When I recently reviewed the absolutely essential Creation Artifact: The Dawn of Creation Records 1983-1985 box set from Cherry Red, I tried to make the point that the real stars of that collection were The Loft. The Pete Astor-fronted band seemed to define the Creation Sound before bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine re-defined it only to have Oasis and Super Furry Animals come along and re-define it again. One could make the argument that in the early days of Creation, Astor's crew were the most consistent act on the label. And while The Loft have reformed and performed recently, something covered in my recent interview with members of The Loft, Pete Astor has never stopped making music, whether it's been with The Weather Prophets, or The Wisdom of Harry, or as a solo artist. Astor remains one of the legends of McGee's label, and one of the legends who's managed to keep making great music since those glory days.
And now he's set to release what is sure to be one of the highlights of 2016 with his new album, Spilt Milk, on the esteemed US label Slumberland Records. Out in February, the record was produced by James Hoare of Ultimate Painting and Veronica Falls and the album features Hoare as well as Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Glo-Worm, Withered Hand) on vocals, and Jack Hayter of Hefner on guitar.
The first single is here and it's a gem. Sure to burrow into your brain the way that those Withered Hand singles did not so long ago, "My Right Hand" is a Tony Hancock-referencing blast of indie goodness.
If you had sat around in a (good) record shop in 1988 wondering what a Feelies/Loft mash-up might sound like, this might be the result of your daydreaming. One could be forgiven for thinking that Mercer's crew were involved with this due to the strong and effective VU-vibe Hoare's brought to this. Astor's vocals are warm and direct in ways that recall Lou's delivery on the third Velvet Underground record. But, for all the talk of the past I'm throwing down here, this is a fresh and invigorating single, the sort of thing to put a spring in your step on a dreary November day.
Let it do that for you as it did for me today and head over to Slumberland Records for more info on the upcoming Spilt Milk from Pete Astor.