A DIY INDIEPOP VINYL & CASSETTE LABEL

Winter Sprinter 2019: Withered Hand + Catenary Wires + Mikey Collins

It’s the final of our 4 night stint at The Lexington, and we’re sending you off in to the weekend in style with Withered Hand, CatenaryWires and Mikey Collins!

Advance tickets are on sale now from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings for £11. The Winter Sprinter runs from Jan 8-11th 2019.

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Withered Hand is the songwriting output of Dan Willson. A cult figure in the Scottish music scene since 2009, Dan has released two widely acclaimed albums, New Gods (2014) and Good News (2009) and several lo-fi EPs. Currently working towards his third full length album, Withered Hand continues to tour and play one-off dates in venues from concert halls to living rooms.

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The Catenary Wires are Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey. Amelia and Rob are best known for making fuzzy, sixties girl-group inspired indie-pop in their previous bands Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap.

 With the Catenary Wires, they have created something different; gentler and more acoustic, emotive and melancholy, although still fuelled by their great love for pop melodies and harmonies.

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Mikey Collins found fame and cult acclaim as the drummer in indiepop behemoths Allo Darlin’. By the time the much loved band parted ways in 2016, Mikey was already hard at work in his Big Jelly Studios in Ramsgate, working on the songs that would go on to become his debut album.

Recently released on Fika Recordings, Mikey’s record, Hoick, is largely inspired by his relocation from London to the Kent coast; ruminations on living by the sea and building a new community in a new town. Musically, it keeps the pop-tinged heart of his old band, and, through the addition of disco rhythms and RnB grooves, moves his sound into intriguing new directions. Live he’s backed by a crack team of musical heroes who bring his intricate musical ideas to life.

Winter Sprinter 2019: Haiku Salut + Gwenifer Raymond + Joss Cope

We’re delighted to be able to unveil the line up for the third night of the Winter Sprinter as Haiku Salut, Gwenifer Raymond and Joss Cope. It’s all happening at The Lexington on Thurs 10th of January.

Advance tickets are on sale now from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings for £11. The Winter Sprinter runs from Jan 8-11th 2019.

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Haiku Salut are an instrumental dream-pop-post-folk-neo-everything trio from the Derbyshire Dales. The group consists of multi-instrumentalists Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft. Between them, Haiku Salut play accordion, piano, glockenspiel, trumpet, guitar, ukulele, drums, and melodica. Their music also features electronic elements, which they refer to as “loopery and laptopery”.

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Gwenifer Raymond is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist, originally from Cardiff but now residing in Brighton, England. Gwenifer began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre. She has since been playing her own moody and often-times manic original American Primitive styled compositions on guitar and banjo around the UK and the US.

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Joss Cope is a Midlands born musician with a pedigree stretching back to the Liverpool post punk scene and early Creation Records. He's worked with his elder brother Julian, made videos, campaigned for Greenpeace, and played guitar and bass for a number of bands in recent years before teaming up with some top Helsinki musicians to make this debut solo record. 

Winter Sprinter 2019: Flowers + Ex-Vöid + Deerful

We’re chuffed to be able to unveil the line up for the second night of the Winter Sprinter as Flowers, Ex-Vöid and Deerful. It’s all happening at The Lexington on Wed 8th of January.

Advance tickets are on sale now from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings for £11. The Winter Sprinter runs from Jan8-11th 2019.

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There’s something great about a three-piece—think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500—and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. Flowers singer Rachel Kenedy's ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar is backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley. Effortlessly blending pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, the recordings strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of Kenedy’s voice and Ayres’ abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspiration from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label is now evident.

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Ex-Vöid is a new musical group featuring former Joanna Gruesome members Owen Williams and Alanna McArdle. After having written two short albums of 'critically acclaimed' hyper-aggressive pop music, touring the capitalist west, and winning a kind of 'National Music Prize' with Joanna Gruesome, McArdle & Williams went their separate ways.

While sonically a continuation of the “Gruesome Sound” in some ways (particularly in the inclusion of brief and aggressive 'hardcore' punk sections), Ex-Vöid exploit the use of vocal harmonies and twin-lead guitars to push the 'pop' qualities of McArdle and Williams' writing into extreme and dangerous territory. 

Taking influence equally from Black Sabbath's “Into The Void”, D.C.-area hardcore legends “VOID,” and Raincoats number “The Void”, the group 'Ex-Vöid' was formed and began to compose short power-pop songs with titles like "Boyfriend," "Angry (At You Baby)," "Lying (To You Baby)," and "My Baby Is a Communist."

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Deerful is Emma Winston, a musician based in London, UK. She writes lush, sad electropop about feelings on synthesisers small enough to use on the bus and in tiny live-coding environments, and exists in a perpetual state of being far too excited about making things. Her musical influences include the Postal Service, The Magnetic Fields, Kero Kero Bonito, Emmy the Great, CHVRCHES, Owen Pallett, Grimes, and the DuckTales for Game Boy soundtrack.

Winter Sprinter 2019: Suggested Friends, Peaness and Whoa Melodic

We kick off the Winter Sprinter on Tuesday 8th January at The Lexington, in London, with Suggested Friends, Peaness and Whoa Melodic.

Advance tickets are on sale now from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings for £7.50.

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Suggested Friends Bandcamp tells us they make “bittersweet dad rock for you and your mates”, which is hilarious but, obviously, the London quartet are a lot more than that. They make effervescent and melancholic pop rock songs, with catchy-as-anything hooks and frenetic choruses. Faith from the band probably puts it best: “We are a jangle punk-ish pop group based in London, singing songs about regret, aspiration, and microaggressions. We’re all about the catchy choruses and OTT guitar solos.”

They also have a song with perhaps the best title ever, “I Can’t Roll My Eyes That Far Back”, a tongue in cheek critique of elitist music scenes. They’ve been gigging all over the UK in the illustrious company of the likes of UK DIY bands including KEEL HER, Trust Fund and Spook School. Their self-titled debut album is brilliant and their second LP is in the works for 2019.

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Formed in Chester, England in late 2014, three piece indie-pop band Peaness are the kind of instantly likeable, warm and creative people that can get away with having radio DJ’s blush like a peach every time they have to say the band’s name on the airwaves. Lucky really, as it’s a phenomenon that’s becoming increasingly more common with spins racking up at BBC Radio One, BBC6 Music, Radio X and more as this burgeoning bunch of friends grow quickly into the big shoes that the early press-hype has set out for them to fill.

Whoa Melodic

Whoa Melodic is Michael Wood, whom usually shares his multi-instrumentalist talents with various bands including Singing Adams/Steven Adams & The French Drops and The Hayman Kupa Band (with Darren Hayman of Hefner and Emma Kupa of Standard Fare/Mammoth Penguins).

With an unnatural obsession with Paul McCartney, Whoa Melodic also has echoes of Teenage Fanclub, Squeeze, World Party and Elliott Smith. Melody is key yet his lyrics tend reflect what is going on in his life. Nostalgic, tune drenched and reassuring.

Mikey Collins - West Coast [Digital]

Artist: Mikey Collins
Title: West Coast
Format: Digital EP
Cat#: Fika064SG4
Release date: 30th November 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify

Following the release of his debut solo album Hoick earlier this year, ex-Allo Darlin’ drummer Mikey Collins announces a series of remixes, which will appear over two EPs. Guest remixers include Johnny Winfield, Nicholas de Carlo, James Yuill, Jolyon Thomas, Ghost Culture and Ian Button (Death In Vegas/Papernut Cambridge). 

As Mikey explains; “I've always loved a remix. I remember buying singles in the 90s and loving the re-imagining of an original track into a whole new piece of art – sometimes more exciting that the original. Some were a bit crap, sure, but – good ones – have never really felt like 'just sticking a beat over the top' to me. I think it's fascinating seeing what other producers make of the same set of stems / lyrics / flow and taking a few elements to turn it into something that has a life of its own. Like watching your kid grow up or something! So, I always knew I wanted to try and get some remixes of the Hoick songs if possible. I gave every artist the option of which tune they would like to remix.” 

The first EP revolves around the stand-out track “West Coast”, featuring the original album version plus three remixes. Jolyon Thomas is a music producer who has worked with U2, Royal Blood and Slaves. James Yuill creates folktronica and Mikey said; “I think it's amazing how he managed to make things sound modern and timeless at the same time”. Johnny Whinfield co-produced and mastered Hoick. He has produced and co-written several records with Jimmy Somerville and absolutely loves disco and EDM, which influenced the sound on the album satisfying both his “disco” and Mikey’s “indie” roots. 

