The Pastels in session for John Peel tonight – Their second session. This one recorded on October 5, 1997 and broadcast on November 4. The Pastels were/are a band from Glasgow and were one of the key, if not pivotal figures in the Indie movement of the early 80s.
Their early records (1982–85) for record labels such as Whaam!, Creation, Rough Trade, and Glass Records, had a raw and immediate sound, melodic and amateur, which seemed at odds with the time. But an emerging fanzine culture identified with the group’s sound and image, and slowly The Pastels started to influence a new wave of groups, which interested the NME and other UK media.
The Pastels’ sound continued to evolve and, although part of the NME’s C86 compilation, in interviews they always sought to distance themselves from both twee and shambling developments. Their debut album, Up for a Bit With The Pastels (Glass, 1987; re-issue Paperhouse, 1991) moved from garage pop-punk through to ballads with synth orch splashes. In 2003, it was named the 37th best Scottish album by The Scotsman. The follow-up, Sittin’ Pretty (Chapter 22, 1989) was harder but less eclectic. Reports started to appear in the UK music press that the group was splitting up.
Eventually it became clear that a new line-up was configuring around original members, Stephen McRobbie and Annabel Wright (Aggi), now joined by Katrina Mitchell. This line-up is probably the best known of The Pastels’ various phases, and often featured either David Keegan (Shop Assistants) or Gerard Love (Teenage Fanclub) on guitar. They signed with the emerging Domino Records and completed two albums, Mobile Safari (1995) and Illumination (1997), which showed them developing an odd, particular sound – melancholic and awkward, but warm and engaging. A remix set featured My Bloody Valentine, Jim O’Rourke and others on the album, Illuminati (1998). Their next release was the soundtrack to David Mackenzie’s The Last Great Wilderness (Geographic, 2003), which, made for film or not, is one of the most completely realized Pastels albums. It featured a track recorded in collaboration with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. In 2006, The Pastels developed and completed new music for a theatre production by Glasgow-based company, 12 Stars. In 2009, The Pastels, in collaboration with Tenniscoats from Tokyo, Japan, released an album called Two Sunsets. In 2013 they released their first album proper in sixteen years, Slow Summits again through Domino.
The Pastels featured on the soundtrack for the film The Acid House (1998).
The story of The Pastels from their formation to the early 1990s features in 2017 documentary Teenage Superstars.
This session comes from their Illumination period – their fourth studio album, issued in September of 1997.
Crank it up and get ready for tomorrow (if you are inclined to celebrate the 4th).