Trembling Blue Stars: C/D, S/D?

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I can't believe there isn't a thread about them yet. Don't they deserve one? Anyway, just got a super expensive LTM reissue of "Lips That Taste Of Tears" about a week ago. I liked the St. Etienne-ish "Rainbow" but the rest of the album bored me a little. So what else should I get? Looking for the more poppy upbeat stuff. And let's not forget: C/D? Twee haters, please abstain.

daavid, Thursday, 14 February 2008 09:25 (twelve years ago) link

For my money, pick up Her Handwriting and stop there. Maybe the singles comp, A Certain Evening Light if you really dig them. The first two albums were good albums with great singles. Everything since then has been dull albums with good singles. After The Seven Autumn Flowers I said to myself "no more" so I haven't heard the latest one.

I could see an argument for all their albums being equally good and my tastes being what changed though.

f. hazel, Thursday, 14 February 2008 10:07 (twelve years ago) link

I gave up on TBS around "Alive to every smile", bought the occasional single since, then picked up last year's album and was surprised at how good it was. I'd agree that the best bets are "Her handwriting" and the singles comp.

Rob M v2, Thursday, 14 February 2008 10:22 (twelve years ago) link

And if you want poppier, more upbeat than Lips That Taste of Tears you want The Field Mice. I don't think albumwise that TBS get any more poppier or upbeat than that.

f. hazel, Thursday, 14 February 2008 10:30 (twelve years ago) link

good! that's easy, thanks hazel, rob

daavid, Thursday, 14 February 2008 10:43 (twelve years ago) link

Broken by Whispers and Alive to every smile are both dead underrated. I have given up on them more or less, now though.

flowersdie, Thursday, 14 February 2008 12:37 (twelve years ago) link

as with Field Mice:

miserable Wratten = good music
happy Wratten = boring music

henry s, Thursday, 14 February 2008 13:27 (twelve years ago) link

alive to every smile was the best one though. i like all of their albums. there isn't a lot of variety but they have tried a few new things on the most recent one and it's better than the previous one. i'd say 'broken by whispers' is the one to avoid although the eps that came out around it were great.

ranking-alive, her handwriting, last holy writer, lips that taste of tears, seven autumn flowers, broken by whispers

keythkeyth, Thursday, 14 February 2008 23:24 (twelve years ago) link

i sort of know tbs via proxy but i'm not completely familiar with their music other than what my gf has played for me. good stuff!

omar little, Thursday, 14 February 2008 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

I bought an album by them once. It was the worst decision of my life, by quite some way.

But "Abba on the Jukebox" is still a thing of wonder. In many ways, it's the apotheosis of its genre, the final confirmation of all those early Reynoldsisms about tweepop as rebellion into the old world: all those references to the forgotten fringes of this country, that very specific sense of desperately unhip and unconsumerised places, everything rock culture cringes at, has almost squeezed out of existence. Really, it defines the territory so much that it had nowhere left to go and the rest of us had nothing left to say about it: in fact I'm not even sure you need anything else.

February Callendar, Friday, 15 February 2008 01:09 (twelve years ago) link

what is it about tweepop that draws these dismissive replies? almost as if someone is forced to reaffirm something lest they be accused of lacking it. i have not quite ever seen the overarching appeal of abba on the jukebox, it is likable enough but there are several much better songs from the album which it came.

keythkeyth, Friday, 15 February 2008 02:42 (twelve years ago) link

heaven knows

abba.. is very far from my favourite TBS. her handwriting is probably the best album overall but i think last holy writer and the two EPs released in the last few years are some of his strongest TBS moments. helen reddy and idyllwild are in wratten's top ten songs as far as i'm concerned

electricsound, Friday, 15 February 2008 03:01 (twelve years ago) link

also <3 beth arzy's voice

electricsound, Friday, 15 February 2008 03:03 (twelve years ago) link

on the other side of the wratten coin, i've been listening to quite a bit of northern picture library lately, particularly alaska, and while it's all very pretty and dreamy it's also dull as dishwater. and to think at the time i was baffled why sarah didn't want to release their stuff..

electricsound, Friday, 15 February 2008 03:13 (twelve years ago) link

I like "All Eternal Things"

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 15 February 2008 03:27 (twelve years ago) link

I bought a bunch of their albums thinking it would be a good investment for whenever i got dumped. unfortunately, i haven't been dumped yet, and it all rings hollow. a waste.