Hoick is the solo album from Allo Darlin’ drummer Mikey Collins, who combines his love of rhythm and joyous harmonies to create a fun and sonically varied record. He is joined by a crack-team of musicians including drummer Ian Button (Death In Vegas, Papernut Cambridge), Tom Parkinson on bass, Tigercats’ Laura Kovic on keyboards and vocals, as well as fellow former Allo Darlin’ member and lifelong friend, guitar maestro Paul Rains. The flicker of his previous band pervades much of the album, as Collins draws inspiration from the upbeat nature of their music but he also gives it his own spin, as well as gleaning influences from other sources including Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Rolling Stones and current artists such as Matthew E White and Night Works. 

Flowers play Winter Sprinter 2019

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We’re delighted to announce our Wednesday headliner for The 2019 Winter Sprinter as Flowers! It’s their first headline show in far too long; they’ll be joining Haiku Salut (Thursday) and Withered Hand (Friday) as our other announced headliners. Details of Tuesday’s show to be unveiled shortly….

This is our one and only headline show in a long time, so we're planning a suitably long (and hopefully quite good) set of our all-time favourite songs right from our very first demos to some brand new ones!” Rachel, Flowers

There’s something great about a three-piece—think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500—and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. Singer Rachel Kenedy's ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar is backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley.

Effortlessly blending pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, the recordings strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of Kenedy’s voice and Ayres’ abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspiration from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label is now evident.

Advance 4 day passes and individual day tickets are now available from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings.

The Winter Sprinter runs from the 8th - 11th January 2019 at The Lexington, London.


The Smittens - Infinity Pools [Digital]

Artist: The Smittens
Title: Infinity Pools
Format: Digital
Cat#: Fika067SG4
Release date: 2nd November 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

Ahead of 3 shows this weekend with The Ballet, The Smittens release their latest single Infinity Pools, taken from this summer’s LP City Rock Dove.

Infinity Pools is a homage to Spanish tontipop, and also inspired by Max’s longstanding love of tropicália. It’s a heady mix of pretentious experimentation and the most basic, simple, silly, absurdly infectious pop. 

The digital single comes with a brand new remix of Cats for Cats, superbly re-crafted by The Ballet, and a version of Sapphire from Nixon.

Catch The Smittens and The Ballet this weekend here:

Nov 2nd: The Radio Bean, Burlington VT
Nov 3rd: C’Mon Everybody, Brooklyn NY [3pm early free show]
Nov 4th: The Fire, Philadelphia PA

The Smittens - Infinity Pools

Winter Sprinter 2019

Fika Recordings, Wiaiwya and Gare du Nord proudly present the return of annual Winter Sprinter!

Four nights, three labels, twelve bands, DJs… the perfect antidote to the post-Christmas blues in the intimate surroundings of The Lexington, from January 8th-11th.

Our first two headliners are Haiku Salut and Withered Hand, playing Thursday 10th and Friday 11th respectively.

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Haiku Salut are an instrumental dream-pop-post-folk-neo-everything trio from the Derbyshire Dales. The group consists of multi-instrumentalists Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft. Between them, Haiku Salut play accordion, piano, glockenspiel, trumpet, guitar, ukulele, drums, and melodica. Their music also features electronic elements, which they refer to as “loopery and laptopery”.

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Withered Hand is the songwriting output of Dan Willson. A cult figure in the Scottish music scene since 2009, Dan has released two widely acclaimed albums, New Gods (2014) and Good News (2009) and several lo-fi EPs. Currently working towards his third full length album, Withered Hand continues to tour and play one-off dates in venues from concert halls to living rooms.

We’ll be announcing the other two headliners and details of the rest of the line up shortly. In the meantime, you can buy super-early bird 4 day passes for the bargain price of £32, or individual tickets for Thursday or Friday for £11 each from wegottickets.com/fikarecordings.

