Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Pastels and Tenniscoats

Over the last couple years, Tokyo’s Tenniscoats and Glasgow’s Pastels met up in the studio whenever Tenniscoats were in the Pastels’ hometown for shows or holidays to (as the press release explains) “just to see what happens, and maybe to try to find out what it is that they have in common.”

Thankfully they’ve come up with an album’s worth of songs which feature members of both groups, Saya and Ueno from Tenniscoats, and Stephen and Katrina from The Pastels, with Gerard Love always there too, and often Tom Crossley, Alison Mitchell, and sometimes Norman Blake and Bill Wells. The album, Two Sunsets, will be released September 22nd and will be preceded by a single for “Vivid Youth” with the b-sides “About You” (a JAMC cover) and “About You (Instrumental)”.

Regardless of when, where or why, I’m over the moon that there’s new Pastels stuff hitting the streets courtesy of Domino Records (which means it’s gonna be swanky).

I haven’t found an MP3 sampler anywhere of what the end result is… but I’ll keep you posted if anything crosses my radar (you do the same)!

The full story goes like this:
The first recording was promising and slightly rushed, but suggested enough to carry on. Tenniscoats had often been playing shows in Scotland, over a two or three year period at various recording sessions, it suddenly seemed like they’d accumulated about an album of songs which originated from members of both groups, Saya and Ueno from Tenniscoats, and Stephen and Katrina from The Pastels, with Gerard Love always there too, and often Tom Crossley, Alison Mitchell, and sometimes Norman Blake and Bill Wells.

“Vivid Youth” looks like this summer but makes you think of last summer too; hopeful and kind of strident sounding, the spectacular moment when a bonfire really catches fire. And in the shadow there’s something else too, something secretive, beautiful and exciting. This Pastels / Tenniscoats sound is very summer-ish, everyone’s playing feels very of the moment; maybe it’s the evening to Billy Stewart’s “Sitting In The Park” or Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing In The Grass.” Night time is inevitably Question Mark & The Mysterians. That’s what I think anyway. A bright coloured, brilliant moment, a Gerard Love and Katrina Mitchell composition. An ‘almost’ pop single? An unhesitant yes.

“About You” feels like another type of summer feeling. It’s raining heavily outside and maybe for a moment you feel a bit stuck. You feel a weight, a certain melancholy, but only for a moment because actually the summer rain’s great to walk around in and you feel alive and warm. It’s finding the good in everything, and summer rain is the best kind and that’s what this feels like. The sound is like this… it’s sort of organic but not right on, it’s running loops too, soft, almost mechanical rain. It’s a song from The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Darklands album which The Pastels recorded with Tenniscoats as part of a commission for a theatre production but which felt like it belonged in the album session. Initial recordings with Norman Blake in Queens Park, Glasgow, expanding out into other places.

Two Sunsets tracklisting:

1. So Many Stars
2. Two Sunsets
3. Song For A Friend
4. Vivid Youth
5. Yomigaeru
6. Modesty Piece
7. About You
8. Boats
9. Hikoki
10. From On A Mountain_Sodane
11. Mou Mou Rainbow
12. Start Slowly