lunes, 30 de noviembre de 2015

Age Of Chance


Age of Chance were a British alternative rock-dance crossover band from Leeds, England active from 1985 to 1991. They were perhaps most known for their mutant metallic cover of Prince's "Kiss" which topped the UK Indie Chart in 1986, and peaked at No. 50 in the UK Singles Chart in January the following year. Despite signing for major label Virgin, and being favourites with the UK music press, they never enjoyed a major hit in the UK, although "Don't Get Mad… Get Even" reached No. 5 in the US Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart.

Musically they were a sonic collision of punk, hip hop, industrial rock and Northern soul. Steven E provided a distinctive strident nasal vocal style, often employing a megaphone. Striking cover art visuals were a collaboration between the group and The Designers Republic, who would go on to graphic design fame. They were contemporaries of Pop Will Eat Itself, whose music also featured rock guitar, dance beats and copious samples, and other early UK samplist groups such as Coldcut and The JAMMs

Steve Elvidge was a Leeds native, and attended St Michael's College (R.C.); being the most notable musical alumnus of that school since Jake Thackray. Neil Howson, (guitar) also from Leeds studied at Jacob Kramer College of Art, Geoff Taylor (Liverpool) and Jan Perry (Stockport) were students at Leeds Polytechnic, now Leeds Metropolitan University. 

Age of Chance first came to national attention in 1985, when their debut single, "Motorcity/ Everlasting Yeah" released on their own label, Riot Bible, was picked up and championed by BBC Radio 1 DJ, John Peel. A session followed, recorded at Maida Vale studios and four songs, "Going, Going Gone Man", "Mob Hut", "The Morning After the Sixties" and "I Don't Know and I Don't Care" were recorded. "I Don't Know.." was re-recorded for "Gunfire and Pianos", a compilation album released by Zigzag magazine. 

They released their second self-funded single, "Bible of the Beats" / "Liquid Jungle" in January 1986, which led to an invitation to contribute a track, "From Now On, This Will Be Your God" on the NME C86 compilation tape. The band made their London debut at the ICA Rock week in July 1986. A second Peel session was recorded in June 1986, with "Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap", "From Now On, This Will be Your God", "Kiss" and "How the West was Won". "Kiss" was recorded for the John Peel session while the Prince single was still in the charts. The band then signed to the Sheffield independent record label, Fon, for "Kiss" and its remix 12"s and six track mini-LP 'Crush Collision'. "Kiss" was No. 2 in the Festive 50 for 1986.

The band signed to Virgin in January 1987, and embarked on a nationwide UK tour. The recorded a Janice Long session comprising "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Noise", "Hold On" and "Bible of the Motorcity Beats." They began recording their first single for Virgin with producer Howard Gray: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Noise/Big Bad Rap" and then started their first Virgin album, 'One Thousand Years of Trouble'. A second single "Don't Get Mad, Get Even" was released in October, followed by the album. In 1988, Channel 4 began using "Don't Get Mad..." as the music for the American Football programme, which ran over the next three years. The band began recording their second Virgin album in the summer at Rockfield in Wales. 

Original singer Steven-E left in September 1988, during the recording of their second LP, forcing the rest of the band to recruit a new singer, Charles Hutchinson, in January 1989, and "re-vocal" the LP, which was released as 'Mecca' in 1990. The main single from that collection, "Higher Than Heaven" reached No. 53 in the UK, despite being voted "record of the week" by BBC Radio 1's breakfast show listeners. When Hutchinson left, Perry took on vocal duties briefly before the band split in 1991. 

A strong visual identity was developed by the band, from their clothes (notably featuring cycling tops, the idea for which came after seeing a cyclist standing at the bar in The Faversham public house in Leeds) to their cover art. The first singles had a punk like cut-up graphic design produced by the band featuring slogans and mini-manifestos. "Stay Young!! Say Yeah!! Call Each Other Bay-Beah!!" "You CAN live forever with the Age of Chance". The slogans and visual imagery were passed to The Designers Republic who produced a series of classic cover designs for the Kiss releases and the series of 1987 Virgin releases. The sleeve of Don't Get Mad ... Get Even was one of Q Magazine's 100 Best Record Covers Of All Time (2001), with the citation describing the collaborations as "Too intricate to rightfully exist in the pre-desktop publishing age, the sleeves were edgy, loaded, with menacing visual manifestos adorned with slogans ... alongside bar codes, cruise missiles and (first woman in space)Valentina Tereshkova's face." Designer Ian Anderson recalled that "The way they were presented was very much as a philosophy; it was a punk attitude crossed with disco styling, that asked questions to get a reaction. Once the vocabulary was set, the sleeves almost designed themselves. We may have done the designs, but the language was created by the band" [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

domingo, 29 de noviembre de 2015

The Wedding Present


Emerging in the wake of The Smiths' demise as the U.K.'s most successful indie pop band during the late '80s, The Wedding Present were founded in Leeds, England, in 1985. Formed from the ashes of the short-lived Lost Pandas, the Weddoes (as they were affectionately dubbed by fans) were essentially the vehicle of singer/songwriter David Gedge, the only constant member throughout the group's tumultuous history. Initially rounded out by guitarist Peter Solowka, bassist Keith Gregory, and drummer Shaun Charman, the fledgling band quickly won a loyal following among university students, as well as the patronage of influential DJ John Peel, for whom they cut their first radio session in February 1986. 

Named in honor of the popular soccer star, George Best, The Wedding Present's remarkable debut LP appeared on their own Reception label in 1987. The group became the darlings of the British press overnight, winning acclaim for their distinct guitar pop frenzy as well as Gedge's idiosyncratic vocal style and wittily lovelorn, conversation-like lyrics. After the album established a foothold on the U.K. indie charts, 'Tommy' -a hastily compiled overview of early singles, covers, and radio broadcasts- followed in 1988. 

The Wedding Present's next effort came completely out of left field: titled 'Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peel', the collection brought together Peel session dates with a sampler of traditional Ukrainian folk tunes inspired by Solowka's father. Additionally, it marked the recording debut of new drummer Simon Smith, recruited after Charman exited to form The Popguns. After reaching the Top 40 with the primal single "Kennedy", the Weddoes returned in 1989 with 'Bizarro', a more conventional effort highlighted by the single "Brassneck", produced by Steve Albini. The aggressive 1991 release 'Seamonsters' returned Albini to the producer's seat and marked the departure of Solowka, who continued to explore his roots in The Ukrainians; guitarist Paul Dorrington was tapped as his replacement. 

Instead of recording a new studio LP, The Wedding Present spent the entirety of 1992 issuing a single on the first Monday of each month. Later compiled as the two-volume 'Hit Parade' set, the singles featured original material on their A-sides and cover songs on the flipsides, among them interpretations of The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday", Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears", Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft", and Julee Cruise's "Falling" (better known as the theme to Twin Peaks).

The departure of Gregory (to found Cha Cha Cohen) left Gedge the group's last original member; the Weddoes resurfaced with new bassist Darren Belk for 1994's 'Watusi', a nod toward the Amer-indie love-rock scene produced by Olympia, Washington-based producer Steve Fisk, complete with vocal assistance from Beat Happening's Heather Lewis. Following a rather uneventful 1995, the group returned in 1996 with a flurry of new material; first up was the auto-obsessed 'Mini' EP, later reissued with bonus tracks as 'Mini Plus'. The full-length 'Saturnalia' appeared at the end of the year, followed early in 1997 by the single "Montreal". Gedge then put the band on hold, formed Cinerama (a group that released three albums and numerous singles between 1998 and 2003, featured Gedge's girlfriend Sally Murrell, and by the end began to sound increasingly Weddoes-like). After Gedge spilt with Murrell in 2002, he moved to Seattle and began writing songs for a new album. He decided to revive The Wedding Present name, roped in his Cinerama bandmates (including bassist Terry DeCastro) to record, and the band released 'Take Fountain' in early 2005. After a long spell of touring that saw the group spanning the globe and playing to scores of fans who were thrilled to have their heroes back, the group hit the studio again with Steve Albini and the resulting album, 'El Rey', was released in 2008. The new edition of the band went through many lineup changes, the most dramatic being the 2010 split with longtime bassist DeCastro. In 2012, the band released their ninth full-length album, 'Valentina', and showed no signs of slowing down. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2015

The Vulgar Boatmen


Roots-pop combo The Vulgar Boatmen was led by the singing/songwriting team of Robert Ray and Dale Lawrence; living in Gainesville, FL and Indianapolis, IN, respectively, the duo collaborated primarily by mail, each rehearsing with local musicians (some of them later recruited for recording sessions and tours as well). 

Jim Bays, Carey Crane and Michael Derry rounded out The Vulgar Boatmen line-up on the group's 1989 debut 'You and Your Sister', produced by Walter Salas-Humara of The Silos (whose Bob Rupe also guested on the record); J.D. Foster, Jonathan Isley and Helen Kirklin were listed as official members for the follow-up, 1992's much-acclaimed 'Please Panic'. 'Opposite Sex' appeared three years later; Lawrence additionally played keyboards in The Mysteries of Life. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 27 de noviembre de 2015

Theatre Of Hate


Gothic post-punks Theatre of Hate formed in Britain in 1980; led by singer/songwriter Kirk Brandon, formerly of The Pack, the original group also comprised guitarist Simon Werner, bassist Jonathan Werner and drummer Jim Walker. Immediately recognized as one of the era's premier live acts, Theatre of Hate debuted in 1981 with the concert LP 'He Who Dares Wins Live at the Warehouse Leeds'; soon after, Brandon dismissed the remainder of the group, assembling a new line-up comprising guitarist Billy Duffy, bassist Stan Stammers, saxophonist John Lennard and drummer Nigel Preston (who was soon after replaced by Luke Rendle). Another concert recording, 'Live at the Lyceum', followed in 1982 before Theatre of Hate entered the studio with producer Mick Jones of The Clash to record their proper debut, 'Westworld'; the album went on to reach the UK Top 20, also launching the Top 40 single "Do You Believe in the Westworld?" 'He Who Dares Wins Live in Berlin' followed in late 1982, but by this point the group was beginning to disintegrate, with Duffy exiting to form The Cult; a second studio album, 'Aria of the Devil', was recorded but went unreleased. By 1983, Brandon had founded a new unit, Spear of Destiny. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 26 de noviembre de 2015

Serious Drinking


Formed after attending the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, in February 1981 this motley assortment of ex-students carved a niche for themselves in the independent charts of the early 80s by injecting their songs with comedic candour. Jem (bass) was an outspoken member of the Socialist Workers Party, although Lance (the only one not to attend UEA, drums), Martin Simon (ex-Higsons) and Eugene (the two singers) and Andy (ex-Farmers Boys; guitar) were more concerned with football and alcoholic beverages. The explanation for the presence of two singers was typically straightforward: ‘Eugene is in the band because Martin wanted a lift to a practice and Eugene had a car and he’s just stayed ever since’. They took their name from a headline announcing an interview with The Cockney Rejects in Sounds. Pigeonholed as leaders of some mythical ‘herbert’ movement, they did nevertheless have a penchant for traditional British leisure pursuits. The singles ‘Love On The Terraces’ and ‘Hangover’ both fared well in the independent charts, the former produced by Mark Bedford of Madness. The latter included the impressive ‘Baby I’m Dying A Death’ as its b-side, culled from the band’s popular John Peel radio session. 'The Revolution Begins At Closing Time and They May Be Drinkers Robin, But They’re Still Human Beings' fully displayed their eccentricity. The band’s philosophy was still crystal-clear, ‘Basically what we’re saying is go out, get drunk and enjoy yourself, and don’t be nasty to other people.’ Unfortunately, after ‘Country Girl Became Drugs And Sex Punk’ (another borrowed headline), both Gem and Lance departed. Karen Yarnell (ex-Gymslips) joined on drums and they released 'Love On The Terraces', a collection of favourite tracks and new recordings to coincide with the World Cup in 1990. 'Stranger Than Tannadice' followed and was accompanied by sporadic live appearances. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2015

The Revolving Paint Dream


Not a great deal is known about Revolving Paint Dream, a psychedelic pop band that recorded sporadically for Alan McGee's Creation label in the '80s. Initially the band was a duo of Primal Scream's Andrew Innes and his girlfriend Christine Wanless. The band -which quite possibly counted McGee, Dick Green, and Luke Hayes as members or contributors at various points- released a couple of records before apparently giving it a rest for good; 'Off to Heaven' was issued in 1987, followed by 1989's 'Mother Watch Me Burn'. The group's first release, the "Flowers in the Sky" single, was Creation's second single and one of their early highlights. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 24 de noviembre de 2015

Pigbag


Pigbag was a good example of the restlessness of the late-'70s/early-'80s post-punks. Rather than conform to a defined sound, the group blended elements of funk and jazz into their "anything goes" attitude. The group formed in 1980 by Chris Hamlyn (clarinet, percussion), Roger Freeman (percussion, trombone), Chris Lee (trumpet), and James Johnstone (saxophone, guitar). For the first months after their formation, the group did little more than jam together. They opted to add more of a rock element by gaining a regular drummer, Chip Carpenter, and a bassist, Mark Smith -the new members had played with Johnstone previously in Hardware. Former Pop Group bassist Simon Underwood also signed on, bringing sax player Ollie Moore along for the ride. 

Thanks to a successful support gig with The Slits, Pigbag found themselves signed with Y Records. A trio of singles and a pair of BBC sessions predated their debut LP, 1982's 'Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive' (Hamlyn departed after the first single and Freeman was out by the end of 1982; Brian Nevill and Oscar Verden were eventually added to the lineup). The album failed to receive the warm reception and brisk sales of the earlier singles, so the group re-released their debut single from a couple years prior -somewhat surprisingly, "Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag" did even better its second time around, reaching the Top Five of the mainstream chart. 

Ex-Drowning Craze singer Angela Jaeger introduced vocals to the group, joining after another single release in 1983 (She also married Underwood by year's end). However, Pigbag opted to break up after a final single and the failure of their sophomore LP, 'Lend an Ear'. Johnstone, Underwood, and Jaeger continued as Instinct. Moore played with Float up CP, and Freeman later took part in Doctor Calculus with Stephen Duffy. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2015

Men Without Hats


The new wave synth pop collective Men Without Hats were formed in 1980 by brothers Ivan and Stefan Doroschuk. Ivan was the leader of the group, writing the majority of the songs and providing the lead vocals; Stefan was the guitarist; and other members changed frequently throughout the course of the group's career. They independently released their debut EP, 'Folk of the '80s', in 1980; it was reissued the following year by Stiff in Britain. During 1982, the band consisted of Ivan, Stefan, another brother Colin Doroschuk (keyboards), along with drummer Allan McCarthy; this is the lineup that recorded Men Without Hats' 1982 debut album, 'Rhythm of Youth'. Taken from their debut, the single "The Safety Dance" became a major hit, peaking on the American charts at number three in 1983. Driven by an insistent three-chord synthesizer riff, the song was one of the biggest synth pop hits of the new wave era. The group wasn't able to exploit its success, however. 'Folk of the '80s (Part III)' stalled at number 127 on the charts in America and made even less of an impact in other parts of the world. Thanks to the minor-hit title track, 1987's 'Pop Goes the World' was a bigger success, yet it didn't recapture the audience their first album had gained. Released two years later, 'The Adventures of Women & Men Without Hate in the 21st Century' failed to chart, as did its follow-up, 1991's 'Sideways'. The two albums' lack of success effectively put an end to Men Without Hats' career. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015

The Loft


The Loft was one of the early bands on Alan McGee's Creation label. The band started out as The Living Room in 1980, with singer/guitarist Peter Astor, drummer Dave Morgan, bassist Bill Prince, and lead guitarist Andy Strickland as members. Upon realizing that they shared their name with a venue run by McGee, the Television-inspired band changed their name to The Loft. After meeting up with the club owner, they began playing there regularly and wound up on his label. The single "Up the Hill and Down the Slope" won the group and the then-fledgling label a good amount of attention, winning the group a spot on The Oxford Road Show, a television program on BBC2; along with The Jesus & Mary Chain's debut single, it also upped Creation's profile during their early lean period. 

While on a tour opening for The Colour Field, a major rift between the group grew extremely deep; there was the Morgan/Astor half and the Prince/Strickland half. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the former half was the second half to join upon the band's inception. Prior to a major show opening for The Colour Field at the Hammersmith Palais, Astor informed Prince over the phone of his wish to sack him and Strickland and continue with Morgan under the same name. After Prince told Strickland of the call, Strickland demanded that Astor be present for the gig. Astor showed; prior to the final song of the band's set, Strickland foiled the singer and told the packed crowd that The Loft would be no more after that show. 

Almost immediately after the dramatic public split, Astor formed The Weather Prophets with Morgan (he also released solo records and formed The Wisdom of Harry later on). Strickland and Prince went on to play in a couple of minor bands and also continued working sporadically as music journalists; Strickland also ended up managing the Dotmusic website. 'Once Around the Fair', a compilation of The Loft's material, was issued posthumously by Creation. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 21 de noviembre de 2015

Hoodoo Gurus


Like most bands, Australia's Hoodoo Gurus were largely the product of their influences; unlike most bands, however, the Hoodoos channeled their inspiration from the vast entirety of the American pop cultural landscape, drawing on such disparate sources as B-movies, bad sitcoms, and junk food -in tandem with the usual suspects like garage rock, power pop, and surf- to create a distinctly kitschy and catchy sound. Formed in Sydney in 1981, Le Hoodoo Gurus (as they were originally dubbed) were led by singer/songwriter Dave Faulkner, who along with drummer James Baker previously served as a member of the short-lived Perth punk unit The Victims (best known for the autobiographical single "Television Addict"). Ex-Scientist Rod Radalj and Kimble Rendall rounded out the group's initial lineup, and their unique sound (three guitars, no bass) -along with Faulkner's infectious songs- quickly earned them a record deal. After issuing the 1982 debut single "Leilani," both Radalj and Rendall quit, and were replaced by former Super-K guitarist Brad Shepherd and bassist Clyde Bramley. 

In 1983, the Hoodoo Gurus (having dropped the French article) recorded their excellent debut record, 'Stoneage Romeos'; dedicated to luminaries like F-Troop's Larry Storch and Green Acres' pig Arnold Ziffel, the album offered such trash-pop treats as the single "I Want You Back", "In the Echo Chamber", and "I Was a Kamikaze Pilot." Mark Kingsmill replaced Baker in 1985, leaving Faulkner the band's sole founding member. He responded by writing an even stronger batch of tunes for 1985's college radio smash 'Mars Needs Guitars!', an album highlighted by the superb single "Bittersweet" and marked by a widening scope that touched base with demented hillbilly humor ("Hayride to Hell") and crazed surf ("Like Wow - Wipeout"). 

With 1987's 'Blow Your Cool', the Hoodoos appeared poised for the big time; their tourmates, The Bangles, even contributed to the singles "What's My Scene" and "Good Times". However, the album failed to register beyond alternative radio, and Bramley exited, replaced by onetime Divinyl Rick Grossman. Released in 1989, 'Magnum Cum Louder' didn't fare much better -although the singles "Come Anytime," "Another World," and "Baby Can Dance" all garnered significant airplay- while 1991's 'Kinky' featured "Miss Freelove '69," a smirking look at flower-power romance that was the latest in a long line of near hits. After a three-year hiatus, the Hoodoo Gurus returned with the harder-edged 'Crank', produced by Ed Stasium; 'Blue Cave' followed in 1996. 

In 1998, the Gurus announced they were splitting up, and the career-spanning compilation 'Ampology' was issued in 2000. Two years later, Dave Faulkner, Brad Shepherd, and Mark Kingsmill were working together again as members of the garage-influenced The Persian Rugs, and in 2004, after Faulkner had reworked "What's My Scene" from 'Blow Your Cool' as a theme song for an Australian football team, the band reunited (with Rick Grossman returning on bass), staging a successful tour down under and releasing a new album, 'Mach Schau'. In 2009 the Hoodoo Gurus inked a deal with Sony Music Australia, resulting in their ninth full-length album, 2010's 'Purity of Essence'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 20 de noviembre de 2015

The Go-Go's


The Go-Go's were the most popular all-female band to emerge from the punk/new wave explosion of the late '70s and early '80s, becoming one of the first commercially successful female groups that wasn't controlled by male producers or managers. While their hit singles -"We Got the Beat", "Our Lips Are Sealed", "Vacation", "Head Over Heels"- were bright, energetic new wave pop, the group was an integral part of the Californian punk scene. And they did play punk rock, even if many of their rougher edges were ironed out by the time they recorded their first album, 1981's 'Beauty and the Beat'. Even as they became America's darlings, The Go-Go's lived the wild life of rockers, swallowing as many pills and taking as much cocaine as possible, trashing hotel rooms, and just generally being bad. More importantly, their earliest music -now collected on 'Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's'- was raw and rocking; it may not have directly inspired the female alternative rockers and riot grrrls of the '90s, but it certainly foreshadowed it. 

Originally formed in 1978 as The Misfits, the group featured Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards), Margot Olaverra (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums). The band soon changed its name to The Go-Go's and began playing local parties and small clubs in California. In 1979, Gina Schock became the group's drummer. During that year, the band recorded a demo and supported the British ska revival group Madness in both Los Angeles and England. The Go-Go's spent half of 1980 touring England, earning a sizable following and releasing "We Got the Beat" on Stiff Records. An import copy of "We Got the Beat" became an underground club hit in the U.S., which meant the band was popular enough to sell out concerts, yet they had a difficult time landing a record contract. 

At the end of 1980, bassist Olaverra became ill and had to stop performing; she was replaced by Kathy Valentine, a guitarist who had never played bass before. Early in 1981, The Go-Go's signed with IRS Records. Released in the summer of 1981, their debut album, 'Beauty and the Beat', became one of the surprise hits of the year, staying at number one for six weeks and selling over two million copies; "Our Lips Are Sealed" hit number 20 and a re-recorded version of "We Got the Beat" spent three weeks at number two. 

The following year, the group released 'Vacation'. Although it sold well -the album made the Top Ten and it went gold, spawning the Top Ten hit single "Vacation"- it failed to keep the momentum of the first record. During the next year the band was unable to perform as Caffey recovered from a broken wrist. In 1984, The Go-Go's returned with 'Talk Show', their most musically ambitious album. While it had two Top 40 hits -the number 11 "Head Over Heels" and "Turn to You"- it failed to even go gold. By the end of the year, Wiedlin had left the band, and The Go-Go's broke up in May of 1985. 

Belinda Carlisle became the most successful solo artist to emerge from the group, scoring a string of mainstream pop singles in the late '80s, including the number one single "Heaven Is a Place on Earth". For a while, Charlotte Caffey was in Carlisle's backing group; she eventually formed The Graces, who released 'Perfect View' in 1990. Jane Wiedlin recorded two solo albums and acted in a few films. Wiedlin also organized the group's brief 1990 reunion, where they performed at a benefit for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; they also recorded a version of "Cool Jerk" for their 1990 'Greatest Hits' album. The Go-Go's reunited once more in 1994, recording three new songs for the double-disc compilation 'Return of the Valley of the Go-Go's'. 

After recording new material, the group decided to continue as a full-time unit. In 2000, they appeared on VH1's Behind the Music series and released an accompanying best-of album, 'VH1 Behind the Music: Go-Go's Collection'. 'God Bless the Go-Go's', the band's first studio album comprised entirely of new material, followed in 2001. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2015

Fields Of The Nephilim


Of all the bands involved in Britain's goth rock movement of the 1980s, Fields of the Nephilim were the most believable. The group's cryptic, occult-inspired songs were sung in a guttural roar by vocalist Carl McCoy. Live appearances were shrouded with dim light and smoke machines, while bandmembers stalked the stage in black desperado gear inspired by western dress. The group was also one of the longest lived of the original goth rock groups, finally breaking up in 1991 when McCoy left for another project. 

Fields of the Nephilim formed in 1984, in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with an original lineup of McCoy, guitarist Paul Wright, his brother Nod on drums, saxophonist Gary Whisker, and bassist Tony Pettitt. The quintet played many live shows and released the EP 'Burning the Fields' in late 1984. Whisker then left the band, just as Peter Yates was added as a second guitarist. Beggar's Banquet, also the home of goth rockers Southern Death Cult and Bauhaus, signed the Nephilim and released the singles "Power" and "Preacher Man" in 1986. Both did well on the independent charts; "Preacher Man" made it to number two, increasing the expectation for debut album 'Dawnrazor', which appeared in 1987. The album also did well on the indie charts, but later that year Fields of the Nephilim finally cracked the pop singles chart with "Blue Water". In June 1988, second album 'The Nephilim' reached number 12 in the pop charts, while the single "Moonchild" made number 28. A live video titled "Forever Remain" was also released in 1988. 

The May 1989 single "Psychonaut" also cracked the Top 40, but the resulting 'Elizium' (1990) proved to be the group's last studio effort. The live double album 'Earth Inferno' was also released in 1990, and the singles "For Her Light" and "Sumerland (Dreamed)" both charted, but Carl McCoy left the band -and took the name with him- in October 1991. Remaining members Yates, Pettitt, and the Wright brothers added vocalist Alan Delaney and released 'What Starts, Ends' (1992) as Rubicon; McCoy formed Nefilim, and began releasing material, including the 1996 album 'Zoon'. Beggar's Banquet issued a two-disc retrospective in 1994 titled 'Revelations'. Nothing was heard from the band until 2002 when 'Fallen' appeared. Although the album looked new, it was a collection of outtakes released without the permission of the band. They truly returned in 2006 with 'Mourning Sun'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 18 de noviembre de 2015

Exploding White Mice


This hard-hitting guitar band was formed in Adelaide, Australia, in early 1985, and featured Jeff Stephens (lead guitar), Paul Gilchrist (vocals) and Giles Barrow (rhythm guitar). Their style drew influences from the tough Detroit sound of the early Stooges with just a hint of Ramones -style ‘dumb fun’. In fact they took their name from the laboratory rodents that featured in the Ramones’ movie "Rock ‘N’ Roll High School". Their debut recording featured three originals and three cover versions, including ‘Pipeline’ and a burning version of Bo Diddley’s ‘Let The Kids Dance’, and indicated a young band with considerable talent. Exploding White Mice quickly developed a huge live reputation and their 1987 double a-sided single, John Kongos’ ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’, should have broken them to a wider audience. However, another version by the seasoned cover band Party Boys received more attention. Their first full-length album proved them to be one of the finest trash pop bands in the country. On 'Exploding White Mice' the band developed their pop sensibilities to the point where commercial acceptance became a distinct possibility. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015

The Del Fuegos


Kicking up a ruckus on the more garage-oriented side of the 1980s' roots rock boom, The Del Fuegos were a four-piece band from Boston who (at least for a time) won critical favor and a loyal cult following at home and on the road for their passionate, no-frills style. Formed in 1980, The Del Fuegos consisted of guitarist and singer Dan Zanes, his brother Warren Zanes on guitar, bassist Tom Lloyd, and drummer Steve Morrell. Steady gigging on the Boston club circuit won the band a potent local reputation, which began to spread along the East Coast with the band's first few low-budget tours. While The Del Fuegos began recording an album for legendary local label Ace of Hearts Records, in 1984 the famed Los Angeles indie Slash Records stepped in and signed them, releasing their first album, 'The Longest Day', in the fall of that year. (By this time, Steve Morrell had parted ways with the band, and former Embarrassment percussionist Woody Giessmann had taken over the drum kit). One of the first albums produced by former Ronnie Montrose keyboard man Mitchell Froom, 'The Longest Day''s mixture of attitude, guitar firepower, and heart-on-the-sleeve emotion clicked with both critics and fans, and The Del Fuegos seemed poised for a commercial breakthrough with their second album, 1985's 'Boston, Mass'. 

While "Don't Run Wild" and "I Still Want You" earned some radio and MTV airplay and the album received rave reviews, it wasn't the hit some were hoping for, and the more self-consciously hip members of the music world began to turn their backs on the band after it appeared in a widely seen beer commercial. The band began reaching for a more ambitious sound and wider musical range on its third album, but 1987's 'Stand Up' received harsh reviews and little support from fans, despite The Del Fuegos' appearance on an extended tour with noted fan Tom Petty (who also guested on 'Stand Up'), in which the group shared the opening slot with The Replacements. After 'Stand Up''s disappointing reception, Woody Giessmann and Warren Zanes both quit The Del Fuegos, and the band was dropped by Slash. In 1989, Dan Zanes and Tom Lloyd decided to give the band another chance, bringing aboard guitarist Adam Roth and drummer Joe Donnelly and cutting a new album, 'Smoking in the Fields', but while critics were kinder to the new set than 'Stand Up', the album was a commercial bust, and within a year The Del Fuegos were history. Dan Zanes went on to a solo career and in time found success with a series of acclaimed children's albums, while Warren Zanes returned to music in 2002 after many years in academia with a fine solo album, 'Memory Girls'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

The Chefs


Through they had their roots in the Brighton punk rock scene, The Chefs made a name for themselves playing upbeat, propulsive pop tunes whose sunny melodies and often playful lyrical take on everyday subjects made them a prescient influence on the C-86 and twee pop movements to follow. The Chefs were formed in 1978 by bassist and singer Helen McCookerybook (born Helen McCallum) and guitarist and singer Carl Evans. Helen had come to Brighton in 1976 to study art and printmaking, and she became interested in the local music scene, taking up the bass and joining a short-lived punk band called Joby & the Hooligans (whose guitarist, Steve Beardsley, would go on to form The Accents). Joby & the Hooligans soon evolved into The Smartees, and Carl joined the group on guitar. The Smartees split up in late 1978, by which time Helen and Carl had begun writing songs together; when Carl wrote a melody to accompany a poem Helen had penned called "Food", and Helen came up with a drawing of a dancing cook to accompany it, the two decided to launch a new band called The Chefs. Helen recruited her brother James McCallum (formerly with Smeggy & the Cheesybits) to play guitar with The Chefs, while a number of drummers passed through the early lineups; a percussionist named Muttley was behind the kit when the group made its recorded debut in 1979, contributing "Food" and "You Get Everywhere" to "Vaultage 79 - Another Two Sides of Brighton", a compilation released by the Brighton-based Attrix Records label. Attrix was happy enough with The Chefs' material that they issued a four-song EP on the band in 1980; by this time, Russ Greenwood (formerly of The Parrots) had become their drummer, and his tight, powerful style helped solidify The Chefs' sound. 

