HIS BAND BEFORE SLOWDIVE…..

Pictured above are the four members of The Charlottes, who formed in 1988 in the town of Huntingdon, England (and which had former Prime Minister John Major as its MP from 1979-2001).

Petra Roddis was the singer, Graham Garguilo played guitar, David Wade was the bassist, and the drums were banged by Simon Scott who, in due course who find some fame and fortune as part of shoe-gazing combo, Slowdive.

The Charlottes first single came out in late 1988 on Molesworth a very small and locally-based label. It’s 1 minute and 45 seconds of fabulously frantic pop that musically has a lot in common with so many of their contemporaries, with a similarity to early Soup Dragons and The Wedding Present:-

mp3 : The Charlottes – Are You Happy Now?

The b-side was another fine indie-pop by numbers – less frantic and more of a tip of the hat to the increasing number of female fronted indie bands of the late 80s, but not quite as twee:-

mp3 : The Charlottes – How Can You Say (You Really Feel)

They would next pop up on Subway Organisation, for whom there was a single and album in 1989/90 before they headed over to Cherry Red Records in 1991, and again for a single and album. The Charlottes never really got much in the way of success, nor much in the way of attention from the media.

They were one of those groups that came along a little bit to late with the indie-sound that they were initially so good at dying out as the baggy/Madchester era came into being – and where the likes of The Soup Dragons embraced this, The Charlottes leaned more towards shoegazing as their third and final single demonstrates:-

mp3 : The Charlottes – Liar

They really didn’t stand out from the crowd by this point….but somebody, somewhere saw potential in the man with the sticks.

JC

5 thoughts on “HIS BAND BEFORE SLOWDIVE…..

  1. Aw, brilliant to be reminded of The Charlottes. Three
    corking songs for me – especially the middle one.

    Didn’t Petra, feature in Ride’s video for ‘Taste’? Or
    am I havering? Thanks JC – made my day.

  2. Great post JC. Love The Charlotte’s – hardly surprising given my predilection for loud guitars and female vocals (Shop Assistants, Cuckooland, Fuzzbox, Fizzbombs). Also easy to see why they got lost amongst all of the others, especially with the Liar album. But “Are You Happy Now?” and “Cold” still stand the test of time and create a little rush of adrenaline.

  3. Lovely to see a mention of Molesworth Records, as it was the baby of my old English teacher, Andrew Clifton (guitarist Graham went to the same school). Andrew was, truth be told, considered a bit of an oddball, with his massive bushy beard, brown suits and milk-bottle bottomed glasses – but he was a huge inspiration to me: at that young age I had no idea about indie music, even less about small independent record labels. But all the kids knew he ran a record label (literally out of his living room) and that piqued my interest. I was saddened to hear that he passed away a few years ago, and I was chuffed to get a (well received) message to his family to let them know how important he’d been to me.

  4. Thanks for that Jez…..I’m always amazed when I read things like that and it’s a reminder that it really is quite a small world.

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