Spacecase Records (SCR001)
Electric Blood was Robert Scott’s (The Clean and The Bats) first band. Formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1977, the group revolved around Mr. Scott and his brother Andrew. According to Robert, Electric Blood was a couple of musicians (Robert and Andrew) “playing along with a few guys who were living up the road; they were sort of non-musicians. It was a band that really evolved around me learning how to write songs and trying to get these other guys to join in and make a band of some kind.”
Electric Blood played sporadically throughout most of the ‘80s. Robert would release the band’s material through his Every Secret Thing cassette label; the albums were typically recorded over the course of a day at a Dunedin rehearsal space. (In 1994 the American label Beehive Rebellion reissued Electric Blood’s 1984 cassette Electric Easter on CD. Single 2011 is the first Electric Blood vinyl release.) “Pennsylvania” first appeared on the 1982 cassette Ohio; “Window Sill”, “Match”, and “Bumble Bee” appeared on Electric Easter. Although the band started from humble beginnings, Electric Blood would eventually incorporate multi-instrumentalist Alastair Galbraith on some of their later recordings, and one Electric Blood track (“Earwig”) eventually turned up on an early Bats EP.
Single 2011 showcases a young Robert Scott developing his skills as a songwriter, and will be of particular interest to fans of Kiwi pop.
I want to say there's been a recent resurgence of interest in New Zealand sounds, but honestly, when has Kiwi-pop and Flying Nun ever been out of style? I guess there's just more good people out there these days willing to invest the time and money to reissue stuff on wax and start digging up tapes and obscurities. And Electric Blood are certainly an obscurity. Robert Scott's first band (circa '77-'84 or so) before he went on to greater renown with The Clean and The Bats, Electric Blood had various cassette releases on Scott's own Every Secret Thing tape label, with 'Electric Easter' actually getting a CD press in the 90s, but this here is the first vinyl the band's ever seen. I honestly remember some these tapes getting reviewed in Forced Exposure and lamenting the fact I'd probably never hear them. Four songs here, "Windowsill" is loose pop played by a version of the band including Robert's brother Andrew and a couple of "non-musician" friends, recorded live and off the cuff, painting a sedate portrait of the early days of the "Dunedin sound" with hints of what it would become later as well. "Pennsylvania" is sort of an experimental goof, with piano and just the name of the state repeated randomly, sort of like one of the stoned moments where you and your pals start zoning out about how weird a word sounds..."Match" is busky meander with some twinkling guitar and the most definite vibes of Scott's later bands. "Bumble Bee" is accordion quirkiness with those always wonderfully cheerful and quirky NZ vibes. This isn't exactly a masterpiece, but it's very interesting for those of us who've spent a long time obsessing over the Flying Nun catalog, and goes along great with the Bilders reissue program happening on Unwucht.
--RK, Terminal Boredom
The inaugural release on Spacecase – and what a coup. Here’s Robert Scott back in the early 80s, along with brother Andrew, taking his first tentative steps towards the Kiwi pop perfection he would later attain with The Clean and The Bats. Despite a spot of excess garage grisle, tunes like the unfussy Pennsylvania and organ-led Bumble Bee show he was already well on his way.
--Spencer Grady, Record Collector
Mellow, shambolic, staggering proto indie rock. It’s charming and pleasant stuff. It sounds like a shanty when the organ kicks in. It also sounds non-calculating, small-fi, and small-audience. Having originally been recorded in ‘82 and ‘84 in New Zealand; that all makes sense. It features Robert Scott, who went on to be in The Clean and The Bats (see the interview inRazorcake #62). It reminds me of cave paintings, at the dawn of independent rock’n’roll when it was just first being called “college rock”: crude strokes scratched along the uneven surfaces of culture. But their intent is crystal clear and surprisingly resilient. Thanks for making this much more available—and on vinyl for the first time—Spacecase. Goodonyah.
--Todd Taylor, Razorcake
For all you New Zealandiphiles out there this is a holy grail of sorts, Robert from the Clean's late 70s/early 80s band, this being the first vinyl appearance of tracks from obscure ancient cassette releases (so this is also great for Messthetics fans) that sound weird and shambly and slightly spooky and loose and kooky. There's a genuinely awesome, I-think-I-can train/I-think-I can train rhythm mimicking 1982 track called "Pennsylvania" (which I was hoping when I first listened was called Pencil Man") that's like 10 seconds long -- if all the folks who tried to make songs about the 50 states and failed like the Dambuilders and Sufjan had limited themselves to this length they could have finished their project in an afternoon! I would vote for Ric B. Lood in a second! Especially in the 2012 Republican Primary - no competition!