The majority of bands that start out can only dream of making an appearance on stage at the Glastonbury Festival, but that dream recently became a reality for Bury St Edmunds’ garage rock trio Gaffa Tape Sandy. Catherine, Kim and Robin got together around two years ago and immediately grabbed our attention with debut single Smart Dressed Guy. Last November they joined us for a live session, racing through a perfectly energetic 5 track set with an air of nonchalance. Just a couple of months ago Gaffa Tape Sandy released their debut EP Spring Killing, at which point we had already suggested to the big wigs that their presence at Pilton in Somerset would be most appropriate. Thankfully we were listened to, and now more people are listening to Gaffa Tape Sandy.
While Spring Killing doesn’t feature the band’s debut single or B-side L’Appel du Vide, the latter now resides on the magnificent ‘This is the Sound of Sugar Town Volume 2’ compilation, which was recently released by R*E*P*E*A*T Records and Pure Deadly. Volume 1, a roaring success following its arrival in 2015, showcased the wealth of incredible talent currently making music in Bury, and a few of those acts return along with some new faces. Sun Scream’s She and The Concierge by Cathedrals and Cars open what really is an incredible line-up of acts, of which the town and the whole county can and should be proud.
‘What’s happening in Bury St Edmunds could and should happen everywhere,’ writes Seymour Quigley in the album’s sleeve notes. ‘The town’s modest DIY infrastructure sags and groans under the sheer number of people wanting to play. Gigs fizzle with the energy of unity and possibility, with the shared realisation that life can be sweet, that good things can happen, that we don’t have to be awful to each other to make something of our lives.’ Seymour features on the record with Horse Party. The Wilsons are also on there, as are The Virtues, Jack Rundell and many more. It is a simply a must. Just like last time out, the album features cover art by Kate Jackson, with all profits from the record going to a local charity. Julian Support helps people with mental health issues to lead independent lives. More about their work at juliansupport.org, while the album can be purchased at repeatfanzine.bandcamp.com.
Gaffa Tape Sandy’s Glastonbury success story is just one of a number we can celebrate this year. Suffolk’s music scene certainly has been well represented at major music festivals over the last few months. In addition to SuperGlu’s debut at SXSW in Texas, the band have made it a hat-trick at Latitude, with both Bessie Turner and Rad Pitt joining them on the Lake Stage this summer. If you had told me when our programme first started in 2009 that Ed Sheeran would go on to win multiple Grammy awards and become a household name, I would have been surprised. If you were to tell me now that the same fate will fall upon Bessie, there would be no shock whatsoever. A beautiful voice. Infectious songs. A Pitt Grammy or a Pitt Brit will never happen in this lifetime, but who cares. They are playing / will play / have played (depending on when you are reading this) a major music festival, and I truly hope they get to play many many more. A 25 minute set from Rad Pitt can incorporate close to an album and a half’s worth of their material (new record Pink comes in at around 18 minutes). Opening track Hick Mucknall is probably the greatest album opener in 42 years (see Speak to Me / Breathe from Dark Side of the Moon) and by the time Avalunche follows a song about a truly awful man, I am a truly happy man.
I was truly happy too, upon hearing news that Piers James was to make his Latitude debut this year. He is the first artist we regularly champion to feature on the BBC Music Introducing Stage in the woods. Piers is a songwriter and producer who appears to do little wrong and everything right (see recent signature tunes These Nights and Unfinished Business). His appearance at a major festival is also a nod in the direction of Suffolk’s truly amazing hip hop scene. It has made some bold statements in recent months. As Booda French sips coffee in Vietnam, I continue to enjoy his Awesome is Everyday EP. I’ve also been enjoying Damian Jagroop and Flexx Tyler’s Not Famous project. The Dopamine Addict EP is another standout release, with L.A surely a contender for most beautiful song of the year.