Alive to Every Smile did have some classic tunes though.

Gukbe, Friday, 15 February 2008 21:24 (twelve years ago) link


i've never really been able to relate to wratten's tales of heartbreak. dude is clearly way more capable of obsessing over lost love than i ever will be. lucky he writes decent tunes then eh

electricsound, Saturday, 16 February 2008 00:25 (twelve years ago) link

keythkeyth: I think tweepop rubs off against middle-class guilt. it reminds a certain set of people of what they're on the run from every moment of their lives, what they cannot face in their own past. that is a very specifically British sociocultural process, and one which I don't think can be fully understood by those who don't know Britain: the genre inspires the level of antagonism it does because it's reminding followers of other popcults of where they came from.

and, as I said, it's never a genre I felt greatly determined to explore. I tried once and got my fingers burnt: a kneejerk reaction, maybe, but there always seemed so much else out there. that one single seemed to go beyond its confines, which is why it still stands out for this outsider.

February Callendar, Saturday, 16 February 2008 02:53 (twelve years ago) link

I sold Broken by whispers because I found it too depressing.

God, Trembling Blue Stars, now theres a band I've neglected over the last few years. I guess you have to be picky and choosy, but theres some real gems there, so says I who loves most any melancholic music.

mehlt, Saturday, 16 February 2008 04:27 (twelve years ago) link

The song 'Headlights' off of.. Lips that Taste of Tears? is really wonderful.

derrrick, Saturday, 16 February 2008 07:20 (twelve years ago) link

I've never come across anything they've done as good as "Ghost of an Unkissed Kiss".

Noodle Vague, Saturday, 16 February 2008 10:48 (twelve years ago) link

See, that's the point where I turned off them actually.

Rob M v2, Saturday, 16 February 2008 11:01 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

1st quick pass listen to the new album, no departure, a good solid effort, lovely production

not in love with cath carroll's guest spot, would rather beth sing it tbqh

pies madness (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 02:13 (nine years ago) link

so is this just the last TBS album or is bobby quitting music?

pies madness (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 02:14 (nine years ago) link

was the last one really five years ago? he's looking not great these days. maybe he needs a burger.

keythhtyek, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 02:57 (nine years ago) link

TLHW was '07

pies madness (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 02:58 (nine years ago) link

yeah perhaps a happy life is making him ill

pies madness (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 02:59 (nine years ago) link

not that he ever looked particularly robust

pies madness (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 03:00 (nine years ago) link

three weeks pass...

so is this just the last TBS album or is bobby quitting music?

still not sure about this. ending with 'no more sad songs' is pretty telling..

eddy current facebook friends status updates (electricsound), Wednesday, 27 October 2010 04:56 (nine years ago) link

they're going chill wave.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 27 October 2010 17:30 (nine years ago) link

it's "chillwave", one word. show some respect.

heard they are gonna do a '77 punk revival thing. bobby rotten.

dude (del), Wednesday, 27 October 2010 17:40 (nine years ago) link

i'm pretty sure the canonical spelling of chill wave is illegible, since it originally appeared on a polaroid taken in 1977 and left on the beach for 30 years.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 27 October 2010 18:01 (nine years ago) link

hmm another EP is coming out after the album so clearly not a complete retirement i guess

Sniiiiip! (electricsound), Monday, 1 November 2010 04:18 (nine years ago) link

two months pass...

i've decided "fast trains" is their best album since the debut

whole lotta cocorosie (electricsound), Friday, 21 January 2011 05:12 (nine years ago) link

four months pass...

correspondence ep is rather 'experimental'

swagenda (electricsound), Monday, 30 May 2011 03:19 (nine years ago) link

i hope it doesn't mean more occasional keepers stuff, that stuff wasn't good at all

swagenda (electricsound), Monday, 30 May 2011 03:20 (nine years ago) link

this is always a band i think i like but dont

ILX WORST POSTER → (Lamp), Monday, 30 May 2011 03:25 (nine years ago) link


swagenda (electricsound), Monday, 30 May 2011 03:35 (nine years ago) link

well i mean

ILX WORST POSTER → (Lamp), Monday, 30 May 2011 03:48 (nine years ago) link

i still haven't listened all of the way through the last record. maybe i will now since i don't need to get up for work tomorrow, but then it is kind of long. when's the keris howard solo stuff come out anyways? i didn't like occasional keepers at all either. too ponderous when the wake people took over. first two songs are great:)

keythhtyek, Monday, 30 May 2011 04:47 (nine years ago) link

hen's the keris howard solo stuff come out anyways?

was unaware this was happening, those last couple of interviews made it seem like he was quitting music too

swagenda (electricsound), Monday, 30 May 2011 04:53 (nine years ago) link

What's wrong with occasional keepers? 'Factory Records' is a marvel, very beautiful. I can't fault Trembling Blue Stars, since first finding the Field Mice in high school, I have always followed them. The new TBS is ace, though I like him best when he's channeling Robert Smith.

JacobSanders, Monday, 30 May 2011 05:33 (nine years ago) link

i thought i remember reading in a matinee records update sometime after the last harper lee release that keris howard was going new order like on hal and was doing solo stuff. of course this was a long time ago. maybe he has changed his mind.

keythhtyek, Monday, 30 May 2011 05:44 (nine years ago) link

What's wrong with occasional keepers?

ok well i've only heard the first album but imo it's the most boring thing either of them have been involved in, just never warmed to it at all. perhaps i should check out the second one

swagenda (electricsound), Monday, 30 May 2011 05:51 (nine years ago) link

The second occasional keepers is better than the first. I remember the first hardly existing, kind of pretty, but I can't remember anything but faint ambient sounds. The second one I've played a lot.

JacobSanders, Monday, 30 May 2011 06:01 (nine years ago) link

i can't work out if the backing vocal on the kidney bingos cover is david feck or caesar

buttwalk (electricsound), Monday, 6 June 2011 03:18 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

Only just recently discovered them. 'Her Handwriting' is fantastic. Could listen to 'What Can I Say To Change Your Heart' on repeat for way longer than would be good for me.

Which album do I need to check out next?

I for one am (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 28 July 2011 17:16 (nine years ago) link

i would rate em

her handwriting > fast trains & telegraph wires > seven autumn flowers > last holy writer > lips that taste of tears = broken by whispers = alive to every smile

not that there's much to separate any of them, but i do find the shinkansen period (save for HH) hard going at times.

Who? Well, I've never heard of Mogwai. (electricsound), Thursday, 28 July 2011 22:48 (nine years ago) link

Thanks man, will follow you rating of the albums!

I for one am (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 28 July 2011 22:53 (nine years ago) link

I only ever had HH, Lips, Broken, and Alive. I've obviously missed out on a lot of their better stuff.

Gukbe, Thursday, 28 July 2011 22:54 (nine years ago) link

I've often said that Bob W picked up where Bob S left off.

Austin, Saturday, 8 February 2014 04:19 (six years ago) link

In all seriousness Trembling Blue Star/Field Mice/Northern Picture Library hold a special place with me, they've been my long walk music, then cross country driving soundtrack and at certain times my companion in heartbreak. I was listening today to The Orchids and Even As We Speak and was thinking about the Sarah version of electronica and how much I used to hate it when it first came out. I think it was Screamadelica that changed my feelings, and I started liking the Field Mice's electronic songs. I wonder how other people feel the electronic pop of Sarah records has aged?

JacobSanders, Saturday, 8 February 2014 04:39 (six years ago) link

i think ian catt's less 'fashionable' production (probably a feature of his budgets more than anything else) has helped a lot of that stuff avoid some of the more dated sounds of the period

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Saturday, 8 February 2014 04:47 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

idyllwild from the last holy writer is a great song

display name changed. (amateurist), Monday, 2 June 2014 14:38 (six years ago) link

Yes it is!!

JacobSanders, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 06:15 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

not bobby related but beth's latest thing the luxembourg signal has a new album out and it's p good lightly gazey indie

also the remixed version of the first aberdeen single they have up on their bandcamp for free has cleaned up incredibly well

outback bumfuc (electricsound), Wednesday, 1 October 2014 23:54 (five years ago) link

also the lightning in a twilight hour album is apaz in the can, i assume elefant is probably doing it

outback bumfuc (electricsound), Wednesday, 1 October 2014 23:55 (five years ago) link

I can't wait.

austinato (Austin), Thursday, 2 October 2014 00:33 (five years ago) link

Also, they are listed on the Elefant site:

But the link just redirects to the front page for now.

austinato (Austin), Thursday, 2 October 2014 00:37 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

God, I love this man.

(and this new song)

austinato (Austin), Sunday, 30 November 2014 19:25 (five years ago) link

hmm so it's TBS with the field mice bassist back on board.

i always assumed 'cold colours' was about annemari but seeing her back on board makes me wonder..

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Sunday, 30 November 2014 21:27 (five years ago) link

They're making me wait until next February for a short EP.

I think he stopped writing about AnneMari around Broken By Whispers/Alive to Every Smile-era TBS.

'Cold Colours' though — great track.

austinato (Austin), Monday, 1 December 2014 03:16 (five years ago) link

wratten does amazing things with his pretty limited songwriting and vocal range. have loved his work for 20+ years.

I dunno. (amateurist), Monday, 1 December 2014 04:27 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

New EP is all kinds of great.

austinato (Austin), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 03:36 (five years ago) link

I've only listened to the first track. I like it.

Took me forever to realize it's not a TBS record. I'm getting tired of all the Bobby Wratten monikers.

daavid, Wednesday, 11 February 2015 04:30 (five years ago) link

what's his new monicker?

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 04:37 (five years ago) link

Lightning In A Twilight Hour

daavid, Wednesday, 11 February 2015 05:05 (five years ago) link

egads, that's terrible. but i'll give it a listen.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 05:25 (five years ago) link

lineup is more field mice than tbs (well really a mixture of both)

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 06:33 (five years ago) link

The Fiona Appled Mice

erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:32 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

Album out today.

First listen right now. . .

austinato (Austin), Tuesday, 21 April 2015 01:14 (five years ago) link

Initial thoughts after one listen. . .

It's a really quiet, slow album. Not in a bad way, it just is.

There's a few ambient tracks spread about that make the whole thing cohesive, but also kind of not, as they feel less like bridges between the proper songs and more like interruptions. It would have been nice to relegate that stuff to one section of the album.

There's not really a big knockout song like there has been on his past few releases. There's no 'Cold Colours', no 'Sunrise on Mars' and no 'November Starlings.' Instead it's more of a "takin' it steady" kind of album where acoustic guitars dominate.

Kind of overwhelmed with excitement right now, so I'll need more listens (away from the computer), but it does strike me as a bit of a disappointment right away.

Still good though.

austinato (Austin), Tuesday, 21 April 2015 02:01 (five years ago) link

six months pass...

Gearing up for my end of the year favorites mix and this has opened up to me as one of the best songs on said mix:

Album has just gotten better and better as the weather has cooled off. I knew it would, but I was just ready to be wowed right away. Shoulda known better with old Bobby.

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 04:12 (four years ago) link

ppl in this thread hating on broken by whispers make me sad, it's a great record

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 9 November 2015 04:26 (four years ago) link

Oh man, I love Broken by Whispers. It's got 'Fragile' on it!

But this is all coming from a guy who thinks Wratten's never written a bad, let made a whole bad album. So, grains of salt and whathaveyou.

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 04:33 (four years ago) link

*bad song, let alone

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 04:34 (four years ago) link

JacobSanders, Monday, 9 November 2015 05:39 (four years ago) link

I love those Occasional Keepers records! Really like the Future Conditional features that Bob did as well:

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 05:44 (four years ago) link

The last song from that Future Conditional record called Your Love Leaves Me Colder is really nice. I still need to pick up Luxembourg Signal record.

JacobSanders, Monday, 9 November 2015 05:51 (four years ago) link

Jeez, I didn't even know about that one. Thanks for the heads up!

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 06:04 (four years ago) link

Those first two albums. . . Damn.

Northern Picture Library were better, and we need more discussion on that era, but. . . Damn. Those first two TBS albums are un-mess-with-able.

I care about Bobby. I hope he's still chugging on. I hope he quits writing sad songs, someday.

monster mash, Monday, 9 November 2015 12:44 (four years ago) link

Well, as stated above, he's Lightning In A Twilight Hour now. The new songs are no less slow, but more observational, less about relationships.

And you are indeed correct that the Northern Picture Library stuff is very mighty.

Austin, Monday, 9 November 2015 12:49 (four years ago) link

three weeks pass...
one year passes...

Not sure how I missed this last year, but I'm hearing it now and I'm predictably falling in love.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 7 July 2017 18:26 (three years ago) link

that's a good call. krzysztof kieslowski's lullaby is a gem. the guitar and the voice haven't changed a bit. why does he change the name all the time? he does not seem to want people to listen to his music.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 7 July 2017 20:46 (three years ago) link

It's so good.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 7 July 2017 21:10 (three years ago) link

This is nice:

djh, Saturday, 15 July 2017 22:15 (three years ago) link

Yeah, I ordered one from Boomkat. Still waiting for it to arrive.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Saturday, 15 July 2017 22:44 (three years ago) link

Should have shopped at Norman.

djh, Wednesday, 19 July 2017 19:41 (three years ago) link

Boomkat was the only place that still had it in stock. Tapeworm site says limited to 100, so I jumped on it.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:49 (three years ago) link

So, I'm an idiot. The tape arrived in the mail today and I now have realized that I donated my cassette deck when I moved from Reno two years ago.

I have the tape and no way to hear it.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 21 July 2017 20:16 (three years ago) link

I knew I wasn't out of options! My housemate has an old CD/Cassette/AMFM mini boombox and that's got a 1/8" headphone jack on it of course. So, I dove into my box of wires and cords (don't all of us have one of those tangled messes somewhere that we inexplicably hang onto?) and I'm now recording it into my hard drive.


he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:46 (three years ago) link

'My Own Antarctica' is an incredible piece of music. I can relate with it almost too closely.

"I saw nothing wrong with feeling I did not exist, had somehow disappeared. I don't know what to do. Now it seems I can still be seen."

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Saturday, 22 July 2017 16:00 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

heh, Les T. in the comments repping for the Philippines

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 24 November 2018 04:04 (one year ago) link

Not sure it ever occurred to me to look for live TBS/Field Mice/Etc. stuff on the internet, but it's there!

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 24 November 2018 05:06 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

^^^I love that clip Josh. That is historic footage in Andy's book.

Reviving to say that the Luxembourg Signal is about to release their third album in a few weeks time. The pre-release single is on Bandcamp and I'm finding it to be very promising for the rest of the record:

I thought their first album was just okay, but Blue Field was a huge improvement and damn fine record. I knew they had something coming, but I didn't know when. The main thing this means in my book is that new music from Bob Wratten is probably also shortly forthcoming. And that's kind of exactly what Andy needs at this point; and I daresay the entire world as well. It's been too long that such a pure and fascinating musician like him has been ignored. I'd personally consider him someone like the Mark Hollis of jangle. His music has been very important to me for so many years and his more sporadic release schedule over the past few only seems to carry with it more weight with each release. He's moving in on his longest ever gap between releases, so needless to say, the anticipation is very high.

Have already pre-ordered the Luxenbourg Signal record with the hopes that it will be as good as the pre-release tune is; but also with the hopes that Mr. Wratten is going to make a cameo like he did on their last album. Exciting times.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 12 September 2020 05:41 (one week ago) link

Also, it now has come to Andy's attention that the band has set up an official instagram account:

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Thursday, 17 September 2020 23:08 (five days ago) link

Nice, I liked those first two from LS. Check out Beth Arzy's band Jetstream Pony's recent s/t album if you haven't already; probably the album I listened to most this summer. Been meaning to post about it but feels a little too slick for the rolling indie pop thread and too pop for the new shoegaze thread.

early rejecter, Friday, 18 September 2020 02:00 (four days ago) link

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