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.