Other people's blogs are invariably as boring as hell; we don't like to break the pattern, so welcome to the Fruits de Mer Blog...

These are posts from 2013 or before - FdM's LATEST BLOGGING RAMBLES ARE HERE

Strange Brew run out of people to talk to...

...so poor old Jason Barnard had to resort to talking to me - but there's some great music in between my grating tones http://thestrangebrew.co.uk/http:/thestrangebrew.co.uk/fruits-de-mer-podcast

Sendelica rarities

all manner of Fruits de Mer and Sendelica rarities are being offered by the band as contributions towards their 2015 touring fighting fund - well-worth a look

Astralasia test pressing charity auction

Well-worth a look; i know the seller, so i can vouch that it's genuine (although i can't explain how Marc Swordfish's signature went missing - but then again, this IS Fruits de Mer)

Shindig! 2015 festival guide

you can check out Fruits de Mer's 2015 gigs, along with a few more(!) in the new Shindig! festival guide... http://www.shindig-magazine.com/festival-guide-2015.html

Sidelong excursions and excesses

Did you always get an extra buzz out of finding an album with a side-long track on it, promising some kind of epic, instrumentally-led psych/prog/kosmische suite, ranging far and wide in musical over-the-topness?
(oh, maybe it was just me, then)
Well, if you did, stay tuned to Fruits de Mer over the next couple of months, because you're going to be in aural heaven.
If you didn't, errr......sorry

Fopp flop

Fopp Records in Earlham St in central London always used to be worth a visit for cheap/odd CDs and the odd, very odd box-set. Sadly it seems to be more and more just another HMV outlet, primarily DVDs and books, with the CDs turning over very slowly and the (admittedly pretty substantial) vinyl section offering little or nothing under £13. Where are cheap CDs and vinyl being dumped and displayed these days?

The Worst Condition Record I've Ever Paid Good Money For...

...and i've just paid it - about £60 for a knackered copy of 'Touch' on the Deram label. But...it's a mono copy and I don't think i've ever seen one advertised - and the vinyl looks slightly less knackered than the sleeve. Will the mono mix be better? God knows, I don't think it can be as i love a bit of stereo madness but I recently bought a mono copy of Family's 'Music In A Doll's House' after searching for one for years because i read somewhere the mix is much better - and now i have to convince myself that it is (since posting this blog, i saw another copy, in better condition, at the Spitalfields Friday fair, so i bought that one as well - perhaps if i play them both at once i can produce an 'electronically created stereo' version, which i seem to recall being a feature of shoddy Marble Arch compilations of kinks tracks back in the 60s)

Records Are Better Than People

A nice little piece on some FdM releases from the owner of Specific Records in France - as long as your French is better than mine... http://recordsarebetterthanpeople.tumblr.com/post/107392931026/fruits-de-mer-special

Counting down to 'Games for May'

Less than five months to go to the first FdM gig of 2015 - and our first with Mega Dodo Records. I'm about to send everything off to the pressing plant for the 7" single that's part of the £15 ticket price - including an exclusive track by Schnauser and a live version of the classic 'Time Is Like A Promise' by Tir na nOg, while The Past Tense nipped into the studio to record a two-minute cracker especially for the single. But of course, the live music is the thing - five bands, my favourite London venue - you've got to be there!

Del Shannon - The Further Adventures of Charles Westover - first essential LP of 2015

Reissued by the great reissue label 'Trouble in Mind', thise is is orchestral psychedelia at its very best. If you've heard the epic 'Silver Birch' by The Chemistry Set on FdM, you'll know what to expect; if you haven't, check out 'Colour Flashing Hair' or 'silver Birch' on youtube, then get hold of the album - on vinyl, of course

HMV - neither fish nor fowl

I tried working through the vinyl racks at the local HMV earlier in the week - it was very frustrating, it's reached a point where there's enough there to be impossible for a vinyl junkie to ignore, but too little for there to be any chance of finding something 'unexpected', and then it's been organised by someone who knows 'A' goes before 'B' but that's about it - so Led Zeppelin rub shoulders with Lana Del Ray and London Grammar, while Goat and Henry Cow are nowhere to be seen.
Maybe I'll try again in a year's time

An early sighting of the first record-decks of spring

a couple of years ago, I called in on Sevenoaks Hi Fi in Kingston..."Do you sell record-decks?""Yes." "Great, what do you have?" "Well, we don't actually stock any...."
This time i called in, looking for an amp, but I noticed THREE new decks proudly displayed - god, i hope someone buys them, the shop needs encouraging - but this was a good sign for the vinyl revival, to my mind anyway

'Coltrane' in black?

I have a few copies available on black vinyl - please email me if you'd like to beat the Christmas rush
(that's Christmas 2015, of course)

12" vs 7"? Which is best? There's only one way to find out...