The Chefs began playing more and better gigs around the country after iconic BBC disc jockey John Peel gave the EP significant airplay, and he invited the group to record a live-in-the-studio session for his show. The Chefs' classic single "24 Hours" was released in the spring of 1981, and their growing success emboldened them to move to London. Graduate Records, an indie label that had enjoyed considerable success with UB40, signed the band and reissued "24 Hours", but Graduate had a hard time marketing the band, whose sound ran counter to the more self-conscious sounds then dominating the British charts. Demo sessions for a full-length Chefs album did not go well, and in 1982, the group decided to change its name to Skat. Their career fared no better as Skat, despite recording another Peel session dominated by new material, and after releasing a single of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale", Russ Greenwood left the group. Bron Buick became Skat's new drummer, but the band only lasted a few more months before splitting up for good. Greenwood would later become a member of The Popticians, Carl Evans would form the cowpunk-inspired Yip Yip Coyote, and Helen McCookerybook sang with the retro-styled combo Helen & the Horns. James McCallum, who was sometimes troubled by stage fright, opted to drop out of music as a profession, and became a lawyer. A collection of The Chefs' studio recordings and radio sessions, 'Records & Tea: The Best of the Chefs', was released by Damaged Goods Records in 2012. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 15 de noviembre de 2015

The Bats


Yet another outgrowth of the seminal Clean, The Bats are an institution on the New Zealand music scene, their melancholy jangle pop sound and infectious melodies consistently defining the kiwi rock aesthetic at its very best. The Bats were formed in Christchurch in 1982 by ex-Clean bassist Robert Scott, ex-Toy Love bassist Paul Kean, singer/multi-instrumentalist Kaye Woodward, and drummer Malcolm Grant; with Scott adopting lead vocal and guitar duties as well as serving as The Bats' chief songwriter, they issued their debut, 'By Night', in 1984, the first in a series of EPs that also included 1985's 'And Here Is 'Music for the Fireside'!' and 1986's 'Made Up in Blue'. (All three were subsequently collected as 'Compiletely Bats').

The Bats finally released a full-length album, the stunning 'Daddy's Highway', in 1987; soon after the group went on hiatus, with Scott participating in a Clean reunion tour and Woodward giving birth. The quartet came back together in 1990 to release 'The Law of Things', another critical favorite that received almost no commercial interest. 'Fear of God' appeared in 1991, and two years later The Bats resurfaced with 'Silverbeet'; an intermittent series of EPs (including 'Live at WFMU' and 'Spill the Beans', the latter recorded with Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan on guitar) followed as Scott again focused much of his energies on another Clean reunion, but in 1995 the group returned with a new LP, 'Couchmaster'. 

The Bats drifted apart soon after the release of 'Couchmaster'. Scott spent time in the Magick Heads and working on solo projects, Woodward recorded with Roy Montgomery in Dissolve, and Kean and Grant formed Minisnap in the early 2000s. In 2003 The Bats began working on new songs at the National Grid studios in Christchurch and once they had the basic tracks down, moved to Woodward and Kean's home studio for overdubs and mixing. The result was 2005's 'At the National Grid', released on Magic Marker in the States and Flying Nun in New Zealand. The album didn't pick up where 'Silverbeet' and 'Couchmaster' left off, but instead returned to the glory days of 'Daddy's Highway' and 'The Law of Things' and was their best work to date. Another strong effort, 'The Guilty Office', saw release in the summer of 2009 and they followed it up two years later with 'Free All the Monsters'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2015

Afraid Of Mice


Drawing equal inspiration from the theatricality of progressive rock and the impassioned energy of punk, Afraid of Mice formed in Liverpool, England in 1979. Frontman Philip Franz Jones had previously tenured in The Next, a group inspired by the sound and image of early Genesis and Jethro Tull; while Afraid of Mice -known in early incarnations under such names as Beano, The Press and The Jones- favored a more raw, minimalist musical approach closer to punk, their stage style remained highly theatrical, resulting in a unique dichotomy which made the group a favorite among local working-class youth. 

A trio also featuring bassist Geoff Kelly and drummer Clive Gee, Afraid of Mice rose to prominence as part of the same Liverpool scene which also launched Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, and their appearance on the local compilation "A Trip to the Dentist" led to a contract with the Charisma label. After bowing in 1981 with the single "I'm on Fire," the group -now a four-piece following the addition of guitarist Sam Brew- returned a year later with their eponymous debut LP, produced by David Bowie associate Tony Visconti

Despite Afraid of Mice's fervent hometown following, the LP failed to sell, and soon only Jones remained in the line-up. A second album was planned, but during the final days of recording Charisma -which had recently been purchased by Virgin- abruptly pulled producer Anne Dudley off the project; another producer was brought in, but the record was never completed. Afraid of Mice soon left the label, and in 1983 issued their own record, a collection of odds and ends titled 'The White Album'; the next year Jones teamed with Alex McKechnie in the duo Two's a Crowd (later rechristened Up and Running), and Afraid of Mice was no more. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2015

We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It


We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It or simply Fuzzbox are an English alternative rock group. Formed in Birmingham in 1985, the all-female quartet originally consisted of Vix (Vickie Perks), Magz (Maggie Dunne), Jo Dunne and Tina O'Neill. The band's name was shortened to Fuzzbox for the U.S. release of their first album. They disbanded in 1990 after releasing two studio albums, and reunited in 2010 for a series of concerts. A second reunion was confirmed in 2015. 

Hailing from Moseley, Sheldon and Acocks Green, Birmingham, Fuzzbox came together in 1985. Their name was chosen after they bought a distortion pedal for their guitars and Maggie Dunne stated "We've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it!". Their first release, in March 1986, was a single of "XX Sex" and "Rules And Regulations", with the fuzzbox featuring prominently, which reached No. 41 in the UK charts. This proved a huge success for the girls; despite not reaching the Top 40, the Vindaloo Records release remained in the Indie chart for twenty-five weeks. This led to tours of the UK and Europe and, in December that year, their debut album, 'Bostin' Steve Austin', was released (Geffen re-titled the album 'We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It' upon its US release). This album spawned the band's first Top 40 hit, "Love Is The Slug" and the minor hit "What's The Point". 

In the summer of 1986 the band teamed up with their Vindaloo Records labelmates, The Nightingales and Ted Chippington to record a single "Rocking With Rita (Head To Toe)". The single, credited to the Vindaloo Summer Special, featured Fuzzbox tackling such classics as "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" on the b-side. Further discussions led to their cover of Norman Greenbaum's hit "Spirit in the Sky", with vocals provided by Magz (Maggie). 

The band signed to WEA and for their next album, 'Big Bang!' (1989), they made an abrupt change and reinvented themselves as a slick dance-pop vocal group, with Vickie Perks being cast centre stage as a sex symbol. The songs "Pink Sunshine", "Fast Forward Futurama" and "International Rescue" were all produced by Andy Richards and co-written by Liam Sternberg. The first three singles from the album, "International Rescue" (UK No. 11), "Pink Sunshine" (UK No. 14) and "Self!" (UK No. 24) all reached the UK Top 30, although a fourth single released from the album, a cover of Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice", peaked at No. 76. "Self!" also became the group's only charting single in the United States when it peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and number 35 on Billboard's Dance Music Club Play chart.
 
In 1990, they began work on a new album entitled 'Out Of This World', but the project was halted after the release of the first single "Your Loss, My Gain" due to 'musical differences'. Perks decided to continue a solo career under the name of Vix whilst the other three members left the music industry. A reunion found its way in 2008 and an appearance at the UK's Birmingham's Gay Pride festival paved the way for the old-school fans to re-embrace the latter days of Fuzzbox's height of success. Releases of previously unreleased material surfaced under the titles of 'Fuzz and Nonsense' and 'From Rules and Regulations to Pink Sunshine' featuring tracks originally slated for 'Out Of This World'. An album was later released of their two radio sessions for the late John Peel and sessions for Janice Long's show, entitled 'Love Is A Slug: Complete BBC Sessions'. Peel show listeners voted "Rules and Regulations" into number 31 in the Festive Fifty in 1986. In October 2004 a compilation of Fuzzbox singles and alternative mixes entitled 'Look At The Hits On That' was released complete with a DVD of their promotional videos -most of which were publicly unavailable up until that release. 

Early in 2010, Fuzzbox announced their reunion, returning as a quintet without drummer Tina O'Neill and with the addition of bass player Sarah Firebrand and drummer Karen Milne. A 13-date UK tour took place in May, along with a new single and video, a cover of M's "Pop Muzik", released through Gotham Records and iTunes on 17 May. On the 25th September 2010, Fuzzbox headlined at the Shifnal Festival; on the 25th March 2011, they played at the Whitby Gothic Weekend. The latter was the reunion's swansong, the project disbanding shortly afterwards. 

Guitarist Jo Dunne died on 26 October 2012, 6 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. In July 2015, Fuzzbox appeared on BBC Radio 2 with Sara Cox to confirm a second reunion. On September 9, it was confirmed that Megan Burke, Sarit Black and Hannah Layhe had joined the band on guitar, bass and drums respectively. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

jueves, 12 de noviembre de 2015

Visage


Pioneers of the New Romantic movement, the synth pop group Visage emerged in 1978 from the London club Blitz, a neo-glam nightspot which stood in stark contrast to the prevailing punk mentality of the moment. Spearheading Blitz's ultra-chic clientele were Steve Strange, a former member of the punk band The Moors Murderers, as well as DJ Rusty Egan, onetime drummer with The Rich Kids; seeking to record music of their own to fit in with the club's regular playlist (a steady diet of David Bowie, Kraftwerk, and Roxy Music), Strange and Egan were offered studio time by another Rich Kids alum, guitarist Midge Ure. In late 1978, this trio recorded a demo which yielded the first Visage single, an aptly futuristic cover of Zager & Evans' "In the Year 2525".

Adding Ultravox keyboardist Billy Currie as well as three members of Magazine -bassist Barry Adamson, guitarist John McGeoch, and keyboardist Dave Formula- Visage signed to Radar Records to release "Tar" in September 1979, followed a year later by their self-titled debut LP. The album yielded a major single in "Fade to Grey", an instant club classic which heralded synth pop's imminent commercial breakthrough. The follow-up, "Mind of a Toy," was a Top 20 hit, but after releasing 1982's 'The Anvil', Visage began to disintegrate: first Ure exited to focus all of his energies on fronting Ultravox, then Currie and Formula broke ranks as well. 1984's 'Beat Boys' was the group's final recording, although a remixed "Fade to Grey" was a U.K. Top 40 hit during the early '90s. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2015

The The


The The was the guise of Matt Johnson, a mercurial singer/songwriter whose music ran the gamut from dance-pop to country. Born August 15, 1961, in London, Johnson was raised in the flat above his father's pub, the Two Puddings, a haven for well-known celebrities and criminals; he also became exposed to music at the nightclubs and dancehalls owned by his uncle, where he saw performers like Howlin' Wolf, The Kinks, and Muddy Waters. Johnson formed his first band, Roadstar, when he was 11; at the age of 15, he was hired as a tea boy for the DeWolfe music publishing company, and within three years, he was working in their recording studio as an assistant engineer. 

After the demise of the duo The Marble Index in 1979, Johnson formed the first incarnation of The The with synth player Keith Laws; after playing their debut gig opening for Scritti Politti, the group issued its first single, "Controversial Subject", on the 4AD label in 1980. A year later, contractual obligations forced Johnson to issue the LP 'Burning Blue Soul' under his own name; that year, he also recorded as a guitarist with the band The Gadgets, and The The contributed a track to the Some Bizzare Album compilation. 

In 1982, The The -now essentially a Johnson solo project, backed by a revolving coterie of musicians- recorded the album 'The Pornography of Despair', which a dissatisfied Johnson chose not to release; a 1983 single recorded with Orange Juice's Zeke Manyika, "This Is the Day", formed the centerpiece of The The's proper debut, 1983's 'Soul Mining', an excursion into dance-flavored pop. Illness sidelined Johnson for much of the following year, and The The did not return until 1986's 'Infected', an eclectic commentary on the state of Britain in the modern world. Recorded with the aid of talents like Neneh Cherry, Art of Noise's Anne Dudley, and Swans' Roli Mosimann, 'Infected' was also accompanied by an ambitious album-length video. 

When The The returned with the dissonant 'Mind Bomb' in 1989, they were once again a true band, with Johnson joined by ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr as well as bassist James Eller and former ABC drummer Dave Palmer. The same lineup remained for 1993's pared-down 'Dusk', but 1995's 'Hanky Panky' marked yet another new direction when Johnson was joined by guitarist Eric Schermerhorn, keyboardist D.C. Collard, harmonica player Jim Fitting, and drummer Brian MacLeod on a brooding covers collection honoring the music of country great Hank Williams. Despite recording some material in 1997, Johnson didn't return with a new album until 2000's 'NakedSelf', which included Schermerhorn plus a new rhythm section of Spencer Campbell and Earl Harvin. Despite some touring during 2000 and much of 2001, the band dissolved. 

Johnson continued to be busy, forming his own independent film soundtrack company Cineola, scoring several films over the subsequent ten years (including 2009's Tony, 2010's Moonbug, and 2014's Hyena), forming a publishing company to issue his father Eddie's memoir of life running a pub in East London, and occasionally releasing one-off singles. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 10 de noviembre de 2015

Section 25


Not as strong as some of their Factory Records labelmates -such as New Order, The Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio- Section 25 followed a similar course, providing a link between electronics-based new wave and the burgeoning indie dance movement of the mid- to late '80s. Formed in Blackpool in 1978 by brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy, Section 25 later added guitarist Paul Wiggin and a drummer who quit soon afterwards. With an early template similar to Joy Division's atmospheric post-punk, the group played around England during 1979 and released its debut single, "Girls Don't Count" (produced by JD's Ian Curtis), in early 1980. After several European gigs supporting New Order, the band signed to Factory later that year and released its debut album, 'Always Now', in 1981. 

During 1982, the group finally added another drummer (Lee Shallcross), toured the U.S., and released its second album, 'Key of Dreams', on Factory's European subsidiary, Factory Benelux. By the end of the year, the Cassidys grew frustrated with their approach to music and quit the business; six months later, however, they were back as a full band -with Shallcross plus new additions, including Larry Cassidy's wife Jenny and Angela Flowers. Adding more electronics, Section 25 returned in 1984 with 'From the Hip', an album that earned release worldwide, including the band's first (and only) American release (on Factory U.S.). The band also scored an underground club hit with the album's penetrating "Looking from a Hilltop". Recorded two years later, but not released until 1988, 'Love and Hate' was the group's last proper studio album; at that point, the lineup had been reduced to Larry and Jenny Cassidy. 

Section 25 reconvened in 2000, but a few years later, Jenny Cassidy's life was taken by cancer. The Cassidy brothers nonetheless kept the group afloat. Assisted by guitarist Ian Butterworth (Tunnelvision) and Roger Wikeley (bass, keyboards), Section 25 played several gigs and recorded 'Part-Primitiv' -featuring a couple songs with Jenny Cassidy's vocals- released in 2007. Steve Stringer eventually replaced Wikeley, and in 2009 the group released yet another studio album, 'Nature + Degree'. Larry and Jenny's daughter, Bethany, provided lead vocals on a pair of its songs. Larry Cassidy died of a blood clot on February 27, 2010. 'Retrofit', an album of remixes and re-recordings that was near completion before his passing, arrived in September of that year. The band supported its release with a series of U.K. shows featuring Bethany as vocalist. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 9 de noviembre de 2015

Revolting Cocks


Rumor has it the gents who make up Revolting Cocks came upon the name by their usual debauchery. Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen was out for a hard night of drinking with some friends, so hard that the bartender threw them out, declaring them a bunch of revolting cocks. The name was first applied to one of Jourgensen's many side projects in 1985, when he partnered with Luc Van Acker and Front 242's Richard 23 to bring art and the dancefloor closer together. As recordings progressed, things went in a different direction and the chaotic, snide, and sleazy sounds that were taking over had Richard 23 making an exit over creative differences. He departed in 1986, right as the band's debut, 'Big Sexy Land', was being released by the seminal industrial label Wax Trax! The album featured the Blade Runner homage and club hit "Attack Ships on Fire," while the artwork introduced "the Three Guys", anonymous faces from an old photograph that would represent the band on album covers for years to come. Ministry associates Paul Barker, Chris Connelly, and Bill Rieflin would join Van Acker and Jourgensen for a tour supporting the album, recordings of which surfaced in 1988 on the live album and video 'You Goddamned Son of a Bitch'. 

The nihilistic party attitude of the band had now officially taken over any grand artistic aspirations, and if the success of 1989's 'Stainless Steel Providers' didn't prove their audience was right there with them, college radio and clubs being dominated by 1990's "Beers, Steers + Queers" certainly did. 'Beers, Steers + Queers', the album, followed that same year and included two cover versions of "(Let's Get) Physical," one a simple loop of the word "physical" that goes on for 13 minutes. The band celebrated the album's release by touring the country with The Skatenigs -whose vocalist, Phil Owen, had contributed to Beers- and the always-vile Mentors as support. 'Linger Ficken' Good...' from 1993 was a more subdued album, but it was still shocking that the Warner Bros.-associated Sire released the album and helped the band score another club hit with their cover of Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" 

Years passed and it seemed the Revco were officially over until 2004, when the track "Prune Tang" appeared on the Internet, announcing the coming of their next album, 'Purple Head'. The Ryko label reissued the band's first two albums that year with bonus tracks, but the new album failed to appear. A year later, a cover version of Bauhaus' "Dark Entries" with Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes as vocalist appeared on the Saw II soundtrack. Haynes joined Jello Biafra, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander, Davíd Garza, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, along with veterans Jourgensen and Owen (now known as Phildo Owen) for 2006's 'Cocked and Loaded'. The album appeared on Jourgensen's 13th Planet label and was the first Revco release to not feature "the Three Guys" on the cover. 'Sex-O Olympic-O' would follow in 2008 with 'Got Cock?' arriving in 2010. The latter included a cover version of 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny.” [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 8 de noviembre de 2015

Phranc


Bursting onto the L.A. punk scene in 1985 like the proverbial breath of fresh air, self-proclaimed Jewish lesbian folksinger Phranc has one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business. Born Susan Gottlieb in Los Angeles in 1957, Phranc began as a folksinger in the '70s before becoming a member of L.A. hardcore bands Catholic Discipline and Nervous Gender. Tiring of the genre's sexist and fascist leanings, she picked up her acoustic guitar again and debuted with 'Folksinger' in 1985 -a spare affair that tackled such topical and taboo subjects of the time like lesbianism, L.A. coroner Thomas Noguchi and "Female Mudwrestling." Delivered in Phranc's unique, forthright punk/folk style, the album received critical endorsement but never led to wider acceptance. Signed to Island by 1989, she enlisted the services of a band to play on the more fleshed-out 'I Enjoy Being a Girl', which included one of her trademark odes to a female sports figure in "Martina" (as in Navratilova). She followed it with 1991's 'Positively Phranc', a return to the spare style with which she made her mark. For the 1995 EP 'Goofyfoot', she paired up with Team Dresch's Donna Dresch and other Olympia, WA underground female musicians for a collection of novelty songs. During the four-year period she didn't record, Phranc occasionally performed in drag as Neil Diamond. Though not extremely prolific, Phranc was and is an icon among alternative and lesbian musicians, as well as folksingers everywhere. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015

The Men They Couldn't Hang


The Men They Couldn't Hang (TMTCH) are a British folk punk group. The original group consisted of Stefan Cush (Vocals, Guitar), Paul Simmonds (Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Keyboards), Philip "Swill" Odgers (Vocals, Guitar, Tin Whistle, Melodica), Jon Odgers (Drums, Percussion) and Shanne Bradley (Bass Guitar). 

Their first single, "The Green Fields of France", was released in 1984. Written by Eric Bogle (of "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" fame), the song's protagonist imagined having a conversation with one of the fallen soldiers of World War I whilst sitting by his graveside. It received considerable airplay on the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and finished at Number 3 in Peel's Festive 50 for that year. It became a No.1 hit in the UK Indie Chart. 

The following year they were signed to the Demon label, which released their début album, 'Night of a Thousand Candles', and its accompanying single "Ironmasters", a self-penned number by main songwriter Simmonds, linking the Industrial Revolution to the present-day treatment of the working class. The original final line of the song -"and oh, that iron bastard, she still gets her way" (a reference to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) had to be removed for the single version to ensure radio airplay. They were again named in Peel's yearly Festive 50, this time at Number 11. They followed this up with a new single not taken from the album, "Greenback Dollar", a cover of the song written by Hoyt Axton and made famous by The Kingston Trio. The single was produced by Nick Lowe

In 1985 the band signed for MCA Records and released 'How Green Is The Valley'. The record included "Ghosts Of Cable Street", a political number concerning The Battle of Cable Street in 1936 and "Shirt Of Blue", which regarded the miners' strike of 1984-85. At the end of promotion for the album Shanne Bradley left to create music with Wreckless Eric and The Chicken Family, she was replaced on bass by Ricky McGuire (ex UK Subs). 

In 1987 the band switched to Magnet Records and the new record released was, what many fans consider their best: 'Waiting for Bonaparte'. Once again the strongest songs were stories of historical origin. "The Colours" told of an English mutineer sailor during the Napoleonic War and "The Crest" a stretcher bearer during World War II. Whilst "The Colours" was at Number 61 in the British top 75 it was blacklisted by BBC Radio 1 due to the line "You've Come Here To Watch Me Hang", which echoed the events happening in South African townships at the time, in particular the plight of the Sharpeville Six. However it didn't stop the album propelling the group to stardom in Europe. 

In 1988 the band were on the move again and signed for new label Silvertone (who later put out The Stone Roses' début release). The band was joined by Nick Muir (ex Fire Next Time) at this time on piano, organ and accordion, who remained with the band during their time at Silvertone. Muir later found success as an electronic music producer and half of the duo Bedrock. The band recorded two albums for Silvertone, the first being 'Silver Town'. Highlights of 'Silver Town' included "Rain, Steam and Speed", "A Place In The Sun" and "Rosettes". 'Silver Town' was the only TMTCH album to reach the UK Top 40 album chart, peaking at No. 39. They followed this up in 1990 with 'The Domino Club', which had a more conventional rock sound dispensing with much of the folk element. In August 1990 the band supported David Bowie in his concerts at the Milton Keynes Bowl, as part of his Sound and Vision World Tour. 

Surprisingly the band split in 1991 after releasing the live album, 'Alive, Alive-O', a performance recorded at London's Town & Country Club which was later released as a DVD "The Shooting" by Cherry Red Records. Paul Simmonds and "Swill" Odgers then formed Liberty Cage who released an album, 'Sleep Of The Just', in 1994 and an EP, 'I'll Keep It With Mine', in 1995. 

The band reformed in 1996, but minus drummer Jon Odgers who had become Therapy?'s drum technician. He was replaced by Kenny Harris of cult 80's band The Screaming Blue Messiahs. Their new CD was 'Never Born To Follow', released on the Demon label in 1996. The following year the band released the mini-album 'Big Six Pack'. Two "Best Of" collections followed 'Majestic Grill' and 'The Mud, The Blood And The Beer', both in 1998.

The band again withdrew into semi retirement during which Odgers and Simmonds again released new material together (this time under their own names), 'Baby Fishlips', (originally released under the pseudonym Preacher Jethro Brimstone and the Watermelon Kid) in 1999 and 'Folk At The Fortress', in 2002.The band released a brand new CD in 2003, 'The Cherry Red Jukebox', which most fans agreed was a real return to form. In 2005 the band released two DVDs, "Shooting", and "21 Years Of Love And Hate" (released on Secret Records) to celebrate 21 years together. This latter was later released as the live double CD 'Smugglers and Bounty Hunters'. 

During further breaks from the band Phil "Swill" Odgers released two CDs with his band The Swaggerband, which includes Ricky McGuire and Jon Odgers, plus lyrical contribution from Paul Simmonds: 'The Day After', in 2004 and 'Elvis Lives Here', on Irregular Records in 2006. 

The group continue to play occasional live concerts, their next planned release is an acoustic folk orientated CD, including the reworking of several popular old songs from their back catalogue. On 19 October 2006 the band announced on their web-site titles of five new tracks they are demoing for their new album, "Brixton Hill", "Jam Tomorrow", "Madelaine", "Man In The Subway" and "The Winter Wind". On 31 January 2007 more song titles were announced on their site "Cocaine Housewife", "Love Tomorrow", "Pair Of Shoes", "Lead Me To The Gallows", "Whisky & Wine", "Snow Is Falling" and "Call Me Darling". Although these were originally identified primarily as songs that would appear on the next TMTCH album this was not to be the case. All except "Jam Tomorrow" and "Man In The Subway" subsequently appeared on Paul Simmonds solo country album titled 'The Rising Road' which was released in June 2008. 

In January 2007 Paul Simmonds had the book "A Bag of Songs" published. It features a personal selection of 50 songs with lyrics, chords and commentary. In March 2007 the band released a new CD through their website 'Demos & Rarities Volume 1'. This album is a collection of rare unreleased TMTCH recordings from the 'Silver Town' and 'The Domino Club' albums. The band are joined by Tom Spencer (The Yo Yo's, Fastlane Roogalator, The Loyalties) bringing banjo to the line up and additional guitar and backing vocals. They released a new CD titled 'Devil On The Wind' on Robb Johnson's label Irregular Records on 1 June 2009 and distributed by Proper. As a prelude to the album the band released a 6 track EP CD 'Devil On The Wind EP' via their website. The EP contains an alternative mixes of "Devil On The Wind" and "Aquamarine" plus 4 songs not available on the full album. On Thursday 8 October 2009, almost 25 years since The Men They Couldn't Hang played their first proper gig in Camden Town at The Electric Ballroom, they returned for the official 25 Year Anniversary Celebration. 

2012 saw the release of an album from Stefan Cush’s new band, The Feral Family, and Paul Simmonds was recording and touring with roots singer Naomi Bedford as well as numerous live dates for TMTCH. The latter including appearances at Mike Peter’s “The Gathering”, and festival appearances alongside Billy Bragg and Adam Ant to name but a few. They headlined the 10th anniversary commemoration of Joe Strummer’s Acton Town Hall show which also featured a special guest appearance by Hard-Fi

March 2013 saw the release of Phil (Swill) Odgers highly anticipated solo album produced by the legendary Mick Glossop. The album 'The Godforsaken Voyage' includes guest appearances from Australian folkrockers Weddings, Parties Anything as well as home grown talent such as John Jones (Oysterband) and folk royalty Eliza Carthy. On the exact day of release of 'The Godforsaken Voyage', The Men They Couldn't Hang joined Stiff Little Fingers for 3 weeks on their UK tour. This combined with several Festivals appearances in UK and German act as which a great prelude to TMTCH’s 30th anniversary in 2014 for which the band are busy writing new material right now. Later in 2013 the band will launch a 'Pledge' campaign to enable fans to not only buy unique recordings in advance of the album but also to help shape the final end product. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

miércoles, 4 de noviembre de 2015

The Lilac Time


Following a brief solo career under both his own name and the moniker Tin Tin, Stephen Duffy put together The Lilac Time, which traded in his former synth pop excursions for pastoral, folky English pop strongly recalling 'Skylarking'-era XTC. Joined by Mickey Harris, Nick Duffy, and Michael Giri, Duffy crafted several eclectic albums making use of traditional instruments, beginning with a self-titled debut in 1988. Released in 1989, 'Paradise Circus' offered a bit of country & western influence, which was largely abandoned on 1990's '& Love for All', partially produced by XTC's Andy Partridge. Issued in 1991, 'Astronauts' began to return to the sound of Duffy's earlier solo career, so it was no surprise when the band broke up and Duffy resumed work as a solo artist. He re-formed the group in 1999 to release 'Looking for a Day in the Night', this time with brother Nick, Claire Worrall, and Melvin Duffy (no relation). 'Lilac6' followed in 2001, the same year Stephen Duffy released 'Compendium: The Fontana Trinity', a collection of select songs from the first three Lilac Time albums along with B-sides from the same period. The melancholic 'Keep Going' arrived in 2003 under the name Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time

For the next few years, the band took a break while Duffy collaborated and toured with English pop superstar Robbie Williams; they then returned with 'Runout Groove' in 2007. The following year, Duffy and Worrall married. In 2009, a documentary, "Memory & Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness with Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time", made the film festival circuit, and a 36-track collection of the same name consisting of solo and Lilac Time material was issued. After another brief hiatus, Worrall and the Duffy brothers began working on new material in 2013. With Melvin Duffy contributing pedal steel, the resulting love-themed and accurately titled 'No Sad Songs' was released in the spring of 2015, followed quickly by a limited-edition vinyl EP, 'Prussian Blue', featuring a remix of the "No Sad Songs" tune plus three live recordings of earlier songs. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC