[Mae’r blog yma hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg]
I was brought up in Bangor, north Wales – a small university city which has a rich cultural tradition, not least in music. Walking down Bangor High Street these days brings back some wonderful memories of a record shop that closed a few years ago – Cob Records.
When I was a teenager I spent hours on end in Cob Records – an incredibly cool place, curious and mysterious, and somewhere you would not go to with your parents. Two floors were packed to the rafters with new, old, second hand, unusual, and brilliant music, and the staff there really knew their music.
The small yellow labels which decorate so many of my vinyls, cassettes and CDs pay tribute to the time and money I happily spent in the shop.
This is where I bought the influential and formative records of my youth by bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, The Primitives, Snuff, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Welsh bands such as Y Cyrff, Ffa Coffi Pawb, Yr Anhrefn, Hanner Pei and Topper.
These were the sounds of my teen years – and to me, like many of my friends, the Welsh music we listened to was just as exciting, and probably more relevant, than the music we listened to from America or even other parts of the UK. One of the great strengths of the Welsh language music scene was the unusual and rather eclectic mix of music that co-existed under one umbrella.
Punk bands shared a stage with electronic bands and, somehow, it all made sense. This is how I came across a wonderful electronic, experimental synth-pop band called Eirin Peryglus (translated as ‘Dangerous Plums’) – a genre of music I knew nothing of and listened to none of, except in Welsh!
The music of Eirin Peryglus is magical, and holds its ground to this day. I remember seeing them live at a National Eisteddfod, but what really created an impression was seeing their vinyl decorated with big pink writing in the shop window of Cob Records… it was love at first sight!
One of the bands’ most well known tracks, and one of my personal favourites, is ‘Anial Dir’ (translated as ‘Barren Land’) – a nostalgic, heart breaking and personal song that became quite a hit at the time. We’ve recorded a version of Anial Dir for the new album and, as you’d expect, it’s quite different to the original. Hopefully, we’ve managed to capture the essence and sentiment of the original and do it justice of some sort.
Times have changed of course, and despite the proliferation of websites and online music streaming services, I still get a huge amount of enjoyment and education from visiting good record stores. Thankfully, we still have some wonderful shops around such as the ever young Spillers Records in Cardiff (the oldest record shop in the world) which continues to give Welsh bands a vitally important platform right in the centre of Wales’ capital city.
One piece of news before I finish… we’ve just announced that the third album will be released on the wonderful I Ka Ching Records in the summer. More details to follow shortly. For now, enjoy the original version of Anial Dir, by the brilliant Eirin Peryglus: