miércoles, 26 de agosto de 2015

Red Letter Day

This Portsmouth, England-based pop punk band formed in 1983, with a line-up comprising Ade (vocals, guitar), Ian Campbell (lead guitar), Pete White (bass) and Brian Lee (drums). However, nine months and two demos later, Ade was joined by Daryn Price (drums), Keith Metcalfe (bass) and Davie Egan (guitar) in the band’s second incarnation. After the single ‘Wherever You May Run’, they found favour with BBC disc jockey John Peel who secured a session for them on his show. The 12-inch EP 'Released Emotions' followed on Quiet Records (they would, confusingly, join a record company with the same title, so called because its boss was a fan of the band). Metcalfe was replaced by a temporary bass player before Steve (ex-Original Mirrors) took over on bass. The highlight of 1987 was a support slot at the Polderock Festival in Belgium alongside The Mission, Primitives and Sonic Youth. Now on the Released Emotions label, they recorded a joint album with The Sect, titled 'Soft Lights And Loud Guitars'. This attracted a series of good reviews and they also appeared on the Link Records sampler "Underground Rockers", alongside other bands of a similar persuasion such as Mega City Four and The Price. Egan left shortly afterwards, to be replaced by their present guitarist Ray. After a double a-sided single they completed work on their first full album, 'More Songs About Love And War', featuring material in a rockier vein. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 25 de agosto de 2015

Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu emerged from the urban wastelands of mid-'70s Cleveland to impact the American underground for generations to follow; led by hulking frontman David Thomas, whose absurdist warble and rapturously demented lyrics remained the band's creative focus throughout their long, convoluted career, Ubu's protean art punk sound harnessed self-destructing melodies, scattershot rhythms, and industrial-strength dissonance to capture the angst and chaos of their times with both apocalyptic fervor and surprising humanity. Named in honor of Alfred Jarry's surrealist play Ubu Roi, Pere Ubu was formed in the autumn of 1975 from the ashes of local cult favorite Rocket from the Tombs, reuniting Thomas (aka Crocus Behemoth) with guitarist Peter Laughner; adding guitarist Tom Herman, bassist Tim Wright, keyboardist Allen Ravenstine, and drummer Scott Krauss, the group soon issued their debut single, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo," on Thomas' Hearthan label. The follow-up, "Final Solution," appeared on the renamed Hearpen in early 1976, and resulted in a series of live dates at the famed New York City club Max's Kansas City. 

Laughner's longstanding battles with drugs and alcohol forced his exit from Pere Ubu in June of 1976; within a year, he was dead. The group continued on as a quintet, with bassist Tony Maimone signing on in the wake of Wright's move to New York, where he joined the pioneering no wave band DNA. In the wake of their third single, "Street Waves," Thomas was approached by Mercury label A&R exec Cliff Burnstein, who convinced the label to form a new imprint, Blank Records, for the express purposes of signing Pere Ubu; their debut LP, 'The Modern Dance', was issued in early 1978, and although the record made little commercial impact at home or abroad, its manic intensity and dark impenetrability proved profoundly influential on countless post-punk acts on both sides of the Atlantic. The follow-up, 'Dub Housing', was even better, pushing the band to further extremes of otherworldliness, but already the cracks were beginning to show, and upon completing 1979's 'New Picnic Time' (working title: "Goodbye"), Ubu disbanded. Although the group re-formed months later, Herman opted not to return and was replaced by Red Krayola mastermind Mayo Thompson. 

'The Art of Walking' followed in 1980, with subsequent tours in support of the record heralding the increasingly pop-centric sound that would distinguish later Ubu projects; a live record, '390° of Simulated Stereo', appeared a year later. Krauss was replaced by drummer Anton Fier for 1982's 'Song of the Bailing Man', but as before personal and creative differences began taking their toll and Ubu again disbanded; while Maimone and Krauss reunited in the group Home and Garden, Thomas continued the solo career he'd begun with the 1981 effort 'The Sound of the Sand (And Other Songs of the Pedestrians)', a collaboration with guitar virtuoso Richard Thompson. He recorded 1987's 'Blame the Messenger' with The Wooden Birds, a backing band including fellow Ubu alums Ravenstine and Maimone; after Krauss sat in for a Cleveland live date, the decision was made to begin working as Pere Ubu again. Guitarist Jim Jones and drummer Chris Cutler were also recruited for 1988's comeback effort 'The Tenement Year', a vividly idiosyncratic pop album far more accessible than anything in the band's back catalog. 

1989's Stephen Hague-produced 'Cloudland' further refined the approach, with the video for the single "Waiting for Mary" even earning limited MTV airplay; after both Ravenstine and Cutler exited Pere Ubu (the former becoming a commercial airline pilot), one-time Captain Beefheart sideman Eric Drew Feldman was installed for 1991's 'Worlds in Collision'. Feldman soon departed as well to join Frank Black, and the remaining quartet recorded 1993's 'Story of My Life' for the short-lived Imago label; Maimone was the next to go, with bassist Michele Temple and keyboardist Garo Yellin stepping in for 1995's planned swan song, 'Ray Gun Suitcase'. As Ubu again slipped into limbo, the band's massive influence was celebrated in 1996 with the release of the five-disc box set 'Datapanik in the Year Zero'; the renewed interest spurred Thomas back into action, and he reunited with Tom Herman for the first time in two decades to record 1998's sprawling 'Pennsylvania' (also featuring holdovers Jones and Temple in addition to keyboardist Robert Wheeler and drummer Steve Mehlman). Four years later, Pere Ubu captured some of their darkest and most theatrical work to date with 'St. Arkansas'. 'Why I Hate Women' followed in 2006. A remix album also arrived that year. In 2009, the band returned with 'Long Live Pere Ubu!', which featured songs from a musical adaptation of the band's namesake play Ubu Roi and included contributions from Communards' Sarah Jane Morris and Gagarin. Pere Ubu's next album, 2013's 'Lady from Shanghai', was nearly as ambitious; described as "an album of dance music fixed," it commemorated the 35th anniversary of 'The Modern Dance' with abrasive, industrial-tinged rhythms and an accompanying book, "Chinese Whispers: The Making of Pere Ubu's Lady from Shanghai". Also in 2013, the band performed their underscore for the cult classic horror film "Carnival of Souls"; several pieces from the score became the basis for 2014's 'Carnival of Souls', which arrived in different CD and vinyl versions. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

lunes, 24 de agosto de 2015

Nitzer Ebb

Before the majority of industrial acts added guitars and became the heavy metal of the 1990s, Nitzer Ebb produced hard-hitting electronic music with the Teutonic bent and abrasive edge of early industrial music, plus the vocal chanting and beat-heavy flavor of the late-'80s alternative and Balearic dance scene. Formed in Chelmsford, Essex, in 1982 by vocalist Douglas McCarthy, drummer Bon Harris, and keyboard player David Gooday, the group began experimenting with synthesizers and drum pads, fusing the bandmembers' affinity for dark goth and punk rock with the emerging technology. After several popular shows around London during 1984, PWL producer Phil Harding began working with Nitzer Ebb and recorded their first single, "Isn't It Funny How Your Body Works," which appeared on the band's Power of Voice Communications label in 1985. Three more singles followed during 1985-1986 before Nitzer Ebb signed to Mute in late 1986; the first Mute recordings were the singles "Murderous" and "Let Your Body Learn" in early 1987, just before the release of their debut album, 'That Total Age'. After the single "Join in the Chant" was remixed by producer Flood (Nick Cave, Erasure), it became one of the crucial tracks in the growing alternative/Balearic dance scene, played out alongside Chicago house, Detroit techno, and Northern soul. 

After the release of 'That Total Age', Nitzer Ebb toured Europe with Depeche Mode, and the latter band's pop sensibilities appeared to inspire them. By the time of their second album, 'Belief', Gooday had disappeared (to be replaced by Julian Beeston) and Flood had taken over the producer's role from Harding, nudging Nitzer Ebb closer to the dancefloor and shearing away the militaristic bent of much of their earlier recordings. Singles like "Hearts and Minds," "Shame," and "Lightning Man" were loaded with the cold aggression of earlier recordings, working well on dancefloors as well as college radio stations; the 1990 single "Fun to Be Had" even reached number two on the dance charts. The following year's 'Ebbhead' further consolidated their position with alternative audiences, with at least two well-known singles, "I Give to You" and "Godhead." As a whole, though, the album showed Nitzer Ebb a bit confused as to where industrial music was going. Nitzer Ebb virtually disappeared from active music-making for the next four years, finally reappearing in 1995 with their fifth album, 'Big Hit'. The compilation 'Body of Work 1984-1997' appeared in 2006 and was immediately followed by set of new remixes titled 'Body Rework'. After a reunion tour to support the releases proved successful, the group began working on new material. In January of 2010 they released 'Industrial Complex', their first studio album in 15 years and their first for the Alpha Matrix label. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

Maximum Joy

Maximum Joy was an offshoot of The Pop Group. They were a post-punk band that existed after The Pop Group's breakup in the early '80s. Signed to the Y label, Maximum Joy issued a trio of 12" and 7" singles prior to making 'Station MXJY', their lone album. Apparently the band split shortly thereafter. Former Pop Group members/guitarists Dan Catsis (who had previously spent time in the Glaxo Babies) and John Waddington formed the group, and they were joined by Janine Rainforth (vocals, clarinet, violin), Kev Evans (bass, piano, vocals), and Tony Wrafter (sax, flute, trumpet). [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 22 de agosto de 2015

The Legendary Pink Dots

Formed in London in 1980, The Legendary Pink Dots moved to Amsterdam in the middle of the decade. Members throughout the band's career have been Edward Ka-Spel (vocals, keyboards) and Phil Knight (keyboards), also known as the Silver Man, with a shifting supporting cast over the years. The Dots' music is by turns melodic pop and exotic psychedelia, with classical influences, sampling, and relentlessly dark, violent, apocalyptic lyrics. After several releases for Mirrodot and Inphaze during the early '80s, the group signed to Play It Again Sam distribution for 1985's 'The Lovers', and released much of their best material (1990's 'Crushed Velvet Apocalypse', 1991's 'The Maria Dimension') on the label. Even as The Legendary Pink Dots neared their two-decade anniversary, the group continued to tour Europe and America quite consistently, appreciated by several generations of dark industrial/goth audiences (and documented by the 2000 live album 'Farewell, Milky Way'). After releasing 'Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves' in spring of 2006, the band embarked on their 25th anniversary tour. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

viernes, 21 de agosto de 2015

Klark Kent

Since Clark Kent is the secret identity of Superman, it was no surprise when Klark Kent turned out to be an alter ego as well. Kent was actually Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police. In 1980, Copeland donned the Klark Kent disguise, even creating a false biography. The fictional story line portrayed Kent as a computer programmer who had sued IBM for stealing a mysterious invention; in reality, Copeland merely wanted to record songs he wrote for The Police that Sting didn't like. Copeland sang and played percussion, guitar, bass, kazoo, and piano on 'Klark Kent: Music Madness From the Kinetic Kid', a solo LP credited to Kent. Klark Kent's goofy, eccentric tunes were in contrast to The Police's considerably more weighty oeuvre, at least lyrically. The single "Away From Home" received airplay on new wave radio stations, but it probably would've been unnoticed -and largely forgotten- if it hadn't originated from a member of The Police. Once Kent's true identity was revealed, Copeland retired the character and returned to The Police. In 1995, the Kent material was compiled onto a CD as 'Kollected Works'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015

Jesus Jones

Jesus Jones' murky mix of samples, pop, dance tracks, and techno resulted in one huge international hit single, "Right Here, Right Now" (taken from their second album, 'Doubt'), that pretty much sums up all of the band's virtues -a strong melody and hook, with a flair for making the dance club overtones mesh with the rock guitar. To hear Jesus Jones' flaws, turn to their first album, which suffered from muddy beats, shapeless melodies, and intrusive samples, all of which also plagued sections of 'Doubt'. But when 'Doubt' worked, as it did on "Right Here, Right Now," "International Bright Young Thing," and "Real, Real, Real," it showed that sample-driven dance club music could comfortably fit into pop music. 

Based on the platinum success of 'Doubt', Jesus Jones' leader -guitarist/vocalist Mike Edwards, who had launched the band in 1988- decided it was his mission to make techno palatable for the pop masses and recorded their follow-up album, 1993's 'Perverse', almost entirely on computer. The result was neither good pop music nor good techno, and Jesus Jones' subsequent fall from the top of the U.S. and U.K. charts was as fast as their rise to the top. After a long layoff, they returned in the summer of 1997 with 'Already'. Initially, the album was only released in the U.K.; it was later released in the U.S. during the spring of 1998. Three years passed before the group returned to form. With new members Alan Doughty (bass) and Tony Arthy (drums), Jesus Jones inked a deal with Koch and issued 'London' in fall 2001. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 19 de agosto de 2015

Halo Of Flies

Halo of Flies was a rock band from Minneapolis. Named after an Alice Cooper song from 'Killer', Halo of Flies was formed in 1986 by Tom Hazelmyer, John Anglim and Tim Mac. Over the next 5 years they released a series of 7 inch singles and mini LPs starting with a limited edition, hand numbered single called “Rubber Room”. These singles were released on Hazelmyer’s label Amphetamine Reptile Records and were later compiled on a CD ('Insect Music for Insect Minds') in 1991. The band partially reformed in 2007 under the name H•O•F, and continued to release new material. 

Sales of Halo of Flies records was assisted by a manufacturing/distribution deal with the popular Minnesota label Twin Tone records. Influenced by early punk bands MC5 and The Stooges, the band had a loud raw sound that was heavily guitar influenced garage rock. Halo of Flies stopped recording in the early 1990s but Hazelmyer kept Amphetamine Reptile Records in business for 20 years by releasing music by Boss Hog, Helmet, The Melvins, Cows, God Bullies, Helios Creed and Unsane. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA]

martes, 18 de agosto de 2015

Ghost Dance

By the mid-'80s, the British goth scene had begun to achieve a certain degree of critical acclaim and commercial success. Led by the likes of The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission, the sparkling -if often downbeat- guitar pop of bands such as Ghost Dance became briefly touted as the way forward for U.K. indie music. However, by the early '90s the bubble had burst, and Ghost Dance was left without an audience. 

Ghost Dance came into being when guitarist Gary Marx left The Sisters of Mercy in 1985, having composed much of the material on their debut album, 'First and Last and Always'. He quickly recruited singer Anne-Marie Hurst from fellow goths Skeletal Family and guitarist Etch. The initial sessions consisted of odd cover versions -"Radar Love," anyone?- and Sisters-inspired material, even to the point of using a drum machine, dubbed "Pandora." A few more members came and went, including ex-Red Lorry Yellow Lorry guitarist Steve Smith, before the lineup was finalized, consisting of Hurst, Marx, Etch, guitarist Richard Steel, and drummer John Grant. 

After a handful of singles and EPs mostly released on the U.K. indie label Karbon, Ghost Dance was signed to Chrysalis in 1988. Their debut album, 'Stop the World', followed a year later. Unfortunately, the attempts at grafting a new pop sensibility onto the band's material were critically derided. Like many goth outfits, as the '90s approached, Ghost Dance found themselves unable to successfully change with the times, and they folded soon afterward. Etch briefly joined the touring lineup of The Mission, while Steel later resurfaced in Spacehog. Tracks periodically appear on goth compilations, and rumors of reunions continue to circulate. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 17 de agosto de 2015


Along with Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, Fear helped define the sound and style of L.A. hardcore. Although they actually formed during the first wave of punk back in 1977, Fear didn't release an album until five years later, by which time they'd honed a blistering, thrashy attack that, for all its fury, was surprisingly tight and sometimes even intricate. Which is to say that, musically, the band wasn't as crude as frontman Lee Ving's outrageous, humorously offensive lyrics, which were geared to piss off anyone within earshot, particularly women and homosexuals; his vulgarity was equaled only by his sincere love of beer. Fear's original incarnation fell apart after just two albums, but Ving began touring with new lineups again in the '90s. 

Fear were formed in Los Angeles by vocalist Lee Ving (whose past is shrouded in mystery, though he's rumored to be a Vietnam veteran), with the rest of the original lineup including lead guitarist Philo Cramer, bassist Derf Scratch, and drummer Johnny Backbeat. Rhythm guitarist Burt Good became a member for a short time in 1978, but became unnecessary when Ving decided to take up the instrument. The same year, Backbeat was replaced by Spit Stix. Fear issued their debut single, 'I Love Livin' in the City', at the beginning of 1978 on Criminal Records. They were in no rush to record an album, however, and spent the next few years without a record deal; instead, they mostly played punk clubs around the Los Angeles area, cultivating a volatile, confrontational stage presence. Fear's explosive appearance in director Penelope Spheeris' punk chronicle "The Decline of Western Civilization" cemented their legend, and they found a devoted fan in comedian John Belushi, who talked Saturday Night Live into having the band on as a musical guest for the Halloween episode in 1981. Not a band to behave in a public forum, Fear invited a pack of skinhead slam-dancers on-stage for their performance, resulting in costly studio damage and a bit of on-mike profanity. 

Now notorious on a national level, Fear finally landed a record contract with Slash in 1982, and released their debut album, 'The Record', which most critics still agree was their best and funniest outing. Scratch left the band later on in the year, and was replaced first by Eric "Kitabu" Feldman (who appeared on the late-1982 single 'Fuck Christmas'), then the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea; in 1984, Flea was in turn replaced by The Dickies' Lorenzo Buhne. Fear took some time off for side projects in 1983; Stix went to Europe and joined Nina Hagen's band, Cramer formed a band called M'Butu Ngawa, and Ving pursued a successful acting career, playing assorted tough guys in films like "Flashdance" (the strip club owner) and "Streets of Fire", among others. In 1985, Fear released their second album, 'More Beer', but soon drifted apart into other projects; they disbanded in 1987. 

In 1991, most of Fear's prime lineup -Ving, Cramer, and Stix, plus new bassist Will "Sluggo" McGregor- reunited and began playing concerts again. 'Live...For the Record' was released later that year. Cramer and Stix both quit in 1993, ending the reunion; Ving began touring with another group, Lee Ving's Army, which included guitarist Sean Cruse, former Frank Zappa bassist Scott Thunes, and drummer Andrew Jaimez. This group eventually became the new Fear lineup, and entered the studio in 1995 to record the band's first album of new material in a decade, 'Have Another Beer With Fear', which was released by Sector 2. Over the next few years, Thunes was replaced by Mondo Lopez, and Cruse by Richard Presley; in 2000, the revamped Fear returned on the Hall of Records label with 'American Beer', another all-new album. 

After a poor public response and fed up with legal disputes, Ving spent the ensuing years resting on his laurels, while touring the old hits under the Fear name with a rotating lineup. Eventually, in 2012, he delivered the ultimate middle-finger salute to the music industry bigwigs with 'The Fear Record', a completely unnecessary but otherwise inspired re-recording of the band’s iconic 'The Record', released on indie label The End. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 16 de agosto de 2015

Eleventh Dream Day

The career of the noisy guitar unit Eleventh Dream Day -one of the most resilient and criminally underappreciated bands to rise from the Midwestern underground community- was a textbook study in alt-rock endurance; despite a nightmarish major-label tenure, ill-timed roster changes, and commercial indifference, the group persevered, ultimately emerging as elder statesmen of the flourishing Chicago independent scene of the mid-'90s. 

Eleventh Dream Day's origins dated to 1981, when singer/guitarist Rick Rizzo met vocalist/drummer Janet Beveridge Bean at the University of Kentucky. Inspired by punk, Rizzo taught himself to play guitar with the aid of Neil Young's 'Zuma' songbook; Young remained the group's major inspiration throughout its career, his incendiary aesthetic informing much of Rizzo's own raw, rootsy style. The couple soon relocated to Chicago, where they teamed with bassist Douglas McCombs and guitarist Baird Figi; after several years of honing their explosive live set, Eleventh Dream Day finally recorded their eponymous debut EP for the Amoeba label in 1987. 

The full-length 'Prairie School Freakout', recorded in one six-hour span with a buzzing, dilapidated amplifier, followed in 1988, and brought Eleventh Dream Day to the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed the group for 1989's assured 'Beet'. Despite critical acclaim, the record failed to find an audience; 'Lived to Tell' followed in 1991 and suffered the same fate as its predecessor. In the middle of a tour to promote the album, Figi abruptly quit, and was replaced by Bodeco's Matthew "Wink" O'Bannon prior to 1993's superb 'El Moodio'. After three commercial strikes, Atlantic unceremoniously dropped the group. 

Following a hiatus that allowed Rizzo and Bean to concentrate on raising their newborn child, Eleventh Dream Day enlisted co-producers Brad Wood and John McEntire (McCombs' partner in the post-rock supergroup Tortoise) for 1994's 'Ursa Major', released on City Slang. After another break -during which time Rizzo returned to college, Bean focused on her country side project Freakwater, and O'Bannon exited to return to Bodeco- Eleventh Dream Day signed to the Chicago-based indie Thrill Jockey to record 1997's 'Eighth'. 

'Stalled Parade' followed in 2000, but at this point Eleventh Dream Day was a part-time venture at best. Rizzo was teaching and Bean and McCombs both had other musical ventures. They continued to play live in Chicago occasionally, ably assisted by former Coctail Mark Greenberg on keyboards. In 2003, Thrill Jockey reissued the long out of print 'Prairie School Freakout' paired with the 'Wayne EP', and Baird Figi joined the band for a one-off reunion show in November of that year. 'Zeroes and Ones', the band's first new material in six years and the first album recorded with Greenberg, was released in 2006. Five more years would pass before they returned with the 2011 release 'Riot Now!', an album “inspired” by the apathy of American youth. 

In 2013, it was revealed that EDD's major-label tenure had been an even more tragic tale. Following 'Lived to Tell', the "alternative" branch of Atlantic (who had signed the band) moved to another label and communication with the band basically ended with the label in turmoil. As a result, Atlantic missed a deadline that continued the contract. Band management informed the label that they were out of their contract and Atlantic agreed. So the band got together with Brad Wood and recorded their next album on their own dime with the idea of shopping it around for release. The new head of Atlantic heard about this and went to Chicago in an effort to re-sign the band. The band, thinking that Atlantic wouldn't go through all this trouble if they didn't actually care, ended up re-signing with them. It was a near fatal move. The album ended up being re-recorded in New York at the label's insistence and when sales weren't what was expected (remember, this was the third EDD album Atlantic failed to promote properly), the band was unceremoniously dumped and 'El Moodio' was destined for immediate cutout status. Fast forward 20-plus years when a Facebook comment brought back memories of the original album sessions with Brad Wood and the search was on for the "missing" album. The 1991 recording of 'New Moodio' was finally released on vinyl in May of 2013. 

In 2014, the band prepared for recording again with a series of shows at Chicago's The Hideout (as they had done for 'Riot Now!'), adding James Elkington on second guitar to the existing four-piece band. The resulting 'Works for Tomorrow' was released in July 2015. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 15 de agosto de 2015

Danielle Dax

A performer whose enigmatic and experimental work reflected the strong influence of biblical mysticism and Middle Eastern musical textures, Danielle Dax was born in Southend, England. She made her musical debut in 1979 as the keyboardist in the seven-piece Amy Turtle & the Crossroads; the group disbanded after only one performance, but it brought Dax -who took to the stage clad in nothing more than a knit cap and lab coat- to the attention of Karl Blake, who asked her to design the cover for an EP by his Surrey University-based band the Lemon Kittens. Within a week, Dax was a full member of the group; neither she nor Blake actually played music, but they managed to release two highly experimental LPs, 1980's 'We Buy a Hammer for Daddy' and 1982's 'The Big Dentist', while also establishing a reputation for their notorious live sets, in which they frequently performed sans clothes. 

Upon the Lemon Kittens' 1982 split, Blake formed the Shock-Headed Peters, while Dax mounted a solo career. She debuted a year later with 'Pop-Eyes', a true solo effort for which she wrote and performed every song alone, even handling mixing and production duties and distributing the record through her own Awesome label. While her heavy makeup and colossal hair aligned her with the thriving "Batcave" scene, she steadfastly avoided easy pigeonholing, even making the leap into film with appearances in Neil Jordan's adult fable "The Company of Wolves"; she also appeared in "Chimera", a film by Holly Woodlawn, the photographer whose work adorned many of Dax's record covers. After reuniting with Karl Blake, Dax returned in 1984 with the 'Jesus Egg That Wept' EP, which also featured the first appearance of guitarist/keyboardist David Knight, who subsequently became a frequent collaborator. 

After recruiting a live band, Dax emerged as a significant concert draw; a series of singles including 1985's "Yummer Yummer Man," 1986's "Where the Flies Are," 1988's "Cat-House," and 1989's "White Knuckle Ride" -each slightly more commercial than the last- also established her as a force on the independent charts, and after the success of 1987's 'Inky Bloaters' LP, she signed to Sire. After 1988's 'Dark Adapted Eye', a compilation of previous work, she resurfaced in 1990 with 'Blast the Human Flower', an attempt at mainstream success heralded by a misguided cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows." When the record bombed, Dax and Sire went their separate ways, and she spent the next several years in seclusion, returning only in 1995 with a new label, Biter of Thorpe, and a new EP, 'Timber Tongue'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 13 de agosto de 2015


Combining the D.I.Y.-attitude of the early punk years with an affection for progressive rock acts such as Gong and Gentle Giant, the U.K. act the Cardiacs formed in late 1977 by Tim Smith, who quickly enlisted brother Jim Smith to join the fledgling outfit. The alleged fact that Jim couldn't play an instrument mattered little and the band took the moniker Cardiac Arrest. Their first actual release was a single, "A Bus for a Bus on the Bus," in 1979, which they followed with a full-length cassette release the next year, entitled 'The Obvious', under the truncated name the Cardiacs. They sporadically self-released material throughout the '80s, including 'Toy World' in 1981. They landed a high-profile slot opening for Marillion in 1985 which, although they had been selected by Marillion lead singer Fish, proved to be a pairing that did not go down well with the headliner's fan base. In 1988, they released the LP 'A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window', which proved to be their biggest success, spawning the Top Ten indie chart track "Is This a Life." The success was short-lived and the band found itself embroiled in a brief stir when the factions of the media mistook the relationship between Tim Smith and saxophonist Sarah Smith to be as siblings instead of man and wife. Although their audience has never been widespread, self-proclaimed admirers of the Cardiacs include Mike Patton and Damon Albarn, who arranged for them to open shows for Blur during 1995. The Cardiacs have toured regularly since their inception, even if their recorded output has been a bit more erratic. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 12 de agosto de 2015

The Bambi Slam

The Bambi Slam were a Canadian-British quartet with an unusual instrumental lineup of guitar, cello, bass, drums, led by singer/guitarist Roy Feldon and featuring cellist Linda Miller and drummer Nick Maynard. By the time of the release of the first full-length album, 'The Bambi Slam', in 1988, the group had splintered, leaving The Bambi Slam as a Feldon solo project. (The album credit reads, "Written, produced, arranged and performed by Roy," though former group members also contributed). [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

Admittedly inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain, this Canadian-British quartet (guitar/bass/drums/cello!) takes a less claustrophobic and more rhythmic approach to noise-laden echo-pop than the Reids but still winds up sounding a lot like 'Psychocandy' on 'Is', a six-track American compilation of British singles. Although not prominent in the mix, the big fiddle adds a nice touch to songs like "La, La, La (It's Out of Hand)" and "Hit Me with Your Hairbrush." Redundant but amusing. 

Singer/guitarist Roy Feldon is all that remains of The Bambi Slam on the album, although his former bandmates add some cello, backing vocals and one drum track. Running the one-man show, Feldon gets an irritatingly raw sound from a rhythm machine and lots of equally coarse guitar; his singing is no mellifluous prize, either. Where the EP had a certain spirit and excitement, the album is draggy, ineffectual and repetitive, a parade of sounds rather than songs. [SOURCE: TROUSERPRESS]

martes, 11 de agosto de 2015

Action Pact

One of the more abrasive early-'80s British punk-pop groups, thanks in large part to the siren shrieks of lead vocalist George Cheex (actually a female), Action Pact released only two albums before being cast to the winds during the decline of outrageous punk bands during the mid-'80s. The group was originally formed as The Bad Samaritans, which, when re-formed in 1981, included vocalist Cheex, bassist Kim Igoe (a male), guitarist Wild Planet and drummer Joe Fungus. After renaming themselves, the quartet appeared on a split-single released by Fresh Records. Radio One DJ John Peel began playing the tracks, and invited Action Pact to record a session at the BBC studios, after which the group released their debut album, 'Mercury Theatre: On the Air!', on Fall Out Records. The following year's 'Survival of the Fattest' was the band's last, though the American industrial label Cleopatra released a collection in the late '90s. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC] 

lunes, 10 de agosto de 2015

The Young Gods

Swiss electro-noise terrorists The Young Gods traced their origins back to 1982, when Geneva-based frontman Franz Treichler, increasingly bored with his then-current new wave band, began experimenting with a small sampler. Influenced as well by the visceral power of punk and the grand drama of classical music, he began creating abrasive guitar and drum loops, and with sampler Cesare Pizzi and percussionist Frank Bagnoud, founded The Young Gods in 1985; named in an honor of a Swans composition, the trio debuted a year later with "Envoyé!," a brief, blistering single distilling their assaultive sound to its core. Produced by Swan Roli Mosimann, their self-titled debut LP followed in 1987, and was named Album of the Year by the British music weekly Melody Maker; by the time of the follow-up, 1989's 'L'Eau Rouge', drummer Use Heistand had replaced Bagnoud, and with the release of 1991's 'The Young Gods Play Kurt Weill', Pizzi was gone in favor of sampler Alain Monod. 'T.V. Sky' followed in 1992, while 1995's 'Only Heaven' flirted with ambient textures; two years later, The Young Gods (minus Heistand and with new drummer Bernard Trontin) returned with 'Heaven Deconstruction'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

domingo, 9 de agosto de 2015

The Wall

Formed in Sunderland, England, in early 1978, they settled on their first permanent line-up: Andzy, (bass, vocals), Lowery (vocals), Rab Fae Beith (drums) and Nick Ward (guitar, ex-Urban Gorillas). The band released their debut ‘Exchange’ for the Small Wonder label, shortly after which Lowery quit to be replaced by Keely, ex-Ruefrex. This line-up lasted from September 1979 to June 1980, and during this time they took on a fifth member, Heed, who had been with The Straps. The band had just released their 'Ghetto' EP and 'Personal Troubles And Public Issues' for Fresh Records. As 1980 closed Ward and Kelly both left, and the band continued as a three-piece. ‘Ghetto’ was reissued on Polydor Records, along with the single ‘Remembrance’, and The Wall set out on a national tour in support of Stiff Little Fingers. An album followed but by now they were in dispute with their label over career direction. The next release was back on an independent, and featured a frenetic cover version of The Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’. Lowery later joined Ski Patrol and The Folk Devils. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 7 de agosto de 2015

The Verlaines

The literate and dramatic New Zealand guitar pop band The Verlaines formed in 1981; led by singer/guitarist Graeme Downes, the group's original roster also included guitarist Craig Easton, keyboardist Anita Pillai, bassist Philip Higham, and drummer Greg Kerr. Both Easton and Pillai quickly exited, and The Verlaines remained a three-piece for the remainder of the decade. The early lineup remained in a constant state of flux, however, and of the original group, only Downes and Kerr remained by the time of their debut on the 1982 'Dunedin Double' compilation EP, recorded with bassist Jane Dodd. Drummer Alan Haig then replaced Kerr for the 1983 single "Death and the Maiden", for many fans the archetypal Verlaines song; the lineup was finally cemented with the substitution of Haig for drummer Robbie Yeats, who first appeared on the 1984 EP '10 O'Clock in the Afternoon'. 

The Verlaines' full-length debut, 1985's 'Hallelujah All the Way Home', was originally submitted as part of a composition project for Downes' honors-level music class; he received an "A" grade for the record, which bore the heavy influence of his classical background in its exacting compositions, as well as its orchestral and brass flourishes. After the 1986 "Doomsday" single, The Verlaines resurfaced a year later with the excellent 'Bird Dog' LP. A long layoff followed as Downes pursued his PhD, and the group -with new bassist Mike Stoodley- did not appear again until the 1990 album 'Some Disenchanted Evening'. Yeats departed soon after, and was ultimately replaced by drummer Gregg Cairns. After recording 1991's 'Ready to Fly', The Verlaines swelled to a four-piece with the addition of second guitarist Paul Winders; after Cairns quit, new drummer Darren Stedman was enlisted in time for 1993's 'Way Out Where'. After this record Downes soon accepted a teaching position at the Auckland Institute of Technology, and after releasing 'Over the Moon' in 1996 the band went into hiatus. Downes released a solo album, "Hammers and Anvils", in 2001 for Matador but otherwise focused on his academic career for the next few years. In the later part of the decade, Downes reunited with Stedman and Winders, added bassist Russell Fleming, and released a new record every few years under The Verlaines name. 'Pot Boiler' saw the light in 2007 on Flying Nun, 'Corporate Moronic' followed in 2009 for new label Dunedin Music, 2012's 'Untimely Meditations' found them back with Flying Nun again. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2015

The Telescopes

Dream pop cult icons The Telescopes formed in Burton-upon-Trent, England, in 1986. Singer/guitarist Stephen Lawrie, guitarist/singer Jo Doran, lead guitarist David Fitzgerald, bassist Robert Brookes, and drummer Dominic Dillon comprised the original lineup, which in 1988 issued its first single, "Forever Close Your Eyes," a split flexidisc with Loop issued on Cheree in honor of the two groups' joint New Year's Eve performance. The Telescopes' official debut single, "Kick the Wall," followed a year later, its feedback-laden trance rock earning the band critical comparison to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3. "7th # Disaster" appeared in the spring, and in the summer of 1989 the group issued its breakthrough effort, "The Perfect Needle," its debut for the American indie label What Goes On. The Telescopes' debut LP, 'Taste', closed out the year, and in 1990 the Fierce label also issued a live LP, 'Trade Mark of Quality'. 

