TVD SLR30 Premieres: Flowers, “Erik” and Neutrals, “Personal Computing”

Slumberland Records winds up its 18-month, 30th anniversary series, offering a baker’s dozen of SLR30 singles with a pair of 45s getting their debut here at The Vinyl District.

From England comes the trio Flowers, who have cited the Slumberland ethic as an influence since the noisy indie pop band formed in London eight years ago. “Flowers always wanted to release a record on Slumberland,” the band says.

“Erik” is the band’s first single since 2017, and concerns the antics of a wayward pet hamster, with Rachel Kennedy’s ethereal voice rising over Sam Ayres guitar and Jordan Hockley’s drums. When issued to subscribers November 13, “Candour” will be the B-side.

The trio Neutrals are out of San Francisco, who issued an album in 2019 on Emotional Response Records and an EP earlier this year on Domestic Departure. The jagged guitar pop of “Personal Computing,” the final entry in the SLR30 Singles Series, looks back to the intersection of pop music and home computing, back in the days when you could “buy dodgy bootleg Spectrum games like Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, etc, from the same stall at Barras in Glasgow where you could buy illicit recordings of the gigs that went on there at night,” says the band’s Allan McNaughton, who moved from Scotland to the Bay Area decades ago.

“‘Personal Computing’ takes nostalgia for that simpler time—typing BASIC into your ZX81 from a printed magazine, buzzing tape head cleaner to get high—to the point of obsession or even fetish.” Recorded just before COVID-19 locked down the world, “In the Future” continues the theme on the flip, also out on November 13.

They round out the series that began with The Suncharms, Rat Columns, Dolly Dream, David Lance Callahan, Wildhoney, Lake Ruth, Failed Flowers, Pale Lights, Odd Hope, Smiles and Black Tambourine, the latter for subscribers only.

Black Tambourine, of course, is one of the first bands on Slumberland, which was started by its drummer Mike Schulman in 1989, when other early acts on the label included Velocity Girl and Lilys. Since then it’s become the label of Boyracer, Stereolab, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Singles were always the prime currency of Slumberland when Schulman, a former record store clerk in Silver Spring, Maryland started the label. Over the years, and after a move to the West Coast, Slumberland has released more than 125 7-inch singles. The anniversary project, offering the 13 singles for $100, overshot the actual anniversary date last December, but spread the joy of the singles through the dark days of 2020 when it was needed.

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