domingo, 31 de enero de 2016

Chris & Cosey

After the pioneer industrial rock combo Throbbing Gristle broke up in 1981, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (b. Christine Newby) decided to keep working together. Working under the names Chris & Cosey and CTI (Creative Technology Institute), the duo expanded the dense rhythmic ideas of their former band, adding more accessible synthesized pop elements as their career progressed. 

Under the CTI moniker, the duo released their first album, 'Heartbeat', on Rough Trade in 1981; the following year the duo released 'Trance'. Rough Trade and Chris & Cosey got in a fight over the retail price of 'Trance', beginning a series of disputes that culminated with the band leaving the label in 1985; they signed with Nettwerk productions in North America and Play It Again Sam in Europe. At the beginning of the '90s, the duo switched to the seminal industrial label Wax Trax! [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 30 de enero de 2016

Bel Canto

The atmospheric, melancholy, somewhat medieval soundscapes of Bel Canto (Italian for "beautiful song") mix an essentially synth-based chamber rock sound with a wide range of orchestral and folk instruments and have been compared to the Cocteau Twins. The group hails from Norway and began as a trio consisting of ethereal vocalist Anneli Marian Drecker plus Nils Johansen and Geir Jenssen. The group has claimed to draw its inspiration from powerful energy fields, including those of the female and the Earth's gravitational pull; additionally, Bel Canto compositions sometimes draw on world music and the ambient experiments of Brian Eno

Bel Canto released their first album, 'White-Out Conditions', in 1987. After 1989's 'Birds of Passage', Jenssen left the group to embark upon a solo career (as Biosphere) prior to the recording of 1992's 'Shimmering, Warm & Bright', and the duo of Drecker and Johansen continued on to record 1996's 'Magic Box' and 1998's 'Rush'. At the turn of the millennium Drecker issued her own solo album, 'Tundra', but subsequently reunited with Johansen on a new Bel Canto studio effort, 'Dorothy's Victory', released in 2002. Throughout the remainder of the 2000s, Drecker and Johansen kept the Bel Canto flame alive by writing new music and performing together, while also pursuing individual projects. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

The Alley Cats

One of the minor players in the early days of Los Angeles punk, The Alley Cats (Dianne Chai on bass and vocals, Randy Stodola on guitar and vocals, and John McCarthy rounding out the trio on drums) released a number of singles and albums on various labels that made minor waves in the scene, before disappearing and then re-emerging under a different moniker with a larger lineup in 1985. Their earliest output -the single "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore"- was released on Dangerhouse Records (the independent that once boasted such legendary acts as the Avengers, The Bags, and X). They then jumped ship to Time Coast, which released their follow-up singles, as well as their first album, 'Nightmare City', in 1981. Their final album (on major label MCA), 'Escape from the Planet Earth', hit stores in 1982, and was the last heard from the trio until 1985, when the group emerged again with extra members as The Zarkons. In 2007, a CD/DVD anthology (simply titled '1979-1982') containing most of the band's work was released on the label. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 27 de enero de 2016

The Wild Swans

Revolutionary Spirit’, the last single for Liverpool’s influential Zoo label, created quite a stir for The Wild Swans back in early 1982. A moving slice of uplifting pop, set against guitar and synthesizer, the song looked set to elevate the band alongside those other Zoo graduates Echo And The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. However, the song’s over-loud production did result in a loss of sound quality, and it could be argued that this prevented healthier sales. However, Paul Simpson (vocals, ex-Teardrop Explodes), Jerry Kelly (guitar, ex-Systems), Gerard Quinn (keyboards) and Alan Wills (drums) disbanded shortly afterwards, with the nucleus of the band going on to form the moderately successful Lotus Eaters. Nevertheless, ‘Revolutionary Spirit’ became a cult favourite, and after the recording of a John Peel BBC Radio session was warmly received in September 1986, the band decided to re-form. 'Bringing Home The Ashes' was issued in 1988. Like its single offspring, ‘Young Manhood’ and ‘Bible Dreams’, the album hinted at The Wild Swans’ originality without really leaving a lasting impression. The more psychedelic-tinged 'Space Flower', produced by Ian Broudie, also failed to revive fortunes. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 26 de enero de 2016

Thin White Rope

Copping their name from William S. Burroughs' euphemism for ejaculation, Thin White Rope was founded in Davis, California in 1984. Although the time and place of their formation aligned them with both the Paisley Underground and roots rock movements, the group quickly staked out its own musical territory, divining their own unique brand of dark, surreal, desert rock. Thin White Rope was led by singer/guitarist Guy Kyser, whose harsh, tightly coiled vocals and unsettling lyrics combined to give the band its edge; in the group's first incarnation, Kyser was joined by guitarist Roger Kunkel, bassist Kevin Staydohar (soon replaced by Steven Tesluk), and drummer Jozef Becker. 

While Thin White Rope's 1985 debut 'Exploring the Axis' flirted with neo-psychedelia, the 1987 follow-up 'Moonhead' upped the ante by allowing the desperation of Kyser's lyrics to take full command of the music. Unrelentingly grim and harrowingly provocative, the album's best songs -like "Crawl Piss Freeze" and "If Those Tears"- were postcards from the edge. Following the addition of new bassist John von Feldt, 1988's 'In the Spanish Cave' continued along the same path, albeit with a renewed sense of humor ("Mr. Limpet") and more oblique wordplay. 

Though garnering little notice stateside, Thin White Rope earned a solid fan base in Europe, and even became the first American independent-label act to tour the Soviet Union. 1990's 'Sack Full of Silver', a collection of songs written while on tour abroad, featured new drummer Matthew Abourezk as well as a newly focused sonic attack; the album also featured a left-field rendition of Can's "Yoo Doo Right", a hint of things to come on the 1991 all-covers EP 'Squatters' Rights'. 

1991's full-length 'The Ruby Sea', a dense, atmospheric work highlighted by the riveting "Clown Song", proved to be Thin White Rope's studio swan song: in 1992 the band split, and while most of the players continued performing in various musical projects, Kyser devoted himself to a career as a botanist. The posthumous 'The One That Got Away 6-28-92 Ghent', a two-disc live set recorded in Belgium peppered with odd covers of Lee & Nancy's "Some Velvet Morning", Bob Dylan's "Outlaw Blues", and Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" appeared in 1993. 'Spoor', a collection of demos, remixes, and rare tracks, followed two years later. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 25 de enero de 2016


Shack formed out of the ashes of The Pale Fountains, cult favorites led by Liverpudlian brothers Michael and John Head. Chris McCaffrey, the Fountains' bassist and Michael's best friend, died from a brain tumor in 1986 and Michael began experimenting with drugs, including heroin, which was especially prevalent in his neighborhood. Despite his drug problems, Michael formed a new group with John, The L-Shaped Room. The brothers later changed the band's name to Shack and released the debut album 'Zilch' in 1988, with friend and roommate Ian Broudie as their producer. Though the album's sales were poor, Shack persevered, recording a new album, 'Waterpistol', in 1989. However, a fire destroyed the studio and all of the group's tapes, save one copy that the producer had kept; this copy was lost on a road trip in America. The tape was found a year later by the car rental agency the producer had used, and the album was released soon after by a German label. 'Waterpistol' received strong reviews and provided Michael Head the opportunity to record a solo album, 'The Magical World of the Strands' (by Michael Head & the Strands), in France. However, Head's heroin addiction continued and his creative output slowed until the late '90s, when Shack began work on their third album, 'H.M.S. Fable'. Though it was delayed several times by Head's stays in detox, the album was released in the U.K. in the spring of 1999 to critical raves, and a U.S. release followed in the fall. The follow-up album 'Here's Tom with the Weather' arrived in 2003, and the Head brothers along with drummer Iain Templeton and bassist Pete Wilkinson appeared on Shack's 2006 album, 'On the Corner of Miles and Gil', released by Noel Gallagher's Sour Mash label. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 24 de enero de 2016

The Room

The Liverpool, England, new wave band The Room were greeted with critical rhapsodies when they first appeared in the early '80s. Featuring Dave Jackson (vocals), Paul Cavanagh (guitar), Becky Stringer (bass), and Alan Wills (drums), The Room formed in 1983, releasing several singles on Box Records. None of the singles penetrated the pop charts, but music writers showered them with praise. In 1984, The Room opened for former Television leader Tom Verlaine; Verlaine was so impressed with the group that he produced several tracks on The Room's 1984 LP 'In Evil Hour'. The Room also hired veteran Smiths producer John Porter for 'In Evil Hour'. However, such renowned assistance couldn't elevate The Room from its cult status; the critics still loved them, but nobody else seemed interested in listening. To expand its sound, the band added Pete Baker (organ, synthesizer) and Phil Lucking (trombone, trumpet) to its lineup. The Room released one more album, 1986's 'Nemesis', before disintegrating. Jackson created Benny Profane in the late '80s with Stringer and Baker. The Room are perhaps best known for the song "New Dreams for Old"; highlighted by Jackson's dynamic vocals and Baker's jazzy trumpet, the track became an underground radio hit in the Philippines in 1988, four years after its U.K. release. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

miércoles, 20 de enero de 2016

Pink Industry

When Pink Military split up in 1981, singer Jayne Casey formed the more electronically oriented band Pink Industry along with Ambrose Reynolds (who had played with Casey in Big in Japan in the 1970s, and was an early member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood), the duo initially using several other musicians, later becoming a trio with the addition of Tadzio Jodlowski. The band's sound was described by Trouser Press as "like Siouxsie Sioux fronting Japan". The band's first release was the 'Forty-Five' EP featuring lead track "Is This The End?", released in February 1982. The band's debut album, 'Low Technology', was released the following year, reaching number 12 on the UK Independent Chart. A second album, 'Who Told You You Were Naked', followed later the same year, and peaked at number nine on the Indie chart. Between 1982 and 1984, the band recorded four sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show. After a two-year gap since their previous release, the band returned in 1985 with the 'New Beginnings' album. A final single was released in late 1987, the band splitting up around the same time. Casey subsequently concentrated on a television career. In January, 28th, 2012, Pink Industry (Jane, Ambrose and support band) reunited for an exclusive concert in São Paulo, Brazil, in Cine Joia venue. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA]

martes, 19 de enero de 2016


The Irish outfit Microdisney derived its paradoxical power from the distinct visions of its two frontmen, vocalist Cathal Coughlan -a dark, brooding lyricist given to angst-ridden, incendiary wordplay- and guitarist Sean O'Hagan, a gifted composer of atmospheric, seductive pop fare. Formed in Cork in 1980, the group went through a series of line-up changes and approaches before settling on the core duo of Coughlan and O'Hagan as well as bassist Mick Lynch and drummer Rob Mackahey. In 1982, Microdisney released its first singles, including "Helicopter of the Holy Ghost", the first of many songs which grappled with Coughlan's obsession with the Irish Catholic church. 

Around the time the group released its full-length debut 'Everybody's Fantastic', Coughlan and O'Hagan relocated to London, where they recruited new bassist Ed Flesh and drummer Tom Fenner. In 1984, they also issued a compilation of early singles titled 'We Hate You South African Bastards!' With 1985's 'The Clock Came Down the Stairs', Microdisney won not only significant critical acclaim but also the patronage of influential DJ John Peel. In addition, they earned a contract with Virgin Records; their first single for the label, "Town to Town", nearly reached the U.K. Top 50. 

