(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 41: The Suncharms

The Suncharms (credit. Julie Wright)

The Suncharms are a Sheffield based indie/shoegaze band originally active between 1989-1993: Marcus Palmer (vocals/tambourine), Matt Neale (Guitar), John Malone (guitar), Richard Farnell (Bass) and Chris Ridley (Drums). The band released a couple of EPs (The Suncharms EP and Tranquil Day) on the now defunct Wilde Club Records, and recorded a Peel session before going into hibernation for 26 years! Since reforming in 2016 to release a compilation of their 90s material on Cloudberry Records and a new 7″ single, Red Dust, on Slumberland Records in 2018, the band released the long overdue debut album, Distant Lights, on Sunday Records this fall.

What Marcus Says: “We still have echoes of our indie/shoegaze origins but the sonic palette has expanded to include keyboards, brass, strings and a whole host of atmospheric experimentation.  So here it is a debut album, three years in the making from a band 31 years into our existence. We were apart for over 20 years and got back together in 2018 when we started writing the new songs. Best of all we are best of friends who love being creative. I hope you think it’s been worth the wait. Vinyl release in December on Sunday Records. Currently writing our follow up album and looking to play some live shows“.

Their Mixtape:

Marcus picks

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – The Smell of Incense

A magical song full mystery atmosphere and chiming guitars. I bought the album as I was intrigued by the name and found it to be a patch work of delightful sounds with a dark underbelly

Television Personalities- She’s My Yoko

I’ve always loved the TVPS this song starts with a full cathedral sounding organ. The vocals come in drenched in melancholy slightly broken. A magnificent hook of a chorus. So tragic it’s from possibly his last album.

Matt picks

Lael Neale – Blue Vein

From a beautiful lo fi album. Fragile yet amazingly strong  voice. It feels powerful like a hymn.

Waxahatchee – I Can’t Do Much

It’s like Linda Ronstadt and Lucinda Williams had an improbable love child.

Chris Picks

Broadcast – Message From Here

This track was given to me on the day it was needed and without me needing to ask. If ever a song was sent by some divine intervention it was this one. It could have been written specifically for me for that actual moment in time. It is a perfect song both musically and lyrically. It is haunting,  atmospheric, emotive and evocative. It will always bring me the Winter with all of its beauty, melancholy, sense of regret, loss and hope. Walking alone in a deserted city street on a January morning . The ending is one of the finest ever recorded.

GENN – Feel

An absolute dream of a song. It’s hazy , joyous, uplifting and calming. It puts the mind in a warm place , thinking about great times in the past , present and future. The first few lines say all you need to know.
It’s a has a wonderful addictive groove, the vocals, melodies and rhythms  are expansive. There’s a psychedelic/Shoegaze droning vibe that wraps you in a soft blanket.

Richard picks

Bored Nothing – Bliss

This song is from the self titled debut album by the criminally underrated Australian band/solo project helmed by Fergus Miller.
There’s a lo-fi feel to much of the album but also some powerful shoegaze influenced songs like this one which channels the feel of Ultra Vivid Scene’s classic “Mercy Seat” with an Elliott Smith style approach to fragile, introspective songwriting.
Fergus Miller released two Bored Nothing albums and one under the project name Wedding Ring Bells before he tragically committed suicide at only 26 years old in 2016. A huge talent gone too soon. Hopefully his music will grow in stature over the years as the albums he left behind are all fantastic.

Terry Malts – Gentle Eyes

When The Suncharms were working on our single for Slumberland Records I investigated other releases on the label and that led me to Terry Malts (a band not a person!) who write tight, catchy guitar pop packed with melodic hooks, with a quality seldom heard since the glory days of The Undertones or Buzzcocks.
I played the album Lost At The Party so much it soon became a family favourite with both my kids asking to hear it on every car journey. So much so that my son and I worked out Gentle Eyes on his guitar and my five year old daughter sang a version of their song “Waiting For The Bomb” which I filmed and sent to the band!
The guitarist in Terry Malts is Corey Cunningham, a multi talented songwriter who has also released two superb solo albums under the name Business Of Dreams as well as playing guitar for various other Slumberland bands.
With “Gentle Eyes” there’s not a note wasted and it’s so perfectly formed it’s now up there with my very favourite songs of all time.

John pick

Galaxie 500 – Ceremony

Ceremony by G500. Its the way the scraping, plaintiff torturing build up on minor chords, suddenly gives way to a big deep positive major bass flow.

Distant Lights is out now on Sunday Records. Look HERE for more information on The Suncharms.



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