Jul 9, 2013

Stupefied: The Caesar (The Wake / 12 Stars) Playlist

This week's Stupefied Playlist comes courtesy of Glaswegian musician, guitarist Caesar (aka Gerard McInulty), long time leader of a band mostly associated with Factory Records, The Wake, as well as the 12 Stars Theatre Company. A big thanks to Caesar for the list - I love combination of British punk & folk with some indie and American psych & garage thrown in for good measure.  

Similar to the recent playlists by Donald Johnson of A Certain Ratio, and Vini Reilly of Durutti Column, I again defer to the head of our Factory Records History Department, Professor John Cooper of Cerysmatic Factory, and his associate, Ian McCartney, for some perspective. Take it away boys:

If Factory was a label that was sometimes almost agoraphobic in its unwillingness to get out there and promote its acts, then it's fair to say that The Wake (during their time on the label) seemed to be a band that, perhaps more than any other, characterised the early-to-mid 80s Factory-era. If you wanted to find this stuff, you had to go looking for it: it sure as hell wasn't going to come looking for you. 

The band's two albums for Factory - Harmony (1983) and Here Comes Everybody (1985) - both got good notice in the contemporary music press, but beyond that, and some inspirational live shows, The Wake were so low-key that you sometimes wondered if a band could be any more mysterious. The music contained in both these discs speaks for itself, though, which was probably the idea. 

A 12" E.P. entitled Something That No One Else Could Bring appeared in 1987, clothed in a sleeve that appeared to depict a lunar landscape. Was this already distant band at its apogee? Then silence, for a long enough time to reasonably assume that The Wake had disappeared for good.

The Wake resurfaced some time later on the Bristol independent label Sarah Records, kicking off with single "Crush the Flowers", then a couple of albums followed - Make It Loud (1991) and Tidal Wave of Hype (1994).  These records sounded more 'indie' (for want of a better word) than the Factory stuff, and were full of great pop melodies and typically imaginative, literate writing.

And that was that. Or was it? A postscript to all this came in the form of A Light Far Out, eighteen years later, in 2012. The world had changed beyond measure in that time. Entire governments had been and gone. But this Glasgow band had remained true to their vision and brought us another fascinating work, another set of colourful melancholy. Another low-key classic.

- Ian McCartney

A Light Far Out CD is available on CD & digitally from LTM Records, and on vinyl from Factory Benelux (purchase here). The Wake are next playing at Indietracks 2013 (Ripley, UK) on Sunday, July 28, at 7:40pm on the outdoor stage.

Visit 12 Stars Theatre Company on Facebook.
The Wake, circa early 80's. Caesar is second from left.

01. Buzzcocks - Hollow Inside
02. X-Ray Spex - Art-I-Ficial
03. The Raincoats - Adventures Close To Home
04. The Pastels - Check My Heart
05. Nico - Le Petit Chevalier
06. Lou Reed - Vanishing Act
07. The Occasional Keepers - The Last Lighthouse Keeper
08. Trembling Blue Stars - The Far Too Simple Beauty
09. BMX Bandits - Little River Of Spring
10. Brian Eno - Sparrowfall 1
11. The Fall - (Birtwistle's) Girl In Shop
12. Stereolab - Neon Beanbag
13. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
14. The Seeds - Evil Hoodoo
15. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Zig Zag Wanderer
16. Nick Drake - Magic - Orchestrated Version 2
17. Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
18. Pentangle - Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
19. The Saints - This Perfect Day
20. Buzzcocks - E.S.P.

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