Thursday, October 22, 2009

Factual: Psychotic Romance 12" & Your Way 7"

Here are two of the three releases from Factual. They were from the surprisingly fertile new wave/synthpop scene of
Nashville, TN - a scene that, in the early 80s, contained bands such as Calculated X, Dessau, and Warm Dark Pocket (whose EP, by coincidence, was just shared by Vanilla Face on his absolutely wonderful Crispy Nuggets blog!).
Factual released three records on their own Faction label before breaking up. After breaking up, synth player/vocalist Rob Earls formed the aforementioned Warm Dark Pocket. Faction were a great electropop band, with synths and drum machines galore, and vocals that were the perfect mix of melancholy and urgency. They knew how to play synths AND write great songs. This band definitely deserves more recognition - download these and see why. Both of these records were released on transluscent colored vinyl (the 7" was red, the 12" was blue), which is kinda cool for record snobs. Faction's last records was a 12" called For the Song, which also had a remix of Psychotic Romance. I've never heard either song - if anyone has this to share, I would love to hear it!

Factual: Your Way 7"
1982, Faction Records
A1 Your Way
B1 Think To The Beat

Physchotic Romance 12"
1983, Faction Records
A1 Psychotic Romance
B1 Institutions
B2 Wire And Chrome
B3 Standing Alone

Download both records here!

The Popular Sex: Powers of Suggestion LP

Here is yet another unknown US synth LP from a mysterious Atlanta-based duo called The Popular Sex. All the songs were conceived between 1976 and 1981, mainly in Eastern Europe. Each track includes the year and the city or country of conception on the back cover. The LP starts out with songs from 1977-1979 that focus on simple drum machine beats and synths, with some great electropop songs like Power of Suggestion and some minimal synth gems such as You Want Happy and When We Were Lovers. Side two takes things a bit differently, with female vocals and more driving and full-sounding songs, from the electrifying electropop of Mad Heat to the synthpop Blondie knockoff of My Heart Beats Empty. There are a couple duds here and there, but for the most part this is a great, if eclectic, synthpop album. It even comes with a large foldout lyric poster with a early computer generated psychedelic art! It doesn't necessarily fit the music (neither does the album cover, I suppose), but that adds to the charm. A google search turns up several copies of this one for sale - it may not be hard to find (yet), but perhaps that's just because nobody has heard it yet? Check it out, there's bound to be a song or two that you like!

The Popular Sex: Powers of Suggestion LP
1984, Wild Carbon Software
Tracks (with year and place of conception)
A1 Powers of Suggestion (Ural'sk, 1977)
A2 Muscle of Steel (Krakow, 1977)
A3 You Want Happy (Bucharest, 1979)
A4 My Life Is Good Again (Ibaden, 1979)
A5 When We Were Lovers (Sarajevo 1978)
B1 Mad Heat (Dresden, 1980)
B2 My Heart Beats Empty (Prague, 1979)
B3 No Idea (Istanbul, 1976)
B4 Expedite (Sofia, 1979)
B5 This May Save Your Life (Moscow, 1981)

Click here to download this record!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Here is the selftitled 12" EP release by the German band Leben Und Arbeiten. They played an angular, aggressive form of Neue Deutsche Welle. There is often a concentration on the rhythm and drums (especially on Der Letzte Mohikaner, which sounds like a different version of Artery's "The Slide", with howls and screams in place of vocals). In fact, these guys seem to owe as much to the UK early-80s post punk bands as they do their Zickzack labelmates. Bands like Artery, This Heat, Fire Engines, and Ludus figure heavily in their sound. Discogs has them listed as "industrial" and "electro"... they really aren't. Maybe there are some industrial touches, but this is pure NDW by way of the UK. Great stuff. I don't think they released anything else beside a track or two on various compilations.

You can see a couple live songs on youtube here:

Leben Und Arbeiten: Selftitled EP
1982, ZickZack Records
A1 - Gef├╝hl Nix Gut
A2 - Krank Mann / Krank Frau
A3 - Amanita
B1 - Der Letzte Mohikaner
B2 - Ein Tag Ist Nicht Genug

Click here to download this EP!

NULLSET: Unisphere 12" & Forget You First 7"

Here are two of the three releases from New Jersey electropop/minimal synth band Nullset. Their only 12", Unisphere, was released in 1983 on JRM Records, and their final 7", Forget You First, was released in 1986 on Parabola Records. The 12" was produced by Matt Pinfield - the same Matt Pinfield who hosted "120 Minutes" on MTV back in the 90s! Musically, they are pretty straight-ahead electropop on their 12", with loads of analogue Korg synths and drum machines, with a nice minimal gem with "The One". The recording is a bit murky and lo-fi at times, as is the nature with these privately released no-budget records, but it's still pretty endearing. Bonus points for the great archaic Ascii art on the foldout insert!
The 7" is a bit more full-band new wave, but the B side is still on the synthpop side of things. If anybody has their first 7", I would love to hear it!

Nullset: Unisphere 12"
1983, JRM Records
A1 - To The Point
A2 - Say Fall
B1 - Unisphere
B2 - The One
B3 - Times Out

Forget You First 7"
1986, Parabola Records
A1 - Forget You First
B1 - Counting to One

Click here to download this record!