The Pastels

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The Pastels
The Pastels.jpg
The Pastels in Tokyo, early 1990s
Background information
Origin Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1981–present
Labels Domino
Geographic Music
Members Stephen McRobbie
Katrina Mitchell
Gerard Love
John Hogarty
Tom Crossley
Alison Mitchell

The Pastels are an independent music group from Glasgow, formed in 1981. The group consists of Stephen McRobbie (vocals, guitar), Katrina Mitchell (vocals, drum kit), Gerard Love (bass guitar), John Hogarty (guitar), Tom Crossley (flute, keyboards), and Alison Mitchell (trumpet).


Their early records (1982–85) for record labels such as Whaam!, Creation, Rough Trade, and Glass Records, had a raw and immediate sound, melodic and amateur, which seemed at odds with the time. But an emerging fanzine culture identified with the group's sound and image, and slowly The Pastels started to influence a new wave of groups, which interested the NME and other UK media.[1]

The Pastels' sound continued to evolve and, although part of the NME's C86 compilation, in interviews they always sought to distance themselves from both twee and shambling developments.[2] Their debut album, Up for a Bit With The Pastels (Glass, 1987; re-issue Paperhouse, 1991) moved from garage pop-punk through to ballads with synth orch splashes. The follow-up, Sittin' Pretty (Chapter 22, 1989) was harder but less eclectic.[citation needed] Reports started to appear in the UK music press that the group was splitting up.

Eventually it became clear that a new line-up was configuring around original members, Stephen McRobbie and Annabel Wright (Aggi), now joined by Katrina Mitchell. This line-up is probably the best known of The Pastels' various phases, and often featured either David Keegan (Shop Assistants) or Gerard Love (Teenage Fanclub) on guitar. They signed with the emerging Domino Records and completed two albums, Mobile Safari (1995) and Illumination (1997), which showed them developing an odd, particular sound - melancholic and awkward, but warm and engaging.[citation needed] A remix set featured My Bloody Valentine, Jim O'Rourke and others on the album, Illuminati (1998). Their next release is the soundtrack to David Mackenzie's The Last Great Wilderness (Geographic, 2003), which, made for film or not, is one of the most completely realised Pastels albums. It featured a track recorded in collaboration with Pulp's Jarvis Cocker. In 2006, The Pastels developed and completed new music for a theatre production by Glasgow based company, 12 Stars. In 2009, The Pastels, in collaboration with Tenniscoats from Tokyo, Japan, released an album called Two Sunsets.

The Pastels featured on the soundtrack for film,The Acid House (1998).

The Pastels now operate their own Geographic Music label through Domino, and are partners in Glasgow's Monorail Music shop.[3]

On 21 February 2013, the band announced it would release its first album since their 1997 album, Illumination, called Slow Summits.[4] It will be released on 27 May 2013 through Domino.

"Check My Heart", the first single from Slow Summits was released digitally on 8 April 2013. The song was released physically as a 7" single on 29 April 2013 with the B-side "Illuminum Song". Both songs were available digitally on 27 May, upon the full album's release.[5]

Band members[edit]


  • Stephen McRobbie (or Stephen Pastel) – guitar, vocals (1981–present)
  • Katrina Mitchell – drums, vocals (1990–present)


  • Brian Taylor (or Brian Superstar) – guitar (1981–1990)
  • Martin Hayward – bass, vocals (1982–1990)
  • Bernice Simpson – drums (1983–1990)
  • Annabel Wright (or Aggi) – bass, vocals, keyboards (1984–2000)



Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]



Year Title Label Album
1982 "Songs for Children" Whaam! (WHAM005)
1983 "I Wonder Why" / "Supposed to Understand" Rough Trade (RT 137)
1984 "Something Going On" Creation (CRE 005)
"Million Tears" Creation (CRE 011T)
1985 "I'm Alright With You" Creation (CRE 023T)
1986 "Truck Train Tractor" / "Breaking Lines" Glass (GLASS 48)
1986 "Crawl Babies" Glass (GLASS 50) Up for a Bit with The Pastels
1987 "Comin' Through" Glass (GLASS 53)
1989 "Baby You’re Just You" Chapter 22 (CHAP 37) Sittin' Pretty
1990 "Different Drum" K Records (IPU 14)
1991 "Speeding Motorcycle" Paperhouse (PAPER 008)
"Thru' Your Heart" / "Firebell Ringing" Paperhouse (PAPER 011)
1993 "Thank You for Being You" / "Kitted Out" Paperhouse (PAPER 023)
1994 "Olympic World of Pastelism" Domino (RUG18)
1994 "Yoga" Domino (RUG28) Mobile Safari
1995 "Worlds of Possibility"/"Love It's Getting Better" (originally recorded by The Groove 1967 on Wand Records) Domino (RUG36T)
1997 "Unfair Kind of Fame" Domino (RUG55T) Illumination
"The Hits Hurt" Domino (RUG52)
1998 "One Wild Moment" Domino (RUG79T) Illuminati
2013 "Check My Heart" Domino Slow Summits

With Jad Fair[edit]

With Tenniscoats[edit]


  1. ^ "the pastels". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  2. ^ Ablaze! (fanzine) Ablaze! fanzine issue 9, 1992. p28-29
  3. ^ "Domino | Artists | The Pastels". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  4. ^ Pelly, Jenn (21 February 2013). "The Pastels Announce New Album". PitchforkMedia. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Domino | News | The Pastels 'Check My Heart'". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 

External links[edit]