Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs on the interweb and I’m just sharing the wealth.

Should you have any Questions, Comments, Ideas, Re-up Requests or just general straight forward Requests post them in the relevant comments boxes and I’ll get back to you.


We Have Come For Your Children

Coming off one of punk rock's early classic albums, 1977's raw and rough Young Loud & Snotty, you'd think the Dead Boys would have followed the same winning formula on their sophomore release. But as We Have Come for Your Children proves, the album didn't come close to matching the fury of their debut. The reasons for this fumble can be attributed to a few things, but chiefly, it was a poor producer choice (ex-Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi, who really had no business producing a punk band, and obviously wanted to tame the group). That said, Children isn't a complete atrocity, however; much of the material is strong, and it would have benefited greatly from a grittier production (there was talk of having ex-Stooges guitarist James Williamson produce the album at the time, which would have probably improved the end result). Still, this is the Dead Boys album that contains one of their greatest all-time tracks, "Ain't It Fun," a "live fast, die young" tale that is quite eerie coming from now-deceased singer Stiv Bators (and was later covered by Guns N' Roses). Elsewhere, you can't help but wonder how much better such promising tracks as "(I Don't Wanna Be No) Catholic Boy" and "Flame Thrower Love" would have turned out in the hands of another producer. Since the Dead Boys' discography is short, fans should definitely try to hunt down a copy of We Have Come for Your Children; just don't expect the same knockout punch that Young Loud & Snotty generates.


Vision Thing

I have a feeling this one is going to get me into trouble, but hear me out, OK?

The debut Sisters album First And Last And Always is put simply the greatest goth album in existence. That said I still prefer Floodland as a complete work, even though FALAA is clearly the better and more influential album.
So let’s briefly talk about Floodland, the first album Andrew Eldritch put out after the departure of Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams to form The Mission. It's just a spellbinding piece of work that succeeds not only as a dance single generator with "Dominion/Mother Russia, "Lucretia, My Reflection," and of course and forever "This Corrosion," but also a driving narrative opus that moves along magically throughout its length.
That's what Floodland was in 1987. Then Eldritch, ever the monomaniac, fired a bunch of people and hired a new bunch of people to birth Vision Thing in 1990. Of the three Sisters albums it remains the worst, at least until Uncle Andy finally stops pouting at the recording industry and gives us the album for which we've been waiting for nearly 30 years and can in no way live up to expectations.
On the surface, Vision Thing is great. It's certainly listenable. As a singles generator, it's better than Floodland. However, once you peel back the surface you realize that the album is completely empty. The lyrics are just a random collection of political buzzwords meant to invoke emotions without having any real substance behind them at all. Andrew Eldritch invented the obnoxious political meme before the internet even happened. "Detonation Boulevard," "Dr. Jeep," try to capture the turmoil that was really going on in the world at the time, with driving guitar lines and a more industrial sound, but the feeling just isn't there. Every time I hear Vision Thing all I can do is shake my head and wonder why a man so possessed of such singular dark brilliance would stop here.
In the end, Vision Thing has none of the majesty that marked the beginning of The Sisters. It's almost petulant, and a poor note to go out on.


No Escape

Chelsea's second album was a compilation of past glories, issued at a time when the band itself was apparently falling apart; in fact, the wholesale departure of his backing band was simply an excuse for Gene October to reinvent the band for the third time in three years, with Alternative Hits now doing double duty as the tombstone over the last lot's grave. Picking up the A- and B-sides of every Chelsea single to date, 14 tracks (upped from 12 on the original vinyl release) trace Chelsea through the brilliant fistful of wrath that was their earliest calling card; the howling desperation of "Right to Work," the bitter condemnation of "High Rise Living," the squalling street smarts of "Urban Kids," pulling in a couple of tracks from the band's eponymous debut album, then wrapping up with the trilogy of singles issued during 1980 ("No-one's Coming Outside," "Look At the Outside," and the brittle "No Escape.") It's an unbeatable introduction to the band, a one-stop record store if you can't find the original singles, and a reminder that, though Gene October may not have been the greatest lyricist of his age, he was certainly among the most perceptively honest. And that is just as grand an accomplishment.


