The Telescopes

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The Telescopes
The Telescopes 22122010.jpg
Background information
Origin Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England
Genres Space rock, shoegazing, psychedelic rock, noise rock
Years active 1987–present
Labels Cheree Records, What Goes On Records, Double Agent Records, Antenna Records, Hungry Audio, Trensmat Records, Dream Machine Records, Bomp! Records, Textile, Static Charge
Members Stephen Lawrie
Byron Jackson
Nick Keech
Jim Beal
James Messenger
Dan Davis
Past members Bridget Hayden
David Fitzgerald
Joanna Doran
Robert Brooks
Dominic Dillon
Lorin Halsall
Jerry Hope

The Telescopes are an English noise, space rock, dream pop and psychedelic band, formed in 1987 by Stephen Lawrie, and drawing influence from artists such as Suicide, The Velvet Underground and The 13th Floor Elevators.[1] They have a total of six released albums since their debut, Taste, released in 1989.


Their debut release was a split flexi disc with Loop on the Cheree label in 1988, which was given away with the Sowing Seeds fanzine.[2][3] There followed their debut single, "Kick the Wall", and "7th# Disaster" also on Cheree Records. They moved to the American What Goes On Records and released their debut album Taste and "The Perfect Needle" single which is perhaps their most famous song. A live album appeared on Fierce Records and following What Goes On’s bankruptcy they signed to Creation Records.[3] In contrast to Taste's noise-rock, a more laid back, baggy influenced sound followed, described by journalist Alexis Petridis as having "an almost fragile sense of elegance and melody",[4] and the band scraped the lower reaches of the UK Singles Chart with the single "Flying", and released The Telescopes, their second album, in 1992. Lawrie explained the change in direction: "Your idea of perfection changes as you move on. I think we still hold the same approach to our music now, we still try just as many mad ideas, it's just a lot more subtle and works to a different end".[4]

In 2002 they made a surprise return with Third Wave on Double Agent Records. In 2005 they released their fourth album #4 on their own Antenna Records. By this time they were a core of just Stephen Lawrie and Jo Doran, with additional member Lorin Halsall (a member of The Dust Collectors), and were a much more experimental band specialising in electronic soundscapes. In 2006 The Telescopes line up again changed to Stephen Lawrie and Bridget Hayden.[5] In July 2011, the band were invited by Portishead to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror at Alexander Palace in London, where they performed songs from their debut album.[6] An event repeated at Austin Psych Fesival 2012 curated by The Reverberation Appreciation Society.[7]

The Telescopes live experience is currently Stephen Lawrie and members of One Unique Signal.[1][8] The live album Live. Aftertaste was released in 2010 on the Static Charge label. It is a livid document, recorded in past/present/future tense; a rare and memorable glimpse into the waves beyond the realm of natural vision that first inspired Lawrie to write the original back in 1988.[9]

In April 2012 came two new singles, the first a drone version of Nick Drake's "Black Eyed Dog" on the Trensmat label. The second, a new composition entitled "We See Magic and We Are Neutral, Unnecessary". A flexi-postcard release on The Dream Machine label. An album of new songs is also underway, following sessions at the Brian Jonestown Massacre studios in Berlin and Spectrum co founder Richard Formby's studio in Leeds.[9]

Original line-up[edit]



  • Taste (1989)
  • The Telescopes (1992, later reissued as # Untitled Second)
  • Third Wave (2002)
  • #4 (2005)
  • Hungry Audio Tapes (2006)
  • Infinite Suns (2008)
  • HARM (2013)


  • "Forever Close Your Eyes" (1988) (split 7" flexi-disc with Loop)
  • "Kick the Wall" (1989)
  • "7th# Disaster" (1989)
  • "The Perfect Needle" (1989)
  • "To Kill A Slow Girl Walking" (1990)
  • "Precious Little" (1990)
  • "Everso" (1990)
  • "Celeste" (1991)
  • "Flying" (1991)
  • "Where the Sky Is Low" (2003) (split 7" with Füxa)
  • "Mooga Destroya" (2003) (split 7" with Lo Casta)
  • "Winter" (2004)
  • "Live At Audioscope" (2005) (split 10" with Vibracathedral Orchestra)
  • "Night Terrors" (2006)
  • "Psychic Viewfinder" (2007)
  • "Another Whip" (2007)
  • "Landing Shadows" (2011)
  • "We See Magic and We Are Neutral, Unnecessary" (2012) (7" flexi-postcard)
  • "Black Eyed Dog" (2012)

Live albums[edit]

  • Trade Mark Of Quality (1990)
  • Live. Aftertaste (2011)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • As Approved by the Committee (2003)
  • Premonitions 1989-1991 (2003)
  • Altered Perception (2004)
  • Singles Compilation 1989-1991 (2008)
  • Singles No. 2 (2009)


  1. ^ a b "Featured Column: A Journey Through Europe with The Telescopes (Prelude)". 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Canongate. ISBN 0-86241-913-1. 
  3. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music. Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-579-4. 
  4. ^ a b Petridis, Alex (1991) "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Fun" (Telescopes feature), Lime Lizard, August 1991, ISSN 0961-8104
  5. ^ "Welcome to Antenna Records". Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  6. ^ "I'll Be Your Mirror London curated by Portishead & ATP - All Tomorrow's Parties". Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  7. ^ "Austin Psych Fest 2012 Lineup". HEAVY. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  8. ^ "TPR Featured Column: The Telescopes Death Defying Tour Of Europe 2012 (Pt. I)". 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  9. ^ a b "Welcome to Antenna Records". Retrieved 2014-07-03. 

External links[edit]