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The June Brides The Spitz, 18th May 2002

Summer 1986, Kitten is in her bedroom listening to Janice Long's evening radio show, tape recorder on pause, poised to pounce on the button should anything that sounds even vaguely interesting be played. There's a lot of pouncing as Kitten is eager to fill her young ears with as much sparkling indie-pop as she can cram in, searching for new bands to adore.
Auntie Janice announces sadly that The June Brides have split up and puts on final single 'This Town' in their memory. Kitten starts recording. It's the first time she's actually heard anything by the band, despite them having been on her radar for some time now. She's heard they're a seminal janglin' pop band and one she needs to check out, so it's disappointing to learn they are no more. 'This Town' is wistful, melancholy, melodic, the tune twisting about as Phil Wilson sings 'This town, this town, always stays the same'. This appeals to Kitten, it sounds like where she lives.

Phil Wilson sings
A few month's later Kitten finds the June Brides' LP 'There Are 8 Million Stories…' It's endearingly ramshackle with hand-drawn sleeve and murkily printed insert. The music too is fairly roughly recorded, but every song is a catchy pop gem. Kitten's indie kid partner in crime Miss K gets a copy too, but her cover is purple whereas Kitten's is blue. Freaky! The songs are full of seriously jangling guitars. Kitten likes guitars that jangle. There are loads of bands she loves that make this noise, but The June Brides stand out because not only do they have a trumpet (like The Brilliant Corners) beefing up the tunes, but ooh, a viola. Back here in 2002, on their website, Phil Wilson retrospectively points out, 'Frank sawing away on the fiddle seemed very cool, like John Cale as we were all overdosing on Popism, The Velvets' Uptight book and Edie biogs'. This would have appealed to Kitten at the time as she too was in the process of reveling in exactly the same set of sixties underground cultural reference points.
sawing away on the fiddle

The record ends with a live take of 'Enemies', endearingly walking a fine line between hurtling along in an unhinged manner and collapsing into utter chaos. Best of all is the beginning during which drummer Brian fails to come in at the right time, leading to exasperated cries of 'Oh Brian!' something that enters Kitten and Miss K's indie folklore, becoming their catchphrase.

After the divorce, Phil Wilson goes on to pursue a solo career. Kitten and Miss K bemusedly encounter him, billed as 'The Electric Cowboy' supporting Primal Scream. (see Time Bombs) Kitten tapes his single 'Waiting For A Change' off the radio. Although its country direction is something of a departure from The June Brides sound, it still has the same heartwarming feel. More taping of a Janice Long session and then Phil disappears from view.

spiky pop
Fifteen years later, The June Brides are playing at The Spitz, looking considerably less fresh-faced, but playing their songs with a nervous vigour. Kitten's jingley-jangley indiepop distant past rushes back as soon as the first few chords are played. All the old favourites get aired, apart from 'Enemies' but then there's no Brian here to get the beginning wrong. Tonight we have Ciaran from That Petrol Emotion (another blast from Kitten's past) hitting the drums in time. There's a gaggle of adoring 'older' fans whose dancing becomes more and more frenzied as the tune zip past and their past unzips, along with some curious pop-kids and regular Strange Fruit/ Track & Field faces. Kitten can't wipe the simply thrilled smile off her face. The songs still sound fresh. Nobody seems to make that reverberating jangley sound anymore, whereas the mid-late eighties were bursting with bands like The Jasmine Minks, The Bodines, Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes. All creating songs with this added layer of ringing noise that fizzed beneath your skin and buzzed around your brain. Like an early press release for the band states. 'The June Brides play spiky pop!'
nervous vigour
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