School Daze is a new imprint from the Glasgow-based Night School, focusing on discovering and sharing the past.
Sharon Signs To Cherry Red began life as the archetypal independent single released on the obscure Lowther International label by archetypal independent act, The Kamikaze Pilots, the review of whom by Danny Kelly in the NME gives us the starting point: “Disturbingly, also from Norwich…comes this plaintive tribute to/assassination of all the earnest misery gobs ever signed to Cherry Red’s roster, with particular reference to the Tracey Thorn pantheon”. What was a gentle mocking of The Marine Girls et al is now the starting point for this meander through the 80s’ underground, a period which enabled more involvement from women in independent music, a slight, if not complete, freeing up of the male-dominated hegemony that had existed before punk. Many of these artists were night-time John Peel session regulars, fighting for daytime coverage in the press, walking the fine line of questioning from the NME (hip young gunslingers asking sexual politics) and Smash Hits (Milton Keynes readers asking which hairspray they used).
Sharon… is but an overview of a fertile time, when the democratization of music through punk had resulted in new viewpoints, talents and perspectives finding their voice. The breadth here is a joy: from the sugary Dorothy (originally on Throbbing Gristle’s Industrial Records) to ex-Dolly Mixture Debsey Wykes’s Coming Up Roses, from the punked scrawl of The Petticoats to the avant funk of Bristol’s Scream & Dance, the one thread all these groups have in common is their fierce independence. That and their XX chromosomes. Some of these recordings are surfacing for the first time on Sharon Signs To Cherry Red, while others are from rare 7”s and compilation releases.