Friday, August 6, 2010

ANDROID: In Tune With Tomorrow LP

Do you remember those 50s movies that took place in the future, with pod cars, cylindrical buildings, and jet packs everywhere? In retrospect, those films seem quaint and silly, but at the time I'm sure their directors thought they were visionary. Well, Android is the muscial equivalent of that sci-fi glimpse of the not-too-distant future. With shaved heads, surrounded by synthesizers and knobs and keys and pads, with vocoders galore, this band looks and sounds like they want to be Kraftwerk circa 2125. There are songs about the future, songs about space, and even songs about the comfort that a synthesizer provides.
The record was pressed on clear blue vinyl, with a blue silkscreened poster insert and blue, white, and silver artwork. the entire presentation is an amazing and beautifully made homage to a stripped-down, monochromatic, otherworldly, robotic future. They self-released this in 1982 on their Alternative Music Productions label.
Judging by the photos on the back and on the insert, it appears that they set up a custom-made room somewhere (Los Angeles, presumably) to play their shows. I also wager to guess that this record was only sold at those shows. Of course, I could be wrong, and would love to hear from anyone in the bend or who saw the band!
The music, of course, is key on any blog dedicateed to old obscure records. Yes, it gets cheesy. VERY cheesy, in a lo-fi vocodered Tangerine Dream-meets coldwave sort of style that has not aged particularly well. But when the band gets it right, they create some beautiful 100% synthetic masterpieces, such as the beautiful, dreamlike My Love Is Like a Shooting Star, the tinny electro of Standing in the Line of Fire, or the cold futurist bliss of my personal favorite, Perpetual Motion. I uploaded this many years ago to a new wave bulletin board and it still seems to be completely unknown... Hopefully this post will rectify that.

Click here to download this record!

Android: In Tune With Tomorrow LP
1982, AMP Records
A1 Luminary
A2 Images
A3 Sometimes My Love is Like a Shooting Star
A4 Standing in the Line of Fire
A5 ThemeSong
B1 Ahead of Your Time
B2 Listen to the Sky
B3 Perpetual motion
B4 exerpt from Tentative Conclusion
B5 ElectroSynphonia

I SHOOK HANDS: Someday I'll Be Gone 12"

Okay, shameless plug: I have a bunch of records currently on eBay (and will be listing hundreds more for the next couple months), including this one. And that's probably the last time I'll mention that. But I know that people will probably want to hear this. This is a self-released, self-produced, one-man band called I Shook Hands (a sticker on the back credits "Manny" as the sole member of the group, and gives his phone number). There is no year of release, although I'd guess it's some time around 1986-1988 or so. The music is similar to mid-80s Depeche Mode, Information Society, Experimental Products, Red Flag, et al. It's pure danceable elctro bliss, especially on the track "That's Just the Way", which has a repetitive but killer synth line. The singer's vocals are oddly lispy, and the lyrics are a little silly (he rhymes "day" with "day" three lines in a row), but who cares when the music is so damn catchy and good?

Click here to download this record!
I Shook Hands: Someday I'll Be Gone 12"
198?, ISH Records
A: Someday I'll Be Gone
B: That's Just the Way

Don't Get Angry At Me!

Waaaaaaaay back in 2006, Phoenix Hairpins posted one of my all-time favorite goth-girl records, the Look Back In Anger mini-LP "Caprice". Dark and theatrical, taking pages from Siouxsie, Christian Death, and the whole Batcave scene, this band was truly excellent and terribly underrated. Do yourself a favor, and download this record (and the Flowers 12") if you've never heard them!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pitch: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun?

This record was written up waaaaay back in 2006 on the Italians Do It Better blog/website, but I don't think the music was ever shared. Their post explains the origins of the record and the personnel involved. The most "fun fact" about the musicians involved is that Marc Center more or less developed Macromedia (some company that released an obscure and probably unused program called "Flash"), and programmed the first licensed music for a video game (the Peter Gunn theme in Spyhunter!).
When I found this record, I didn't know what to expect - it had a nice DIY silkscreened sleeve, "synthetizers" listed as the main instruments, and a guest horn section on the B-side. The B-side is indeed a bit of a loungy number somewhere between synthpop, funk, and lounge music. In actuality, it fits pretty well with the NY no wave scene (think Elliot Sharpe and the more brass-oriented bands he was in).
The A side is the winner here, and is one of the unknown minimal synth gems that occasionally pops up out of nowhere. With completely blasse, vaguely foreign, and occasionally delay-effected spoken female vocals, random samples, a gurgling dublike synth bassline, and lazy synthesizer melodies, this sounds like a contemplative Young marble Giants during a heroin-induced trance. And I mean that in the best way possible.

Pitch: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun? 12"
1982, self-released
A: What Am I Gonna Do For Fun?
B: It's a Quest

Various Artists: Paris Mix LP

After seeing the posts of Ice's sole EP and Guernica's split LP , I decided to share a very sought-after French coldwave compilation that both of those bands were featured on. This LP, called Paris Mix, was released in 1982 on the Zeb Records label in France. As far as I know, this was the only release on that label, and only 2000 copies of this record were pressed.
The record is split between coldwave and punk tendencies. The aforementioned bands both have strong contributions on this record - Ice has an exclusive (at the time) version of their cold synth classic La Grande Guerre, and Guernica have two incredible coldwave songs that sound very similar to Charles de Goal. I particularly LOVE the three songs from Zona, a female-fronted post punk band that sounds like a mix of Au Pairs, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Charles de Goal. I can't find much info on them, although I vaguely remember them having one other release. Any more material from Zona would be greatly appreciated!
Those artists make up side one. Side two starts off more punk-ish, with a trio of songs from Peggy Luxbeurk. They are the perfect transition between the two different sides, as the last five songs on the second side are rounded out by Swingo Porkies and Prop Sack, who are both straight-ahead punk.
The sheer amount of incredible material on this record make it one of those albums that can truly be called "legendary" (or at least "classic".) My copy has a few pressing errors that cause occasional static at the start of side two, so don't be too annoyed by background noise on a couple tracks! This is well worth the download by any fan of underground French music!

Various Artists: Paris Mix LP
1982, Zeb Records
A1 Guernica - Kamikaze
A2 Guernica - Rebellion
A3 Zona - Vie Parisienne
A4 Zona - Boule Quies
A5 Zona - Citron
A6 Ice* - La Grande Guerre
B1 Peggy Luxbeurk - Sueur Froide
B2 Peggy Luxbeurk - Les Enfants De La Crasse
B3 Peggy Luxbeurk - Univers
B4 Swingo Porkies - Pas Comme On Les Voit
B5 Swingo Porkies - RĂ©solu
B6 Swingo Porkies - Un Monstre Est En Moi
B7 Prop Sack - Comme Avant
B8 Prop Sack - Aujourd'hui

RED: vinyl discography

It's often interesting to see synth and new wave musicians develop their sound and eventually find fame, from film composer Graeme Revell's humble beginnings in SPK to director Jim Jarmusch's brief musical career in Del Byzanteens. Such is also the case with Red, a band founded by German-born composer/guitarist Ottmar Liebert. Admittedly, I'd never heard of him until I picked up this pair of 7"s, but he's a "Nouveau Flamenco" guitarist with five Grammy nominations to his name. The music of Red is nothing even remotely approaching flamenco, though. With synths, drum pads and live drums, and melancholy female vocals, this is a mix of minimal synthpop, post-punk, and new wave. They apparently released a cassette as well, which, according to discogs, nobody owns (although if someone DOES have it and can rip it, I'd be quite interested!). The music on these records is a bit spotty at times, especially on their first 7", on which they crammed five songs. The second side is pretty good, though, and by the time they released their follow-up, they definitely found their footing - even though I Wish It Will Rain completely rips off the vocal pattern of The Token Man by Modern English (play them back-to-back and you'll see what I mean).
It's also worth mentioning that their debut gets bonus points for it's uber-DIYness. Individually-painted covers with taped paper designs wins every time!

Red: Walking in the Park 7"
1981, Odds on Music
A1: Walking in the Park
A2: Rooftop
A3: God Save America
B1: Red
B2: The Landed

Red: KCDY 7"
1982, Skyheaven Music
A: K.C.D.Y.
B: I Wish It Will Rain

Shockingly great music!

Shoc Corridor are one of those bands who had all the talent, the songwriting skill, the pop sensibility, and the experimentation of the heavy-hitters in the synth genre, but who just never seemed to break past cult status. Their second LP, Train of Events, is a classic combination of the cosmic and the pop veins of electropop, and their debut, Experiments in Incest, is one of the most beautiful and blissful cosmic minimal electronic monsters ever unleashed upon the world. I can listen to albums over and over and over and over and... well, let's just say I like these albums a lot. If you have not heard these yet, download them from the excellent Systems of Romance blog and treat yourself...

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I like mysteries and secrets. I love finding an obscure record and then finding out as much as I can about it. The Eleven Pond / Pond / Red Violet trifecta (with their shared members and similar sounds) is a perfect example of a mysterious puzzle unfolding and being solved through research, tips, phone calls, and emails. Finding the frontman of Short Wave Mystery five years ago with only the first names on the back of the record cover was another high achievement in my hobby as a musical gumshoe. I would apply to become a record detective, but I don't think that job exists.
Sometimes, though, I'll discover a record that piuques my curiosity... and which completely frustrates me with its utter lack of information. Here is one such record, forwarded to me by Josh from Dark Entries (whose friend found it in a thrift store). I don't often share records I don't own, but I'm making an exception here.
This is a self-released LP, ostensibly from a German band in 1986. Ahhh, if only it was that easy. Josh's friend is German, and pointed out all the misspellings (most noticeably where it says "side swei" (even I know it's "zwei"!). OK, that's... interesting. So what? Well, there is also no GEMA copyright on the record or sleeve (although since it is DIY with silkscreened sleeves, who knows if one would have been necessary). After a bit of sleuthing myself, I located this record on an archive of US copyrights. So, perhaps this is a US-based band masquerading as a Germans? Moreover, this was found in a bin full of San Francisco new wave records - perhaps this record was released in my very own backyard, under my nose and the collective noses of the entire Bay Area?
Or are we just completely deluded in our suspicions about this release - after all, there are plenty of Americans who can't spell, so why can't there be poor-spelling Krauts? It's questions like these that drive me to find out more, more, MORE! Of course, there are no inserts. There are no personnel credits (not even on the sleeves). So, I'm sharing this record because A) it is an excellent album that's a cross between synthpop, experimental electronics, industrial, and darkwave, and B) perhaps somebody, somewhere can shed some light on this obscure, unknown release.

It's been solved already, by the very person who found this in the thrift store!

He looked further into the US copyright site at

He found a tape release from the band, which credits "Hans Schiller".

"I looked for Hans Schiller on Discogs - he's behind all the Kode IV stuff (industrial music).
Now check out the artwork of their first self released cassette: You see the exact same lines and airplanes, and the black & white font. The lines that I thought resembled a swastika are actually the number "4". Duhhhhh. Well, the bad news is that Hans Schiller died in 1994 according to the Discogs website. His partner's name is "Peter Ziegelmeier" (another German name). It looks like he runs "Ceiba Records" on Haight Street, which I am not familar with. I guess he'd be the one to talk to... Definitely Bay Area!!!"

So, I tip my hat to a record detective who is better than I. Great work, and maybe next time I pass Cieba Records on the way up to Amoeba, I'll bug Peter Ziegelmeier!

Kozmonaut: Fleig LP
1986, Vier Productions
A1 The Mann (English Version)
A2 Flieg
A3 Tidal Meditation
B1 Die Stimme Aus Dem Universum
B2 Arabisch Nacht
B3 Einer Kleiner Walzer
B4 Lieben Ist
B5 Parademarsch

Click here to download this LP!

Help us solve this mystery!

KONGRESS: Tough Guys Don't Dance 7"

Before she found minor fame in the new wave disco-punk group Marilyn and the Movie Stars, the singularly-named Marilyn fronted the gothic/experimental/disco new wave band Kongress. She was only in the band for a little while, but long enough to sing on their sole record, this self-released 7" from the late 70s (no year is given). Normally I like to write my own spin on the records I blog about, but there is a wonderful, descriptive bio about the band here that I can not improve upon. I've pasted the bulk of it below:

The infamous alternative, gothic, experimental band Kongress emerged in 1975, and has consisted of many members over the years, including, Geoffrey Crozier who conjured up spirits, Von Lmo, Master of Reverse Trapology, Robert Crash/Renate Twin Towers of Teutonic Guitar Power, Frank Stokes stabilizing the Bass Bottom and Master of the Unheard of, Otto von Ruggins, Saving the Musick World with his Keyboard Wizardry! Kongress' influences include the likes of The Pretty Things, The Who, Kraut rockers Amon Duul II & Can, and The Zombies and their music sounds like eerie bizarre Goth electronica music out of a basement. Kongress are featured in 'No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980' by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley and are also working on the release of a DVD of the epitome of a Halloween Show - Max's Kansas City, NYC -1976 (taped by Bob Gruen) and 1977 (taped by Rod Swenson). For more information on the DVD:

Over the years Kongress has produced some amazing, magical music with songs like Oliver Twist, Sam Son, Eyes of the Witness, Frozen Head, Bebop Dada Debutante, Cybercrazed, Magick, Backwards Dog with Aristedes DuVal, two songs recorded with Sky Saxon, Wink of an Eye and Space, and one of my favourites Tough Guys Don't Dance sang by Marilyn, who replaced Geoffrey in 1978. The song Tough Guys Don't Dance was inspired by the Norman Mailer novel by the same name, which he made into a movie. He was sent a copy of the 45, and wrote a note to Kongress questioning their right to use his title, to which the band responded, "titles cannot be copyrighted, check with the Library of Congress!" Kongress is a very talented and versatile band; they possess clever, amusing lyrics, electronica music, and experimental music combined with dark sorcery and magical influences. They are shrouded with mysterious occult ways of the bizarre and eerie strange coincidences. The story behind the song Sam Son is quite freakish.

"This was the summer of the Son of Sam and I had penned an account of the events to that point, titled "Sam Son." When we got in the studio and the engineer heard the title of the song, he commented that he had a black labradour retriever by the same name. Ironically, a few weeks later, after David Berkowitz was captured, it came out in the papers that he claimed to be receiving orders from his neighbor's dog, a black labradour retriever! I expressed the desire to take a picture of the dog sitting in Geof's electric chair for the record cover, but not only was the tape never released, later I was informed that Sam Son had died, having been run over by a priest!" - Recounted by Otto von Ruggins.

Kongress no doubt was a band that was way before their time; the world was not ready to embrace their talents in the mid 70's. Yet they pushed the boundaries of society. A band definitely worth looking at now. Let Kongress stimulate your imagination and refresh your dark little soul!

Kongress: Tough Guys Don't Dance 7"
197?, self-released
A: Tough Guys Don't Dance
B: Talk Talk

Click here to download this record!

Vinyl Magazine + Flexis

When I travel to foreign countries, I like shopping in the local stores. I'm not talking about going to the tourist traps and buying little trinkets emblazoned with the town's name, I'm talking about the little grungy bookstores, antique stores, and (of course) record stores that are part of everyday life for local collectors and afficionados. I got a good sense of Dutch culture by flipping through the Nederpop sections of each record store I visited. And it was in one store in particular that my friend and I found a small cache of cheap old Dutch Vinyl magazines, most of them complete with flexis. While I do not read Dutch (to my novice eyes, it really seems like themost impenetrable language imaginable), I loved all the old photos,ads, layouts, and upcoming live show lists. I figured that I would share my copies with the world over the nextfew posts.
I have a handful of magazines with flexis, and several flexis with no magazines. Even if you're like me and don't read Dutch,I strongly urge you to check these out. This magazine was on thecutting edge of new wave, electro-pop, and post punk in the early 80s. Each issue looks great, and it's a wonderful glimpse into the world ofDIY and indie music from almost 30 years ago. Plus, the flexis haverare and sometimes exclusive tracks, in all their crackly, tinny, lo-fi glory!


Cover story: Nasmak
Includes: Luc Van Acker, The Fall, Recommended Records, etc.
Flexi tracks:
Nasmak: Dishhunt (live)
Nasmak: Origins & Whereabouts (live)
Gulf Pressure: Balconi
Gulf Pressure: Extra Rialto
Gulf Pressure: No Song

VINYL MAGAZINE ISSUE 10 (January 1982)
Cover story: Malcolm McLaren
Includes: Nexda, B-Movie, Video Vinyl, Vovokai
Flexi Tracks:
Nexda: Untitled
Richard Zijlstra & Stephen Emmer: Pedalenproza

A Flux in 3D: Divide
Cravats: Fireman

Can't you take a hint?

Several years ago, Mutant Sounds posted the excellent electro-pop/minimal synth compilation Subtle Hints In the past few years, with the growing popularity of this genre, this LP has gone more-or-less under the radar. It's time for it to be rediscovered. Every song is electronic-based. There are several classics on this album, from the dark synthpop of the ridiculously named Squid Diddly to the experimental electronics of Art Interface to the charming lo-fi synthpop of the wonderfully-named New Vices for the Jaded to the darkwave of My Pierrot Dolls. Download this if you don't yet have it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ACTUEL: Monuments LP

Nashville: it's not just for country music any more. Or at least, that was the case in the 80s. With a steady stream of bands like Factual , Warm Dark Pocket Dessau, and others, this town bucked its bumpkin image in the Reagan era with some bands that stayed true to the cold, synthetic and detached sounds emanating from Europe.
Actuel (originally called The Actuals) was another such band. Members of Dessau and Factuel were both in this band at various times, but at its core, Actuel was a duo whose mix of coldwave guitars, synths and drum machines, melancholy vocals, and a perfect bit of pop sensibilities made them regional stars. Unfortunately, with only a couple 12"s and this self-released LP (which compiles the 12" tracks), their legacy is pretty much forgotten. Perhaps that will change now, once people get the chance to hear them. There are quite a few great songs here (my favorite being the slow, somber "No Regrets".)

Actuel: Monuments LP
1984, Actuel Records
A1 You And I
A2 East To West
A3 Things
A4 Say You Will
B1 No Regrets
B2 Monuments
B3 Just Imagine
B4 Until Another Time

Click here to download this record!

LAUGHTER IN THE GARDEN: Corridor of Statues EP

Sometimes bands can be comletely indecisive about which direction they want to go. They may release albums that have rock songs, rap songs, electro songs, and ballads, to the point where the whole affair is so incohesive and cumbersome that it feels more like a Wierd Al album than an attempt at a serious record.
Other times, however, a band may combine two or three disparate styles in an effort to create a completely unique sound. Take Laughter in the Garden, for example. Did this UK-based co-ed sextet want to be a dark electronic band? Maybe a twee pop band? Or perhaps they want to go in an Essential Logic post punk sax direction? Why not all three! Somehow, this band combines these styles beautifully. Each song is a mix of electronics, indiepop, and new wave. Thre are a few hiccups here and there, but overall the songs are wonderful.

Laughter in the Garden: A Corridor of Statues EP
1982?, Tea-Time Records
A1 Clutching at Straws
A2 Lost Cause
B1 Who Does
B2 One Day Tomorrow

Click here to download this record!

The Cleveman show

Lars Cleveman was a completely underrated Swedish synth artist whose combination of minimal electronic, darkwave, and Krautrock was nearly perfect. This was shared several years ago on the now-inactive Swedish New Wave blog , and it is highly recommended for download if you missed it the first time. You won't be disappointed!

SF Minimal Wave cover story!

By pure coincidence, a mere couple weeks after my last posts of SF Bay Area minimal wave and post punk records, the venerable San Francisco weekly newspaper SF Bay Guardian is featuring a cover story on the emerging Bay Area underground synth scene! It's a really good article, touching all bases of the genre; the author interviewed Josh from Dark Entries Records, Veronika from Minimal Wave, and others. He touches upon bands old and new, forgotten and fledgling, and even mentions this blog! Check out the article here. If you live in SF, come out to Nachtmusik at the Knockout on Mission & Valencia next Wednesday, where my girlfriend and I will be guest DJing!
And now, on with a new little batch of records...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Distant Thunder: Shelter LP + Unreleased & demo tracks

One of the most obscure and forgotten LPs (that seemingly NOBODY knows about) is this 10-track oddity from Distant Thunder. Self-released in 1985 on Last Records, this record by this one-man band almost seems like a gothic vanity pressing. Completely amateur, with programmed drums, stabs of synths, dissonent and atonal electronics, and repetitive guitars and vocals, it seems like Mark Wenning, the man behind Distant Thunder, bought a few cheapo instruments and said "I'm going to write and record an album this week".
I don't mean that disparagingly, though. The combination of all the above elements ensures that this album is unlike anything I have ever heard before. Repetitive, off-key, tribal, droney, lo-fi, dark, simplistic, and completely endearing, this is a strange lost classic. In reality, many of these songs were written over the period of a few years (although he did indeed initially utilize a Mattel toy drum machine, which he used in conjunction with an Apple IIe for the basslines). He recorded a second album, which was unfortunately never released. You can visit his Distant Thunder website here , which includes a bio and downloads of his unreleased second album (which I have also included here for your convenience!) I also included a couple pre-album demo tracks as well (songs that use the toy drum machine) for good measure. He sold about 300 copies of this album, but I still occasionally see it offered for pretty cheap prices online, so this isn't very hard to track down. For now.

Distant Thunder: Shelter LP
1985, Last Records
A1 Cost/Benefit Analysis
A2 Simon Says
A3 Too
A4 Promised Land
A5 It
B1 Nouns and Verbs
B2 Smart Birds
B3 Show and Tell
B4 Modern Medicine
B5 Who

Click here to download "Shelter"

Click here to download the unlreased album "Impulse" and the demo tracks

Defuser: Music for a Comic Book Video LP

This is officially the weirdest album that I have uploaded. This is the virtually unknown self-released follow-up to Defuser's first 7", the classic World Suicide b/w Freeze Please. They were from Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from SF. A wonderfully-presented LP, this comes in a gatefold sleeve that is laid out as a comic book. Each panel of the comic represents one song on the album.
The entire album is a concept album about a one-off concert by a fictional band called Lyres & Theeves. Except it's not as simple as that. At all. I could say it's primarily industrial, but it goes from electro to spoken word to industrial to sax skronkery to minimal electronic to experimental noise to an advertisement the band made for a local business chosen at random from the white pages to traditional Finnish folk music to darkwave to industrial again. Extremely subversive, very dark, very silly, very irreverent, very political, very punk, very art-damaged, this concept album is unlike anything - ANYTHING! - that I have ever heard before.

Defuser: Music for a Comic Book Video - The Lyres & Theeves Concert LP
1985, Mutiny Records
A1 Charlie, Hector & Betty Arrive at the Concert
A2 Li'l Otis
A3 And Welcome to the Show
A4 Prefessor Zeus and the Barking Elephant
A5 Politically Correct
A6 Bouquet of Weeds
A7 Woman in Bondage
A8 Love Song For You, Darling
A9 The Mob Has Come to Life
A10 Free Advertisement
A11 Seven Judys
A12 Nonexistant Song (intermission)
B1 Steel Dick
B2 Screaming Mad
B3 Little Bird
B4 Sax Hell
B5 Destroy What You Don't Understand
B6 Ladies' Tea Party Jazz
B7 Just Want to Be Your Friend
B8 Pocket
B9 Covered in Vines

The Wonders of Science: Record of the Same Name EP

Down from the southern end of the SF Bay Area (San Jose, a city which is actually larger in population than SF, but which nonetheless plays second fiddle to its world-reknown northern relative) comes this wonderful synthpop group, Wonders of Science. They released a 7" and this 12" EP. You can read about the 7" on one of the members' blogs here.
This group was reduced to a duo for this self-released 1983 EP, and they were a pretty early adopter of the classic Roland 808 drum machine. They were pretty much the only band of their kind in San Jose, and played all around the Bay Area for a few years before finally going their separate ways. Michael Dresbach became a priest (whose blog is linked to above) and now lives in Panama. Matt still lives in the Bay Area.

The 7" was uploaded on the excellent and amazingly prolific BX-59cppw blog, so get that too!

The Wonders of Science: Record of the Same Name EP
1983, Wonders of Science Records
Reconsidering Our Love
Let's Start a Rumour
Call It Off

Click here to download this record!

Junk Fifty-Seven 12" EP

Desired by collectors of minimal synth and old-school electro alike, this unassuming and extremely obscure 12" from San Francisco-based Junk 57 is a strange record. It was self-released on DiscOrganization, and I can't imagine it was distributed too extensively. Despite its name, the A side, Return of the Itchmaster, is an excellent old-school electro song, with effected and subdued vocals, record scratching, and hard-hitting syncopated production. Side B starts off with a mediocre electro-rap song, but then takes a complete one-eighty with Heart Full of Soul - a stripped-down minimal electronic cover of the Yardbirds classic. It almost sounds like two completely different bands are on this record.

Junk Fifty-Seven: Selftitled EP
1984, DiscOrganization Records
A: Return of the Itchmaster
B1: Junk 57
B2: Heart Full of Soul

Perfect Strangers: Fascination EP

Here is a synthpop band from Concord, CA, called Perfect Strangers. Their brand of new wave was synth-heavy and upbeat, and they released only this EP before dissolving. While it's a bit commercial sounding, the song Fascination is quite a good track, and Run to You was a minor hit on Quake FM (it was also released on the Quake FM 'Rock of 84' comp, which featured exclusive songs by Voice Farm and Fade to Black). The band reformed under the name Skindeep in the mid-80s, with a much more polished sound. That band released one record (which included a re-recorded version of Run to You).

Perfect Strangers: Fascination 12"
1983, Perfect Strangers Records
A1 Fascination
A2 Just Because I Know You
B1 Run To You

Click here to download this record!

SF BAY AREA SYNTH RECORDS: Necropolis of Love: Talk 7"

Somewhat by request of my friend Josh from Dark Entries Records, and partly because I have been meaning to do this for a while, I have a San Francisco Bay Area synthpop extravaganza (synthstravaganza?) this week. San Francisco (and the greater Bay Area) in the late 70s and early-mid 80s was a hotbed for experimental and quirky new wave, post punk, and synthpop - the scene was very underground, and very similar to that of New York (with the no wave scene) and Berlin (with the burgeoning NDW scene). Starting off this week is the debut 7" from Necropolis of Love. Based in Berkeley, just across the bridge from San Francisco, these guys were one of the best darkwave bands in the Bay Area... ever! While this 7" has made an appearance or two on some blogs, the rips always seem to have the 12" version of "Talk" (taken from their 1984 12", The Hope). This rip is of the actual 7" version - very stipped-down, with simplistic synth percussion (perhaps a KR-55?), and much less produced. Enjoy this one - it is a masterpiece!

Necropolis of Love: Talk 7"
1983, Thumb Records
A: Talk
B: Alyssa

Click here to download this record!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kan Kan!

As before, I also want to bring to peoples' attention an old post that may have been forgotten, neglected, or simply not discovered yet by the legions of newcomers to the music blog world. This week, I suggest going to the wonderful Phoenix Hairpins blog (which, in along with the Mutant Sounds blog, was my inspiration to begin ripping and posting my own records) and download everything that Curious Guy has posted in the past three-and-a-half years... starting with the complete discography of Kan Kan, the brainchild of one Patrick Dineen. From the humble minimalist post punk beginnings of his self-released debut 7" to the two later 12"s, his three records are pure darkwave perfection, full of synths and pianos and somber vocals.

MY SIN: Beyond Good and Evil EP + Chains 7"

Well, I figured that if I'm going to post a rare SF female-fronted darkwave EP with tortured religious overtones, I may as well post the male equivalent! This is the 12" EP from one-man San Francisco band My Sin, self-released on Endless Music, as well as his debut (I think) 7", called Chains. The 7" has one song (You End Up Swimming) that is on the 12", so I've only included the exclusive track.
My Sin were pretty productive, releasing several cassettes (at least one of which had an accompanying book) and eventually a CD in the early 90s. My Sin is a mix of darkwave, deathrock, and synthpop on these releases. Using only bass, synths, and drums (no guitars, apparently), this one-man band created some dark, gloomy, angry, and lyrically quite bitter music. He starts with excellent covers of the Stones (Moonlight Mile) and the Stooges (I Need Somebody) on one side of the 12", and all other songs are his own. If you like your darkwave and deathrock infused with a good deal of melodrama, download this one! And if you have any of his other releases (cassettes or CDs), I would love to hear them!

My Sin: Beyond Good and Evil + Chains 7"
198? + 1984, Endless Records
A1 Moonlight Mile
A2 I Need Somebody
B1 You End Up Swimming
B2 Hayloft

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EYES OF GOD: East of Eden EP

Here is a pretty much unknown San Francisco darkwave EP from a band called Eyes of God. I can't really find any info on these guys, since the silkscreend sleeve has absolutely no info, and the label doesn't really help either. I think this was released with a different cover which MIGHT have more info, but it's been years since I've seen that version, so that really doesn't help here! Dark keyboards, ethereal female vocals, dark forceful basslines, and jagged guitars make this a great record. The band REALLY plays up the religious imagery (look at the song titles... and the band's name), and it seems as if the singer has SOMETHING weighing on her soul that she wants to confess throughout all three songs. The religious motif in the lyrics works well, though. I have no idea if this band recorded anything else. They self-released this 12" recorded/mastered at the Sonic Arts Recording facility, which seems to have recorded a good half of the self-released SF darkwave and minimal synth (Martin Human, Junk 57, and loads of others).

Eyes of God: East of Eden EP
1985, Conceptual Records
A1 East of Eden
B1 Garden of Sin
B2 Sin Twist

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As a bit of a follow-up to Phoenix Hairpins' post of the Viva Los Angeles Part II, here is the first volume of this two-art series. It features a load of great underground Los Angeles bands (and comes with a huge, beautiful booklet with full artist bios... in Italian!).
The music here skews toward the dark and experimental side of the LA scene; my favorite are probably the Randall Kennedy and Reconstruction tracks (one of which also appeared on one of the Terra Incognita compilations on Auxilio De Cientos) - they are dark and full of keyboards, with both sung and spoken word vocals. Bay of Pigs contribute two of their typical darkwave-meets-bagpipes songs (seriously!), Carl Stone contributes an electro-acoustic track, and Savage Republic are probably the most well-known, still active today (in fact, I recently saw them perform as a live soundtrack to an experimental 1970 Spanish film - one of my favorite shows of 2009!).
Anyway, this is a truly recommended record. I did not include the booklet with this rip (I don't have a scanner), but I suppose I can take photos of each page if people are interested.
V/A: Viva Los Angeles LP
1986, Viva Records
A1 17 Pygmies - Chameleon
A2 Randall Kennedy And Reconstruction - A Rise From The Ruins
A3 Randall Kennedy And Reconstruction - Never Ending Night
A4 Randall Kennedy And Reconstruction - Heroin
A5 Carl Stone - Jang
B1 Bay Of Pigs - It's All Over
B2 Drowning Pool - Festival Of Healing
B3 Savage Republic - Exodus
B4 Savage Republic - Spice Fields
B5 Bay Of Pigs / Koichi Nagai - Prologue

Click here to download the record!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WOG: Selftitled LP

Here is the only release by a mysterious Los Angeles duo called Wog. This duo consisted of Aret Madilian, a Turkish immigrant who had a bit of recording experience in 1983 with a self-released new wave 12", and his friend Ari Excel. They formed this band in late 1983 and named themselves after the Stranglers song "I Feel Like a Wog".
Madilian was on synths/vocals/drum programming and Excel played bass and sang lead vocals. Highly influenced by post punk bands like The Cure, Joy Division, the Stranglers, early OMD, Magazine and Wire, they slowly began to gain popularity in Los Angeles. 1985 was a big year, when one of their demo tracks was played by Richard Blade on KROQ, and they were voted "best unsigned band in LA" by listeners of the venerable station. Throughout the next three years, they continued to write songs but did not release anything until this album, on the tiny LA-based Clandestine Operations label. Despite distribution in both the US and Europe, the LP was pretty much completely unnoticed, and only a handful were sold. The band broke up shortly thereafter in 1989.
I can find no info on what became of Ari; Aret took a hiaitus from recording before eventually moving to northern France and forming the goth/darkwave band Deleyaman (whose site has a great bio of Madilian, from which I got most of this info).
Musically, they play darkwave that sounds like a mix of The Cure, Joy Division, and are even a bit reminiscent of the Juju mLP that I shared last year (which, if you have not heard yet, is HIGHLY recommended!). The repetitious and often hypnotic mix of pianos, synths, bass, and somber vocals give this release a great rainy-day appeal.

Wog: Wog LP
1988, Claudestine Operations
A1 Morale
A2 Guts
A3 I Had A Notion
A4 Moment Of Betrayal
B1 Divine Rave-up
B2 Les Anges
B3 Businessmen In Love
B4 Dialectic

Click here to download this record!

TEMPER! TEMPER: The Switch 12"

This record here is a 12" from the UK, presumably self-released on the Sheer Bravadol label, by a band called Temper! Temper. This trio recorded this 12" and a 7" (of the same songs), and then disappeared. The record received some distribution by the Cartel, but it still remains a pretty obscure and unknown 12". Their blend of synthpop, goth, and new wave is infectious - The Switch could have been a huge club hit, similar to bands like New Order and Information Society, or a poppy version of Sisters of Mercy. There's a bit of cheese factor in the vocals and guitars (this was the late-80s, after all), but the songs handily escape the late-80s dreck by avoiding slick production and bad balladry. Body Blows is a particularly beautiful song, with simple guitars, warm lush synthesizers, and (depsite being called an instrumental) ethereal female vocals in the background. This is pretty sought-after these days, so I thought I would share it for all to hear!

Temper! Temper: The Switch 12"
1989, Sheer Bravadol Music

A1 The Switch (12")
A2 The Switch (7")
B1 Let's Switch
B2 Body Blows (Instrumental)

Click here to download this EP!

SING AS WE GO! (something old is new)

This week I have chosen to post two obscurities from the late 80s - that oft-neglected (for good reason!) mini-era of polished commercial pop, sax solos, hair metal, and AOR. But the records that I have here - from 1988 and 1989 - buck that trend quite well.
I am also going to start linking to old posts from other blogs that I am rediscovering, or that I think deserve another listen. I'm trying to focus on old posts from at least 2 years ago, which newcomers to the ever-expanding blogosphere can download and enjoy. First up is one of my all-time favorite compilations, Sing As We Go. Released in 1982 in the UK on the Little Sister Enterprises label (the same label that released the similar 1983 compilation Not Waving But Drowning) and receiving virtually no distribution outside Europe, this compilation is chock-full of minimal synth, post punk, new wave, and more. Particularly great is the Glass Actors song, an incredible early minimal electro song with KR-55 drum machine overload! In perfect DIY fashion, it comes with a thick xeroxed booklet (one page per band), with great graphics and artwork! This was uploaded on the Mutant Sounds blog almost three years ago. Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

THE PHONES: Two Hearts, Two Heads LP

There are some LPs that don't impress me too much upon first listen, but eventually grow on me the more I listen to them. This debut album by Dutch post-punk band The Phones is such an album. The first time I heard it, I thought it was good, but there weren't any tracks that stood out too much. Still, there was something there - something about the album made me listen to it again. And then again. And now, after many, many listens, I have no idea how I was not immediately in love with this album. It's a perfect combination of jagged guitars, dark synths and organs, powerful and perfect vocals, loud drums, and simple, repetitive basslines; an excellent mix of new wave, darkwave, pop, and electronic; a great blend of many influences, from fellow Dutch post-punkers Mecano to Joy Division to Television to Modern English to the Thomas Leer/Robert Rental LP. The A side is a bit spotty at times, but has the excellent instrumental minimal electronic song "*" (yes, that's the full name); the B side is solid throughout. THe final two songs, Cities and Comme L'Amour, are both masterpieces in my opinion. These are songs that would would be lauded and raved about by hipsters and indie journalists as the next big post-punk revival band if they were released today - they have aged perfectly. The synths and bouncy chorus in Cities and its long instrumental outro, and the abrubt start-stop-start-stop of the beginning of Comme L'Amour, have driven me to listen to these songs dozens of times. Not only is this self-released album a lost classic, but the packaging is great - it comes in an oversized quadrilateral sleeve, with a hand-cut dust jacket (which has a stamp that says "hand cut" on it, to authenticate the DIY-ness of it, I suppose). This is an album that deeply rewards repeated listens. And even if I'm the only one who loves the album, I still want to share it, as it is exactly the type of album that I created this blog to share.

The Phones: Two Hearts, Two Heads LP
1982, self-released
A1 Change
A2 The Lizard's Show
A3 Silly
A4 *
A5 Heroin, My Love, My Heroine Love
B1 Emotional Language 4:28
B2 VIP 4:22
B3 Cities 4:37
B4 Comme L'Amour

Click here to download this album!

THIS PARADE: Erotica (Love in an Original Way)

After I posted the Rumponia LP last week, I figured that I would also post this excellent 12" on the same label, Rumpo Records - especially since it was requested. This Parade was a group that featured future Spiritualized, Slipstream, and Spacemen 3 guitarist Mark Refoy. The music is a great mix of indiepop with darker post punk - it's a very loud, full sound for only 3 members. It's always astounding how many incredible records came out of the UK in the 80s, and how many are lost in time. Hopefully unearthing this gem will get it the exposure that it deserves, as it is an excellent release. My copy has a pressing defect on side B that causes some considerable surface noise during the first part of the track 1 - I chalk that up to the cheapo pressing that riddled a lot of privately pressed and tiny independent records from the era. Still, it's well worth listening to.

This Parade: Erotica (Love in an Original Way) 12"
1985, Rumpo Records
A Erotica (Love In An Original Way)
B1 Sing & Dance
B2 Heartfelt

Click here to download this record!

THE SHORT WAVE MYSTERY demo tapes & unreleased tracks!

Well, I actually have nothing to download with this post, but I'm just pointing you in the direction of some of the best minimal electro ever made. The Short Wave Mystery, they of the $200 bootleg and $1000 12-inch, have a huge cache of nureleased tracks that you can listen to any time right here. I especially recommend "Without Cause". This sounds like the best Depeche Mode song never released. It is THAT good. Cross you fingers and look for a reissue on Dark Entries Records!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Red Violet Red (pre-ELEVEN POND!) 12"

To start out 2010, here is a special treat, courtesy of Lesypersound in Spain. He discovered that there is a heretofore unknown pre-Eleven Pond 12" from Jeff Gallea (the songwriter/synth player of Eleven Pond)! It was exciting for me when I found the Pond 12" I posted a while back, so I know how great a discovery this must have been for him! Here is a great summary from him:


These last weeks I'm reorganizing my collection thanks to the great database that is DISCOGS, they still lack many records to upload and I go collaborating in what I can going up some. In this work I added a 12" record that was in my collection from many many years called RED VIOLET RED (before ELEVEN POND LP was known or had it in my collection). Let us notice the sound was similar to ELEVEN POND, same cover type made by hand, limited and numbered, fact in US and suddenly I saw that the cover was signed by J. Gallea !!!!!!!?????, quickly came me to mind Jeff's Gallea of ELEVEN POND!!! then I checked the correspondence address that leave in the back-sleeve and was exact to the one that leave in the inner-sleeve of ELEVEN POND's record ....... and... bingo!!! I understood that RED VIOLET RED was a kind pre-ELEVEN POND release. Jeff Gallea made this record with other musicians not on later ELEVEN POND record but the sound is really similar and it advances the sound that will have the later record without a doubt. This was very touching for my and I wanted to share that information with you and with the other collectors!!!


Now, don't be discouraged by Candy Cane. It... has NOT aged well. The B side, 12 Miles of Sky, is a dark synth-wave masterpiece that is just as good as the best Eleven Pond tracks! This presumably) concludes the Eleven Pond-related stuff we'll be hearing (until Jeff finally decides to finally release the album's worth of unreleased stuff he has). Hopefully this will tide you over... happy 2010!

Red Violet Red 12"1985
Game Hen Records
A: Candy Cane
B: 12 Miles of Sky

Click here to download this record!

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Rumponia - An Answer Within LP

Here is an obscure UK compilation from the tiny Northampton label Rumpo Records. Aside from a couple comps and singles (including one from This Parade, which featured future Spiritualized/Spacemen 3 member Mark Refoy ), Rumpo Records did not leave much of a legacy, which is sad, since the few releases I've heard from the label are excellent! This compilation features 10 minimal synth, new wave, post punk, and indie bands. Insekt Flak is pure analog electronic bliss, Exit Girls is silly deranged synthy art-punk, and Skating for Cover (who also released an excellent tape which can be found on the Mutant Sounds blog ) are a perfect mix of indiepop and darkwave. Unfortunately, my copy was a kinda beat-up dollar bin find, and there is some pretty noticeable noise on parts of side A that I couldn't easily remove. Still, the best songs sound good. Check this one out!

Various Artists: Rumponia: An Answer Within LP
1982, Rumpo Records
A1 Insect Flak - Theme From Flesh
A2 Cellar 16 - Slartybartfast
A3 Bullets For Silver - Let Me Throught
A4 Damyata - Rosemary Is Broken
A5 Workshop - Love Serenade
B1 Groovy Underwear - Windmills
B2 Armpit Orchestra - Snow Shoes & High Heels
B3 Syndromes - Over My Head
B4 Exit Girls - Mr. Brown
B5 Skating For Cover - Le Cortege

Click here to download this record!

LIMBO RACE: (almost complete) Discography

Here is the entire vinyl-based discography from Boston post punk band Limbo Race. They released two 7"s, three songs on regional vinyl compilations, and two songs on radio tapes that I've never heard. Stylistically, the first thing that comes to mind is fellow Boston band Mission of Burma, but there are quite a few similarities to Gang of Four and The Cure, especially on their second 7". Lyrically, the band is as honest as they are bleak; one listen to their dark synth-heavy masterpiece Ina's Song or their gloomy Down and Backwards will let listeners know that the singer is not hiding anything or holding back. Wikipedia has a great bio of the band:

Limbo Race played their first show in 1980 at the legendary Underground, a rock club in Allston, MA, notable for being one of the first venues to feature acts from the burgeoning post-punk and experimental music scene in Boston. For two years, the band played in other small Boston and Cambridge venues including Cantones, Mavericks, The Rathskellar ("The Rat"), The Club, the Inn Square Men's Bar and in alternative venues along Thayer Street in Boston's South End. Among the many Boston bands that Limbo Race shared bills with were Someone & The Somebodies, Mission of Burma, The New Models, V;, Art Yard, The Neats, The Proletariat, The Neighborhoods, Lou Miami & The Kozmetix, Native Tongue, The Young Snakes, 'til tuesday, The New Models, and The Del Fuegos.
Drummer Peter Keaveney left the band in early 1981 and was replaced by Mark Poulin. At this time, the band recorded their first tape of the song Cigarettes which received airplay on the MIT radio station WMBR as well as on WERS from Emerson College.
In 1981, the band caught the attention of producer and engineer Dan Salzmann who brought them into the studio to record a song, There Goes Kafka, which was included on a compilation of Boston-area bands called A Wicked Good Time Vol.2.
In early 1982, the band added saxophonist Mark Chenevert and recorded their first single, Down & Backwards b/w What It Is, which received airplay on the commercial radio station WBCN. The band began to receive media attention and was invited to play at the 1982 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble which they went on to win. Interestingly, Limbo Race was not included in the list of bands originally invited but as an alternate; they entered the competition only when another band had to drop out.
The band was picked up by manager Jim Coffman, who also managed Mission of Burma, and began playing shows throughout the northeast including the famed CBGB in New York, the 9:30 Club in Washington DC and other venues. In 1983 they also opened for the Thompson Twins and Echo & the Bunnymen at the Channel in Boston, as well for R.E.M. at Streets in Allston. Beyond Limbo RaceIn 1984, drummer Mark Poulin left the band. After attempting to find a new drummer and carry on, the remaining members of the band decided that the end had come and disbanded in the spring.
Randy Black went on to form a new ensemble called Dr. Black's Combo which also included saxophonist Mark Chenevert. He also has a lengthy career as a solo artist playing primarily acoustic and recorded a critically well received CD Below The Tapering for Waterbug Records.
Bassist John Neidhart continued playing in numerous Boston-area bands that included The Wickermen, The Sextons, Stardarts, and Jack Frosting.
Mark Chenevert continues to perform as a respected clarinetist and sax player and has played and toured throughout the United States with bands that include Hypnotic Clambake, Chandler Travis, Stone Lily, and others.
Mark Poulin continues to perform as both a drummer and guitarist, notably in a tribute to Roy Orbison.

Limbo Race: Discography
Down & Backwards / What It Is 7"1982, Limborations Records
Ina's Song / Small Talking 7"1983, Limborations Records
Compilation tracks:
There Goes Kafka1981, A Wicked Good Time Volume 2, Modern Method Records
Fluids, In Your Breath1983, Crawling From Within, 77 Records

Click here to download everything!