Guest Post: Trixie's Big Red Motorbike present Marine Girls and Grab Grab The Haddock

It is with great honour that I present this guest post written by Mark Litten, brains behind one of my all-time favourite bands, Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Originally active between 1981-85 and reformed in 2012, Trixie's were one of the most intriguing, playful and melodically exciting bands of not only the 'twee'/'C86' scene, but of the 80s itself. I could write for days about this band - in fact I may one day write an essay of my own. But for now, I shall allow Mark to present two of his favourite bands from the 'C86' era. 

Mark Litten (Trixie's Big Red Motorbike) presents...
Marine Girls and Grab Grab The Haddock:

I want to write something about a very special but overlooked band from the early eighties. Grab Grab The Haddock seemed to have discovered the blueprint for the 'C86' sound well before the NME worked out what was happening in the DIY indie world. Who were these people? Read on... you might get a surprise!

Marine Girls were perhaps the single most important influence on what was to become known as "indiepop". Gina Hartman, Tracey Thorn, Jane Fox and her sister Alice came up with a unique melodic and minimalist sound based on prominent vocals, jangly guitars, tuneful basslines and hand-held percussion. Their first album "Beach Party" from 1981 is now recognised as one of the cornerstones of the genre. Marine Girls disbanded in 1983, due to musical differences. According to Alice, Tracey wanted to write songs for estate agents, while Jane wanted to throw ping-pong balls onto a xylophone.

All was not lost for their fans, however. In 1984 Jane got together with Lester Noel (later of Beats International fame), and with Alice on vocals, Grab Grab The Haddock were born. With Steve Galloway on second guitar, a drummer (Michelle?) and friends playing various other instruments, their sound was now fully fleshed-out indiepop.

Speaking in 1996, Jane said; "It was a hugely different experience to playing with the Marine Girls, and actually, playing live with Grab Grab The Haddock could be tremendous fun".


P.S. It was between the Marine Girls split and GGTH that Jane recorded with my band, on a single and a John Peel session. For contractual reasons she is credited as Jane Fish!

Trixie's Big Red Motorbike -

Resonance FM 25/9/13

Episode number four featured music from Ghana, Ethiopia and the Isle Of Wight. The continuity of playing an Ethiopian track each week is one that I hope to maintain - although the stream of last night's show actually cuts out the Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù piece and instead plays two and a half minutes of the previous show!

Dig That Treasure (25/9/13) tracklisting:
Jib Kidder - Windowdipper
J.A. Adofo & City Boys International - Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - Norman & Narcissus
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - Fairytales
James Rabbit - George Gershwin
Robbie Basho - Orphan's Lament
Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù - Mother's Love

J.A. Adofo & City Boys International - Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro

Following my recent obsession with Ethiopian music, I decided to explore the music of another African country: Ghana. 'Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro' is a joyous groove with jittery guitars, sunny synthesisers and a horn section. Incredibly rare and with very little detail online, this is a rhythmic and optimistic highlife track to be treasured - and a fine introduction to the music of Ghana, too!

Label: n/a
Year: early-80s
Genre: Highlife, Pop

Ephrem Tamiru - Aynua

There is something incredibly rich and deft about Ethiopian music, especially that of the 1970s and 80s. The distinctive sound is packed with vibrant guitar, stunning grooves and polyrhythms, and most strikingly the harmonious vocal style. Ephrem Tamiru's 'Aynua' is just that. From 1977 - when the rather contrary punk movement was picking up speed in the West - 'Aynua' is a joyous jam, epitomising everything that was just so right about Ethiopian music of the time!

Label: n/a
Year: 1977
Genre: Jazz, African Folk

Resonance FM 18/9/13

Last night was the third episode of Dig That Treasure on Resonance FM. Music included tracks from diverse regions such as Romania, Iceland and - of course - Ethiopia. There were also newer tracks from The Derevolutions and Cooltombs, as well as an Arthur Russell side-project and a 70s family movie soundtrack.

Dig That Treasure (18/9/13) tracklisting:
Bad News Bears in Breaking Training OST - Life Is Looking Good
The Derevolutions - Yell It Out!
Dinosaur L - No, Thank You
Cooltombs - Feel It In Your Bones

Björk - Musastiginn

Ephrem Tamiru - Aynua
Aurelian Andreescu - Oameni

Guest Post: Steppe People present Second Summer Mix

In this exciting guest mix, Eric Carlson - guitarist and singer of Steppe People - has curated a collection of punk, psychedelic and experimental tracks, from the likes of Pere Ubu, Steaming Coils and Null & Void. The mix acts as both an upbeat post-summer collection, but also as a reflection on the influences of the band.

Steppe People present...
Second Summer Mix:

Side A
Suburban Lawns - "Janitor"
Pere Ubu - "Breath"
Steaming Coils - "Singing Notice"
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - "Egyptian Cream (Live)"
Exile - "Kiss You All Over"
Side B
Dwight Twilley Band - "Could Be Love"
Green On Red - "Illustrated Crawling"
Cheap Trick - "On Top of The World"
Null & Void - "The Motorcycle Song"
Black Flag - "Spray Paint"
The Business - "Out in the Cold"
The Beach Boys - "Mama Says"

Profile: KEEL HER

Brighton's KEEL HER has an overwhelmingly large back catalogue for someone aged just twenty. Tracks range from angsty punk and sugary indie pop to cosmic electronica experiments, eventually accumulating in a full-length record to be released later this year. She's collaborated with DIY-god R. Stevie Moore, released records on the beloved labels Art Is Hard and Gnar Tapes and is slowly but surely building herself up as an iconic pop princess (except more Kim Deal than Britney).

Label: Art Is Hard/Gnar Tapes
Genre: Punk, Twee Pop, Electronica

Resonance FM 11/9/13

Last night was my second show on Resonance FM. I played music from Japan, Turkey and - of course - Ethiopia, as well as covers of Bobby Hebb and David Bowie classics. There was also a piece from the late great Steve Martland, as well as a duo of songs from current singer-songwriter Rosielou.

Dig That Treasure (11/9/13) tracklisting:
Timur Selçuk - Trafik
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - A Mere Form
Steve Martland - Principia
Aster Aweke - Segno
Rosielou - Tangerine
Rosielou - Blostma
Traffique - Sunny
Langley Schools Music Project - Space Oddity

Timur Selçuk - Trafik

I opened up last night's Resonance FM show with this glorious piece - a conceptual reinterpretation of a traffic jam. It's a whistle-led groove, held together by a funk bassline and victorious horn stabs, something that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Zappas' Hot Rats. Having known very little about Turkish music, this has made me want to dig a lot deeper!

Label: Balet Plak
Year: 1974
Genre: Classical, Jazz, Progressive Rock

Tonetta - Drugs Drugs Drugs

Since his wife left him in the 1980s, Tonetta has made intense sugar rush rock songs at home in Toronto. Now in his 60s and despite his reclusive lifestyle and utterly alienating persona, Tonetta's brand of coarse fuzz-pop has propelled him to 'internet sensation' status. He's gathered comparisons with Gary War and Ariel Pink, and been the star of articles on The Quietus and The Guardian and yet, somehow, he's remained a YouTube obscurity.

Label: Black Tent Press
Year: unknown
Genre: Experimental, Pop

Aster Aweke - Segno

Occasionally something unexpected completely blows you away. Most recently for me, it's the ecstatically shapeshifting horn-led introduction of Aster Aweke's 'Segno'. The following four and a half minutes have much to live up to, but manage to expand into a warm East-meets-West-hybrid groove. Aweke's vocals and the track's rhythmic hyperactivity are characteristic of Ethiopian music, but the production and instrumentation - electric piano, saxophone - are distinctive of glossy 80s synth-pop.

Label: Columbia
Year: 1989
Genre: African Folk, Synth-Pop, Afro-Pop

Superstar & Star - I Ain't Missing You

Superstar & Star is enough reason to start a blog like this. Trinidadian native Neville Lawrence embodies the DIY pop star; his wondrous synth-pop is suitably lo-fidelity, and his own personal brand shines through in his Caribbean accent and unique dress sense - including a shining space-age suit in the video for 'I Ain't Missing You'. He's found admirers in a younger generation of bedroom stars (Aldous R.H. and Kindness to name a couple) and as rumour has it, he's shared stages with Tupac and Snoop Dogg.

Label: self-released
Year: 1999
Genre: Synth-Pop, Soul, Experimental

Profile: Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle

Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle is a project I've been keeping an eye on for years now. His early releases - Cat In The Rain and Seven Deadly - were rickety experiments in bedroom pop but his sound has since developed into a more polished work. The Alabama student's music is mysterious, noisy but also excitingly fresh, channeling noise pop, electronica and a whole host of other influences into an inventive stew of pop.

Label: Happenin' Records
Genre: Noise Pop, Electronica, Alternative Rock

Resonance FM 4/9/13

Wednesday night was host to my radio debut, a 30 minute Dig That Treasure! show on Resonance FM. My speech delivery is nervy and there are mistakes, but I played some great tracks. Catch me next Wednesday at 19:30 on Resonance FM 104.4, or over at

Dig That Treasure (4/9/13) tracklisting:
Mort Garson - Swingin' Spathiphyllums
Yeshimebet Dubale - I Remember A Man
The Honeymoon Killers - Route Nationale 7
iji - Unimpressed By Mountains
Julian Lynch - Harmonium
Julian Lynch - Es's
Belle Du Soir - Quantum Leap
Bezunesh Bekele - Sintun Ayehu Bante

Belle Du Soir - Quantum Leap

This is a rare cut from Belle Du Soir, a mysterious Australian band who released only one EP - on the label M Squared in 1981. The 7" is a "twisted pop release", recorded on a 4-track and encapsulating the spirit of 1980s DIY recording. It's clumsy and playful, sweet and dark.

Label: M Squared
Year: 1981
Genre: New-Wave, Twee Pop, Post-Punk