THE DAZE, a three-piece band from Birmingham, England, featuring Phil Hickin (guitar/vocals), Rob Tansley (drums/vocals), and John Hammond (bass), formed in 1978 out of the ashes of previously unrecorded combos, GREYDAY, FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE and 3 LITRE. Gigging in pubs and small venues, the trio recorded and produced their lone 1979 single live to four-track in local label Motor City Rhythm’s rehearsal studio in two hours. Issued in February 1979 and sold mainly at gigs, THE DAZE’s single has remained one of the Holy Grails of U.K. punk since the time of its release, not only because of its impossible rarity, but also the high-quality of its two tracks. ‘I Wanna Be A Star’ dares to proclaim what every other punk band was too scared to admit over a thin Mersey-punk guitar line and melody while ‘At The Seaside’ is less Mod’s Mayday and more D.I.Y. day-tripper strum und clang. In other words: a classic! THE DAZE recorded two other tracks which are unreleased and likely lost before breaking up in 1982. In a better world they’d have been the next SPENCER DAVIS GROUP. Recommended to everyone without a trust fund.
Our take: If you love power-pop from the late 70s and early 80s, check out every release on Reminder Records. They only have a handful so far, but they have brought nothing but straight fire, digging up the best in obscure music from that golden era. Their sweet spot is bands who recorded (usually at cheap studios) during the punk era and absorbed some of punk’s brashness and its faster tempos, but whose songwriting reaches back to earlier eras of pop, glam rock, psych-pop, and bubblegum. Birmingham’s the Daze are a perfect example. They recorded this single on a 4-track in 1979, and its loud guitars and sprightly tempos sound very much of the era. However, the songwriting is poppier and more ambitious, reminding me of 60s and early 70s groups who fall into the above categories. They sound to me like the early Television Personalities and early Cock Sparrer had an unlikely but beautiful baby, inheriting the former’s psychedelic qualities, the latter’s hooky, Slade-inspired glam influences, and impressive pop songwriting chops from both sides. In a ProTools studio it might be too much, but with a gritty 4 track recording, it’s all I want to hear. Both sides are bangers, too. Get this!