Mikey Collins - Hoick [12"/CD]

Artist: Mikey Collins
Title: Hoick
Format: 12" album on black vinyl | CD in digifile sleeve
Cat#: Fika068LP | Fika068CD
Release date: 17th August 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

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Hoick is the solo album from Allo Darlin’ drummer Mikey Collins, who combines his love of solid grooves and joyous harmonies to create a fun and sonically varied record. Mikey played most of the instruments and mixed the record himself, with some assistance from Laura Kovic (Tigercats) on vocals and fellow Allo Darlin' member Paul Rains on lead guitar. The flicker of his previous band provided the building blocks of an upbeat, positive record, but Mikey wanted to add his own quirky, disco spin & sonic expansiveness, aided by co-producer John Winfield (who has worked with Jimmy Somerville), with the aim of making a record that people stood a chance of being able to dance to. To create this eclectic sound, Mikey draws on influences  as far flung as Dexy's Midnight Runners, Bruce Springsteen & Todd Rundgren as well as more current artists such as Night Works, Matthew E White and Father John Misty.

Mikey began working on the album while he was still touring with beloved Fortuna POP! signed indiepop outfit Allo Darlin’ and as a result it took a pretty long time to complete. The last few years were a conveyor belt of change as he; got married, had a child, bought a house, moved from London to be by the Kent coast (Ramsgate) and opened a residential studio Big Jelly Studios (where they’ve recorded albums by Girl Ray, Metronomy, Pete Doherty and the Puta Madres, Mt Wolf, Seamus Fogarty and many others including Elizabeth Morris from Allo Darlin’s new band, ELVA).  In short, he grew up.  The record journeys through these changes but has its roots firmly grounded in his new seaside habitat.  His identity with and connection to the area is even incorporated into the album artwork – a startling photograph by local photographer Jason Evans (who has worked with Radiohead and Keiran Hebden/Fourtet), incorporating flora and fauna of the region, an outer ring of pop glow that hints at the neon din of the seaside.  The idea for the image emerged after a discussion about the relationship between organic and synthesised sounds on the record and its need to represent the area.

Moving to the coast had a more profound effect on Mikey than he imagined, as he explains; “Mostly it’s about a seismic shift in life.  I probably delayed growing up in a lot of ways, touring can kind of help that - it’s a fantasy world in some ways!  I hadn't really stopped to appreciate what I had until I got a little bit of time and space to think.  Being by the sea is good for that.  I realised how many positives there are in my life and I wanted to channel some of that into a record."  Unsurprisingly there are a lot of references to the sea, falling in love and friendship on the album. This is evident in songs such as as “Falling”, which is about proposing to his wife – something he swore blind he'd never do! - to “Pinata”, a song about handing over your heart, wrapping it in a piñata and giving someone the bat (in a humorous way). "Side by Side" is a reflection on having spent a lot of time with a group of people and that, hopefully, the Allo Darlin' friendship would always endure.

"West Coast" is another uptempo disco-vibe, reflecting on time spent with long term tour buddies The Wave Pictures in California. In "Home Bird", Mikey tried to pay homage to to the grooves of older RnB tunes with a simple arrangement, Rolling Stones-esque riffs and thoughts about the dichotomy of missing home, but loving being on the road. The finger-picked, delicately arranged acoustic song, "Moving On", was recorded in one take in the upstairs flat of a cafe/bar (called Caboose) that Mike opened with his wife when they first moved to Ramsgate. An airplane flew overhead at a seemingly poignant moment, so Mike decided to keep that take, as explains; "it seemed like a perfect moment captured!”.  

The album title “Hoick” is a word that he used without thinking when lifting and throwing his daughter in the air. He only noticed it when she started saying it back to him - “I like the way it sounded... it's  a strange word, but when I thought about what it meant it seemed to encapsulate what I wanted the record to do; to lift up”.

Although the making of the record was a solo endeavour, live he is joined by a crack-team of musicians. Whilst he plays guitar and sings, in addition to the afore mentioned Laura Kovic, and lifelong friend, guitar maestro Paul Rains, he is joined by drummer Ian Button (Death In Vegas, Papernut Cambridge) and Tom Parkinson on bass.

Of the album Mikey states: “This has been the first musical project that I feel proud of the moment I finished it.  Normally it takes a bit of time and perspective.  It feels as happy, conflicted and dense as the inside of my brain feels most of the time, which is the danger / joy of the solo record...” Collins deftly blends a solid rhythm section with disco beats and old school R&B grooves, layering the bass lines, guitars, synths and harmonies to build up each track sonically. The result is a shimmering and glittering record that bursts with joy and wonder.

Mikey Collins - Hoick

“Collins – by accident or by design – has created a sun-drenched soundtrack to 2018’s summer heatwave, and much like the output of his old band Allo Darlin’, Hoik is a record ready and waiting to be fallen in love with.” London in Stereo

“I was initially remined just a bit of the Joe Jackson-Squeeze school of smart Brit pop; when it’s good it can be really good (e.g. “Home Bird,” where the foundation shifts to guitar, and the Brit folky “Moving”), but I kinda dig the synth-pop buoyancy more (shades of this mode lingers), and I hardly ever say that.” The Vinyl District [B]

“a summery solo album” Scottish Express [4/5]

“Hoick, the first solo album from Allo Darlin’ drummer Mikey Collins, is a real pleasure” Morning Star [4/5]

“Collins has made a mature, pleasant pop record here” Irish News

Hoick is eminently accessible and satisfying summer music, and its songs quickly become like old friends that you welcome them into your life whenever you hear them.  And in that, there is some real magic.” When You Motor Away

“It's not that the release is amazingly tuneful and invigorating in such a way as to suggest something not dependent on rhythms (though it is), it's just that I can't think of many drummers who have this sort of ease with a hook.” A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed

“a reflective album inspired by his becoming a father and moving to the coast of England. Yet, it’s got a lot of tricks up its sleeve, perhaps intentionally traditionally catchy and pop-friendly to put you in a good or nostalgic mood.” Since I Left You

“For this album musical influences have been taken from Bruce Springsteen, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Norman staff ‘favourite’ Father John Misty, to name a few.” Norman Records

The Just Joans - Has Anybody Seen My Boy? [7"]

Artist: The Just Joans
Title: Has Anybody Seen My Boy?
Format: 7" single on transparent blue vinyl
Cat#: Fika069
Release date: 10th August 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

Cult Scottish miserabilists The Just Joans have a new double A-side single, following up on the success of 2017’s album You Might Be Smiling Now…, their first in over a decade.

Formed in Glasgow in 2005, The Just Joans have evolved from a shambling two-piece to an accomplished sextet that embraces rivalry and relationship in the vocals of siblings, David and Katie Pope.

Once described as ‘the missing link between The Magnetic Fields and The Proclaimers’, the band have used self-awareness and self-deprecation to continuously explore themes of angst, heartbreak and detachment in their songs.

From their 2006 debut album Last Tango in Motherwell through a series of successful EPs, to 2012’s compilation Buckfast Bottles In The Rain, the acerbic wit in David Pope’s observational lyrics have helped make the band a firm favourite of the indie-pop scene. Their rise has seen them play a plethora of international festivals, such as Wales Goes Pop, Indiefjords, NYC Popfest, and of course the Indietracks festival, of which they have been long-standing cult favourites since their first appearance in 2008.

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David Pope describes the two tracks from the 7” in characteristic Just Joans style:

Has Anybody Seen My Boy? is our attempt at writing a lost 60’s girl group track...had that girl group been from Motherwell.  3 minutes of bubblegum-tragi-pop. Flip side Who Does Susan Think She Is? is a direct message to the friends who swanned off to art school and came back 3 months later with dyed hair, a Polaroid camera and a snooty attitude. You know who you are…”

The artwork was created specially for the single by Doreen Kay who attends the weekly art cIass Katie Pope runs for adults who have learning disabilities.  Doreen's work often depicts popular cultural, including tv programmes and celebrities she likes. She also paints places she's enjoyed visiting and people she knows. We’re all very excited that she agreed to design the sleeve for this release. 

The Just Joans are David Pope (vocals and guitar), Katie Pope (vocals), Chris Elkin (lead guitar), Fraser Ford (bass guitar), Doog Cameron (keyboards) and Jason Sweeney (drums).

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"Two new songs from glum sibling centric Glaswegian indie rockers. The Just Joans, formed in 2005, are built around the tempestuous relationship only siblings can have, here provided by Katie and David Pope. Has Anybody Seen My Boy shows them capitalising off the energy of 2017's You Might Be Smiling Now... for a fresh opportunity to show off how miserable they are." Norman Records

"terrific weekend angst-pop" When You Motor Away