Congratulations! Yippie-Aye-Yay-Yay! Bang! Marina Records celebrates its 25th anniversary with the release of Goosebumps, a deluxe compilation featuring 40 stunning tracks on two groovy compact discs. Goosebumps includes many unreleased cuts and exclusive contributions, as well as selected nuggets from the label catalogue. The splendid booklet features more than 100 photographs from the Marina archive. The strictly limited 3-LP edition comes with beautifully designed innersleeves and individually coloured wax. Orange - Yellow - Red.
Marina Records, founded by Stefan Kassel and Frank Lähnemann in Hamburg 25 years ago, is not only known for its distinctive sleeve design which has been praised in several cover art books, but also for its eclectic, unique artist roster and its devotion to classic pop songwriting. Their fabulous The In-Kraut compilation series even turned out to define a genre of its own. Kickstarting with Brent Cash’s pop smash Digging The Fault Line, Goosebumps features artists as diverse as exceptional Glasgow funk sextet Gazelle and Chris Thomson’s beloved chamber pop outfit The Bathers (who released three albums on Marina) from the early days of the label - to the lushly orchestrated Morricone-like soundscapes of Starless and jazz trumpeter Colin Steele, two recent signings. Steele gave the wonderful songs of The Pearlfishers the royal jazz treatment with exciting new arrangements. The Pearlfishers themselves recorded seven albums for Marina so far (their forthcoming album Love And Other Hopeless Things will be out in early 2019). Their songwriting has been compared to Paul McCartney, Jimmy Webb and Brian Wilson. They contribute the previously unreleased The Time Is Right. They also recorded a fantastic cover version of The Pale Fountains’ Southbound Excursion - under the nom de plume The Pale Fishers. Another exclusive on this compilation.
The Pale Fountains themselves are featured with The Norfolk Broads - a track from their Marina anthology Longshot For Your Love. Pale Fountains songwriter Michael Head makes a second appearance with Dragonfly from the Shack album Waterpistol. Released by Marina in 1995 - and rated by many critics as one of the best British albums ever. In 2001 Marina effectively initiated the reformation of sunshine pop legends The Free Design. McCarran Airport hails from their comeback album Cosmic Peekaboo. Only With You by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and I Wanna Pick You Up by Alex Chilton originate from Marina’s bestselling album “Caroline Now! The Songs Of Brian Wilson & The Beach Boys” (“Album of the month” in UNCUT).
Eccentric Orange Juice founding member James Kirk recorded his pop-tastic solo album You Can Make It If You Boogie for Marina in 2003. He joins Scottish super-group Port Sulphur on the groovy Orient Express. Felicity, one of his classic Orange Juice songs, is featured in a special, as yet unreleased “Party Mix”. Boogie! Two other Scottish music legends - both of Josef K fame - are featured on Goosebumps: Malcolm Ross and Paul Haig. Marina released the definite Josef K compilation Endless Soul and two solo albums by Malcolm Ross.
Chris Thomson of The Bathers also appears with an early, unreleased Friends Again track from 1981: Sweet Jane, a cover version of the Velvet Underground song (VU are part of the Marina universe, too - Sunday Morning is included on Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s compilation Autodiscographie). German sound innovator extraordinaire/soundtrack wizzard Peter Thomas is featured with the mind-blowing instrumental Multi-Kolored Mini-Skirts. He described his Marina anthology Moonflowers & Mini-Skirts as “the best documentation of my work ever”.
Goosebumps comes to a perfect close with Goodbye (She Quietly Says) by Cowboy Mouth. A killer rendition of a track from Frank Sinatra’s song cycle Watertown - exclusively recorded for this compilation and beautifully sung by Grahame Skinner (Hipsway/Jazzateers). “She reaches out across the table / looks at me / and quietly says goodbye...”. Sigh!
Goosebumps - 25 years of pure pop heaven. Marina - probably the best label in the world.
Release date: September 28, 2018 (MA 83) - 2-CD/3-LP/DL
Further info and soundfiles: www.marinarecords.com/ma83.html
Each order via Marina Mailorder comes with an exclusive set of six Goosebumps postcards.
"Beautiful life-affirming music” - HMV CHOICE
“Colin Steele can unfurl the Chet Baker arabesques” - THE TIMES
Marina Records proudly presents one of its most unusual and best releases yet: The music of The Pearlfishers, one of Marina’s most beloved acts, gets the royal jazz treatment in exciting new arrangements by the Colin Steele Quartet. Continuing a great jazz tradition - like Miles Davis with “Porgy & Bess” (’58) and Chet Baker with “Plays Lerner & Loewe” (’59) - the entire album is dedicated to the work of one composer - David Scott of The Pearlfishers. Colin Steele from Edinburgh, one of UK’s leading jazz trumpeters, adds his very own sound and interpretations to Scott’s songs and transports them into a brand new musical territory.
Steele has a long association with The Pearlfishers since he appeared as a studio musician on many of their albums. Steele: “I’d played on many sessions with The Pearlfishers before, and have a similiar taste in music with David Scott, with our shared love of Burt Bacharach, Beatles and Beach Boys. I was impressed by the depth of the beautiful melodies and could immediately hear my own voice playing these melodies - specifically using the ‘Miles Davis sound’ of the Harmon mute.”
The results are simply gorgeous. The album kickstarts with the joyous blast of “The Bluebells” - a song that originally appeared on the Pearlfishers album “Up With The Larks”. Colin Steele makes it swing and rise just beautifully. His warm, melodic playing and tone is also a perfect match for the wonderful “Everything Works Out”, one of Scott’s most enduring songs. “The Vampires Of Camelon” rides on a great piano riff reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi - brilliantly played by Dave Milligan, Steele’s long-time collaborator, who also arranged the album. Quite fabulously so.
"Ice Race" - from the Pearlfishers' seasonal album "A Sunflower At Christmas" - gets propelled to new heights by the powerhouse drumming of Alyn Cosker. It just grabs you and won't let go. "Gone In The Winter" is a superb showcase for the exceptional deep-toned, warm double-bass playing of Calum Gourlay. Just stunning.
The piano intro of "The Umbrellas of Shibuya" quite fittingly recalls the stripped-down beauty of Ryuichi Sakamoto. And then Steele breezes in with the fantastic melody and his imaginative playing. The album comes to a perfect close with the blissful coda "Swan Dreams" (originally from "Sky Meadows"). Simply sublime.
"Diving For Pearls" was recorded in just one day - like many of the great jazz albums - at Scotland's famous Castlesound studios (The Blue Nile, Orange Juice, R.E.M.). Masterfully engineered by Stuart Hamilton. You really get the "in-the-room-with-the-artist" feel. Dive, baby, dive!
The album will see its live debut performance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival on July 17.
Release date: July 28, 2017 (MA 82) - CD/LP/DL
Further info and soundfiles: www.marinarecords.com/ma82.htm
Brent Cash - The New High
"Stylistic wonder: Brent Cash's third LP channels super-sophisticated pop. Each song comes on like some long-lost 45." - UNCUT
"Earworm melodies sit atop obliquely shifting piano chords and inventive arrangements. Cash has created a sound that both pays tribute to its forerunners and adds new depth. Dig the new breed!" - SHINDIG!
Brent is back. After a six-year-long hiatus, the multi-instrumentalist from Athens, GA (home to R.E.M. and The B-52s, among others) returns with his third and probably best album yet. Continuing the tradition of his previous, widely celebrated albums “How Will I Know If I’m Awake” and “How Strange It Seems”, he once again enters melody wonderland - evoking classic pop songwriting from the 60s and 70s - chock-full of sophisticated arrangements, richly textured vocal harmonies and extravagant key changes. It’s proof that pop music is alive and well in 2017.
Brent decided to record the album Todd Rundgren-style this time. Each and every instrument is played by the man himself - except for the string section. It adds an earthy edge to his sunshine pop brilliance.
The album kickstarts with title track “The New High”, a song that builds and builds until you finally reach, well, the new high (“Why does it feel so good?”). “Out For Blood” recalls The Beach Boys’ “Wild Honey” period - classy, soulful technicolor vocal harmonies layered upon a great rhythm track. The quirky “The Wrong Thing” captures the playful pop majesty of Gilbert O’Sullivan. It even features a crazy fiddle. “Careful if you run with me / It’s gonna be a bumpy ride / Heaven disavows the alchemy...”
“Every Inflection“ is pure pop heaven - sounding like a lost late 60s AM radio hit - with a super-cool Wurlitzer solo. “Dim Light” is full of wicked twists and turns - even featuring a Beatles-like Mellotron. It takes you on a musical trip in many different sections and evolves like a mini-movie. “The Way You Were” - a song about a love gone wrong - is a special highlight, wearing its Lennon/McCartney influences on its sleeve. “Let me shout it now from the mountaintops / Oh Lord, how I love the way / Love the way you were...”
“I‘m Looking Up” - driven by a cool Carole King-like piano part - is a hit song in the waiting. Check out the beautiful sun-soaked string section! They just don’t do records like this anymore. “The Dusk Song” is another special treat on the album. The hypnotic piano riff just grabs you - and takes you deep into Van Dyke Parks territory. “All around is orange and the crow is still bitching / About something in the distance...”. The slowly rolling, mournful “Fade/Return” - accompanied by cascading ocean sounds - is a cinematic widescreen beauty with a bewitching orchestra part. 10cc anyone?
The album ends with the acoustic guitar coda “Perfection Comes Near”. Well, it certainly does on this album. Get high on “The New High”, brothers & sisters! It’s the perfect soundtrack to cruise into golden sunsets along the California coast line.
Release date: January 27, 2017. CD / LP / DL
The CD edition is housed in a 4-panel digipak plus 12-page booklet. The vinyl edition comes with an innersleeve feat. lyrics and artwork.
Starless - Starless EP (The Remixes)
Out now: The title track of our widely celebrated STARLESS album (MA 79) gets the deluxe remix treatment. "Starless EP (The Remixes)" (MA 80) features eight great versions - ranging from the original version with The Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan to the bouncy deep house sounds of the "Sam Barker Axor Remix" and the drum & bass excitement of the "M Sinclair Carbon Remix".
This is a download-only release. Get it here - 30 minutes of aural pleasure guaranteed:
Starless - Starless
”I love it. Listening to Starless is like ‘sitting on a cliff, feet dangling over, shivering from the wind chill with the sea beneath you’. I feel the authentic Scottish musical sensibilities and charm that goes with it. Hearing the beautifully sung, arranged and played songs, makes me feel... great.“ – Gary Katz (Steely Dan producer, ’72 - ’80)
Welcome to the debut album of Starless - the lushly orchestrated brainchild of Paul McGeechan, keyboard player of Love & Money from Glasgow. It’s an epic and unique album - widescreen in scope and ambition featuring such illustrious collaborators as Paul Buchanan (The Blue Nile), Karen Matheson (Capercaillie), Julie Fowlis and Chris Thomson (The Bathers). McGeechan - who wrote, arranged and masterminded the project - recorded the album with the stunning Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The result is a an emotional soundscape with references ranging from Ennio Morricone to The Cocteau Twins and David Sylvian.
"Fuadach provides the opening titles to this very special cinematic musical journey. It is followed by the late-night beauty of title track Starless - sung by Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile (Buchanan’s first vocal for quite some time). ”In a starless sky, one shutdown moon, here in this city, we fall in love too soon“.
Whispered Reason No. 2 and Solitude - both sung by Marie Claire Lee - recall the other-worldly beauty of Liz Fraser of The Cocteau Twins. Another great collaborator on Starless is Karen Matheson from Capercaillie. Her beautiful voice is featured on the celestial The Surge Of The Sea - sung in Gaelic. Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis provides vocals on the second Gaelic language song on the album - the ethereal Duthaich Mhicaoidh.
Chris Thomson from The Bathers (who released three albums on Marina) sings the gorgeous Misty Nights. ”Sure as East meets West, she’s in her summer dress, young musicians on their knees“. McGeechan and Thomson were both members of legendary post-Postcard band Friends Again in the early 80s.
Within These Walls - sung by Andrew White - recalls the melancholy art-pop of early 80s Peter Gabriel. The atmospheric Yellow Midnight is sung by Gwen Stewart who recorded two albums with Sugartown on Marina.
Turn the lights down low - turn up the volume - and get on a trip with this very special and, yes, quite spectacular album. It’s a beauty.
CD / LP (+CD) / Download - release date: May 27, 2016
The CD edition is housed in a beautiful 6-panel digipak plus 12-page booklet. The limited vinyl edition comes with a CD of the entire album.
The Pearlfishers - The Strange Underworld Of The Tall Poppies
Exclusive Record Store Day release: The Pearfishers' debut release on Marina from 1997 - for the first time on vinyl!
Out on April 18, 2015. Limited edition of 750 copies. Marina Records MA78.
"The Rickenbacker jangle of The Byrds, the rococo ambition of late-period Beatles, the melodic sophistication of Bacharach, and the vocal virtuosity of The Beach Boys – with an attention to craft and detail which would do any of their influences proud." (The Independent)
"The great lost album that Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn, The Left Banke and The Beatles never quite got round to record together." (The Herald)
The Pearlfishers - Open Up Your Colouring Book
"The Pearlfishers’ David Scott stumbled upon the songwriting secret known only to a few celebrated figures in the mid-1960s - Paul McCartney, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson.” - The Sunday Times, 11/07
"The Pearlfishers’ delicate songs recall the lush, literate creations of Prefab Sprout.” - Q, 11/07
"The great lost album that Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn, The Left Banke and The Beatles never quite got round to record together." (The Herald)
"Scotland’s Van Dyke Parks. Luxuriant piano-led arrangements referencing influences like Morricone, Randy Newman and Michel Legrand underpin solid lyrical storytelling.” - WORD, 12/07
The album kickstarts with lovely Diamanda. "It’s a beautiful day, so get out of bed…” Perfectly building a bridge between the classic hook-laden Pearlfishers pop songs from their earlier albums to the slightly more reflective tunes of the new album, it bristles with chiming electric guitars and stacked vocal counterpoint. Hey, Roger McGuinn. The trip continues with To The Northland - full of acoustic guitars, timpani and a full-blown string section. The song recalls main Pearlfisher David Scott’s days in the early 1980s and the social and political turmoil of that time. It’s one of the many songs on the album that takes escape and flight as a central theme.
The Last Days Of September leaves the frosty streets and empty cafés of a dying town behind on a Midlake meets Mamas & Papas choir. Gone In The Winter moves in the opposite direction, "over the deep south" on the trail of disappeared music icon Bobbie Gentry to an epic finale recalling Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue.
The title track is a trip on its own - a widescreen landscape of musical sections and emotions, extremely rich in detail, showcasing David Scott’s truly unique sense of melody, songwriting and arrangement. "Have you ever seen a morning out on the West Coast / In Skye or Californ-eye-ay?” Technicolor, baby!
Continuing a good old Pearlfishers tradition, the album includes a quirky instrumental. Attacked By Mountain Cats sounds like a lost Morricone theme from a late 60s Italian movie, including some mad whistling. The multi-stacked vocals and sacred beauty of Silly Bird recall the Beach Boys’ Friends period. "The seaweed and the starlight / And all the funny creatures in between...”
David Scott never stopped writing songs over the last seven years. They just didn’t turn into a full Pearlfishers album. Among others, he worked with the likes of BMX Bandits, Isobel Campbell, Norman Blake and Bill Wells. Open Up Your Colouring Book includes two of those collaborations - both with New York City-based songwriters. Chasing All The Good Days Down was written with Amy Allison (with whom Scott released the album Turn Like The World Does, 2012). The stunning heartbreak ballad I Don’t Want To Know About It is a co-write with Erin Moran aka A Girl Called Eddy.
You Can’t Escape The Way You Feel sounds like a straight 70s AM radio smash à la Todd Rundgren - with superb falsetto vocals and a great horn-driven outro. "I’m still gonna get you back, girl!” Two piano-based tunes close the album: The Jimmy Webb-ish Her Heart Moves Like The Sea Moves and A Christmas Tree In A Hurricane - played on a deeply reverbed Wurlitzer piano - bring the journey to a great emotional finale.
So, open up your colouring books, darlings... and move the crayon in your hand...!
CD / 2-LP (+CD) / Download - release date: April 25, 2014.
The CD edition is housed in a beautiful digipak plus 16-page booklet. The limited deluxe 2-LP edition is packaged in a heavy gatefold cover plus inner sleeves and a CD of the entire album. Each order via Marina Mailorder comes with an exclusive set of three Pearlfishers postcards - available nowhere else.