After the 1987 album 'Crooked Mile' (recorded with new bassist Steve Pregnant and keyboardist James Compton), Microdisney released the single "Singer's Hampstead Home", a vicious attack on labelmate (and admitted heroin addict) Boy George. When 1988's '39 Minutes' failed to elevate their commerical fortunes, Microdisney called it quits. While Coughlan brought his intensity to The Fatima Mansions, O'Hagan followed his pop muse to form the Beach Boys-inspired High Llamas; he also worked frequently with Stereolab and Will Oldham's ever-shifting Palace Music. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 18 de enero de 2016

The Lords Of The New Church

Formed in 1981, The Lords of the New Church had a formidable intercontinental punk rock pedigree. Singer Stiv Bators and guitarist Brian James were founding members of Cleveland's Dead Boys and London's The Damned, respectively, both successful and influential punk pioneers. (Note: Much like Keith Richard(s), Stiv spelled his surname both with and without a terminal "s" at various points in his career. Throughout his time with the Lords, however, he was billed as Bators.) Bassist Dave Tregunna and drummer Nick Turner were veterans of Sham 69 and The Barracudas, which were less seminal but still well-known. But while the Lords' music had elements of punk, it was more melodic, better-produced, and played with a higher degree of professionalism. This alienated some of the hardcore punk audience, but brought the Lords a much wider and more diverse fan base. 

The genesis of the Lords was in 1980 when Bators and James, having split from their previous bands, renewed an aqcuaintance that began when the Dead Boys opened for The Damned on CBGB dates and an English tour. The two experimented for a time with different rhythm sections, rehearsing briefly with ex-Generation X bassist Tony James and ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes (how's that for a punk rock supergroup?). A lineup of Bators, James, Tregunna, and Damned drummer Rat Scabies played a single 1980 gig as the "Dead Damned Sham Band". But by the time the Lords' self-titled debut album appeared in 1982, Turner had replaced Scabies to form the lineup that would remain fixed throughout the band's most productive years. 

Though the album was well-received, the Lords became more notorious for their live shows, or more specifically for Bators's crazed abandon as a performer. A devotee of Iggy Pop, Bators had in his Dead Boys days developed a reputation for being unafraid to risk his life in pursuit of rock & roll glory. He suffered innumerable on-stage injuries during his career, the most famous being the time he reportedly nearly hung himself during a Lords show. As the story goes, a favorite stunt of Bators' where he looped the mic cord around his neck went awry, resulting in his being clinically dead for several minutes. Nonetheless, Bators survived to record two more successful albums with the Lords, 1983's 'Is Nothing Sacred?' and 1984's 'The Method to Our Madness'. After this, though, the Lords appeared to lose their creative impetus. 

They continued to record sporadically including an amusing single where they violated Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and two excellent new tracks for the best-of 'Killer Lords', but by 1985, the Lords had slowly begun to disintegrate. Tregunna left, was replaced for a time by Grant Fleming, and then returned. A second guitarist, Alistair Simmons, was added and then sacked. Turner quit and was replaced by Danny Fury. After 1988, Bators back injury led James to advertise for a replacement singer -a temporary one, he claimed- the Lords split acrimoniously, but not before Bators played the encore of his last show wearing a T-shirt that bore an enlargement of James' newspaper ad. Possibilities of any future Lords reunions were quashed when Bators died in 1990 of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car in the streets of Paris. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 17 de enero de 2016


Hula was formed in Sheffield, England by guitarist and tape experimenter Ron Wright; various other members passed in and out of the ranks, with bassist John Avery the only constant. Hula's music was highly influenced by Cabaret Voltaire and other electronic/ambient artists, but Hula added a more industrial edge and a schizophrenically experimental approach to their albums, which were often far less accessible than the dark, aggressive techno-funk of their singles. The band's concerts often took the form of multimedia barrages, using twelve or more film projectors to enhance the already disorienting music. Hula's first single was produced by Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder; its debut album, 'Cut From Inside', was released in 1983 and followed a year later by 'Murmur'. The group began to indulge its artiest tendencies on 1986's '1,000 Hours', a half-live, half-studio double album; its follow-up, 'Shadowland', consisted of improvised music used as accompaniment to an art exhibit. 'Voice' (1986) was Hula's last full-length release of new material, discounting the 'Threshold' singles compilation; Red Rhino, the label the group had signed to, went bankrupt in 1988, and Hula's only further release was an EP centered around a dance version of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile". [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 14 de enero de 2016

The Golden Palominos

The Golden Palominos were not a group per se, but rather the revolving-door project of drummer, programmer, and bandleader Anton Fier. Born June 20, 1956, in Cleveland, Ohio, Fier first made his mark as the drummer on The Feelies' seminal 1980 debut 'Crazy Rhythms'. After leaving the group, he joined the punk-jazz unit the Lounge Lizards before returning home to Cleveland, where he was recruited by the legendary new wave band Pere Ubu for the album 'Song of the Bailing Man'. After exiting Ubu, Fier again relocated to downtown New York City, where he founded the first Golden Palominos lineup in 1981. In its primary live incarnation, the band was an avant-funk supergroup comprised of Fier and another drummer, David Moss, saxophonist John Zorn, guitarist Arto Lindsay, and a pair of bassists, Bill Laswell and Jamaaladeen Tacuma; on their self-titled 1983 debut, the Palominos were augmented by Fred Frith, Nicky Skopelitis, and Mark Miller. 

Over the next few years, Fier moved away from the first record's experimental noise into far more traditional pop territory; simultaneously, he largely jettisoned the first album's lineup in favor of an ever-changing collection of punk legends, post-punk superstars, up-and-comers, and N.Y.C.-scene vets. After enlisting ex-Raybeat Jody Harris to help him co-write much of the music, Fier recruited vocalists ranging from R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Cream's Jack Bruce to PIL's John Lydon and newcomer Syd Straw. Rounded out by musicians like former dB Chris Stamey, guitar greats Richard Thompson and Henry Kaiser, and P-Funk alumni Bernie Worrell and Mike Hampton, the revamped Golden Palominos reached an early peak with 1985's 'Visions of Excess', a diverse yet cogent collection highlighted by a cover of Moby Grape's "Omaha" and the original "Boy (Go)".

With 1986's 'Blast of Silence', the group flirted with elements of country and folk; while Stipe and Lydon were noticeably absent, many of the other players featured on 'Visions of Excess' remained, along with new additions including guitarist T-Bone Burnett, Numbers Band singer Robert Kidney, artist/producer Don Dixon, singer/songwriter Peter Blegvad, Matthew Sweet, and Flying Burrito Brothers alum Sneaky Pete Kleinow. On 1989's moody 'A Dead Horse', Fier again shifted gears, settling on a constant lineup of Laswell, Skopelitis, Kidney, and ex-Information Society vocalist Amanda Kramer along with a handful of guests, including former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor

1991's 'Drunk with Passion' returned to the all-star format; Stipe and Thompson again rejoined the fold, welcoming newcomers like Sugar's Bob Mould. 'This Is How It Feels', a sophisticated concept album inspired by the Graham Greene novel "The End of the Road" followed in 1993; along with core members like Laswell, Skopelitis, Worrell, and Kramer, the record spotlighted vocalists Lori Carson and Lydia Kavanaugh, as well as bass great Bootsy Collins. 1994's 'Pure' featured many of the same principal players, while 1996's 'Dead Inside', essentially from a trio comprised of Fier, ex-Psychedelic Furs guitarist Knox Chandler, and vocalist/lyricist Nicole Blackman, explored electronic and ambient soundscapes. 'Dead Inside' would be the final album by The Golden Palominos with various compilations being the only additions to the discography. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 13 de enero de 2016

Fire Engines

While a product of the same Scottish post-punk movement that also gave rise to Orange Juice and Josef K, Fire Engines were far more abrasive and discordant than their pop revivalist brethren, forsaking melodies and hooks in favor of noise and fury. Fire Engines formed in Edinburgh in 1979; three of its founders -singer/guitarist Davey Henderson, bassist Graham Main, and drummer Russel Burn- were previously in The Dirty Reds. Rounded out by guitarist Murray Slade, the quartet took its name from a 13th Floor Elevators song and debuted in late 1980 with the primal "Get Up and Use Me", issued on the Codex Communications label. 

Packaged in a plastic carrier bag, Fire Engines' manic debut LP, 'Lubricate Your Living Room (Background Music for Action People!)', appeared in early 1981. A subsequent move to the Pop: Aural label resulted in the single "Candyskin", an about-face that pushed Henderson's long-buried nasal vocals to the fore and even introduced a string section. The record was a major indie hit, but when the follow-up, "Big Gold Dream", failed to match its success, Fire Engines disbanded in late 1981. Henderson and Burn soon reunited in Win; Henderson also resurfaced in the 1990s with Nectarine No. 9. 'The Fond' compilation, released in 1992, issued most of Fire Engines' official releases on CD. 'Codex Teenage Premonition', released 13 years later, compiled demos and live material. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 12 de enero de 2016

The Dentists

Although The Dentists were arguably the first Brit-pop band, they never were able to capitalize when the style they'd perfected over the course of a decade suddenly became the Next Big Thing around 1994. Their signature sound, a combination of Mick Murphy's veddy British voice and Bob Collins' hyperactively jangly guitar, has been duplicated many times over, but it's never quite been equaled. 

The Dentists formed in their native Chatham, a small town in rural Kent, in 1983; the original lineup comprised Murphy, Collins, bassist Mark Matthews, and drummer Ian Smith. Their first single, "Strawberries Are Growing in My Garden (And It's Wintertime)", was released on the tiny indie Spruck Records in 1985. A neo-freakbeat masterpiece that sounds like it could have been recorded in 1967, "Strawberries" remained The Dentists' best-known and most beloved song for the rest of their career. That early peak was quickly followed by the album 'Some People Are on the Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now' (the title taken from the famous end of the 1966 World Cup final won by England) and the six-song EP 'You and Your Bloody Oranges', which have no overlapping tracks. The album titles, matched with songs like "One of Our Psychedelic Beakers is Missing" and "Where's My Chicken, You Bastard", made the group out to be a bunch of paisley-clad goofballs in some reviewers' eyes, a mistaken first impression that never entirely went away. 

Smith left the group in early 1986, replaced by the equally anonymously named Alun Jones. In contrast to their exceptionally busy first year of recordings, the quartet only managed two EPs in 1986 and 1987, 'Down and Out in Paris' and 'Chatham and Writhing on the Shagpile'. In 1988, the Belgian label Antler released a CD compiling the best parts of all the previous releases minus 'Some People Are on the Pitch' at 'Beer Bottle at Bannister Symphonies: A Collection of Some of the Finer Moments of Dentistry'. The label followed this with an EP's worth of new material, 'The Fun Has Arrived'. 

Oddly, for a band that had been so productive in the early years of their career, The Dentists all but disappeared for over two years at this point, only contributing one new track, "Snapdragon", to the compilation "Time Will Show the Wiser" in 1989. However, when they reappeared in 1991 with the new album 'Heads and How to Read Them', The Dentists launched a new and even busier phase of their career. Besides a pair of singles extracted from the album, both with excellent and otherwise unavailable B-sides, The Dentists landed exclusive tracks on a number of compilations and finally began an attempt to introduce themselves to the American market, which they had so far ignored. A 10" EP, 'Naked', compiled seven rarities from 1986 and 1987, most of them previously unreleased. This was followed in 1992 by 'Dressed', a 22-track CD of other songs from the 1985-1987 era, containing nearly all of 'Some People Are on the Pitch' and the best moments from the EPs. (There's a fair amount of overlap with the 1988 Belgian CD.) 

Along with that spate of reissues, The Dentists released a series of three thematically linked singles on three different indie labels, each with a poem by John Hegley on the B-side. The songs (but unfortunately, not the poems) were compiled in 1993 on the U.S. release 'Powdered Lobster Fiasco', along with re-recorded versions of several other songs from the preceding five years. New drummer Rob Grigg replaced Jones starting with these singles. Later in 1993, The Dentists unexpectedly signed with a major American label, the East/West division of Atlantic. Although this proved to be as unlikely a pairing as it sounded (East/West was primarily an R&B imprint), the label immediately went to work on establishing its indie credibility by releasing a box set of three 7" singles, 'Bigbangredshiftblackholes', which included several tracks from their upcoming album and a clutch of demos, rehearsal versions, and otherwise unavailable songs. 

That album, 1994's 'Behind the Door I Keep the Universe', turned out to be one of The Dentists' best, but it unfortunately stiffed completely despite East/West's best promotional efforts, which included a hard to find but extremely cool hour-long promo disc called 'Radio Novocaine', featuring The Dentists playing some of their favorite recent singles and interviewing each other. Apparently disillusioned, The Dentists made the unwise decision of having New York City noise rock maestro Wharton Tiers produce 1995's 'Deep Six'. Tiers layers the songs with unnecessary guitar grunge and the tempos are uncharacteristically sluggish. It's a dispiriting record with an unfortunately accurate title. After its release and subsequent commercial failure, East/West dropped The Dentists. Collins called it a day, retiring from the music business; Murphy, Matthews, and Grigg found a new guitarist and formed the short-lived Coax. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 10 de enero de 2016

Choir Invisible

Choir Invisible tried to revive '60s psychedelia before bands such as R.E.M. and The Church made it fashionable and marketable. Choir Invisible was considered a part of the Paisley Underground, a short-lived movement resurrecting '60s psychedelic rock that included The Dream Syndicate and The Rain Parade. Featuring Thomas Sinclair (guitar, vocals), Scott Laskin (bass, vocals), Danny Benair (drums), Eric Carter (synthesizers, piano), and John Curry (vocals), Choir Invisible released one album, 1981's 'Choir Invisible', and one EP, 1984's 'Sea to Shining Sea', both of which were dominated by ethereal guitars, lush synths, vague lyrics, and British-style vocals. A decade later, English shoegazer bands like Chapterhouse and The Pale Saints would combine similar musical elements, but in the early '80s, Choir Invisible's moody, dreamy pop was greeted with cold shoulders. In 1981, Choir Invisible opened up for Depeche Mode in Pasadena, CA, but the group couldn't generate much interest outside of college radio and they split up; both of their albums fell out of print. Benair eventually became the drummer for The Salvation Army, finding more exposure when that band switched into The Three O'Clock. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 9 de enero de 2016


Washington, D.C.'s Beefeater was formed in 1984 by vocalist Thomas Squip (the former drummer in Red C), guitarist Fred "Not Sonic" Smith, bassist Dug E. Bird, and drummer Bruce Atchley Taylor. 'Plays for Lovers', the band's debut album, was released in 1985 on the Dischord label. Two years passed until the band's follow up and final album, 'House Burning Down'. Prior to its recording, Taylor departed and was replaced by Kenny Craun. The band split several months before the album's release, and Squip and Bird went on to Fidelity Jones. Dischord combined both Beefeater albums for release on CD in 1992, and added a pair of bonus tracks. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 8 de enero de 2016

Alien Sex Fiend

A product of Britain's early-'80s Batcave goth punk movement, the North London-based Alien Sex Fiend were led by the eccentric Nick Wade, better known as the macabre Nik Fiend. A staple of the London scene as a member of such relatively obscure groups as The Earwigs and Mr. & Mrs. Demeanour, he made his recording debut under the name Demon Preacher; several other short-lived projects followed before he formed Alien Sex Fiend in 1982 with wife and synth player Christine (aka Mrs. Fiend), guitarist Yaxi Highrizer (born David James), and drummer Johnny "Ha Ha" Freshwater. 

Mixing the theatrical horror-movie antics of Alice Cooper with the menacing synthesizer pulse of Suicide, Alien Sex Fiend debuted with the single "Ignore the Machine", a favorite among goth club denizens; the full-length 'Who's Been Sleeping in My Brain?' appeared in 1983. A series of indie chart hits followed in 1984, including "R.I.P.", "Dead and Buried", and "E.S.T. (Trip to the Moon)"; the success of the album 'Acid Bath' further increased the group's visibility, and in Japan, Alien Sex Fiend became major stars, resulting in the 1985 live release 'Liquid Head in Tokyo'. 

Following the departure of Johnny Ha Ha, the group continued as a trio to record 1985's bleak 'Maximum Security'. After the following year's '"It" the Album', released to coincide with Alien Sex Fiend's opening slot on Alice Cooper's "Nightmare Returns" tour, they recorded 1987's 'Here Cum Germs', the final offer to feature Yaxi Highrizer; now essentially a duo, the Fiends explored more synth- and sample-oriented territory on 1988's 'Another Planet', a trend continued on 1990's 'Curse', which featured the minor hit "Now I'm Feeling Zombified".

With a revitalized lineup including new guitarist Rat Fink Jr. and keyboardist Doc Milton, Alien Sex Fiend resurfaced in 1992 with 'Open Head Surgery'. After a 1993 live album, 'Altered States of America', they composed the music for the CD-ROM game "Inferno"; with the release of the compilation 'The Singles 1983-1995', the band's affiliation with longtime label Anagram ended, and the Fiends soon established their own 13th Moon Records imprint. With the release of the trance-influenced 1996 EP 'Evolution', Alien Sex Fiend traveled even further away from their goth beginnings into the realm of electronica, a move continued on 1997's 'Nocturnal Emissions'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 7 de enero de 2016

The Wild Flowers

Like Del Amitri, Wolverhampton’s The Wild Flowers became tired of a disinterested UK pop scene and looked to America for inspiration and appreciation. After two singles, ‘Melt Like Ice’ and ‘Things Have Changed’, and an album, 'The Joy Of It All', on Reflex in 1984, the fledgling outfit were dealt a blow when original guitarist Dave Newton left to form The Mighty Lemon Drops. The remaining members, Neal Cook (guitar, vocals), Mark Alexander (bass) and Dave Fisher (drums), eventually found a replacement in Dave Atherton, and the band duly signed to aspiring local label Chapter 22. They broke their two-year silence in 1986 with ‘It Ain’t So Easy’, followed later that year by ‘A Kind Of Kingdom’. Both singles were then coupled on a mini-album, 'Dust', primarily aimed at introducing The Wild Flowers to the US market which was more sympathetic to their New York-influenced rock sound. The band became the first British act to sign with Slash in the USA, releasing 'Sometime Soon' in 1988, preceded by ‘Broken Chains’ and ‘Take Me For A Ride’ in the UK. The band’s 'Tales Like These' was recorded in the inspirational surroundings of California, by which time a new drummer, Simon Atkins, had been found. The album made little headway in the UK (where Slash is handled by London Records) and the group concentrated more on performing in the USA. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 6 de enero de 2016

They Might Be Giants

Combining a knack for infectious melodies with a quirky sense of humor and a vaguely avant-garde aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk underground, They Might Be Giants became an unlikely alternative rock success story as they reinvented themselves throughout their career. Musically, John Flansburgh and John Linnell borrowed from everywhere, but this eclecticism was enhanced by their arcane sensibilities. The duo referenced everything from British Invasion to Tin Pan Alley, while making allusions to pulp fiction and President Polk. Through their string of indie releases and constant touring, They Might Be Giants built up a huge following on college campuses during the late '80s, switching to a major label in the early '90s. With support from MTV, 1990's 'Flood' became a gold album, and with it, the duo began to reap commercial rewards, moving into the status of one of the most popular alternative bands before grunge. Though the group retreated to its cult following in the mid-'90s, when an avalanche of post-grunge groups dominated MTV and modern rock radio, the 2000s and 2010s found them thriving, with well-received forays into children's music and soundtracks as well as acclaimed albums for their adult fans. 

Flansburgh and Linnell met when they were children in Lincoln, Massachusetts. During high school, they began writing songs together, yet they never officially formed a band. Both Johns went to college after high school, with Linnell playing in The Mundanes, a new wave group from Rhode Island. By 1981, the pair had reunited, deciding to move to Brooklyn to pursue a musical career. Taking their name from a George C. Scott film and performing their original material with a drum machine, They Might Be Giants soon became fixtures on the Manhattan underground. Although Flansburgh and Linnell were building a cult following, they had a hard time getting a record deal, so they set up Dial-A-Song -a phone line that played songs on an answering machine- as a way to get their songs heard. The gimmick worked. Not only did it lead to a deal with the indie label Bar/None, but over the years it was a successful venture; at one point, the service was receiving hundreds of calls a day. 

They Might Be Giants released their eponymous debut in 1986, and the album became a college radio hit; it also made waves on MTV due to the inventive video for "Don't Let's Start". Two years later, they released 'Lincoln', which expanded their following considerably. Featuring the college hit "Ana Ng", 'Lincoln' climbed to number 89 on the charts, earning the attention of major labels. They Might Be Giants signed with Elektra Records in 1990, releasing 'Flood' later that year. 'Flood' worked its way to gold status, thanks to the singles "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", which both had popular videos. In the wake of the group's success, Restless/Bar/None released the B-sides and rarities compilation 'Miscellaneous T' in 1991. 

'Apollo 18', released in 1992, wasn't quite as successful as 'Flood', yet it consolidated the group's cult following. For the album's supporting tour, They Might Be Giants performed with a full backing band for the first time, hiring former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone and drummer Brian Doherty. The shift toward a full band coincided with the dominance of grunge in alternative rock. Though they were strengthened by the powerful sound of a full band, They Might Be Giants failed to receive much attention from MTV, mainstream modern rock radio, or college radio when they released 'John Henry' in the fall of 1994. Recorded with the full band, 'John Henry' lost the group a number of fans, yet their concerts remained popular attractions, especially on American college campuses. Still, the band's next album, 1996's 'Factory Showroom', was virtually ignored by the press, MTV, and radio. The live 'Severe Tire Damage' followed two years later. 

They Might Be Giants maintained their "hardest working men in show business" status in 2001 when they issued 'Mink Car', a stunning follow-up to 'Factory Showroom' that boasted collaborations with M. Doughty, Adam Schlesinger, and The Elegant Too. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in summer 2002 with the release of their first children's album, 'No!'. Rhino also celebrated the band's tenure with the first-ever They Might Be Giants retrospective, 'Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants'. A year later, Flansburgh and Linnell joined Canadian artist Marcel Dzama for the children's book and CD set 'Bed, Bed, Bed'. 'The Indestructible Object' EP arrived in spring 2004, just a few months before the band's eighth full-length album, 'The Spine'. Early in 2005, 'Here Come the ABCs' and its accompanying DVD were the band's first releases for Disney Sound. Later that year, 'They Got Lost' arrived. 

