The Charlottes – in session for John Peel – Recorded at Maida Vale – September 21, 1989 – broadcast October 18 – BBC Radio 1 –
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The Charlottes in their first and only session for John Peel to start off the week. Sadly, another in a seemingly endless succession of bands that started off strong, but didn’t go the distance and split. In the case of The Charlottes, a little under two years.
But they were favorites of John Peel, who did much to support and promote the band, including this session, recorded at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios on September 21, 1989 and broadcast on October 18th.
The band formed in 1988, initially as The Giant Polar Bears, comprising Petra Roddis (vocals), Graham Gargiulo (guitar), David Fletcher (bass), and Simon Scott (drums). After a debut single “Are You Happy Now?” in 1988, their debut album, Love Happy, was issued by The Subway Organization the following year. The band then signed to the Cherry Red label. In 1990, drummer Simon Scott left to join Slowdive and the band split up after releasing a second album, Things Come Apart, in 1990 and now records as a solo artist. Gargiulo later formed a new band, Barefoot Contessa.
From Cambridgeshire, England, the Charlottes were one of the first shoegaze bands — beaten to the punch only by My Bloody Valentine and quite possibly Lush — that released a single (Are You Happy Now?) and an EP (Lovehappy) before the dawn of the style’s golden years of 1990 and 1991. The Charlottes were actually shoegaze of the harder-driving variety, closer to the more aggressive side of Lush and Bleach than early Slowdive’s billowy textures.
In case you missed them the first time around, or would like to be reminded, here is that solitary session for John Peel from 1989. You may want to crank this up – it is Monday, after all.