...and that's to keep following Fruits de Mer over the next 12 months. Our year is going to start with a series of albums - not yer standard 12" albums, of course - oh no, nothing so straightforward, but there'll be plenty of singles too as the year progresses, including some short-run specials to tie-in with our 2015 gigs

2015 - our 7th anniversary

no, doesn't have much of a ring to it, does it? Wool and copper are the traditional gifts associated with a 7th anniversary, so that's out of the window, but 2015 at FdM Towers already means:
- our first gig at the famous Half Moon pub
- our first festival
- the return of Cranium Pie
- the first appearances on the label by Trojan Horse and Wreaths
- bizarre seeds, more beer, more goodie-bags and a board game (what?)
- covers of songs originally by Marc Bolan, Miles Davis and Motorhead
...and 2014 isn't even over yet

I hope there'll be enough to keep you checking out the website, and maybe parting with a few quid along the way

What a way to end the year...

..Liz with the kind of cough and cold that put manflu to shame and me going downhill faster than a fat santa on a baking-tray. So much for seeing in the New Year in Cornwall, we haven't even got the energy for a trip to see Senrab Mendips (remember him?) playing a gig in a local pub

A few highlights of 2014, for me anyway...

Villa getting into Europe (a cheap package deal to Benidorm, with wives and loved ones - booked through Thomas Cook - but it’s a start)
Finally being able to release the Tor Peders LP
Giving a few club members the chance to buy signed test pressings of The Pretty Things' brilliant new live album
Getting Andy Bracken to write the short story to the Crystal Jacqueline and the Honey Pot release
Compiling the Soft Hearted Scientists demos CDs from a mammoth batch of WAV files provided by Nathan Hall
Persevering with the Astralasia screenprinted cover – a folly if ever there was one – but dear god it came out well in the end
The ‘7 and 7 is’ box-set – perhaps the classiest thing yet on the label
Gideon Coe's support on BBC 6Music
‘Postcards From The Deep’ – definitely the daftest thing yet on the label, although the ‘Coltrane’ single comes pretty close
‘Crabstock’ in its many guises, including Mantle Brewery's Crabsotck best bitter and a great trip to Helsinki – not least standing outside Club Darkside with Santtu!
Working for the first time with Leo and Sonny aka Tir na nOg, and Al Simones – all lovely guys
Getting Jet Wintzer and Schizo Fun Addict back onto the label after 6 years away (even if it did mean cutting and pasting 700 pieces of 8mm film to 700 postcards)
A bumper crop of silly giveaways - cassette-rewinders, honey seeds, stamps....
Cardigan – FdM’s new second home
ALL the artists who've worked with Fruits de Mer during 2014 (without you, the series of John Cage tribute releases would be wearing pretty thin by now)
..and loads more...

Regrets, I’ve had a few...
the Tor Peders and Astralasia albums not getting the standing ovations from the mainstream music press that I thought they deserved
my cock-ups during the year – usually in print, but occasionally worse than that. My thanks to FdM fans for not pointing them all out, to artists for putting up with them, and to suppliers for covering at least a few of them up
and not a disappointment but a sadness – the death of another long-time club member; no need for details here, it’s just very bloody sad.

I hope you get something nice in your stocking this Christmas...

Me, I’m getting the Led Zeppelin IV mega box-set – i know because i bought it and gave it to Liz to wrap up for me. I’m also getting the Small Faces box-set – actually i got that LAST Christmas thanks to Andy Bracken (it was half the price in the USA of the UK rip-off prices quoted a year ago), but he never got round to sending it to me. And then – if my aunts and uncles all put tenners in my Christmas cards - I might have enough to buy the Pretty Things box-set in February.

The demise of the CD?

Could 2014 go down in history as the year that CDs bit the dust, and the vinyl revival proved itself to be more than a passing fad? It’s just possible.
it certainly feels like CDs are finding a new home as the cheap and cheerful way to buy reissues ‘in bulk’...£10 box-sets of old albums, that sort of thing; i personally like some of the really creative compilations of obscure stuff that people such as Piccadilly and Heyday stock, perhaps there could also be more in the way of series of radio/gig recordings, by the bands and labels that can’t justify the £100 boxed-set extravaganzas? Will vinyl establish a sustained place for itself second time around? I don’t have a clue, but i’ll feel more confident if sales of record-desks rise steadily – and if one or two ‘name’ manufacturers launch new decks and really promote them (I know Steepletone is a name, but so is Iceland, i mean someone like Sony or Pioneer – mainstream but with some credibility...)
On my first trip to the USA – to Chicago in 1992 – serious record shops were clearing their racks of vinyl at 25c a time to make way for CDs (I naturally filled my suitcase and had another boxful shipped home); what are the odds they’ll be doing the same with CDs in a year’s time – or will there be mountains of unwanted ‘new’ vinyl dumped on the market instead?

2014 – a quiet year at FdM Towers

I’ve counted up 29 releases during the year – that’s if you include the Coltrane bonus CD, Soft Hearted Scientists demos compilations, ‘Friends of the Fish’ CD, Sendelica’s ‘Crabstock live’ album and The Pretty Things new album test pressings; OK, I’m cheating a bit there, but sod me.
I’ve promised Liz that 2015 will be quieter – but I’ve a strange feeling that it won’t be – there are vague details of a double LP, four singles and a members club free CD already mentioned elsewhere on the site, and there are three more LPs and at least four more singles and four more free CDs coming along nicely – not to mention ‘Games for May’ and the ‘13th Dream’ festival...I hope Liz doesn’t read this.

Who Do You Love?

I probably send out more promos than i should - to DJs, print and online magazine reviewers and bloggers – but I’m always looking to contact people ‘in the business’ who are genuinely interested in the kind of music FdM puts out – and who reach an audience of like-minded music fans. So if you particularly rate a DJ (who isn’t on BBC 6Music) or a writer/reviewer who doesn’t work for the mainstream magazines, or a magazine/website that doesn’t seem to give coverage to Fruits de Mer releases at the moment, but looks like it ought to, please let me know – I try to spring-clean the FdM PR list every year and it’s time to get the mop-and-bucket out. I’m also keen to find new shops to stock FdM releases; i can supply direct within the UK, or via Clear Spot internationally; again, good leads would be greatly appreciated.


Phil Macy, a long-time FdM club member and man about town in Brighton, has set up a new vinyl lathe-cutting service. It’s very much an arts & crafts thing, with each side of each record cut in real time. It’s not cheap – but that’s hardly a surprise given the way the records are cut, but it sounds very interesting and it’s something i’m definitely going to check out; www.345rpm.co.uk if you want to do likewise.


Yes, I AM an Amazon user, I admit it. If i can’t get it from Heyday, Sister Ray, Rough Trade, Piccadilly or Juno I’ll have a search through amazon – usually the marketplace sellers. But why is postage so cheap, like £2.80 to ship an LP from the US to the UK – it cost me that to ship an LP from Walton on Thames to Hersham, and that’s with me recycling someone else’s packaging.

Reading the BANDS

I’m gradually updating the BANDS page on the site to give you at least a bit of information on non-FdM releases by some of the artists that have appeared on FdM, forthcoming gigs and links to their own pages. At the moment it gives the word ‘incomplete’ a bad name, but it’s worth a quick look

Astralasia and Sendelica form new supergroup

(I should be writing for Kerrang) Pete Bingham from Sendelica is going to be guesting for Astralasia at the 13th Dream Festival, playing lead guitar on a live version of Pink Floyd's 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' (a new studio version of which just so happens to also feature on the 7" single 'Momentary Three', available for the first time at the festival.

Jeff Lynne - good bloke

Well, he might not be, but i loved reading in Shindig! his response to a cheering Hyde Park gig audience, "Thankyow, yow've bin grayte, this is joost the best thing oi've sin ever".
Yow c'n tek the Brummie outer Bermingum, but yow car tek Bermingum outer the Brummie.

Age is only relative...

..and i've realised i'm an old relative ("hello, silly granddad"). I feel even older today after reading that George Martin was rejected as a possible producer of a Jam LP because he was 53, i then saw Annie Lennox on the cover of Liz's copy of 'Woman and Home'. Help.

Pretty Things huge box-set - due February 2015

'Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky' will be a hefty £125, but it comprises all their albums (many with extra tracks), a double CD of rarities, a 10" EP...oooh and lots more stuff. Due on sale Feb 23rd, so a perfect way of spending all your aunts' £10 notes in your Christmas cards, check it out at https://www.burningshed.com/store/boxsets/product/315/6271/

Why don't more bands take ELP and Tangerine Dream's lead...?

A line i didn't think i'd ever type, but as bands delve ever-deeper into their archives to find listenable new/old stuff to add to their reissues, (The Pretty Things being an honorable exception to this as their box-set is their first serious dig) I'm reminded of the 'bootleg' box sets that Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Tangerine Dream, released a few years back; what about a Led Zeppelin live box, chosen by Mr Page from the hundreds of bootleg recordings that are out there (with some sonic tidying up along the way), or the same from Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes....? Just a thought

Shiny Beast chart action

good to see all three of Fruits de Mer's November releases in the Shiny Beast top 20:
...thanks to Johan and Judith for all your support

Promo CDs on ebay and discogs

for the avoidance of doubt, i NEVER sell promo CDs - on ebay or discogs or anywhere else. I send out advance promo CDs to reviewers and DJs in the hope they'll like them, maybe review or play them on air; the idea ISN'T that they sell them on. Once in a while, i might send one out as a competition prize and recipients of those can, of course, do what they want with them. If you buy a promo CD from someone and you'd like to tell me who you've bought it from, well it would be nice to know.
(I don't sell 'normal' releases at anything other than the 'normal' retail price, either).

The sound of KAOS

KAOS Sound - the UK Floyd-only radio station.- are going to devote a two-hour show on Christmas Day to 'A Momentary Lapse Of Vinyl' the Fruits de Mer club members-only 2-CD set of early Floyd/Syd Barrett covers (they plan to play the two CDs in their entirety. They will then repeat everything as a two-parter the next day).
I thought you'd like to know - of course, you might already have other plans for Christmas....
http://www.kaos-sound.co.uk/KSR/welcomepage.html - we get mentioned after the 'new' Floyd album, but before the new Roger Waters album!

Picc a different record shop for FdM...

sadly i've had to take Piccadilly Records off the list of FdM stockists on our 'links' page, as the only FdM release they've chosen to stock in the last six months was the Astralasia album, and they've not replied to my emails and letters since then. A real shame as they were one of the first shops to stock our singles, but they've moved on, so i guess FdM has to; they still stock loads of good stuff, I'm a regular customer, but if you're looking for a shop that supports FdM there are plenty of others to choose from - just check out the links page.

Good reviews aren't everything...

on a tough day, it can feel a bit like a failing to get to the loo in time on a night on the beer, you get a nice warm feeling inside for a while...; BUT I've got to admit the positive reactions to all three November releases is helping no-end as Liz and I put those 'Postcards' box-sets together - hard work but all worthwhile!

Blue Giant Zeta Puppies to sell invisible album...

"12 Theories of Time Travel" - The best of The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies' self-released output can now be found as a convenient and hygienic name-your-own-price download album from The Active Listener net-label!! This gluten free release contains no artificial colouring or preservatives. http://theactivelistener.bandcamp.com/album/the-blue-giant-zeta-puppies-12-theories-of-time-travel-al024

Hicks plays the sticks...

Saw Tony Hicks and The Hollies playing a Woking Theatre the other night. Very mixed emotions watching the whole thing - all slick and professional and Tony played some blistering guitar (and guitar sitar!) when he was given the chance - but it was all very polite - what I'd give to see Tony play the 100 Club and be given some real space to show how vastly-underrated he is (i guess there's still time, he looks about 40!)

Feeling very clammy...

That's possibly because 750 clamboxes are currently sitting quietly in out backroom, patiently waiting for 7,500 flexidiscs and 7,500 postcards to be put inside them - by Liz and me - rock'n'roll, eh?

Leo and Sonny do Cardigan...

Tir na nOg played The Cellar Bar in Cardigan on the 10th and played for the best part of two hours - a mix of classic and new songs, including all the tracks from their recent Fruits de Mer single AND their Nick Drake cover (which, Leo explained, they thought was the first cover of a Nick Drake song when they released it, only to find Millie Small (yes, that Millie Small) had beaten them to it. Great evening, lovely blokes and a perfect venue for the gig

Kind words from messrs Radcliffe and Maconie...

..on their Oct 6 BBC 6Music Show, suggesting listeners should check out Fruits de Mer - as indeed they should - and, i hope, are doing right now

It's No.1, it's Top Of The Pops...

...just for a short while, '7 and 7 is' has been Clear Spot Distribution's best-seller; and it might still be, if you've happened upon this posting at the start of the month...remember FdM this way! http://www.clear-spot.nl/bestsellers/

7 and 7 is....

...finally here - last spotted in a pressing-plant in Holland (see photos), the box-sets landed and flew off the shelves at FdM Towers (not literally) within a few days - so I'm already down to a handful of copies - it's a bit good, this one

Any vinyl labels looking for new releases?

Right now, i'm getting approached by more artists regarding possible FdM releases than i could ever cope with - especially bands looking to put out newly-written songs. Most releases on Fruits de Mer are covers of songs from the 60s/70s, so if there are any vinyl labels out there who'd like to be suggested by me when i'm trying to be helpful to artists looking for outlets for their songs, please get in touch

When will Fruits de Mer Records be 100?

I can't believe I've been asking myself that question - it's only six years ago that Andy and i were wondering what we were going to do with the unsold copies of Crustacean 1, which we'd allowed to escape in early summer 2008 (we managed to sell them in the end, before you ask). I'm sort of thinking that it will be when we get to the 100th release on the FdM(Crustacean)/Regal Crabomophone(Winkle)/strange fish labels, excluding all promos, but including members club releases (are you still with me?).
By the end of this year, we'll have released:
60 Fruits de Mers
19 Regal Crabomophones
6 strange fish
- which would mean the 100th release will be around the end of 2015.
Then again, there are five CD or cassette releases within the total so far - maybe they ought not to be counted, after all FdM is a vinyl label. I dunno - and i also dunno what to do about the 100th release in any case

The source of Tesco's declining fortunes...

...their own-brand rich tea fingers; tasteless and too thin - they are impossible to dunk successfully in a cup of hot tea. i reckon they were designed by the same person who came up with the idea of downloads.

Jack White 'Ultra'

now I'm not a Jack White fan in terms of music, but he does have a nice vinyl fetish. his new album, 'Lazaretto' is released in an 'utlra' vinyl version with all manner of gimmicks and extras that make a Fruits de Mer release seem like something from Music For Pleasure - I've got to get a copy just so I can be impressed/sneeringly jealous


Liz and i are off to see the Astralasia spin-off Astral Travellers on Friday at Whirl-y-Fayre - not far from Glastonbury, but altogether more fun, we're assured!

Tir na blOg

Oh god, i'm getting worse...
Tir na nOg are playing the Cellar Bar in Cardigan on October 10th. Not only do you get to see the great Irish duo in a cracking little venue (home of this year's Crabstock) but, if you book early enough, you'll also get a free and exclusive four-track CD, including songs from their current Fruits de Mer 7" EP AND a live version of the classic. 'Strong In The Sun'; we'll be there, for sure

Dublin yer money

Who let the Daily Mirror sub in? We had a fantastic few days over there last week - lovely people, cracking bars; bloody expensive though, couldn't find a decent record shop (found a few that have closed!) and managed a lose-lose of coming home two days before Ian McLagen was playing a local bar and Dublin was holding its big record fair. i really couldn't organise my way out of a paper bag.

News from the Cranium Pie bunker

Rob Appleton has given an interview to the 'It's Psychedelic Baby' website, talking about the origins of the Pie and giving a few hints about what late-2014 might have in store for FdM fans...read the interview - http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/cranium-pie-interview-with-rob-appleton.html - and then watch this space

as recommended by ....Stacia

I got an order through from someone who'd had one of my youtube clips of an Astralasia track added as a twitter feed by the one and only Stacia! The memories (and blood) came flooding back to seeing Hawkwind in the early 70s - ah, happy days

The Pretty Things - just bloody brilliant

The guys launched their '1st Album Live' LP at the 100 Club on July 4th (appropriate as that's where they'd recorded it at the end of 2010). I don't think I've seen them play better - two sets, first the new album, then a storming run-through Mr. Evasion, Alexander, LSD and much more besides. A great night - as my lad Chris said, "this has to be the coolest gig anywhere tonight" (and he's into drum'n'bass)

(June is bought to you by Alex Seldon, who came up with the jpg when i lost mine)

No.3 in the Mojo playlist!

thanks to Mojo ed Phil Alexander, Schizo Fun Addict's version of the theme to 'Suspiria' has made it to No.3 in the latest issue of the magazine - not bad at all!

Fruits de Mer - live and kicking in 2015?

i hope so - we're looking at three or four ideas for gigs next year already, maybe a different angle or two but basically the same mix of great music, a few exclusives, and a freebie or two added in to make the journey all worthwhile

Something in PVC, sir?

yes, but not yet...the Astralasia sleeve is determined to take longer than the England football team to arrive back in the UK; the vinyl is pressed, the card sleeve is printed, it's just a matter of getting the PVC sleeve to deliver the desired optical effect when everything comes together. At the moment, if we'd printed 11 1/2" card sleeves, we'd be laughing; or as Bob Monkhouse put it, "they laughed when i said i was going to be a comedian, well they're not laughing now"

The next time it leaves the house, it'll be in a box...

a pathetic introduction to one of Fruits de Mer's early autumn releases - a box-set of eight 7" singles - excessive? surely not. More news soon-ish

Bernie Winter's dog....

(...you have to over a certain age); the Schnauser single has been disappearing fast and I'm already down to a handful of copies, so don't take too long if you're toying with the idea of buying a copy - you know what those eBay chappies are like

one for sorrow, two for sleeve junkies

I've had a sneak preview of the sleeves to the forthcoming Tor Peders and Tir na nOg releases - and they are rather lovely...the tir na nOg sleeve is printed on a sort of linen-effect card, while the Tor Peders album has a raised embossing pattern all over the front, back and centrespread of the gatefold sleeve; of course it's the music that matters, but part of the joy of vinyl is in the presentation - and i've got to say these are pretty damn-good - now all we have crack is the Astralasia PVC outer sleeve...

Goldmine digs out an interview with Icarus Peel

well-worth a read for some back ground on Icarus, Crystal Jacqueline and The Honey Pot...http://www.goldminemag.com/collector-resources/spin-cycle/weird-scenes-inside-100-acre-woods-crystal-jacqueline-icarus-peel-honey-pot-full-wonder

Stranglers In The Night

an FdM club member shared a great story with me, which i have to share with you...
His daughter was walking through their local town the other day, wearing a FdM 'Roqueting Through Space' t-shirt when a guy came up to her and said, "cool label".
It was JJ Burnel.
Now, Andy Bracken and I are seriously impressed and a bit pleased with ourselves, given that 'Golden Brown' is one of the best 45s ever released (Andy would say THE best) although the young lass had to go home to ask her dad whether he'd ever heard of a band called The Stranglers!
If you have any good/bad/weird/unbelievable Fruits de Mer-related stories please let me have them!

Fishy leftovers

I've just about run out of 'specials' that we took along to Crabstock in Wales, but if you'd like to buy a t-shirt or maybe an odd-coloured copy of one of the March releases, please email me and i'll see what i can do

We came, we saw, we Crabstock'd...

Thank you to everyone for making Crabstock in Cardigan a fantastic evening - the artists, the venue, the brewery and of course all the FdM fans who came along, picked up their goodie-bags, raided the merchandising stalls, drank the bar dry (true!) and enjoyed some great music; and a special mention the whole town, which organised a carnival through the town centre just to celebrate Crabstock (well, it felt like it!)
Crabstock On Ice is this Saturday - after which we'll be taking a bit of a break and then starting to think about the next live event - and we've already got two or three ideas brewing!

Crabstock here we come

- goodie-bags packed, white label test pressings, odd coloured vinyl and t-shirts labeled up, Crabstock exclusive CDs all sorted - we can't actually get in the car now, but that's a minor issue

FdM on BBC TV...

...if you look very hard - hats off to Chris Bembridge for spotting the Fruits de Mer 7" sleeve during this BBC piece on Record Store Day... www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27087076

A record label with legs...

perhaps the oddest FdM auction i've seen on ebay so far, a bunch of postcards and a Christmas card sold for £30 - we'll be on 'Bargain Hunt' next

In Limbo

very frustrating for everyone waiting for their new singles from Fruits de Mer, I'm sure; it's equally frustrating for me, not to mention the artists who have been waiting for many, many months for their copies to arrive. Not only do i want to PLAY the records for myself, i want to tell you all about the next series of records that will be coming out on the label at the end of May - but first things first - and soon, i hope. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.

Biggest price yet on ebay - for a carrier-bag

a Borderline goodie-bag sold for £599 on ebay recently - what makes me think the Crabstock bags will be getting extra-special attention in a couple of weeks' time?

Danger Man/Dept S/Jason King/Randall & Hopkirk and more...

For anyone over the age of 30 (maybe 40!), there's an amazing series of CD collections available at the moment - themes and incidental music from Danger Man, Man In A Suitcase, Jason King, Department S - the list goes on - 2CD sets to 5CD extravanganzas - even a couple of vinyl releases.
And they'll all available from Nick Leese at Heyday Mail Order http://heyday-mo.com/catalog/
- got to be worth checking out.

The Schnauser story

Schnauser's Alan Strawbridge and Duncan Gammon talk about their choice of tracks on their new FdM single, and lots more besides, on the Strange Brew website

RSD 2014

no, FdM won't be releasing anything - i haven't got the sense or foresight to plan anything like that but i DID have a quick look at what's been announced so far as exclusives for RSD 2014 and....well, it's a bit underwhleming so far to my mind. A 7" box set based on the sounds of the Voyager space probes sounds like it's worth a punt, but I was struggling a bit after that; still, early days

Will we see the return of the vinyl bargain bins?

I could bore for England about the great Woolworths LP sales of the 70s, but with the resurgence of interest in vinyl, I'm beginning to wonder whether the resurgence in pressing vinyl might be outpacing the interest in buying it - and could that mean some serious offloading is going to need to be done over the next couple of years? I noticed some ropey compilations going for a couple of quid each in FOPP in London recently, who knows where that might lead? Bloody hell, it might even be worth checking out car boot sales again...in about 5 years time

A Cranium Pie sighting?

Rarer than seeing the northern lights in Norfolk, but reports have reached FdM Towers that a new (or old?) track has been unearthed and will be making an appearance on the 'Crabstock On Ice' CD - so 100 lucky Helsinkians(?) will get to hear Cranium Pie's last or latest recording - who knows?

suck on it

the third and final sponsor of Crabstock in Wales is......Fisherman's Friend, the world-(in)famous throat lozenge. No, it's not a strange dream, the UK factory is in Fleetwood, Lancs, which just happens to be the home town of Earthling Society, and it turns out the team at Fisherman's Friend are game for a laugh - so every one of the FdM goodie-bags at the gig will include a packet

No more plankton

not a global warming warning, just the Record Collector LP compilation of early Fruits de Mer tracks is now officially sold out - and as the only place you could buy a copy was direct from Record Collector's own shop, i don't think there'll be any dealers with copies available

Surely not...?

...well, stranger things have happened round here...like the time Andy told a young band they'd never make it and then five years later...nah, I'll tell you over a pint some time...anyway, YES it IS true - The Mantle Brewery (Cardigan's microbrewery) are producing special-edition bottles of their best bitter to celebrate the Fruits de Mer Festival of Psychedelia. Available at the Cellar Bar, Cardigan from early April and from the brewery's on-site shop (but not by mail order at the moment)

FdM Promo CDs - again

There have been quite a few advertised on ebay lately - selling for anything from a few quid to over £100. I have no problem with people selling the 'bonus' CDs I occasionally produce and slip into parcel of vinyl I send out, but selling promo CDs that I've paid good money to produce and mail out in good faith to reviewers and DJs is another matter, And listing them as "unplayed" is the ultimate insult. You know who you are.

a box-set of record fairs

or whatever the collective noun is...I've been to three in the last two weeks - Olympia, Westminster and Reading - and they've all been a bit quiet (Olympia was about half the size I expected, Westminster was very small, Reading bigger but lacking in buyers). I picked up some nice items - 'Court Of The Crimson King' Japanese re-press, TD 'Electronic Meditation' original Japanese pressing, Floyd 'Tea-Set' bootleg (all vinyl, naturally), but I've come away thinking there's a serious rut here that needs climbing out of - especially when you look at the success of RCD. And yes, i do have the answer (smug git that i am).

