Sunday, December 14, 2008

RITUALS INTO THE FIRE: Journey Through Darkness, Searching for the Sky LP

Here is another pretty much unknown LP from a guy named Steve Snow who went under the name Rituals Into the Fire. I've seen this on eBay before, but I've never seen it shared anywhere, so I thought "what the hell, why not let others hear it?". This is a strange synth LP that straddles the lines between darkwave, goth, ambient synth, and new age (no joke). It's dark and synth heavy, with pianos and violins and some pretty gloomy vocals. I actually think it's pretty beautiful, and well worth a listen, and if the "new age" thing throws you off, you'll almost certainly enjoy the song "Gift of Time", a slow, very gloomy darkwave masterpiece with electronics and violins and melancholy vocals galore. Don't be afraid... download this now and enjoy!

Rituals Into the Fire: Journey Through Darkness, Searching for the Sky
1988 Foreign Art Records
1. Journey Through Darkness, Searching for the Sky
2. Before the Rain
3. Gift of Time
4. Upon the Mountains and the Stone
5. Seeking Shelter From the Rain
6. Dans La Pluie

Click here to download the album!

TWO: Deaming Spires LP

Well, Phoenix Hairpins just uploaded the final 12" from this band, and I've been meaning to share this LP for quite a while, so what better time than now? I found this years ago in the $1 bin at Amoeba in SF, filed in the "D" section (for "Dreaming Spires" I suppose), and it's been a consistent favorite. There are some pops as clearance records sometimes have, but it's not bad. This was a male-female synth duo (Gill and Iain - who, I might add, are both quite attractive and hip-looking. I mean, Gill looks like pretty much half the girls I've dated in the past 5 years, and Iain looks like a skinny hip SF Mission District kid. How's that for useless information?) They were from a small town near London. This LP is pretty experimental, especially on the 15-minute "It Won't Work". This was released on Future Records, the new wave/synthpop/post punk offshoot of the punk label No Future. I think this record uses almost all electronics and bass, which is always a great combination that makes for some dark, dark music. Anyway... enjoy!

TWO: Dreaming Spires
1983 Future Records, FL 3
1. Picture Frame
2. Waiting
3. Regime
4. Architecture
5. Pale Yellow
6. End
7. It Won't Work

Click here to download the album!

I am back!

Yep. I'm back after a bit of a hiatus. The loss by Zshare of all my files kinda made me give up on this blog for a little while, as well as the fact that I'm busy with a new job, but I hope to begin uploading things regularly again. I also plan to re-upload all the lost files in the next few weeks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Various Artists: Ears to the Grindstone, Back to the Grindstone, Turn of the Grindstone LPs

Well, here are THREE compilations to round out this week. They are the three records in the "Grindstone" series on K.O. City Studios. THe label was set up by Andrew Szava-Kovats of Data Bank, Domnion, and Parade of Sinners, the latter two of whom appear on these comps.
These records are primarily electronic, divided between industrial, ambient, noise, experimental EBM, and more. There are tracks by groups like Arms of Someone New, Gelatinous Citizen, Conrad Schnitzler (a collaboration piece), Nomuzik, and many, many, many more.
The Gelatinous Citizen songs were ripped by Mutant-Sounds a while back; if you enjoyed those songs, you should probably like most of the songs here. All three are excellent records.

Various Artists: Ears to the Grindstone LP
1987, KO City Studios

A1 Parade Of Sinners Cover Your Ears
A2 Gelatinous Citizen Big Sound For Happy Cows
A3 Fact-22 Motivation
A4 Dominion They Came In Hordes
A5 Arms Of Someone New, The Next Year In Jerusalem
B1 Ferd Gamma Globulin
B2 Nomuzic The Chief Smiles
B3 Mental Anguish Where Demons Dwell
B4 David Prescott The Dreamer
B5 If, Bwana Blatant Non-Attempt

Click here to download EARS TO THE GRINDSTONE.

Various Artists: Back to the Grindstone LP
1988, KO City Studios

A1 Gelatinous Citizen Lust For Larvae
A2 Nomuzic Pay The Robots
A3 Industrious Fleas I'm Walkin'
A4 Fact TwentyTwo Permanent Green
A5 New Law Nightmare Ballad Of Doug Dangerous
B1 Dominion Voodoo Visions
B2 Lewis Francis Permutations
B3 David Prescott Lefty Improv #2
B4 Mental Anguish Long Trip Through A Short Hole
B5 Alien Planetscapes The Pseudo-Intellectual Art-Damage Boogie

Click here to download BACK TO THE GRINDSTONE.

Various Artists: Turn of the Grindstone LP
1989, KO City Studios

A1 Parade Of Sinners Speech
A2 Gelatinous Citizen Fighting The World
A3 Lewis Francis Vast Listening Audience
A4 Compound Torture With The Best
A5 New Law Nightmare Sleeping Standing Up
B1 New Carrollton / S.G.B.C. Chantilly Stomp
B2 Mental Anguish / Nomuzic Keep Down
B3 Viktimized Karcass The Heat Is Gone
B4 Curious Voltage Media Hunt
B5 David Prescott / Gen Ken Montgomery / Conrad Schnitzler Triangle Prelude

Click here to download TURN OF THE GRINDSTONE.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Various Artists: Music Biz Showcase '83 LP

Here is an obscure compilation from the UK called Music Biz Showcase '83. Appropriately, it was released in 1983. It features nine songs by nine very different bands. I believe they were from London, as a few songs were recorded live at "The Fridge", which was a London venue. As far as I know, most bands never released anything else. Some of the highlights include "Vegetarians Don't Eat Meat", a minimalist female-sung post punk/new wave song in the vein of Au Pairs or perhaps The Raincoats; "Cut a Dash" by Academy, a very lo-fi synthpop song; "Eleanor Rigby" by Jeddah, a 100% earnest NWOBHM take on the Beatles classic; my favorite by far, however, is "Touch the Sky" by Life, a minimal electropop dancefloor killer. I played the song for my friend and he thought it sounded like a very early version of futurepop bands like VNV Nation, Beborn Beton, or Wolfsheim. So is it proto-futurepop? It's a great track, whatever it is. I don't know if this is the same "Life" that Andy Robinson (who would later become New Order's manager) was in, and who released a few singles on Factory Benelux. Can anyone compare the two "Life"s to give an answer?...

Various Artists: Music Biz Showcase LP
1983 Showcase Records
1. Cainers: Balloons
2. Football Results: Prophet of hate
3. Life: Touch the Sky
4. Bravura: Vegetarians Don't Eat Meat
5. Stolen Property: Imagination
6. Academy: Cut a Dash
7. Quiet Zone: Fragile Lives
8. Eclipse: An Obscure Love Song
9. Jeddah: Eleanor Rigby

Click here to download the album!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Various Artists: Paper Boats in Puddles LP

Here is a rarity that is desirable to collectors of indiepop, post punk, and Venus in Furs. It's a UK compilation from 1987 called Paper Boats in Puddles. It features quite a few bands that never released anything as well as a few more well-known artists. Girlie twee/indiepop band Queue Dance (who released a highly sought-after 7", I think) have two great songs here. There's a great Echo and the Bunnymen-inspired post punk song by the band This Colour. There's an exclusive track by quirky synthpop band Jesus Couldn't Drum. There are two dark songs by The Rev that sound like John Cooper Clarke reading poetry over synth and keyboards. And, most interestingly, there are two songs by the mysterious "The Little Legends", which was none other than Times, aka Venus in Furs! In fact, one song from this compilation (The Body Bank) later found its way onto a cd-r compilation of Venus in Furs rarities that Times self-released a few years ago. Also, the band Key Largo also featured Times and sounds like an instrumental Venus in Furs song as well... This is definitely a comp that's worth checking out!

Various Artists: Paper Boats in Puddles LP
1987, Whizz Records, UK
1. The Little Legends: Swamp Walk
2. The Rev: A Thin, Grey Space
3. Vava Voom: It's Because
4. Key Largo: New Arabian Nihts
5. Queue Dance: For a Moment
6. The Red Squares: Blue Peter
7. This Colour: In Sapphire Blue
8. Jennie Cruse: Don't You Think
9. The Little Legends: The Body Bank
10. The Rev: Tiny, Tinny Radio
11. Jesus Couldn't Drum: Captain Scarlet
12. Queue Dance: My Heart Belongs to Daddy

Click here to download the record!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Various Artists: First Cut: The Oxford Sound LP

Despite the fact that the cover image of this record makes it look like a compilation of bad 70s yacht rock, this is a record that has quite a few gems. The music is primarily synthpop and new wave. All bands were based in Oxford in the early 80s. Most of the bands are average to decent, but there are two standouts in my opinion: the excellent dancey Gang of Four-inspired new wave of the band Ears to the Ground (especially the song "Wash My Sins Away). Minimal synth fans will find both songs by Steve Zucker to be great - "Moving to Midnight" combines simple, pulsing synths with layers of ethereal female vocals, and "Walk Walk Away" is a melancholy underground analog synth classic with a crazy noisy synth freakout at the end. Yowza!

Various Artists: First Cut - The Oxford Sound
1983 Waterfront Records
1. Colour Me Pop: The Girl Who Shares My Shirts
2. Animal Grace: Truth
3. Ears to the Ground: Another Lonely Night With You
4. Love Attack: Open Up
5. Pressure: Leaving
6. Steve Zucker: Moving to Midnight
7. Animal Grace: She Cuts Me Up
8. Colour Me Pop: Lines
9. Love Attack: Love Attack
10. Pressure: Lifelike
11. Ears to the Ground: Wash My Sins Away
12. Steve Zucker: Walk, Walk Away

Click here to download the album!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Various Artists: 84 LP

Well, it's been a little while since I last shared an album here. But I'll make it up by sharing at least one album per day this week - all of them obscure, unknown, or rare compilations. Starting things off is a Yugoslavian compilation called "84". It was released in... drum roll... 1984. This record is most interesting for the inclusion of the first-ever tracks by early industrial/EBM band Borghesia. Also included on side 1 is an early Laibach song (only a half-minute long), as well as two excellent songs dark electro/industrial songs by 300,000 Verschiedene Krawalle. Side 2 is more in the punk, post punk, and oi vein, with lots of songs that feature angry shouting in Slovenian. This is a highly recommended record, so download it and enjoy!

Various Artists: 84 LP
1984 ZKP RTL (Založba kaset in plošč RTV Ljubljana)
A1 Borghesia: Divlja Horda
A2 Borghesia: Pokušaj
A3 Abbildungen Variete: Ishodišče Subjekta
A4 300.000 Verschiedene Krawalle: Policijski Hit
A5 300.000 Verschiedene Krawalle: TV Generacija
A6 Laibach: Uvod V Jaruzelskega
B1 O!Kult: Za Ljudi
B2 Otroci Socializma: Pesem Št. 3
B3 Otroci Socializma: Vojak
B4 Čao Pičke: Pesem B
B5 Čao Pičke: Kaj Ti Rečem
B6 Via Ofenziva: Minimalni Ritem
B7 Via Ofenziva: Proleter
B8 Via Ofenziva: Mrtvi Igralci

Click here to download the album!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

V/A: Things Are Still Coming Ashore LP

This is a 3-band compilation from Canada that has become a very sought-after item since it contains the very first tracks from Canadian indie/post punk band 54-40. Their songs on this comp are among the best that they ever released, dating back from 1981 and full of the dark post punk angst and urgency that so many of the classic records from that period had. The other two bands on the record are also good. Animal Slaves is an arty new wave band that would have fit in well in downtown NYC. Junco Run is a dark, gloomy post punk band with synths and organs as well as somber vocals. They remind me of bands like Danse Society, Joy Division, early Fra Lippo Lippi, and other similar groups. This is definitely a record worth listening to, so definitely check it out.

V/A: Things Are Still Coming Ashhore
1981, Mo-Da-Mu Records
1. Animal Slaves - Treblinka
2. Animal Slaves - Bones Brigade
3. Animal Slaves - Scum
4. Animal Slaves - Jello Boys
5. 54-40 - Contagious
6. 54-40 - One of Us
7. 54-40 - Anxious Moments
8. 54-40 - Long Goodbye
9. Junco Run - His Story
10. Junco Run - Unseen Hands
11. Junco Run - Secrets and Silence
12. Junco Run - It's What You Experience

Click here to download the record

ModMach: Selftitled EP

Here is a EP (and perhaps the only release) from a San Francisco band called Modmach. Sure, you most likely have not heard of them (they seem pretty much hopelessly obscure), but they actually had their roots in the well-known (in underground/indie terms, at least) San Francisco minimal synth band Units. Richard Driskill, Ron Lantz and Alex Rudis of Units split the synth band before the recording of their Digital Stimulation LP to form ModMach in 1980.
There is really no information to be found between the formation of the band and the release of this record a whole five years later in 1985. Did they release anything else in between - a demo tape, a 7", a reel-to-reel? It appears that Ron Lantz left the group before this 12" EP was recorded. This was self-released on the band's Oddernmart label, and came packaged in a foldover plastic sleeve with a cover insert and credit sheet. Thanks to Stephen from Obscure Records for the photos.
The music here is decent synthpop/new wave - it's definitely not as great as the classic Units stuff, but it's good.

ModMach - Selftitled EP
1985, Oddernmart Records
1. Security
2. On Too Long
3. Nothing New
4. Truth

Click here to download the EP

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Capital Punishment: Roadkill LP

What do you get when you cross the child of a famous comedian, the fertile New York no wave scene, and a few hundred dollars to record and release an album? You get Capital Punishment's album "Roadkill". Not to be confused with the hardcore band of the same name, this was a minimal electronic/no wave/retardo band from NYC in 1982. And the drummer/backup singer was none other than Ben Stiller. That's right, Zoolander himself was a wee lad of 13 when this album was recorded. And while the music here is amateurish - VERY amateurish at times - you have to admit that it's pretty damn cool for a high school freshman's band. I mean, what did YOU release when you were 13? I know that awkward point of my life consisted of Star Trek: TNG, Super Mario 3, and my dad's hidden stack of Playboy magazines. I certainly didn't have time to do anything creative.
So listen to this record with a grain of salt. There are some stupid no wave songs, some decent minimal electropop songs, and actually a couple great electronic instrumentals: especially the epic "John's Forgotten Lands I, II, and III", which use every synth noise in the book. It's a curiosity, a strange amateur classic, and often a very enjoyable listen. Unfortunately, the group never recorded anything else, and the short-lived genre of Stillerwave never realized its full potential.

Capital Punishment: Roadkill LP
Self-released, 1982
1. Necronomicon
2. Roadkill
3. Confusion
4. Muzak Anonymous
5. All Just in Passing
6. Delta Time
7. Creatures of the Dark (Night)
8. Cosmos
9. John's Forgotten Land (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
10. Necronomicon (Reprise)

Download the LP here!

Insulin Reaction: What's the Point LP & Witchfinder General 7"

Here are the two releases from the band Insulin Reaction: their debut 7", and their 1988 LP. Both are pretty obscure, and the LP can be found for quite cheap (like, $5 or so) on or ebay occasionally, which is a nice relief. This group is notable for including two ex-members of dark punk band Peace Corpse (Tracy Lee Garcia and Julianna Towns). Unlike Peace Corpse, Insulin Reaction is dark post punk very much in the Cure vein. What I find most interesting about the band is that they use no guitar - they have two bassists, a drummer, and a keyboardist. With two basses, the songs have a dark, ominous quality to them with very few bright, treblous noises appearing. The only problem is that the combination of dual basses and low production costs cause an extremely murky sound on the 7"; thankfully this was corrected for the LP. The LP is quite good; although many of the songs sound a bit similar, there are some classics, especially Darkzone and Secrets. Anyway, enough jabbering, you probably want to download the records. Do so here:

Insulin Reaction: Witchfinder General 7"
1987 Icon Records
1. Witchfinder General
2. Ride to Forever

Insulin Reaction: What's the Point LP
1988 Bobok Records, Ltd.
1. Lonely Lady
2. Reconstruction
3. Want
4. New Way
5. Darkzone
6. Factory
7. Blacksuit Man
8. Difference
9. Machine
10. Crossfure
11. Secrets
12. Cannibals

Download the LP and 7" here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Men on the Sun (aka Abecedarians): Selftitled CD

Have you ever wondered what happened to the Los Angeles band Abecedarians? No? Well, be prepared to find out, regardless. They broke up in the late 80s after some classic post punk albums and singles on Factory Records, Independent Projects, and their own Southwest Audio Reproductions. But in 1995, Abecedarians essentially reunited. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Manecke and bassist John Blake got a new drummer, Jason Toney, and called their band First Men on the Sun. They released only one CD, on their own Southwest Audio Reproductions, the same label that released the first Abecedarians material a dozen years before. Musically, they sound exactly like mid-to-late-80s period Abecedarians, which should be no surprise; it features the same melodic vocals, the same slightly psychedelic instrumentation, the same post punk influences. It's a good album, and it's a shame that it's so obscure and hard to find these days.

First Men on the Sun
Selftitled CD, 1995 Southwest Audio Reproductions
1. Cary Grant's Hallucination
2. Sleeping On the Grill of the King
3. The Way Things Are
4. I Took a Bus
5. I Could Beg
6. Breathe In
7. Crawling Chaos
8. Chiddle

Download the CD here!

Parchment Prayer LP + Miscellaneous tracks

I wish I could give some sort of background or detail about this release, but the truth is there is simply no information to be found. None of the band members are named (not even on the lyrics sheet). I don't know what else this band released, but I have this LP and a cd-r of their demo tape. The band was from Germany, and was part of the darkwave/goth/deathrock scene there. They released their selftitled LP on Independance Records. Musically, it recalls everything from Joy Division to Christian Death to South of No North to anarcho post punk and punk bands like Lack of Knowledge, The Ex, and Crass. It's sometimes aggressive, sometimes melodic, and always quite dark (except on the kinda lame "Children", with its chorus of "Take Care of the Children... Children... Children...". I mean come on, that's only a few steps away from Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All". Ugh.) But aside from that misstep, the LP is great, with songs like This Love Lost and Comedy sounding like long lost classics. The demos are even better, in my opinion, except some of them aren't the greatest sound quality. A huge thanks to anonymous (was it sorrow-vomit?) who informed me about the demo songs: they were on a demo tape that the band released in 1985, limited to 100 copies. The image of the cover comes from sorrow-vomit. I didn't name the songs in the .zip file, but have included them here so that you can change them accordingly.

Parchment Prayer LP
1987 Independance Records, Germany
1.Sense of Belonging
2. This Love Lost
3. Change
4. We Could Be Them
5. Wish I Could Be
6. Incommunicado (Detention)
7. Comedy
8. Happy Day
9. Sensuality
10. Anger
11. Children


Parchment Prayer Demos:
1985, slef-released demo cassette, ltd to 100 copies
1. Rituale Romanum
2. Comedy
3. Bath of Flies
4. The Clock
5. Subway
6. Just Like You
7. Movement
8. Black Mess (recorded live)

Download both here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Crimson Ivy: Spiritual Vision LP & Existence/Here We Are EP & Epithet Records stuff...

Here are both releases from San Francisco Bay Area band The Cure Crimson Ivy. I've been meaning to post these for quite a while. When I saw that Curious Guy posted the Autumn Cathedral LP (on the same label, Epithet Records) a couple days ago, I figured these records would be good companion pieces. The Cu- CRIMSON IVY was a darkwave/post punk band fronted by Russell Ficklin, who (at least on the LP) wanted soooooo much to be Robert Smith. From his voice to his hair, he was L'il Robbie Smith Jr. However, while it is quite derivative, it's also very good, with equal elements of electro and psych. And the EP takes it in a bit of a different, slightly more New Order-ish and synth-oriented direction, with more earth-loving hippie-ish lyrics.

Extra Epithet Records bonus! If you're interested in hearing another great band from this cult label, check out And Tears Fell. All their songs from their first album, Sidhe, are available for free download. They are a bit darkwave, a bit shoegaze, and a bit alt-rock. Definitely recommended if you like the Crimson Ivy and Autumn Cathedral stuff.

Also! If you check out the comments on the Autumn Cathedral post at Phoenix Hairpins, an anonymous poster uploaded some Autumn Cathedral demos, the Count Past Five 7" (a mod/powerpop band), and the Mute Angst Envy Archetype + Trust CD.

Even bonuser! You can now buy the previously out-of-print and aforementioned Archetype + Trust CD from the Kitchenwhore Records website.

I have several Epithet/Americanon Records catalogs that were packed with the 12"s and EPs on the label, and have been trying to obtain the full discography.
Here is the full discography, to the best of my knowledge:
EPOS1: V/A "Anthology 1: An Awakening" (I believe this was a Europe-only comp to try to promote the label to the more like-minded European market. I've never seen a copy of this before.
EPOS1: Red Weather "Gray" (same catalog number as above. This was only released on cassette and CD_
EPIC1: Crimson Ivy "Spiritual Vision" LP (vinyl-only)
EPIC2: Autumn Cathedral "Asleep Within Waves" (CD and vinyl formats... the CD is extremely hard to find)
AMLP1: The Rise "Fortunes Ride" (CD, cassette, and vinyl formats)
AMLP2: Merv Spiegel and the Penguins "Spitting Tree" (vinyl and cassette only - this is decent alt-rock/post punk)
VERSE1: Count Past Five "Bad Boys of Brighton 7"" (this is the only release from this band; they were a straightforward mod/powerpop band; the song "Bad Boys of Brighton" is a catchy track)
AMEP1: The Electra "Isaac, Felia, the Alley, Bricks & Rain" (mini-LP. I've never seen or heard this before)
CANT01: Crimson Ivy "Existence/Here We Are" (vinyl-only EP)
CANT02: Mute Angst Envy "Trust" (vinyl-only EP)
?????: And Tears Fell: Sidhe (CD? Vinyl? Cassette?)
?????: And Tears Fell: Circe (CD? Vinyl? Cassette?)

Also, there are loads of non-music releases on Epithet Records that were given catalog numbers, a la Factory Records. Poems, covers, lyric sheets, tour flyers, photos, t-shirts, and stickers are all listed in the catalogs
Any help in filling in any gaps would be appreciated, especially regarding the And Tears Fell releases, since I've never actually come across physical copies of them...

Anyway, back to the records at hand: The Crimson Ivy LP was released in 1988; the EP came out in 1989.

Spiritual Vision LP:
1. Insomnia
2. A Vision
3. The Moon
4. Giving In
5. The Decisive Effect
6. Forever
7. Kiss of Death
8. You
9. Two Shadows

Existence/Here We Are EP:
1. Existence
2. Awkward
3. Here We Are
4. Serenity

Download both the LP and EP here!

Infant Bonds of Joy - Selftitled LP

As requested by Elektro80s, here is the selftitled LP from San Francisco industrial/synth band Infant Bonds of Joy. This was a trio consisting of Ricki Sara Bennett, James Davis, and D. E. Kohls, who recorded the record with engineer/producer Greg Jones (RIP).
Anyway, this record was released in 1986 on the UK-based Public Records. It comes in a plain sleeve with glued-on artwork. The music is a mix of industrial/EBM, darkwave, and synthpop.

Apparently all the members have now contacted me, so it's great to see that everyone is doing fine! David Kohls filled me in on the history of the band:

"A (not so) brief Bio of IBOJ by David Kohls:

I came to SF from Lansing MI in 1982 drawn by the fantastic music coming out of the City in those days. Especially I liked bands recording on the Ralph Records label, and yes, I do know a member of the Residents, though I would only tell for money or food...

Boe came from Lansing 6 months later. We met up then got together with Billy Mitchell, another Lansing transplant. Billy was the drummer we'd worked with in our Lansing band "i-Tense". I seriously don't think any of us made any phone calls or anything in plans to emigrate to this great land, but here we were... I met Ricki through a Bay Guardian ad and along with a singer/girlfriend, the five of us launched Dinner Noise, a band basically built to perform a multimedia conceptual performance piece thing. We wrote a lot of music for that - a lot of it pretty good stuff.

Next, Boe and I formed the band Wimpy Savage. Very loud, unstructured, male, and in retrospect with a sound based on a Mattel drum machine which was a great sound that I don't think ANYONE else had. Boe and I have very fond memories and demo tapes of that era and our current film production company carries the same name.

Billy (and I, for a short time) did a stint with the Part Time Christians based out of Concord - kind of a bowling punk thing. Singer Dave B. is still in the area. PTC is definitely a band you freaks should clamber over if clambering is indeed what you do.

Unfortunately , Billy fell for that old diabolical call that has felled so many fine musicians. Too soon he was done and it's too bad cuz Billy was the finest drummer, maybe overall musician, I've ever worked with and he left us without a drummer.

Around this time (1985) Boe and I started writing a new set of songs. Ricki became involved and added her own (much different!) sensibilities to our sound and then we met reknown saxophonist Normal Salant who decided we'd be the perfect band for his first stroll in producer shoes. We rushed out a few more songs and made the record at Gregory Hale Jones' (RIP) recording studio. Greg was the engineer on the project and produced "WhyWhyWhy" and "Boo!". I think it's obvious to anyone who has heard the tracks that those 2 cuts sound much different than the bulk of the LP produced by Salant.

Overall the record has a lot of regrets as I suppose all records do. It is interesting though in that it caught an unusual sound in a twisty little musical time and especially it catches - showcases, actually - some of the blips of the technology of the time. Most prominently is the Roland 707 drum machine used throughout the record. There was no swing in this lock step monster and not terribly great samples either. I regret I didn't make better, more creative use of its limitations. Instead I got caught up in trying to make it sound like a drummer.

Also showcased is the wonderful Moog Prodigy synthesizer (not even Midi capable!) still highly valued for it's kick-ass bass capabilities. Most of the other keyboard sounds were produced on the Juno 120(?) a good midi-enabled synth. Did take advantage of some midi stuff, mostly triggers from the 707 and sequencing on Greg's Apple II computer! The recording was done on a 24 track board on 2 inch, mixed down to 1/2 inch and mastered at Fantasy in Berkeley."

Thanks a lot for the thorough background on the band!

Click here to download the album.

Track list:
1. Simple Anwers
2. Glorious Din
3. A Reaction
4. Why Why Why
5. Pointed Sticks
6. I Like Some Fun
7. Just Like Spoons
8. Boo!

(note: I accidentally called track 7 "Just Like Sticks" in the .zip file. Also, I didn't crop the cover images. D'oh!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Short Wave Mystery - Pilots 12"

Well, I figured that since a copy of this 12" recently fetched $910 on eBay, why not share the record so everyone could hear what the hype is all about? Some people are trying to sell bootleg copies of this for hundreds of dollars as well...
I have managed to track down two of the original members of the group, including Greg, the songwriter/singer.
Here is what he had to say about the group:

"We never again pressed anything else under the moniker Short-Wave Mystery but there are more songs that I have on tape, from that era.
Most of the tracks on that record were written and recorded by myself when I was attending Santa Barbara City College down in Isla Vista, CA around the 1985-1986 time frame. They were recorded in a bedroom using a 4 track Tascam 38 and some small Electro-Harmonix 2 second samplers and a Memorymoog Plus running a sequencer driving a Moog Source. I took some of the tracks into a bigger facility for mastering before releasing the record.
All of the memebers were essentially friends. Two of the members were brothers who I grew up with in Modesto, CA (Tom and Jason) while the tall, blonde fellow, Dave, was a roomate of ours from college in Santa Barbara, who played sax. The other guys in the band played instruments, but none actually played anything on the record, save for Jason, who laid a few percussive licks down. It was all written and sequenced by me. When we played live, I essentially hit the tape play button ala Depeche Mode and let it roll. Not much going on save for a lot of posing and gesturing..
We pressed about 1000 copies of the record and never and never went into repressing. I think we had a hard time getting the record to sell at all, and took a loss. None of us had much marketing or business savvy when it came to getting our product peddled. We just could not create a demand and spent most of our cash just trying to get the record made. I believe it was available through Rough Trade Distribtuion in SF when it was down on 6th street. After that, we grew up and went our separate ways. Tom still lives in the Bay area, Dave I haven't heard from in years, and Jason sells his art in Michigan...
...Anyway, I have all those tracks and many many more from that era still on 2" and 4" real to real tapes. I am going to take them into the studio and remaster them then post them and perhaps re-release them as an album if anyone might be interested. This will occur in the first quarter of 2009.
Jason and I did some stuff after that under the moniker Chapel Bell Chimes, which perhaps I should release as well. More digital sounding of course since I was using a lot of antiqated samplers at that particular time."

I consulted the other member, Jason, who once had over 500 copies of the record in his parents' barn.(!) They have unfortunately all been trashed... No more copies are available from either member. Boohoo.

So, as he mentioned, Greg still has all the original tapes, including many unreleased songs. Jason also has some old tapes, which may contain even more unreleased material! Greg is in the process of remastering them with modern equipment and is interested in eventually shopping the tracks around to various labels and rereleasing them. I've suggested a few labels to him, and helped pass along a message from one of them, so perhaps a reissue of this incredibly sought-after record can finally come about?!? Keep your fingers crossed...

PS. I am not selling this record. Please do not ask!

Short Wave Mystery - Pilots 12" EP
1985 Good Records
1. Pilots
2. Nice Girl
3. Ecaterina Szabo
4. Szabo (Version)

Link removed by request... reissue coming soon!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Diseno Corbusier - Perfido Encanto LP

Here is the first record from Spanish avant-garde electronic band Diseno Corbusier, and the second band with the name "D____ Corbusier" that I have featured on this blog. There were only 500 copies pressed and released in 1985 on Auxilo De Cientos, the same label that released the Twilight Ritual LP and the Terra Incognita compilations. The only source for information that I have found about this boy/girl duo was on the Thing on the Doorstop blog post of their second LP, El Alma de La Estrella. To be honest, it took me a while to get into this record, but it slowly grew on me until one listen when it just clicked and I "got it". Tape loops, odd chanted and repeated vocal noises, and loads of electronics make this a dense, but very fulfilling listen.

Track list:

1. El Grito En Su Momento
2. F*P*2
3. Meta Metalic
4. Clonica
5. Internada
6. La Fabrica No Esta Cerca
7. Gli Scolari
8. El Eco de Oran
9. Non Sense

Click here to download it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Various Artists: 5 Miles to Midnight

I promised Curious Guy at Phoenix Hairpins that I'd rip this for him a while back; well, I finally got around to it. Unfortunately this copy has a bit of surface noise sometimes. This is a great 5-song compilation called 5 Miles to Midnight, released in 1981 on Pax Records. It is most notable for containing two sings by John White's pre-UV Pop band The I Scream Brothers (both of which are also co-produced by Cabaret Voltaire). Also interesting is the fact that there is one track listed by a band called I Suggested Darkness that is not included due to technical problems during pressing. While the sleeve states that they would be featured on a future release, I don't think they ever released anything. Sad. Anyway, the five songs are great minimalist post punk and electronic fare. Download it and enjoy!

A1Doormen, The Choices
A2Doormen, The Alternatives
A3Mortuary In Wax The Face
B1I Scream Brothers Tree Growing Wrong
B2I Scream Brothers Avoid The Surgery

Download it here!

South of No North: Fell Frozen LP

I was a bit hesitant to share this album, because I think the album was reissued on CD. But I can find no official information on a rerelease, except that only 680 copies were pressed. I don't know if it's still available, or where, so if it is indeed still sold commercially I can take this post down. But anyway, on to the album:
This is one of the best darkwave records ever, hands down. The band was from Greece, and they released this album in 1985 on Creep Records. There isn't too much else that needs to be said.
This is yet another record I found in Vienna.
A note to anyone who will be visiting that fine city who wants to go record shopping: go to Teuchtler Schallplatten, found on Windmuhlgasse 10, (1060 or "6" section of town). Also check out the store right around the corner from it. Between the two, I found this, the Astaron LP, the Sing As We Go compilation, the first Bisca LP, the Desert Corbusier EP, and a load more, all for about 5-10 euro each.

1. She's Only a Song
2. Fell Frozen
3. Creeping
4. Annabelle Lee
5. Melancholy Bells
6. Behiund the Eternal Tree
7. Fairy Tale

Get the album here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Here is an obscure 7" from a Japanese band called Popsong's Factory. Not much is known about this record. I've seen it mentioned that it was released in 1981, but I have no proof that it actually was (no date anywhere on the record oof sleeves...) Both songs use synths and drum machines. Side A is an electropop song very much in the vein of the early Drinking Electricity singles (except sung in Japanese). Side B is a tripped-out minimal wave song with a simple, repetitive drumbeat, synth noises, dark-sounding sax melodies, and absolute vocoder overload. It takes a few listens to appreciate, but it's such a great art-damaged track that soon becomes endearing.

Here's the info:

Popsong's Factory
198?, Pillbox Records (PX 100000000)
A: My Pops
B: D'Ameja

Click here to download it.

European Toys - Nine Men Applauding LP

This week I have a couple obscurities. This one is an LP from a band from the UK called European Toys. It was released in 1985 on Backs Records. It was one of the earliest releases on the label, which also released material by bands like Venus in Furs, Gee Mr Tracy, Perfect Vision, and loads of other criminally underrated post punk and synth bands. European Toys played melodic, gloomy post punk. I hear similarities to groups like Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Sad Lovers and Giants, English Subtitles, and Mecano among others, as well as trace elements of jazz and prog. Songs like "Child Inside" and "Good Times", and "The Room" are quite excellent dark new wave. Give this a download, you may very well like it!

European Toys: Nine Men Applauding LP
1985, Backs Records (NCHLP 4)
1. The Sad Party Story
2. Child Inside
3. Scarlet O Hara Part 1
4. Scarlet O hara Part 2
5. Nine Men Applauding
6. Good Times
7. So Look At Me Now
8. The Room
9. The Travelling Man
10. Flip Side of Life (please note: I did not include this song, since it's just 3 minutes of silence.)

Click here to download it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Astaron: Selftitled LP & Lance the Ensemble EP

Here are the only two vinyl releases from Vienna, Austria cult band Astaron. When I was in Vienna a few months ago, I found the LP for a couple euro. It looked interesting, but unfortunately the record store did not have a record player (or I didn't know how to ask in German if they had one... I forget) so I had to buy it and hope it was good. I had to wait 10 days before I would get home and listen to it, and the anticipation mounted each day. I bought almost 60 records in Austria, but this one above all others piqued my curiosity. It looked so ... promising; I would be disappointed if it was anything less than gloomy gothic perfection.
When I finally got situated at home, laid in bed, and heard the first crackles of the record give way to synths and organs and chants and hauntingly ethereal vocals, I knew that this would instantly become one of my all-time favorites. I've listened to it dozens of times now, and have not ceased to be entranced by its melancholy beauty. I loved it enough to order the EP, which I just received today and have decided to share with others.
The music ranges from dirgelike chants to ethereal darkwave to haunting ballads. The EP is a bit more cold/darkwave sounding, with danceable beats on all songs; the LP is all doom and gloom, especially from the song "In an Absence" on to the end. Elements of groups like Vyllies, Cocteau Twins, I'm So Hollow, Malaria, Kas Product, and early Danse Society can be heard throughout these releases. Many songs (especially on the EP) also remind me of stuff by more recent darkwave bands, especially The Vanishing and Autonervous.
As for this duo, it contains two girls, who are never named. I do know, through some research, that one of the members was Angie Morth, aka Angie Modepunk, one of the members of seminal minimal electronic/post punk band Viele Bunte Autos (whose entire catalog has been reissued on cd, and who can be heard on their myspace page:
Apparently Astaron also released at least one cassette, called Sarg Tape. If anyone can provide mp3s from this or anything else Astaron released, I would be forever happy. I simply cannot overstate how much I love the music this band produced.

Astaron: Selftitled LP
Ton Um Ton Records, 1987 (?)
Black Galley (2:58)
Finale - The Burning (3:38)
Little Girl Crying (2:16)
St. John's Fire (2:34)
As Time Joins In (4:13)
Torch-Light Procession (5:20)
In An Absence (4:57)
Sea-Blue Ladies (4:44)
Collecting Bones (5:14)
The Slurring (3:50)
Untitled (1:01)

(please note that the last two songs are saved as one song)

Astaron: Lance the Ensemble EP
Bugel Records, 1988
The Lance Ensemble (5:47)
The Icequeen (4:21)
Golden Carriage (5:27)
It (4:50)

Download both records here! - Link updated with NEW rips from mint records 1/16/12!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

MOOD SCHOOL: Clutter Without Decay LP

Here is one record that will probably please quite a few people. I've sent tracks from this record to various people on mixed cds and every single person wants the original LP. Mood School was a quartet. They self-released this album, called Clutter Without Decay, on their own Brain Pan Records. I believe they were from Texas (the contact number has the area code 214, an area code for Dallas). As far as I know, this was their only release. However, it appears that they were recording music as later as 1993, as a music video was made that year for a song called Spoon Bender, which does not appear on this album. Fun fact: The guy who directed that video, Ruben Ellingson, went on to be an art director and concept designer on movies like Jurassic Park, Men in Black, and both Hellboy movies. Too bad that doesn't really have anything to do with the actual band, about whom I can find no information... Anyway, this is a great album that mixes post punk, goth, and electro. Most songs have female vocals. Songs like Time Traveler, Your Crime, and Searching should have been hits, but alas, nobody cared. It's not too late to appreciate the music though. Download it now!

1. Blowbuth
2. Searching
3. Your Crime
4. Longest Day
5. All Us Humans
6. To Sir With Love
7. Illusions
8. Alone in the Palace
9. Stroll Through China
10. Time Traveler

Click here to download the album!


Here is one of my favorite Bay Area darkwave records. It was released on the Still Life label in 1987. Essentially a duo of brothers, this group released this one EP, played around the Bay Area between 1984-1988 or so, and then dropped off the face of the earth. They were one of a number of similar bands in the mid to late 80s in the Bay Area. I imagine they would have fit perfectly on the Epithet Records roster with Autumn Cathedral, Crimson Ivy, Mute Angst Envy, ...And Tears Fell, and others, but they were just a bit too early. Shadows As Tall As Trees was synth and keyboard heavy, and remarkably well-produced for such a small indie release. They sound similar to Tears for Fears, Danse Society, Die Unbekannten, etc... Not terribly original, but man are they GOOD!

1. The Problem
2. Now Don't Cry
3. Care
4. The Problem (Depression Mix)

1987 Still Life Records

Click here to download this EP!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JUJU: Windtorn EP

One of the things that I love about the music blogosphere is the sheer amount of completely and hopelessly obscure bands that can be discovered on any given day. Myriad bands are completely unheard of until one person posts a song or an album, and all of a sudden people want to know more about the artist. Well, I wish I could tell you more about this. I really do. I absolutely love this EP. But unfortunately, there is absolutely no information anywhere. Similar to the Auscult EP that Curious Guy posted a little while back, this record is a gloomy gem with no credits whatsoever. Perhaps somebody out there can help solve the mystery of who recorded this, and where, and if they recorded anything else. I do know that it was released in 1989 on Rakish Records. . The music is nice and dark and very minimalistic. My favorite is Silent in the Shadow of the Sun, a slow-paced gloom-wave classic; Alkanet and Ashodel are also very good.

The songs are:

1. Malicious Iris
2. Silent in the Shadow of the Sun
3. Alkanet
4. Ashodel
5. Beloved Moonbeams
6. Goddess

Click here to download the record.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Primal Danse - Show No Emotion EP

Here's a pretty obscure EP from an LA band called Primal Danse. Although the record was marketed through Enigma Records, very little seems to be known about this record or the label (American Standard) that it's on. It seems that the drummer, Mike Hirsch, runs a skate shop these days in Southern California. Darin Bond, who played the rototoms, is also the name of one of the members of late 90s/early 2000s garage punk band Deadites (I don't know if they are actually the same person, though). This record was released on American Standard Records in 1982. The styles vary a bit: Insomnia is a midtempo mix of psychedelic and goth (similar to Red Temple Spirits or their predecessor, Ministry of Love); Johannesburg is dark new wave; Show No Emotion is more like a dancey funk-punk song.

Click here to download this EP!

Monday, June 9, 2008

MOLOKO+: Selftitled LP

Here is one of my personal favorite darkwave records. It's a 1986 selftitled, self-released album by a band called Moloko + from Germany. There isn't a lot of info about these guys. They released this LP as well as some songs on some German tape and vinyl compilations in the early to mid 80s. Almost every song here is great. From darkwave to dark electro to post punk to standard goth to more minimalist fare, these guys knew damn well how to make a classic album. My favorite songs are Fields of War, Falling Apart, and Eat & Starve.
Fun Fact: I saw this in a local record store and didn't buy it for almost a month because I thought the Russian writing at the top said "NAMBLA" when I glanced at it. Of course, common sense should have told me that those guys would probably not release an album that would be found in the goth section, but that's what happens when you thumb through records at a pace that's too quick for thought. Um, anyway, if you like darkwave or synth-heavy post punk (such as the Eleven Pond LP I previously posted), download this one!

The tracklist is:
Fields of War
Falling Apart
Bad Love
Eat and Starve
In Meinen Taschen...

Click here to download this album.

Sad Is Fiction: Zum Wohle Der Menschheit 12"

This time I have a mysterious 12" EP from a Swiss band called Sad is Fiction. They self-released this EP in 1991, and that's really all I know. I have no idea if they released anything else, if the members (who only go by their first names on the jacket) went on to any other bands or what... I do know that I really like this EP. It's femele-fronted goth that's oddly dynamic, almost... I don't know, mathy? Math-goth? Would that be "Moth"? "Gothematics"? "Agothmetic"? There are loads of tempo changes, the songs build from repetitive doom-sounding basslines to angry shrieks and abruptly change to repeated chanting. It's definitely worth checking out if you're a goth or deathrock fan.

The tracks are:
Lied 13
Lied 7
Darling (Live)

Click here to download it!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Outlook: It Doesn't Matter/She's a Star 7"

Well... I'd like to give some sort of background to this record, but I can find no information anywhere. And since it didn't come in a picture sleeve, I only have the record labels to go from... What I do know is that this was an minimal electro/synthpop group called Outlook. This record was released on BowZar Records in 1986. There were presumably three members in the band: Bowen, Rans, and Zartoshty. And a guy named Ed Perry is credited with Eng. (English? Engineered? Engelbert Humperdinck?). Anyway, this is comparable to groups like Kirlian Camera, the Carol/Snowy red 7", and Gary Numan. Great minimal electro pop that borders on Italo. If you know any more information, please let me know; I'm very interested!

The tracklist is:
It Doesn't Matter
She's a Star

Click here to download the record.

Bisca: SDS 1984 LP

Bisca is a long-running band from Italy, who have been around since 1980. Their first record was an EP that was very ska and reggae influenced post punk, similar to UK groups like The Slits. Their more current releases are more electronic pop. This record is probably their best (in my opinion), as it sounds almost identical at times to Essential Logic or Maximum Joy. Mid and fast-paced post punk with horns blaring! They also dip into dub, notably on the excellent "English Way of Life", Fire Engines-style jagged guitars on songs like Happiness/Violence and Prendi Quella Gente and acapella weirdness on Pianterreno. This record was released in 1984 on their Bausongs label. In true DIY fashion, the front sleeve was a piece of corrugated cardboard with "SDS 1984 BISCA" written in permanent marker. I thought it would be interesting to share this album, as I've come to enjoy it a lot recently.

01 Pianterreno
02 Dott. Jekyll
03 Chi è stato
04 Wolfman
05 Prendi quella gente
06 Semiotic Destroy Sistem
lato B
01 Collezione primavera/estate
02 Happiness/violence
03 English way
04 Mix
05 Buster Keaton
06 Monk
07 ABC
(A note of apology: I failed to write the track numbers before each song when I named them all. Oops!)

You can find out more information on their website:

Click here to download the album!

Desert Corbusier: Walked Up and Down the Stairs, Searched the Building All Over 12" EP

Desert Corbusier was a short-lived Dutch group from around 1980-1981 that self-released a few cassettes and one vinyl EP. They played a dark, avant garde, and minimalist post punk, with deep vocals by a young Richard Cameron, who would later find fame in the duo Arling-Cameron. They found moderate success in Berlin, Germany and Zagreb, Croatia, where they would play for up to 3000 people. All their releases were put out and produced themselves. I only have the 12" EP to share. I'd like to hear their cassette(s) if anyone has them...? Due to a pressing error, many copies of the 12" have a weird "haze" to them, as if all the glossiness of the vinyl has been removed.

To the best of my knowledge, their discography is:

1980 Cassette: Take the children (Self-released)
1980 Cassette: A lot, Soon Again Oedipus (Self-released)
1980 Cassette: A Cake of Your Own Dough (Self-released)
Note: I may be wrong about this; they may have only released one cassette and these were the songs on it. Again, if anyone knows for sure, please let me know!

1981 12" EP: Walked Up and Down the Stairs, Searched the Building All Over (self-released; catalogue# DC 456)

Teach Yourself
The Room
Can't Stay Too Long in This House
Safely Secure

Click here to download it!