Five Hungry Joes – A pictorial archive of the Trashcan Sinatras. Legendary Scottish Band

Thanks For Dropping In
May 7, 2011, 10:01 am
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If you look through this archive, you’ll find that the Trashcans have appeared on numerous compilation albums from around the globe.

Here’s another one. This one landed through my letterbox all the way from Thailand. Released in 1996 it includes ‘How Can I Apply?’ from third album ‘A Happy Pocket’. Other artists on the disc include Metallica, Def Leppard, Shed 7, two members of U2 and, (cough) Sting – there’s always one isn’t there?

1996 Polygram Records (Thailand) Ltd. 614-208 

It’s Hip To Be Square…
April 16, 2011, 9:42 am
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…well, round actually.

Manufactured by Grants of Dalvey – way up in the Scottish Highlands – here’s a very rare promotional TCS hip flask. Shiny isn’t it?

Originally, it was thought this was released during 1996 by the Go! Discs label to promote third album ‘A Happy Pocket’, but prior to posting this story, I’ve been reliably informed (thanks Mr Livingston), that it was in fact produced around the time of first album, ‘Cake’.

Either way, very limited numbers were issued to DJs and the like, and I believe certain band members still have them in their possession too.

Hip indeed!

Apologies, but I ate all the shortbread and couldnae find ma bagpipes…

1990 Go! Discs Ltd

February 5, 2011, 2:52 pm
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The official US press kit for second album, ‘I’ve Seen Everything’ came in the form of a band photograph and written press release…

“Some bands are really good at contriving an image for themselves, but we’re hopeless at that kind of thing,” says Paul Livingston of Scotland’s perpetually self-effacing TRASH CAN SINATRAS. “We just like good songs.”

Indeed, the youthful quintet – singer Frank Reader, guitarists John Douglas and Paul Livingston, drummer Stephen Douglas and new bassist David Hughes – has always placed a decidedly unfashionable emphasis on quality control, a fact that will be obvious after one listen to the band’s sophomore London/Go! Discs’ release I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING. The album preserves the TRASH CAN SINATRAS’ trademark balance of deceptively upbeat melodicism and wicked lyric irony – first heard on their 1990 debut album CAKE – while decisively expanding the band’s artistic scope.

I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING – produced by Ray Shulman of Sundays, Ian McCulloch and Sugarcubes fame – presents fourteen new band-written tunes that add a worldlier, gently ironic edge to the band’s fresh-faced tunesmithery. From the bracing infectiousness of “Blood Rush” and “Hay Fever,” to the swirling dynamics of “Send For Henny” and “Easy Read,” it’s clear the TRASH CAN SINATRAS have come a long way without losing the qualities that made them so appealing in the first place.

“All we knew when we started this record,” Livingston offers, “was that we wanted more loud guitars and fewer jangly things. I think these songs may be a bit more personal than the ones on CAKE, and I also think this record sounds more like a band. CAKE was a load of different tunes recorded, and a lot of the tracks were just remixed demos. The songs on I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING were all recorded during the same sessions, so it sounds more like a real album.”

I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING also sees the return of David Hughes, a founding member from the group’s early days as a loose covers combo. Hughes returned to the fold after predecessor George McDaid left to pursue his academic career. “We’ve known him for years,” Livingston says of Hughes. “He started hanging around again when George left, and the next thing we knew he was in the band.”

When the TRASH CAN SINATRAS formed in 1988, in the harbor town of Irvine on Scotland’s west coast, international pop stardom was the furthest thing from their minds. “It just kind of happened,” Livingston explains. “There just isn’t that much to do where we’re from. It started out as a casual thing, and eventually we started writing our own songs. But it didn’t really become serious until we got signed – it was like, “They’re giving us all this money, we’d better do something.”

The band members were still teenagers when they signed with England’s Go! Discs label, making an immediate U.K. splash with their bittersweetly infectious debut single “Obscurity Knocks” and its similarly well-received followup “Only Tongue Can Tell.” And the stateside release of CAKE won the fivesome an enthusiastic following in the U.S., where the band toured extensively. “Most of the letters we get seem to come from America,” Hughes points out.

Like its predecessor, I’VE SEEN EVERYTHING was recorded at the band’s own 24-track Shabby Road studio, located in nearby Kilmarnock. “It’s just down the road from where we live,” Livingston says. “It’s great recording there, because at the end of the night we can just go home, which is a lot better than spending three or four months in some strange city. We bought it with the money from our publishing deal; we originally intended to run it as a business for other bands to use as well, but there’s hardly any bands around, so we mainly just use it ourselves. It’s dead handy because we can just go in and try songs whenever we want.”

Through it all, the TRASH CAN SINATRAS maintain a quiet yet stubborn devotion to their muse. “We basically just like to write good tunes,” says Hughes. “That’s what drives us, and it all seems to come quite naturally. It’s not a conscious thing at all. We never really push ourselves in any direction; we just write and record, and this is what comes out.”

“I think we’re always gonna be doing this,” Livingston concludes. “Even if everybody started hating us and our record company chucked us off, we’d still write songs and make records for ourselves.”

1993 Go! Discs/London/Polygram

Triple A
October 23, 2010, 9:49 am
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The US Billboard publishes many different music charts, following various music styles: rock, country, dance and even ringtones for mobile phones. The most famous charts are the Hot 100 and Billboard 200s.

At the end of each year, Billboard tallies the results of all of its charts, and the results are published in a year-end issue. On a regular basis compilation CDs – like this one – are produced for these charts of upcoming singles, albums etc. This one included the Trashcans’ ‘Bloodrush’, which became a US only release. Other artists on the CD included Suzanne Vega and The Kinks.

The CD was released in conjunction with the Adult album alternative (also known as “Triple A”) radio, most of which are alternative rock songs that are aimed towards an older audience.

June 1993 The Hard Report Inc (US)

Networking (Part 9)
August 31, 2010, 6:45 pm
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The Album Network was set up to generate interest in alternative music. It would develop and maintain radio and retail charts of up and coming artists through college and alternative radio stations and nationwide retail record outlets.

These charts also provided weekly record review columns as well as weekly summarisations of goings-on in the alternative music sector and from time-to-time a CD, like this one, would be released.

Most were hit and miss, but depending on your tastes, you could have got lucky and discovered some decent songs.

The Trashcans’ second single (according to the sleeve notes) ‘Obscurity Knocks’ is included on this one alongside Pop Will Eat Itself, The Hollow Men, Inspiral Carpets and the Chicksaw Mudd Puppies.

Inspiring stuff!

21 January 1991 The Album Network (US)

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