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14 Iced Bears

During the '70s, most underground musicians (aside from The Ramones) weren't much interested in pop, but that all changed in early '80s U.K. (and, to some extent, Australia) with the rise of diverse bands like Orange Juice, The Soft Boys, and The Smiths, all of whom had fairly different sounds but believed passionately in the potential of melodic three-minute songs comprised of verses and choruses. 14 Iced Bears were a slightly later product of this welcome renaissance, emerging in South London in 1985 with a terrific sound that merged pure fuzz-pop with more chaotic punk-derived inclinations. Over the course of seven years the band's lineup changed constantly, with singer/songwriter/guitarist Rob Sekula and rhythm guitarist Kevin Canham guiding the tiller over the course of two albums -- 14 Iced Bears in 1998 and Wonder in '91 -- and a handful of singles of jagged but jangly guitar pop. In 2001, the noble Bay Area indie pop label Slumberland memorialized the Bears with an exhaustive collection of the band's early recordings. In the Beginning features each of the band's three early singles -- "Inside" and "Balloon Song" from Television Personality Mark Flunk's Frank label and "Come Get Me" from the seminal Sarah Records -- as well as their 1986 and '87 Peel Session recordings and some early demos.

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