Artist: The Honeymoon Killers
Title: Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel
Label: Crammed Discs
Personnel: Marc Hollander (keyboards), Jean-Francois Jones Jacob (drums), Yves Flon (saxaphone), Vincent Kenis (bass), Yvon Vromman (vocals, guitar), Veronique Vincent (vocals), Gerald Fenerberg (guitar)
Tracklisting: Flat, Histoire a Suivre, Decollage, Rush, Fonce a Mort, J4, Route Nationale 7, Ariane, Laisse Tomber Les Filles, Lâheure de la Sortie
Perhaps unexpectedly, Brussels found itself at the centre of one of the most exciting, yet under-appreciated, post-punk scenes on offer in the early eighties. Marc Hollanderâs legendary Crammed Discs provided a vehicle for numerous fantastic bands, including this local collective who are definitely not to be confused with the American hardcore band of the same name.
All the typical post-punk elements are here, gently squeezed through a European filter, which gives the Honeymoon Killerâs only album a delightful âfolkinessâ. âFonce a Mortâ, âLaisse Tomber Les Fillesâ and âJ4â all hint at ska, but psychedelic keyboard stabs and angular guitars pull them in new, interesting directions (âprog-skaâ?!). Elsewhere, the outstanding âDecollageâ transcends musical categorisation and sneaks in one of the most delightfully sinuous basslines EVER, topped off by Veronique Vincentâs breathy vocals. The non-aggressive, but nevertheless seriously warped outlook adopted by the Killers gives many of the albumâs melodies a child-like quality, most effectively demonstrated on the excellent instrumental âArianeâ.
Put bluntly, who needs to jam when you can have honey?
The legendary and iconic ZTT label have been particularly busy of late with 80s reissues that are of serious quality. Weâve had a stream of Art of Noise reissues (the stunning âInto Battleâ and âWhoâs Afraid OfâŚâ â before Hollywood set in), Frankie Goes To Hollywoodâs swinging swansong âLiverpoolâ, and a deluxe edition of Propagandaâs unassailable âA Secret Wishâ, amongst many others. Although the less said about FGTH member Paul Rutherhordâs solo effort âOh Worldâ probably the better.
And now thereâs âThe Art of 12â volume 2â â a wonderfully decadent celebration of the 12â single all grown up in the late 80s, complete with Don Johnson suit and brick-sized mobile phone. This packed out collection has considerably more diversity than might be expected. Paul McCartneyâs engaging âSpies Like Usâ sits alongside Godley and CrĂ¨meâs fragile âCryâ, Anne Pigalle's swirling âHe Strangerâ, OMDâs classic âJuliaâs Songâ, as well as a LOT of Frankie, Propaganda and Art of Noise (and even better for it). ZTTâs aesthetic couldnât be more neatly demonstrated, with that familiar kind of sardonic opulence binding the collection together. With 12â remixes of the early eighties now plundered to death, itâs time for ZTT to take up the retro-reigns and move the movement on (and on and on).
Frankieâs stunning âkeep the peaceâ mix of âTwo Tribesâ ends with voiceover artist Patrick Allen (he of the chilling âProtect and Surviveâ public information films of the cold war) indicating that his is âthe last voice youâll ever hearâ. Letâs hope not. In the meantime the fairlights and synclaviers make for truly wonderful company.
Edited by MLVH - 17 Apr 2012 at 1:17pm
Label: Ăl Records
Personnel: Nick Currie, Neil Martin (emulator 2), Jane Davies (vocals)
Tracklisting: Lucky like St. Sebastian, The lesson of Sodom (according to Lot), John the baptist Jones, King Solomonâs song and mine, Little lord obedience, The day the circus came to town, The rape of Lucretia, Paper wraps rock, Rules of the game of quoits
Once described by Mojo as âEnglandâs greatest living artistâ, Nick Currie prefers to describe himself as someone who churns out âscruffy electronic pop for shy Japanese girlsâ. An obscenely talented and consistently controversial Scot, Currieâs debut was, however, as far from electronic pop as Landsâ End is from John OâGroats.
Highly literary and beautifully melodic, âCircus Maximusâ is a breathtaking mixture of gentle acoustic guitar and varied keyboard embellishments of largely acoustic sounds, thanks to the use of the emulator sampler. Currieâs fragile, melancholic voice is the perfect vehicle to explore the gamut of tragic biblical and historical figures referenced here. Particular highlights include the haunting âSt. Sebastianâ and chanted chorus of âLittle Lord Obedienceâ, alongside much lighter moments such as the folky âQuoitsâ and âThe Day the Circus Came to Townâ, which introduces an ongoing interest in cabaret (and chanson) stylings.
Considering how timeless and homeless much of Currieâs work is, Momus may well indeed be SCOTLANDâs greatest living artist.
Edited by amahrose - 30 Jan 2012 at 12:02pm
Artist: Art et Technique
Label: Hi-Tech Records
Tracklisting: Derive, Nouveau primitif, Acier, Noel tombe un jeudi, Intervention dâun element neuter dans un ensemble vide, Alerte chantee, Alerte instrumentale, Just, tube, Afrique, bali, Off-shore, Feedback-fillmore
Relatively little is known about the trio of Parisian musicians that were behind âClima-Xâ, other than the fact that Art et Techniqueâs only album remains one Franceâs most notable industrial discs.
To quickly dismiss âClima-Xâ as being a derivative of the likes of Throbbing Gristle would be a mistake, although the metallic drones of tracks like âAcierâ and âBaliâ are broadly reminiscent of the much under-appreciated Dome. Like Dome, Art et Technique neatly avoid the clichĂŠd notion of creating harsh and aggressive mechanical textures and instead offer up a dreamy and surprisingly warm album that, in places, leans in the direction of a gently distorted krautrock ambience. Defining the sound in particular, is the delicate use of white noise and rumbling low-pass filters, making the whole listening experience somewhat similar to being trapped in a semi-musical wind tunnel.
X-treme and X-ellent.
Edited by amahrose - 21 Dec 2011 at 4:15pm
Artist: Dalek I Love You
Title: Dalek I Love You
Personnel: Gordon Hon, Kenny Peers, Alan Gill
Tracklisting: Holiday in disneyland, Horoscope, Health and happiness, The mouse that roared, Dad on fire, Ambition, Lust, 12 hours of blues, Sons of sahara, Africa express
Of all the significant post-punk British music scenes, Liverpoolâs is perhaps one of the least well documented. Largely focused around a single nightclub, Roger Eagleâs âEricâsâ, it includes such luminaries as the Bunneymen, Teardrop Explodes, OMD and this curious collective.
Dalek Iâs debut (âCompass Kumpasâ) was a brilliant, and deceptively melancholic collection of lo-fi, bedroom synth. Retaining many of the key characteristics of the debut â i.e. insidious tunes with bizarre lyrics (âDad on Fireâ anyone?!) â the follow up album expands the sound considerably for a programme of upbeat, polished, eccentric synthpop. By spreading vocal duties across three distinctive singers (Alan Gillâs attractive croon is unmistakable), the album, rather than becoming annoyingly goofy, simply packs one surprise after another. Best moments include the aforementioned âDad on Fireâ, the equally hooky âThe Mouse that Roaredâ, and the epic âAfrica Expressâ from a more reflective side two.
With Dr Who pulling in the ratings again, has there ever been a better time to love Daleks?
Edited by amahrose - 21 Nov 2011 at 8:15am
Title: The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight
Personnel: S. Arbright, Claudia Summers, Kenneth Lockie
Tracklisting: The dominatrix sleeps tonight, Chants, The dominatrix sleeps tonight (dominant mix), Beat me
Based out of New York, Stuart Arbright and an assortment of collaborators that included ex-reviewee Ken Lockie (Cowboys International), notched up a club classic with their only release as âDominatrixâ.
Far from being the sinewy slice of electro-funk you might expect, âSleeps Tonightâ is actually a rather innocuous and sweet tune whose crisp rhythm programs and staccato sequencers are quietly reminiscent of Junk Culture-era OMD. More intriguing than the title track, however, is âChantsâ. The simple exercise of laying out all of the songâs vocal hooks a cappella (and carefully inserting periods of silence between them), acts either as a defiant gesture to Warners, or as a carefully orchestrated piece of marketing. âChantsâ is nothing more than an open invitation for musicians to go ahead and use Dominatrix samples in their own work, both legally and illegally. No surprise then that parts of it popped up in other guises and on other dance floors for years to come.
Clever, cunning and, most of all, culturally significant.
Edited by MLVH - 09 Nov 2011 at 9:50am
Artist: Cowboys International
Title: The Original Sin
Label: Virgin Records
Personnel: Terry Chimes (drums), Jimmy Hughes (bass), Evan Charles (pianos), Rick Jacks (aquarium guitars), Ken Lockie (voice)
Tracklisting: Pointy shoes, Thrash, Part of steel, Here comes a saturday, Original sin, Aftermath, Hands, M(emorie), Lonely boy, The ânoâ tune, Wish
When punk blast open the doors of opportunity in 1976, all manner of things followed in its wake. Although âThe Original Sinâ was met with critical acclaim upon its release, the sheer number of debut albums from superficially similar groups at the time saw the album quickly fade. Itâs taken over three decades for Ken Lockieâs Cowboys International to earn the cult status that they deserve. Original sin indeed.Listen closely, and youâll find that this New Wave album stands well apart from its contemporaries. Each tense-sounding snippet of power pop (take opener âPointy Shoesâ for instance) demonstrates refreshingly inventive, hooky songwriting all lead by Ken Lockieâs appealing quiver. Elsewhere, subtle but inventive synth work on tracks like âThrashâ, âM(emorie)â and the powerful closer âWishâ make direct comparisons with other artists difficult. They also hint at Lockieâs next short-lived incarnation as an electro-pioneer.
Stayed tuned listeners, we promise to reveal all!
Edited by amahrose - 24 Oct 2011 at 10:01am
Artist: Jane Siberry
Title: The Speckless Sky
Label: Duke Street Records
Personnel: Al Cross (drums), Anne Bourne (keyboards), Jane Siberry (vocals, keyboards, guitars), John Switzer (bass), Key Myhr (guitar, guitar synth), Rob Yale (fairlight programming, keyboards)
Tracklisting: One more colour, Seven steps to the wall, The very large hat, Vladimir-Vladimir, Mein Bitte, The empty city, Map of the world (part II), The taxi ride
The distant scream that accompanies the closing seconds of Jane Siberryâs third album will make the hairs on your neck stand up on end. But thatâs merely a small taste of what this enormously talented Canadian artist is capable of.
Sitting somewhere between a more animated Laurie Anderson and less folky Suzanne Vega, âThe Speckless Skyâ demonstrates a level of sheer unadulterated creativity that has perhaps been unsurpassed by either artist. The albumâs extensive range comprises miniature, chaotic symphonies of song (âSeven Steps to the Wallâ, âMap of the Worldâ), avant garde synth-pop (âMein Bitteâ), and breathtaking, subtle songscapes (the aforementioned âTaxi Rideâ and incredible âVladimir-Vladimir). Each extended track crams in enough ideas to fill an entire album on its own, both it terms of surreal lyrical content and the daring, if distinctly eighties, musicianship.
Consistently excellent throughout the whole of her underrated 30 year career, âThe Speckless Skyâ remains arguably Siberryâs more succinct moment.
Edited by amahrose - 11 Sep 2011 at 4:58pm
Artist: Circus Mort
Title: Circus Mort
Label: Labor Records
Personnel: M. Gira (vocals), Don Braun (bass), Josh Braun (keyboards, vocals), Jonathan Kane (drums), Rick Oller (guitar vocals)
Tracklisting: Swallow you, Children remember, Yellow light, Watch the puppet
Accurately described by Trouser Press as like âbanging your head against the side of a swimming pool â underwaterâ, Michael Giraâs Swans remains one of the most unique and influential industrial bands of all time. However, long before the Swans ever existed, Gira did time with this little-known New York post-punk collective.
One of the first things to hit you when âSwallow Youâ kicks in is the speed. the almost unnaturally fast-paced music is totally at odds with Swansâ sound. Similarly, the aural assault you might expect is lacking, replaced instead by a tight, clean guitar and rhythm section, with cool keyboard fills/ drones occupying the spaces. Giraâs voice sounds strikingly youthful across the EPâs four strong post-punk vignettes, but stills packs enough of punch to make you sit up and take notice.
People expecting headaches may be disappointed by the relatively safe tunes presented here, but this disc ainât no ugly duckling.
Edited by MLVH - 07 Sep 2011 at 4:02pm
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