release the bats (with MP3s!)

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I'm a hopeless moony-eyed fan of pretty much everything the New Zealand songwriter Robert Scott has done--he's been in at least three of my favorite bands, and I've had the honor of putting out records by two of them (The Clean and the Magick Heads), as well as a couple of solo recordings by him. The other band he's best known for, the Bats, is releasing a new album today (on the Portland label Magic Marker), their first in about 10 years. Yay.

The Bats have been around for well over 20 years now (with exactly the same lineup: Robert, Malcolm Grant, Paul Kean, Kaye Woodward--the last three of them also play as Minisnap). They didn't break up during the gap between records; they've just been taking their time. The Bats at the National Grid is the new arrival, and after playing it a handful of times I'm gradually sinking into its loose hand-woven wire mesh--it always takes a while for me to acclimate to their records, and eventually I can't remember not having had them on my mental jukebox. "Horizon" (MP3), credited to all four of them, is my favorite song from it. (Also see their page on the Magic Marker site for another MP3, "Bells.")

As a taste of the Bats' history, here's their 1986 single "Made Up In Blue" (MP3) which I've been a little obsessed with lately. The Bats' own page is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in their history.

And here's something you probably haven't heard before: back in the early '90s, Robert wrote a song for Barbara Manning to sing, "B4 We Go Under"--it came out as a single on Teenbeat (with Barbara backed by Flophouse), and was later re-released on her singles comp Under One Roof. Robert recorded a version with the Magick Heads, as the title track of their first album. And, as a treat for anyone who's read this far, this is Robert and Barbara's never-officially-released home demo of "B4 We Go Under" (MP3), an amazingly beautiful little recording.

Many thanks to Curt from Magic Marker and Robert Scott for permission to post these.

3 Comments

John said:

Whoa - I don't give into the nostalgia-rush that people so often associate with music, but "B4 We Go Under" in its Flophouse incarnation was one of those moments when indie rock seemed like the coolest thing in the world, this little secret universe of transient ephemeral things that could wholly occupy an unimportant transient space. The jetlag is probably making me talk stupid (just back from Australia) but yes yes "B4 We Go Under": haven't heard it in at least eight years and can still sing the chorus.

John Kenyon said:

Wow, a new Bats disc and discussion of the Clean... am I back in college? Good to see great bands getting their due, and even better to see them continuing to record. I saw a listing for this record just yesterday, and feared that some upstart emo band had hijacked the name. Glad to see it's the real deal, and can't wait to check out these mp3s.

Drew LeDrew said:

Thanks for Bats news and tunes. I treasure my Daddy's Highway LP, even without a turntable to play it on. You've probably seen this already, but just to spread a bit more Bats love, Mike McGonigal posted a different song from this album recently: http://buked.blogspot.com/2005/09/chicken-plucker-plucks-chickens.html

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on September 20, 2005 12:22 AM.

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