SCENES DE LA BOHEME - STANDING IN THE RAIN LP
This 2020 re-release is at home on NYC’s well curated Minimal Wave label, but I think it’s apt to say that these bare bones compositions are more playful than the groups you might compare them to. This 1982 recording from dreary London Town essentially was a young man named Anthony’s birthday gift to himself, using the money he was given by his folks to go record somewhere with synthesisers and drum machines that he could not afford himself, he and his buddy Seamus set off for an adventure and laid their poetry to tape. It has the traits you might expect from minimal wave pop noise from that time and place; keyboard jangle, oddball barely human bass lines and programmed drums which any human would not be able to actually play for the duration of a song unless they were a young student content with playing 4/4 for 4 minutes (thank goodness for music machine robots who won’t get sick of playing simple drums... yet!) There is a certain youthfulness which is inescapable, with those actually awful but totally quite alright Sumner-style lyrics, or if maybe Turqouise Days happened to have had a rejected soundtrack for an 80’s teen coming of age talkie, on the whole sounding like a rather decidedly less miserable Eleven Pond. It’s not surprising that the single at the time made it to the top of local radio stations playlists, but not too far beyond that, and it truly is a joy to be transported back to a time when The New Romantics were still floating through the charts, to follow a kid across town, hearing the poetry they so desired to create, feeling the larger world which existed in the inside of their head, in the inside of a tiny bubble, in the inside of London Town.
Minimal Wave is proud to present an LP of 6 songs by cult U.K. project Scenes de la Bohème, entitled ‘Standing in the Rain’. Scenes de la Bohème was formed by Anthony Waites in London, in 1981 with an innate desire to create poetic, subversive pop music. Without any intention of ever signing to a record label, he self-released one untitled 7” single in 1982, an edition of 150 copies, with money funded to him by his parents for his 21st birthday. He often used borrowed synthesizers to record his music in various bedroom studios and friends’ houses supplemented by his beloved cherry-red Hagstrom guitar. The two songs that he released were ‘Zara’, an earworm of a pop song about a longed-for girl standing in the rain, and ‘The Tale of the Butterfly’. Unlike many other bands of the time, he never sent the single or his demos to John Peel, The NME, Beggars Banquet, nor Rough Trade and so it was lost to obscurity until a few record collectors ‘discovered’ it some 15 years ago. Scenes de la Bohème’s Untitled 7” single continues to fetch exorbitant prices in collectors’ circles so we are especially happy to be able to make this release available in the form of a newly mastered LP, which includes four unreleased tracks that Waites had recorded at the time. The LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, as a limited edition of 600 (300 black and 300 transparent yellow), and features beautifully restored images of Waites and his main partner in crime, Seamus Fitzsimmons. The inner sleeve holds Waites’ story, his musical inspirations, and explorations as an Irish youth growing up in London in the early 1980s and discovering the avant-garde.
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