Tag Archives: a turntable friend

BOYRACER: More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate (LP, A Turntable Friend TURN 20, 1994)

Boyracer - More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate

This is a great album and one that I listened to very regularly soon after its release. I was a big fan of Boyracer in the 1990s, as they bridged a gap between the indie-pop and the noisy weirdo music that I was simultaneously listening to a lot of at the time. They were more on the indie-pop side of things, but not afraid to veer into odd feedback or song structures on a whim, and this resulted in no end of catchy-yet-strange songs. This record is vibrant clear red vinyl, and the sleeve also contains an A4 photocopied insert that includes, as so many records did at the time, the actual postal address of one of the band – no PO Box number or faceless URL here.

That postal address was a house on Spofforth Hill in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, which was also the street you’ll see in contact addresses on early Hood records. Hood, who towards the late 1990s got signed to Domino and for a brief period were ‘almost a big thing’, were very closely allied to Boyracer – as well as members living opposite eachother on Spofforth Hill, for a time they shared and swapped band members and appeared jointly on no end of compilation records and tapes (including several that I released myself). For a time I wished I lived on Spofforth Hill, to be part of what seemed like a very vibrant mini-scene centred around a single street: I was in touch by letter with members of both Hood and Boyracer for some years, and between them they furnished me with a lot of musical knowledge in the form of mixtapes, recommendations and through their own music.

A Turntable Friend was an indie-pop record label based in Germany, who were a bit of a ‘German Sarah records’ – indeed, Boyracer released records on Sarah as well as A Turntable Friend. There’s a good discography of everything released by the label on the TweeNet website, which also includes a not-comprehensive-but-not-bad list of Boyracer releases.

The inner sleeve of my copy of More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate is signed by Stewart and Nicola of the band. This makes me happy today, as it did on the day the record arrived after my purchasing it directly from that house on Spofforth Hill.

THE GRAVY TRAIN: St George’s Way (7″, A Turntable Friend TURN 13, 1993)

The Gravy Train - St George's Way

Now, this isn’t a record from the hip edgy band The Gravy Train!!! [exclamation marks theirs, not mine] who have released stuff quite recently on Kill Rock Stars. No, this is the early-to-mid-nineties Newcastle-based (I think) indie-pop outfit, who don’t have the exclamation marks but who have enough of a sense of Manic! Pop! Thrills! to not need them so explicitly stated. Despite the gritty kitchen sink drama/dour working men’s club feel created by the photograph on the cover – anybody know where this photo is from, by the way? – The Gravy Train were chirpy and cheeky. Not full-on hairslides and crayons indie pop, but more part of a refined, melodic, straightforward style of music that was one of several strands that emerged from the post-C86 album underground, and continued to get on with things whilst the world went mad for ‘indie’ in the sense of Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses and so on. Not that I have anything against Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses and so on, you understand. But in the late 1980s those bands and their peers inadvertantly catapulted the word ‘indie’ into British mainstream consciousness and it very quickly lost all meaning, to become a term applied to musical style rather than any movement relating to independence, politics or art. Now, of course, we’ve got ‘indie’ bands on huge major labels, called ‘indie’ on the basis of holding a guitar and having a haircut*.

I wonder what happened to A Turntable Friend Records? They were a German-based label, operating out of a place called Duisburg, and they were responsible for – I think – around 25 releases; mostly 7″ records, and a couple of albums. I don’t think that anything they released wasn’t worth hearing. They also held up the much-loved habits of the indie pop record label – mono labels on the records featuring photocopied-looking imagery and Letraset-looking type, and photocopied inserts containing lists of other releases, contact addresses and so on. Every record should come with at least one insert, I think.

*Of course, it was the popularity of this late-80s indie music that turned me into the obsessive that I am now. So it had its purpose. Hah!