Friday, June 02, 2006

Unearthing The Groovy Little Numbers

Tracking down a compilation such as AGARR Retro: Fun While It Lasted, Part II is a must for any nostalgic hipster with an affinity for Scottish pop. Chock full of hard-to-find treasure and out-of-print plunder, the comp features singles released by Stephen Pastel's 53rd & 3rd label.

Some of the artists on the LP went on to churn out rather substantial bodies of work: Talulah Gosh with Sarah Records, BMX Bandits with Creation Records. But for many of the featured groups, the output wasn’t so substantial. Take The Groovy Little Numbers, for example. The band released just two singles during its lifespan, both for 53rd & 3rd: "You Make My Head Explode" in 1987 and "Happy Like Yesterday" one year later. The latter track is featured on the aforementioned compilation and calls to mind contemporaries such as The June Brides, who deftly blended sunny horn sections with cheery guitar parts.

The Groovy Little Numbers were part of the incestuous Bellshill scene and featured notable musicians like Jim McCulloch (one-time member of BMX Bandits and later, The Soup Dragons) and Joe McAlinden (another one-time member of BMX Bandits, as well as an arranger and sideman for Teenage Fanclub).

Hear it for yourself. Download: "Happy Like Yesterday" by The Groovy Little Numbers.

(And a tiny bit of trivia: The "AGARR" in the compilation's title was used before the catalogue number of every 53rd & 3rd release. It stood for "As Good As (a) Ramones Record," which was the expressed goal of every title cut by the label.)