The Telescopes

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The Telescopes
The Telescopes 22122010.jpg
Background information
GenresSpacerock, Dream pop, psych, noise, experimental, drone
Years active1987–present
LabelsCheree Records, What Goes On Records, Creation Records, Rev-Ola, Double Agent Records, Space Age Recordings, Mind Expansion, Antenna Records, Hungry Audio, Trensmat Records, Dream Machine Records, Bomp! Records, Textile Records, Static Charge, Champion Version, Neon Sigh, Fuzz Club Records, Tapete Records
MembersStephen Lawrie[1]
JB Zurbach
David Griffin
John Lynch

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.[2] They have a total of eleven released albums including 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.[3][4] 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.[4] In contrast to Taste's noise-rock, a more laid back sound followed, described by journalist Alexis Petridis as having "an almost fragile sense of elegance and melody",[5] 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".[5]

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 much more experimental band specialising in electronic soundscapes. In July 2011, the band were invited by Portishead to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror at Alexandra Palace in London, where they performed songs from their debut album.[6] An event repeated at Austin Psych Fest 2012 curated by The Reverberation Appreciation Society.[7]

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.

In 2015, the Hidden Fields album was released by German label Tapete Records. It was described by AllMusic as shoegaze and noise pop, but more song-based than recent releases.[1]

Exploding Head Syndrome was released in 2019 on Tapete Records. Dagger says "if you find beauty in churning guitars, a groggy organ and Lawrie's half-mumbled lyrics (like I do) then you’ll find Exploding Head Syndrome to be the Raquel Welch of the year."[8]



  • Taste (1989)
  • The Telescopes (1992, later reissued as # Untitled Second)
  • Third Wave (2002)
  • #4 (2005)
  • Hungry Audio Tapes (2006)
  • Infinite Suns (2008)
  • HARM (2013)
  • Hidden Fields (2015) [1]
  • As Light Return (2017)
  • Stone Tape (2017)
  • Exploding Head Syndrome (2019)


  • "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 EP" (2004)
  • "Live At Audioscope" (2005) (split 10" with Vibracathedral Orchestra)
  • "Night Terrors" (2006)
  • "Psychic Viewfinder" (2007)
  • "Another Whip" (2007)
  • "Landing Shadows" (2011)
  • "Black Eyed Dog" (2012)
  • "We See Magic and We Are Neutral, Unnecessary" (2012) (7" flexi-postcard)
  • "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (2015) (split 10" with A Place To Bury Strangers)
  • "Thrown" (2015) (split 7" with Deadly Cradle Death)
  • "The Telescopes | Flavor Crystals" (2016) (split 12" with Flavor Crystals)
  • "Strange Waves" (2019)

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)
  • Splashdown - The Complete Creation Recordings 1990-1992 (2015)


  1. ^ a b c "Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny". All Media Network. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Featured Column: A Journey Through Europe with The Telescopes (Prelude)". 2012-09-04. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-07-03.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Canongate. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
  4. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music. Guinness Publishing. ISBN 0-85112-579-4.
  5. ^ a b Petridis, Alex (1991) "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Fun" (Telescopes feature), Lime Lizard, August 1991, ISSN 0961-8104
  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. ^ Hinely, Tim (5 February 2019), "The Telescopes - Exploding Head Syndrome", Dagger, retrieved 13 February 2019

External links[edit]