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!