Various Artists

Café Après-midi: Cherry Red for Café Après-midi

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If at its core punk was a reaction to the prevailing mentality of the times, then Cherry Red must have been the most punk label of them all -- while the rest of the U.K. music scene was playing the same three chords and trashing the same old sacred cows, from its 1978 launch Cherry Red instead drew influence from far-ranging sources like sunshine pop, bossa nova, French ya-ya music, and cool jazz, forging a sophisticated, elegant sound completely contrary to prevailing tastes. It's a sound informed by the same inspirations that Toru Hashimoto would later revisit on his Café Après-midi series, so it makes perfect sense that eventually Hashimoto would turn his focus to Cherry Red itself, compiling 26 tracks from the label's heyday -- highlights include Felt's "A Preacher in New England," Grab Grab the Haddock's "I'm Used Now," the Marine Girls' "A Place in the Sun," and the Hepburns' "You're a Queer One, Les Mun."