C86 cassette compilation this week, I got seriously hung up on the short-lived Edinburgh, Scotland troupe Shop Assistants. Though the band only played from 1984 to 1990, they received a fair amount of exposure via their inclusion on the C86 comp, two sessions with the great John Peel, and Morrissey, who called the Shop Assistants' 1986 track "All Day Long" his favorite single of the year. Perusing through the band's back catalogue—the lone long player, Will Anything Happen, along with a handful of singles, various demos and Peel sessions—the range is extraordinary and the songs all play with a visceral and vital urgency. If the chord changes, ringing bells, and Alex Taylor's deep-toned vocal take on the dreamy "It's Up To You" rip lovingly from The Velvet Underground playbook, the roaring fuzzed-out guitars and sharp melodic maneuvers of "Safety Net" demonstrate the unadulterated joy of a racing pop-punk single. Dig into both cuts below.
Shop Assistants - "It's Up To You" (from C86)
Shop Assistants - "Safety Net" (from Fun While It Lasted)