When What Goes On went bankrupt, The Telescopes relocated to Alan McGee's Creation label, where the white noise assault of their early releases gave way to a more ethereal, textured approach with 1991's "Celeste". In the wake of the gorgeous "Flying," which reached the number 79 spot on the U.K. pop charts, the band released their first Creation LP, 'The Telescopes', a landmark effort. Sculpted from shimmering guitars, sinuous basslines, and soulful rhythms, the record remains a classic of the shoegaze era. Its success, however, proved the band's undoing, and after contributing a reading of "The Good's Gone" to The Who tribute album "Who Covers Who", The Telescopes dissolved in 1994, citing creative differences. 

Lawrie and Doran reunited in 1996 in the likeminded Unisex, releasing "TV Cowboy" -one half of a split single with Good Morning Canada- in mid-1997. An EP, "Deadlock", and a full-length, "Stratosfear", followed on the U.S. indie Double Agent before Lawrie and Doran revived The Telescopes' name for 2002's 'Third Wave' and 2005's '#4', which expanded on the duo's interest in electronic music. Doran was out of the lineup by 2006's 'Hungry Audio Tapes', and was replaced by Bridget Hayden. Two years later, 'Infinite Suns' followed on the Textile label. In 2010, Lawrie invited members of fellow travelers One Unique Signal to function as his backing band for The Telescopes live dates and the concert album 'Live. Aftertaste'. documented the transition. He also issued a series of singles in 2012, and recorded additional tracks for a future album. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

martes, 4 de agosto de 2015

The Screaming Blue Messiahs

This band is very high on the "whatever happened to..." list. At times they played with such ferocity and complete over-the-top abandon that it was easy to proclaim them one of the best English bands in ages. But after three records (all very good) and about five years together (1984-1989), they vanished without a trace -a mystery that's never been solved to satisfaction. Led by bald, bullet-headed guitarist/singer Bill Carter, the Messiahs specialized in loud, rampaging, rockabilly tinged sonic bomblets of songs. Carter wielded his instrument like a cross between Wilko Johnson and Pete Townshend; he was a deft soloist, but it was his tricky, complex rhythm playing that gave the band sheet-after-sheet of supercharged sound for a foundation. As impressive as his guitar playing was his voice: at times comically bawling, other times mumbling and imperceptible; in the course of a verse, Carter could sound righteously indignant, or suddenly frightened and confused. Add to this terse, highly imagistic songs, mostly about American iconography and popular culture (cars, guns, the Flintstones), and it made for extreme, confrontational, and very, very exciting rock & roll. 

There was a significant enough buzz generated from their first EP ('Good and Gone') that Elektra signed them for their debut, and 'Gun-Shy' was a compelling debut. With Carter's ferocity barely contained (and even when it is, you can hear him seethe), 'Gun-Shy' practically exploded from the get-go and was a much-needed tonic to the faux-soul and nth-generation synth pop England was delivering at the time. Supporting the record with a series of great live shows didn't hurt either, and the Messiahs were staring next-big-thing-dom square in the face. The sophomore disc, 'Bikini Red', was even better. Packing a ferocious wallop accentuated by the production of famed English producer Vic Maile (Dr. Feelgood, Motorhead), and the goofy "I Wanna Be a Flintstone" (along with an equally goofy video) made them flavor of the second on MTV. But things seemed to be stalling, and by the time LP number three, 'Totally Religious', was released, it seemed as though the zeitgeist had passed the Messiahs by. Too bad, because they were as raucous and unpredictable as anything that had come since the early days of punk. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

lunes, 3 de agosto de 2015

Red Guitars

This Hull-based guitar pop band featured Jerry Kidd (vocals), Louise Barlow (bass), Hallam Lewis (lead guitar), John Rowley (rhythm guitar), and Matt Higgins (drums). Formed in 1982 by Lewis and Kidd, they released two superb singles, ‘Good Technology’ and ‘Fact’, before achieving a number 1 on the independent charts with ‘Marimba Jive’. The latter was included on 'Slow To Fade' which emerged on Kidd’s own Self Drive Records in November 1984. This was a highly polished and original pop album, with Kidd’s analytical lyrics to the fore: ‘I said that I love you/God knows I tried/You say you still love me/But you’re always saying goodbye’. Fittingly, Kidd himself was to leave barely two months after the album’s release. He issued a press statement to the effect that ‘Technically we improved a lot during the last year but musically, from my point of view, we were standing still. New ideas and songs I had for the group no longer seemed to fit in. I still favour independence within the record industry and shall continue to look for success, both artistic and commercial, with releases on my own Self Drive Record label.’ He was quickly replaced by Robert Holmes, who played his first gig with the band at the University of London Union on 24 May 1985. Lou Howard replaced Barlow on bass as 'Tales Of The Expected' saw the band move to One Way Records, through Virgin Records. Although the lyrical focus of the band had changed, they were still capable of producing highly individual and moving music, notably on singles ‘National Avenue’ and the yearning ‘Be With Me’. Interestingly, both album sleeves featured quotes from poet Sean O’Brien. Hallam and Howard left to form the Planet Wilson in 1987, with drummer Jonah Oxburrow (ex-That Noble Porpoise), and released the albums 'In The Best Of All Possible Worlds' and 'Not Drowning But Waving'. Hallam now runs his own studio in Hull, while Holmes released a solo album in 1989. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC] 

domingo, 2 de agosto de 2015

The Pastels

Although virtually unknown outside of indie rock circles, The Pastels were one of the most inspirational and enduring groups of the genre, in their early days spearheading a movement toward a renewed sense of wistful musical primitivism and willful naivete known variously as "shambling" and "anorak pop." In addition, their influence helped bring international notice to a resurgent Scottish musical community, with frontman Stephen Pastel's legendary 53rd and 3rd label helping to launch the careers of bands including The Jesus & Mary Chain, Shop Assistants, BMX Bandits, The Vaselines, and The Soup Dragons. Formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1982, the band initially comprised vocalist/guitarist Pastel (nee McRobbie), guitarist Brian Superstar (born Brian Taylor), and drummer Chris Gordon; they debuted that autumn on the Whaam label with the single "Songs for Children," but Gordon soon exited, the first of many subsequent lineup shuffles. 

Ambition was never The Pastels' strong suit, and luck was rarely on their side; as the group's members -now including bassist Martin Hayward and drummer Bernice Simpson- devoted their primary focus to their studies, new music appeared only sporadically and to little notice, on a seemingly random series of labels. After 1983's "I Wonder Why" was released on Rough Trade, they moved to Creation, where they hit their stride with the 1984 drone-pop gems "Something's Going On" and "A Million Tears." After one further single, 1985's "I'm Alright with You," The Pastels split with Creation, moving to the tiny Glass label. In 1986, their track "Breaking Lines" appeared on the influential C-86 collection assembled by the New Music Express, transforming the anorak movement into an overnight media sensation quickly accompanied by intense critical backlash. 

Regardless of prevailing musical trends, however, The Pastels soldiered on: after recruiting one-time Shop Assistants keyboardist Aggi Wright, they recorded the 1986 single "Truck Train Tractor," followed by "Crawl Babies" and "Comin' Through". Finally, in 1987 the group found time to assemble an LP, 'Up for a Bit With the Pastels', followed in 1988 by 'Suck on the Pastels', a collection of unreleased Creation-era material. In 1989, former Vaselines frontman Eugene Kelly and ex-Shop Assistant David Keegan joined the fold for 'Sittin' Pretty', the final LP to include Superstar, Hayward, and Simpson. The remaining duo of Pastel and Wright expanded to include Katrina Mitchell for the 1991 collaboration 'Jad Fair and the Pastels', followed by the 1994 EP 'Olympic World of Pastelism'. Their third album, 'Mobile Safari', was released in 1995 by Domino in the U.K. (which began a long-running alliance) and Up Records in the U.S. It featured a lineup including longtime band associates Norman Blake and Gerald Love (both from Teenage Fanclub) and ex-Shop Assistant guitarist David Keegan, and a guest appearance from Luna's Dean Wareham. 

Their next album, 1997's 'Illumination', was issued by the same configuration of record labels and featured a similar lineup, only with the addition of guitarist Jonathan Kilgour and guest shots from Belle & Sebastian's Isobel Campbell and pianist Bill Wells. A remix album, 'Illuminati', was released in 1998 and featured reworks of tracks by Kevin Shields, Stereolab, Cornelius, and other A-list indie rockers. This burst of recognition and activity was derailed when Wright decided to leave the band in 1998, throwing Mitchell and Pastel into a spin. Instead of jumping back into making music right away, the band went on hiatus while figuring things out. The duo next formed Geographic Records in 2000 as an offshoot of Domino, and began releasing records by friends (Future Pilot AKA, International Airport) and obscure acts (Nagisa Ni Te, Maher Shalal Hash Baz). The band reappeared at last in 2003 with the mostly instrumental soundtrack for the film "The Last Great Wilderness". The album was produced by the Sea and Cake's John McEntire and featured International Airport's Tom Crossley along with a vocal feature for Jarvis Cocker. A friendship with Japanese band Tenniscoats led to their next release, 2009's collaborative effort 'Two Sunsets'. The core band was expanded to include Crossley and Mitchell's sister Alison, with Love still there, too. With the record label slowing its pace and releasing one album a year, the band turned toward recording an album of their own, and in 2013 their fifth record, 'Slow Summits', was released. McEntire was again in the producer's chair and guitarist John Hogarty had joined the ranks. Also on board as guests were To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider and Robert Lippok, as well as Norman Blake (again), and original bandmember Annabel Wright. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 1 de agosto de 2015

The Nightingales

After a series of low-key UK school bands, Robert Lloyd (b. 1959, Cannock, Staffordshire, England) formed The Prefects -one of the earliest punk bands- who toured with The Clash. They split up in 1979 and Lloyd assembled The Nightingales using the best of the musicians who had passed through the ranks of The Prefects. The first of many subsequent line-ups comprised Lloyd, Alan and Paul Apperley, Joe Crow and Eamonn Duffy. They were ably championed by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel, for whom Lloyd recorded more sessions under various guises than any other artist. The Nightingales’ debut single, ‘Idiot Strength’, was released in 1981 on the band’s own Vindaloo label in association with Rough Trade Records. Joe Crow then departed and his replacements, Nick Beales and Andy Lloyd, brought a totally different sound to the band. Cherry Red Records picked them up and the band’s career began in earnest. Lloyd soon established himself as one of the more interesting lyricists on the independent chart. Most of his tirades were draped in humour: ‘I’m too tired to do anything today, but tomorrow I’ll start my diet, and answer some of my fan mail (‘Elvis: The Last Ten Days’). The lack of success of subsequent releases led Lloyd and friends to the new Red Flame label started by Dave Kitson, the promoter of the Moonlight Club in London’s Hampstead. Still unhappy with the way record companies were handling his band’s career, Lloyd decided to reactivate the Vindaloo label. Ironically, this led to the demise of The Nightingales as Lloyd needed to spend more time as songwriter, producer and label boss for his relatively successful roster of artists such as We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It and comedian Ted Chippington. When Fuzzbox toured America, taking The Nightingales’ keyboard player with them, Lloyd dissolved the band and concentrated on a solo career. 

The Nightingales’ original legacy was wrapped up in 1991 with a compilation album for Mau Mau Records with sleeve notes written by a still devoted John Peel. The band re-formed at the start of 2004 with Lloyd and Duffy joined by Alan Apperley, Peter Byrchmore (guitar) and Fuzz Townshend (drums). They recorded and released four 7-inch singles on their Big Print label later in the year, and released a new studio album in 2006. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC