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under the bridge 2 cover art





SINCE 1994"

-unknown bathroom graffiti, CBGB

I can say with a satisfactory level of confidence that this graffiti wasn't intended for any of the artists featured on this second, wonderful compilation from the good folks at Skepwax Records of bands, artists, songwriters that have have previously recorded for the seminal Sarah Records, a label that ignored the music industry critics, rules and trends and released a diverse range of music from a diverse roster.


Releasing these compilations is not an exercise in nostalgia.


Quite the opposite.

It's about celebrating how fucking good they are now

It's exciting to see how these artists have come together to support each other, how they themselves have evolved and to witness the resurgence of interest in their music, not just from their existing fans, but those who may have been listening to something else first time round, from younger generations who know their onions.

Fuck, even those critics may have turned. Maybe. 

More importantly, this document is a testament to the longevity of their songwriting, creativity and musicianship and the diversity, fearlessness and impact of Sarah Records.

The Gentle Spring is new project for Michael Hiscock of Field Mice and Émilie Guillaumot. Dodge The Rain – a down-tempo opener that is equally reflective, equally setting a path to the future.

Reflective, wistful keyboards from Émilie, dreamy musings…a beautiful composition…almost archetypal

Sarah Records

if there is such a thing.

Gosport’s Action Painting! – always at the noisier, brasher end of the Sarah spectrum, Just Who Are The Cockleshell Heroes?



and chimes propelled by Andy Hitchcock’s hawkish, snippy vocals. 


Catenary Wires’ Alone Tonight is the first new song from Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey, Fay Hallam, Andy Lewis and Ian Button.

Brimming with tender harmonies and chord progressions,

Amelia and Rob’s clandestine, forlorn, affectionate vocal interplay subtly breezes alongside Fay, Andy

and Ian’s unhurried cinematic backdrop.

Back row of the movie theatre, popcorn in hand, enthralled for how this story will end. 


Julian Henry composed Apple Tree for The Hit Parade as a breezy symbol of rebirth, an ode to the excitement of discovering new bands in the record store, taking a chance based on instinct, or a recommendation from clued up record shop staff.

There just might be more Hit Parade music emerging from the shadows….


Jetstream Pony fizz, fuzz and gaze with a glittering heads down-rock-n-roll ripper exclusive called Look Alive!

Keep a look out for a


breakdown before the

big riff

nails you to the ceiling.

Beth Arzy loves the Jesus and Mary Chain and so do I.

That’ll do for me.

Big ticks all round. 


The Sarah Records connection for Soundwire goes back to 1992 and The Sweetest Ache.

They only released (I think) a couple of singles and a mini LP, Jaguar, 8 tracks of the most

achingly beautiful pop music.

Soundwire’s eponymous 2019 LP was a glorious blend of

fuzzy, psychedelic rock

bleeding the dirtiest Mary Chain grooves and swagger.

Their latest single, Shake The Fever is an exuberant, electric groove.

Their track here, Everything Is Real, tosses out another of their languid, hypnotic grooves, Simon Court’s vocals space you out in a trippy, reverbed vortex.

A dazzling, winning formula. 


Leaf Mosaic, from central Victoria, Australia, are Matthew Sigley and Joshua Meadows.

The first time they have

collaborated as songwriters, an LP will likely hit the shops in 2024.

Their track here, The Branch Line, is a pumping electro-dance-rock clash that soars, flush with those euphoric-melancholic Gillian Gilbert synth washes.


Secret Shine.

Wow, royalty.

What a treat.

Captivate This Broken Love is a sonic

wall of dense, melodic distortion

Kathryn and Jamie’s perfectly blended, deep in the mix, ethereal vocals have me bouncing off the walls

and heading for the

volume button.

I want my ears to bleed.

This is utterly magnificent.

More of this, please.


Even As We Speak - forever masters of cinematic melody.

A joy to see them on this compilation.

Beauty, You Will Break Us All

is all sublime sunsets, glittering

waves, seabirds diving and rising

and drenched, of course, in the most gorgeous

melody where Mary Wyer’s voice draws

you in with empathy and warmth.

A musical treasure.


GNAC (pronounced ‘nyac’ as in ‘cognac’) is a pseudonym used by songwriter and producer Mark Tranmer.

Double Ninth propels us into

an abstract world of cinematic postcards,

vignettes of life,

fanciful snippets of

yearning and wonder.

The effortless, rugged chops of Pete Momtchiloff’s guitar introduce Tufthunter’s


Jessica Griffin’s refined

vocals are as

droll and enigmatic as ever,

recanting stories of modern chemistry - of the relationship variety.

Mr M manages to convey an unhurried, rhythmic soundtrack that is beautifully shabby chic (is that still a thing or am I being ridiculous?).

Useless Users, a project that includes

Kathryn Smith of Secret Shine,

takes us by the hand,

looks us in the eye,

grins a toothless grin and

opens the door

to the underbelly of life with the




In This, The House Of The Solitary Bees. 


I’ve always admired the way

The Orchids have experimented with new and subtle touches,

enough to differentiate their sound from others and enough to move them forward from their last record.

This was always their strength and the strength of

Sarah Records.

Emotive songwriting that captures…well, life… always underpins their work.

A Final Love Song is another departure with a stronger dance groove, horns and a bit of funk thrown into the mix.


Wandering Summer’s Wake The Silver Dancing Waves is a

3:20 jewel

from Geddy Laurance, Luke Wheeler, Jamie Deakin and Niall Kennedy.

A masterful middle eight that builds you up to another, final round of that wondrous chorus.



Mystic Village switch things into a folk vibe.

The Sarah connection with MV is, of course, Robert Cooksey (Sea Urchins).

Open Your Eyes is a full

arrangement with keyboards, tambourine, guitar, conga, mandolin (I think!) and Barla’s captivating, beseeching vocals.


Anyone who can’t keep up with the no bullshit, frenzied prolificacy of


needs a kick up the arse (i.e. me).

Larkin, the song that

Stew Anderson and Christina Riley contributed to UTB2, is urgent, hugely melodic, fun and fabulously lo-fi DIY.

Their 2024 piece, Unknown Frequencies,



squeals and


with trademark veracity.

Their quick fire approach gives it the authenticity of a band who’ve always made music for all the right reasons.

This is a band that goes where it wants to because it feels right. 


14 Iced Bears were a firm favourite of my C86 days.

Another band slithered by the shite press for their name.

I didn’t give a fuck tbh.

They could bang out a tune or two. The Bears’ frontman Robert Sekula’s second solo release, Pamela, is showcased here.

He’s still banging out proper songs.

Love songs.

We all need love songs in our life.



Vetchinsky Settings, a collaboration between James Hackett of The Orchids and Mark Tranmer of St Christopher and GNAC, are up next with

Laugh While You Can,

a graceful, rich reflection

of how some things don’t make sense -

‘Everything isn’t always where it ought to be, some things should be left where you left them, tears where there should be laughter, smiles where there should be fear’.

It’s the small things – just that synth attack at the right time, the bassline biding its time until the song is ready for it….

all provide that extra richness that envelops me.


St Christopher’s Burnout Sound ‘23

is an




through their 2008 single.

It’s infectious, vulnerable and uplifting.

I may be way off centre with this, but at times, Glenn Melia’s vocals kinda remind me of the lower range of Billy McKenzie.

Very tender, very poetic and very charismatic.


Sepiasound is the name for Paul Stewart’s instrumentalist compositions.

Paul was in Blueboy who signed to Sarah in the early 90’s.

June In Her Eyes is a cinematic soundscape from his

EP of the same name

that is at times a

harbinger of distant sadness,

at times verdant and fertile.


Buy. Listen. Check out their other work.

And then come tell me if you think that they haven't written a great song since 1994.

Release date April 5th 2024.


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