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The Pastels

Advice To The Graduate / Ship To Shore

Domino

Released: 2nd September 2020



Record Store Day 2020. 7" single with download card.

We're very pleased to announce a Record Store Day release from The Pastels. The tracks are taken from a 1997 John Peel session and feature a Silver Jews cover, Advice to The Graduate, and Ship To Shore, a Pastels original. The record is dedicated to David Berman (Silver Jews) and John Peel, two people who enriched our lives many times over.

“ The session took place in October 1997 for the John Peel show in the BBC's Maida Vale studio. I cannot over-emphasise our absolute joy at being invited to record this session - our previous one, thirteen years earlier hadn’t gone that well and Peel (whose show we adored, him too) had taken a while to come back round to us. We’d get the occasional play but not too much enthusiasm. Then, I don’t know, he eventually relented and started playing songs from our Illumination album, sounding quite positive too, reacquainting himself with the fragile gang as he’d earlier described us.

Eventually the word came through, we were back in. We were a lot more disciplined than we’d been at that earlier session and had a better group too that toured and could play together. These BBC sessions were fairly quick and documentary but recorded in an excellent sounding studio with a high standard setup. We really wanted it to come off and we sound wilder than we do on Illumination (which was really quite a careful record) - we just totally go for it. The guitars are foreground and Jonathan (our great 1990s guitar player) sounds like a giant boulder on a mountainside.

Ship To Shore is a song we’d previously contributed to Sandy Dirt (our collaboration with Al Larsen). Here it’s in focus, direct, it’s the version that we would have wanted to record if we’d had the resources or skill then. Advice To The Graduate is a sweetly poignant Silver Jews song by David Berman. It seemed poignant then, now almost unbearably so. Katrina and I had been asked to perform it at a Drag City showcase in New York a couple of years earlier with the Drag City All Stars. At the time David was too shy to perform - or so he said. We did ok, he said he liked it. Anyway, we gave it one more go. It’s such a perfect, simple song and it made sense to us partly because of Laurence Bell from Domino who'd introduced us (Silver Jews were also on the label) and made it feel like we were all a kind of family. Still feel that.

Anyway, this single is the start of various archival Pastels projects which we’re finally getting underway. Think of it as an outlier flower in the winter... unexpected, rugged, hopeful."

Stephen McRobbie,
Glasgow, 2020