes and I will add on to what JC said because Colin just happened to be my first real cyber friend too! That's why I call him my Scottish brother.

mjrc said...

do ya think colin's ears are burning over there in scotland? ;-)

i think bleach is such a cool name for a band. too bad they're defunct.

Colin said...

Oh how they burn, and they burn so brightly!

I am genuinely touched by this, in all the right and proper places.

"Thanks" doesn't seem to be enough but it is written very sincerely.

So, thanks for that FiL - you made my day. Just wonderful music, as you know.

And thanks for the lovely comments directed my way - they mean an awful lot, my friends.

PS, Sadly, I only got to see Bleach play live once (Edinburgh)but I remember it fondly... Salli was gorgeous! ;)(with or without the shorn locks)

Tim Young said...

I like Colin too.

.. and FiL ... your blog is like ..er .. a real mp3 blog at the moment .. ace! ;)

P.S. A teeth crimped stylus probably isn't doing your records much good. I know. I killed some records in a similar way.

FiL said...

Dearest Nats, I'm so tickled that you like it! Tickled pink to the gills...

Dearest JC, s'funny how sometimes delays have unanticipated, positive consequences. But that only encourages us procrastinators. And of course it's OK. Colin deserves much love.

Dearest Merz, isn't it fantastic how this interwebby bloggy thing has helped us all connect? Goodness, I'm sounding like a Hallmark card. But it IS great...

Dearest Marcy, it is cool, which I figure is why two other bands picked it as well...

Dearest Colin! Simplicity and sincerity - doesn't get much better that that. You are most welcome! And you've got at least one up on me - I never managed to see Bleach...:(

Dearest Tim: Wot, you mean it's got words about music rather than it's usual offerings of wibbling nonsense and heart-on-sleeve?? ;-)

As for the stylus, I know, I know. But I can't find a replacement anywhere, so crimp I must...

Mr Rossy said...

ooohhh, this is old skool...wipe it away is really striking a cord at this moment in time for me !!

BH said...

can't believe I stumbled upon these awesom songs. I have the 2 EPs but record player died 10 years ago. Just brought me back to Belfast 1991, Bleach opening for Ride. They were awesome, met them in the Chinese Takeaway on the walk home, got autographs and pics. They were all awesome (drummer was grumpy though). Any chance of a Decadance upload? Good work anyway

BH said...

I'm a man on a mission. Found Decadance. Bloody good guitars. Now I'm going crazy trying to find 'Bone' the B-Side of the Shotgun single. That was a real good song also, almost mainstream; but you can't hold that against them...

iamnotthebeatles said...

I know this is an old post of yours, but I have just found it today - and must say that Bleach are one of the great underrated bands of the time. I saw them live quite alot - they seemed to spend alot of their life supporting A House at the time. It's worth tracking down a copy of their 6 tracker 'Hard' too, it's marvellous. Anyway, all the best,

Ian TB