Whilst all notable musical trendies in my early 1990’s student days were either trying to desperately suppress their middle class privilege by wearing scruffy clothes and going crazy for obscure grunge bands or trying to accentuate their pseudo intellectualism by loving all things Sarah Records…I somehow found myself more besotted with a German label called Marsh Marigold after hearing 50 000 000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong‘s track Amelia.
Somehow their ‘slightly more meaty than Sarah bands’ feyness just appealed more. Such an appeal has resulted in something of an obsession over the years which has seen me spend more money that I should on all things Marsh Marigold.
With nearly 30 years of Marsh Marigold love behind me, I think it is about time to express this love with a list of my favourite 15 bands / tracks from this superb label.
Jesterbells – Proud and Wild (1989)
The first band signed to the label and the Jesterbells really helped to set the scene for the aesthetic of the label.
In my opinion, this track, from the 1989 Rain Keeps Falling EP is the best from a small but perfectly formed studio output of just two EP’s (8 tracks).
Red Letter Day – An Early Ending (1989)
Red Letter Day were possibly the most celebrated of all the early MM bands, releasing two full albums and a couple of EP’s in their three year tenure with the label. With this track (from their 1989 self titled EP) being possibly the strongest in their catalogue, with its disgruntled bass and subtle jangle.
The various members of the band were true Marsh Marigold pioneers with My Guru Says, Jesterbells and Knabenkraut all benefiting from the RLD influence at some conjecture.
The Legendary Bang – Just A Friend (1990)
My favourite track from their initial two EP output (they did release a compilation in 2000 which gave a much needed extension to this output) coming from from the Big Bluff EP.
MM kept things very incestuous in the early years with members of The Legendary Bang also going on to play in 50 000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong, Kristallin and Die Funf Freunde
Band member Sandra Zettpunkt is a regular visitor to the janglepop twitter site and her radio show is well worth streaming if you want to be able to find those bands that may have slipped under your radar (visit her @golden_glades Twitter handle for full details)
Die Funf Freunde – Perfect Day (1990)
Another Sandra Zettpunkt band, Die Funf Freunde generally had a hushed, twee Sarah Records type vibe to them but managed to infuse occasional The June Brides brass flourishes to their sound making them become instantly recognizable within the MM early 1990’s roster.
This track is my favourite from their self-titled debut EP… YouTube Link
Acid House Kings – She Fakes Apples (1992)
Swedish band Acid House Kings are extremely well know as an indie-pop outfit after a career with the Harmony and Labrador labels that spanned over 20 years. However their first EP and album was wi
th Marsh Marigold who signed them as their first overseas band.
My favourite from their Marigold days is this non album track from their 1992 Play Pop! EP
50 0000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – Amelia (1993)
A parody of the The Go-Betweens track Lee Remick, this track pays tribute to Twee / Indie-Pop goddess Amelia Fletcher (Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Tender Trap etc etc) and ‘out cools’ the Aussie janglers version in every way.
This track is from their only album, 1993’s Baby Trash and has to be the coolest of the MM catalogue…despite furious competition.
Seashells – Beatrice (1993)
This non-album track is from the 1993 debut EP Sunshine Eyes, which was one of only two releases under Marsh Marigold with the other being the 1994 album release Looking After Your Flowers.
Although typically fey from a vocal perspective, Seashells were without doubt the most jangle inspired of Marsh Marigold’s earlier bands.
Red Sleeping Beauty – Pop Songs (1995)
Possibly the greatest Sarah Records track that Sarah Records never released. RSB were a side project of Niclas Angergard of the Acid House Kings who took all that was curious about AHK and added some Sarah chic to proceedings.
This track is from the 1995 album Bedroom album and is absolute must for anyone who loves their jangle served in a Sarah records style.
Mumbly – Marlou Sous La Neige (1997)
I always considered Mumbly and their only Marsh Marigold album, 1997’s Being Ernest, to be somewhat atypical of the usual Marsh Marigold aesthetic, as the band were far too accomplished to completely fit in with the general ramshackle indie feel and essentially just that bit too melodic.
However this track fits in perfectly, mixing fey vocals with fluttered up jangle to provide that superb Marsh Marigold effect….YouTube Link
Brideshead – On Your Trail (1999)
The late 90’s saw Marsh Marigold take on a couple of bands (the other being Kristallin
) that utilized a much more masculine style of vocals (still pretty, but strong, not fey) and married it to a kind of more driven Teenage Fanclub
/ The Woodentops
One of these bands, Brideshead
, danced between several labels for a long period, however out of their two Marsh Marigold releases this track from the 1999 Spending Warm Summer Days Outdoors
is certainly my favourite…YouTube Link
Kristallin – Mirror Man (1999)
This track from the Alain Prost EP (1999) sees Kristallin plainly in thrall to Morrissey from a vocal perspective and taking on the quieter moments and driving repetitive rhythms of The Wedding Present (one of the other tracks on this album is called Gedge as obvious homage to one of their primary influences).
Certainly the meatiest band on the label, without ever losing the general label aesthetic completely….YouTube Link
Miniskirt – Heading for Honey (2003)
Although not my favourite Marsh Marigold band, this track is the best from my favourite album, being packed full of 2-3 minute verse-chorus-verse bangers that have power-pop song structures with a definitive indie-pop essence, whilst utilizating the sweetest of fluttering jangle-pop.
An absolute must for fans of the label… YouTube Link
Cats on Fire – Higher Grounds (2007)
Although Elva Records were the first label to ‘discover / take a chance’ on Cats on Fire, it was Marsh Marigold who backed their first full length album, The Province Complains (that this track is from) and although COF have changed labels a couple of times since then and have been extremely well received in relation to subsequent releases, the Marsh Marigold debut still remains the best in my opinion.
Honeyheads – I Know (2011)
The flow of releases from MM slowed down in 2010’s decade. However it is genuinely a case of quality over quantity with this track from the 2011 Trivia About being indicative of the sort of Hefner / Darren Hayman-esque British indie-pop route that the label has followed more recently….YouTube Link
Alaska – Every Other Monday (2018)
Although only releasing a discography of just two albums and two EP’s, Alaska and Marsh Marigold have remained loyal to each other since the bands 1999 Nouveau Liberty album. I personally thought MM had disbanded considering they had not released anything since 2014, therefore it was something of a joyous occurrence when the latest 2018 Whitewash the Tidemarks album came out.
This track from the album showcases Torben Schmieder’s unique vocals superbly…YouTubeLink
A YouTube link for all the track above is HERE…I hope you enjoy