sábado, 30 de abril de 2016

The Pooh Sticks


The Pooh Sticks were rock's most inside joke, a monumental yet affectionate prank on the very mythology of pop music itself. Cloaked behind ridiculously overblown marketing schemes, made-up histories, and cartoon-character images, the Welsh group punctured the industry's myriad excesses, freely pilfering from the entirety of pop's past by shoplifting titles, lyrics, and melodies at will; wrapping their barbs in cotton-candy singalongs, their subversions worked on many levels -postmodern cultural criticism, retro-irony, slavish imitation, and power pop manna among them- to forge an identity as high concept as it was lowbrow. 

The Pooh Sticks were ostensibly led by frontman Hue Pooh (born Hue Williams), who in October 1987 teamed with Swansea-area schoolmates Paul, (guitar), Alison (bass), Trudi Tangerine (keyboards), and Stephanie (drums) -no last names, please- and debuted with the single "On Tape," a witty jab at indie rock fan boy mentality released on manager/svengali Steve Gregory's Fierce label. (In actuality, Gregory was the real mastermind behind The Pooh Sticks, writing, arranging, and producing their records, designing their cover artwork, and even choreographing their live performances.) 'Alan McGee' -an ironically lavish box set comprised entirely of one-sided singles including the famed "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well," a nod to the Creation Records chief -followed in 1988. 


'The Pooh Sticks EP', a streamlined collection of the box set material, appeared later in 1988, trailed by 'Orgasm', a set "recorded live...in Trudi Tangerine's basement" including the wonderful "Indie Pop Ain't Noise Pollution." The 1989 mock-bootleg 'Trademark of Quality' was next, compiling live material from a pair of recent club dates including a cover of The Vaselines' "Dying for It" as well as an early rendition of the group's semi-original "Young People." In 1990, they even finally recorded a proper studio LP, 'Formula One Generation'. 

In 1991, The Pooh Sticks added Talulah Gosh and Heavenly vocalist Amelia Fletcher to their ranks; the resulting LP, 'The Great White Wonder', was their masterpiece, a collection of ace pop songs built entirely around other people's ideas, from the Neil Young "Powderfinger" guitar solo at the heart of "The Rhythm of Love" to the liberal use of Stephen Stills' "Love the one you're with" credo right down to the record's title, borrowed from a legendary Bob Dylan bootleg. 1993's sublime 'Million Seller' took the same path; 1995's 'Optimistic Fool' was The Pooh Sticks' swan song. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 29 de abril de 2016

The Outcasts


At one time the premier punk band in Northern Ireland, The Outcasts’ line-up revolved around the three Cowan brothers; Greg (bass/vocals), Martin (guitar) and Colin (d. 1984; drums). This was the nucleus, though Gordon Blair had temporarily replaced Greg when he was injured in a car crash. The line-up was completed by ‘Getty’ (b. Colin Getgood; guitar) and Raymond Falls (drums). An impressive early single, ‘Magnum Force’, earned them the support of BBC disc jockey John Peel. They went on to release a solid debut album, characterized by the heavy rhythms produced by the twin drummers. However, before the release of 'Seven Deadly Sins', Colin Cowan was killed in a car crash. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 28 de abril de 2016

Necros


Necros were formed in 1980 by then-teenagers Barry Henssler (vocals), Andy Wendler (guitar), and Todd Swalla (drums). After going through a handful of bassists (including Donny Brook, Jeff Allsop, David Cooke, Brian Hyland, Jeff Lake, and Brian Pollack), Corey Rusk joined the band. Barry Henssler had struck up a friendship with Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson of Touch and Go magazine after sending them a copy of his own 'zine, Smegma Journal. Vee and Stimson became fans of the Necros and put the Necros' first record, a self-titled 4-song 7" EP (recorded prior to Rusk's entry into the band) most commonly known as "Sex Drive". This was Touch and Go Records' (then spelled "Rekords") first release and was limited to only 100 copies.

Andy Wendler left the band in 1981 (although he continued to write for them) and Brian Pollack joined on guitar. Later that year, the band recorded and released another self-titled 7" record known as "IQ32", produced by Minor Threat vocalist Ian MacKaye. This 9-song was jointly release by Touch and Go (which Rusk now had a hand in running) and MacKaye's own Dischord Records. Wendler rejoined on guitar in late 1982 and in 1983 the band recorded and released two more records, a 7" and LP both titled 'Conquest For Death'. 


Early on, the Necros played with many prominent punk bands, including Black Flag, Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, Minor Threat, and Tesco Vee's group The Meatmen. The Necros also toured as openers for horror punk band The Misfits, including at The Misfits' last show in which Todd Swalla stepped in to play drums when Brian Damage became too drunk to perform. In 1983 Corey Rusk quit the group to concentrate on Touch and Go, after assuming full control of the label and bassist Ron Sakowski stepped in.

Despite the group's steady output at their onset, the Necros did not release another record for two years. In an interview with One Solution zine, vocalist Barry Henssler blamed the delay between releases on Rusk's refusal to give the band a definite answer as to whether or not they were still on Touch and Go. The label has since deleted their Necros releases from their catalogue. The next Necros release came in 1985 as a split LP with White Flag entitled 'Jail Jello', on Gasatanka Records. Now featuring a more distinctly hard rock sound, the band followed up the split with 1986's 'Tangled Up' LP on Restless Records along with a single of the same name on Gasatanka. Following a 1987 tour with Megadeth, the group called it quits. A live album, 'Live or Else', appeared posthumously in 1989. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Minutemen


More than any other hardcore band, Minutemen epitomized the free-thinking independent ideals that formed the core of punk/alternative music. Wildy eclectic and politically revolutionary, Minutemen never stayed in one place too long; they moved from punk to free jazz to funk to folk at a blinding speed. And they toured and recorded at blinding speed; during the early '80s, they were constantly on the road, turning out records whenever they had a chance. Like their peers Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, and The Meat Puppets, Minutemen built a large, dedicated cult following throughout the United States through their relentless touring. Like their fellow American indie bands, the trio was poised to break into the world of major labels in 1986, and they would have if it wasn't for the tragic death of guitarist/vocalist D. Boon in December of 1985. Even though bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley carried on with fIREHOSE in the late '80s, the legacy of Minutemen overshadowed the new band in the late '80s and early '90s, as the San Pedro trio influenced several generations of musicians. 

D. Boon and Mike Watt began playing music when they were teenagers in the mid-'70s, covering '70s hard rock standards. After they graduated from high school in 1976, they heard their first punk rock records, which marked a significant change in their musical development. Once Boon and Watt heard punk, they began writing their own songs and decided to form their first full-fledged rock & roll band. In 1980, the pair assembled a quartet called The Reactionaries, which featured drummer Frank Tonche and a second guitarist. Within a few months, their second guitarist left and the band changed their name to Minutemen, since most of their songs were not much longer than a minute in duration. They recorded one single with Tonche before he was replaced by George Hurley. After Hurley joined the band, Minutemen recorded 'Paranoid Time', their first EP; the record was released on SST Records in 1981. From the start, the band was eclectic and political, but they didn't find their voice until their first full-length album, 1981's 'The Punch Line'. 


Following the release of 'The Punch Line', Minutemen embarked on a punishing touring schedule, driving across America and playing any city where they could get a gig. They were recording frequently, too. All of their major records appeared on SST Records, but they also issued selected tracks and EPs for other independent labels, beginning with 1982's 'Bean-Spill' EP, which appeared on Thermidor Records. The band's second full-length album, 1983's 'What Makes a Man Start Fires?', earned them considerable critical acclaim throughout the underground and alternative press. Later in 1983, they released their third album, 'Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat'. 

By the end of 1983, Minutemen had become one of the most popular bands in the American underground, a status they only built upon during 1984. That year, they delivered the double album 'Double Nickels on the Dime'. The length of the album was a response to Hüsker Dü's 1984 double album "Zen Arcade", but the expanded length gave the group an opportunity to stretch out and showcase their increasing musical depth and vision. 'Double Nickels on the Dime' was a considerable underground hit, earning substantial college radio play and critical praise; many critics named it one of the best albums of the year. Also in 1984, the band released a collection of outtakes and unreleased material called 'The Politics of Time' on New Alliance Records. 


Throughout 1985, Minutemen churned out recordings, beginning with the 'Tour-Spiel' EP on Reflex Records. It was followed by the cassette-only retrospective 'My First Bells', which was released on SST. After 'My First Bells', the group issued another EP, 'Project Mersh', which featured covers of "commercial" arena rock bands plus several long original "spiels." Around the same time, the group recorded the 'Minuteflag' EP, a one-off collaboration with Black Flag. Finally, Minutemen released the full-length follow-up to 'Double Nickels on the Dime', '3-Way Tie (For Last)', toward the end of the year. Like its predecessor, '3-Way Tie (For Last)' received overwhelming positive reviews, including notices in mainstream publications. 

In December of 1985, D. Boon and his girlfriend were driving home from the house of one of her relatives when they were involved in a fatal automobile accident. For the first part of 1986, Mike Watt and George Hurley tried to decide whether they would continue playing music. During this time, the live 'Ballot Result' was compiled and released. After a few months, both Watt and Hurley had decided to quit music when they were convinced to continue playing by a passionate Minutemen fan and guitarist called Ed Crawford. Watt, Hurley, and Crawford formed fIREHOSE in 1986 and later in the year, the new band released their debut album, 'Ragin', Full-On'. fIREHOSE toured and recorded for the next seven years, signing with the major label Columbia in 1991. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

lunes, 25 de abril de 2016

The Lightning Seeds


The wispy pop outfit The Lightning Seeds were essentially the solo project of noted producer Ian Broudie. Born August 4, 1958 in Liverpool, England, Broudie first emerged as a member of Big in Japan, a product of the same Liverpudlian post-punk scene that gave rise to Echo & the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, and Icicle Works. After Big in Japan split in 1979, Broudie followed a brief tenure in The Original Mirrors by producing the first two Bunnymen LPs, "Crocodiles" and "Heaven Up Here", as well as work by The Fall, Wah!, and Frazier Chorus

Seeking to return to performing, in 1982 Broudie teamed with Wild Swans vocalist Paul Simpson under the name Care; the duo released a series of shimmering singles that pointed in the direction Broudie followed in The Lightning Seeds, a one-man band backed by pop luminaries and session players. After scoring an international hit with the lush single "Pure," The Lightning Seeds issued their debut LP, 'Cloudcuckooland', in 1989. Still, despite the record's success, Broudie again returned to production, helming albums for groups like The Primitives, Sleeper, Alison Moyet, and The Frank & Walters.

In 1992, Broudie revived The Lightning Seeds guise for 'Sense', on which he made synth programmer Simon Rogers (formerly of The Fall) a full musical partner; for 1994's 'Jollification', he formed a touring band (comprised of keyboardist Ali Kane, former Rain bassist Martyn Campbell, and ex-Icicle Works drummer Chris Sharrock) to play his first live shows since serving in The Original Mirrors over a decade previously. The British chart hits "Three Lions" (a number one U.K. single commissioned as theme music for the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship) and "Ready or Not" (a Top 20 U.K. single) followed in 1996, the latter included on that year's 'Dizzy Heights' full-length. 

Broudie made an attempt to modernize The Lightning Seeds’ sound on 1999’s 'Tilt', but the album's commercial reception was less than overwhelming and he decided to put the group on hiatus. Following the turn of the millennium Broudie produced a number of bands on the Liverpool "cosmic scouse" scene, including Coral and The Zutons, and 2004 saw the arrival of 'Tales Told', Broudie's first solo album under his own name. Two years later Broudie re-formed The Lightning Seeds with a new lineup for live appearances, and in May 2009 the group's sixth studio album, 'Four Winds', was released. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 24 de abril de 2016

King Of The Slums


Formed near Manchester, England, by Charley Keigher (vocals) and Sarah Curtis (electric violin), Salford’s King Of The Slums first surfaced with the amateurish ‘Spider Psychiatry’ on SLR Records in 1986. The single went unnoticed and the band spent nearly two years refining their sound, before issuing the impressive EP 'England’s Finest Hopes', on the local Play Hard label in February 1988. Curtis’ scratchy, John Cale-like violin playing and Keigher’s vehement polemic were augmented by Jon Chandler (bass) although over the next few years the band used a succession of drummers -Trevor Rising, Ross Cain and Ged O’Brian, before eventually settling with Stuart Owen. ‘Bombs Away! On Harpurhey’ and the controversial ‘Vicious British Boyfriend’ (with its Enoch Powell/Union Jack sleeve) followed in quick succession early in 1989. A live appearance on BBC Television’s Snub TV helped both singles into the independent charts, capturing one of the band’s most electrifying moments, ‘Fanciable Headcase’. 'Barbarous English Fayre' compiled the group’s Play Hard recordings, as the band moved to Midnight Music, acquiring a new bass player, James Cashan, along the way. Another independent hit, ‘Once A Prefect’, preceded King Of The Slums’ first proper album, 'Dandelions'. Titles such as "Up The Empire/Balls To The Bulldog Breed" and "Barbarous Superiors" continued Keigher’s fork-tongued lyrical attacks on racism and the establishment. By the time ‘It’s Dead Smart’ arrived in 1990, Pete Mason had replaced previous guitarist Gary Sparkes, but the sound was just as razor-sharp, and the rhetoric no less poignant. 'Blowzy Weirdos' followed a move to Cherry Red Records in 1991, and also saw the group catch a little of the spotlight that had fallen on Manchester in the wake of the Happy Mondays’ arrival. Sadly, it was not enough to ensure the survival of this talented act. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

James


As one of the first groups to be dubbed "the next Smiths," James became an institution on the British alternative music scene during the '80s and '90s with their pleasant folk-pop. Early in their career, James were praised by their idol Morrissey, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. The group was pegged as second-rate Smiths, yet continued to tour and record, eventually gaining a sizable following. In the late '80s, James, like many of their British peers, became involved in the acid house-inspired "baggy" scene and recorded the baggy-inspired "Sit Down," which became their breakthrough hit. Shortly after "Sit Down," James became more experimental, culminating in a collaboration with Brian Eno that resulted in their biggest American album, 'Laid', in 1993. James took four years to follow 'Laid', by which time their audience had returned to a cult following. 

James formed in Manchester in 1982, when Paul Gilbertson (guitar), Jim Glennie (bass), and Gavan Whelan (drums) met Tim Booth (vocals) at Manchester University and asked him to join their fledgling band. During the next year, James became regulars on the local club circuit, and by 1983, they had signed to Factory, releasing their debut EP, 'Jimone', later that year. Two years later, their second EP, 'James 2', was released, and Morrissey, the lead singer of The Smiths, publicly endorsed the group, asking them to open for his band. By the summer of 1985, Larry Gott had replaced Gilbertson, and the group signed to Sire Records. Working with producer Lenny Kaye, the group recorded its debut, 'Stutter', that year, releasing it in early 1986 to generally positive reviews. 


Over the next two years, James toured constantly, building up a solid fan base. They released their second album, the folky 'Strip-Mine', in 1988. The record failed to capitalize on their live following, and the band departed Sire the following year, signing with the independent Rough Trade. On their new label, James released the moderately successful "Sit Down" and the live album 'One Man Clapping', which climbed to number one on the indie charts. In 1990, Whelan was replaced by David Baynton-Power, and James expanded to a septet with the addition of keyboardist Mark Hunter, violinist Saul Davies, and trumpeter Andy Diagram. The new lineup signed to Fontana Records and released 'Gold Mother' in the fall. Following a handful of minor hit singles, 'Gold Mother' finally became a breakthrough success in the spring of 1991, when a re-recorded version of "Sit Down" -now boasting a contemporary baggy beat- climbed to number two on the U.K. charts and became a staple on U.S. modern rock radio. Although the success of "Sit Down" was a blessing, it also was a curse, as the single became all James were known for. The band began to rebel in concert, playing almost nothing but new material, and its next album, 1992's 'Seven', was perceived as a misguided stab at big arena rock. 

For the follow-up to 'Seven', James stripped away Diagram and worked with producer Brian Eno. The resulting record, 'Laid', was a quieter, more ambitious album, and it received some of the band's best reviews. While the album was ignored in the U.K., it was an alternative rock hit in the U.S. on the strength of the title track, which became a crossover hit. During the 'Laid' sessions, James recorded another album's worth of experimental music with Eno that was released in the fall of 1994 as 'Wah Wah'. The album received mixed reviews and the group took an extended break throughout 1995, partly due to guitarist Gott's departure. In 1996, Tim Booth recorded a collaboration with composer Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet) entitled 'Booth and the Bad Angel', which received generally positive reviews. 


With guitarist Adrian Oxaal in tow, James returned in early 1997 with 'Whiplash', a more straightforward record that was greeted with mixed reviews. Released in 1999, 'Millionaires', recorded with new guitarist Michael Kulas, was initially released only in the U.K. Their spectacular follow-up, 2001's 'Pleased to Meet You', was also available only in the U.K. A few months later, frontman Tim Booth announced his departure from the band he founded nearly 20 years before, and James called it quits following a winter tour of the U.K. in December 2001. The break was short-lived, however, as the band re-formed in 2007 and embarked on a tour in support of the double-disc compilation 'Fresh as a Daisy: The Singles'. The following year saw the release of 'Hey Ma', James' tenth studio album. The band returned in 2010 with a pair of "mini-albums" called 'The Night Before' and 'The Morning After', respectively, before late 2011 brought a short, but novel, U.K. tour (The Orchestra of the Swan and The Manchester Consort Choir were their band were their backup bands). In 2012, the lavish and long-awaited box set 'The Gathering Sound' was issued, and included previously unreleased audio material alongside long-unavailable video concert footage. Details of the Max Dingel-produced 'La Petite Mort' emerged in February 2014, and this first post-Mercury studio album was released four months later in June. Dingel then returned to produce their 2016 record, 'The Girl at the End of the World'. Written in Scotland and recorded in London, the album was described by the band as "big but personal, abrasive but warming" and "ultimately uplifting." [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

viernes, 22 de abril de 2016

Happy Mondays


Along with The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays were the leaders of the late-'80s/early-'90s dance club-influenced Manchester scene, experiencing a brief moment in the spotlight before collapsing in 1992. While The Stone Roses were based in '60s pop, adding only a slight hint of dance music, Happy Mondays immersed themselves in the club and rave culture, eventually becoming the most recognizable band of that drug-fueled scene. The Mondays' music relied heavily on the sound and rhythm of house music, spiked with '70s soul licks and swirling '60s psychedelia. It was bright, colorful music that had fractured melodies that never quite gelled into cohesive songs. 

Unwittingly or not, Happy Mondays personified the ugly side of rave culture. They were thugs, purely and simply -they brought out the latent violence that lay beneath the surface of any drug culture, even one as seemingly beatific as England's late-'80s/early-'90s rave scene. Under the leadership of vocalist Shaun Ryder, the group sounded and acted like thugs, especially in comparison with their peace-loving peers, The Stone Roses. Ryder's lyrics were twisted and surrealistic, loaded with bizarre pop culture references, drug slang, and menacing sexuality. Appropriately, their music was as convoluted. Happy Mondays were one of the first rock bands to integrate hip-hop techniques into their music. They didn't sample, but they borrowed melodies and lyrics and, in the process, committed rock blasphemy. For a band that celebrated their vulgarity and excessiveness, Happy Mondays appropriately were undone by their addictions, but they left behind a surprisingly influential legacy, apparent in everyone from dance bands like The Chemical Brothers to rock & rollers like Oasis


With their second album, 1988's 'Bummed', Happy Mondays became British superstars, particularly Ryder. 'Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches', released in 1990, marked the height of the band's popularity, creativity, and influence; although the record made the Top 100 albums chart in America, it didn't establish them as stars in the U.S. After that, the fall was quick. By the time they released their next studio album, 'Yes, Please', Manchester had disappeared from public consciousness; it sold respectably, but the group didn't have the commercial impact that they had just two years before. Besides the lack of public interest, Shaun Ryder had become addicted to heroin, tearing the band apart in the process. At a high-level record contract meeting, Ryder walked out for some "Kentucky Fried Chicken," which was the band's slang for heroin. He never returned and the group quickly fell apart. 

Ryder and the Mondays' full-time dancer, Bez, re-emerged in the mid-'90s with Black Grape. The band released its critically acclaimed debut, 'It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah', late in the summer of 1995. Black Grape's sound pursued the same direction as the Mondays, only with a harder, grittier edge to their sound and lyrics. In 2007, 15 years since their last record, the band (minus about half the original members, including guitarist Mark Day) released their fifth studio album, 'Uncle Dysfunktional'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Guided By Voices


Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, Ohio-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of 'Bee Thousand', the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive reviews throughout the mainstream music press and signing a larger distribution deal with Matador Records. Despite all of the attention, the bandmembers never changed their aesthetic, continuing to record their albums on cheap four-track tape decks and thereby limit their potential audience, yet that devotion to lo-fi indie rock helped Guided by Voices maintain a sizable cult during the late '90s. 

Schoolteacher Robert Pollard formed Guided by Voices in the early '80s. Throughout the group's history, Pollard was at the center, writing the majority of the songs and leading each incarnation of the band. During the '80s, Pollard was frequently joined by his brother Jim, who continued to write songs for the group even after his departure in the late '80s. Guided by Voices didn't become a full-fledged band until guitarist Tobin Sprout and bassist Dan Toohey joined the group in 1985. A year later, the group released an EP, 'Forever Since Breakfast', on the local indie I Wanna Records. Guided by Voices released their first full-length album, 'Devil Between My Toes', on their own G Records in 1987; it was followed several months later by 'Sandbox', which appeared on Halo. 'Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia' was released on Halo in 1989 and 'Same Place the Fly Got Smashed' appeared on Rocket #9 Records in 1990. 


During the latter half of the '80s, Guided by Voices was essentially a hobby. The band rarely performed, and a wide array of musicians appeared on the group's albums -according to some estimations, nearly 40 musicians passed through the band during its first decade. Nearly all of the Guided by Voices albums before 'Vampire on Titus' were recorded in Steve Wilbur's eight-track studio in his home garage; Wilbur occasionally played guitar and bass on the records. Guided by Voices added Mitch Mitchell (rhythm guitar) and Kevin Fennell (drums) around the time of 'Propeller' (1992), which was released on Rockathon Records. 

Prior to 1993's 'Vampire on Titus', all of Guided by Voices' records were essentially interchangeable musically, and none were widely available. 'Vampire on Titus' was the first album the band released on the Cleveland-based indie label Scat, and the wider distribution meant the record was heard by a larger audience. Soon, the group had won fans like fellow Dayton native Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders) and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Later in 1993, the band began playing live for the first time in several years, with Greg Demos replacing bassist Toohey. By the spring of 1994, Scat had entered a national distribution deal with Matador Records. 'Bee Thousand' was the first album released under the deal, and it became a surprise word-of-mouth hit, earning positive reviews from mainstream publications like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Pollard had quit teaching shortly before the spring release of 'Bee Thousand', and the group toured heavily behind the album, appearing on the second stage at several Lollapalooza dates. By the fall, GBV's video for "I Am a Scientist" was aired a handful of times on MTV. Demos left the band in late 1994 to study law and was replaced by music journalist Jim Greer


By the release of 1995's 'Alien Lanes', GBV had joined Matador's official roster; their contract with Scat was completed with the spring release of 'Box', a five-disc box set containing the band's pre-'Propeller' albums. 'Alien Lanes' was greeted with positive reviews upon its March release, and the group embarked on its first full-scale American tour. Greer left the band before the recording of 'Under the Bushes Under the Stars', which was released in the spring of 1996. That fall, Pollard and Tobin Sprout both released solo albums on the same day; the records were quickly followed by an album-length EP a month after their release. As the solo albums indicated, Pollard and Sprout had had a falling out during the group's extensive tour earlier that year, which resulted in Pollard firing the rest of the group. 

At the end of 1996, Pollard recorded the next Guided by Voices record, 'Mag Earwhig!', supported by the Cleveland garage punk band Cobra Verde. In 1999, Guided by Voices left Matador to sign with TVT Records, which paired the band with producer Ric Ocasek in hopes of giving GBV's label debut, 'Do the Collapse', a more radio-friendly sound. Pollard, however, allowed fans of his older work to revel in his lo-fi period with 'Suitcase: Failed Experiments & Trashed Aircraft', a four-disc box set featuring 100 unreleased songs recorded over the space of 25 years. While GBV's second album for TVT, 2001's polished and hard-rocking 'Isolation Drills', received strong reviews, the band hadn't expanded its fan base far beyond its loyal cult, and in 2002 GBV returned to Matador with 'Universal Truths and Cycles', as well as a number of side projects released through Pollard's reactivated Rockathon label. 


In the spring of 2004, Pollard startled his fans with the announcement that he would be breaking up Guided by Voices later that year. The band's supposed final album, 'Half Smiles of the Decomposed', was released the following August, and the resulting farewell tour concluded with a New Year's Eve show in Chicago. Even broken up, 2005 was a busy year for GBV. Pollard signed with Chapel Hill's Merge Records and announced plans for a 2006 solo album. Rock critic and former bandmember Jim Greer authored the book "Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll". There was another box set of unreleased material, this one entitled 'Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow', and the 1992 album 'Propeller' was reissued. To add to the accumulation of GBV material, a live album, 'Live from Austin TX', was released in 2007, showcasing a performance recorded in November 2004 for the PBS series Austin City Limits during the band's farewell tour. 

In 2010, Pollard assembled what he called a "classic lineup" of 1990's GBV veterans (including Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, and Greg Demos) to play a show at the Matador Records 21st anniversary festival. The show was well received, and the lineup proceeded to tour again; in 2011, Pollard announced they were working on new material. The following year, GBV released their first new album in eight years, 'Let's Go Eat the Factory'. Making up for lost time, a second new album, 'Class Clown Spots a UFO', arrived in June of the same year, with a third, 'The Bears for Lunch', following before the year was out. The reunited band soldiered on in 2013 and dropped its fourth album, 'English Little League', right on schedule in May, followed shortly by the six-song EP 'Down by the Racetrack'. After a public falling out with drummer Kevin Fennell -who was asked to leave the band in October 2013 following a curious incident in which he attempted to sell his drum kit online for $55,000- frontman Pollard announced that the group would release its 21st album, 'Motivational Jumpsuit', with Kevin March behind the drums. The album saw release in February 2014. 


They continued their resurgence with 'Cool Planet', scheduled for release just months after 'Motivational Jumpsuit' appeared, after recording 18 tracks during the freezing "polar vortex" weather system that swept through America that winter. But in September 2014, only four months after the release of 'Cool Planet', Guided by Voices abruptly announced that they were canceling all concert dates as the band had once again broken up, with Pollard telling The New York Times, "It's gone as far as it was going to go and to go beyond this point, to any degree or any length would be just going through the motions." In February 2015, Pollard launched a new project, Ricked Wicky, and two months later dropped a solo album, 'Faulty Superheroes', confirming he would remain prolific even without the group. In the fall of 2015, Pollard offered a look at his past and future with the box set 'Suitcase 4: Captain Kangaroo Won the War', another four-CD/100-song marathon which collected a wealth of Guided by Voices demos and outtakes along with rough versions of tunes Pollard wrote for an upcoming solo album, 'Of Course You Are'.

In February 2016, Robert Pollard surprised many fans by announcing that Guided by Voices would be touring that year, beginning with a June appearance at the Sled Island Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Pollard revealed that GBV would be performing in a new lineup, with the frontman joined by Nick Mitchell (of Ricked Wicky) and Bobby Bare, Jr. on guitars, Mark Shue on bass, and Kevin March on drums. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC] 

martes, 19 de abril de 2016

Flipper


They came, they saw, and they conquered -sort of. Never topping the charts, nor possessing a huge following, San Francisco's Flipper, even in the '90s alt-rock sweepstakes, would still be considered a fringe act. But, in 1982, they were the toast of rock critics across the country with their post-hardcore punk masterpiece "Sex Bomb." Clocking in at over seven minutes, possessing one riff played over and over (and sloppier and sloppier), with vocalist Will Shatter screaming rather than singing (total lyrics: "She's a sex bomb/My baby/yeah"), it was a remarkable record: loud, proud, defiantly obnoxious, and relentlessly dumb. But in it's own gleeful and intentionally moronic way it was (and remains) a perfect record. 

With "Sex Bomb" providing the impetus, Shatter and fellow Flippers, vocalist/bassist Bruce Loose, drummer Steve DePace, and guitarist Ted Falconi, emerged from the fractious muck of the California hardcore punk scene (Shatter and DePace played in the Bay Area hardcore band Negative Trend in the late '70s) with a crushingly loud, slowed-down sound that resembled The Stooges at their most drug-addled (see "We Will Fall" from the first Stooges LP). Flipper didn't care if you loved or loathed them (most everyone loathed them), they simply played until you couldn't stand it anymore. There was something wonderfully uncomplicated about this attitude, which is probably the reason that Flipper, despite being seen as a one-shot band, had a career that lasted longer than 15 minutes. 


Their debut album, 'Album-Generic Flipper', included "Sex Bomb" along with a handful of good-to-great songs about anonymity and desperation that were not all-bleak, nor without moments of humor. In fact, Flipper may have been the first hardcore/post-hardcore band to essay life-affirming messages on its album (no matter how tongue-in-cheek it might sound). So, although there's a track called "Life Is Cheap," there is also "Life" which offers the sentiment: "I too have sung death's praises/But I'm not gonna sing that song anymore." Adding the oft-stated sentiment, "Life is the only thing worth living for." Hmmm. How, uh, un-punk. 

With much of the rock press singing their praises (and deservedly so), Flipper went on to demi-celebrity status as the reigning kings of American underground rock, for a few years. They never released anything as mind-blowingly good as 'Album', but until they split up in 1987, the music was usually very good. Precipitating their breakup was Shatter's death from a heroin overdose, with the remaining members spending the next half-dozen years stepping in-and-out of music. In 1992, Flipper fan and American Recordings label honcho Rick Rubin encouraged the remaining members to record a new album. The subsequent effort, 'American Grafishy', only hinted at their greatness. Their comeback attempt notwithstanding, Flipper's greatness lies in their ability to say "let's rock our way." [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 18 de abril de 2016

Die Kreuzen


Formed in Milwaukee, WI, in the early '80s, Die Kreuzen took equal parts of heavy metal and hardcore punk as its inspiration, producing some of the more challenging indie rock of the period and in many ways anticipating the grunge rock sound of the '90s. The band consisted of Dan Kubinski (vocals), Brian Egeness (guitar), Keith Brammer (bass), and Eric Tunison (drums). After signing to Touch & Go in 1984, they continued a move from hardcore into a more traditional hard rock sound. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 17 de abril de 2016

Circle Jerks


Formed in 1979 by Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris and Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson, Circle Jerks combined the rebelliousness of The Sex Pistols and Ramones with the aggressive athletic elements of the surfer/skateboarder crowd from Hermosa Beach. This coastal city just south of Los Angeles ignited the initial explosion of hardcore bands. Including bassist Roger Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer, the band recorded their debut album, 'Group Sex', in 1980 on Frontier Records. Containing 14 tracks, the songs ranged in length from 1:35 to 27 seconds, taking the hyper blast of punk to the next extreme. With the release of the album, an appearance in the documentary film about L.A. punk "The Decline of Western Civilization", and their incendiary live performances, the group's stature was assured in the budding hardcore community. 

Their second LP, 1982's 'Wild in the Streets', continued the intensity while injecting a humorous slant into the music by covering '60s pop hits "Just Like Me"/"Put a Little Love in Your Heart," applied with their slamdancing aggression. The joke was expanded on 'Golden Shower of Hits', their third album, released in 1983. The second time around they tackled "Along Comes Mary," "Afternoon Delight," "Having My Baby," and "Love Will Keep Us Together." 'Golden Shower...' also marked the incorporation of a few longer songs that hovered around the three-minute mark, including "Under the Gun," "High Price on Our Heads," and "Rats of Reality." At this point the band took a two-year break, which found Hetson joining the newly formed Bad Religion, taking on guitar duties for both bands well into the next decade. 


In 1985 Circle Jerks returned with two new bandmembers, Keith Clark on drums and bassist Zander Schloss, releasing the metal-tinged 'Wonderful' album on the Combat label. The group's new approach received mixed reviews, as their hard and fast thrash was slowed down and replaced by an explicit hard rock thump, which carried over to their next Combat release in 1987, 'VI'. The band kept a low profile into the '90s, with the only Circle Jerks record being the 1992 anthology of concert performances titled 'Gig'. By 1995, the band released its first new studio album in eight years, 'Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities', their major-label debut on Mercury. A highlight among the 12 tracks was a cover version of The Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You," featuring a truly odd vocal appearance by Circle Jerks' fan Debbie Gibson, who would sporadically show up at gigs and perform the song with the band! 

By 1996 the years of rough touring caught up with the bandmembers and once again they went on hiatus. Morris in particular had been plagued by serious health problems, including a back injury that forced him to wear a brace, colon and stomach problems including appendicitis, and a 1999 diagnosis of adult onset diabetes. Since Morris had no health insurance, benefits were held to curtail his enormous medical bills, allowing the now dreadlocked lead singer to begin recuperating. In 2003 Morris was well enough to play live gigs with his spoken word jazz-punk ensemble Midget Handjob, and also tour with Circle Jerks and The Rollins Band. An appearance on the Henry Rollins' orchestrated benefit album 'Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three' would bring Morris full circle with a performance of "Nervous Breakdown," a track he initially recorded in 1978 with the first incarnation of Black Flag. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 16 de abril de 2016

The Bible


The Bible were formed in 1986 in a Cambridge, England, record shop; there struggling singer/songwriter Boo Hewerdine, a Cambridge native just returned from an unsuccessful foray in London, performed a couple of his compositions for store clerk Tony Shepherd, who agreed to play keyboards and drums on a planned demo. The resulting tapes soon appeared as The Bible's debut LP, 'Walking the Ghost Back Home'; the record won considerable press acclaim for such tracks as "Graceland" and "Mahalia," and the group was quickly signed to Chrysalis. 


After swelling to a four-piece with the inclusion of drummer Dave Larcombe and guitarist Neill MacColl (brother of singer Kirsty), The Bible began working on their major-label debut; unsatisfied with their first attempts, they recruited Steve Earle to produce the record, a more subtle and sophisticated effort titled 'Eureka'. Released in early 1988, the LP failed to find an audience, and a pair of strong singles, "Crystal Palace" and "Honey Be Good," quickly dropped from sight. With new bassist Leroy Lender, The Bible toured and began work on a third album; however, the finished songs were rejected by label chiefs, who instead insisted upon reissuing older material (resulting in belated Top 40 status for "Honey Be Good"), and the band dissolved. 

In the years that followed, Hewerdine cut a 1989 effort, 'Evidence', with Texas performer Darden Smith, and also made a proper 1992 solo debut with 'Ignorance'. In December 1993 The Bible re-formed for a series of live performances, which proved so successful that the group soon reunited to begin working on new material. An EP followed in 1994, but the band again fell apart before a full-length release could be completed; the few finished tracks were later issued as part of the 1996 Hewerdine solo record 'Baptism Hospital'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 15 de abril de 2016

Angelic Upstarts


Formed in South Shields, England in 1977, Angelic Upstarts was one of the period's most politically charged and thought-provoking groups; though technically a skinhead band, their records attacked the racism and fascism so prevalent throughout the skinhead community, and while also technically a punk unit, their music quickly evolved beyond the movement's limited scope. 

Angelic Upstarts were led by the rather nasal vocalist Mensi (born Thomas Mensforth), whose impoverished childhood became a frequent lyrical touchstone. Along with a highly fluid lineup which initially comprised guitarist Mond, bassist Ronnie Wooden, and drummer Sticks, the group debuted with the 1979 single "Murder of Liddle Towers," a scabrous attack on police brutality. The record caught the attention of Sham 69's Jimmy Pursey, who produced their debut album 'Teenage Warning', which, like its 1980 follow-up, 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place', roundly ridiculed the oppressive policies of Margaret Thatcher while offering an outpouring of sympathy for the working class. 


As the Upstarts' popularity surged, so did the levels of violence at their live shows; they became mortal enemies of National Front fascist supporters, who railed against the band after first misinterpreting their leftist songs as supportive of their cause. At the same time, the band's music was becoming more complex and accomplished; by 1983's 'Reason Why?', the strongest Angelic Upstarts record, Mensi's songwriting skills had become tighter and more melodic, even branching out into reggae and folk, while the group's base broadened with the addition of keyboards and saxophones. 

After issuing the inflammatory single "Brighton Bomb," a celebration of the IRA's attempt to assassinate the Conservative cabinet, the band released the LP 'The Power of the Press'; lackluster sales triggered their breakup not long after. In 1988, Angelic Upstarts briefly re-formed; in 1992, they reunited again, this time long enough to cut an album, 'Bombed Out'. Mensi subsequently arose as a leader of the Anti-Fascist Action group. They managed to reunite occasionally, cutting a live album for Mordam Records (2001's 'Live from the Justice League'), and even revisiting the United States for their first live show in almost 20 years. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 13 de abril de 2016

The Wolfhounds


Noise pop group The Wolfhounds was formed in Essex, England by singer Dave Callahan, guitarists Paul Clark and Andy Golding, bassist Andy Bolton, and drummer Frank Stebbing. Evolving from the ashes of the local garage band The Changelings, the group debuted in the spring of 1986 with the EP 'Cut the Cake'; despite the record's gritty, intense approach, it nevertheless landed The Wolfhounds a spot on the NME's C-86 compilation cassette, a release which otherwise spotlighted a much sweeter jangle-pop sound. Even as C-86 emerged as something of a genre unto itself, The Wolfhounds continued exploring a darker, more experimental direction on the follow-up single "The Anti-Midas Touch," releasing the full-length 'Unseen Ripples from a Pebble' in 1987. Guitarist Matthew Deighton and bassist David Oliver replaced Clark and Bolton prior to the 1988 single 'Son of Nothing', with the subsequent LP 'Bright and Guilty' remaining the band's creative peak; long-simmering internal tensions reached their boiling point during the sessions for 1990's blistering 'Attitude', however, and upon its completion The Wolfhounds disbanded. Callahan later resurfaced in the much-lauded Moonshake. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 12 de abril de 2016

3 Mustaphas 3


Before the term world music was a twinkling in anyone's eye, 3 Mustaphas 3 were doing it, mixing up different cultures into a gleeful grab bag of music and leaving a heritage that has influenced musicians all over the world. Legend -their own legend- has it that the Mustaphas were smuggled out of their mysterious Balkan hometown of Szegerely (where they played at the Crazy Loquat Club) in refrigerators, ending up in England. Not only did they play Balkan music, but a crazy quilt of pieces that they'd first heard on the (extremely eclectic) jukebox at the Crazy Loquat. At great story, but utter rubbish, of course. The truth was more prosaic. In 1982, Ben Mandelson (Hijaz Mustapha), a guitarist and musicologist, began playing with bassist Colin Bass (Sabah Habas Mustapha) and a revolving door of people all of whom assumed bizarre Mustapha relative names, including former Damned member Lu Edmonds, who proved himself adept at the saz and various other ethnic stringed instruments. What they ended up stitching together, both on record and live, drew from Latin, African, Indian, filmi, country, Balkan -if it was out there, it became a Mustaphas influence. They played frequent shows in Britain and throughout Europe, and even toured the U.S. before releasing their debut album, 'Shopping', on Mendelson's Globestyle label in 1987. With world music gaining a higher market profile thanks to Paul Simon's successful "Graceland", there was a more receptive audience for the strangeness the Mustaphas were purveying, and their touring schedule became more frantic. But they did still find time to record, coming out with the magnificent 'Heart of Uncle' in 1989 and then 'Soup of the Century' a year later. They became a cult act, with an audience that ranged from world music snobs to hippies to punks, all attracted by the band's wicked sense of humor; they had an outright refusal to take anything, especially themselves, seriously. Underscoring it was an excellent, if anarchic, musical sensibility, and respect for the cultures from which they drew their music. The question was, how far could they take it? 1991 brought 'Friends, Fiends & Fronds', a compilation of alternate mixes, singles, and rare tracks, which filled in some time. And the band continued to tour, although not as heavily as before. By 1992 there was still no "new" album, and the group seemed to be giving up the ghost. Certainly a year later, with no album in sight and dates sporadic at best, it seemed as if 3 Mustaphas 3 had gone the way of all flesh. Sabah Habas Mustapha began to focus on his solo career, playing Indonesian dangdut music and writing a massive Asian hit, "Denpasar Moon," in addition to filling the bass slot with aging prog-rockers Camel. Lu Edmonds became a Mekon, touring and recording with them, and Mendelson turned his attention to producing records for Globestyle. However, no one has ever knocked the Mustaphas completely on the head. The band has always maintained that they would reform if the money was right, but no one has yet to come up with a suitable offer. The closest to a reunion has been Mendelson and Edmonds playing together as part of Billy Bragg's backing band, The Blokes, beginning in 1998. Although no gigs were mentioned, Mendelson and Bass did get together in a recording studio in early 2001 to select tracks for a much-belated Mustaphas live album, due to see the light of day in the summer of that year. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 11 de abril de 2016

Shop Assistants


Formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, during 1984, this pop band used guitar inflections enthusiastically borrowed from The Buzzcocks. They were originally titled Buba And The Shop Assistants and released a solitary single, ‘Something To Do’, under that name. With only 500 pressings on the obscure Villa 21 independent, it has gained a reputation among record collectors for its monetary value as well as the spirited songwriting. Mainman David Keegan (guitar) was joined by Alex Taylor (vocals), Sarah Kneale (bass) and twin drummers Ann Donald (replaced in 1986 by Joan Bride) and Laura McPhail. ‘All Day Long’, on the Subway Organisation label, was allegedly Morrissey’s favourite single of 1985, but by this time they had garnered adequate plaudits from their exposure in fanzines and magazines. The following year’s release on the 53rd & 3rd label (jointly set up by Keegan with Stephen of The Pastels), ‘Safety Net’, reached number 1 on the UK independent chart. 


Signing to the major Chrysalis Records label saw the release of the Shop Assistants’ debut album, which made a brief appearance in the Top 100 and then disappeared -as did the band. When Taylor left in 1987 to form Motorcycle Boy the critical acclaim dried up. Keegan also left, taking up a post as a skiing instructor, while Kneale and McPhail went back to college. They re-formed in 1990, with McPhail switching to bass and Margarita taking her place on drums. One of the singles produced, ‘The Big E’, was, typically, a tribute to the guitar chord rather than the fashionable drug of the period. By this time they had signed to Andrew Tulley’s Avalanche label, although their status in the independent scene has been somewhat eroded by the passing years. Keegan would eventually make a permanent commitment to The Pastels. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 10 de abril de 2016

Poly Styrene


Patti Smith may get a great deal more credit as the godmother of punk, but the archetype for modern-day feminist punk should really be traced to Poly Styrene, leader of first-wave London punk legends X-Ray Spex. Styrene was undoubtedly one of the least conventional frontpersons in rock history, male or female -a chubby, half-white/half-Somalian teenager who still wore braces, not to mention a loud Day-Glo wardrobe. She sang in a raw, untutored scream that quavered and shook when she looked to extend her range, a vocal style echoed by riot grrrls like Kathleen Hanna and Corin Tucker. Witty and intelligent, she attacked corporations, consumerism, and artificiality with a winning sense of humor. Mixed feelings about her time in the public eye helped lead to a quick exit from the music business, but her place in punk history was already secure. 

Poly Styrene was born Marion Elliot in London, and formed X-Ray Spex in 1976, after seeing a Sex Pistols gig and deciding she could do that too. Their debut single, "Oh Bondage, Up Yours," became a punk rallying cry, and single-handedly anticipated the riot grrrl movement of the '90s. One year after the highly acclaimed full-length 'Germ Free Adolescents' appeared in 1978, X-Ray Spex disbanded. Styrene went out on her own and released her solo debut, 'Translucence', on United Artists in 1980. Jazzier and subtler than her work with X-Ray Spex, the album threw some fans for a loop, but won critical praise all the same. 


Even less predictable was Styrene's next move: not long after 'Translucence', she quit music to join the Hare Krishnas, which perhaps made sense in hindsight given their lack of concern for the material world that Styrene so often railed against in her music. She resurfaced briefly in 1986 with an EP for the Awesome label titled 'God's & Goddesses' [sic], and also contributed Krishna chants to a Dream Academy track in 1990. In 1995, she reunited X-Ray Spex for a second album, 'Conscious Consumer'. Recorded with her daughter Celeste Bell, the “Black Christmas” single appeared in time for 2010’s holiday season. Styrene’s 'Generation Indigo' album was released a year later along with its electro-pop single “Virtual Boyfriend.” Mere weeks after 'Generation Indigo's release in the U.K., she died in her sleep on 25 April 2011 after a battle with breast cancer; Poly Styrene was 53 years old. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 9 de abril de 2016

Minor Threat


Minor Threat was the definitive Washington, D.C., hardcore punk band, setting the style for the straight-edge punk movement of the early '80s. Led by vocalist Ian MacKaye, the band was staunchly independent and fiercely sober. Through their songs, the group rejected drugs and alcohol, espoused anti-establishment politics, and led a call for self-awareness. Every song was fast, sharp, and lethal, often clocking in at just around a minute. Their speed and fury often hid their fairly catchy melodies, but the band's main function was to vent rage. Over the course of three years, Minor Threat released two EPs, one album, and several singles, all of which were quite popular in the American punk underground. Their records and concerts helped spawn straight-edge, an American punk lifestyle based on the group's intense, clean-living ideology. Following the disbandment of Minor Threat, MacKaye formed Fugazi, who became one of the more popular American indie rock bands of the late '80s and '90s. 


The origins of Minor Threat lie in The Teen Idles, Ian MacKaye's first band. MacKaye formed The Teen Idles while he was attending Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., and after he graduated in 1980, he founded the Dischord record label with the intent of putting out his group's records through the label. Shortly after graduation, The Teen Idles had broken up and MacKaye had formed Minor Threat with former Idles drummer Jeff Nelson, former Government Issue bassist Brian Baker, and guitarist Lyle Preslar. By the end of the year, Minor Threat had released the singles "Minor Threat" and "Straight Edge," and had played many concerts along the East Coast. Throughout 1981, they followed this same pattern, playing a lot of concerts and releasing 7" singles. That year, they also released two EPs, 'Minor Threat' and 'In My Eyes', both of which compiled their singles.


In 1982, bassist Baker had left and was replaced by Steve Hansen; Baker later played with the Meatmen, Junkyard, and Dag Nasty. With Hansen on board, the group recorded their only full-length album, 'Out of Step'. Upon its 1983 release, the album became popular within the underground and Minor Threat were becoming alternative stars, which didn't sit well with MacKaye. By the end of the year, he broke up the band. MacKaye and Nelson continued to run Dischord, which thrived well into the '90s. The pair also played together in another band, Egg Hunt. Following the disbandment of Egg Hunt, Nelson played with a variety of bands -including Three and Senator Flux- before devoting his energies to running Dischord. MacKaye played with Embrace, Skewbald, and Pailhead before forming Fugazi, who carried on the aesthetic, if not the sound, of Minor Threat. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 8 de abril de 2016

Lydia Lunch


After leaving the seminal New York no wave outfit Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, poet/actress/vocalist Lydia Lunch (b. Lydia Koch) embarked on a solo career marked by frequent collaborations and band changes, plus an attitude of confrontational nihilism expressed in both her sound and her often violent and/or sexually oriented subject matter. Upon leaving Teenage Jesus, Lunch first formed Beirut Slump, but departed after one single. Her solo debut, 1980's 'Queen of Siam', proved to be one of her most acclaimed efforts, as was her next band, the funk-inflected 8 Eyed Spy. However, that band broke up due to the death of bassist George Scott, and Lunch went back out on her own. 

After 1982's '13.13', which featured former members of The Weirdos, Lunch began a rash of collaborations, working with The Birthday Party on the EP 'The Agony Is the Ecstasy', as well as Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Haut, Sort Sol, Swans' Michael Gira, and members of Sonic Youth. Lunch founded her own Widowspeak label in 1985, immediately delving into spoken word with the EP 'The Uncensored Lydia Lunch' and reissuing much of her back catalog, including a two-CD retrospective, 'Hysterie', in 1986. Her next collaboration was the first of several with Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell, who remixed a shelved project with Birthday Party members from 1982-1983; it was issued as 'Honeymoon in Red' in 1987. The two also released the 'Stinkfist' EP under Thirlwell's Clint Ruin alias in 1989. That same year, Lunch teamed with Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon in Harry Crews, a one-off, all-female noise rock band, for the LP 'Naked in Garden Hills'. Aside from an EP with ex-Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S. Howard in 1991, 'Shotgun Wedding', plus her acting career in underground films, Lunch concentrated on the spoken word arena into the '90s; a three-CD retrospective of this aspect of her career, 'Crimes Against Nature', was issued in 1993, and Lunch continued her activities throughout the decade.

During the first decade of the 2000s, she switched primarily between spoken word and music -though she continued to publish her writing and, occasionally, acted- evidently as inspired and active as she was during the first years of her career. Though a confusing number of anthologies and reissues were released during this time, Lunch continued to produce a large volume of new material, highlighted by 'The Devil's Racetrack' (2000), 'Memory and Madness' (co-credited to Gallon Drunk's Terry Edwards, 2003), 'Willing Victim' (2005), 'Touch My Evil' (with Anubian Lights, 2006).

In 2007, Lunch and Omar-Rodriguez Lopez collaborated on a self-titled mini album, physically issued by the Netherlands' Willie Anderson Recordings label, and digitally by the guitarist's. It was followed by the limited-edition issue of 'Amnesia' by Contemporanea in 2009. She also recorded as Big Sexy Noise in a trio with Gallon Drunk's James Johnston and Ian White that year; it was released by Cherry Red and followed by a European and Australian tour. 


'Twist of Fate', a live collaborations with sound artist Philippe Petit from a concert in Berlin, was released in 2010 and also featured a film of the show. Lunch continued to perform at museums and theaters internationally as well as taking photographs, which have been exhibited globally. 

2013 proved to be a prolific year in the artist's career. Her live band offering, 'Retro Virus' (her backing trio included guitarist Weasel Walter, drummer Bob Bert, and bassist Algis Kyzis), was issued by Interbang, and followed by a double album with Petit entitled 'Taste Our Voodoo' and an experimental trio set entitled 'Medusa's Bed' with Zahra Mani and Mia Zabelka. In November, Lunch performed a new work, 'Dust & Shadows' in collaboration with videographer Elise Passavant as part of the Louisville Museum's 21 century exhibition, "Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion". 

In June of 2014, the artist and guitarist Cypress Grove delivered a set of gothic Americana love songs called, 'A Fistful of Desert Blues'. The pair reteamed for a split album with doomy European folk outfit Spiritual Front on the album 'Twin Horses', which was released in early 2015. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 6 de abril de 2016

The Guana Batz


The Guana Batz were part of a British wave of psychobilly that sprang up in the early '80s, around the same time that bands like The Cramps were gaining underground prominence in America, and more straightforward rockabilly revivalists like The Stray Cats and The Polecats were hitting the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The group was formed in the English town of Feltham, in Middlesex, in 1983, with a lineup featuring vocalist Pip Hancox, guitarist Stuart Osbourne, bassist Mick White (also of the similar Meteors), and drummer Dave Turner; White, an electric bassist, was soon replaced by stand-up acoustic player Sam Sardi. Playing hopped-up rockabilly with the speed and aggression of punk rock, The Guana Batz fit nicely into the British psychobilly scene epitomized by The Meteors, The Stingrays, The Caravans, and other bands who played at the good-naturedly rough Klub Foot in London. As such, the Batz landed a deal relatively quickly, releasing their debut EP, 'You're So Fine', on Big Beat Records by the end of 1983. An appearance on the Stompin' at the Klub Foot compilation netted them a better deal with ABC/ID, which released their full-length debut, 'Held Down...At Last!' (aka 'Held Down to Vinyl...At Last!'), in 1985. A follow-up, 'Loan Sharks', appeared a year later, and proved an even bigger underground hit (at least in the U.K.) than its predecessor. 'Live in London' (recorded at the Klub Foot) followed in 1987, and 'Rough Edges' continued the group's annual release schedule in 1988. Following that album, drummer Turner was replaced by Johnny Bowler, who debuted on 1990's 'Electra Glide in Blue' (recorded for new label World Service). While the band continued to tour the U.K. and Europe (with new bassist Mark Pennington), their initial recording career ended there, and they disbanded during the '90s. Hancox and Bowler both moved to California, where they settled and started families. The Guana Batz reunited in late 1998, however, and recorded the all-covers album 'Undercover' the following year. The compilation 'Can't Take the Pressure' was released in 2000, with a competing best-of, 'The Very Best of the Guana Batz', appearing in 2001. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 5 de abril de 2016

The Flesh Eaters


The Flesh Eaters was the nominal group founded by post-punk poet Chris D. (Desjardins), a singer renowned for his poor social skills (causing a revolving lineup which featured Stan Ridgway, John Doe, and Dave Alvin, among a host of others) and a penchant for obsessively morbid lyrical themes. The first Flesh Eaters full-length, 'No Questions Asked', appeared in 1980 on Upsetter Records. Its follow-up, 'A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die', fleshed out Chris D.'s rather unique vision with a tight band including Alvin, Doe, and another X mainstay, DJ Bonebrake. Though Desjardins rarely had backers as sympathetic and talented after that, he continued to record with 1982's 'Forever Came Today' and the following year's 'A Hard Road to Follow'. 


By the mid-'80s, however, Desjardins had grown tired of recording a Flesh Eaters LP every year, virtually disbanding the already ramshackle group and founding Divine Horsemen for the 1984 LP 'Time Stands Still'. The change of direction, to a more dry and folksy style -though no less pointed and occasionally disturbing- must have stimulated him, for the Horsemen delivered three albums for SST during 1986-1987. After a 1988 EP, Desjardins moved on to a different alias, Stone by Stone, for another SST LP, 'I Pass for Human'. 
 
In the meantime, SST had released two Flesh Eaters compilations and one live LP, and by the turn of the '90s, the predictably unpredictable Desjardins again formed a group around The Flesh Eaters. The first album by the second convening of the band, 1991's 'Dragstrip Riot', was a double-LP with an astounding variety of material ranging from cowpunk to metal to gutbucket blues. The following year brought two more albums, 'Crucified Lovers in Woman Hell' and 'The Sex Diary of Mr. Vampire'. The new millennium, however, saw the release of 'Ashes of Time' in early 2001. 

Desjardins spent some of his post-millennial time making a film, "I Pass for Human", that shared a title with an earlier album. He also worked on new Flesh Eaters material in conjunction with the film that was eventually released in 2004 under the title 'Miss Muerte'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC