Author(s): Michael White
During its eight-year existence, from 1987 to 1995, Sarah Records was a modest underground success and, for the most part, a critical laughingstock in its native England--sneeringly dismissed as the sad, final repository for a fringe style of music (variously referred to as "indie-pop," "C86," "cutie" and "twee") whose moment had passed. Yet now, almost 20 years after its dissolution, Sarah is among the most passionately fetishized record labels of all time. Several of its releases sell for hundreds of dollars; devotees from London to Los Angeles to Tokyo hungrily seek out any information they can find about its poorly documented history; and countless new bands--some of them made up of people who weren't born when Sarah shut down--claim its bands as a major influence."Popkiss" will be the book that thousands of Sarah fans around the world have been waiting for. Drawn from dozens of exclusive interviews with members of the 30-plus bands that called the label home, as well as Sarah co-founders Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd, it will offer--for the first time anywhere--a deeply detailed account of the label's occasional triumphs and many tribulations, and its last laugh in posterity. "Popkiss" offers a vivid portrait of something that is likely gone forever: the record label as highly personalized aesthetic statement, whose very name is a trustworthy 'seal of quality' to its acolytes. Following the rise of the Internet and the collapse of the traditional music industry, the uncommonly intimate relationship Sarah engendered with its audience--not only through its music, but through its artwork, self-written fanzines and newsletters, and unorthodox business decisions--is an accomplishment no new label could duplicate today.
Michael White has been writing about popular and underground music, for publications in his native Canada and internationally, for 20 years.