Olympia Record Fair

I missed the last fair thanks to British Rail, but I'll be there on saturday (that's Jan 2014!), with a few quid burning a hole in my pocket (maybe one day i'll take a stand there - it'll stop me buying records anyway)
...quick update - it was a bit quiet there - stalls and buyers - but i did manage to pick up a couple of the Nick Drake boxed reissues for sensible prices, 'elpea' in the original,"here's a novel way of screwing up your vinyl" sleeve format and a dirt-cheap CD of the Christopher US 60s acid-rock album

Magick Eye

met up with Chris Hillman, the man behind the Magick Eye label, at the weekend; great guy, very helpful; hopefully there'll be an opportunity or two for us to do something with Astralasia this year that will work for everyone

Strange things could be happening in the USA soon....

nothing confirmed yet, but watch this space...or another one on this site, it's so disorganised

It's been a long, long time....

...since I've been able to talk about new vinyl releases on FdM, or at least it feels that way to me, but I've been checking WAV files, artwork, silly giveaways, and i reckon I'm nearly bthere - late March releases, more news before the end of January for sure

Shindig 2013 Awards

and Fruits de Mer Records is Shindig's 5th-favourite record label! (OK, so last year we were 2nd-favourite, this time next year we'll be in the 'where are they now?' section, but it's still pretty cool given that another year under our uncomfortablyly-tight belts and we still haven't got a clue what we're doing)

A quick look behind the scenes at Record Industry's pressing plant...

...with apologies for Marc Roberts for stealing his music for the background sounds

Heyday's top 10 for 2013

Here is Heyday's Top Ten releases for 2013, in no particular order of preference....(nice to see FdM releases and artists doing do well)...

Jacco Gardner / Cabinet Of Curiosities
Soft Hearted Scientists / False Lights
Permanent Clear Light / Beyond These Things
White Sails / Same
Stay / Mersey Dream 7” EP
Schnauser / Where Business Meets Fashion
Regal Crabomophone Annual For 2014 7” (Mark McDowell / Octopus Syng)
Beachwood Sparks / Desert Skies
Luck Of Eden Hall / Victoria Moon
Green Pajamas / November

eBay can get a little scary

Nick Leese slipped a CDr of a track by a Swedish group called Tor Peders into some of the parcels of November releases that went out to FdM members. Only 100 of them, numbered (you probably won't have heard of the band but I'm going to be releasing their only album in 2014). bugger me, but a copy gets listed on ebay and sells for £108! Just wait until you hear the album...

Passion for vinyl?

Record Industry - pressing plant to the stars (and FdM) - have a new book out full of interviews with vinyl junkies such as Henry Rollins, Bernie Grundman, Hans Pokora and Jacco Gardner (yes - AND Fruits de Mer!), not to mention an exclusive 7" single featuring Jacco Gradner. Might be worth suggesting for Christmas if last year's socks haven't worn out yet

Utrecht record fair - bloody hell, it's big

Just back with my long-suffering missus from a first visit - ye gods, it makes Olympia seem like a bloke giving away copies of Metro on a street corner. I've never seen anything like it, not to mention so many boxes labelled 'krautrock', or so many leading reissue labels in one place with huge stalls - Wah Wah, Pseudonym, Akarma - and to think i only spent about four hours there (it's open for two days, three if you're a dealer). AND utrecht is a really nice place to visit for a weekend (that's what I'm telling Liz, anyway - trying to soften her up for a 2014 fair already!)

Free the Soft Hearted Scientists

The Soft Hearted Scientists site is looking good these days, and sounding even better - the band have posted links to FREE downloads of several unreleased tracks that you won't want to miss http://softheartedscientists.com

FdM sells out

(again) Crikey - the current singles are flying out of the door..Ok, so I'm carrying them out in sacks, but you know what I mean - orders kept coming in after i set the print-runs and I'm already sold out of Vibravoid, Vespero and Shrunken Head Music. I might have a few copies available once i've made sure all pre-orders and band copies have arrived safely - frustrating for anyone who was waiting for me to confirm i'd got copies before they placed an order, I'm sure, but there are are several stockists on the 'links' page who should be able to help you out. I always advise people to get their orders in early, but I appreciate that if you don't know me, or the label, it feels a bit risky paying upfront by paypal

Any colour as long as it's black

While I work through all the orders for the November singles, I'll leave you with this photo of some black vinyl copies that you probably won't get to buy, as they've all gone - sorry

Sandwiched between Elton John and Julian Cope

Vespero make the MOJO playlist! Vespero are at No.12 with 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene', and Mojo's Phil Alexander says, "FdM Records make a habit of releasing fine vinyl-only tribute sets, the latest of which is this excellent trippy version of Floyd's '68 by Russian cosmonauts Vespero". (No. 12 puts Vespero somewhere between Elton John and Julian Cope - I'll leave you to ponder on that)

Bargain vinyl for FdM fans...

Sidewalk Society's excellent 'Venus, Saturn and the Crescent Moon' album on very limited vinyl - is available direct from the band - only $12 (+ postage)

Crystal Jacqueline on vinyl?

the Mega dodo label has started a kickstarter campaign to fund putting Crystal Jacqueline's new album 'Sun Arise' out on vinyl. Details at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1739807133/crystal-jacqueline-makes-the-sun-arise

Missing, presumed not happening...?

I thought my Christmas presents were sorted, with early news of a new Small Faces box set finding its way onto the web at the end of September, and Eroc mentioning that there would be a box set reissue of all the Grobschnitt albums out before year-end - but I've seen nothing official from the record companies involved - so maybe it'll have to be a pair of socks instead. There IS going to be a CAN box set, but Amazon is quoting £438, which is somewhere between ludicrous and outrageous in my book

Mojo working?

Rumour has it Vespero's Floyd covers 7" is going to make the Mojo playlist in the next issue of the magazine - which would be rather nice

lathe-cut record

Peter Lyons (aka Palace of Swords) was kind enough to send me a copy of his unbelievably-limited lathe-cut 7" single. I love the idea, I'm not sure the sound quality is really quite up to it, but I wish someone in the UK would set up a facility (Peter had to get his release cut in New Zealand!)

Utrecht here we come

On November 21, Liz and I are off to the Netherlands - first to visit the Record Industry pressing plant to meet everyone and see how the FdM records are created out of dollops of vinyl; then it's off to Utrecht to experience Europe's biggest record fair, with maybe just time for a visit to Rokerij and The Greenhouse in between. Too bad we'll be a few days too late to see Caravan playing over there, but I'm pushing my luck with Liz already

Planet Rock/Phil Alexander

Many thanks to Phil Alexander, Mojo's editor-in-chief, for the nice things he said about the label at the weekend on his Planet Rock 'Mojo Rocks' show. I don't know precisely what Phil said as i missed the show and I can't find it archived anywhere, but at least I THINK he said nice things

No fogging

Just back from a couple of days in Newcastle - no particular reason for going, except Liz quite fancied seeing some fog on the Tyne. There wasn't any, but we did get sandburn from a gale in Tynemouth. And there's a cracking little record shop in Newcastle called RPM - lots of vinyl, krautrock, old record players - even a couple of radiograms, which would have been a bugger to bring back on the train

Glen Campbell

Bet you didn't expect to read that. I bought his new album, 'See You There', because he's got such a pure, soaring voice, it's a stripped-down re-work of some of his best-known songs and well, you know the guy's about at the end of his career (and worse). If you like Neil Young's 'Prairie Wind', you'll love this - 'Galveston' reduced me to tears. OK, Glen's voice doesn't hold up all the way, but there's a raw honesty to it that is just beautiful. Oh, and I managed to order the album from two different mail order companies, which is kind of ironic

He came, he saw, he bought lots of records and drank lots of beer

Andy Bracken has returned to the USA after his annual pilgrimage to FdM Towers, and the pubs and record shops of England. it was great to see the not-so-old bastard again, and hopefully it won't be too long before he's back to darken our towels and fill our ashtrays

Maybe there really IS a vinyl revival, after all

three years ago, i was looking for a new deck and the local hi-fi shop didn't even have one in-stock; when i called in the other day (Liz has finally relented and agreed I can put a system in the living-room!), they had FOUR different models on display. And Urban Outfitters have three or four portables for sale - they all look pretty dubious, but having turntables on-sale in the high street strikes me as essential if the revival is to be more than a fad

Fruits de Mer posters?

A few people have suggested I produce a few decent-quality prints of some past sleeves - i think I'd have to tube them up and post them out so they won't be dirsat-cheap, but they might be worth a go

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Borderline gig...

...and thanks for your (mainly!) kind words, i had a great time - although it was all about as well-orchestrated by me as any Fruits de Mer release. Maybe I'll have another crack at it next year.

Q. When is an FdM Borderline-gig free goodie bag not an FdM free goodie bag?

A. When someone decides to sell their's on ebay - it sold for £100+(I really should have kept one for myself)

just two days to go to the Summer Fruits de Mer All-dayer

OK, that's not the most exciting bit of news I've come up with, but i just found the 'August' jpg and i couldn't wait to use it. At least this bit is new - the Summer Fruits de Mer t-shirt - less than 50 of them printed, on sale at the gig and ONLY £5 each (sadly Jo won't be modelling them at the gig).

The Plankton are blooming

first sighting at the Record Collector offices....they'll start shipping copies very soon

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...hear the tracks.. ..buy the vinyl.. ..smell the fish...