Friday, 1 October 2010

Indiepop Mansions: Rote Kapelle

A prize to anyone who can name this Moomins character!
Rote Kapelle ("Red Chapel") were active on the Edinburgh music scene between 1985 and 1990. They shared members with Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, The Fizzbombs and Shop Assistants (the extended family tree also included Meat Whiplash and The Motorcycle Boy). They were the spiked-up, awkward-pop members of the gang, neither purely pop, nor purely awkward. With their male/female vocals and bumpy/jumpy guitars, they got the mix right more often than not. Their second and fourth singles are particularly good.

They released six records:

The Big Smell Dinosaur 7" EP (1985)
These Animals Are Dangeroos 7" (1986)
It Moves... But Does It Swing? 12" EP (1987)
Fire Escape 7" (1988)
San Francisco Again 12" EP (1988)
No North Briton LP (1990)

All but the first EP came out on the magnificent In-Tape Records.

"But never mind that - this is the famous Indiepop Mansions series! Tell us, where did they live?"

Well, I have taken their contact address from the first two singles and gone a-searchin'. It seems they lived in a rather pleasant part of Edinburgh, not far from the University, and a short walk from Holyrood Park. To be precise, Duncan Street, in the National Grid square NT2671.

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And this is the building I assume at least one band member lived in (the one who enjoyed answering their fans' letters, I suspect - or, more likely, the one who had most contact with gig promoters and suchlike, which in pre-interweb times was probably the prime reason for printing an address on your record sleeves).

Perhaps Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, Meat Whiplash et al lived in the same building? It looks like flats - possibly student accommodation. Handy for the chapel next door (but not a red one!) and a dental practice in the same road. For the book-lovers in the band, the National Library of Scotland was just around the corner.

Andrew Tully (of Rote Kapelle and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes) went on to run Avalanche Records, where you can still buy Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes vinyl. Rote Kapelle MP3s are currently available on Emusic, Itunes, and probably other places too. I don't suppose the band have made much money from them, but if you want to help them buy a can of beans, they are there...

More Indiepop Mansions another time. Who will it be next?


  1. *ding* it's misabel!...I think

  2. I think it's Misabel too, Tom! I'm going to have to check though...

    If it is, I owe you a prize :-O