Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Groovey Records Get Reissued

Groovey Records got a jump on the Manchester scene 20 years or so before it was cool and it became the Madchester scene. Culling intriguing talents from around the city, the label offered a far out take on rock and roll that must have been stunning to hear in the late 70's and early 80's. The albums that made up the label's offerings have long been out of print and sought after British pop fans for ages. Now, thanks to the fine folks at Drag City who have recently re-released several of Groovey's albums we get to hear three of those brilliant works by a diverse roster of talent.

Free Agents were the first band to put out a record on Groovey and while this album literally has no grooves on it, it does contain some very interesting sounds. Featuring tape loops, feedback, ambient noise and the sound of robots taking over the world, 3.33 is a study in white noise come to life. This is a record that will annoy, disturb, and quite possibly scare you. It's brilliant stuff. Originally named after the sales price, the album does fetch a bit more than 3 pounds now days.

Pete Shelley, member of the seminal band Buzzcocks, always had a soft spot for synth pop in his solo career, but his first album for Groovey was anything but pop related. Oh no, Shelley took his keyboards and made all kind of ambient buzz saw like noises with them and got something that belongs w/the Fripp/Eno/Nelson catalog. It's experimental synthetic sounds does get a bit grating over the two songs, and quite honestly anyone could have played the simplistic songs here as they've got a lot of sustain. Thank god Shelley went on to be in the Buzzcocks; the world is a better place because of it and this services as a nice prologue.

If heaven had a free jam with angels singing wildly then it probably included Sally Smmit and Her Musicians. Hangahar is a crazy atonal and unearthly recording that featured Sally Smmit's voice soaring to the sky with crazy musical accompaniment played by Pete Shelley and the Cookson brothers in the background. This is crazy stuff that at times almost sounds like primal scream therapy gone wrong. Angelic and evil at the same time Sally and her musicians quite likely scared the devil out of the Groovey staff with this recording.

All these releases and others are now being painstakingly re-released by Drag City who have made an awesome effort at keeping these recordings pristine. If you like ambient, experimental music these are seminal releases by a seminal label that will set your imagination free.

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