martes, 31 de mayo de 2016

The Clean


The Clean were one of the most influential New Zealand bands of the post-punk era. The band formed in the town of Dunedin in 1978, when Hamish Kilgour (drums) and his brother David (guitar) recruited David's school friend, guitarist Peter Gutteridge. Soon afterward, they opened for New Zealand punk rockers Enemy

The Clean were one of the first bands in the country to play original material. They carved out a distinctive noisy but melodic sound, distinguished by David's screeching, distorted guitar. When the Kilgour brothers decided in 1979 to relocate the band to Auckland, Gutteridge had already left the lineup. The Clean played with a rotating bassist before David quit the band and moved back to Dunedin. Once he was back home, he was introduced to bassist Robert Scott and the two started playing together; news of his brother's new musical relationship prompted Hamish to move back to Dunedin and begin The Clean again.
In early 1980, the group began playing around town in earnest. In early 1981, a fan named Roger Shepherd began Flying Nun Records to release a single by The Clean, "Tally Ho!" With its jagged guitar, sweet melody, and persistent organ, "Tally Ho!" reached number 19 on the charts. 

As they prepared to record their first album, they discovered that the small amount of New Zealand engineers didn't care for the band's material. The Clean didn't fight -they backed down, deciding to record on a four-track under the guidance of Chris Knox and Doug Hood. In November, the 'Boodle Boodle Boodle' EP was released; it surprised every observer by climbing to number four on the New Zealand charts. 

'Boodle' and the 1982 EP 'Great Sounds Great' captured the quirky sides of The Clean's sound, since they did not have the technology to replicate the band's roaring live sound. Later in 1982, the group released their loudest single yet, "Getting Older." Soon after its release, David Kilgour exited the band, moving back to Dunedin. Robert Scott left after David's departure, forming a band of his own, The Bats. Hamish Kilgour moved to Christchurch -where Flying Nun Records was located- and bought his own four-track. After Hamish had begun writing and recording, David came up to Christchurch to help finish up the solo tracks, as well as to record some Clean songs. The resulting music, released under the name The Great Unwashed, was collected on the album 'Clean Out of Our Minds'. The music was a departure from The Clean's punk-injected sound; instead, it was folkier and more acoustic. 


To promote the record, the Kilgours reunited with Peter Gutteridge while still using the name The Great Unwashed. On the ensuing tour, the band concentrated on Gutteridge's backlog of material; at the beginning of 1984, they recorded an EP called 'Singles', which earned quite a bit of airplay and sales. Bassist Ross Humphries was added so David Kilgour and Gutteridge could both play guitar, yet The Great Unwashed wound up breaking up within a year. Hamish Kilgour formed Bailter Space with guitarist Alister Parker, Gutteridge began developing a new band called Snapper, and David stopped playing for a few years. 

The Clean -the lineup featuring Robert Scott- reunited in 1988 for two concerts in London; a five-song EP culled from the shows was released a year later. The members of the band were encouraged by the results and decided to embark on a world tour. After the tour ended, the band recorded a new album, which was more straightforward and pop-oriented than their previous material. The record, 'Vehicle', was released in the spring of 1990 and the band supported its release with a world tour. After the tour's completion, the band split again. David Kilgour formed Stephen, Scott returned to The Bats, and Hamish Kilgour was inactive; the group reunited in 1994 to record a new album. 'Modern Rock' was released in late 1995, followed by 'Unknown Country' in 1996. 'Getaway' appeared in 2001 on Merge, but went unnoticed. Two years later, the definitive Clean collection was captured on the 'Anthology' release. In 2003 the band released the first of two new live albums, 'Syd's Pink Wiring System: Live in New Zealand 2000' and 2008's 'Mashed: Live in New Zealand 2007' followed in 2009 by the all-new studio LP 'Mister Pop'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 30 de mayo de 2016

Big Audio Dynamite


After Mick Jones was fired from The Clash in 1983, he formed Big Audio Dynamite (B.A.D.) one year later to continue the more experimental funk elements of The Clash's 'Combat Rock'. The group's original incarnation included Jones, video artist and Clash associate Don Letts (effects and vocals), Greg Roberts (drums), Dan Donovan (keyboards), and Leo "E-Zee Kill" Williams (bass). Adding samplers, dance tracks, and found sounds to Jones' concise pop songwriting, B.A.D. debuted on record with the single "The Bottom Line" in September 1985 and the album 'This Is Big Audio Dynamite' later that year. "E=MC2" and "Medicine Show" became sizable hits in England, and reached the dance charts in America. 

When it arrived in late 1986, Big Audio Dynamite's second album, 'No. 10, Upping St.', boasted co-production and co-writing from Joe Strummer, Jones' former bandmate in The Clash. It was a much better fusion of contemporary production techniques with Jones' songwriting, and the two biggest singles -"C'mon Every Beatbox" and "V. Thirteen"- performed well both on the British pop charts and American dance charts. After a two-year break, the band returned with a less free-form work, 'Tighten Up, Vol. 88', but righted the ship with 1989's 'Megatop Phoenix', their biggest performer in America (thanks to the singles "Contact" and "James Brown"). 


After 'Megatop Phoenix', the band split apart at the end of 1989. Jones quickly added Gary Stonadge (bass/vocals), Chris Kavanagh (drums/vocals), and Nick Hawkins (guitar/vocals) to form Big Audio Dynamite II, while Letts, Williams, and Roberts formed Screaming Target and Donovan joined The Sisters of Mercy. Releasing 'The Globe', the first full-length album with the new lineup, in 1991, B.A.D. II experienced their greatest success yet with the American Top 40 hit "Rush." In 1994, Jones truncated the band's name to Big Audio and released 'Higher Power'. 

After 'Higher Power', Big Audio parted ways with Epic, signing with Radioactive in early 1995 and releasing 'F-Punk'. The single "I Turned Out a Punk" became a college radio hit, even when it was initially released anonymously (granted, Jones' voice was immediately recognizable). That conglomeration also split shortly afterward, Jones later appearing in the production chair of notable records including The Libertines' 'Up the Bracket'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2016

Another Pretty Face


Formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1978, Another Pretty Face revolved around Mike Scott (b. Michael Scott, 14 December 1958, Edinburgh, Scotland; guitar/vocals), publisher of the fanzine Jungleland, and former leader of several low-key acts, including Karma and The Bootlegs. John Caldwell (guitar), Jim Geddes (bass) and ‘Crigg’ (b. Ian Walter Greig; drums) joined Scott in Another Pretty Face and the band’s debut single, ‘All The Boys Love Carrie’, was issued in 1979. Produced by ex-Rezillos saxophonist William Mysterious, the song indicated Scott’s love of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen and was declared ‘Record of the Week’ in the New Musical Express. Several major companies took interest in the band until Virgin Records secured their services in 1980. One single, ‘Whatever Happened To The West?’, followed before tension between the band and the record company brought the arrangement to a premature end. A projected album, produced by Only Ones bass player Alan Mair, had been completed and several of these recordings formed the basis for the band’s subsequent releases, issued on Scott’s own label, Chicken Jazz. Two singles, ‘Heaven Gets Closer Every Day’ and ‘Soul To Soul’, plus an eight-track cassette, followed. In 1982, Scott and Caldwell -by then the remaining members- opted to change the band’s name to Funhouse. ‘Out Of Control’ was issued on Ensign Records, after which Scott began recording a series of solo demos. He ended his partnership with Caldwell and formed a new unit, The Waterboys. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 24 de mayo de 2016

The Woodentops


Taking punk's D.I.Y. ideals and applying them to stripped-down acoustic pop, The Woodentops achieved a great deal of critical success in the short time they were together. Formed in the early '80s in Northhampton, England, the group consisted of Rolo McGinty (vocals, guitar), Frank de Freitas (bass), Simon Mawby (guitar), Benny Staples (drums), and Alice Thompson (keyboards). The band released its debut single, "Plenty," on Food Records; the record led to a contract with Rough Trade. Throughout 1985, The Woodentops released a series of singles, all written by McGinty, that began to attract an audience in the U.K. The group released its acclaimed debut album, 'Giant', in 1986. The following year, The Woodentops began experimenting with their sound, adding tougher guitars and electronics as McGinty became increasingly interesting in dance music. These changes were particularly evident in their live show, as shown by their 1987 live recording, 'Hypno Beat Live', recording during the group's American tour. (The tour also introduced new keyboard player Anne Stephenson, formerly of The Communards, who replaced Thompson.) Featuring the contributions of professional studio musicians Bernie Worrell and Doug Wimbish, among others, 1988's 'Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway' continued the group's experimentations with rhythmic and sonic textures. 


While The Woodentops scored a minor radio hit in Los Angeles with "Stop This Car" and they developed a sizable following in Japan, extensive touring in 1991 and 1992 failed to widen their fan base, and at the end of 1992, The Woodentops broke up. Rolo McGinty worked in electronic music and sang with Gary Lucas' group Gods & Monsters, while Simon Mawby was briefly a member of the group House of Love. In 2006, McGinty assembled a new lineup of The Woodentops for a reunion tour; joining original members McGinty, Mawby, and de Freitas were drummer Paul Ashby, pianist Richard Thomas, and keyboardist Aine O'Keeffe. The Woodentops played live periodically over the next several years, and in 2014 they returned with their first new album in over 25 years, 'Granular Tales'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 23 de mayo de 2016

Throbbing Gristle


Abrasive, aggressive, and antagonistic, Britain's Throbbing Gristle pioneered industrial music; exploring death, mutilation, fascism, and degradation amid a thunderous cacophony of mechanical noise, tape loops, extremist anti-melodies, and bludgeoning beats, the group's cultural terrorism -the "wreckers of civilization," one tabloid called them- raised the stakes of artistic confrontation to new heights, combating all notions of commerciality and good taste with a maniacal fervor. 

Formed in London in the autumn of 1975, Throbbing Gristle consisted of vocalist/ringleader Genesis P-Orridge, his then-lover, guitarist Cosey Fanni Tutti, tape manipulator Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, and keyboardist Chris Carter. A performance art troupe as much as a band, their early live shows -each starting with a punch clock and running exactly 60 minutes before the power to the stage was cut- threatened obscenity laws; during their notorious premiere gig, P-Orridge even mounted an art exhibit consisting entirely of used tampons and soiled diapers. 


Upon forming their own label, Industrial, the group issued their introductory release, 'The Best of Throbbing Gristle, Vol. 2', in 1976. A full-length debut, 'The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle', followed in 1977, in a pressing of only 500 copies; bowing to fan demand, the record was later reissued -cut from a master tape played backward. The 1977 underground hit "United" marked a tiny step toward accessibility, thanks to the inclusion of a discernible rhythm. Typically, when the track reappeared on 1978's 'D.O.A: The Third and Final Report', it was sped up to last all of 17 seconds; no less provocative was "Hamburger Lady" (inspired by the story of a burn-unit victim) or "Death Threats" (a compilation of murderous messages left on the group's answering machine).

'20 Jazz Funk Greats', a harsh electro-pop outing, followed a year later, and after 1980's live-in-the-studio 'Heathen Earth', Throbbing Gristle called it quits. P-Orridge and Christopherson soon formed Psychic TV (though Christopherson split again to form Coil), while the remaining duo continued on as Chris & Cosey. As Throbbing Gristle's influence swelled, a seemingly endless series of posthumous releases followed, most of them taken from live dates; among the more notable were 1981's '24 Hours of Throbbing Gristle', 1983's 'Once Upon a Time (Live at the Lyceum)', 1998's 'Dimensia in Excelsis', 2001's 'The First Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle', and 2004's 'Mutant TG' and 'TG+'. Throbbing Gristle reunited during the early 2000s for performances, and released 'Part Two: Endless Not', their first album in 25 years, in 2007. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

domingo, 22 de mayo de 2016

Sigue Sigue Sputnik


Led by former Generation X member Tony James, the new wave group Sigue Sigue Sputnik raised selling out to an art form. The concept behind Sigue Sigue Sputnik was simple: the band adopted a postmodern, ironic style and sound, and marketed it to the hilt, saturating the media with slogans and interviews. James didn't even intend the band to be musical; he recruited Martin Degville, Neal X, Chris Cavanagh, and Ray Mayhew partially because they lacked extensive musical experience. After a publicity campaign designed to solicit a record contract, the band signed with EMI; they released their first single, "Love Missile F1-11," in early 1986, and it hit number three on the U.K. charts. Sigue Sigue Sputnik sold the space between tracks to advertisers on their debut album, 'Flaunt It'. Despite the massive marketing campaign, the album fell on deaf ears, as did the more serious follow-up, 'Dress for Excess' (1988), which featured the slogan "This time it's music" on the album cover. The group split soon after the release of 'Dress for Excess'. James was a member of Sisters of Mercy for a short time in 1991. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

sábado, 21 de mayo de 2016

The Records


The Records are probably best remembered for their cult classic and minor hit "Starry Eyes" -a near-perfect song that defined British power pop in the '70s. And while they never quite matched the success of that record, their high-quality output from 1979 to 1982 has not only held up better than most of the era with its timeless appeal, but has also served as a blueprint for the various waves of British and American power pop since then. Some have gone as far as to call them "the British Big Star," which is probably a fair comparison -within their genre, they're seen as giants, yet the general public has missed them for the most part. 

The band was formed around 1977, when pub rockers Kursaal Flyers broke up. The drummer from the band, Will Birch, and vocalist/guitarist John Wicks, who had joined the Kursaals in the last stages, began writing together, inspired by the pure pop tradition of The Raspberries, Badfinger, and Big Star. By 1978, they had completed the group by adding bassist Phil Brown and guitarist Huw Gower. After a series of live gigs, they released their debut, "Starry Eyes," on the independent Record Company label in November of the same year. They received some valuable early exposure on the Stiff label's "Be Stiff" tour, which led to their signing with Virgin Records. 


Wicks and Birch continued to churn out should-have-been-hits pop classics over the next three years and three albums -1979's 'Shades in Bed' (released in a slightly modified form as 'The Records' in the U.S.), 1980's 'Crashes' (which found Jude Cole replacing Gower), and 1982's 'Music on Both Sides' (which replaced Cole with Dave Whelan and added another vocalist, Chris Gent). Aside from a minor hit with "Starry Eyes" in the U.S., their efforts were criminally unrewarded. The band broke up in 1982, though they re-formed temporarily in 1990 to contribute a track to a Brian Wilson tribute album. Birch went on to become a notable music critic and historian; he also compiled several compact disc reissues, including "Naughty Rhythms: The Best of Pub Rock". Wicks began a solo career in the mid-'90s, appearing on the "Yellow Pills, Vol. 3" collection with a song co-written with Birch, "Her Stars Are My Stars" -a pop gem that picked up right where they left off. "Starry Eyes" continues to be a cult pop classic -still heavily requested on alternative radio retro shows. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 20 de mayo de 2016

Pixies


Combining jagged, roaring guitars and stop-start dynamics with melodic pop hooks, intertwining male-female harmonies, and evocative, cryptic lyrics, the Pixies were one of the most influential American alternative rock bands of the late '80s. They weren't accomplished musicians -Black Francis wailed and bashed out chords while Joey Santiago's lead guitar squealed out spirals of noise. But the bandmembers were inventive, rabid rock fans who turned conventions inside out, melding punk and indie guitar rock, classic pop, surf rock, and stadium-sized riffs with singer/guitarist Black Francis' bizarre, fragmented lyrics about space, religion, sex, mutilation, and pop culture; while the meaning of his lyrics may have been impenetrable, the music was direct and forceful. 

The Pixies' busy, brief songs, extreme dynamics, and subversion of pop song structures proved one of the touchstones of '90s alternative rock. From grunge to Brit-pop, the Pixies' shadow loomed large -it's hard to imagine Nirvana without the Pixies' signature stop-start dynamics and lurching, noisy guitar solos. While the Pixies were touted as the band to bring indie rock into the mainstream, they simply laid the groundwork for the alternative explosion of the early '90s. MTV was reluctant to play their videos, while even modern rock radio didn't put their singles into regular rotation. Furthermore, tensions between leader Black Francis and bassist/vocalist Kim Deal, who wanted to incorporate her songs into the band's repertoire, crippled the band's progress. By the time Nirvana broke the doors down for alternative rock in 1992, the Pixies were effectively broken up. 


The Pixies were formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986 by Charles Thompson and his roommate Joey Santiago. Born in Massachusetts and constantly shuttling between there and California, Thompson began playing music as a teenager before he moved to the East Coast for good during high school. Following graduation, he became an anthropology major at the University of Massachusetts. Halfway through his studies at the college, he went to Puerto Rico to study Spanish, and after six months he decided to move back to the U.S. to form a band. Thompson dropped out of school and moved to Boston, managing to persuade Santiago to join him. Advertising in a music paper for a bassist who liked "Hüsker Dü and Peter, Paul and Mary," the duo recruited Kim Deal (who was billed as Mrs. John Murphey on the group's first two records), who had previously played with her twin sister Kelly in the folk-rock garage band The Breeders in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio. On the advice of Deal, the group recruited drummer David Lovering. Inspired by Iggy Pop, Thompson picked the stage name Black Francis and the group named itself the Pixies after Santiago randomly flipped through the dictionary. 

By the fall, the Pixies had played enough gigs to land a supporting slot for fellow Boston band Throwing Muses. At the Muses concert, Gary Smith, an artist manager and producer at Boston's Fort Apache studios, heard the group and offered to record them. In March 1987, the Pixies recorded 18 songs over the course of three days. The demo, dubbed 'The Purple Tape', was given to key players within the Boston musical community and the international alternative scene, including Ivo Watts, the head of England's 4AD Records. Impressed with the cassette, Watts signed the band and released eight of the demo's songs as the EP 'Come on Pilgrim' in 1987. 

The Pixies convened to record their first full-length album, 'Surfer Rosa', with producer Steve Albini, who had pioneered the thin, abrasive indie guitar grind with Big Black. Albini gave the band a harder-edged, abrasive guitar sound, yet the group retained its melodic hooks. Released in the spring of 1988, 'Surfer Rosa' earned enthusiastic reviews from the British weekly music press and became a college radio hit in America; in the U.K., the album made inroads on the pop charts. By the end of the year, the buzz on the Pixies had become substantial, and the group signed to Elektra Records. At the end of 1988, they re-entered the studio, this time with British producer Gil Norton. Released in the spring of 1989, 'Doolittle' boasted a cleaner sound and received excellent reviews, which led to greater exposure in America. "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and "Here Comes Your Man" became Top Ten modern rock hits, clearing the way for 'Doolittle' to peak at number 98 on the U.S. charts; in the U.K., it entered the charts at number eight. Throughout their career, the Pixies were more popular in Britain and Europe than America, as evidenced by the success of the "Sex and Death" tour. The band became notorious for Black Francis' motionless performances, which were offset by Deal's charmingly earthy sense of humor. The tour itself became infamous for the band's in-jokes, such as playing their entire set list in alphabetical order. By the completion of their second American tour for 'Doolittle' at the end of 1989, the bandmembers had begun to tire of each other and decided to take a hiatus during the beginning of 1990. 


During the hiatus, Black Francis went on a brief solo tour and Kim Deal formed a group with Tanya Donelly from the Throwing Muses and bassist Josephine Wiggs of Perfect Disaster, naming it after her teenage band, The Breeders. The Breeders recorded the Albini-produced 'Pod', which appeared on 4AD in early summer 1990, shortly after the Pixies reconvened to record their third album with Gil Norton. More atmospheric than its predecessors, and relying heavily on Francis' surf rock obsession, 'Bossanova' was released in the fall of 1990; unlike 'Surfer Rosa' or 'Doolittle', it contained no songs by Deal. 'Bossanova' was greeted with decidedly mixed reviews, but the record became a college hit, generating the modern rock hits "Velouria" and "Dig for Fire" in the U.S. In Europe, the record expanded the group's popularity, hitting number three on the U.K. album charts and paving the way for their headlining appearance at the Reading Festival. Though the supporting tours for 'Bossanova' were successful, tension continued to grow between Kim Deal and Black Francis -at the conclusion of their English tour, Deal announced from the stage of the Brixton Academy that the concert was "our last show." 

While the Pixies did cancel their planned American tour, due to "exhaustion," the band reconvened in the spring of 1991 to record its fourth album, again with Gil Norton. Hiring former Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman as an auxiliary member, the band moved back toward loud rock, claiming to be inspired by the presence of Ozzy Osbourne in a neighboring studio. Upon its fall release, 'Trompe le Monde' was hailed by some as a welcome return to the sound of 'Surfer Rosa' and 'Doolittle', but closer inspection revealed that it relied heavily on sonic detail and featured very few vocals by Deal and none of her songs. The band embarked on another international tour, playing stadiums in Europe but theaters in America. During the spring of 1992, the Pixies opened for U2 on the opening leg of the "Zoo TV" tour; it would be their last trek through the United States. Upon the conclusion of the "Zoo TV" tour the Pixies went on hiatus, with Deal returning to The Breeders, who released the EP 'Safari' later that spring. Francis began working on a solo album.


As he was preparing to release his solo debut, Francis gave an interview on BBC's Radio 5, announcing that the Pixies were disbanding. He hadn't yet informed the other members; later that day, he faxed them his statement. Inverting his stage name to Frank Black, Francis released his eponymous debut that spring to mixed reviews; over the next few years, Frank Black's audience gradually shrank to a small cult following. The Breeders released their second album, 'Last Splash', in the fall of 1993. The album became a surprise hit, going gold in the U.S. and spawning the hit single "Cannonball." Soon after, Deal also formed The Amps, who released their one (and only) album, 'Pacer', in 1995. Santiago and Lovering formed The Martinis in 1995 and appeared on the soundtrack to "Empire Records". Although 4AD began issuing archival Pixies releases, including 'Death to the Pixies 1987-1991', 'Pixies at the BBC', and 'Complete B-Sides' in the late '90s and early 2000s, those were relatively quiet years for the band's members. 

After releasing the disappointing 'The Cult of Ray' for American in 1996, Black shuffled between different labels before ending up at spinART for 1999's 'Pistolero', where he also released his subsequent solo albums, most of which were met with a fair-to-middling response. Deal and the rest of The Breeders, meanwhile, suffered from problems ranging from substance abuse to writer's block, and only surfaced intermittently, spending time in the studio but only having a cover of the Three Degrees' "Collage" on the soundtrack to 1999's "The Mod Squad" to show for their efforts until they released 'Title TK' in 2002. David Lovering left The Martinis and became the touring drummer for Cracker, and also appeared on Donelly's "Sliding and Diving", but found himself unemployed in the late '90s. Combining his studies in electronic engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology and his years of performing experience, Lovering dubbed himself a "scientific phenomenalist," a cross between a scientist, performance artist, and magician, and warmed up the crowds at Frank Black, Breeders, Camper Van Beethoven, and Grant Lee Buffalo concerts. Santiago and his wife Linda Mallari continued The Martinis through the '90s, recording several demos and self-released albums. Santiago also began a career composing soundtracks and incidental music, beginning with the score for 2000's "Crime & Punishment in Suburbia", to which Black also contributed a track. 


At the time, rumors circulated that Santiago would join Black on-stage during one of his London dates on the "Dog in the Sand" tour; though this didn't happen, it at least sparked hopes that the Pixies would eventually reunite. These hopes seemed unfounded until 2003, when Black revealed in an interview that he had considered reuniting the band and that he, Deal, Santiago, and Lovering occasionally got together to jam. Soon after, it was confirmed that the Pixies would reunite in 2004 for U.S. tours in the spring and fall, with an appearance at that year's Coachella festival and gigs in Europe and the U.K. that summer, including performances at the T in the Park, Roskilde, Pinkpop, and V festivals. All 15 of the band's North American warm-up tour dates were recorded and released in limited editions of 1,000 copies, which were sold online and at the shows. The week after the Pixies' Coachella appearance, the long-awaited DVD retrospective 'Pixies' and revamped best-of 'Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies' were released by 4AD. The band also released two songs, "Bam Thwok" and a cover of Warren Zevon's "Ain't That Pretty at All," in 2004. 

Despite the Pixies touring regularly throughout the 2000s and 2010s, no more new music appeared until 2013, when the group went into the studio with longtime producer Gil Norton. During those sessions, Deal officially left the group. Bassist Simon Archer, aka Ding, replaced Deal in the studio, and the band hired The Muffs' Kim Shattuck for touring duties. "Bagboy," the Pixies' first new song in nine years, arrived in July 2013. That September, they self-released 'EP1', the first in a series of short releases, via their website. That November, Shattuck was let go from the band; a few weeks later, Paz Lenchantin -who also played with Zwan and A Perfect Circle- was drafted as the Pixies' bassist. 'EP2' arrived in January 2014, and 'EP3' was issued that March. The EPs were compiled as the album 'Indie Cindy' for that April's Record Store Day. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 19 de mayo de 2016

Misfits


Genuinely shocking or tasteless, campy fun? It was sometimes hard to tell which way the Misfits wanted to be taken, and the immense cult following that has grown up in the years after their actual existence (1977-1983) seems divided in its own assessment. It certainly wasn't the Misfits' musicianship -which was as crude as the recording quality of most of their oeuvre- that endeared them to so many, although Glenn Danzig possessed one of the most distinctive and tuneful bellows in hardcore punk. Rather, it was Danzig's penchant for catchy, anthemic melodies, often delivered at warp speed, and his lyrical obsession with grade-B horror films and splatter imagery that helped the Misfits build a rabid posthumous following. Name-drops and covers by metal bands like Metallica and Guns N' Roses kept the Misfits' songs circulating during the mid- to late '80s, when their tangled discography remained only sporadically in print -reissues were maddeningly incomplete, and much of the band's prime material was confined to rare singles and EPs. The mid-'90s saw a spate of CD reissues that, while not quite presenting all of the Misfits' songs in the most concise, collectible format, at least succeeded in getting them all back into print, allowing those who missed the band the first time around to hear why they've enjoyed such enduring cult popularity. 


The Misfits were formed in Lodi, NJ, in 1977 by vocalist Glenn Danzig and bassist Jerry Caiafa, who performed under the name Jerry Only. Their name taken from Marilyn Monroe's final film, the Misfits added drummer Manny and recorded a guitar-less single, "Cough Cool" b/w "She," on their own Blank Records label (later changed to Plan 9). Manny was soon replaced by "Mr. Jim" Catania, and guitarist Frank "Franché Coma" LiCata joined up for the four-song 1978 EP 'Bullet', which featured a notoriously graphic image of John F. Kennedy being shot. Although recording sessions had been held for a full-length album, to be titled 'Static Age', no record company would accept the results, and whatever material was not subsequently issued on EPs languished in the vaults until the 1985 compilation 'Legacy of Brutality'. The Misfits began playing shows at CBGB's and attempted to obtain some greater musical stability with the addition of Whorelords guitarist Bobby Steele and drummer Joey Image. This lineup recorded the three-song EPs 'Horror Business' and 'Night of the Living Dead' in 1979, the latter being released on Halloween. An aborted tour of the U.K. supporting The Damned followed, and a frustrated Joey Image quit the band after Danzig was arrested in a bar skirmish. Things had not been going well with Steele, either, and upon returning to the States, Steele was ousted in favor of Jerry Only's younger brother Doyle (born Paul Caiafa; sometimes known as Doyle von Frankenstein). Arthur Googy became the full-time drummer, while Steele went on to form The Undead. England's Cherry Red label issued the legendary 'Beware' EP in 1980, which contained 'Bullet', two tracks from 'Horror Business', and the 'Static Age' outtake "Last Caress"; it became a ludicrously expensive collector's item in the years that followed. 


Back in the States, more single releases followed over 1981, including the 'Three Hits From Hell' 7" and another Halloween single, this one titled "Halloween" and containing two versions of the song, one a low-budget attempt at creating a spooky ambience. Another full-length LP had been recorded under the title 'Walk Among Us' and was scheduled for release in late 1981, but a larger distribution deal was worked out with the Slash subsidiary Ruby. In 1982, the Misfits finally released their official debut album under the planned title, which proved one of the finest additions to their discography. Googy left the band around this time in a dispute over money, throwing off plans to record a follow-up; in the meantime, the live EP 'Evilive' was released later in the year, featuring a guest appearance by Black Flag's Henry Rollins. Future Samhain and Danzig bassist Eerie Von Stellman was nearly recruited to play drums, but lasted only a weekend; eventually, punk producer Robo was settled upon as skinsman, and the Misfits spent the rest of the year and the first half of 1983 recording 'Earth A.D./Wolfsblood', an album that tried to play up the more aggressive aspects of the band's music. Brian Damage was chosen as Robo's touring successor, but barely got a chance to perform before Danzig disbanded the Misfits in late 1983. A farewell single, the three-song "Die Die My Darling," was issued in 1984. 


Danzig, who had issued the solo single "Who Killed Marilyn?" in 1981, immediately formed Samhain with Eerie Von in an attempt to pursue a more frightening musical direction to support his lyrics; Samhain eventually metamorphosed into the much more successful Danzig. The Caiafa brothers, meanwhile, formed Kryst the Conqueror, which managed only one five-song EP release. Misfits compilations began appearing as soon as 1985 on Caroline ('Legacy of Brutality'); 1987's Misfits compilation began whetting appetites for the large quantity of material that remained out of print, although Metallica's version of "Last Caress" and, later, Guns N' Roses' cover of "Attitude" hinted at what might be discovered. More compilations, as well as a four-disc box set, followed in the mid-'90s, as the Misfits' cult continued to expand. 

In an attempt to cash in on the renewed interest, Jerry Only and Doyle re-formed the Misfits in 1996 -without Danzig, instead recruiting vocalist Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud. 'American Psycho' appeared in 1997 on Geffen Records, followed two years later by 'Famous Monsters'. In 2001 that lineup issued the rarities/outtakes collection 'Cuts from the Crypt'; it contained nothing from the Danzig era. The covers album 'Project 1950' followed in 2003. By this point the Misfits lineup included Jerry Only on vocals and bass, Black Flag vet Dez Cadena on guitar, and Marky Ramone behind the drums. In June 2005 Misfits Records (via Ryko) released 'Fiend Club Lounge', a collection of Misfits classics redone in a "cocktail nation" style. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 18 de mayo de 2016

Lene Lovich


One of the more offbeat and memorable figures in new wave, Lene Lovich certainly drew much of her widely varied approach from her unconventional early experiences. Born of a Yugoslavian father and British mother, she spent much of her childhood in Detroit, MI. At age 13, she moved to Hull, England, with her mother. She ran away to London shortly thereafter, where she worked several odd jobs ranging from bingo caller to go-go dancer to street busker. Around this time, she developed an interest in art and theater, enrolling at the Central School of Art. She took up the saxophone and, after a brief stint in a soul-funk band (with future collaborator Les Chappell), Lovich wrote a string of songs for French disco star Cerrone. In 1978, Stiff Records signed her after hearing her first recording, a remake of "I Think We're Alone Now." She quickly became one of Stiff's brightest stars, headlining package tours and earning several U.K. hits over the next three years with the unforgettable "Lucky Number," "Say When," "Bird Song," and "New Toy." Unfortunately, her theatrical quirkiness didn't translate well into LP length, and as new wave dissolved, she disappeared from the music scene. After an eight-year absence, she returned in 1990 with 'March'. It failed to ignite any further interest and she again went into retirement. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 17 de mayo de 2016

Chris Knox


Possibly the most important figure in New Zealand alternative/indie/post-punk rock, Chris Knox has been an integral figure of three of the country's more important rock bands (Tall Dwarfs, Toy Love, The Enemy), as well as recording prolifically as a solo artist. He sang with one of the country's very first punk acts, The Enemy, in the late '70s. The Enemy didn't record, but his next group, the more new wave-poppish Toy Love, had hit singles in New Zealand. However, they broke up in 1980 after an attempt to crack a more international market by moving to Australia proved fruitless. 

By this time, Knox, notorious for Iggy Pop-style on-stage self-laceration, wished to move from punk/new wave into more subtle, experimental underground rock. Sharing this desire was guitarist Alec Bathgate, who had played with Knox in The Enemy and Toy Love. Together they formed the duo Tall Dwarfs, lo-fi experimentalists with a penchant for both pop and psychedelia. Tall Dwarfs were instrumental in developing the quirky aesthetic picked up by most artists on the Flying Nun label, the top New Zealand indie that counted Tall Dwarfs as one of its first signees. 


Although Knox has worked with Bathgate on Tall Dwarfs records since the early '80s, he has also maintained a less active, but ongoing, solo career in which he writes, performs, and records without Bathgate's assistance. Knox has had an ample opportunity to work alone given that he and Bathgate, because of their different living circumstances, are usually only able to record together for short, infrequent bursts of time. Undoubtedly Knox's solo albums are more personal in nature than his group projects, yet in all honesty it can be difficult to find much difference between them and the Tall Dwarfs records. Working independently, Knox also staunchly adheres to a lo-fi, home recording ethic; he also favors songs which alternate between acoustic pop, post-psychedelia, and bursts of fuzzy garage noise, just as Tall Dwarfs do. 

Consequently, Tall Dwarfs fans will undoubtedly find Knox's records worth checking out, though on the whole the best of Tall Dwarfs is a better place to start investigating Knox's music. Within each Knox solo record there is a great deal of diversity, although it must be cautioned that there isn't a notable difference in approach from recording to recording. This can make his extensive discography less rewarding than those of pop auteurs who take greater care to vary their palette from release to release, such as England's Martin Newell. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 16 de mayo de 2016

The Jesus And Mary Chain


Like The Velvet Underground, their most obvious influence, the chart success of The Jesus and Mary Chain was virtually nonexistent, but their artistic impact was incalculable; quite simply, the Scottish group made the world safe for white noise, orchestrating a sound dense in squalling feedback which served as an inspiration to everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Dinosaur Jr. Though the supporting players drifted in and out of focus, the heart of the Mary Chain remained vocalists and guitarists William and Jim Reid, Scottish-born brothers heavily influenced not only by underground legends like the Velvets and The Stooges but also by the sonic grandeur and pop savvy of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. In The Jesus and Mary Chain, which the Reids formed outside of Glasgow in 1984 with bassist Douglas Hart and drummer Murray Dalglish (quickly replaced by Bobby Gillespie), these two polarized aesthetics converged; equal parts bubblegum and formless guitar distortion, their sound both celebrated pop conventions and thoroughly subverted them. 


In late 1984, the band issued its seminal debut single, "Upside Down," a remarkable blast of live wire feedback anchored by a caveman-like drumbeat; the record made the JMC an overnight sensation in the U.K., as did their nascent live shows, 20-minute sets of confrontational noise (performed with the bandmembers' backs to the audience) which frequently ended in rioting. The follow-up, "You Trip Me Up," further perfected the formula, and led to their 1985 debut LP 'Psychocandy', which gift-wrapped sweet, simple pop songs in ribbons of droning guitar fuzz. After a two-year layoff (during which time Gillespie exited to form Primal Scream and was replaced by John Moore), The Jesus and Mary Chain returned with 'Darklands', a dramatic shift in approach which stripped away the feedback to expose the skeletal guitar pop at the music's core. After a sprawling 1988 collection of singles, B-sides, and demos titled 'Barbed Wire Kisses', they emerged with 'Automatic', which introduced a more tightly coiled brand of feedback while jettisoning Moore's live drums in favor of synthesized beats.


After another long absence, the Mary Chain (minus Hart) resurfaced in 1992 with 'Honey's Dead', and earned greater U.S. visibility thanks to a spot on that summer's Lollapalooza lineup; the first single, "Reverence," also won them renewed attention at home when Top of the Pops banned the song because of its opening lines, "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ" and "I wanna die just like JFK." With 1994's gentle, largely acoustic 'Stoned & Dethroned', they even reached the U.S. pop charts thanks to the lovely single "Sometimes Always," a duet with Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. Another collection of scattered sides, 'The Jesus and Mary Chain Hate Rock 'n' Roll', followed a year later, highlighted by the single "I Hate Rock 'n' Roll," a scabrous swipe which reclaimed the pure noise attack of their earliest work. Moving to Sub Pop, they returned with 'Munki' in 1998. William Reid left the group during the subsequent tour, and in 1999, The Jesus and Mary Chain officially disbanded. 


Eight years later, the Reid brothers, joined by Mark Crozer, Phil King (Lush), and Loz Colbert (Ride), revived the band to perform at the Coachella and Meltdown festivals. The new recording "All Things Must Pass" appeared on the 2008 soundtrack for the television series "Heroes". A four-disc box set, 'The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides and Rarities', was released the same year, trailed by expanded reissues of their 1985-1998 studio albums. Performances resumed in 2012, with Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne) in place of Colbert. The band later played several dates across Europe and the U.S. that involved the performance of 'Psychocandy' in its entirety, a celebration of the album's 30th anniversary. A Glasgow gig was documented in box set form as 'Live at Barrowlands'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

domingo, 15 de mayo de 2016

Hard-Ons


One of Australia's most popular, most enduring, and most defiantly independent punk bands, the Hard-Ons have been around on and off since 1982. In that time they have been an influence on more than one generation of punk fans while earning respect from musicians around the world. Their own description their mix of punk, pop, and metal is "Motörhead playing The Beach Boys." Peter "Blackie" Black was one of many musicians inspired to form a band by The Sex Pistols. Unlike members of Joy Division and The Buzzcocks who got their inspiration from seeing them in the flesh, Black saw them on TV while he was a Sydney high-schooler. After rushing out to buy their album, he visited his friend Keish de Silva and told him they were forming a band, no questions asked. Black learned to play the guitar and de Silva the drums. They were joined by a fellow student of Punchbowl Boys High, Brendan Creighton, on vocals for their first gig at the school's end-of-year party. Prophetically, the police had to shut them down for being too loud. They first called themselves The Dead Rats, then The Plebs, before finally settling on the Hard-Ons for its ability to annoy adults. Creighton left and later formed the band Thrust, and the Hard-Ons were joined by Ray Ahn on bass while de Silva took over the singing. A three-piece punk band with a singing drummer, made up of underage kids from migrant families, wasn't the norm for the western suburbs of Sydney, but their sound and their violent stage antics impressed the crowds. Their debut, the 1985 EP 'Surfin' on My Face', featured Ahn's cover art as part of their do-it-yourself ethic, which also had them promoting themselves, personally choosing their support bands and even managing their own merch stand. It also marked the beginning of the love affair between the Hard-Ons and Australia's independent charts, making it to number two. A brief flirtation with the RCA label produced their first album, 'Smell My Finger', in 1986. Friction between the band and RCA, which wasn't impressed by the album's title, ended with the Hard-Ons returning to their independent roots for the rest of their career. Broadening their sound with dashes of power pop, psychedelic rock, thrashy metal, and a healthy dose of humor lead to successful tours of Europe and a constant string of albums from the hardworking Hard-Ons. In 1987 they released their self-titled album as well as 'Hot for Your Love Baby' and 'The Worst of the Hard-Ons'. The next year they released 'Dickcheese' and a split 10" with Brit band The Stupids, called 'No Cheese!' Their final release from this prolific period was 1989's 'Love Is a Battlefield of Wounded Hearts'. Touring Europe and the U.S., where they supported the re-formed Buzzcocks, the Hard-Ons found they had fans on the other side of the world. One of these fans turned out to be Henry Rollins, who met with the band in 1990 to record a cover of AC/DC's classic "Let There Be Rock." Other fans included the Ramones, who asked for the Hard-Ons to be their support act during their 1991 tour of Australia. That year they released the album 'Yummy!', named after a sign they passed while arguing over a title. For the first half of the '90s they remained prolific, releasing 'Dateless Dudes Club' in 1992 and 'Too Far Gone' in 1993. They toured for two more years before calling it a day, ending the band to follow other projects. 


The breakup didn't last long. In 1997 they were playing gigs as the re-formed Hard-Ons and a 'Best Of' was released in 1999. Their 2000 release, 'This Terrible Place', was to be the last featuring Keish de Silva. Black took over the vocals in his stead and they were joined by Pete Kostic of the bands Regurgitator and Front End Loader on drums. The new lineup released 'Very Exciting!' in 2003. Rumours of a double album were quelled when the Hard-Ons instead released two more albums back to back. 'Most People Are a Waste of Time', their 2006 release, focussed on their old-fashioned pop-punk sound, while 'Most People Are Nicer Than Us', their 2007 release, focussed on their thrash metal sound. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 14 de mayo de 2016

The Gun Club


Tribal psychobilly blues is the best way to describe The Gun Club's energetic death rock, but the band's career seemed doomed from the get-go due to leader Jeffrey Lee Pierce's reputation as an unreliable wildman, and well-publicized bouts of drunkenness dogged him throughout his career. Formed in Los Angeles in the early '80s, the band was vaguely aligned with similarly roots-inspired groups like X and The Blasters, but later picked up and relocated to the Lower East Side, resting more comfortably around the New York downtown set and Pierce's mentors, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. Their 1981 debut, 'Fire of Love', was a punk-blues hybrid -intense energy fueled Pierce's exorcism-in-progress delivery and the band's (Ward Dotson, guitar; Rob Ritter, bass; and Terry Graham, drums) frenetic style. Released in 1982, 'Miami' had the band allied with Blondie's Stein at the boards. Pierce had once been the president of Blondie's U.S. fan club, which sparked the liaison. The 1985 EP 'Death Party' is a swingin' piece of punkabilly with Dee Pop on drums and Jim Duckworth of Panther Burns on guitar. For 'Las Vegas Story' in 1984, the Club won over guitarist Kid Congo Powers from The Cramps and Patricia Morrison (The Bags) on bass, and it looked as if that was that when -save for some live recordings and posthumous releases- Pierce launched his solo career in 1985 with the EP 'Flamingo' and the 'Wildweed' album for the Statick label. But it wasn't quite over; in 1987 Pierce came back with a realigned Club and the album 'Mother Juno' (Fundamental), which earned them a wider following than ever. In 1996, after drying out, but suffering from persistent health problems, Pierce passed away from a brain hemorrhage. Morrison went on to play with The Sisters of Mercy, Powers in his own lounge group, and Dotson formed The Pontiac Brothers. An album featuring The Gun Club in concert, 'Larger Than Live!', appeared from Last Call Records in 2008. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 13 de mayo de 2016

Flux Of Pink Indians


A fiercely political leftist punk band formed in Hertfordshire, England in 1980, Flux of Pink Indians comprised vocalist Colin Birkett, his bassist brother Derek, guitarist Kevin Hunter and drummer Martin Wilson. Previously dubbed The Epileptics (later rechristened Epi-X after grumblings from the British Epilepsy Association), in 1981 the group signed on with the Crass label, adopting the organization's dedication to anarchist politics and punk abrasion; soon they issued their debut EP 'New Smell', scoring an indie hit with "Johnny Kidd." 

Upon forming their own label, Spiderleg, Flux of Pink Indians resurfaced in 1982 with the full-length 'Strive to Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible'. Not surprisingly, their 1983 follow-up 'The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks' was banned by many British retailers; one Manchester indie record shop which did carry the record was subsequently charged for displaying "obscene articles for publication for gain." A long layoff followed before the group -now known as simply Flux- returned in 1986 with the largely instrumental 'Uncarved Block'. They disbanded in 1987; Derek Birkett later founded the influential One Little Indian label. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

Die Krupps


Along with Front 242, the German group Die Krupps stands as one of the innovators of the subgenre of Euro-rock dubbed body music, a sound characterized by its dense electronic makeup as well as its harsh, visceral execution. Die Krupps came together in 1981 as a duo comprised of vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, and mouthpiece Jurgen Engler, formerly of the German punk outfit Male, and ex-Propaganda member Ralf Dorper. Over the course of the group's first three records -1981's 'Stahlwerksinfonie', 1982's 'Volle Kraft Voraus', and 1984's 'Entering the Arena'- Die Krupps continued to refine its lyrically bleak, synth-based sound. (A two-record retrospective covering these three LPs, 'Metalle Maschinen Musik: 91-81 Past Forward', appeared in 1991.) 

The mid-'80s marked a fallow period for the band, and it was not until the 1992 release of the album 'I' that it became clear exactly what Die Krupps had been doing over the preceding eight years -basically, listening to Metallica and other metal innovators. Both 'I' and its 1992 follow-up, 'Die Krupps II: The Final Option' found the group's signature sound augmented by metal guitars, which enabled Die Krupps to cross over to hard rock audiences while still maintaining its electronic music fan base. 


1993's 'Die Krupps Box', a three-disc box set, preceded the same year's release of 'Die Krupps II: The Final Option', which found Engler and Dorper joined by ex-Heathen guitarist Lee Altus and drummer Darren Minter. In 1994, a remix album, 'The Final Mixes', featured contributions from artists like The Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, Nitzer Ebb's Julian Beeston, Gunshot, and Jim Martin, formerly of Faith No More. A year later, 'Odyssey of the Mind' found the group moving even further from its electronic roots. 'Isolation', a collection of 'Odyssey of the Mind' remixes and live tracks, appeared in 1996 and in 1997, following the release of their seventh album, the metal-influenced 'Paradise Now', Die Krupps disbanded. Various solo and side projects appeared in the coming years before Engler and Dorper reunited to celebrate the band's 25th anniversary with a series of shows in 2005. A trio of anthologies called 'Too Much History' appeared in 2007, followed a year later by a remix project on their 1982 album 'Volle Kraft Voraus'. Their first collection of new material since 1997 arrived in the form of a 2010 mini-album 'Als Wären Wir für Immer', which preceded a major European tour with fellow industrialists Nitzer Ebb. 'The Machinists of Joy', Die Krupps' first full-length studio album in 16 years, was released in 2013 and hailed as a return to the group's old-school industrial/EBM style. They followed it up in 2015 with their ninth album, 'V: Metal Machine Music'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 11 de mayo de 2016

Classix Nouveaux


Classix Nouveaux was one of the first new romantic acts in England. Although Classix Nouveaux's more guitar-heavy sound separated them from the mostly synthetic rhythms of Japan and Ultravox, the group's appetite for stylish fashion and danceable keyboards had them quickly associated with the new romantic movement. Formed in 1979 with Sal Solo (vocals), Mik Sweeney (bass), BP Hurding (drums), and Jak Airport (guitar), Classix Nouveaux originated in the punk underground, namely from the ashes of the controversial X-Ray Spex. After banshee wailer Poly Styrene departed from X-Ray Spex, the remaining members held auditions for a replacement singer. Solo won the approval of a few of Styrene's former bandmates, and they debuted at the Music Machine on August 1979. Airport left the group before they even recorded their first single; he was replaced by Gary Steadman. In 1981, Classix Nouveaux released "Guilty," their most well-known track; "Guilty" was a Top-20 hit in Sweden, and the video received airplay on MTV. A year later, the single "Is It a Dream" reached number 13 on the U.K. charts. Despite successful tours in Yugoslavia, Finland, and Poland, none of Classix Nouveaux's three albums truly catapulted them from cult status in Britain or America. The band split up in 1985, and Solo started recording Christian music. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 10 de mayo de 2016

Biff Bang Pow!


Biff Bang Pow! -a name derived from a song by 60s cult act The Creation- was formed as an outlet for the musical aspirations of Glaswegian Alan McGee, the motivating force behind Creation Records, one of the UK’s most inventive independent outlets of the 90s. The band also featured business partner Dick Green (guitar) and despite its part-time nature, completed several excellent releases, including the neo-psychedelic singles ‘50 Years Of Fun’ (1984) and ‘Love’s Going Out Of Fashion’ (1986). The long-playing 'Pass The Paintbrush Honey' and 'The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel' offered idiosyncratic, and often contrasting, views of pop, while 'Love Is Forever' showed the influence of Neil Young, notably on ‘Ice Cream Machine’. In the 90s, however, with his record label achieving major success with the likes of Oasis and The Boo Radleys, McGee found less time for his own band. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 9 de mayo de 2016

Angry Samoans


Along with X, Black Flag, Fear, and Circle Jerks, the savagely satirical Angry Samoans rode the first wave of Los Angeles punk. Formed in Van Nuys, CA, in the summer of 1978, the band was founded by singers and guitarists "Metal" Mike Saunders and Gregg Turner, a pair of erstwhile rock critics who'd previously teamed with fellow writer Richard Meltzer in the group VOM. Adding Saunders' brother Kevin on guitar, the group considered names like The Egyptians and The Eigenvectors (a mathematical term), they settled on the Angry Samoans, and enlisted bassist Todd Homer and drummer Bill Vockeroth, and initially set out as a Dictators cover band. 

Soon, Saunders and Turner began writing original material, drawing influence from The Velvet Underground, The Sonics, The 13th Floor Elevators, and garage rock. After honing their primitive and increasingly thrashy sound at a series of surreal gigs (including sets at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital and a lunchtime show at Santa Monica High School, where MC Meltzer asked if any "heroin addicts" were in the audience), the Samoans -substituting guitarist P.J. Galligan for Kevin Saunders- debuted in 1980 with the EP 'Inside My Brain', highlighted by "Get Off the Air," their pointed swipe at KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and the L.A. musical community. 


Two years later, they resurfaced with 'Back from Samoa', featuring titles like "They Saved Hitler's Cock," "Tuna Taco," and "My Old Man's a Fatso." Soon, the bandmembers grew disenchanted with the entire punk culture, and they spent the next several years largely in a dormant state: guitarist Steve Drojensky replaced Kevin Saunders in 1984, Vockeroth went on hiatus, and Jeff Dahl temporarily stepped in for "Metal" Mike in 1985, but by and large the group laid low until 1987's 'Yesterday Started Tomorrow'. Problems with their label and internal differences led the Angry Samoans to disband after recording 1988's 'STP Not LSD'. 

In 1991, "Metal" Mike issued a solo EP, 'Plays the Hits of the '90s'; in 1994, Turner released his own album, 'Santa Fe', and later fronted Gregg Turner & the Blood-Drained Cows. Homer, meanwhile, resurfaced in the neo-psychedelic outfit Mooseheart Faith Stellar Groove Band. By the mid-'90s, "Metal" Mike was also fronting a new Samoans lineup, which still included longtime mainstay Vockeroth as well as guitarists Alison Wonderslam and Mark Byrne, and bassist Adrienne Harmon. Saunders and Vockeroth have continued to anchor the Samoans as the band experienced further lineup changes in the new millennium; as of 2009, Matt "Malice" Vicknair had joined as the group's bassist. The Angry Samoans' infrequent performances during the 2000s (generally once a month in California, although there have also been a few brief European tours) remain a vital link to punk's past. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2016

The Wonder Stuff


Somewhere between the mid-'80s and mid-'90s, The Wonder Stuff were one of the biggest bands in the U.K. Starting as a revved-up guitar pop band, later adding offbeat folk influences while occasionally nodding to the excess of the Madchester scene, cleverness and eclecticism were The Wonder Stuff's calling cards. The group was also blessed/cursed with a frontman, Miles Hunt, who had a gift of arrogant gab, delivering bitingly witty lyrics and lively interviews that won plenty of space in the U.K. music press. 

The Wonder Stuff were formed in Stourbridge, West Midlands, England in 1986. The original lineup featured Miles Hunt on vocals and guitar, Malcolm Treece on guitar and vocals, Rob Jones aka The Bass Thing on bass, and Martin Gilks on drums. The group began rehearsing in March, and in September they went into the studio to cut their debut EP, 'A Wonderful Day'. Positive press from the EP and early gigs helped The Wonder Stuff land a record deal with Polydor in 1987. After hitting the U.K. singles chart with the song "It's Yer Money I'm After, Baby," the group released its first album, 'The Eight Legged Groove Machine', in August 1988. The album's modest success led to The Wonder Stuff's first headlining tour of the U.K., as well as appearances at the Reading and Glastonbury Festivals. 


In September 1989, the single "Don't Let Me Down Gently" broke into the U.K. Top 20, and one month later, The Wonder Stuff dropped their second album, 'Hup!' A more eclectic effort that debuted new banjo and fiddle man Martin Bell, 'Hup!' rose to number five on the U.K. albums chart. Near the end of 1989, Rob Jones quit The Wonder Stuff and relocated to the United States; Paul Clifford signed on as their new bassist a few months later. (Jones died in July 1993; he was only 29.) After a stretch of U.K. touring, The Wonder Stuff began work on their third album. 'Never Loved Elvis' appeared in June 1991, and became the band's highest-charting album, peaking at number three in the U.K. It featured the single "The Size of a Cow," which became a number five hit in England and a college radio favorite in America. The Wonder Stuff also cut a cover of Tommy Roe's "Dizzy" with comedian Vic Reeves that became a number one British hit. 

In October 1993, The Wonder Stuff's fourth album appeared in shops, 'Construction for the Modern Idiot'. While the album went to number four on the U.K. charts, it didn't enjoy the same success as 'Never Loved Elvis', and reviews were lukewarm. A massive tour followed, and the band, worn out and at loose ends, opted to cancel upcoming jaunts to Australia and the Far East. In June 1994, The Wonder Stuff announced in their fan club newsletter that they were calling it a day. For their final show, they headlined the Phoenix Festival in Stratford-on-Avon, a gig booked far in advance. Miles Hunt toured as a solo act and formed the band Vent 414, while Malcolm Treece, Martin Gilks, and Paul Clifford worked together in the group Weknowwhereyoulive


In 2000, The Wonder Stuff reunited for a one-off show in London, with Hunt, Treece, Gilks, and Bell joined by new bassist Stuart Quinell and keyboardist Pete Whittaker, who had toured with the group in the '90s. Demand for tickets led to the single show expanding into a five-night run, in addition to two nights in the Midlands. The band toured sporadically until 2004, when Gilks and Bell had a falling out with Hunt. While The Wonder Stuff were believed to be defunct, Hunt assembled a new lineup of the band and cut a studio album, 'Escape from Rubbish Island', that was released in September 2004. Hunt's new Wonder Stuff released another studio album, 'Suspended by Stars', in 2006. That same year, Martin Gilks lost his life in a motorcycle accident at the age of 41. While The Wonder Stuff's lineup became increasingly fluid from this point onward, Miles Hunt remained the group's frontman and constant presence, and they toured regularly in the U.K. and Europe. In 2016, The Wonder Stuff celebrated the 30th anniversary of their founding with the release of their first album in ten years, '30 Goes Around the Sun'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

viernes, 6 de mayo de 2016

Violent Femmes


The textbook American cult band of the 1980s, the Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio's music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents the world over. The group formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early '80s, and comprised singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo. Ritchie originated the band's oxymoronic name, adopting the word "femme" from the Milwaukee area's slang for wimps. After being discovered by the Pretenders' James Honeyman-Scott, the Violent Femmes signed to Slash and issued their self-titled 1983 debut, a melodic folk-punk collection which struck an obvious chord with young listeners who felt a strong connection to bitter, frustrated songs like "Blister in the Sun," "Kiss Off," and "Add It Up." Though never a chart hit, the album remained a rite of passage for succeeding generations of teen outsiders, and after close to a decade in release, it finally achieved platinum status. 

With 1984's 'Hallowed Ground', Gano's lyrics began to reflect his devout Baptist upbringing, while the Femmes' music approached more traditional folk and country structures. Produced by Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison, 1986's 'The Blind Leading the Naked' advanced toward a more mainstream sound; a cover of the T. Rex chestnut "Children of the Revolution" even became a minor hit. After the record's release, the Femmes temporarily disbanded: Gano recorded a self-titled 1987 album with his gospel side project The Mercy Seat, while Ritchie issued a series of solo LPs including 1987's 'The Blend' and 1989's 'Sonic Temple & Court of Babylon' for SST. ('I See a Noise' appeared on Dali Records in 1990.) In 1989, the group resurfaced with '3', followed by 1991's 'Why Do Birds Sing?', which featured the Femmes' deconstructionist cover of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" 


Following the release of the 1993 compilation 'Add It Up (1981-1993)', DeLorenzo exited the Violent Femmes to resume the solo career he began two years prior with the release of 'Peter Corey Sent Me'; his sophomore effort, 'Pancake Day', appeared in 1996. Former Oil Tasters and BoDeans drummer Guy Hoffman was tapped as DeLorenzo's replacement in time to record 1994's 'New Times' for Elektra Records, which proved their sole release for the label. 'Rock!!!!!' was released in 1995 on Mushroom Records only in Australia; the live 'Viva Wisconsin' followed on the American indie label Beyond in 1999, trailed early the next year by a new studio effort, 'Freak Magnet'. In the spring of 2001, the Femmes released their first MP3-only album, 'Something's Wrong', through the website EMusic.com; it collected an assortment of rarities, including covers, acoustic live tracks, alternate versions, demos, and the like. In 2002, Rhino/Slash reissued their debut as a two-disc deluxe edition that featured 22 previously unreleased tracks, followed by 'Permanent Record: The Very Best Of' in 2005. 

Violent Femmes closed out 2005 with a New Year's Eve show featuring all three original members and Guy Hoffman. This union was punctured in 2007 when Ritchie filed a lawsuit against Gano, seeking proper accounting of royalties while also claiming he was denied credit for songwriting; additionally, he stated Gano licensed "Blister in the Sun" for use in a Wendy's commercial without permission. During the lawsuit, the Violent Femmes managed to release a single -a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," appearing in June of 2008- but the tensions caused the group to split in 2009. Ritchie and Gano settled out of court in 2012 and the Violent Femmes reunited in 2013, playing a number of shows, including a slot at that year's Coachella festival, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their landmark debut. Following these shows, drummer Victor DeLorenzo departed acrimoniously -in a statement, he claimed "In regards to my history with the Violent Femmes, the dream never quite got there"- and was swiftly replaced by Brian Viglione, a drummer with The Dresden Dolls. Over the next couple of years, this lineup played frequently and released a four-song EP for Record Store Day in 2015, a teaser for the full-length 'We Can Do Anything' in 2016. By the time that album appeared in March 2016, Viglione had resigned from the band. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC