14 Iced Bears Coming To Philly

11 Nov

When I bought the debut album from the UK’s 14 Iced Bears back in 1988 (I think), it rocked my world. At the time I was only slightly aware that the kind of music they played – this manic pop thrill fuzzy punk pop was a part of this C86 indie pop culture. At the time, I was also a big fan of The Wedding Present, records like Primal Scream’s debut and The Pastels. Jim the record store guy at my favorite nearby shop didn’t have to tell me that “NME was really into this band” to sell me on the record. I was drawn into it by that mysterious cover (see above). Of course, when I got home and unwrapped the plastic on the record and put it on my it turntable it sort of stayed there for a while – until I gave it a girl to prove my undying rock and roll love for her. The end of that story though was – to quote from a country music classic – “she got the goldmine and I got the shaft.” I never saw that record again.

So it has completely blown my mind that the band is over in the States for a short reunion tour which brings them to Philly tomorrow night at The Barbary along with Philly’s Brown Recluse, a group who know a cool several things about indie-pop music themselves. Should be a delightful night. Here’s hoping one day 14 Iced Bears will re-release that debut album.

Dig in & download these:
Inside – 14 Iced Bears
Like A Dolphin- – 14 Iced Bears
Hay Fever – 14 Iced Bears

Buy some music 14 Iced Bears and Brown Recluse from Slumberland Records


One Response to “14 Iced Bears Coming To Philly”

  1. Christopher March 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    For the record 14 Iced Bears were hated by the NME, at least by the time the first album came out. Probably for the name if nothing else. To those cynical metropolitans it seemed to sum up the limited ambitions of jangly, shambling C86 music. I thought they were great, especially their early singles, but their last album, ‘Wonder’, was awful. Really awful.

    That single on Sarah didn’t help their reputation. In 1988 the NME and Melody Maker were covering Sonic Youth, JAMC, Butthole Surfers, Head of David, and the acid house explosion. Sarah did not fit into their worldview.

    A friend of mine knew the band in Brighton. He said that even in what was effectively their hometown they were regarded as a bit of a joke. Rob was a bit older than most indie frontmen and apparently never owned a guitar, borrowing one from whatever other band was playing that night. And the other guitarist did little other than sit in his room smoking herbal cigarettes. Such was their image anyway. Prophets without honour. Rob refused to believe they had a fan in London (me) because the only people who bought their records were middle class types in the home counties.

    Also according to the friend when they recorded Hold On they were so impressed with the single that they seriously considered changing their name. They thought it could be a hit (this was 1991 and a few indie bands were crossing over to the mainstream at this time) provided it didn’t have 14 Iced Bears attached. Obviously they didn’t do it.

    I seem to remember some minor bit of gossip in the late 80s NME that some minor indie figure had been refused entry to an even more minor indie gig because he was wearing a Bears t-shirt. Was Alan McGee involved? Maybe.

    I’m astonished they are touring America. No-one saw that coming. I hope they get rich. They deserve it. At their best (‘Cut’, ‘Blue Suit’, ‘Eyes’ – the only good track apart from ‘Hold On’ from the last album) they were the greatest. Really the greatest.

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