Based in Cumbria, Optic Nerve specialises in high quality vinyl record reissues of great indie music from the 80s and 90s.
This week sees two new albums bearing its imprint in the guise of much under-rated shoegazers, The Charlottes, Mancunian C86-ers The Waltones and legendary Essex psych/indie combo The Cleaners from Venus
Each album is delivered on high quality coloured vinyl, beautifully packaged and in some instances accompanied by copious sleeve notes.
The one that got me the most excited is The Very Best Of The Cleaners From Venus. If you have never heard them think The Kinks meeting The Cure (at their most melodic) some time during the late 80s. Their string of albums is superb – the early cassette-based ones are packaged here - while this compilation takes the choice cuts from the trio they made at the end of the decade.
There are so many good songs, but highlights for me are the mad time travel through Swinging London, Illya Kuryakin Looked At Me, and the Transatlantic mega hit ballad that never was Mercury Girl. The album comes with a great booklet with reminiscences from band member, now high profile journalist and author, Giles Smith. It sells for £23.99 and is limited to a run of 500.
The Charlottes’ album Things Come Apart is also a real gem. The band were doing shoegazey, feedback-drenched wall of sound indie long before bands like Lush and Ride took it mainstream. There is a bite and verve to their music that is lacking in some of the bands that followed them too, and in opener Liar, they have a real long lost gem of a song. They deserved better – though one member did end up in Slowdive (is that better?) and they are clearly a big influence on this lot. The album is also limited to 500 and sells for £15.99. Here’s a video of the band playing Liar in the early 90s on a deserted Parliament Hill.