my love affair with beatnik filmstars started in 1992 when i saw them supporting moose at, i think, the mauretania in bristol at one of a series of gigs promoted by the band under the name "heaven up here".
the beatniks arose from much-loved indie pop types the groove farm, an association they initially did their best to distance themselves from. this being 1992, the band were heavily into their effects pedals, as evidenced by the ep they released shortly after, "themes from foreverdrome". this was followed up by the consistently excellent "laidback & english" album. there then followed a shedload of 7" eps and albums, their sound evolving from rough-edged shoegazing to even rougher edged fall/pavement/guided by voices indie rock.
then they stopped. a couple of them did the quiet slo-core kyoko and a few other things. and then they came back.
and this year they've released their best album yet. for some time i've felt beatnik filmstars' songs were hampered by those rough edges and by their sheer volume - the sheer number of songs someimes getting a bit wearying, the lack of editing turning great albums into merely good. but finally they've shed both, somewhat. "purple fez" is slowed down, quieter, more pop sensible, more subtle, more sophisticated and, i'm very happy to say, more moose! (the band not the animal.) it's full of hummable tunes and delicate guitar moments, the fewer exploding energetic frenzied bursts now having a much greater impact as a result.
here are three of my favourites:
::: beatnik filmstars - scabbling
::: beatnik filmstars - hospital ward
::: beatnik filmstars - halo
you can buy some of the records direct from the band's website, or from emusic, amongst other places. one day i'll dig up my old photos of them and scan them in for everyone to get excited about.