sábado, 23 de septiembre de 2017

O Positive

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, you couldn’t turn on a radio in Boston without hearing one of O Positive’s songs. The quintet’s angular melodies, emotional vocals, shimmering guitars, and glossy production struck a positive chord among local rock fans. O Positive formed in 1983 in the metro-west suburbs, and their intense live shows made them a popular live act. After placing in the Rumble, the band’s EPs 'Only Breathing' (Throbbing Lobster, 1985) and 'Cloud Factory' (Link, 1987) became top sellers at Newbury Comics. Their video for the radio hit “With You” got some airplay on MTV. Thanks to college radio, the band had a national reputation as a band to watch, but their maiden major label voyage, 'toyboatToyBoatTOYBOAT' (Epic, 1990) got caught up in the wake of label politics before it had the chance to sink or swim. The confrontational and cathartic 'Home Sweet Head' (Smashing, 1993) became their swan song, and O Positive disbanded in early 1995. Singer Dave Herlihy, drummer Ken Hickey, and bassist Dave Ingham have played around town as a trio variously named Hurl, Toyboat, and Hey Dave in the intervening years, and O Positive has reunited sporadically for benefit concerts. Additionally, Herlihy practices entertainment law and teaches at Northeastern University. Ingham operates the Shuz recording studio in Newton, and soundman-cum-rhythm guitarist Dave Martin has released a series of heartfelt solo albums. O Positive’s place in the Boston rock firmament is still so prominent that they were one of the last bands played on WFNX before it went off the air on July 20, 2012. [SOURCE: THE MUSIC MUSEUM OF NEW ENGLAND

viernes, 22 de septiembre de 2017

The Names

Belgian post-punk band The Names formed in late 1977 as The Passengers, with drummer Mike S. Christophe den Tandt, guitarists Marc Deprez and Robert Franckson, vocalist Isabelle Hanrez, and bassist Michel Sordinia as the lineup. Franckson and Hanrez left by the beginning of 1978, and Sordinia subsequently took over on vocals.

After several gigs supporting the like-minded Magazine and Simple Minds, the Belgian wing of WEA became interested in the band and released the band's first single, 1979's 'Spectators of Life', as a one-off. In a seemingly backward maneuver, The Names shopped their major-label single to a couple of their favorite independents with the hope of gaining a deal with either Factory or Fiction. Before they heard back from Fiction, the band struck a deal with Factory, home of Joy Division and Durutti Column

Released in 1981, the excellent 'Night Shift' single, produced by Martin Hannett, led to the band's association with the Factory-related Crepuscule, an independent based in Belgium. However, the one single with Factory proper had both good and bad effects -good because the label affiliation drew immediate attention, and bad because they were unfairly compared to Joy Division

Their debut LP, 'Swimming', was produced by Hannett and released in 1982 through Crepuscule. Finished within a week, the album fell through the cracks both critically and commercially. New drummer Luc Capelle sustained a major injury on his motorcycle soon after its release. Temporarily replaced by Michel Silverstein, the band limped through the recording of a final single. The band called it quits before it was released. 

Four members of the band reunited with a new member in 1994; they recorded a full album as Jazz for the Pazz label. 'Swimming', as well as the 'Spectators of Life' compilation, were issued on compact disc. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 21 de septiembre de 2017


M.A.L. is Belgian guitarist and experimental composer Daniel Malempre. During the 1980's he released a few cassette tapes. Some of those tracks were later re-pressed on CD as the 'Eighties' compilation, along with a couple of compilation-only tracks and one unreleased piece. The new millennium also saw the release of 'The Song of the Stars' that contained archived pieces recorded in the early 1970's. Daniel Malempre is strongly in the Manuel Goettsching school of thought most of the time, pioneering echoing cosmic guitar style along with Goettsching / Ashra, Günter Schickert and Achim Reichel. [SOURCE: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC

miércoles, 20 de septiembre de 2017

The Last

The Last are a pop-rock band from Los Angeles, CA, led by singer/guitarist/songwriter Joe Nolte. Joe and his brother, Mike (keyboards, vocals, & occasional songwriting), have been the only constant members of the band since its formation in the mid 1970s. The band spawned from the same scene the launched such bands as Black Flag, Redd Kross, the Descendents, and the Circle Jerks. The early line-ups also included another Nolte brother, David, on bass and Vitus Mataré on keyboards and flute. In 1979, this line-up (including drummer Jack Reynolds), recorded their first album, 'L.A. Explosion!', now considered a classic amongst the band's fans. In 1980, the band, with new drummer John Frank, recorded a follow up titled 'Look Again' which has never been officially released. The following years were spent dealing with various line-up changes. In 1983, 'Painting Smiles On A Dead Man', a collection of demos, was released. In 1985, following more line up changes, the band split. 

In 1987, Joe and Mike resurrected the band with a new line up that included Luke Lohnes (guitar), Larry Manke (bass), and Dave Nazworthy (drums) and signed a deal with SST Records. In 1988 'Confession' appeared, followed in 1989 by 'Awakening'. Unfortunately for the band, neither album sold very well and 'Awakening' cost so much to produce that it allegedly caused severe repercussions for the label. Despite this, SST was willing to do another album with the band, but Joe Nolte was so disillusioned by the group's 1989 tour that it took some time to get motivated for a new record. The band began recording a follow-up in 1991 but, due to scheduling issues, the record was not completed until 1994. After that, the band got caught up in a contract renegotiation with SST that delayed the release even further and the final product, entitled 'Gin & Innuendoes' did not appear until 1996. 

Since then, the band has continued to exist, playing shows occasionally. Most recently, the rhythm section duties have been handled by Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson (both of the Descendents and ALL). [SOURCE: DISCOGS

martes, 19 de septiembre de 2017

King Blank

Heir to the existential angst of such late-'70s luminaries as John Lydon and Tom Verlaine, England's Ian Lowery (whose first recorded musical strivings were with a late-'70s punk band, The Wall) talk-sings in that wonderfully curdled sneer we've heard a million times before. But few do it as well. 

Lowery has had his current moves down pat since the days he fronted the Folk Devils. 'Goodnight Irony' reeks with attitude; the band rocks hard and sullen as Lowery grunts, gasps and snarls. Tracks like "Evil Eye", "English Disease" and "Beautiful Monster" would all seem dumb without his theatrical flair. 

Going out on his own under the King Blank moniker, Lowery continued his wicked ways on the three-track 'Mouth Off', featuring the input of Screaming Blue Messiahs honcho Bill Carter, who produced and played on one song and co-wrote two. With the Messiahs backing him on the title track, Lowery seems newly dangerous, even throwing in a good imitation of a shivering fit. 

Lowery then assembled some sympathetic sidemen and turned King Blank into a real band. Mimicking Dylan's 'Bringing It All Back Home' on the cover of 'The Real Dirt', Lowery broadened his range without any reduction in arrogance. Thanks to his versatile sidemen, he's able to touch on rockabilly, woozy ballads, vicious boogie, a chugging throwback to The Velvet Underground ("Uptight"), even bogus country music ("Bulletproof t", as in crucifix). Nasty and delectable. 

Renaming King Blank (with only a drummer change) to give himself star billing, The Ian Lowery Group made its debut with an outstanding album. 'King Blank To' features harsh, clanging guitars, unpleasantly throbbing beats and an avalanche of knotty, clenched-fist lyrics from the uptight Mr. L. High points: the ominous "A Kind of Loathing" ("The only help that I'd give you is to hand you your pills/And close your eyes when you're gone"), the rollicking "Never Trust Me" ("Crack that bottle Jack and we'll kill this rage in our souls") and other sagas of revenge and regret. [SOURCE: TROUSER PRESS

lunes, 18 de septiembre de 2017


Some have described Jandek as the sort of musician who was destined to be a cult phenomenon, though it's quite remarkable that he's managed to attract any following at all. Jandek isn't an artist who has covered his tracks so much as he's struggled to avoid leaving any -he releases his own albums, he only sells them by mail order, he doesn't talk to the press, he doesn't sit for photographs, and the rare few who've communicated with him can't even get him to admit he is Jandek (he prefers to identity himself as "a representative of Corwood Industries," the name of his self-run record label). This tends to fit the nature of his body of work, which is curious at best, frequently off-putting, and obsessively personal -Jandek's recordings are dominated by spare, atonal guitar figures, mumbled vocals sometimes punctuated by fevered howls, self-abasing lyrics, minimal chord structures, and chaotic accompaniment (when there is any). However, while Jandek isn't interested in developing a warm relationship with his audience, his commitment to his muse is impressive -Jandek released more than 45 albums between 1978 and 2006, with no signs that he intends to stop any time in the immediate future. 

Jandek is believed to be the alias of one Sterling Smith, a resident of Houston, TX, though even this much has never been confirmed by the man from Corwood himself. Jandek's recording career began in 1978 with the release of an album called 'Ready for the House' credited to The Units, though when it was learned there was already an active group called Units, the billing was changed to Jandek. The front cover featured an enigmatic photo of a sparsely decorated living room and the back featured only basic information (artist, title, songs, Corwood's P.O. box in Houston) in black type on a white background. In 1981, a second Jandek album appeared, 'Six and Six', and the cover followed the same format as the first album except that the front cover featured a grainy snapshot of a blank-faced young man. From this point on, Jandek would release at least one album a year (if not more), each following a similar visual template (with the blank young man often appearing in a variety of guises, leading many to believe it was Jandek himself) and offering more difficult, introspective sounds. While Corwood made no headway into record store distribution, the label would sometimes mail boxes of LPs free of charge to interested parties, and college radio stations and independent music zines were regularly serviced with Jandek's latest releases, leading to a mild but persistent buzz about the nearly invisible Texan. 

Over the years, interest in Jandek grew to the point that some listeners wanted to know just who this man really was, through the artist wasn't giving any clues; in 1999, Texas Monthly reporter Katy Vine spoke with a man from Houston she believed to be Jandek, though he refused to identify himself as such and didn't wish to discuss Jandek's music, though he was clearly familiar with it. In 2003, filmmaker Chad Freidrichs released a documentary about the musician, "Jandek on Corwood", but while a "representative of Corwood Industries" cooperated with the production, there were no interviews with Jandek or onscreen signs of his active participation.

On October 17, 2004, at Glasgow, Scotland's Instal Festival (an annual event celebrating experimental music), a tall, slender man in a dark grey shirt, black slacks, and a fedora walked onto the stage and began performing with bassist Richard Youngs and drummer Alex Neilson. While the artist was not announced and he was not identified in the program, word quickly spread that Jandek had made his first documented live appearance at the event, which was later confirmed by fellow Instal participants. Corwood later released a live recording of the show, entitled 'Glasgow Sunday', and since then Jandek has made a handful of live appearances (most of which were announced in advance) in the United States and Europe, suggesting the most enigmatic figure in American music is has developed a new willingness to ever-so-slightly reveal himself to his audience. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 17 de septiembre de 2017

La Fundación

In 1983, the so-called "spanish sinister wave" (inspired by British goth-rock) dominated the independent pop scene. Groups such the first Gabinete Caligari, Parálisis Permanente and Décima Víctima had already been the leaders of the genre in Spain during the previous year (remember also Derribos Arias and El Último Sueño), influenced all to a greater or lesser extent by the English post-punk practiced by bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division or Killing Joke, among others. 

And that year, the first recordings of the new sinister bands (La Fundación, Monaguillosh...) further entrenched the Spanish dark-wave. Of all of them, La Fundación stood out for the radical nature of their musical "darkness", which assimilated without any filters or complex the teachings of the British bands mentioned above and those of other artists like Nick Cave or The Fall

As already mentioned, La Fundación appeared in the musical scene of Madrid in 1983, through a single edited by Fernando Urrutia in his independent label Tres Cipreses. That single was produced by Lars Mertanen (guitarist for Décima Víctima) and contained the songs "Repetición" and "Todo Pensado (Para No Durar)". After a minimal repercussion of the single, the band dissolved by 1984.

La Fundación were: Alejandro (drums), César (guitar, percussion), Juan M. (voices), Julián (bass) and Luis (guitar). Like the Spanish bands mentioned above, this Madrid quintet showed its admiration for the German cinematic aesthetics of the interwar, as well as the artistic avant-gardes of that historical period. [SOURCE: GRUPOS NACIONALES NUEVA OLA 80

