viernes, 20 de julio de 2018

John Bender

One of the most shadowy, mysterious figures of the early-'80s experimental music underground, John Bender released three LPs and several cassettes of cold, sparse, abstract synth pop songs that later became the holy grail for aficionados of "minimal synth" or "minimal wave" music. Born in 1950 in Nuremberg, Germany, Bender relocated frequently as a child, eventually settling in Cincinnati. Inspired by experimental rock luminaries such as The Velvet Underground and the Motorik rhythms of Krautrock groups like Can, but with a limited supply of electronic instruments on hand, Bender began recording experimental synth pop songs during the mid-'70s. He issued his debut LP, 'I Don't Remember Now / I Don't Want to Talk About It' (which featured a cover of Faust's "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl"), on his own Record Sluts label in 1980. 'Plaster Falling' followed in 1981, and the aptly titled 'Pop Surgery' appeared in 1983. Bender also participated in a performance project called Johnny Vortex along with artists Jason Tannen and Kate Gallion; they released a tape in 1986. His recordings subsequently gained a cult following among record collectors and college radio DJs. His LPs have been bootlegged, and original copies have fetched extravagant sums on the secondhand market. German label Vinyl-on-Demand finally granted Bender's music an official reissue in 2012 with the release of the seven-LP box set 'Memories of Mindless Mechanical Monologues: 1976-1985'. In 2016, Superior Viaduct released standalone reissues of 'I Don't Remember Now / I Don't Want to Talk About It' and 'Plaster Falling'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 19 de julio de 2018


Insekt was formed in 1989 by Mario Vaerewijck and Eric Van Wonterghem, respective members from the eighties legendary Belgian EBM bands Vomito Negro and Klinik. With their unique and compelling mixture of powerful rhythmic flare, nasty virulent synth strings, colliding sample collages, harsh angry vocals and characteristic freezing melodic lines, Insekt immediately caught the attention of the electronic crowds with their debut album 'We Can't Trust The Insect'. [SOURCE: SPUTNIK MUSIC

miércoles, 18 de julio de 2018

Honolulu Mountain Daffodils

A scatterbrained and perhaps drunken recording entity based on the collective talents of guitarist Joachim Pimento aka Adrian Borland (The Sound, Second Layer, Witch Trials), fuzz guitarist / keyboardist Zoe Zettner, fuzz guitarist / vocalist Lord Sulaco (aka Pete Williams), fuzz guitarist / percussionist Daiquiri J. Wright (aka Graham Pearson), fuzz guitarist Franklin Silverheels, and bassist Smoky Alvaro (yes, they apparently liked the sound of a fuzz guitar), the Honolulu Mountain Daffodils gathered occasionally throughout the late '80s and early '90s to patch together records that threw almost anything imaginable into a blender (from Kraftwerk to Tom Waits to the Ramones to Black Sabbath to Neu! and all points between). The ill-rehearsed results were always uneven, but a fun time was guaranteed each time they gathered into a studio. The only true ambition of the Daffodils was to have their records exist in obscurity until developing a cult of fans via a steady slew of dollar bin discoveries. In fact, as legend has it, the artwork for the 1987 album 'Guitars of the Oceanic Overgrowth' was designed to look as if it had spent at least two decades gathering dust in a record shop's sunshine-prone window display. 'Guitars' was their first album and was followed the next year by 'Tequila Dementia', and then the trilogy was completed three years later by 'Aloha Sayonara' (the 'Psychic Hit-List Victims' EP was released in 1991). Apparently the band split up soon thereafter; lord (or Lord Sulaco) knows why. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 17 de julio de 2018

Gruppo Sportivo

Affectionate parodies of pop music and occasional humorous cultural commentary gave the Dutch new wave band Gruppo Sportivo a cult following in the early 1980s, although much of their material was available only through import sources. Signed to the British division of Epic, the group debuted in 1978 with '10 Mistakes', an album that featured a lineup of vocalist / guitarist / songwriter Hans Vandenburg, keyboardist Peter Calicher, bassist Eric Wehrmeyer, drummer Max "Climax" Mollinger, and additional vocalists The Grupettes: Josee Van Iersel and Meike Touw. '10 Mistakes' and its follow-up, 'Back to '78', were produced by R.J. Stips, soon to join venerable fellow Dutch popsters The Nits. Gruppo Sportivo were introduced to American listeners through the 1979 'Mistakes' compilation, which gathered highlights from those first two albums. 1980's lyric-oriented 'Copy Copy' introduced new bassist Martin Bakker and added a three-piece horn section called The Skamasters, which included tenor saxophonist Laurens de Jonge, baritone saxophonist Jan de Ligt, and trumpeter Edwin Theuerzeit. 1981's 'Pop! Goes the Brain' found Vandenburg adopting an English accent in place of the familiar Dutch; by 1982's 'Design Moderne', Dick Schulte Nordholt had taken over the bass spot, and The Grupettes had become more of a free-floating addition, with Van Iersel joined by Lies Schilp on this particular outing. Another bassist, Michiel Eilbracht, was employed for 1984's 'Sombrero Times', and the original Grupettes duo had been restored. 

However, it would be the last Gruppo Sportivo album widely available overseas; subsequent releases found the nucleus of the band gradually dwindling down to Vandenburg plus an aggregation of studio musicians and whatever past members were available to record. A steady stream of albums like 'Sucker of the Century', 'Young and Out' (1992), the live 'Sing Sing' (1995, released two years later in America as 'Second Life'), and 'Shake Hands With Vandenburg' (1996) followed, mostly recorded for Dutch labels, where Gruppo Sportivo's main audience now resides. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 16 de julio de 2018

Grant Hart

As one of the co-leaders of the seminal post-hardcore punk group Hüsker Dü, Grant Hart was one of the most influential musicians of the '80s, blending raw sonic aggression with pop melodies and songs. Following the group's demise in 1987, he launched a solo career that was marked by an erratic work schedule. After releasing one solo album, he formed a trio called Nova Mob in 1989, which released two albums between 1991 and 1994, when Hart became a solo artist again. 

Playing drums and singing lead, Hart formed Hüsker Dü along with Bob Mould (lead vocals, guitar) and Greg Norton (bass) in the late '70s in St. Paul. Over the course of the early '80s, the group initially built a strong following in the U.S. hardcore punk underground, eventually breaking into wider recognition with their 1984 album, 'Zen Arcade'. Within two years, the Hüskers signed to Warner, becoming one of the first indie bands of the '80s to move to a major label. Though the group was poised to break into the mainstream, certain parts of the industry, including radio, resisted them. Furthermore, the group was splintering, as all the members suffered from substance abuse; Hart and Mould were also developing a debilitating rivalry. At the end of 1987, the group imploded; according to different sources, Hart either quit or was fired because of his heroin addiction. 

In the spring of 1988, Hart became the first Hüsker Dü member to release a solo recording when his primarily acoustic '2541' EP (named after the address of the group's old office and studio) was released on the band's old record label, SST. The following year, he released the full-length 'Intolerance', which he recorded as a one-man band. 

Later in 1989, Hart formed Nova Mob. In 1991, the group released the EP 'Admiral of the Sea' on Rough Trade. Nova Mob's first album, a rock opera named 'The Last Days of Pompeii', appeared in 1991. Following its release, the group was dormant for several years, eventually re-emerging in 1994 with an eponymous album. Hart quietly split up the trio after Nova Mob, and disappeared for two more years. In 1996, he released the live acoustic album 'Ecce Homo' in Britain. 'Good News for Modern Man' followed in 1999. 

The next decade was relatively quiet for Hart, as he pursued other artistic avenues outside of music. One of the highlights of these ten quiet years was a 2005 reunion with Bob Mould at a benefit concert for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller, who was then suffering from cancer. Hart returned to action in 2009 with 'Hot Wax', which was greeted with positive reviews. Four years later, the concept album 'The Argument' -based equally on works by William S. Burroughs and John Milton- was released in the summer of 2013. Four years later, Hart died in September 2017 at the age of 56, after a battle with kidney cancer. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 13 de julio de 2018

The Fizzbombs

The Fizzbombs were a short lived Edinburgh band who consisted of Katy McCullars on vocals, Margarita Vasquez-Ponte (Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes / Rote Kapelle) on guitar / backing vocals, Angus McPake (Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes) on drums and Ann Donald (Shop Assistants) on bass. The band existed between 1987 and 1989. 

That line-up released the 7″ single 'Sign On The Line b/w The Words That' (Nardonik, 1987) and they also released a track called "You Worry Me" on the 'Wild Rumpus' Flexi Disc (1987). McCullars and Donald left the band joining The Secret Goldfish. Sarah Kneale (ex The Shop Assistants) joined on bass with Vasquez-Ponte on vocals. In 1988 this line up released 'The Surfin Winter EP' on Calcalus Records and they also recorded a session for Janice Long ("Blue Summer" / "Cherry Cherry" / "Not As Simple As That" / "Beach Party") in the same year. 

There were 7″ and 12″ versions of the EP with the 12″ containing a different version of the lead track "Surfaround", a cover of Neil Diamond’s "Cherry Cherry" and another track called "Test Pilot". The other tracks were "Blue Summer" and "Beach Party" which also featured on the 7″ version of the single which included the other mix of "Surfaround". 

The band split when Vasquez-Ponte along with Kneale joined the re-formed Shop Assistants during their Avalanche Records period (1989/90). [SOURCE: LAST.FM]

jueves, 12 de julio de 2018


Europa was a short-lived synthpop group from Valencia, Spain formed in 1980 by Julio “Nexus” Pastor (synthesizers), Alfonso Aguado (vocals, guitar), Lino Oviaño (vocals, drum machine), and José Luis Macias (synthesizers). The quartet championed the use of synthesizers, drum machines and other polyphonic gadgets in a city that was stuck in the throws of progressive rock. They recorded and released their only album 'La Última Emoción' in 1981 on cassette, released by DAI (Division Avanzada Independiente) a label interested in bands “capable of building electronic sounds from drum machines, sequencers, synths and effects, rather than conventional instruments like guitars and basses.” 

The original issue of 'La Última Emoción' was a single-sided cassette and limited to 500 copies. The band mixed all the tracks at their home studio using a Roland Juno 60, Casiotone 202, Korg Polysix, MS-20, MS-10 and the KR-55 drum machine. As part of the Spanish Techno-pop movement of the 1980s, Europa’s songs featured arpeggiated synthesizers and upbeat drum machines that flashback to the sound of Vince Clarke’s Depeche Mode days. Comparisons could be made to other Spanish Techno-pop bands like Aviador Dro, Vocoder or Metal y Ca but Europa weaved a unique style of driving, energetic rhythms, bouncy keyboards and soaring vocals perfect for dancing or speeding into outer space. Shorty after their debut release the band would switch their name to Última Emoción releasing an EP in 1983 and an album in 1984 before breaking up. Alfonso Aguado went on to front Los Inhumanos, Julio Pastor launched the Valencia techno bands Megabeat and Interfront, while José Luis Macias and Lino Oviaño formed Comité Cisne. In 2010 the original Europa line-up reformed to play a few select live shows celebrating the re-issue of their 1984 cassette 'Máquinas Románticas' on Turia Records of Spain. Their sound remains clean, rhythmic and futuristically strange, transporting crowds to another dimension. [SOURCE: DARK ENTRIES RECORDS

miércoles, 11 de julio de 2018

Death Cult

The second monicker in the continuing evolution that finally birthed The Cult, Death Cult was formed in 1983 by Ian Astbury, who had recently dissolved Southern Death Cult. He teamed up with guitarist Billy Duffy (ex-Theatre of Hate), bassist Jamie Stewart (ex-Ritual), and drummer Ray Mondo to release an EP on Situation Two in mid-1983. Nigel Preston replaced Mondo in the fall, and another EP appeared later in 1983. By the end of the year, however, Death Cult had become The Cult. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

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martes, 10 de julio de 2018

Charles De Goal

Initially a solo project formed by Patrick Blain shortly after the 1979 break-up of his earlier band C.O.M.A. (often compared to Devo), Charles De Goal were first signed to emerging record label New Rose, the now notorious independent giant of 1980's France, and released debut album 'Algorythmes' in 1980. 

Their music could be described as a collection of minimal synth, punk / post-punk, experimental / avant garde pop and new wave -usually polished with a dark edge, leading the band to be placed on the borders of the Nouvelle Vague scene and often labeled as 'cold wave', a term which first became popular for French dark wave bands at the time. 

Charles de Goal began as a mysterious entity with virtually zero information being available about the elusive Blain or his sometimes-band, even within the sleeves of releases, and they remained largely anonymous in the early years -not touring their work or revealing their true identity until 1985. Despite this, Charles De Goal found acclaim, underground fame and a large amount of airtime on French independent radio stations, managing to shift over 15,000 copies of their debut record. 

The second Charles De Goal album, 'Ici L'Ombre', followed quickly with a 1981 release but was considered much darker than their first effort and faired less well with critics. A three year break then came (during which time Blain contributed to the Danse Macabre project) before the release of the bands third album '3' in 1984. '3' was a far more accessible affair which saw the band go on to reach a much wider audience and find greater radio and TV success -a popularity which increased with the bands unveiling and the 1985 debut tour that came after. 

Two years later and 1986 swallowed the arrival of 'Double Face', the bands fourth and final album before a mammoth hiatus, interrupted briefly with the release of the compilation album 'Commemoration' in 1989. 

In 1992 Charles de Goal completed work on their 5th studio album, 'Revolution', which found itself without a home -or a launch pad- following the purchase of the bands label, New Rose, by Fnac Music in the same year. With no other interested parties the album was shelved, only to be picked up by Last Call Records in 1997 and released as a double album (alongside a remastered edition of 'Algorythmes') under the title of 'État Général'. 

As well as appearing on the 'Crucifixation' EP with the band Danse Macabre in 1983, Blain also went on to form the mythical punk / electro band Monkey Test in 2000. 

Some years later, in 2006, Patrick Blain performed, along with fellow Monkey Test members Etienne Lebourg and Jean-Philippe Brouant and AE (of End of Data, Raendom) as Charles de Goal once more in what was intended to be a one-off concert. The success of the show was so great that the band played further dates in France before launching a full European tour and beginning to write new material together. 

Released on Self-Control (Blain's own record label) in April 2008, 'Restructuration' was the result - the first official release from Charles de Goal in over two decades. [SOURCE: LAST.FM

lunes, 9 de julio de 2018


BOB were an indie pop band from North London, England, formed in 1985. The initial line-up was Richard Blackborow (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Simon Armstrong (guitar, vocals). Jem Morris (bass guitar), joined the duo in 1986, and, augmented with a drum machine, they recorded the band's first release, a flexi disc, released in 1986 on their own House Of Teeth label, and containing three short songs: "Prune (Your Tree)", "Groove" and "Brian Wilson's Bed". The band gave a copy to John Peel in a fortuitous encounter in the Rough Trade record shop, and he played it many times. The drum machine was replaced by Gary Connors (drums) in 1987, and this line-up recorded 1987's 'What a Performance' EP and the first of three BOB John Peel sessions.

Early in 1988, Gary Connors was replaced by former Jamie Wednesday drummer Dean Legget, and the band recorded their second single, the 'Kirsty' EP, a session for BBC Radio One's Simon Mayo, and their second John Peel session. Both singles received heavy play by John Peel. The two singles were compiled together with the earlier flexi disc as 'Swag Sack', which was their final recording for the Sombrero label. All later releases were on their own House Of Teeth label. 

In 1989, the band released the 'Convenience' EP (which reached no.31 in John Peel's Festive Fifty at the end of the year), followed by a limited edition / fan club release containing three songs: "Esmerelda Brooklyn", "I Don't Know" and "Sink". After their third and final John Peel session, Morris was replaced by ex-Caretaker Race bassist Stephen 'Henry' Hersom, and this final line-up recorded the 'Stride Up EP' in 1990, an LP 'Leave The Straight Life Behind' and the 'Tired' EP in 1991, and one last single, the 'Nothing For Something' EP in 1992. BOB became one of the victims of the demise of Rough Trade's distribution arm, which limited sales of the album and forced the band to tour for an extended period to recoup the album's costs. A feeling of disillusionment with the 'business' side of the music caused a drop in morale, and they disbanded early in 1995. 

The BOB single "Convenience" was released for the first time on a digital format on the John Peel compilation box set 'Kats Karavan' in October 2009. In February 2014, 'Leave the Straight Life Behind' was re-released by British independent label 3 Loop Music as a 2CD expanded edition which included the remastered album plus a bonus CD of all the John Peel and BBC sessions, as well as extra tracks. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA