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The Earthmen was a DIY pop band from Melbourne active during most of the 90s. What many people don’t know is that they actually recorded an album before they released what was to become their debut Love Walked In. A lot of indie bands went through this process as they were picked up bigger labels in the 80s or 90s. In a sense several of the tracks recorded in 1995 served as demos for the more polished versions that appeared on the album. Australian label Sound As Ever have now once and for all released those early recordings, which were planned for a release on local label Summershine – very much an Australian counterpart to Sarah Records in the UK and The Bus Stop label in the US. They’ve named the set Periscope after the studio where The Earthmen recorded it.

It’s an impressive collection of songs, some of which have never been heard before. The only track to be released in its original version, as far as I can tell, is “College Heart” which appeared as a b-side in 1996. The music sounds a lot like East Village’s blend of jangle-pop and 60s folkrock, just listen to “Weigh Me Down”. Some of the more introspective moments have a thing or two in common with Welsh pop group The Sweetest Ache’s later recordings. Unfortunately Periscope is only available on CD, but is streaming everywhere as well.

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January 21, 2021

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