We herewith induct Heidi Berry into the BOMBAST Hall of Legends, where she joins The Durutti Column, John Peel, Breathless, This Mortal Coil, The Wolfgang Press, The Dub Syndicate, A.R.Kane, Little Annie, Dif Juz, Prince Far I, Coil [part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4], Billy Childish, Stereolab [charter members], and The Fall [charter members].
Welcome to all, but first-time visitors especially. I hope you stick around and listen to a "regular" program or two sometime, whether live or at your convenience. This website is not just an archive of the program, but a blog / diary / collection of unpublishable prose / whatever. It's free to you, so I make no apologies for what's here! You want audio only? Just page-down until you find the link.
"I don't like singer-songwriters," I once told my boss at the record store. We were arguing the merits of...oh, probably better if I don't say. "Ah, this must have been before Heidi Berry," you are thinking. No--it's still true, I don't like singer-songwriters. (Regular listeners will have gleaned this.) But I do like Heidi Berry's music, and always have. That it hasn't turned me on to Nick Drake, or Sandy Denny, or Tim Hardin, or Bridget St. John, or whoever, could well say something about my shortcomings as a person. Or maybe, instead, it says something about the Heidi Berry records, and what complete experiences they are.
In the Lost Girls liner notes, Patrick Fitzgerald describes Heidi's voice as "stately...demanding to be heard." And it did make this demand of me, under circumstances that now seem completely accidental.
We've been over the issue of compilations. I love them, but not everyone does. Why I bought Doing It For The Kids, exactly, I don't know. It must have had something to do with liking Felt, and how difficult it was to find Creation records 6000 miles from London, and how dirt-cheap this record was. [Aside--if you think I never wrote to Alan McGee about how expensive Creation records were, much less wrapped that note around a demo tape to which he never responded, YOU DON'T KNOW ME AT ALL.] Anyway, I remember getting hold of it sometime around its release, listening to it once, not having it make an impression on my addled, distracted consciousness.
For whatever reason I was drawn back to it sometime later, no doubt during some adolescent crisis or other. I found myself listening to it really late at night, and quietly, so as not to wake my roommates. Somehow, amidst all the "boy rock bands," it was that song that stood out: "Northshore Train," with that voice, insistent. "who is THIS?" I more or less told myself it didn't matter, because I'd never see one of her records. Oh, well; at least I'd have this tune, which was much better than nothing.
The thing about working at record stores, though--sooner or later everything comes through. In comes a seller, looking to unload Below the Waves and Firefly: yoink! "Wonder what she's up to now," I thought, with a few more Creation comps (there certainly were a lot of them) in my collection, and no sign. This must have been 1991--news travelled so slowly pre-internet. Then, a few months later, 4AD and Warners trumpet their ill-fated marriage with yet another compilation--the Lilliput cd/book/t-shirt combo [you know I still have the shirt], with--what?--WHAT--on it? A Heidi Berry song? But what's she doing here? And how did my store and my radio station miss her latest album, which was almost a year old at this point? [I'm telling you, life was rough.] Anyway, my point, to the extent that there is one, is about accidents, and music falling into one's hands against all probability.
I've learned, often the hard way, that nothing is meant to happen. There is only what actually happens. Happily this music crossed my path (those comps are good for something), and now it's crossing yours, if it hasn't done so already.
But here's another thing I said once: "I have to listen to Heidi Berry records all day." I said this just the other day, to Lady Catharsis, as I was finalizing the tracklist you see below. Listen: you'd do well to hear a record with Heidi Berry on it every day [I AM A DOCTOR AND I PRESCRIBE THIS], just like you'd probably enjoy a decadent dessert every day. All day, though? "I wish I could be more direct sometimes," Heidi tells me in the interview, but personally I couldn't take much more directness than what I think is already on display in these records. Noise, beats, bleep-bloop, textural studies, distancing? This I can listen to all day. There's plenty of it archived on this site--knock yourself out! It's perfectly cool, I have much fun with it, but TBH it doesn't always demand to be heard. Is that a new criterion for Legend status? What do we call it--intensity? I'll have to think on it.
Anyway, thank-you to Heidi for her music and time. And to you, for your indulgence.
BOMBAST playlist, 2015 January 6, 2100-2300:
- "Needle's Eye" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "Scheherezade" | Heidi Berry | not on album | Soundcloud self-release
- "Gather All the Hours" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
- "For the Rose" / "Follow" / "Ariel" / "Dawn" | Heidi Berry | Heidi Berry | 4AD
- "Abduction" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "Up In The Air" | Heidi Berry | Love | 4AD
- "Nobody Tells on You" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
- "Unholy Light" | Heidi Berry | The Moon and the Sun | 4AD
- "Firefly" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
- "Houses Made of Wood" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
- "Below the Waves" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
- "Forgiven" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "Folk Fuck" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "All Fall Away" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie" | Heidi Berry | The Moon and the Sun | 4AD
- "Japanese" | Lost Girls | Lost Girls | 3 Loop
- "The Mountain" | Heidi Berry | Miracle | 4AD
- "All For You" | Heidi Berry | Below the Waves and Firefly | Rockville | "Physical Evidence"
next time: how about one of Patrick's songs? Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis