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 In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: breno 
Date:   07-14-17 09:22

In the last couple of years, Cherry Red has really been killing it with genre compilations - they've pretty much taken up the baton that Rhino doesn't seem much interested in carrying anymore.

Back in 2016, they celebrated the 30th anniversary of C86 with a three disc box, one disc containing the entirety of the original C86 cassette, plus two discs of additional likeminded bands who didn't make the original. They followed that up last year with C87 and just released a third box in the series, C88. Very few of the bands included penetrated to my neck of the woods at the time, so it's nice to hear a lot of late-80s UK indie guitar bands that I never heard before. It's interesting to listen to and hear the roots of Shoegazing and Madchester falling into place.

Last year, they put out the pretty excellent Shoegazing retrospective Still In a Dream, five discs worth of early 90s Shoegazers and fellow travelers. It does have the same flaw that comps like this always have - rights issues prevent some major acts from being included. Thus, the most comprehensive Shoegazer retrospective to date is perversely missing My Bloody Valentine. But hell, anyone interested in the genre knows MBV. They're probably somewhat less familiar with the likes of Whipping Boy or Coaltar of the Deepers.

They just released Silhouettes and Statues, a five disc overview of the early history of Goth. They apparently couldn't clear the rights to Siouxsie & the Banshees, which is regrettable, but otherwise it's a pretty dandy collection of a genre I never came close to diving into the depths of. And some of it still strikes me as pretty silly, but a lot of the bands I'd never heard of before are pretty great. Not sure that I'd ever consider PIL, the Associates or Adam and the Ants to be Goth, but in the context of the comp, they were definitely Goth-adjacent for at least one album each.

Last year they released Action Time Vision, a chronicle of the indie side of the original UK punk explosion - four discs of the likes of the Unwanted, Fruit Eating Bears, the Newtown Neurotics, etc. Over a hundred mostly obscure tracks from the original punk era. The weird exclusion on this is The Buzzcocks - generally Spiral Scratch is regarded as the birth of the indie punk boom.

The Buzzcocks DO make it onto the massive seven disc history of Manchester music due to be released in the next week or so:

That's definitely on my to buy list once it's released.

Another first rate collection is Sharon Signs to Cherry Red, two discs of female indie artists from the late 70s/early 80s, most of whom I'd been previously unfamiliar with.

I was a little less enthusiastic about Close To The Noise Floor, a collection of early UK electronic music. It's one very excellent disc of early synth pop and two discs of people farting around aimlessly on synthesizers. But that's just my preference kicking in, I'm sure. It's likely a very excellent comp of experimental electronic music, but I'm not that big a fan of unstructured experimentation. There's a Euro-centric sequel due out shortly, but I'm undecided on whether to check that out or not. (The good thing is, most of these are pretty inexpensive on Amazon, so even something like this one that I was not all that thrilled with still set me back less than $20.)

Then there's this one, that I inexplicably have not picked up yet, which chronicles the early 80s UK psychedelic revival. The track list looks pretty tasty, the usual mix of people I know and love with bands I have never heard a not by, so not sure why I've never gotten it yet.

Anyhow, I am not on the Cherry Red payroll, but can enthusiastically vouch for the work they're putting into these comps. Except for the weird omissions (which have to be due to rights issues), the selection of artists is first rate, the packaging is swell and the liner notes very intelligent and informative. And they don't cost an arm and a leg, either.

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 Re: In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   07-14-17 10:55

I can second that. I don't have a lot of Cherry Red comps, but the ones I do are well-thought out and assembled. They do a good job on single artist comps and reissues, too.

I didn't know about Another Splash of Colour - that one's going on my list. I've been meaning to get Still in a Dream for ages. Interested in the goth box, too, though I've still got Rhino's ridiculously packaged (in a leather vest!) collection.

My understanding is that Warner Bros. finally gutted Rhino's staff and that the label's not much more than an imprint for Warners reissues now. But I could be wrong.

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 Re: In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: breno 
Date:   07-14-17 11:42

I also am interested in their 4 disc Mod Revival comp. Which omits the Jam, which is laugh out loud funny as well as frustrating. Come on, rights holders, it won't kill you to work a little bit with a well-intentioned label to get whatever issues there are ironed out for inclusion on these retrospectives (Unless Cherry Red really does think stuff like "Eh, if they're into the Mod revival, they've already got everything the Jam recorded." But I can't imagine that would be the case.)

Looks like the key bands missing from the UK psych revival comp are the Bunnymen, Dukes of the Stratosphear and the Teardrop Explodes, though solo Cope is included.

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 Re: In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: Familyman 
Date:   07-16-17 21:21

Thanks for the recommendations, Breno!

I'm definitely interested in the "Action Time Vision" and "Sharon Signs..." comps!

I've been much more familiar with Cherry Red's great ska ska imprints. Phoenix City has released phenomenal new albums from Rhoda Dakar of The Bodysnatchers/Special AKA and Sonic Boom Six:; while Pressure Drop has issued a great portion of Laurel Aitken's and Bad Manners' respective back catalogues: (the Aitken CDs in particular are excellent).

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 Re: In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: STEVE 
Date:   07-16-17 21:36

I've often wondered about cherry red records, 'who are these people and where do they get the money to release so many (complete) new wave obscurities, simply for my amusement?

It's quite incredible to think that the label continues to be an amazing source of historical releases (NEW band name alert!) by "THE OUT OF PRINT"

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 Re: In praise of Cherry Red compilations
Author: mats84 
Date:   07-17-17 15:10

I like their comps too - the C86, 87, 88 ones had a lot cool stuff on them and that's basically a lost period that a lot of UK stuff splintered out of that music.

I also must say I'm in favor of any label who also offers a full big hair retrospective of Samantha Fox and has the fun wit to name it Play It Again Sam: The Fox Box.

Post Edited (07-17-17 19:20)

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