martes, 29 de septiembre de 2015

The Wayward Souls

Often considered to be a Scandinavian version of The Go-Betweens, the intelligent, literate indie pop of Sweden’s The Wayward Souls always deserved a better fate than that summarized by their final album in 1987 ('Nobody Loves The Wayward Souls'). Between their formation in 1983 and their dissolution Hakan Fagerstedt (drums, vocals), Per Ahlen (vocals), Jonas Asp (bass, guitar, vocals) and Henrik Rosencrantz (guitar) won over critics from Europe to the USA. Their inability to convert critical acclaim into record sales always marred their career, however. Strenuous efforts were made with 'Junk Food Kings On Diet' to expand their cult audience, but the effort failed. However, the group re-formed again in 1994 to appease a loyal fanbase that had retained its affection for the band from its 80s peak. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2015

The Very Things

The Very Things were one of various outfits launched under the umbrella organization of the Dada Cravats Laboratory (DcL), based in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. This group operated a number of musical projects under Dada principles: ‘Using that banner was a lot simpler than delivering lengthy manifestos’. The key personnel involved were The Shend (b. Chris Harz; vocals) and Robin R. Dallaway (aka Robin Raymond; guitar), plus Gordon ‘DisneyTime’ (drums), and Fudger O’Mad aka Budge (ex-And Also The Trees; bass). Other groups operating out of the same stable included The Cravats, Babymen, and DcL Locomotive. Their first single, ‘The Gong Man’, explored responsibility and the work ethic. Although they were coming from a less strident political standpoint, they found allies in anarcho-punk band Crass, with this being the second of two singles coming out on their label (the previous one under The Cravats logo being ‘Rub Me Out’). On the back of this, and a very successful radio session for BBC disc jockey John Peel, they were signed to Reflex Records for the release of 'The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes'. An early appearance on television music programme The Tube helped bolster their fortunes, while the follow-up single, ‘Mummy You’re A Wreck’, was an equally entertaining offbeat production. After a series of personnel changes, they folded in 1988, leaving behind the Motown-influenced 'Motortown' (produced by Ray Shulman, ex-Gentle Giant, and Derek Birkett, ex-Flux Of Pink Indians). The Shend turned to acting, appearing in television series such as The Bill and EastEnders, playing, somewhat predictably, intimidating characters. The two ‘Robs’ departed to form their own band under the title Hit The Roof. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC] 

domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2015

Test Dept.

More expressly political than their German counterparts Einstürzende Neubauten, Test Department followed the same tack: a creative use of the ethos in which diverse objects (including large amounts of scrap metal and power tools) can be used as instruments. Formed in London's New Cross in 1982 by Alistair Adams, Graham Cunningham, Tony Cudlip, Gus Ferguson and Paul Jamrozy, the quintet became renowned for the staging of huge multimedia events at obscure venues -a railway works in Glasgow, a sand quarry, Cannon Street Station in London, a Welsh car factory- and their political agenda, which has included action against apartheid, the rise of neo-Nazism and Britain's Criminal Justice Act. The quintet signed to Some Bizarre Records for 1984's 'Beating the Retreat', and outlined their socialist agenda set to music on the following year's 'Shoulder to Shoulder', recorded with "the South Wales Striking Miners' Choir." After forming their own Ministry of Power label to organize multimedia events, Test Department released two records -'The Unacceptable Face of Freedom' and 'A Good Night Out'- in a MOP/Some Bizarre conjunction, but struck out on their own with 1988's 'Terra Firma'. Test Dept.'s sixth album, 'The Gododdin', was followed by their most scathing criticism of British politics, 'Pax Britannica', in conjunction with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Choir. After releasing albums for Jungle Records and Dossier, the group gained a contract with the American industrial label Cleopatra in 1994 and released the fruit of their early-'90s work on 'Legacy (1990-1993)'. Signed to Cleopatra's subsidiary Invisible, Test Dept. released the new albums 'Totality' (1995) and 'Tactics for Revolution' (1998), as well as reissuing several previous works. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 26 de septiembre de 2015

Scritti Politti

Scritti Politti is the primary vehicle for Welsh singer/songwriter Green Gartside. Few figures in pop music can claim Gartside's distinctive credentials: an artist who began in London's subcutaneous underground in the late '70s but ultimately rose to the top of the U.K. pop charts, a serious devotee of linguistic structuralism who can hold his own in a conversation with his friend, arch deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, and a handsome, dreamy-eyed gentleman who has, in the opinion of one critic, "a voice that's eternally 14 years old" yet nonetheless stands six foot six in his stocking feet. 

Gartside grew up in South Wales, a brainy underachiever and, in his teen years, a member of the Young Communist League. Through the League he met future Scritti Politti bassist Nial Jinks. Gartside earned a scholarship to Leeds Art College, where he made the acquaintance of Scritti's future drummer, Tom Morley. In June 1978 Gartside and Morley dropped out of school and took up a flat in London, and Gartside invited Jinks to come out and join them. Inspired by the example of another little-known English group of that time, Desperate Bicycles, Scritti Politti made their first record when they were barely three months old, hand printing the covers and rubber-stamping the labels themselves. This record, 'Skank Bloc Bologna', sold a surprising 2,500 copies in this handmade edition. Afterward, Rough Trade took it over, ultimately moving about 15,000 copies of the title. Although listed as a member of the group on records and in photographs, Matthew Kay was the band's business manager and had little to contribute to Scritti Politti's music. 

At this stage, Scritti Politti's sound was scrappy, taut, and forthrightly experimental in style, utilizing abrupt changes, rhythmic displacements, and gritty and discordant harmonies tempered by Gartside's sweet vocalizing of impenetrably obscure lyrics, vaguely political in sense but temporal and abstract in meaning. Yet there was something catchy about what they were doing that stuck with the listener, and Rough Trade in particular was very excited about it. In quick succession, Rough Trade released the 12" EP '4 A-Sides' (also known as 'Pre-Langue EP') and a four-track single of Scritti Politti's second Peel Session. The band was then added to a U.K. tour featuring Gang of Four and Joy Division, but Gartside was consumed by stage fright and anxiety, leading to his first heart attack at age 23. After completing the tour, Gartside decided to take a year off from music and returned to South Wales to refresh himself. 

When Gartside returned, it was a with a new Scritti Politti sound, now centered in pop but still retaining the obscure lyrical elements. A demo track, "The Sweetest Girl," was issued on a giveaway cassette in conjunction with an issue of NME, and it soon proved extremely popular in England. While the finished single of "The Sweetest Girl" did not appear for several months, sapping some of the momentum gained by the pre-release, the follow-up album, 'Songs to Remember', was issued to considerable critical acclaim in September 1981. The album made it to number one on the U.K. independent album chart and number six on the main U.K. pop chart. By this time, however, the band had fallen apart, and the last original member, drummer Tom Morley, departed that November. Gartside once again took time out to review his position, and in the meantime a bidding war began among major labels for his talents. 

Gartside had spent some time in New York on holiday during the making of 'Songs to Remember' and had met another aspiring Rough Trade songwriter, David Gamson, who in turn introduced him to the drummer from Material, Fred Maher. They began to record as Scritti Politti in 1983 in sessions produced by Nile Rodgers, but Gartside decided, rightly, that Rough Trade didn't have the kind of budget that could support the type of pop music that he was then interested in pursuing. With Gartside and Rough Trade parting ways, the Rodgers-produced sessions never saw the light of day. After negotiating with various labels, including Atlantic Records, Gartside finally settled on an offer made by Virgin. Then he, Gamson, and Maher began slowly recording the group of singles that ultimately made up 'Cupid & Psyche 85'. 

'Cupid & Psyche 85', released in June of 1985, was a landmark album in many respects. No prior pop album had integrated the techniques of sampling and sequencing to such a great degree, and the technology of that time was both expensive to use and barely up to the task Scritti Politti demanded of it. Gartside's typically high-flown verbiage was as evident here as anywhere, but you didn't need to understand what he sang in order to enjoy the music. Certain songs are dialogues between Gartside and a female singer; as such, "A Little Knowledge" is a rare pop song that retains the characteristics of a mini-tragedy. Likewise, the bonus track of "Flesh and Blood," featuring Jamaican rapper Ann Swinton, sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary 20 years on. But the big hits from 'Cupid & Psyche 85' were "Wood Beez" and "The Word Girl" in the U.K., and "The Perfect Way" in the U.S., which reached number 11 in the Billboard Hot 100 and got heavy rotation on MTV. Not many albums from smack in the middle of the "Big '80s" can be said to possess the quality of timelessness, but 'Cupid & Psyche 85' most certainly does. 

The innovative aspects of 'Cupid & Psyche 85' were not lost on other musicians, who absorbed the technological lessons therein so quickly that few, if any, critics stopped to take note of where these ideas originally came from. After touring and promoting 'Cupid & Psyche 85', Gartside took some time off to work with other artists, notably Chaka Khan. Scritti Politti returned in 1988 with a new album, 'Provision', of which the intended hit, "Boom! There She Was," featured the talents of the late Roger Troutman. 'Provision' found favor in the U.K., but had no effect whatsoever in the U.S., and worse, Gartside was personally unhappy with the album. By this time Gartside's stage fright had caused him to abandon live performance altogether, and the only promotional outlet for him was to do a grueling round of local talk shows answering dumb questions from interviewers who hadn't the slightest clue about Gartside or his work. Disgusted with music as a whole, Gartside dropped from sight again, and this time he did so for nearly a decade. 

Released in 1999, 'Anomie & Bonhomie' marked Gartside and Scritti Politti's return to music, and it shows that he had by no means lost touch with current trends, working with rappers Mos Def and Jimahl and extending the Scritti Politti compass to include a full-blown hip-hop sound. It was a fine comeback effort, but received only a lukewarm response from the public. 'White Bread Black Beer', recorded entirely by Gartside, followed seven years later and had the benefit of closely tailing a wave of newfound interest in his career. (Rough Trade had released the 'Early' compilation in 2005.) One can only hope that Gartside can keep at it, as while bands may come and bands may go, there is only one Green Gartside, a popular artist of rare integrity, poetry, and intelligence. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

jueves, 24 de septiembre de 2015

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

One of England's more subtly original goth rock groups, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry were initially branded as worshipful Joy Division acolytes, but came up with enough distinct variations to break free of their main influence. Their foundation always remained icy, droning post-punk, replete with sludgy, murky guitars and mumbled Ian Curtis-style vocals. However, as the Lorries evolved, they gradually sprinkled in elements of industrial dance, early rave music, and spaghetti Western soundtracks, as well as liberal doses of inventive, acid-tinged guitar work. Taking their name from a British tongue twister, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry were formed in Leeds in late 1981 by guitarist/songwriter Chris Reed and vocalist Mark Sweeney. Reed and Sweeney had previously performed in the local bands Radio Id and Knife Edge, respectively, and added a rhythm section of bassist Steve Smith and drummer Mick Brown. Sweeney left within a year, however, and Reed took over lead vocal duties, with Martin Fagan coming onboard as a second guitarist. 

Later in 1982, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry signed with the independent Red Rhino label and issued their debut single, "Beating My Head." Although it was a hit on the British indie charts, Fagan subsequently left the band and was replaced by Dave "Wolfie" Wolfenden, who became Reed's frequent songwriting partner; bassist Smith also departed in favor of Paul Southern. The band's second single, "Take It All," appeared in 1983, as did the third, "He's Read"; both helped solidify the Lorries' popularity on the indie listings. After another single, 1984's "Monkeys on Juice," the band finally got around to recording its debut album; 'Talk About the Weather' was released in early 1985, and was a hit on the indie charts thanks to the single "Hollow Eyes." It was followed by two non-LP singles, "Chance" and "Spinning Round." 

In 1986, Reed and Wolfenden regrouped with a new rhythm section of bassist Leon Phillips and drummer Chris Oldroyd. They were in place for the Lorries' second LP, 'Paint Your Wagon', which drew on imagery of the old American West and featured another indie hit in "Walking on Your Hands." Following one more non-LP single that year, "Cut Down," the band temporarily adopted its longtime nickname of The Lorries, and issued one single, 1987's "Crawling Mantra," under that moniker before reverting back to the original form. Later in 1987, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry signed a major-label deal with Situation Two, a subsidiary of RCA affiliate Beggars Banquet. They debuted in 1988 with the LP 'Nothing Wrong', which spun off the single "Only Dreaming (Wide Awake)." 

On their second major-label album, 1989's 'Blow', the Lorries flirted with the sound and visual style of England's emerging rave culture, resulting in their clearest, most spacious production to date. There was more turnover in the rhythm section; drummer Oldroyd was replaced by Mark Chillington prior to the recording of the album, and bassist Phillips departed before the supporting tour, with his spot permanently filled by Gary Weight. Chillington, in turn, left during the tour, and George Schulz came onboard in his stead. The Lorries subsequently parted ways with Beggars Banquet and released their fifth LP, 'Blasting Off' -with several songwriting contributions from Weight- in 1991, on the small Sparkhead label. The album didn't appear in the U.S. for another three years, until Relapse finally picked it up. By that time, faced with diminishing returns, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry had disbanded. Several CD retrospectives of the group's work have since been released, including the career-spanning 2014 box set 'See the Fire'. Reed revived the Red Lorry Yellow Lorry name in 2004 with four new tracks made available on the band's website, but a promised album never appeared. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2015

The Perfect Disaster

Having tested the water as Orange Disaster, then The Architects Of Disaster, these calamitously inclined types finally settled on The Perfect Disaster in 1984, as the original rhythm section departed to form Fields Of The Nephilim. The initial UK-based line-up comprised Phil Parfitt (guitar/vocals), Allison Pates (guitar), John Saltwell (bass) and Malcolm Catto (drums), although personnel changes were to plague the band’s career. Ignored by the British music scene, The Perfect Disaster took their twisted, broody guitar sound to France for their self-titled debut album in 1985. There followed a couple of years of blank struggle on both sides of the English Channel before the band signed to Fire Records at home and released the critically acclaimed 'Asylum Road'. Prior to this, Saltwell and Pates both left, disillusioned, to be replaced by bass player Josephine Wiggs and guitarist Dan Cross. 

In 1989 better prospects lurked over the horizon: the 'Up' album, which stretched splendidly from fiery two-chord blasts to near-suicidal ramblings, coincided with prestigious live shows with the likes of The Jesus And Mary Chain. The band’s initial inspiration, based upon singer Parfitt’s spell working at a Victorian mental institution, looked set to reap rewards. The public, alas, did not share the critics’ enthusiasm for the band. The 1990 release 'Heaven Scent', for which Jon Mattock was borrowed from Spacemen 3 to play drums, continued The Perfect Disaster’s foray into the darker side of alternative music. Rumours of the band’s demise, which persisted throughout 1991, were finally confirmed. Wiggs had left during the recording of 'Heaven Scent' to spend more time on the Breeders, a project that also involved Tanya Donelly from Throwing Muses and Kim Deal of Pixies, allowing John Saltwell to return on bass. Parfitt went on to write alongside Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) and work with the short-lived Psychotropic Vibration, before forming Oedipussy. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

martes, 22 de septiembre de 2015


An often bizarre punk band from Victoria, British Columbia, Nomeansno formed around brothers Rob (bass, guitar, vocals) and John Wright (vocals, drums, keyboards). Andy Kerr joined up in the early '80s on guitar and vocals, and upon his departure in the early '90s, the band recruited guitarist Tom Holliston as his replacement. The group's punk hybrid also encompasses touches of jazz, funk, and metal, with special emphasis laid on jarring, hard-to-follow rhythms. Their lyrics are often self-consciously weird, but Nomeansno are frequently original and challenging. With countless releases over the years (tenth full-length 'All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt' appeared in 2006), the band has issued music through labels like Alternative Tentacles, AntAcidAudio, Southern, and their own, Wrong Records. The Wright brothers also spent time playing with their side band The Hanson Brothers, basically a ridiculous Ramones tribute band they did with some buddies. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2015


The British band McCarthy is probably remembered more for their left-wing politics than their jangly sound. Formed in Barking, Essex, England, in 1985, McCarthy consisted of Malcolm Eden (vocals, guitar), Tim Gane (guitar), John Williamson (bass), and Gary Baker (drums). Gane was originally a drummer, but Eden taught him how to play a number of chords on a guitar. Both musicians were influenced by British punk groups such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Buzzcocks, and they covered their songs in small gigs. By the time Eden completed his studies at a university, his Marxist beliefs had grown deeper, reflected in his lyrics for McCarthy. In 1987, McCarthy released their debut LP 'I Am a Wallet'. The album was virtually ignored by U.K. radio programmers, except for legendary British DJ John Peel. Because of Eden's political views, the band was often lumped in with less pop-oriented acts like Billy Bragg and The Redskins, comparisons that upset the group. The band's second album, 'The Enraged Will Inherit the Earth', appeared in 1989. However, after the group recorded their third full-length, 1990's 'Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today', Eden felt there was no need to continue; he believed that McCarthy's creativity peaked with that LP. Moreover, he was burned out from touring. Consequently, the group split up and Gane formed Stereolab with his girlfriend Laetitia Sadier, who also sang on McCarthy's last album. Eden released material with Herzfeld. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 20 de septiembre de 2015

Lemon Kittens

With no "proper" musical skills upon their formation in Surrey, England, the Lemon Kittens epitomized the "anything goes" spirit of late-'70s post-punk in the U.K. Karl Blake, who cut his teeth in numerous outfits prior to the Lemon Kittens, started the band with Gary Thatcher and a revolving cast of others (which at one point included future Alternative TV leader Mark Perry), but at the time of the release of their first EP in 1979, the seven-song 'Spoonfed + Writhing' 7", the group's lineup featured Blake, Thatcher, N. Mercer, Mylmus, and Danielle Dax. The group was whittled down to a duo of Blake and Dax by February of 1980; the other three members had fled, making for the group's 16th different lineup change since initialization in April 1978. Blake and Dax then decided to operate primarily as a duo, with help coming from whoever whenever they needed the assistance to perform. Later in 1980, Blake and Dax released 'We Buy a Hammer for Daddy' on the United Dairies label (their labelmates included fellow oddballs and noise-mongers Whitehouse and Nurse With Wound), an album that featured the duo swapping a wide variety of instruments. 'The Cake Beast' EP came out in February of 1981; Dax left after its release to begin a successful solo career, which Blake took part in sporadically throughout the '90s. In late 1982, the Illuminated LP 'Those That Bite the Hand That Feeds Them Must Sooner or Later Meet...the Big Dentist' (best referred to as 'The Big Dentist') became the group's second full-length. Blake rounded up a new group of cronies, laid the Lemon Kittens to rest, and began the Shock Headed Peters. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2015

Kleenex / LiLiPUT

During the punk rock era of the late '70s, there were three bands comprised of women who made some of the best, most adventurous, exhilarating, and most critically derided music of the time. Two were the English bands The Slits and The Raincoats, and the third band, from Switzerland, was Liliput. Fans of all three bands will argue ad infinitum as to who was the better. But one thing is for certain: Liliput was an amazing band that recorded amazing music, and comparing what they accomplished to that of another band is a useless intellectual exercise. Besides, it detracts from valuable listening time. 

Formed in Zurich in 1978 by guitarist Marlene Marder and bassist/vocalist Klaudia Schiff, they began with the name Kleenex until the threat of a lawsuit by corporate giant Kimberly-Clark (who had copyrighted the name Kleenex) forced them to become Liliput in 1980. Recording for the great English indie label Rough Trade, the then-Kleenex produced jumpy, aggressive, clamorous punk-noise that featured Marder's scratchy, semi-melodic guitar and Schiff's yelping vocals. Not punk rock in the fast, loud, economical sense, Liliput were forging a different kind of punk, one that was gleefully anarchic, avant-garde, unrestrained, and suffused with a giddy, almost palpable sense of joy. Listening to this music, one gets the sense that there was a near-rapturous enjoyment that went into these recordings. Their tenure at Rough Trade was short, as was their interest in exploring career options beyond Europe. 

By 1982, when they released their first LP, they seemed perfectly happy remaining in Switzerland, running the band as part of numerous other artistic projects (painting, writing, etc.) they pursued. By the end of 1983, Liliput had disbanded, and the music they had recorded quickly achieved legendary, but mostly unheard, status. As for the band, they seemed destined to be relegated to the status of feminist-inspired punk rock footnote. All of this changed in 1993, when the Swiss label Off Course released a double-disc, 46-track compilation of the entire recorded output of Kleenex/Liliput. The result was one of the great reissues of the decade. Unfortunately, it went out of print shortly after its release, but Kill Rock Stars released it again in early 2001, making it more accessible than before. The exuberance and excitement of Liliput's breathtaking music can be enjoyed once again, and a band that was almost forgotten returns with some of the most artful, contemporary, truly alternative music to be recorded under the genre identifier of punk rock. Also, fans of riot grrrl rock take note: this was a tremendously influential band. Although they eschewed extreme confrontation, there is a compelling sense of self that imbues this music and lit the way for a new generation of female musicians. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2015

Daniel Johnston

As with other talented but troubled artists such as Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson, and Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston fights a daily battle with the chronic mental illness that has plagued him nearly his entire life. However, despite recurrent bouts of delusional behavior wherein he has physically endangered himself and others, Johnston has carved out a respectable, influential career as a singer/songwriter of extraordinary talent who has grown since his first crudely recorded cassette was released in 1980. He became the singer/songwriter of choice of the alternative/underground rock scene, and at various times has had his work championed by members of Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Butthole Surfers, Half Japanese, Nirvana (Kurt Cobain was often photographed wearing a Daniel Johnston T-shirt), and numerous others. 

Until the '90s, Johnston's recordings were basically homemade affairs, his plain voice accompanied by crude piano and guitar playing. His narrative concerns focused mainly on lost love, the pain of miscommunication, his love for The Beatles, and comic-book superhero Captain America. Johnston's music is unflinchingly direct, almost embarrassingly and painfully honest. Because of this and his increasingly erratic behavior, he was considered a local hero in his home of Austin, TX (where he moved from rural West Virginia), but too extreme to engender the interest of a record label. That situation changed in 1985, when MTV filmed a program on the Austin music scene. Johnston's performance brought him almost overnight acclaim, and he went from local legend to national cult figure. Soon, many of his self-released cassette recordings (on his appropriately named Stress label) began showing up in hip record stores from Boston to L.A., and the buzz was that Daniel Johnston was the coolest. There was, however, a grim side to this "success," as if his mental illness was the primary component of his hipness; therefore, there was a feeling that those not close to him were marketing his illness as much as his talent. Sadly, Johnston's behavior wasn't helping, and he was institutionalized twice in the late '80s after his refusal to take medication led to two dangerous episodes. 

In the late '80s, indie label Homestead issued some of Johnston's early recordings on vinyl and a full-blown appreciation of Johnston's work was well underway. Soon he was recording solo and with Half Japanese mastermind Jad Fair on the Shimmy Disc indie label, and later with Butthole Surfer Paul Leary, who may well be the best producer/musical accompanist Johnston ever had. Johnston, to the amazement of virtually everyone, recorded for Atlantic, and despite occasional behavioral lapses, seemed more self-assured than ever. As a result, in the late '90s and 2000s, he recorded some of the best music of his career -smart, ebullient pop with ringing guitars, primitive keyboards, and a wonderfully naïve way of looking at the world. Although he sometimes becomes sad and bitter, cynicism and self-pity aren't his style, and that makes the little tragedies and epiphanies he writes about all the more compelling. Johnston was exposed to an even larger audience in 2005 with the release of "The Devil and Daniel Johnston", a feature-length documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, eventually making its way around the world. 'The Electric Ghosts', an album credited to the duo of Johnston and Don "Jack Medicine" Goede, arrived in March 2006, followed by 'Is and Always Was' in 2009. In 2010, Johnston worked with BEAM, an 11-piece orchestra from the Netherlands, touring with them and eventually recording some tracks with them for his album 'Beam Me Up!', which featured a mix of new solo work as well as some re-recorded classics. Johnston's world may seem small, but it's much bigger and friendlier than that of your wildest imagination. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2015


Scottish pop combo Hipsway was formed in 1984 by ex-Altered Images bassist Jon McElhone; also featuring vocalist Graham Skinner, guitarist Pim Jones and drummer Harry Travers, the group signed to Mercury and in mid-1985 issued their debut single "Broken Years." The follow-up, "Ask the Lord," appeared a few months later, but despite a strong promotional push Hipsway failed to garner much attention until scoring a hit early the following year with "Honey Thief." Their self-titled debut album also launched a fourth single, "Long White Car," but the band's chart success proved fleeting -the second Hipsway album, 1989's 'Scratch the Surface', sold poorly and they disbanded soon after its release. Skinner and Jones later reunited as members of Witness. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 14 de septiembre de 2015

Girls At Our Best

Formed in Leeds, England in 1979, the pop-punk unit Girls at Our Best! comprised vocalist Judy Evans, guitarist James Alan and bassist Gerald Swift. Originally dubbed The Butterflies, they kicked around the British punk scene, and were on the verge of disabanding when they responded to an advertisement posted by a Cambridge area recording studio offering half-off session rates. With the aid of drummer Chris Oldroyd, the group recorded two tracks, "Warm Girls" and "Getting Nowhere Fast." In the spring of 1980, the demo was released as a single on Rough Trade under the name Girls at Our Best!, an appellation taken from a lyric in "Warm Girls." With session drummer Paul Simon, the band soon re-entered the studio to cut their second single, "Politics," which like its predecessor topped the U.K. indie charts. After the permanent addition of former Expelaires drummer Carl Harper, Girls at Our Best! issued a third single, "Go for Gold," followed in 1981 by the release of their long-awaited debut LP 'Pleasure'. Though no formal announcement of their break-up ever appeared, the record was the group's last. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 13 de septiembre de 2015


Felt was the project of Britain's enigmatic Lawrence Hayward, a singer/songwriter who transformed his long-standing obsession with the music of Tom Verlaine and Television into an impressive catalog of minimalist pop gems and, ultimately, cult stardom. The first Felt single, "Index," was produced by Hayward alone in his bedroom on a portable cassette player; released in 1979, its primitive, impressionistic sound stood in stark contrast to the sleek solemnity of the new wave (as did Hayward's much-discussed "new puritan" stance, a rejection of alcohol, smoking and drugs), and as a result the record became the subject of lavish critical praise, leading to a contract with the Cherry Red label. 

Hayward then set about assembling a band, although Felt was clearly his project and his alone; in fact, his control was so absolute that according to legend, original drummer Tony Race was fired primarily because he had curly hair. After a series of roster shuffles, a steady group including guitarist Maurice Deebank and drummer Gary Ainge began to take shape in time to record 1981's 'Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty' EP. The addition of the classically-trained Deebank allowed Hayward to realize a level of guitar interplay similar to the twin attack of Television's Verlaine and Richard Lloyd; Hayward's understated vocals brought comparison to another downtown New York icon, however -Lou Reed

After one more EP, 1984's 'The Splendour of Fear', Felt issued its long-awaited full-length LP 'The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories', in 1984. The group's ranks swelled to include keyboardist Martin Duffy prior to recording 1985's 'Ignite the Seven Cannons' with producer Robin Guthrie, whose fellow Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser guested on the single "Primitive Painters," a major British indie chart hit. Despite their success, internal friction plagued the group -Hayward and Ainge were once forced to mount an infamously disastrous two-man improvisational festival performance after Deebank and Duffy abruptly walked out- and finally Deebank left for good prior to the release of 1986's 'Ballad of the Band' EP, Felt's first effort for the Creation label. 

In the wake of the guitarist's exit, the group's next album, 1986's 'Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads', became a brief instrumental outing, but its follow-up, 'Forever Breathes the Lonely Word', was acclaimed as Felt's masterpiece. Mayo Thompson produced 1987's 'Poem of the River' EP, while Guthrie returned to man the spartan mini-album 'The Final Resting of the Ark'. Two dramatically different LPs, 'The Pictorial Jackson Review' and 'Train Above the City' -the latter of which did not even include Hayward- followed in 1988, and upon issuing 1989's 'Me and a Monkey on the Moon', Felt announced its break-up. Hayward soon resurfaced in the 1970s revivalist project Denim. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

sábado, 12 de septiembre de 2015

The Embarrassment

Referred to by fans as "the best band you never heard of," The Embarrassment also holds the distinction of being Wichita, KS' most influential band. The group's eclectic yet distinctive sound wrapped a post-punk approach and a deadpan sense of humor around pop, country, disco, and metal elements, crafting songs that rivaled the work of better-known contemporaries like Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, and The Feelies. Though they toured and recorded consistently from their formation in 1979 till their breakup in 1983, The Embarrassment won only a small -but intensely devoted- following while they were an active outfit. However, the group's cult grew over the years, culminating in a reunion in the late '80s and the release of two anthologies in the '90s. 

Vocalist/guitarist Bill Goffrier, vocalist/organist John Nichols, and drummer Brent "Woody" Geissman were childhood friends who played together in several groups during their school years. When Geissman met bassist Ron Klaus at college, the quartet became The Embarrassment, a reference to Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Bluebeard" in which a character notes that "embarrassment" is the one word that sums up the human existence. Late in 1979, the group debuted with the 'Patio Set/Sex Drive' single, which introduced The Embarrassment's angular, multi-guitar attack and paved the way for appearances on compilations from Bomp and the Kansas-based label Fresh Sounds. 

The group experienced their first breakout success with their self-titled 1981 EP, which brought them widespread attention from college radio and fanzines. The Embarrasment's combustive live shows also added to their prominence and earned them gigs with Iggy Pop, John Cale, and William S. Burroughs. The group's 'Lifespan' and 'Sound of Wasps' singles were among the first Sub Pop releases, back when label founder Bruce Pavitt released fanzines and cassettes under that name. 1983's dark, ambitious 'Death Travels West' EP was The Embarrassment's longest and most fully realized work yet, but by the time favorable reviews from cultural arbiters like the Village Voice appeared, the group had already disbanded, wishing to explore other interests. Geissman became the drummer for The Del Fuegos and Goffrier formed Big Dipper, while Klaus and Nichols pursued non-musical goals. In 1984, 'The Embarrassment Retrospective Tape', which collected their unreleased studio material, live tracks, and some covers, was released; three years later, some of those studio tracks were combined with their 1981 EP into a full-length Embarassment album. 

Though The Embarrassment was no longer the quartet's main project, it never disappeared completely: the members often reunited for New Year's Eve performances in Kansas and continued to write songs together. In 1988 they reunited as a side project, releasing the 'Train of Thought/After the Disco' single in 1989 and 'God Help Us', their first proper full-length album, in 1990 on Bar None. Five years later, 'Hey Day: 1979 - 1983' gathered all of their early singles, EPs, and compilation tracks along with some covers, live material, and other rarities. During the '90s, Goffrier settled in Boston, painting and appearing with the Boston Rock Opera; Geissman worked in L.A. as a session musician after The Del Fuegos disbanded, then also moved to Boston, performing as the drummer for The Laurie Geltman Band. Nichols moved to Orlando and worked as a manager for America West Airlines, while Klaus settled in Arizona. In 2001, My Pal God released 'Blister Pop', which collected previously unissued demos, live tracks, and covers, reaffirmed The Embarrassment's place as one of the main influences on American indie rock's look, sound, and D.I.Y. aesthetic. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2015

Dead Famous People

Comprised of members Donna Savage (vocals), Biddy Leyland (keyboards), Wendy Kjestrup (guitar), Jenny Renals (bass), and Frances Gant (drums), '80s alt-rockers Dead Famous People hailed from New Zealand. The group built a following in their homeland with independent releases and eventually decided to relocate to the U.K., resulting in the release of their best-known release, the mini album 'Arriving Late in Torn and Filthy Jeans' in 1989. Despite fast-turning heads in London due to their live shows, the group split up in 1990, with Leyland and Savage embarking on solo careers (Savage also guested on Saint Etienne's version of The Field Mice song "Let's Kiss and Make Up"). A final Dead Famous People release came a few years later in the form of 'All Hail the Daffodil', a collection of tunes that the quintet was working on just prior to their split. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2015

The Cassandra Complex

The darkwave unit The Cassandra Complex formed in 1980 with Paul Dillion and Rodney Orpheus, a musically inspired duo in search of playing to big music events, specifically tagged "complex events." Andrew Booth, who was formerly a journalist who interviewed The Cassandra Complex, was asked to join the group and The Cassandra Complex was officially a trio rearing the industrial-dance sounds laid underground during the early '80s. 

Throughout the '80s, the band was signed to the independent label, Rouska Records. Releasing a set of 12" singles, The Cassandra Complex became a familiar favorite among the goth rock crowd, but changes were quickly occurring within the makeup of the band. Dillion left the group toward the end of the decade, being replaced by Jez Willis, Keith Langley, and John Marchini. Volker Zacharias of Girls Under Glass also joined in 1990. 

As the mid-'90s approached, The Cassandra Complex already had a slew of releases to their name: 'Theomania' (1988), 'Satan, Bugs Bunny and Me' (1989), 'Cyberpunx' (1990), 'The War Against Sleep' (1991), and 'Sex & Death' (1994). In 1995, Orpheus hooked up with Patricia Nigiani and Marcus Giltes for a side project called Sun God while balancing The Cassandra Complex. Still undeterred by his various projects, Orpheus pushed the newly directed goth-industrial sounds of The Cassandra Complex in the direction of playing festivals across Europe. Two years later, the band began working on 'Wetware', their first for Metropolis Records, which was released in fall 2000. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 9 de septiembre de 2015

The Band Of Blacky Ranchette

Blacky Ranchette is the alter ego of Howe Gelb, leader of the post-punk country-rock band Giant Sand. He formed The Band of Blacky Ranchette in the mid-'80s as a way to explore straight country music, but the group's three albums nevertheless resonated with Gelb's Neil Young and Gram Parsons obsessions. The Band of Blacky Ranchette's eponymous debut album was released on New Rose Records in 1985. Its follow-up, 'Heartland', appeared on Zippo Records in 1986. Four years later, the group released its third and final effort, 'Sage Advice'; this time, their record label was Demon. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 8 de septiembre de 2015

Adrenalin O.D.

A suburban thrash foursome from New Jersey, Adrenalin O.D. debuted on a 1982 compilation from ROIR Records which also included Bad Brains and the Beastie Boys. The group, including guitarists Paul Richard and Bruce Wingate plus bassist Keith Hartel and drummer Dave Scott, signed to Buy Our Records the following year, releasing an EP and their debut album, 'The Wacky Hi-Jinks of...Adrenalin O.D.' The LP was a piece of prime hardcore punk, though recorded with no discernible production values. Adrenalin O.D.'s third proper album, 'Cruising with Elvis in Bigfoot's U.F.O.', saw the group change their attack from thrash to more manageable rock & roll tempos, revealing their knack for melody and off-beat themes. After signing to Restless in 1990, Adrenalin O.D. released 'Ishtar' that year and 'Theme from an I' two years later. Still active in 1996, the group issued their sixth overall album, 'Sittin' Pretty'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2015

Young Marble Giants

One of the quirkiest and most idiosyncratic groups to emerge from the early British new wave indie scene, Young Marble Giants (from Cardiff, Wales) were not so much new wave in sound as in strategy. They subverted conventional pop/rock methods by stripping both song construction and instrumentation to its essence. A reverberant funky bass, a shrill organ, short choppy bursts of guitar chords, a softly clicking drum machine -that was all the trio needed. The hauntingly spacious sound was made both more intimate and foreboding by Alison Statton's coolly intoned, almost neutral vocals. The words were more important for their mood than their content. Pop minimalism of the first order, it now stands as one of the first fully formed expressions of the subgenre that would be called post-punk. 

Needless to say, it was also quite resistant to widespread commercial success, although it quickly attracted a cult following. Almost the whole of their output is contained on their debut and, as it turned out, their only album, 'Colossal Youth' (1980). After an EP in 1981, the group broke up. Alison Statton went into a more jazz-lounge-pop direction with Weekend and solo recordings. YMG guitarist and principal YMG songwriter Stuart Moxham formed The Gist, and in the 1990s, after a series of personal setbacks, began regularly releasing solo product with fuller and more traditional rock arrangements than those identified with the Young Marble Giants. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

domingo, 6 de septiembre de 2015

Wall Of Voodoo

Best known for their alternative radio classic "Mexican Radio," Wall of Voodoo formed in Los Angeles in 1977, originally as a soundtrack company. Led by singer/songwriter Stan Ridgway and rounded out by guitarist Marc Moreland, bassist/keyboardist Bruce Moreland, keyboardist Chas Gray, and drummer Joe Nanini, the group issued its self-titled debut EP in 1980. With the additions of bassist Bruce Moreland and his brother Marc on guitar (replacing Noland), the band's sound crystallized on 1981's full-length 'Dark Continent', which couched Ridgway's highly stylized and cinematic narratives -heavily influenced by Westerns and film noir, and sung in the vocalist's distinctively droll, narcoleptic manner- in atonal, electronically based settings. 

In 1982, following the exit of Bruce Moreland, Wall of Voodoo released 'Call of the West', which featured "Mexican Radio," their biggest hit. After an appearance at the 1983 US Festival, Ridgway left the group for a solo career. The remaining members enlisted singer Andy Prieboy, and resurfaced in 1985 with the LP 'Seven Days in Sammystown'. 'Happy Planet' followed two years later, while 1988's live effort 'The Ugly Americans in Australia*' (the asterisk denoting that a few tracks were recorded in Bullhead City, Arizona) effectively closed out the Wall of Voodoo story. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

sábado, 5 de septiembre de 2015

The Vernons

Formed in the environs of Liverpool Polytechnic (later the John Moore University) in England in 1986, The Vernons soon grew to incorporate almost every young man on campus capable of wielding an instrument. Tom Le Bas (drums), Jez Francis (bass) and Andy Harding (lead guitar) had formerly played with Charlie Don’t Surf, but after recruiting Simon Burchill (ex-Brits Over The Briny) on vocals they became The Vernons -a name taken from the local football pools syndicate. After several low-key exploratory gigs in Liverpool the group recorded their debut album for the noted local label Probe Records in 1988. Called 'Smithdown Road' after the street that housed so many students in that period, it featured the group’s expanded line-up with Jon Fiber (keyboards), Andy Frizell (saxophone), Simon James (tenor saxophone), Martin Smith (trumpet, flügelhorn) and Jamie McArthy (fiddle). However, by now, songs such as "Angels", which had been a live staple for years, were showing their age. Certainly the version of that song included on the album lacked the cutting edge of their live performances, where Harding’s guitar playing (often with a half-empty beer bottle) often stole the show. The album did include at least one memorable moment -"Sophie’s Present". This was written specifically by Fiber at the last minute as he had forgotten to buy his girlfriend a birthday present. The group broke up shortly after the album’s release when Burchill left for Manchester. He now works for British Rail. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 4 de septiembre de 2015

Television Personalities

Britain's Television Personalities enjoyed one of the new wave era's longest, most erratic, and most far-reaching careers. Over the course of a musical evolution that led them from wide-eyed shambling pop to the outer reaches of psychedelia and back, they directly influenced virtually every major pop uprising of the period, with artists as diverse as feedback virtuosos The Jesus and Mary Chain, twee pop titans The Pastels, and lo-fi kingpins Pavement readily acknowledging Television Personalities' inspiration. 

Television Personalities were the brainchild of singer/songwriter Dan Treacy, who grew so inspired by the nascent punk movement that he recorded a 1977 single, "14th Floor", with his friends in the group O Level. The BBC's John Peel became a vocal supporter of the group, which was soon dubbed Television Personalities. A year later they issued the 'Where's Bill Grundy Now?' EP, featuring their lone hit, "Part-Time Punks".

Always a loose-knit group, the first relatively stable TVP lineup consisted of Treacy, organist/vocalist Ed Ball, and guitarist Joe Foster, who recorded the band's 1980 debut, 'And Don't the Kids Just Love It', a step into psychedelic pop typified by songs like "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives". Treacy and Ball soon founded their own label, Whaam! (later renamed Dreamworld after threats from George Michael's attorneys), to issue 1981's 'Mummy Your Not Watching Me', which made the Personalities one of the figureheads of a London psychedelia revival. 

Ball exited around the time of the release of 1982's 'They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles', a collection of re-recordings along with renditions of The Creation's "Making Time" and "Painter Man." Released in 1984, the dark and moody 'The Painted Word' was followed the next year by the live set 'Chocolat-Art', by which point TVPs were in dire straits -broke and without a label, they could do little but infrequently perform live for several years, and were forced to watch the C-86/anorak pop groundswell (a movement they directly presaged) from the sidelines. 

Comprised of Treacy, ex-Swell Map Jowe Head, and drummer Jeffrey Bloom, the band finally won a contract with Fire Records in 1989, and resurfaced later that year with the EP 'Salvador Dali's Garden Party', followed in 1990 by the mod-flavored 'Privilege'. After a handful of singles and EPs, Television Personalities issued the 1992 double-LP 'Closer to God'; despite critical approval, the album failed to find an audience, and Treacy reportedly fell prey to depression and drug problems. After several more years of occasional singles, they issued the harrowing 'I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod', followed in 1996 by Top Gear. 

By the time that 'Don't Cry Baby...It's Only a Movie' was released in November of 1998, Treacy had gone missing. Rumors of mental illness, drug abuse, homelessness, and even death were tossed about until finally in 2004 Treacy wrote a letter to Iain Baker, an old friend and DJ at London's XFM. In it he disclosed that he was incarcerated on a prison boat in Dorset. Following his release in June of 2004, Treacy set about resurrecting TVPs, playing some gigs and posting a hilarious web journal. Finally, in March of 2006 a new album, 'My Dark Places', was released on the influential Domino label. 'Are We Nearly There Yet?' followed one year later, although some of its material had been recorded just after Treacy's release from prison. Numerous live gigs and tours followed during the rest of the 2000s, including a spot on December 2009's All Tomorrow's Parties event (curated by My Bloody Valentine). In June of the following year, 'A Memory Is Better Than Nothing' appeared on the Rocke Girl label, and the band earned high praise as well as publicity when MGMT debuted "Song for Dan Treacy" on their album 'Congratulations'. Late in 2011, however, news broke that a critically ill Treacy was in a coma after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

jueves, 3 de septiembre de 2015

Screaming Trees

Where many of their Seattle-based contemporaries dealt in reconstructed Black Sabbath and Stooges riffs, Screaming Trees fused '60s psychedelia and garage rock with '70s hard rock and '80s punk. Over the course of their career, their more abrasive punk roots eventually gave way to a hard-edged, rootsy psychedelia that drew from rock and folk equally. After releasing several albums on indie labels like SST and Sub Pop, Screaming Trees moved to Epic Records in 1989. Though they were one of the first Seattle bands to sign with a major label, the group never attained the popularity of fellow Northwestern bands (and friends) like Nirvana and Soundgarden, largely due to their erratic work schedule. Throughout their career, the Trees were notorious for drinking and fighting, which caused them to break up briefly at several points in their career. Nevertheless, the band managed to cultivate a dedicated following, which included not only fans but also fellow musicians.

Brothers Van Conner (bass) and Gary Lee Conner (guitar) formed Screaming Trees with Mark Lanegan (vocals) in the mid-'80s. Lanegan and the Conners grew up in Ellensburg, Washington, a small college town some 90 miles from Seattle. The trio were the only people in their high school who listened to punk, garage rock, and independent music, so they eventually gravitated toward each other. After falling out with the Conners before either completed school, Lanegan contacted Van Conner several years later. By that point, Van had a band with a singer named Mark Pickerel; the pair had recently kicked Lee Conner out of the band, so they invited Lanegan to sit in on drums. Eventually, Lee rejoined the group and they settled on a lineup that featured Lee on guitar, Van on bass, Lanegan on vocals, and Pickerel on drums.

Taking their name from a guitar distortion pedal, Screaming Trees recorded their first demo tape in 1985, just a few months after their formation. Their producer, Steve Fisk, was able to convince the head of Velvetone Studios to release an album by the band. The result, 'Clairvoyance', appeared on Velvetone Records in 1986. With 'Clairvoyance' in hand, Fisk was able to secure Screaming Trees a contract with Greg Ginn's SST Records, who had already been releasing albums by Fisk. The band's first SST album, 'Even If and Especially When', was released in 1987 and the Trees began working the dying American indie circuit, playing shows across the country. The following year, SST reissued the band's demo tape under the title 'Other Worlds' as well as their third album, 'Invisible Lantern'. 

Following the release of 'Buzz Factory' in 1989, the group's contract with SST expired and they made the 'Change Has Come' EP for Sub Pop early the following year. By that time, tensions in the band had grown somewhat, and the group spent most of 1990 working on side projects. Mark Lanegan recorded a solo album, 'The Winding Sheet' which featured support from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic; the album appeared on Sub Pop. Both of the Conners formed new bands and released albums on the SST subsidiary New Alliance. Van's band was called Solomon Grundy; Lee's was Purple Outside. By the end of 1990, the band had signed a major-label contract with Epic Records. 

Screaming Trees reconvened to record their Epic debut, 'Uncle Anesthesia', with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Terry Date as producers. 'Uncle Anesthesia' appeared in early 1991 and, although it sold better than their previous efforts, the band remained a cult act. For much of the year, in fact, Van Conner was on hiatus from the band, choosing to tour as bassist with Dinosaur Jr. instead. Late in 1991, Nirvana's 'Nevermind' became an unexpected commercial success, opening the gates for the rest of the Seattle scene. Where many of their peers were able to capitalize on that success, Screaming Trees suffered more setbacks than the rest. Before they began work on their follow-up to 'Uncle Anesthesia', Pickerel left the group and was replaced by Barrett Martin. 

Once Martin joined, the band finished "Nearly Lost You," their contribution to the "Singles" soundtrack, and their 1992 album 'Sweet Oblivion'. "Nearly Lost You" became an MTV and alternative radio hit in the fall of 1992, thanks to the momentum of the "Singles" soundtrack. The single carried 'Sweet Oblivion' -which had received more press attention than any previous Screaming Trees album- to the group's strongest sales, peaking at over 300,000 copies. The band supported 'Sweet Oblivion' with a yearlong tour, during which they fought frequently. After the tour was finished, the group decided to take an extended hiatus. During that time, Lanegan recorded his second solo album, 'Whiskey for the Holy Ghost', which was released in 1994. That same year, Martin drummed in the Layne Stanley (Alice in Chains) and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) side project Mad Season, which released its only album in the spring of 1995. 

In early 1995, Screaming Trees regrouped to begin work on their follow-up to 'Sweet Oblivion'. Following one stillborn attempt at the album, the band hired George Drakoulias, who had previously worked with The Black Crowes and The Jayhawks, as producer. The resulting album, 'Dust', was released in the summer of 1996, nearly four years after its predecessor. 'Dust' was greeted with positive reviews, and its first single, "All I Know," became a moderate hit on modern rock radio. Still, the album didn't sell particularly well, even though the band supported the record by touring with 1996's Lollapalooza. 

Following the 'Dust' tour, Screaming Trees took another hiatus, with Lanegan beginning work on his third solo album, 'Scraps at Midnight', which was released in 1998. When Lanegan completed another solo project the following year ('I'll Take Care of You'), it seemed to confirm that the Trees' strained relationships would make it impossible for the band to continue. Following a June 25, 2000, concert to celebrate the opening of Seattle's Experience Music Project, the group unsurprisingly announced its official breakup. Released in 2005, 'Ocean of Confusion: Songs of Screaming Trees 1989-1996' gathered highlights from the band's Epic years, and included two previously unreleased tracks. After the group's breakup, Lanegan pursued his solo career and worked with a variety of other projects, including Queens of the Stone Age, The Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins, and a series of duo albums with Isobel Campbell. Van Conner performed and recorded with his band Valis, while Gary Lee Conner returned to action in 2010 with a new group, Microdot Gnome. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]