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The Pastels in Tokyo, early 1990s
|Genres||indie pop, alternative rock, jangle pop, post-punk, art rock, indie rock, neo-psychedelia|
|Associated acts||Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines, Shop Assistants, International Airport|
The Pastels are an independent music group from Glasgow, formed in 1981. They were a key act of the UK independent music scene of the 1980s. The group currently 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.
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. 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. In 2003, it was named the 37th best Scottish album by The Scotsman. The follow-up, Sittin' Pretty (Chapter 22, 1989) was harder but less eclectic. 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. A remix set featured My Bloody Valentine, Jim O'Rourke and others on the album, Illuminati (1998). Their next release was 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. In 2013 they released their first album proper in sixteen years, Slow Summits again through Domino.
The Pastels featured on the soundtrack for the film The Acid House (1998).
- 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)
- Gerard Love – guitar, bass guitar
- Tom Crossley – flute, keyboards
- Alison Mitchell – trumpet
- John Hogarty – guitar
- Norman Blake – guitar, bass guitar
- Colin McIlroy – guitar
- David Keegan – guitar
- Jonathan Kilgour – guitar
- Eugene Kelly – vocals, violin, guitar
- Charlie Dinsdale – drums
- Francis MacDonald – drums
- Chris Gordon – drums
- Michael – bass guitar
- Sandy Forbes – drums
- Dean Wareham – guitar
- Maureen McRoberts – saxophone
- Darren Ramsay – trumpet
- Up for a Bit with The Pastels (1987)
- Sittin' Pretty (1989)
- Mobile Safari (1995)
- Illumination (1997)
- Slow Summits (2013)
- The Last Great Wilderness (2003)
|1982||"Songs for Children"||Whaam! (WHAM005)|
|1983||"I Wonder Why" / "Supposed to Understand"||Rough Trade (RT 137)|
|1984||"Something Going On" / "Stay With Me Until Morning Comes"||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" / "Empty House"||K Records (IPU 14)|
|1991||"Speeding Motorcycle" / "Speedway Star"||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
- Jad Fair and The Pastels - This Could Be the Night EP (Paperhouse, 1991)
- Jad Fair and The Pastels - No. 2 EP (Paperhouse, 1992)
- The Pastels and Tenniscoats - Two Sunsets (Geographic, 2009)
- The Pastels and Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth / About You (Geographic, 2009)
- "the pastels". Sheepish.org. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
- Ablaze! (fanzine) Ablaze! fanzine issue 9, 1992. p28-29
- "100 best Scottish albums – Nos 26–50". The Scotsman. 2003-10-16.
- Film, British Council. "British Council Film: Teenage Superstars". film.britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
- "Domino | Artists | The Pastels". Dominorecordco.com. Retrieved 2013-05-31.