Over the course of the next two years, TMBG released a series of monthly and bimonthly podcasts. They also contributed to various film soundtracks, including Disney's "Meet the Robinsons" and the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "Coraline". The band's 14th studio release, 'The Else', hit stores in the summer of 2007. 'Here Come the 123's', the sequel to 'Here Come the ABC's', appeared in early 2008. Later that year, the CD/DVD set 'Venue Songs', which featured appearances by actor/comedian John Hodgman, was released. 'Here Comes Science', which featured songs about paleontology, astronomy, and chemistry, and included a DVD with animated versions of "the Johns" and videos by Divya Srinivasan, Tiny Inventions, David Cowles, Hine Mizushima, and Feel Good Anyway, was released in fall 2009. Two years later, They Might Be Giants put the children's music on hold and released 'Join Us', the band's first "adult" album in four years. Soon after the band finished the 'Join Us' tour, they began work on their 16th album, 'Nanobots', a song cycle that featured several small songs akin to the "Fingertips" tracks on 'Apollo 18', which hit the shelves in 2013. In 2014, they took a look back at their independent years with 'Idlewild', a compilation named for their own label that collected some of their favorite songs from that era. The band also took a break from its formidable touring schedule to work on three new albums. In December 2014, They Might Be Giants relaunched 'Dial-A-Song' -which had ceased its original run in 2006- with the goal of releasing one new song a week through the end of 2015. Several of these songs appeared on 'Glean', which arrived in April 2015. The children's album 'Why?' was released that November. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 5 de enero de 2016

Sex Gang Children

One of the most original and, in terms of frontman Andi Sexgang's longevity, persistent of all the early-'80s British goth bands, the Sex Gang Children came together in early 1981 around a nucleus of Sexgang, bassist Dave Roberts, guitarist Terry MacLeay, and drummer Rob Stroud. All were unknowns, ensuring that the group's name was more fascinating than their membership. A William Burroughs line that had been grafted into a song by Bow Wow Wow, "Sex Gang Children" was promptly co-opted by one Boy George when he bowed out of that band after just two live shows in February 1981 to form his own group. But hopeful of landing a swift record deal, George conceded that Sex Gang Children was not a name that would take them far. He chose Culture Club instead, then gifted the discarded name to Andi. 

By early 1982, the Sex Gang Children were regulars at the Clarendon Hotel in Hammersmith, where they recorded their debut album, the cassette-only live album 'Naked'. The Illuminated label moved in for them within weeks of its release; the band's first single, the four-song 'Beasts' EP, was in the stores by August 1982. Days later, however, it was out of them again, after somebody realized they'd not procured the necessary permissions for the Diane Arbus photo on the picture sleeve. With a major lawsuit apparently imminent, the record was briefly withdrawn while the sleeves were removed, but still 'Beasts' reached number eight on the indie chart and hung around the listings for much of the next 12 months. 

Even more impressively, the band was attracting attention from further afield, as well. Tony James, midway between playing bass with the now-sundered Generation X and masterminding the nascent Sigue Sigue Sputnik, was sufficiently enamored to produce the Children's next single, October 1982's "Into the Abyss." 

Spring 1983 saw Sex Gang Children's sophomore album, 'Song and Legend', top the independent chart for a fortnight, before spinning off two hit singles, the title track and the tumescent, eerily fiddle-fired "Sebastiane". Of course, the band also starred on "The Whip", the now-legendary goth compilation conceived by Dave Roberts, but despite these successes the Sex Gangs quickly discovered that record companies and contracts are not, necessarily, the answer to an artist's prayers. When the band's contract with Illuminated expired in June 1983, any number of major record labels were actively in pursuit of the group. Buoyed by a swaggering confidence that really did seem to be their right, the band turned them all down, convinced that something better was just around the corner. Sadly, it wasn't. They had burned their boats with Illuminated as well, and slowly things began disintegrating. 

Rob Stroud was first to depart, simply not turning up to a show (he later resurfaced in Aemotii Crii.) The band initially replaced him with Steve Harle, before turning to former Theatre of Hate drummer Nigel Preston, and in September 1983, a one-off deal with the independent Clay label brought a new single, "Mauritia Mayer". Added to the stockpile of material cut since the last album -an impressive bundle that included fresh sessions with Tony James- it boded well for a new LP. Barely had this lineup settled down, however, than Preston quit to rejoin his old Theatre of Hate mate Billy Duffy in The Cult

The Cult's own former drummer, Ray Taylor-Smith, promptly replaced him, only to be forced out just months later when, returning to London from their first American tour, the band discovered that the Sierra Leone-born drummer was in the U.K. illegally. He was deported home, at which point Roberts, too, quit the band. 

Andi and MacLeay kept the Sex Gang Children alive for a few months more, returning to Illuminated to cut a new single, "Draconian Dream", with a new rhythm section of Cam Campbell and Kevin Matthews. Producer Simon Boswell also remixed "Dieche", the B-side of the old "Into the Abyss" single. This became the A-side and, in July 1984, Sex Gang Children scored their final independent hit. 

Unfortunately, it was too late to save the band. They broke up weeks later, with Andi Sexgang promptly salvaging the material bound for their next album as the basis for his own solo debut. Since that time, Sexgang has maintained a profile that is all his own, while the Children, too, have resurfaced on occasion, both to record new material and repackage old. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 4 de enero de 2016

Rip Rig & Panic

Named after a terrific '60s jazz album by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Rip Rig & Panic answered the question: what happens when avant-garde post-punks collide head-long with a pop/soul singer and play a mutated form of jazz? A loosely knit collection of ex-Pop Group members (Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith) and young stars-to-be (Neneh Cherry), Rip, Rig & Panic formed in 1980 as quintessential avant-garde bohemians. They eschewed pop for a more primal, percussive foundation (slightly reggae, slightly Afro-pop) upon which was layered free jazz blowing and honking, soulful singing, and Cecil Taylor-inspired piano mania. But, as intense as this music was, it wasn't played with a dry academic seriousness; quite the contrary, Rip Rig & Panic were all about fun and playfulness. Even the song titles ("Constant Drudgery Is Harmful to Soul, Spirit & Health" and "Those Eskimo Women Speak Frankly") sounded more like surreal announcements than they did traditional, catchy song titles. 

Arguably the most likable bunch of avant-garde types ever to record music, Rip Rig & Panic called it a day after three mostly wonderful, if somewhat inconsistent records. If your taste in music, even fringe music, is such that a strong melodic focus is necessary, than perhaps this won't be your cup of tea. However, if you don't mind a little chaos with your funk, then give this heady mix a chance; it will work its way into your heart, head, and feet. As for the members, Bruce Smith joined Public Image Ltd. for a spell, and Neneh Cherry became a huge pop star (deservedly so) with her first solo record. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

domingo, 3 de enero de 2016

Pink Military

Pink Military was one of the few groups to come from Liverpool during the post-punk era of the late '70s and early '80s that took from non-rock scenes like disco and reggae. While most of the acts that came from the Liverpool club Eric's were more rock-based (Echo & the Bunnymen, Wah!, The Teardrop Explodes), Pink Military had more in common with the non-Liverpool groups of the time that looked outside of rock & roll's history for inspiration. 

After the breakup of Big in Japan, Jayne Casey formed Pink Military Stand Alone with keyboardist/guitarist Nicky Cool; the remainder of the group membership commonly changed from release to release. Within a couple months of their first gig, the live EP 'Buddha Waking Disney Sleeping' was self-released on Last Trumpet. A 12" by the title of 'Blood and Lipstick' was out by October of the same year, released on Eric's, the label affiliated with the Liverpool club. Shortening the group's name to Pink Military, the LP 'Do Animals Believe in God?' was issued in June of 1980. The group -which at the time of the album's release included the nucleus of Casey and Cool, along with keyboardist Charlie Griffiths, ex-Yachts bassist Martin Dempsey, future Simply Red drummer Chris Joyce, and percussionist Neil Innes- dissolved soon after. Casey continued in the longer running Pink Industry. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 2 de enero de 2016

The Meteors

Combining a revved-up variant on the classic rockabilly sound with a tongue-in-cheek obsession with horror movies and cartoonish violence, The Meteors were the U.K.'s leading psychobilly outfit, and often proudly declared that they were the only true exponents of the style (though history records that The Cramps were serving up their own ghoulish mix of rockabilly and horror first). The Meteors were the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Paul Fenech, who first made a name for himself in the late '70s as a member of the British rockabilly group The Southern Boys. After a spell, Fenech and Southern Boys upright bassist Nigel Lewis teamed up to form a two-man rockabilly combo, Rock Therapy; drummer Mark Robertson was added to the lineup in 1980, and the group adopted a new name, Raw Deal

While Raw Deal was beginning to attract attention among rockabilly fans and had landed spots on compilation albums, Fenech decided to give the group a new image. They adopted a punk-inspired look, added a mock-sinister undertow to their music, and adopted lyrics inspired by horror films such as "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Blue Sunshine". Needing a new name to go with their new image, they began calling themselves The Meteors. In 1981, the group released its first album, 'In Heaven', issued as part of an ill-fated deal with Island Records, but the band's real breakthrough came with 1983's 'Wreckin' Crew', which featured a hit single cover of "Johnny Remember Me". By this time, Lewis and Robertson were both out of the band, replaced with Mick White and Steve "Ginger' Meadham taking over on bass and drums, respectively; frequent personnel turnovers would be regular part of The Meteors' story from this point forward, with Fenech the sole constant though literally dozens of lineups. 

The band remained a popular attraction in the United Kingdom and Europe, touring frequently and releasing recordings at a steady pace through the 1980s and '90s, though it gained only a cult following in the United States. In the fall of 2000, Fenech announced that The Meteors would be giving up live performances following a swing through Germany, but to the relief of fans, he reconsidered and a few years later yet another lineup of the group was touring regularly and hard at work on new recordings. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 1 de enero de 2016


Discordant, elusive, and utterly hypnotic, Loop conjured a dark, trance-like spell that contrasted sharply with the prevailing British pop music trends of their time. Equal parts The Stooges, Can, and Hawkwind, they resurrected the concept of space rock for a new era in tandem with fellow travelers Spacemen 3, creating droning soundscapes of bleak beauty and harsh dissonance. 

Loop were formed in London in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Robert Hampson, who at the time of the group's inception claimed to know only four chords. With wife Bex (Becky Stewart) on drums and Glen Ray on bass, they debuted with the single "16 Dreams", its raw, feedback-powered sound offering clear evidence of a serious garage fixation. New drummer John Wills and bassist Neil MacKay were signed on a short time later, with their arrival heralding a more primal rhythmic foundation. The reconfigured Loop then issued their 1987 full-length debut, 'Heaven's End', winning acclaim for its densely distorted sound. 

'The World in Your Eyes', a collection of singles and B-sides, appeared in 1987. After signing to the Chapter 22 label, Loop resurfaced in 1988 with the 12" 'Collision'. In November of that same year, Loop also released their second full-length, the excellent 'Fade Out'. Over a year passed before the band returned to action with the 'Arc-Lite' single, now sporting not only another new label, Situation 2, but also a second guitarist, Scott Dawson. After issuing their third and finest studio LP, 1990's 'A Gilded Eternity', Loop disbanded. A series of posthumous releases, among them the live 'Dual' and the BBC sessions collection 'Wolf Flow', soon followed. In the wake of the band's demise, its four members split into two camps -while MacKay and Wills reunited in The Hair & Skin Trading Company, Hampson and Dawson went on to form the highly experimental Main

Loop's catalog slid out of print during the '90s, but it was comprehensively reissued on the band's Reactor label in 2008. Five years later, the band -Hampson, Wills, MacKay, and Dawson- reconvened for touring and co-curated the lineup for the "End of an Era, Pt. 2" portion of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Camber Sands in East Sussex, England. Dates followed through May 2014, when the band performed in Barcelona at another festival, Primavera Sound. Later that year, Hampson assembled a new lineup that featured guitarist Dan Boyd, bassist Hugo Morgan, and drummer Wayne Maskel. Through ATP, the label offshoot of All Tomorrow's Parties, the band issued new recordings, beginning with Array 1 in June 2015. The release coincided with a handful of live dates, including several in the U.K. and one in Iceland. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC