Ad-Hoc Posting Schedule

Willkommen Leser, Down-Loader, Lurker und Teilnehmer alle.

It might have come to your notice that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you'll just kinda have to get used to. I will however, now and again, have bursts of creativity and if it was to please the massed hordes, who chose to visit this insignificant page, to supply some input on the direction and type of music you would like to sample (before going out and buying yourself a copy) this little communication will not have been in vain.

I will also say now that some of the outstanding music already available to sample will be reaching their 30 days without a click threshold, where by they're deleted by the host.


Many thanks for reading this far...and please feel free to interact.



slàinte


Thursday

I'M STRANDED

It's Christmas Eve and I have an awesome collection of music from Australian band The Saints for you all. The review below is "borrowed" from the Guardian but don't let that fool you. It's accurate and detailed and it notes the incredible impact The Saints had on underground Australian Music and the UK's growing punk scene. Pull up your favourite comfy chair, put your feet up, open a cold one and enjoy possibly one of the greatest débuts from any band.
Ladies and Gentlemen, (I'm) Stranded!

Released in September 1976, (I'm) Stranded was the first independently produced rock record in Australia, beating all the British punks onto vinyl. Until very recently in Brisbane, it was still possible to visit the decrepit building on Petrie Terrace and stand in front of the fireplace on top of which the words "(I’m) Stranded" were once daubed in red letters.
It’s not quite where Australian punk rock was born; that, arguably, happened a little further down the road, in The Saints’ rehearsal room on the corner of Milton Road, not far from the Castlemaine XXXX brewery. Club 76, they called it. But The Saints had been going for a few years by then, since mid-1973, by guitarist Ed Kuepper’s reckoning.
Being first can be an overrated virtue but, in The Saints’ case, it needs to be stated over and over again. (I’m) Stranded, which appeared on the band’s own Fatal label in September 1976 (the same month the 100 Club in London held a festival featuring a colourful assortment of new bands including the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned) was the first independently produced rock single in Australia.
In doing so, it beat all of the English punk bands, as well as Sydney’s Radio Birdman, onto plastic. The one band they didn’t beat was the Ramones, a fact Kuepper was crushed by: when he first heard the debut album by the New York pinheads a few months earlier, he knew everyone would see The Saints – a bunch of teenagers from provincial Queensland, fronted by singer Chris Bailey – as the copyists.
At that point, the state was still under the tyrannical thumb of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and, in no small way, (I’m) Stranded helped kick off a social revolution, at least in Brisbane. At the time, though, The Saints had little choice but to leave. Copies of the single soon landed in England, where it was ecstatically received. Sounds magazine dubbed it “single of this and every week”.
It must have sounded like an emergency telegram from a lost land. Such is (I'm) Stranded’s urgency, there’s no time for a guitar solo (the B-side, which actually was called No Time, did have a solo – of one whole note). True to its lyrics, much of the song was written on a midnight train and, whether intended or not, the central idea of being marooned came to stand for something bigger.
It’s one of punk’s many ironies that the London offices of EMI, desperate to claw back lost credibility after sacking the Pistols in the wake of their infamous expletive-flecked confrontation with Bill Grundy, instructed their baffled representatives in Sydney to sign The Saints post-haste in the wake of (I'm) Stranded. The band immediately recorded their debut album, also titled (I’m) Stranded, over a weekend.
That album was later described by England’s Dreaming author Jon Savage as “up there in punk Valhalla with Ramones and Raw Power”. But The Saints never fitted the punk straitjacket. When they arrived in England in May 1977, they were aghast to find EMI were designing a “Saints suit” for them: lime-green shirts and spiky hair all round.
Bailey’s tousled mop remained in place, and the band went on to make two more brilliant albums, Eternally Yours and Prehistoric Sounds, before imploding. Both records featured extensive use of a brass section, a move that won them few friends in a scene that regarded Never Mind the Bollocks as a blueprint, but which dramatically expanded the band’s sound.
Having kicked the door open, The Saints soon found themselves back out on the footpath. Kuepper returned to Australia and formed the radical post-punk band Laughing Clowns, while Bailey stayed in Europe, kept the name and pursued a much more traditional path towards heartland rock and mainstream success: Bruce Springsteen recently covered Just Like Fire Would on his album High Hopes.
But (I’m) Stranded has remained a touchstone – perhaps a millstone – the perpetually sparring Kuepper and Bailey would always be identified with.

Wednesday

AIN’T NOTHIN’ TO DO




Fellow Cleveland types Pere Ubu may have won the artistic kudos for their adventurous, surprising work, but if the goal was just to rock and rock again, the Dead Boys had them totally trumped. Growing up in the Cleveland area, in Catholic schools, the Dead Boys were typical punks, rebellious, disgruntled, and looking for a fight. As both title phrase and capsule description, Young, Loud & Snotty accurately defines the predominating aesthetic so well that one could just leave it at that, but there's a lot more going on here than on the face of it.
Originally named "Frankenstein", the Dead Boys were kicked out of their hometown venue after playing and at the bequest of Joey Ramone, moved to New York City to join in a "scene" which they knew very little about. 1977 was the ultimate year for punk rock. Before the leather jacket, spiky haired uniforms, before "New Wave" became a recognized genre of music. 1977 was also the greatest year for any punk on the scene... And, sadly enough, many excellent records by great bands got lost or unrecognized in the greater scheme of things.
Needless to say, the Dead Boys fitted right in with the rest of the bands that played at C.B.G.B.'s or Max's Kansas City. Fed up with the wimpy crap that was popular rock at that time, they, with the Ramones and many other bands, got up on stage with a mission to piss off and annoy. Eventually, they got the recognition they so deserved and thusly, this album was born. With perhaps surprisingly great production from demi-famous '70s rocket Genya Ravan, the five-some found something sonically smack in-between the US garage/punk heritage of the past and the more modern thrashings from overseas.
Stiv Bators sneers, gobs, gasps, and whines with the best of them, but he knows his rock history, as do his band mates. Cheeta Chromee (Lead guitar), Jimmy Zero (Rhythm guitar), Jeff Magnum (Bass), and Johnny Blitz (Drums) are all excellent rock n' roll musicians, Stiv Bators is the star of the show. Mixing Iggy Pop type whoops with his own unique style, Stiv was probably one of the greatest live performers in the history of the genre. In fact, Iggy himself said that Stiv was the second best vocalist, next to Jim Morrison.
Stone cold rock classic "Sonic Reducer" starts things off (amusingly) with all sorts of phased drums and other fripperies that later generations wouldn't consider punk at all. That said, it's still blunt, brilliantly sung by Stiv and kicks out the jams with messy energy. Other all-time greats include the perfect bored-and-needing-kicks anthem "Ain't Nothin' to Do" and the thoroughly wrong "Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth." There's even a rock oldie -- a cover of "Hey Little Girl" live onstage at spiritual home CBGB's. And why not? With great punk rock and great rock, Young, Loud and Snotty perfectly describes the sound and essence of this record.

Monday

ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE




The Misfits' 1982 debut full-length, Walk Among Us, rapidly became a legendary effort of U.S. punk, the more so because it so wilfully violated so many rules which were already ironically straitjacketing the scene. Utterly devoid of political confrontation or social uplift, embracing a costume sense that might have given Kiss pause for thought and generally coming across like the horror-movie nightmares they looked like on the cover, The Misfits just wanted to entertain and do their own thing, and that they did, brilliantly. Nearly every song on the album (13 in total, delivered in a light-speed 25 minutes) is a twisted classic, with the band's trademark '50s/'60s melodies running through a punk/metal meat-grinder on full display. The higher-budget (in very relative terms) recording meant a slightly cleaner and brighter sound all around, but nothing about Walk Among Us is slick, especially in commercial 1982 terms. One song title says it all: "All Hell Breaks Loose."
Danzig's gift for creepy, strong, and attractively dark singing was long since established and he uses it brilliantly, making the over-the-top lyrics all the more enjoyable, while Doyle, Jerry Only and Arthur Googy kick out the jams on Danzig's songs big time, have a listen to "Hatebreeders," "Violent World," and the crazed "Skulls." Everything ends with the giddily ridiculous "Braineaters," in which the chanting voices of the band bemoan their constant diet of cerebella and ask for intestines instead, but the real freaked-out highlight comes smack dab in the middle with "Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight." Taken from the show that made up the Evilive release, it starts out on the edge and, after Danzig delivers the title sans instruments, turns into an explosion of rhythm and feedback that should have killed everything within 50 feet of the amps.
The Misfits energy on their "debut" is undeniable. I say "debut" because apart from their slew of 7 inches, by this point they had already recorded a couple of records that were lost and weren't released until much later (1980's "12 Hits From Hell"). The hypothetical inclusion of tracks like "Die Die My Darling", "American Nightmare", "Horror Hotel", and "Ghouls Night Out" wouldn't have hurt this record, since they were written around the same time (1980) as the songs on Walk Among Us. In fact, the latter two songs I mentioned appear on the lost "12 Hits" album. 

CODE BLUE




My trilogy of L.A.’s original Goth/Punk crossover comes to an abrupt halt with T.S.O.L.’s (True Sound Of Liberty) outstanding 27 minute long debut album Dance With Me. There’s surprisingly little written about T.S.O.L. that doesn’t rehash the obvious influence they had on the Hardcore Punk scene along the West Coast of America. A lot of reference space is given up to other bands that were present in the early 80’s scene, but the link between T.S.O.L., Christian Death and 45 Grave seems to be continuously overlooked. With everything in life there has to be a link from Frontier Records to production duties being handled by Thom Wilson. Tenuous I hear you say, yet a link nonetheless. Even with 45 Grave missing their chance to release an album first, everything worked out fine with T.S.O.L.

A significant group in L.A.'s late-'70s to early-'80s punk scene, Long Beach's T.S.O.L. briefly flirted with pseudo radical politics on their exceptional self-titled debut EP, which included songs like "Abolish Government/Silent Majority" and "Property Is Theft", but that phase of the band didn't last long, as they cast away the politics in favour of horror-movie-inspired, gothy, Misfits-style shtick on their first full-length, Dance With Me. This album contains their most famous song, "Code Blue," an extremely catchy number about necrophilia, ever popular with fans who scream for them to play it at every show.
No mere footnote in punk rock history, T.S.O.L.'s early records are slam pit-inducing, infectious stuff. Dance With Me is loaded with fine numbers, including "Sounds of Laughter," "I'm Tired of Life," and "Die For Me." Other than the Misfits, no band has combined gothy subject matter and punk rock bare chords as well as T.S.O.L., who hit the nail on the head with this classic 1981 recording.
Dance with Me was recorded at Redondo Pacific Studios in Redondo Beach, California with producer Thom Wilson.

ROMEO’S DISTRESS




And thus was American Goth rock born. Perhaps an extreme statement, as one could argue 45 Grave beat Christian Death to the punch, if with a lot more intentional humour. Still, it's about the only thing that can be said upon listening to Christian Death's debut, Only Theatre of Pain, released in 1982 and influencing more bands that can be counted since then. The member who got the most attention was, unsurprisingly, singer Rozz Williams, but guitarist Rikk Agnew is the secret weapon that makes this album so good. With the first phase of the Adolescents (and a solo album) behind him, he brings his punk-inspired guitar work to the fore here, and with the help of long-time producer Thom Wilson, the two created a perfectly ominous world of tolling bells, heavily treated guitar, and general spookiness. Bassist James McGearty and drummer George Belanger keep the murky energy going and thankfully aren't afraid to kick up a storm when needed either. The most memorable song is "Romeo's Distress," a catchy slice of doomy punk-pop that admittedly has one of the most un-PC lyrical starts around. Throughout, the band either kick out the melancholy jams, McGearty's purring bass leading the way, or sheer atmospherics, some quite effective. Witness the slow wash of sound concluding the first side and kicking off the second, or the combination of noise, keyboards, and treated vocals on the closing "Prayer." And then there's Rozz Williams -- those who accused Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy of delivering up pretentious lyrics and overwrought performances must have flipped upon hearing this record. Sodomized boys in front of furnace altars, hilariously naïve reversed words meant to be spooky ("Reficul!"), incense-laden sex, "roses and candles, silver knives and spoons," "necrophiliac relationship," song titles like "Mysterium Iniquitatis" and "Spiritual Cramp," all delivered with a breathless moan at once low and whiny. His weird charm comes through after a while, but it usually takes a couple of listens to get the giggles out.
This CD version contains the Deathwish EP as a bonus. Recorded at Orange County Studios in 1981, these 6 songs were the first recordings Christian Death recorded in a studio before the band signed to Frontier Records for Only Theatre Of Pain. They were asked to provide some songs for the “Hell Comes To Your House” compilation album, however only "Dogs" ended up being used.


PARTY TIME




Los Angeles' 45 Grave were the leaders of the 1981 death-rock explosion that also birthed, among others, Christian Death and (Dance With Me-era) TSOL. The group was a breath of fresh graveyard air and, unlike many serious gloomsters, always kept tongue firmly in cinematic cheek. Playing with punky venom and a slick metallic sound (the goth-horror edge made it an absolutely prescient mix), the fearsome foursome (later a quintet) was led by Phoenix-bred guitarist Paul B. Cutler and his vampiric inamorata, vocalist Mary "Dinah Cancer" Sims, rounded out by ex-Germs drummer Don Bolles and bassist Rob Graves (Ritter), also a member of the Bags and Gun Club.
If Christian Death trumped 45 Grave when it came to releasing a debut album (Only Theatre of Pain having surfaced a little while earlier) then there's no question that Sleep In Safety is easily the equal, if not better than the other band's initial effort. It doesn't hurt at all that Cancer is a much better singer than the chronically groaning Rozz Williams, for one thing, while the clear sense of humour 45 Grave never denied ensured that the band never entered the realms of relentlessly ridiculous self-parody. How could they, given how entertainingly off they already were with songs like "Riboflavin," in praise of the nutritious forms of blood the healthy vampire needs
The legendary "Black Cross"/"Wax" single and three cuts on the seminal Hell Comes to Your House compilation inaugurated 45 Grave's career in 1981, establishing the blend of Cutler's crisp, offbeat riffing and Cancer's artless, icy shrieks. By the time their first album shambled in, Paul Roessler had joined, adding his effervescent keyboards into the macabre brew. The consistently creepy Sleep In Safety contains most of the band's best songs: multi-textured creations like "Insurance from God," "Dream Hits" and "Phantoms" (an '82 single), the catchy "Evil," a delightfully unexpected Ventures-like instrumental "Surf Bat", the giddy "45 Grave" theme song and a fist-waving anthem "Partytime," redone the following year as the B-side to a snazzy version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out".
Fusing everyone's varying punk/trash/art backgrounds into a Goth rock overlay and then never letting themselves be suckered into actually going and digging up bodies, the members recruited Craig Leon for effective production work and the well-recorded Sleep In Safety scored underground hit after hit. There's no question that the band's legendary "Partytime" is the high point, a stop-start, quiet/loud horror of a Goth landmark that lets Cancer sneak in a bit of pretty creepiness before everyone fires up into a classic rock chug with a great shout-along chorus that Joan Jett would be proud of. What really works best is how the music is the most truly dark part of the band, Graves' bass playing and Culter's post-Banshees guitar parts hitting all the right notes. In turn, Cancer isn't so much a dark priestess of gloom as a commanding figure who has to be listened to. The hilarious part of the band comes to the fore from the start, thanks to the introductory message about the creators of the album being skilled insurance agents. This later CD reissue includes the 12” single version of "Partytime" and "School's Out."

Saturday

AN IDEAL FOR LIVING




Northern England Ghetto Music


What was planned to be Joy Division's first LP (unreleased until 1994, except in bootleg form) sounds like an album from the punk era…raw and edgy, undisciplined but tuneful, unlike the group's proper debút, Unknown Pleasures. All of the tracks were later seen in different forms, but Warsaw still manages to captivate the listener through its pure energy. In addition to the original twelve tracks from the bootleg studio recordings, the album also includes five tracks from a recording session in July 1977, detailing the most punk-inspired songs in the group's discography.

Tracks A1 to B3 recorded at Arrow Studios, Manchester, England, May 1978.
Track B4 from the Komakino flexi recorded at Britannia Row, March 1980.
Tracks B5 to B9 recorded at Pennine Sound Studios, Manchester, England, July 18, 1977.

I remember this album of early Joy Division recordings was one of those úber rare bootlegs you’d have to pay ransom prices for in the 90’s and, if you could find it at all in record fairs and bootleg traders stalls, it was only available on vinyl. I didn’t buy a copy until a few years ago when I picked it up for a reasonable and I’m pretty sure discounted price.
Now not that Warsaw is a bad record, but it’s infinitely more “interesting” than it is “good” if you take my meaning.
It’s most interesting specifically from two different standpoints. The first is you often read interviews with ex-Joy Division members where they recount how they were unhappy with Martin Hannett’s famous productions. They’d considered themselves a punk band and weren’t happy with how he turned them into some kind of art project. But since Joy Division seemed so well suited to Hannett’s sound, I always wondered how much of a punk band they really were. It turns out they were a decent punk band (especially judging by the demo sessions recorded at Pennine Sound Studios). Though as a band Warsaw might not have had the lasting impact Joy Division has, they were still a lot more interesting than many other British punk bands from the 1977-78 years.
Which leads me onto the second quite interesting point, which is that this record suggests almost any punk band from the Manchester area, under the direction of Martin Hannett could have become Joy Division or something very much like they became.
Ian Curtis‘s cult of personality aside, in some ways Warsaw proves that Hannett was as integral to Joy Division just as much as anyone else. He took a decent enough punk band and made them a phenomenal genre-defining post-punk band that would go on to have a lasting impact on alternative and indie rock for decades to come.
So for classic punk fans who always kind of liked Joy Divisions songs but were never keen on their chilly post-punk aesthetic, this album might prove to be quite enjoyable on its own merits. The production however is still a little thin to be a true punk classic.
For those interested in Joy Division, it’s probably more a curiosity for the completest than an essential album. It’s not a lost masterpiece, far from it.  A lot of these versions bear similarities in rawness to the band’s BBC sessions and higher-fidelity live recordings which is a good, bad or an indifferent thing depending on your personal views of the band’s studio recordings. It’s always a treat to hear “Interzone” played with more rage-fuelled garage-punk gusto than the 1979 Unknown Pleasures version.
If you own everything else by Joy Division, including a number of live bootlegs, you probably can’t get around the fact you pretty much need to pick this up at some point. And it’s actually a lot better (and more enjoyable) than similar semi-apocryphal records by seminal bands.

Monday

GATHERING DUST


It's been a few weeks since my last post, but you'll find that might happen every now and again as I enjoy travelling and taking time to enjoy life. I return though with a blistering album from one of the forgotten 4AD bands who are not only responsible for 23 Envelope but also responsible for the outstanding This Mortal Coil début single. Hugely influential and yet sadly underrated was always going to be difficult to overcome for a band driven to achieve success, no mater what. Moving to New York and chasing chart status didn't endear Modern English to their core fans either. Below is a wee write up shamelessly stolen from the internet, enjoy.

Everyone knows the hit I Melt with You but does anyone know that before Modern English hit the mainstream they were a post-punk noise band in the vein of Joy Division and Bauhaus?
Modern English were one of the bands that Ivo and Peter had originally approached Martin Mills about in 1979. After a self-released 45 (‘Drowning Man’), they made their 4AD début with the ‘Swans On Glass’ single, which was followed later in the year by ‘Gathering Dust’. They also featured on the Presage(s) EP and were the only band from that compilation who continued to release records on 4AD. Almost 36 years on, ‘Gathering Dust’ remains a crucial release in 4AD's history for reasons that have nothing to do with the music it contains. When the original art director proved unable to provide the sleeve art, Peter called a friend who recommended a young graphic designer named Vaughan Oliver. A strange coincidence ensued: Modern English had printed up some T-shirts which utilized a Diane Arbus photograph of two people watching television, while Vaughan had utilized the same image in his design portfolio. Result: Vaughan landed the job and began a relationship with 4AD that continues to this day. Modern English expanded on the promise of their singles with Mesh And Lace, a memorably atmospheric album that helped re-position guitar-rock in the wake of Joy Division, PiL and Wire. It also sported the first official 23 Envelope sleeve credit, thus ushering in an artistic collaboration that would provide 4AD with a recognizable visual identity. Modern English finished off 1981 with the single ‘Smiles And Laughter’.
Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), Modern English were originally known as The Lepers. The group expanded to Modern English when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up of the band.
The début album Mesh And Lace and the accompanying singles are a must have for any discerning post punk collection.

Friday

MAYBE TOMORROW



The Chords

MAYBE TOMORROW

The Mod revival of the late 70s saw the attitudes and look of the British youth change. Punk was on its way out and a new scene was emerging, safety pins and leathers were being replaced by suits, scooters and parkas. Coinciding with the release of The Who film Quadrophenia, the Mod revival grabbed the attention of the nation. Kids who missed out on punk yearned for the excitement the film portrayed, the adrenalin rush experienced by the first generation of the smartly dressed subculture. The music of this new breed of Mods, while reflecting the love of sixties sounds also drew influence from the punk scene and this was best reflected by bands such as The Jam, Secret Affair and South London "Punks in Parka's" The Chords.
This was apparent from the start with the Chords' début 45, "Now It's Gone," where the group's dream of love is trampled underfoot. Chief Chords singer songwriter Chris Pope is the man responsible for revival classics such as "Now it's Gone" "British Way of Life" and "Maybe Tomorrow" which still sound as powerful today as when they were first released. In later years, the Chords were often cursorily dismissed as little more than Jam copyists, and while there's no denying that the two groups travelled in very similar musical waters, both drawing from the British beat and Northern soul that filled their youths and sending it soaring through the prism of punk, it's there that the comparisons end. Chris Pope refused to see the world through the Jam's English rose-coloured glasses, turning his own equally eloquent pen to scathing vignettes virtually the flip of Weller's own. In this respect, the Jam comparisons are red herrings, for if anything, Pope played the snottier, rebellious younger brother to Weller's more respectful good son. With Maybe Tomorrow," firmly putting the boot into the Jam's sanguine vision of Britain and turning it into a fascist horror, it would kick off the group's sole album, So Far Away. 12 fierce tracks that defined Mod's potential as punk's successor. Filled with fire and fury, the set skips from affairs of the heart to the pitiful state of the nation. Musically it's a revelation; the band's two guitarists give the group much more scope for aural assault than a trio and with a much more aggressive rhythm section in tow, So Far Away is as vociferous as many of its punk contemporaries. In fact, reviews threw bands like the Buzzcocks and the Undertones into the brew of the Chords' notable inspirations. For while the Chords' melodies were shaped by the '60s, their delivery was forged in punk, with even Sham 69's anthemic stomp stirred into the mix. This release showcases the stellar So Far Away, a U.K. Top 30 album, in full, then tacks on all five of the original singles along with their B-sides, as well as the free 45 that was included with early copies of the album.

Sunday

SOMESAY



Beginning his many varied Wah! career in 1979 as Wah! Heat with the outstanding single Better Scream, Pete Wylie was setting the bar high. The subsequent follow up in the spring of 1980 of Seven Minutes To Midnight (becoming single of the week in NME, Sounds and Melody Maker) didn’t let the bar drop, it raised it higher. So suggesting that Pete Wylie's first album as Wah! is his finest work, could be asking for trouble. Filled to the brim with passionate post-punk and blitzkrieg funk that holds an impressive level of focused intensity from front to back, Nah = Poo – The Art Of Bluff is no doubt the result of having listened to Clash records over and over and over and over again. There's little of the Clash's melodic sensibility to be found here though, memorable guitar riffs might not be evident either, but there's an infectiously blistered pace to the proceedings, if a bit overbearingly shouty and mushy mixing-wise. Wylie sing-shouts every track on the album with a ferocious vigour, which in turn gives the album a rare sense of immediacy. Wah! literally sounds like they're playing with the knowledge that there will be no tomorrow. Off to an iffy start, tribal drums and from the depths vocals on "The Wind Up" do exactly that. One gets wound up because they want the record to actually start. Maybe that was the point. After that, it refuses to let up, kicked off by the "Do It Clean"-meets-"Break on Through" of "Other Boys." An album sequenced for maximum impact, instrumental "The Seven Thousand Names of Wah!" (no kidding) sets the table for "Seven Minutes to Midnight," Wah!'s signature song. The instrumental serves the same purpose as Mission of Burma barnburners like "Secrets" and "All World Cowboy Romance," holding together the rest of the album's songs while upping the intensity to yet another level (as if it needed upping).

Friday

CRY WOLF



Formed in the post industrial northern town of Bradford in 1979 as Heaven Seventeen, post punk legends 1919 scorched a path across the punk scene in the early 80’s. Playing with other Bradford bands such as New Model Army and Southern Death Cult and with luminary figures like Mark (Zodiac Mindwarp) Manning joining and leaving the ranks, anything was possible. Now with new members, original guitar hero Mark Tighe is back making new music under the moniker 1919. Here though is a mighty short visit with one of the original post punk bands of the era…

The first real gigging band they were known as was “Heaven Seventeen” until Mick Reed a drummer from Dewsbury who liked his drums tribal joined. After rehearsing for a while they developed their sound and a new name to match. It was now late 1980 and 1919’s sole aim was to pound out a rhythmic, heavy and melodic / dark dance beat.

The first release was a limited edition white label double A side 7” inch single with “Repulsion” and “Tear Down These Walls” stamped on the labels with “Take it or leave it”, sent out to various radio stations and Magazine/fanzines. Eventually 1919 signed a deal with Red Rhino Records based in York, and “Repulsion/Tear Down These Walls” was re-released due to the demand. Recording started on the next single, another double A side entitled “Caged/After The Fall”. The even more menacing mini-album “Machine” was the last outing with Red Rhino released in 1983. The band felt that Red Rhino were not pushing them enough and decided to upsticks and leave. Signing with Abstract Records in London, plans were made to record a new 12” EP. The Cry Wolf 12” single with Storm/Dream on the B side was still the old dark sound with tribal drums/dissonant guitar lines, but Dream was a more dark/dance track, it still retained a sinister edge but the eastern guitar/big flange bass was more PIL territory than the other tracks. By 1984 the band was in turmoil and problems within the band caused a split, Mick went one way and the remaining three went the other. They had started to demo new tracks for the next release, before recording proper. Mick had brought a mate in who sort of played sax and the whole thing was going Gary Glitter. The Earth Song EP was released (remember these were still rough demos) without the bands permission which contributed to the 21 plus year absence of 1919.

Monday

MONKEYLAND



I've had real concerns about posting this one...and if anyone with ties to the band or publishing companies feels that this post should be edited to remove the links, please let me know and I'll take them out. Otherwise, have a listen, enjoy and then go out and buy the album...

And always play this album loud!!

The Chameleons

With two years of incessant gigging and numerous radio sessions under their belts since their début single, "In Shreds" The Chameleons came to the studio determined to make a great first album with Script Of The Bridge. To say that they succeeded would be like saying Shakespeare did pretty well with that one Hamlet play of his. Script Of the Bridge remains a high-water mark of what can generally be called post-punk, an hour's worth of one amazing song after another, practically a greatest-hits record on its own: from the John Lennon tribute "Here Today," through "Monkeyland," "Pleasure and Pain," "Paper Tigers," "As High as You Can Go," to the breathtaking closer, "View From a Hill." Opening with the uncharacteristically optimistic anthem "Don't Fall," you might initially expect this album to be more grandiose and stadium ready. However, The Chameleons next opt to blindside you, the listener, with the introspective claustrophobia of "Here Today" beginning an album-length nosedive into the deepest recesses of the human soul and modern alienation. This is not an album for the faint of heart; it is very dark, it grabs you by the shoulders and slaps you around the face a few times before it's done with you. The most innovative aspect of this album would have to be the gorgeous guitar interplay of Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies, adding both immediacy and texture to the album's sound. The band's rhythm section aren’t slouches either; John Lever's drumming is superb, while Mark Burgess' bass lines weave through the songs like a venomous snake. Burgess here establishes himself as one of the great front men of his time. His lyrics are simply excellent, and have a timeless, highly literate quality in their poetic ruminations on the human experience.

Not only is this a towering achievement in the post-punk movement, deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as fellow Mancunian LP's "Closer" and "Real Life," it is arguably one of my favourite, and sadly, one of the most overlooked, début albums of all time.

Friday

LIFE'S A GAMBLE



Buoyed by the sheer magnificence of their "Don't Dictate" debut single, Penetration's debut album stands among the very last true greats of the first wave of British punk offerings. A glorious collision of adrenalized exuberance and astonishing energies, topped by Pauline Murray's unmistakably soaring vocals, Moving Targets wrapped 11 tracks across its two sides of vinyl, and it was the greatest indication of their quality that it wasn't till you reached the end that you realized "Don't Dictate" itself was absent. In its stead, "Stone Heroes," the explosive "Movement," and the swirlingly atmospheric "Vision" were all classics in the making, while a cover of Patti Smith's "Free Money" is simply spellbinding, crunchier than the original but more emotive, too. And then there's the opening bars of the title track, a hilarious reminder of how fast things were changing back then -- it's the Pistols' "Holidays in the Sun," and doesn't it sound old-fashioned! All of which illustrates the sheer versatility bound up in the band. In another lifetime, they could have given the likes of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple a run for their money, at least in terms of demonstrating dexterity, and it was Penetration's bad luck that they were riding a wave that had little time for such abilities. Not that they allowed the disappointment to show. Moving Targets shrugs aside most of punk's archetypes as it rockets along, while the decision to cover the Buzzcocks' "Nostalgia" reminds listeners that Penetration weren't the only band around that didn't give a toss for fashionable accessories. Of course, that determination would lead to the disappointment of the band's second album -- and, thereafter, their demise. As of mid-1978, however, Moving Targets could only herald a dazzling future.

FINAL DAY



In 1980, a fresh-faced Welsh three-piece named ‘Young Marble Giants’ released their début LP, ‘Colossal Youth’. It was to be their only full-length album, a minimalistic and Spartan thing that defied the noise and the vitriol of the emerging post-punk movement. It has earned since its release three reissues, endorsements from the influential Kurt Cobain and indie legends ‘Belle and Sebastian’ and ‘Galaxie 500’. Yet somehow it remains obscure even to music obsessives, a bona fide cult classic whose unassuming nature has perhaps ensured that it stays under the radar. Perhaps it was a little unassuming for its own good; eschewing organic drums for a drum machine and paring post-punk back to its very essence was perhaps not a prudent move in an underground music economy where bands such as ‘Wire’, ‘Talking Heads’ and ‘The Clash’ held thrall. The artistic merits of the album, however, are indisputable- it is a very rare album that sounds like little else released before or since, and an even rarer one that sounds quite as wonderful as this does.

If there is one adjective that springs to mind immediately when listening to Colossal Youth, it is endearing: lead singer Alison Stattons unpolished lilt, the delightfully off-kilter drum machine, the prominent bass, the explorations of negative space and quiet guitar melodies; all these conflated ensure charm. The drum machine especially ensures an introspective and low-key atmosphere; would-be garage rock anthems ‘Include me out’ and ‘Brand New Life’ are tempered and pared down into punk conceptions at their most minimal. Elsewhere, the rollicking opener ‘Searching for Mister Right’ casts a spell from the get-go, all propulsive rhythm and ethereal vocals. ‘Salad Days’ is a gorgeous wistful ballad, conjuring images of sunshine and laughter long since past. Singling out specific tracks seems redundant however; this is an album that begs to be listened to as a whole, enthralling and addictive as it is. That said, the sparse arrangement of the album does begin to grate after a while. Moreover, though it may seem unusual to cite the albums consistency as a flaw, the lack of stand-out tracks and the similarity of the pervading atmosphere of each song does mean that the album can become stale after repeated listens.

I alluded earlier that ‘Colossal Youth’ is a post-punk album, but that is not strictly true. Though it gets classified as such, pigeon-holing the album into that genre does a disservice to the originality at work here. It resemblance to post-punk is tenuous, and I believe it is only called such because that at the time there would have been nothing else to call it. It bears more in common with the indie genre of today. Glimmers of it are found in the xx’s self-titled, in the gentle sonic explorations of Beach House, but no-one has made an album quite like this. It stands alone, humbly, entreating the listener not with noise or with gimmickery but with earnestness and a quaint, unsentimental beauty. I can only recommend you let it coax you in. Lose yourself in the beguile and sprawl; this one is a hidden treasure worth searching for.

Monday

GETTING NOWHERE FAST



Girls At Our Best emerged from the Leeds punk scene in 1979 and 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 début 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 début 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, the band weren’t perfect, but aren’t the imperfections the things that make great pop music?

Sunday

FUEL TO THE FIRE

MUSIC FOR PLEASURE



Originally formed in Leeds in 1979 and heavily influenced by New Wave and Krautrock, Music For Pleasure signed with Rage Records and released their début single The Human Factor in 1980. Their minimal synthpop is filled out with flourishes of rhythm and synth that reflects Tubeway Army and the pop punk sensibilities of the era. With the second Rage Records single Fuel To The Fire in 1981 a more post punk frame is drawn that shows influences from The Sound. Eventually picked up by Polydor Records the debut album Into The Rain was co-produced by the band and Polydor “In House” production guru Mike Hedges. Proceeded by the single Switchback showing the bands true post punk imagery with big Comsat Angel drums and guitar phrases filled out with bass lines that pop and break into danceable swatches of colour. Throughout the album there are glimpses of Killing Joke, Duran Duran, The Cure, the Chameleons and Comsat Angels. The band move gracefully between their influences, never too much of one to overpower the other, finding their developing sound in ways similar to The Passions on Michael & Miranda.

Two final singles released by Polydor in 1983 Time and Dark Crash signalled the end of the recording deal with no sign of a follow up album until 1985. Eventually splitting up in 1986 Chris Oldroyd went on to join Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Chris Whitaker joined Danse Society.

Friday

TELEVISION FAMILIES




The Cortinas, forming in March 1976 had soon built up a big local following, and a break came when the band supported The Stranglers at the fabled Roxy Club in Covent Garden on 22 January 1977. Things then moved quickly for the band. Miles Copeland and Mark Perry's Step Forward label released the classic singles 'Fascist Dictator' in June and 'Defiant Pose' in December, the band recorded a fine John Peel session, and they appeared on the front cover of the April/May issue of Sniffin' Glue. Heady stuff, but sadly, it was over all too soon. In 1977 they were unstoppable - simply one of the best first wave punk bands around.
Interest in The Cortinas was at its peak. They had released two singles on Miles Copeland's Step Forward label. They'd supported The Stranglers and headlined at the Roxy. They'd been top of the bill at The Marquee played with Chelsea and Sham 69 and toured with Blondie and Television. Promoters had booked them with the caution befitting a punk reputation, which had been further guaranteed by a photograph in the NME precariously close to the incident involving Shane MacGowan and the missing ear lobe.
It was time for an album; Miles who had his finger in every punk pie going and was the king of the record deal gave them to CBS and consequently the album True Romances was recorded. 'Real' punk does still exist there; even though the critics of the day argue that it was lost on the album, released after the band had split, the spirit still seeps through the 13 tracks on offer.
Never able to shake off the schoolboy image, much was made of Mike Fewings and Dexter Dalwoods waif-like image and drummer Danny Swan was still just 17. CBS used the bands age to counter criticism but did nothing to promote the album or further its member’s careers. Hamblett further suggested they'd either grow into fine young musicians- either that or Oxford Dons - well they did more or less, but he didn't manage to foresee the famous artist Dexter was to become.
By their own admission much of the punk stuff had been 'hastily written and perhaps a bit formulaic’; many said the tracks that became True Romances had returned them to their formative R&B roots. Whatever the verdict, you'll find Ask Mr Waverley' going round and round in your head for days after hearing it and if you remember him, you probably know the answer already.

If anyone accuses you of not knowing your Punk from your elbow slip this album on and they'll soon be gobbing all over you.

WE ONLY WANTED TO BE LOVED



Like it or not, Public Image Limited's First Issue (aka Public Image) was an album that helped set the pace for what eventually became known as post-punk. In England a vacuum had opened up in the wake of the breakup of the Sex Pistols in January 1978, and many punk fans and rival groups were impatient to see what ex-Sex Pistols front-man John Lydon aka "Johnny Rotten" was going to roll out next. Disheartened owing to events in his legal proceedings against the Sex Pistols management company Glitterbest, and disgusted by the punk scene in general, Lydon was determined to create something that was neither punk nor even really rock as it was known in 1978. Working with ex-Clash guitarist Keith Levene, first-time bassist Jah Wobble, and Canadian drummer Jim Walker, Public Image Limited produced an album that represented the punk sound after it had shot itself in the head and became another entity entirely. Embracing elements of dub, progressive rock, noise, and atonality and driven by Lydon's lyrical egoism and predilection towards doom, death, and horror, First Issue was among a select few 1978 albums that had something lasting to say about the future of rock music. And not everyone in 1978 wanted to hear it; contemporary critical notices for First Issue were almost uniformly negative in the extreme.
Not all of the material on First Issue was necessarily forward-looking: "Attack" and "Low Life" could almost pass muster as latter-day Sex Pistols songs if it weren't for their substandard production values. These two numbers were recorded late in the project, and on the cheap, as the fledgling Public Image Limited had already been kicked out of practically every reputable studio in London. And there was a bracing song about Lydon's pet peeve, "Religion," presented in both spoken and sung incarnations. It is about as vicious and personal an anti-Catholic diatribe as exists on record, and in its day was considered a high holy turnoff by many listeners. But from there it gets better -- Public Image Limited's debut single, "Public Image," was also included on First Issue, and Keith Levene's guitar part, with its tasty suspensions and held-over-the-bar syncopation, was an important departure from standard punk guitar language absorbed so quickly by others (the Pretenders, U2, the Smiths) that listeners and musicians alike forgot the source of the sound. First Issue's opener, "Theme," was a force to be reckoned with, a grindingly slow dirge with wild, almost Hendrix-like figurations on the guitar and Wobble's floor-splitting foundation. This was punk with the power of Led Zeppelin, but none of the pretension. Lydon's anguished mantra in "Theme," "...and I just wanna die," was the exact reflection of what his generation was thinking about in the wake of the collapse of classic punk. "Annalisa" is the hardest-kicking rocker on the album, with nosebleed-strength guitar from Levene; it is so good that Nirvana in all practical purposes purloined the whole number, with minor alterations, as "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" on In Utero.
But even with all of the calculated controversy seemingly built into the various cuts on First Issue, none attracted quite so much attention as "Fodderstompf." Faced with a serious shortage of material to fill out the album and with its release date looming, Public Image Limited decided to conclude the project with a track 7:45 in length, consisting of no more than a disco beat, chattering synthesizers, a bassline, and Jah Wobble singing, shouting, and screaming the phrase "we only wanted to be loved" in a joke voice. Rock critics savaged the song as a deliberate attempt to rip off the public, but it became hugely popular at the Studio 54 disco in New York; the drag queens and hipsters sang and screamed right along with Wobble out loud on the dancefloor -- nothing like that had ever happened at Studio 54. As it is perhaps the earliest extended dance mix that has little to do with disco or dub, it is apparent that "Fodderstompf" is an obvious precursor to the acid house and techno that began to evolve in the mid-'80s, although it is seldom accredited that distinction.
After it was released in December 8, 1978, First Issue peaked at number 22 on the British album charts, and import copies were snapped up in America practically as soon as they were loaded off the boat. But Warner Bros., the American label to which Public Image Limited were signed, was unhappy with the album, particularly in that the label felt the bass was mixed too loudly -- no one had ever recorded the bass so hot on a regular LP before. Public Image Limited protested, but Warner Bros. stood fast and the band ultimately relented; in the early weeks of January 1979 the whole of First Issue was re-recorded for the American market. But the only portion of this project ever to surface appeared on the backside of the U.K. 12" single of "Death Disco" in July 1979, a mix of "Fodderstompf" minus the vocals, re-titled "Megga Mix." Warner Bros. never released the remade album, and the remainder of it has since disappeared. By early 1980 Trouser Press was joking that the American issue of First Issue was the "longest rush release in recorded music history," but clearly long before First Issue was a "dead" issue with Warner Bros. Right after the remake session concluded, drummer Jim Walker surprised Public Image Limited by departing with no notice to join the interesting but now forgotten English group the Pack (Kirk Brandon). In came ex-101'ers drummer Richard Dudanski, and by their next album, Metal Box, Public Image Limited had already worked out an entirely different sound and approach. 

Thursday

I AIN'T GOT TIME FOR WHAT YOU FEEL


Mega Post Of Panto-Goth, New Wave, Synthpop



Ministry’s début US album With Sympathy was released as Work For Love through Arista-BMG in Europe (with different track listing and cover above). There is a video available for "Revenge," (below) which was one of three singles pulled from the album, the others being "Work for Love" and "I Wanted to Tell Her."
Al Jourgensen has maintained that he was pressured by Arista management into producing the album in the then-popular "synthpop" style, which is in contrast to the harder industrial sounds he developed afterwards. However, there are reports of Jourgensen saying in the 1980s that when he discovered hardcore music, his musical direction changed. Additionally, video of local concerts Ministry performed in Chicago 1–2 years previous to their signing with Arista show the band dressed in "new wave" styles and playing new wave and synthpop music. Jourgensen assumes a false English accent for all of the songs, for which he also later expressed a great disliking.
Rather than the trademark bone-munching industrial drone of later years, Work For Love is panto-goth, new wave synthpop that sounds less like the band chewing your pancreas and more like the Human League's surly little brother. Great stuff, then, for those who allied themselves with Ally Sheedy's character in The Breakfast Club. "Here We Go" grinds all over some electronic horns, "Work For Love" stop-starts and shouts about like "Walk This Way" without all that scary rap, and the whole record becomes a secret weapon against the contrived snarls of the albums to follow. Surely, Al Jourgensen must be more insecure about his past than a superstar linebacker over childhood courses in ballet.


 

Wednesday

PLAY TO WIN



Heaven 17


It would be stretching the point to call Heaven 17 a punk band by any definition, but their music is inextricable from their politics. Sheffield was home to the scene that would spawn a number of memorable acts, primarily the Human League and Heaven 17, in addition to the likes of Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA.
Heaven 17 was formed in 1980 by Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, founding members of the Human League. After releasing two dark and dehumanized albums of proto-synth-pop agit prop as the Human League, Marsh and Ware split with Phil Oakey and Adrian Wright. Oakey and Wright’s vision for the Human League as played out over the following decade could not have been more at odds with Marsh and Ware. Oakey and Wright retained the Human League name and recruited two dancers from local clubs to be singers—the reformatted group abandoned Marsh and Ware’s overt political leanings in favour of pristine pop hooks informed by only a covert twinge of class-conscious irony.
So when Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware left the Human League in 1980, the decision seemed iffy; after all, the Human League appeared on the way up and would achieve global fame the very next year with Dare!. The first album from Heaven 17, Marsh and Ware's new trio with singer Glenn Gregory, wasn't greeted with quite the same commercial kudos when released in 1981, but it turned out to be an important outing nevertheless.
Picking up where Kraftwerk had left off with The Man Machine, the group created glistening electro-pop that didn't skimp on danceable grooves or memorable melodies. What set Heaven 17 apart was the well-deep vocals of Gregory, who managed the difficult trick of sounding dramatic without seeming pretentious, and an overtly left-wing political outlook best expressed on the debut single "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang." Other standout combinations of witty lyrics and whiplash electro-grooves include "The Height of the Fighting" and "Play to Win," while the funky title track draws on American R&B for its popping bassline. Despite the catchy material, chart success proved somewhat elusive; Heaven 17 didn't score a major hit until their next album, 1983's The Luxury Gap. Nevertheless, Penthouse and Pavement stands as one of the most accomplished débuts of the '80s.

DANGEROUS RHYTHM




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.

Tuesday

DON'T RAIN ON MY PARADE




Japan were initially formed in 1974, but they only got to recording music after winning a talent contest, netting them a contract with Hansa Records. In 1978, they released two albums that were successful in Japan (the group's name probably helped), but which were basically over looked in the UK, because of the increasing popularity of the punk and new wave scenes. Initially, Japan weren't a new wave group (there are small tinges of the genre in their pre Quiet Life records, but that's more in the production and sound than the performance); they were a glam rock band with one hell of an attitude. I mean, this world is hardly as prude as it was in the 60's or 70's, but would you consider releasing an album titled Adolescent Sex now?
When it comes to the sound and scale of the music, Adolescent Sex is a glam rock album through and through, but what's interesting is how pissed off the group sounds. This is very well evidenced in David Sylvian's vocals, to be precise, he often seems to strain himself so as to deliver as much vocal raw power as any glam rock singer who has a lot of presence on stage, but he instead ends up in the zone between "subdued" and "powerful" that, in the case of this album, is actually more satisfying than if he actually crossed over into the latter.
In case I don't sound enthusiastic enough, I am seriously recommending you pick up Adolescent Sex. It (and its successor Obscure Alternatives) is a criminally overlooked piece of late-70's glam rock that undeservedly got swept up in the punk undercurrent. It's an outstandingly unique record, and 1978 definitely wasn't an uneventful year. OK, so I suppose the name could turn someone off… either that or the fact that it's the same group that released Gentlemen Take Polaroid’s... nah, you don't have any excuse not to pick this up.

Monday

BUT NOW I'M BACK, FROM OUTTA SPACE

I just walked in to find you here, with that sad look upon your face

 

 

The Passions


Based in Shepherds Bush, west London, The Passions' music was grounded mainly in Barbara Gogan's voice and Clive Timperley's delicate echoplex guitar work. Before forming in 1978, most of the group's members had played in other groups. Timperley was formerly with the 101ers, while drummer Richard Williams and singer/guitarist Barbara Gogan were in the punk rock outfit The Derelicts.


Espousing the same post-punk, gothic ethic that brought bands like Siouxsie & the Banshees to the forefront of the burgeoning dark wave genre, the Passions' 1980 debut, Michael & Miranda, suggested that they were at least on the same track. Off-kilter jangle out of step with the bass and drums defined the opening "Pedal Fury," placing the band firmly in quirk territory, a point that the Passions continued to reiterate across the rest of the set. Picking up the pace on "Love Song" or slowing it down across "Man on the Tube" and then doing both on "Obsession" (which puts Barbara Gogan's vocals so far away from the mic for the sake of atmosphere that it sounds like she's in another room) really didn't add much punch to the Passions' gloomy intent. It's easy to see their roots, they're glaring. But so they were for all the other bands rising at the time. Stilted and lean, the songs on Michael & Miranda just don't measure up against what the Passions would do a little later or against what their peers were doing at the time. Singles "Hunted" and "The Swimmer" were followed by their major charting song, "I'm in Love with a German Film Star"

Thursday

OPEN YOUR EYES

Spanners In The Works Go Start Your Gang...



Although their roots were in Punk Rock, The Lords of the New Church were a bona fide super group. Their début album announced to the world that The Lords were not your average run of the mill punk band. They had ambitions; featuring true punk rock royalty in the form of Stiv Bators (Dead Boys) on vocals and Brian James (The Damned) on guitar. Drummer Nicky Turner (The Barracudas) and bassist Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) they would become the last beacon of truth in a world nearing its end. In spite of their punk lineage, The Lords sound was steeped in straight up Rock’n’Roll, with a knack for big anthems and melodic hooks, balanced with Gothic atmospherics and politically charged lyrics. Coupled with a tribal image that incorporated punk, glam and Goth styling’s, their appeal straddled the genres.
While you can’t call The Lords of the New Church entirely successful you can’t fault their effort. Brian James and the Treguna/Turner rhythm section provided a wide-screen setting. But the face, mouth and heart of the Lords was Stiv Bators, who casts himself here in the role of rock & roll poet/preacher/prophet.
The eponymous debut album is a seedy concoction of spidery guitars, sleazy bass lines, jungle drums and gothic keyboards. The haunting single “Open Your Eyes” easily dwarfs the output of the other Goth heavies of the time simply because it had killer hooks.
Lords of the New Church is very much an artefact of the Thatcher/Reagan era and somewhat dated in its approach, but Bators core message of personal freedom and the fervour and sincerity with which he delivered it, have retained their resonance across the years. Consider these few lines from The Lords anthem “New Church”, which may not be high art, but makes their point and also serves as a neat summary of The Lords ethos:
“Truth Can’t be found on the television,
Throw away youth ya gotta take a stand
Music is your only weapon,
Spanners in the works go start your gang”

Wednesday

NEW CHURCH



A devastating début and one of the finest albums, not only of the punk era, but of the late 1970s as a whole. 


Crossing the Red Sea With The Adverts was the summation of a year's worth of gigging, honing a repertoire that (jagged, jarring, and frequently underplayed though it was) nevertheless bristled with hits, both commercial and cultural. "No Time to Be 21," "One Chord Wonders," and "Bored Teenagers" were already established among the most potent rallying cries of the entire new wave, catch phrases for a generation that had no time for anthems; "Bombsite Boy," "Safety in Numbers," and "Great British Mistake" offered salvation to the movement's disaffected hordes; and the whole thing was cut with such numbingly widescreen energy that, even with the volume turned down, it still shakes the foundations.

The band's original vision saw a rerecording of "Gary Gilmore's Eyes," a Top 20 hit during summer 1977, included on the album, being dropped (for space considerations) at the last minute. It's one of the few punk songs that truly deserved to be called a classic. Although excluded from the initial release of the album, the mistake is corrected by this 2002 re-release of the album and it's included no less than three times. Talk about over compensating.

As well as the three versions of 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' this re-release throws in a pile of additional extras including live tracks and some songs that weren't included on the original album. Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts, with the addition of the mysteriously excluded 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes', stands up well on its own, the added extras merely seal the deal.

It's time to put away your dubstep albums and your witch house white labels and get an infusion of old school punk into your veins courtesy of the Adverts.