EAST VILLAGE – HOTROD HOTEL (Slumberland Records)


Released 24 January

East Village (and Episode Four, as they were known first) are one of my favourite groups ever, and man, we had some laughs together. We also learnt a lot together.

We met in the spring of 1987 and we instantly became friends. I was lucky enough to see them play dozens of times, and the lives of three of the group members are intertwined with mine forever.

Martin Kelly worked alongside me at Heavenly from the off, becoming my partner quite early on in the label’s life and remaining so until leaving in 2010 to focus on, amongst other things, being the manager of Saint Etienne and running Heavenly Films.

Martin’s brother Paul is a filmmaker (think Lawrence of BelgraviaTake Three GirlsFinisterreHow We Used To Live) and a designer. Look at the cover art for Hotrod Hotel; Paul did that. He did all of the EV artwork and it’s always hit the spot — timeless, cool. Paul has done a tonne of other covers and poster designs for Heavenly over the years too — far too many to mention here. You should check out Paul and Martin’s obscenely beautiful and obsessively researched book, Fender: The Golden Age (Cassell, hardback, 2010).

Spencer Smith played drums in East Village, and after they called it a day, he became an invaluable part of the scene at Heavenly (and drummer in Saint Etienne), working with us for 14 years. He eventually packed his bags and retired to the country but we keep in touch and it’s always lovely to see him.

Johnny Wood I know not so well but he was an integral part of the group and I remember him fondly.

Because you’re a subscriber to our newsletter, I think it’s safe to assume that you dig our label. I’m telling you all of this because we are celebrating our thirtieth this year and this part of the story is important, but I’m also telling you because you need to go and pre-order Hotrod Hotel, a collection of all the East Village tracks that ever appeared on singles. It’s being released on vinyl for the very first time on 24 January, and it’s essential.

The press release says: packaged in a heavy, 60s-style album jacket with a 4-page insert, featuring rare band pics and liner notes by Jon Dale.

Jeff Barrett, January 2020



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