sábado, 16 de septiembre de 2017


Ideal was one of the more successful German Neue Deutsche Welle music groups. It is best known for the songs "Blaue Augen" ("Blue Eyes"), "Berlin", and "Monotonie" ("Monotony"). In 1980, Annette Humpe, Ernst Ulrich Deuker, Frank Jürgen "Eff Jott" Krüger and Hans-Joachim "Hansi" Behrendt formed the band Ideal. Annette Humpe had played previously in the band Neonbabies alongside her sister Inga Humpe, before forming Ideal. Eff Jott Krüger previously played for the X-Pectors. In May 1980, Ideal released their first single on Eitel-Imperial -their own record label- entitled 'Wir stehn auf Berlin / Männer gibt's wie Sand am Meer', which soon sold out. The British rock band Barclay James Harvest -who were particularly successful in Germany- performed a free open-air concert on August 30, 1980 in front of the Reichstag building. The 150,000 visitors also saw Ideal, as they were booked as an opening act; this was a large step toward mainstream popularity. In November, Ideal released their a self-titled LP on the Innovative Communication label. The album reached number three on the German charts. Oddly enough for an LP, it was supposed to be played at 45 rpm, the speed intended for singles and which results in improved sound quality. This was not done with subsequent releases. This was followed by concerts in Switzerland and Austria. In August 1981, Ideal played in front of 22,000 fans at the Waldbühne Berlin. This was broadcast nationwide by SFB as part of Rocknacht. Following this, the band began recording a second album. Together with the help of producer Conny Plank and engineer Dave Hutchins, they produced 'Der Ernst des Lebens', which was released in October 1981. At the same time, Ideal's debut album went gold, and marked the first time an album released on an independent record label went gold. 

Ideal performed 27 sold-out concerts during their 1981/1982 tour through German-speaking countries. By their final concert on the tour, they had received another gold record, this time for 'Der Ernst des Lebens'. In the fall of 1982, Ideal produced their third album, 'Bi Nuu', under the direction of Micki Meuser. It entered the chart in December 1982, but only peaked at 20th place; these sales did not meet the expectations of the record label and a planned tour was cancelled. On March 31, 1983, Ideal sent an announcement to the media via Telex: "The group Ideal is dissolving. From the beginning, Ideal was planned as a project, a corporation, which was intended to exist as long as the differences between the individual members made the work enjoyable and creative. Our music was always a result of the clashing of four different personalities, not of compromise, but of creating songs that all enjoyed. In three terrific years, we have gotten the best out of this constellation." June 1983 saw the release of 'Zugabe' (Encore), a live album of "remembrance, farewells, and gratitude for all the fans". Some of the members of the band (Ernst Ulrich Deuker, Frank Jürgen "Eff Jott" Krüger and Hans-Joachim "Hansi" Behrendt) helped fellow German band Alphaville record their 1989 album, 'The Breathtaking Blue'. They contributed to five of the songs from that album. On April 26, 2007, Frank Jürgen Krüger died at 58 following a long fight with cancer. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

viernes, 15 de septiembre de 2017


The Japanese unit Hanatarash were notorious for abrasive, weird music and violently industrial concerts. Prior to founding the Boredoms, Yamatsuka Eye indulged his abrasive, experimental side with this noise troupe. The venture was based in extremism, and tracks were often produced using such noisemakers as power tools, heavy construction equipment, turntable deconstruction, and tape manipulation. The song titles were often explicitly sexual or scatological. The project also resulted in live albums that are rife with machine-shop discord and shattering glass. The group's concerts have become clouded in legend due to Yamatsuka's exploits; in fact, he once sustained a serious leg injury from some equipment used in an on-stage set up. There is also photographic evidence of a legendary show in which Yamatsuka drove a small bulldozer into the performance space and proceeding to wreak havoc on the place, fortunately with audience members appearing to keep their distance. The group debuted with the album 'Hanatarashi' in 1985, following it with '2' (in 1987) and '3' (in 1989). A couple of live albums (which are confusing, one-dimensional documents of the intense, warlike atmosphere that must have culminated on-stage) came out in the '90s. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 14 de septiembre de 2017

Gay Cat Park

Gay Cat Park was the Italian duo of Graziano G. Ravizza and Davide Gatti. Their best known tune, "I’m A Vocoder", was recorded when they were just 14, and became a huge club hit when released on Discotto Records in 1982 (it was also reissued recently by Clone Classic Cuts). Following the success of "I’m A Vocoder", Ravizza and Gatti became involved in various other projects, most of them more obviously pop-oriented, and no further Gay Cat Park material saw the light of day. 

However, that isn’t to say that further Gay Cat Park material wasn’t recorded. In fact, the pair recorded a number of other tracks in 1982-1984 in this style, at home on standard UCXS Sony tapes and TEAC Tascam four-tracks, and though never released, they have been carefully stored to this day. Eight of these recordings, including "I’m A Vocoder", were hand-picked by Medical Records for the compilation 'Synthetic Woman'. [SOURCE: FACT MAGAZINE