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THE GROOVE FARM: The Big Black Plastic Explosion! (12″, Subway SUBWAY 19T, 1988)

The Groove Farm - The Big Black Plastic Explosion‘Big Black’ in this record’s title refers to the glory of a twelve-inch piece of vinyl, of course, and not to Steve Albini’s thundering industrial rock band. The Groove Farm were thundering, too, but in an altogether more indie-pop fashion. Thunderingly cute and perky. A twelve-inch record being released by an indie-pop band was a rare occurrence, such was the habit of bands involved in that scene for staying true to the seven inch or album formats. Remember, CDs were very rare things at this time, so I presume the extra cost of twelve inch production was a deterrent, unless it was to be used for a full album. I rememember the furore created when Sarah Records broke with tradition and released the Field Mice’s ‘Missing The Moon’ as a twelve inch, after nothing previously but seven inch singles. Quaint times.

The Groove Farm, of course, begat Beatnik Filmstars, who I loved. This record includes the song ‘Baby Blue Marine’, which I first heard on a compilation tape made for me by the kind fellow that used to run a label called Pillarbox Red Records. One side of the tape was named ‘100% flexi-pop explosion’, as I recall, and was made up of – as you may expect – indie-pop tracks recorded from all kinds of flexidisc releases. The wavering, scratchy nature of the recordings only made the songs sound better. ‘Baby Blue Marine’, on that tape, was taken from The Groove Farm’s split flexi with The Sea Urchins – the latter, of course, having the honour of being the first release from Sarah Records. See how all things are connected?

This record includes a cover version of ‘Red Dress’, originally recorded by Alvin Stardust, with whom The Groove Farm seemed to have an ongoing obsession: a later album of theirs, also on Subway Records, was named Alvin is King. Alvin Stardust would, of course, later appear in the very early days of TV teen soap Hollyoaks, as one of the original owners of the Dog In The Pond pub. He is best remembered though for this kind of thing:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMgjGyoXYGw]

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