The Raincoats

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
The Raincoats
The Raincoats performing in 2010 at the Museum of Modern Art
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Post-punk, experimental rock[1]
Years active 1977–1984, 1993–present
Labels We ThRee, Rough Trade, ROIR, Blast First, Smells Like Records, DGC
Members Ana da Silva
Gina Birch
Anne Wood
Jean-Marc Butty
Past members Ross Crighton
Nick Turner
Kate Korus
Jeremie Frank
Richard Dudanski
Vicky Aspinall
Ingrid Weiss

The Raincoats are a British post-punk band. Ana da Silva (vocals, guitar) and Gina Birch (vocals, bass) formed the group in 1977 while they were students at Hornsey College of Art, London, England.[2]



The line-up included Ross Crighton on guitar and Nick Turner on drums for the band's first gig on 9 November 1977. Kate Korus, from The Slits and later The Mo-dettes, joined briefly but was replaced by Jeremie Frank. Nick Turner left to form The Barracudas and Richard Dudanski (ex The 101ers and later Public Image Ltd.) sat in on drums and film maker Patrick Keiller replaced Jeremie Frank on guitar.

Late in 1978, The Raincoats became an all female band as they were joined by The Slits' ex-drummer Palmolive and the classically trained violinist Vicky Aspinall,[3] making their live debut at Acklam Hall in London on 4 January 1979.[4] Managed by Shirley O'Loughlin, the band went on their first UK tour with Swiss female band Kleenex, in May 1979 after Rough Trade Records released their first single, "Fairytale in the Supermarket"/ "In Love"/ "Adventures Close to Home". Johnny Rotten was an early admirer of the band, and later stated that: "The Raincoats offered a completely different way of doing things, as did X-Ray Spex and all the books about punk have failed to realise that these women were involved for no other reason than that they were good and original."[5] The Raincoats' distinctly non-commercial sound did not appeal to everyone; after witnessing an early performance by the band, Danny Baker remarked that: "They are so bad that every time a waiter drops a tray we'd all get up and dance."[6]

Rough Trade released the band's self-titled debut album in November 1979 with much acclaim from the press. Palmolive had left the band in September shortly before The Raincoats came out, and teenager Ingrid Weiss joined the band on drums. The Raincoats' second album Odyshape was released in 1981 and features Weiss and contributions from Robert Wyatt, This Heat's Charles Hayward and Richard Dudanski. The Raincoats employed a diverse selection of cheap second-hand instruments such as the balophone, kalimba and gamelan on Odyshape; the album incorporates British folk, dub bass-lines, polyrhythmic percussion and elements of free jazz amongst other world music influences; its eclectic mix of musical genres has been described as one of the "great lost moments of women-in-rock."[7][8]

"The basic theme in rock'n'roll is what goes on between men and women...Rock'n'roll is based on black music. And it's based in the exclusion of women and the ghettoization of blacks. Which is why we want to put a bit of distance between what we do and the rock'n'roll tradition."[9]The Raincoats interviewed by Greil Marcus

In December 1982 The Raincoats recorded a live album at The Kitchen arts space in New York. The Kitchen Tapes was released on cassette by ROIR in 1983.[10]

The Raincoats recorded Moving in 1984. Tired of constant touring and "pulling in different musical directions" the band members began work on solo projects shortly after the album's release.[11] Gina Birch and Vicky Aspinall formed Dorothy and Ana da Silva worked with choreographer Gaby Agis on a series of dance projects and formed Roseland with Charles Hayward.

In 1992 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana went into the Rough Trade Shop in Talbot Road, London in search of a new copy of The Raincoats and Jude Crighton sent him round the corner to see Ana da Silva at her cousin's antique shop. Cobain wrote passionately about this meeting in the liner notes of Nirvana's Incesticide album. In late 1993 Rough Trade and DGC Records released the three albums with liner notes by Cobain and Kim Gordon.

"I don't really know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that, whenever I hear it I'm reminded of a particular time in my life when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely, and bored. If it weren't for the luxury of putting that scratchy copy of The Raincoats' first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it's more important to delineated the way I feel and how they sound. When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I'm a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I'm listening in on them. We're together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it's their thing." — Cobain's liner notes for The Raincoats

"I loved the Slits because of their boldness and that they actually had commercial songs, but it was The Raincoats I related to most. They seemed like ordinary people playing extraordinary music. They had enough confidence to be vulnerable and to be themselves without having to take on the mantle of male rock/punk rock aggression...or the typical female as sex symbol avec irony or sensationalism." — Gordon's liner notes for Odyshape

Gina Birch performing at Celebrating Sisterhood!, The Verge at The Cheshire Ring, 2012.


Shirley O'Loughlin persuaded Birch and da Silva to play a show at the Garage in London in March 1994 with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth on drums and Anne Wood on violin to celebrate the album releases. They recorded a session for BBC Radio 1's John Peel, which was released on Paul Smith's Blast First and Shelley's record label Smells Like Records. Cobain invited them to play on Nirvana's planned UK tour in April, but he died a week before the tour began. The Raincoats released Looking in the Shadows on DGC Records and Rough Trade Records in 1996, produced by Britpop producer Ed Buller (who had previously worked with Suede and Pulp). Musicians included Anne Wood (violin, bass), Heather Dunn (drums) and Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks and solo artist).

Since 1996, The Raincoats have played some special events such as Robert Wyatt's Meltdown in 2001, at Chicks on Speed's 99 Cents album release in Berlin in December 2003. da Silva and Birch recently recorded a cover version of "Monk Chant" for a compilation album of The Monks songs called Silver Monk Time, and performed the song live with the Monks in the Volksbuehne, Berlin in October 2006. They played at Ladyfest Leeds in April 2007 and the Nuits Sonores Festival in Lyon on 18 May 2007 on the Girl Monster stage with Chicks on Speed. On 28 March 2009 The Raincoats-Fairytales-A Work in Progress, directed by Gina Birch and produced by The Raincoats was screened at the BFI in London and the band performed at Donaufestival on the Girl Monster stage with Girl Monster Orchestra on 25 April.

The band performed at Matt Groening's All Tomorrow's Parties festival in May 2010 at Minehead in Somerset. The following week The Raincoats played their debut album live for a ATP/Don't Look Back concert at london's Scala, supported by new Raincoats-influenced band Trash Kit. On 21 November 2010, The Raincoats performed a concert as part of the PopRally series at MoMA in New York City.[12] The band were invited by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform their debut album live at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in March 2012.[13] In December 2011, it was announced that The Raincoats would also appear at the 35 Denton music festival in Texas the same month.[14]


Chart placings shown are from the UK Indie Chart.[15]



  • 1983 - Animal Rhapsody
  • 1994 - Extended Play


  • 1979 - "Fairytale in the Supermarket" / "In Love" / "Adventures Close to Home"
  • 1982 - "No One's Little Girl" / "Running Away" (No. 47)
  • 1983 - "Animal Rhapsody" / "No One's Little Girl" / "Honey Mad Woman"
  • 1996 – "Don't Be Mean" / "Vicious" / "I Keep Walking"

Tracks on compilations


  1. Bearded Magazine
  2. “Women and the Rock Business, and the story of the Raincoats” The Open University 7 February, 2005 - Retrieved: 28 July 2007
  3. Raha, Maria (2005). Cinderella's Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground. p. 101. ISBN 1580051162.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ian Penman: The Raincoats Dresden Banks Vincent Units Acklam Hall. In: New Musical Express 27 January 1979, page 43.
  5. Hodgkinson, Will (1 November 2009). "John Lydon: Soundtrack of my Life". The Observer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. O'Brien, Lucy (2003). She Bop Ii (Gen). p. 147. ISBN 9780826435293.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Reynolds, Simon (1996). The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock'n'Rolll. p. 367. ISBN 9780674802735.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Reynolds, Simon (2009). Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. ISBN 9780571252275.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Marcus, Greil (1999). In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992. p. 113. ISBN 9780674445772.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The Kitchen Tapes - Retrieved: 28 July 2007
  11. Young, Rob (2006). Rough Trade. ISBN 9781904772477.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "The Raincoats - Feminist Song (MoMA)". YouTube. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "ATP curated by Jeff Mangum". Retrieved 19 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Anthony Riley (5 December 2011). "The Raincoats to Make Historic First Ever Appearance at 35D in March; Other Notable Acts also Announced". D Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980 - 1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4
  16. McGee, Alan (20 July 2007). "Forgotten punk: Little-known records with big influence". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Stuart Murdoch: My Top 10 albums - Retrieved: 28 July 2007

Further reading

External links