Girls At Our Best

Emerging from the Leeds punk scene in 1979 were frankly responsible for some of the finest post punk pop of the era; featuring, oddly enough, a pre-fame Thomas Dolby here and there on keyboards. Girls At Our Best's sole album, Pleasure, is an underrated delight, tempering the sometimes harsh edge of the earliest singles to an equally passionate and entertaining approach not afraid to be calm here and there. The quartet touched on everything from the Banshees' arty edge to Gang of Four aggro-funk and full-on power pop catchiness, and did so brilliantly. Jo Evans' voice was at its considerable best at many points; sometimes so light that it was hard to catch what was being sung, but often able to deliver her sometimes wry, sometimes sunny, but always smart sentiments just right. Excellent as it was, Pleasure doesn't have the band's defining moment, the absolutely brilliant debut single "Getting Nowhere Fast," which sounds equally as fresh now as it did back then; that opening harsh nagging riff, the descending looping bass giving way to swirling guitars that hints at early Banshees – this is short, spikey pop complete with Jo Evans ever so imperfect vocal delivery about trading your life for a replacement. Sharp, short, and perfectly catchy down to its sudden edit ending two minutes in, it's one of the highlights of turn of the '80s Brit rock.
The group initially consisted of vocalist Judy "Jo" Evans, guitarist James "Jez" Alan, bassist Gerard "Terry" Swift, and drummer Chris Oldroyd. The band took its name from a line in their track "Warm Girls", which first appeared on their 1980 debut single "Getting Nowhere Fast" on their own Record Records, and was followed up by their second single, "Politics" c/w "It's Fashion!”. Oldroyd departed to join Music for Pleasure, and was replaced by Darren Carl Harper before the next single, "Go for Gold" c/w "I'm Beautiful Now" on Happy Birthday Records, which was their biggest indie chart hit. The group released their album, Pleasure, the first to be released on the Happy Birthday label, and reached No. 2 on the indie chart and No. 60 on the UK Album Chart. The band's fourth and final single, "Fast Boyfriends" c/w "This Train", was released later that same year.
Debate still rumbles on as to whether Jo could actually sing, certainly in the accepted sugar coated manufactured pop environment they preceded, her voice and the band weren’t perfect, but aren’t the imperfections the things that make great pop music?


On Stage

One of the most riveting British punk rock units of the early 1980s, T’Exploited could have cared less about mainstream pop sensibilities and insisted on keeping things raw and hardcore. Musically this is very basic, but very catchy and great if you want to jump up and down and swear loudly. The inter-song banter between Wattie and his home audience makes this album special. Punk doesn't get much more passionate and recklessly fun than On Stage, recorded live in 1981 in The Nite Club, Edinburgh, Scotland. The sound quality, as I mentioned earlier, isn't great by any means, but the band's vitality comes through loud and clear on such angry, sneering classics as "I Believe In Anarchy," "Dogs of War" and "Cop Cars." With the Clash having become more polished, the Damned and Sham 69 having gone downhill and the Sex Pistols having disbanded, T’Exploited came to symbolize U.K. punk ’82 at its toughest. Having yet to suffer the eternal shame of appearing on Top Of The Pops with the still to be released single “Dead Cities” the band had no problem commanding a devoted following in the punk underground. If you still have all your own teeth and you can't down a litre of frosty jack in one you probably won't like this.



The Photos were a young punk band from Evesham, Worcestershire, originally called Satan's Rats featuring Steve Eagles on guitar, Dave Sparrow on bass, and Olly Harrison on drums, but when they recruited a good-looking female vocalist going by the name of Wendy Wu in 1979, they changed their name to the media-friendly Photos and recorded and released an album of new wave pop that unfortunately, despite the band's denial, sounded almost identical to the music of Blondie from the era of their first two albums, Blondie and Plastic Letters. Prior to the debut album, a four-track EP was released featuring the tracks "Irene," which was later to become the band's only hit single, albeit peaking at a miserable number 56, and "Barbarellas," about the closing of a local nightclub. The original vinyl and cassette album was just 12 tracks, but when finally transferred to CD in the late '90s, they added an additional 8 tracks from the Blackmail Tapes sessions that were never originally released and then later still Cherry Red added 3 tracks from Satan’s Rats debut single. The Photos included the singles "Irene" and "Do You Have Fun," which they were due to perform on Top of the Pops before an industrial dispute took the show off the air. Most of the tracks were bouncy new wave pop, although the pace slowed down on the track "Friends," which, unusually, was over four minutes long, and they attempt a reggae beat similar to many Police tracks on "Loss of Contact" and "She's Artistic." The album ended with the soulful Dusty Springfield classic "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself." The album hit number four in 1980, and for a brief while, Wu's face was regularly in the music press, but Blondie had already moved on, away from the new wave scene, having conquered the world with Parallel Lines, while the Photos' second album, Crystal Tips and Mighty Mice, was recorded but never released at the time. Incidentally, this Wendy Wu had absolutely nothing to do with the actress Brenda Song playing a character of the same name in the Disney TV movie Homecoming Warrior.


Desolation Boulevard

Though Sweet enjoyed a momentary popularity in the mid 70s, they never quite got the recognition they deserved. The band was overshadowed by other glam rockers, and viewed as somewhat of a novelty band in the vein of The Archies. Just when they got their big break opening for The Who (Pete Townshend was a very public admirer), lead singer Bryan Connolly was punched in throat, forcing them to back out. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, Connolly left the band in 1979, and Sweet's popularity tapered off until their breakup in 1982. To this day, they are only moderately well known in the UK, and virtually unheard of in the U.S., despite such hits as "Ballroom Blitz" and "Fox On The Run."
Stylistically, Desolation Boulevard marks a turning point for Sweet, as they moved away from bubblegum pop and into the realm of hard rock. The band began to distance them-selves from song writing duo Mark Chapman and Nikki Chinn, and handled more of the composition on their own. Though the more authentic European pressing of Desolation Boulevard contained more songs written by the band, the U.S. version had a counterintuitively superior track listing, with a harder edge, and less radio pandering.
The music on Desolation Boulevard is best described as a mixture of The Who, Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple (Ian Gillan was in fact an original member of Sweet). Certain songs take on a progressive flair, whereas others recall the bands bubblegum pop sound. Sweet are arguably not the most original band, often wearing their influences on their sleeves. The harmonies in "Fox On The Run" are pulled straight out of the Queen songbook, the end solo on "Solid Gold Brass" is a direct rip off of "Heartbreaker". But ultimately, everything is combined in a tasteful manner, with each song a unique, melodic, and memorable statement. Combine that with excellent musicianship and top-notch production, and you have a truly 5 star album.

Fallen Angels (Again)

In 1983 Hanoi Rocks were newly signed to CBS Records, and tipped as the next big thing. They found themselves kicking their heels in London with a few weeks off. Meanwhile, Knox from The Vibrators had some great new songs but was kicking his heels whilst his band was taking a break. As they shared a manager, the two problems were easily solved; record an album together! Calling the band Fallen Angels the core was; Knox (Ian M. Carnochan, from The Vibrators) on vocals and guitar, and the Hanoi Rocks rhythm section: Sam Yaffa (Sami Takamäki, bass), Razzle (Nicholas Dingley, drums) and Nasty Suicide (Jan Stenfors, rhythm and some lead guitar). The album was rehearsed and recorded in the winter of 1983 at the now legendary Alaska Studios down under the arches at Waterloo, London. The pair-up worked wonderfully. The Rocks were long-time fans of the Vibrators, and Knox's songs and style always had an element of the glam-trash rock roots of the Stooges, Velvet Underground and NY Dolls. The first release was the 7” single "Amphetamine Blue/He’s A Rebel" (FALL 022) released early in 1984. The album "FALLEN ANGELS" (FALL LP 23) was release in April 1984 (with a cover painting by Knox depicting a murder scene outside the 100 Club in London's Oxford Street), with the final single release in May 1984 on 7” "Inner Planet Love/Precious Heart" (FALL 027) and 12” with the additional tracks “Partners In Crime/Houston Tower/Dagger In My Heart” (FALL 12 027). Guests on the first album were Cosmic Ted (Michael Monroe) and the Psychedelic Kid (Andy McCoy).
After the album and 2 singles were released the participants went their own way before any live shows of this line-up could occur. Knox continued with the Fallen Angels name for his solo work, issuing a further two albums “In Loving Memory” (dedicated to Rocks and Angels' drummer Razzle who died in a Motley Crue car accident) and “Wheel Of Fortune”, which included guest appearances from various Hanoi Rocks members on both.


In The Flat Field

So you just got your dirty little hands on Bauhaus' debut album. Well, let me tell you something; prepare your ears for an awe inspiring musical ride. In its one and a bit hour running time, it scans over so many different emotions and musical directions. You will be amazed at the intensity of the vocals, the dissonance of the guitar and the truly awkward tendencies of the bass. It’s quirky, it’s scary, it’s Intense, it's Bauhaus, and at first listen, you may be thinking, "What have I gotten myself into". The only answer to that my friend is, “you are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, a journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop...” Does that make sense? No. But neither does this album...
Wasting no time they jump into a popping bassline driven by powerful drums and insanely dramatic vocals. Peter Murphy pushes his voice to the limits on this album showing that he has little to no restraints in his voice. Always he is pushing the songs into the depths of despair and agony with just sheer emotional power. It's really something to listen to. The opener is a fantastic track, displaying only a fraction of what the band is capable of though. The guitar plays it safe in the opener compared to other tracks. Take "Stigmata Martyr" for an example. At one point in the song, when Peter Murphy, I believe is either singing in tongues or in reverse, the guitar is doing something out of this world where it kind of sounds like demented birds chirping out of rhythm. It seems to me as the album progresses, so does the strangeness of the music.
Despair and depression are often expressed through music. But, not often is it displayed so effortlessly and effectively as this album. Regardless of the dark intentions of some tracks on the album, a few songs maintain a mildly positive and fun atmosphere. "Dive" especially does this. The song really reminds me of Joy Division's "Interzone". Murphy's singing often reminds me of Ian Curtis, but in a very good way. Possibly the darkest and most powerful song here is "God In An Alcove".
This album is very unique. It is extremely intense, one of the most musically intense albums I've ever heard. Dark and diverse songs are all brought to life by Murphy's shiver inducing shrieks and breathtakingly vivid lyrics. The music creates such a strong atmosphere of hate, sadness, horror and dense imagery that will be stuck in your mind for hours even after you've stopped listening to it.
It may seem a little a bit exaggerated, but all I know is this album demands respect and needs to be heard by all fans of great music. Also this album requires "NERVES LIKE NYLON, NERVES LIKE STEEL!!!" just to make it through to the end maintaining your sanity.


Hungry Beat

Another one of Scotland's forgotten post-punk pioneers, Fire Engines are compiled to make a case for the hip company they kept alongside Orange Juice and Josef K.

Fire Engines were barely a blip on the music radar, but for those in the right place at the right time, that small speck was like a bull's-eye. By 1980, Scotland's post-punk Postcard explosion was already in full bloom, having birthed Orange Juice and Josef K. Right in there with them were Fire Engines, but unlike their erstwhile peers, the short-lived group existed to burn bright and fast and, inevitably, to burn out. It's music of the primitive "we-can-do-it-too" school, and as such some 38 years or so later it's easy to understand the impact it had on other aspiring bands.
Indeed, Hungry Beat, a collection of the groups’ formative releases, arrives with testimonials from Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Franz Ferdinand front man Alex Kapranos, whose band recently coaxed Fire Engines into the studio and back onto the stage. While Primal Scream and Franz Ferdinand are quite different from one another, one can see the respective appeal of Fire Engines' sound. In the case of the former and fellow fans the Jesus and Mary Chain, its ragged chaos certainly resonated. In the case of the latter, it was the high-strung naff funk undercurrent that probably connected first.
But even if taken on its own terms, Hungry Beat is a shambling blast, as exciting as its members were clearly excitable. The disc collects the group's entire first and sole album (the perfectly named Lubricate Your Living Room), the A's and B's from Fire Engines' three singles, and a handful of alternate takes. The last are perhaps a funny inclusion, considering how little Fire Engines sound like the kind of band that bothered with such niceties as "takes." At any given second, each song sounds like it's either about to fall apart or explode, and you can practically hear the band smiling at the prospect.
"Candyskin" and "New Thing in Cartons" sound like the Fall having a happy day, the massed vocals and strings of the former a novel method of overcoming the song's lo-fi environment. "Meat Whiplash" goes absolutely nowhere and does a great job doing it. "Get Up and Use Me" (covered by Franz Ferdinand on the split they later shared with Fire Engines) is all adenoidal no wave cowbell skronk, replete with unembarrassed false start (mysteriously, the song's alternate take runs longer, faster, and doesn't include the fuck-up).
It's "Big Gold Dream" that plays up the jittery dance elements that you can hear in half of indiedom (even if most of indiedom has never heard these guys before), but the apex of Hungry Beat is a seven-minute ditty called "Discord" that offers a relentless one-chord funk fix. The song fades out with a few drums fills and screams, but you can just as easily imagine another 10, 20, 30 minutes of music not captured on tape. At seven minutes it's long enough to lock into a groove, but one can only imagine the dance floor possibilities had the thing got longer. 


Call Of The West

Wall of Voodoo's second full-length album, Call of the West, was a noticeably more approachable work than their debut, Dark Continent, and it even scored a fluke hit single, "Mexican Radio," a loopy little number about puzzled American tourists that's easily the catchiest thing on the album. But while Wall of Voodoo's textures had gotten a bit less abrasive with time, the band's oddball minor-key approach was still a long way from synth pop, and frontman Stan Ridgway's songs were Americana at its darkest and least forgiving, full of tales of ordinary folks with little in the way of hopes or dreams, getting by on illusions that seem more like a wilful denial of the truth the closer you get to them. There's a quiet tragedy in the ruined suburbanites of "Lost Weekend" and the emotionally stranded working stiff of "Factory," and the title song, which follows some Middle American sad sack as he chases a vague and hopeless dream in California, is as close as pop music has gotten to capturing the bitter chaos of the final chapter of Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locust. In other words, anyone who bought Call of the West figuring it would feature another nine off-kilter pop tunes like "Mexican Radio" probably recoiled in horror by the time they got to the end of side two. But there's an intelligence and wounded compassion in the album's gallery of lost souls, and there's enough bite in the music that it remains satisfying three decades on. Call of the West is that rare example of a new wave band scoring a fluke success with what was also their most satisfying album.

Author! Author!

Is the post-punk group Scars one of the Last Great Lost Bands?

Chances are that you won't remember post-punk band Scars. Their moment in the sun was both tragically and gloriously brief. They stormed out of Edinburgh in the early 1980s possessed of equal parts glam audacity, art-rock solemnity and futuristic zeal. They were roundly hailed as the next great white musical hope. Two Peel sessions and a handful of music-paper covers later, they vanished in a fog of egotism and unhealthy appetites. But not before they delivered their one and only album, 1981's maddeningly beautiful Author! Author!
In the intervening years, Scars have been effectively forgotten. Years ago, Mark E Smith name-checked them as his favourite band ("because they were the complete opposite of the Fall"), and more recently, Lemon Jelly briefly raised Scars' profile by sampling them on their '64-'95 album. But despite guitarist Paul Research's sterling efforts to keep the name alive on his Scars website, the band appeared to be permanently consigned to the dustbin of history. Even in Simon Reynolds' encyclopaedic post-punk history, Rip it Up & Start Again, they merit only the most fleeting of mentions.
Meanwhile, down the last 38 years, every other once-forgotten band of their era has been either endlessly repackaged and/or critically rehabilitated to enable them to enjoy an extension on their fifteen minutes. Even the very worst of the fag-end punk bands (The Lurkers, Chelsea, Slaughter and the Dogs) have been kept on life-support by virtue of their appearance on a thousand and one dodgy service-station compilations. Music monthlies can be relied upon to remind us all of the greatness of cult artists (John Cooper-Clarke, Vic Godard, Penetration's Pauline Murray) who might have accidentally slipped off the radar. Most recently, Castle's CD86 compilation plucked the likes of Darling Buds, Revolving Paint Dream and 14 Iced Bears from the kind of shambling obscurity that most would agree was their deserved fate.
As for Scars, their fate has hardly been helped by the convoluted copyright situation that held up the reissue of Author! Author! for all these years. Now that it's finally here and sounding as edgy and lovely as it always did, maybe the band can finally enjoy some of the critical acclaim that has long been denied them. If that should come to pass, then this will surely establish them as one of the Last Great Lost Bands to come to our attention. Unless, that is, you readers have any better ideas. Word of warning: the likes of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Stump, Cock Sparrer and Bum Gravy will automatically be disqualified on the grounds that the dustbin of history is exactly where these bands belong.


This Corrosion

Something incredible appeared on the internet just over a year ago: Andrew Liles of Nurse With Wound has marked the 30th anniversary of The Sisters Of Mercy classic 'This Corrosion' by creating a 30 minute extended edit of the track, which you can listen to via Mixcloud below.

Writing about the track, Liles said: "Hey Now, Hey Now Now... My lifelong obsession with The Sisters of Mercy continues, often to the point of exasperation for those around me. I've got nothing to say I ain't said before… but I will probably say it all again. 'This Corrosion' was 30 years old on 18th (or the 20th according to certain sources) September 2017. Thus, I continue my adhoc series of massive extensions of classic tracks. Make of it what you will."



Ian Astbury talks about “Spiritwalker”.
That’s paraphrasing a Native American prayer song that some anthropologist deciphered, a traditional song. I’d taken some of that and melded it with… maybe Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song “Starwalker.” That’s probably where the title came from, because I remember listening to Buffy Sainte-Marie at that time, and it was just so exotic and otherworldly. She was very present when she sang, and I felt very connected to her voice and her music. It had such incredible dignity, and it was so different from everything else we were hearing, where it was distorted and angular and violent and dark and here was this voice with an angelic quality. I think that was part of the liberation and breaking through, and probably the optimism that went into things like “She Sells Sanctuary.” We found that optimism, but we had to dig for it. We had to dig for those jewels.
These are archetypal things I was picking up from discovering things like Joseph Campbell and Buffy Sainte-Marie or even Jim Morrison. All these things were flying around, and the songs “Spiritwalker” and “She Sells Sanctuary” are quite similar, in a way. In fact, “Spiritwalker” was going to be a Southern Death Cult song, but they didn’t want to do it for whatever reason, so I said, “Fine, I’m leaving, and I’m taking my songs with me.”


Burning Skies

Tones on Tail was a Post-Punk side project by Bauhaus guitarist Daniel Ash, composed of him with friend Glenn Campling and later Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins. The group took Bauhaus' gloom and doom and warped it into what they called "doom-and-dance-pop", fusing several different styles and sounds together into a unique take on Post-Punk and New Wave Music. The Burning Skies 12” careens from languid, whispered rock to jumpy light funk to spare atmospheric soundtracks, and offers very little song writing content, merely scanty ideas in service of largely pointless studio fiddling.
Again, this wouldn’t be the first entry point into Tones On Tail that I would recommend, although it’s place is reserved due to it being the entry point for Kevin Haskins and the band becoming a trio it is still very much experimental in its appearance.



Let's face facts. The overwhelming majority of obscure bands deserve to remain obscure. There is the occasional pleasant surprise to be had and some that after some re-assessment could move from being C-listers to B-listers. However, those who reside on Olympus reside there for a reason, so looking for some overlooked gem is often a fool's errand. After giving Music For Pleasure's "Blacklands" a couple of listens, I came to the conclusion that this was a band that with a few tweaks and a little luck could have been a solid B-List post punk band. The musicianship and the song writing are pretty solid and their sound tends to hover in that darkened, gothy, drama zone bands like The Mission or The Sisters Of Mercy liked to skulk in. Unfortunately, MFP's vocalist Mark Copson croons and growls unconvincingly through most of it, dragging a lot of the material down to an all-too-familiar level of mediocrity. However, when he pushes more toward the theatrical rather than the dramatic like on "Grey Parade", things get a little more interesting and engaging, sounding a lot like a sootier version of "New Gold Dream"-era Simple Minds. Sadly, those moments are few and far between, leaving you with what this album ultimately is a forgotten C-List curio to investigate if you're digging deeper into this vein of post punk. Meh Plus

Ultravox! – Dangerous Rhythms (Again)

Ultravox! is the eponymous debut studio album by Ultravox!. Recorded at Island Studios in Hammersmith, London in the autumn of 1976 and produced by Ultravox! and Steve Lillywhite with studio assistance from Brian Eno.
It was Ultravox! who first showed the kind of dangerous rhythms that keyboards would create. The quintet certainly had their antecedents (Hawkwind, Roxy Music, and Kraftwerk to name but a few), wrapped in the ravaged moods and lyrical themes of collapse and decay that transported '70s rock from the bloated pastures of the past to the futuristic dystopias predicted by punk. Epic tales of alienation, disillusion, and disintegration reflected the contemporary holocaust of Britain's collapse, while accurately prophesying the dance through society's cemetery and the graveyards of empires that were to be the Thatcher/Reagan years. "Sat’day Night in the City of the Dead," "Wide Boys," "The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned," "Dangerous Rhythm," and "Slip Away" all simultaneously bemoaned and celebrated the destruction of Western culture while swaggering boldly through the wreckage; "I Want to Be a Machine" and "My Sex" warned of and yearned for technology's triumph. Depeche Mode claimed to be punks with synthesizers, but it was these apostles and didactic emotions that so pierced the zeitgeist of the day, and kicked open a whole new world of synthesized music.

Dangerous rhythms…indeed.


Electric Warrior

This is it. When your friends ask you what’s all the fuss about “glam” and “glitter” rock, put this on and sit back and smile. All the signposts are here: simple melodies that stay in your head for days; misogynistic lyrics about ball-busting birds succumbing to the charms and sexual prowess of the electric warrior, Marc Bolan; introspective evaluations of our place in the universe, all delivered in a soupcon of blues, folks, rawk, and pedal-to-the-metal, foot-stomping bravado that’s rarely been equalled, certainly in the subsequent careers of fellow glitterati, Bowie, Ian Hunter, Gary Glitter, and Roy Wood’s Wizzard. Slade may have moved more product, but that was over an extended career of chart toppers.
Electric Warrior stands the test of time as THE glam rock album of all time because it was the first to condense the movement into 40 minutes of all killer – no filler. Released a week before Bolan's 24th birthday, it topped the charts before Bowie, Glitter, and Slade, despite Bolan’s staunchest supporter John Peel practically disowning him for changing horses midstream, from the hippy gumbo of Tyrannosaurus Rex to the electric boogie woogie of T. Rex. The debut was a headscratching bridge between the two worlds, but non-LP hits ‘Ride A White Swan (#2) and ‘Hot Love’ (Bolan’s first chart topper) signalled the end of Tinkerbelle’s fairy dust.


The Black Album

Well, I don’t know about yours, but my original vinyl is scratched to absolute buggery. Regularly ripped from its sleeve as soundtrack to countless post-pub carouses, its fourth side (recorded before fan club members at Shepperton) crackles and spits with the intensity of a full English breakfast, particularly as it lurches from Love Song to Second Time Around. Unsurprisingly, the album cover still bears witness to various sticky reminders of McEwans or Tennents Lager and Merrydown cider spillage.
If your copy remains factory fresh then you’ve clearly not been listening to it properly, and if you’ve not got one? Well, you’re more to be pitied than scolded. For while The Black Album carries neither the historical import of their thrice-eponymous debut, nor the career-defining hits of Machine Gun Etiquette (in their studio incarnation), it still stands as The Damned’s psychedelic goth-punk magnum opus. Sounding for all the world like the best album the late-60s Who never made (with ex-Hot Rods bassist Paul Gray channelling his inner Entwistle), Wait For The Blackout, 13th Floor Vendetta and the side-long Curtain Call are well worth the hefty price of admission alone. Anyway, you’ve read enough already just go and buy the bastard.


Songs Of Legend

Sex Gang Children are an early gothic rock and post-punk band that formed in early 1982 in Brixton in London, England. Although the original group only released one official studio album, their singles and various other tracks have been packaged into numerous collections, and they remain one of the more well-known bands of the early Batcave scene and have reformed for new albums and touring at various times since the early 1990s. The band's only studio album from their original period together, Song And Legend, was released in 1983, reaching the top of the UK Indie Chart and spawning the single "Sebastiane".
You always knew it was going to be a headlong plunge into squealing vocals, post-punk bass moans, and dancefloors laden with incense. Songs like "Shout and Scream," and the herky-jerky "Sebastiane," with high-pitched violin adding to the mania, are crazed and wonderful showcases. Dave Roberts' bass work is very much the counterpoint instrument; the appreciative liner notes mention a love for Peter Hook, which is obvious but not an exact clone and his combination of high and low is a keeper. The constant tempo shifts and careening within most of the songs themselves (due credit for drummer Rob Stroud and his quick work) give most everything an unexpected complexity, rock songs that rarely sound run of the mill.