Archive for July, 2007

Units

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Formed in San Francisco in 1978, today’s band Units are among the very first of the synthpunk era, releasing a self-titled single in 1978. Pioneers through and through, the band abandoned the ferocity of the guitar and carried the harsh rhythms and fury of punk with a slew of synthesizers.

The band, featuring a revolving door lineup of musicians over the course of six years, managed to release a handful of singles and EPs, and one critically acclaimed album entitled Digital Stimulation. The band’s momentum and passion secured opening slots for the likes of Sparks, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Dead Kennedys, Psychedelic Furs, and Soft Cell over their tenure, and their live performances often contained a variety of backdrops and film projections, adding a touch of performance art to their craft.

The band peaked with Billboard Dance Chart success with ‘The Right Man,’ an early MTv video for ‘A Girl Like You,’ and the band signed to Epic/CBS records, but were unable to keep it together, splitting after two failed attempts to record new material under the label. The two shelved recordings have yet to surface, though a compilation of Units material is slated to be released later this year.

Here’s a trifecta of tracks from Units. The first, ‘Digital Stimulation,’ is featured on their 1980 record of the same name. The following two tracks hail from an early 7” recording.

download Units- ‘Digital Stimulation’
download Units- ‘Warm Moving Bodies’
download Units- ‘iNight’

I’m unable to embed the video for ‘A Girl Like You’ due to restraints on the only uploaded YouTube file, but if you’re interested watching this silly, silly video, click here:

watch ‘A Girl Like You’ on YouTube.

Units material is rather hard to track down, aside form the occasional LP or single spotting. If you see any, snap it up! Otherwise, for a more full discography and other information on the band, here’s a link for their site on synthpunk.org.

Units page

Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop


Happy Monday, ladies and gentlemen… To kick off this week, here’s a long-forgotten band with a recent bit of buzz surrounding their work.

Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons claimed to have formed by accident in 1980. Originally called Gdansk, the Swedish art-punk band employed quirky rhythms and fizzing synthesizers at dizzying speeds, and only managed to release a handful of singles and live compilation tracks before disbanding in 1981, soon after an aborted attempt to carry on with a new lead singer.

Though there’s been rumours of shows buzzing about in the underground, Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons still remain an ephemeral splash. Realising that a new generation of music fans were craving more than the few previously offered scraps, the band released a compilation entitled Best Off just this year, featuring their recorded studio output and a series of live songs never before bootlegged.

For today’s consumption, I’ve uploaded two of the band’s best known tunes, ‘Happy Funeral’ and ‘Ice Cream to God,’ both of which were early 7” releases.

download Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons – ‘Happy Funeral’
download Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons- ‘Ice Cream to God’

Best Off, the Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons compilation can be found and ordered through CD Baby by clicking this link:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/kitchenatps

Twice a Man- Observations From a Borderland 12”

Posted in 12'', 1980s, 1983, minimal, minimal synth, swedish, twice a man on July 26, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Twice a Man is a Swedish synth project, formed in 1981 as an offshoot of Cosmic Overdose. The band primarily consists of members Karl Gasleben and Dan Söderqvist (with early contributions by Lars Falk) and has remained intact over nearly three decades. While most of their contemporaries made an ephemeral splash, Twice a Man has remained together since their inception, continuously recording and releasing records, with plans to release their sixteenth full-length this year.

On top of their pioneering synth work, Twice a Man has also had their hands in seven theatre productions throughout Europe and have scored three films with a variety of collaborators. The band still gigs in Europe on occasion.

For the downloading, here’s Twice a Man’s first 12” single for ‘Observations from a Borderland’, released shortly after their debut record Music for Girls. The single dates back to 1983, and while the a-side features a more atmospheric approach, the second is a straight-up synth-pop gem:

Twice a Man- Observations From a Borderland 12”
1. Observations From a Borderland
2. Fear

*download it here*

and here’s concert footage of the band performing ‘Observations from a Borderland’ in 1984:

for more information on the band’s sprawling discography, including information on how to get your hands on some of it:

discography

Twice a Man’s official site

Lelu/Lu’s

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Though I’ve scoured the usual channels for information, I found next to nothing on today’s artist, UK wave outfit Lelu/Lu’s, aside from a handful of compilation releases. I’ve only managed to come across two of these elusive tracks in their discography, but what a duo they are. Lo-fi, catchy, quirky, female fronted wave. The first, ‘Down My Spine’ is a stand alone track, looped with a bit of flute throughout while the second track, the more bombastic ‘Africa’ is featured on a split 7” with fellow Belgian new wave act Bene Gesserit.

If anyone has any additional information on this band, including sources for other tracks and information, by all means, drop a comment and pass them along! Otherwise, here’s today’s downloads:

download Lelu Lus- ‘Down My Spine’
download Lelu Lus- ‘Africa’

Thanks to Irk the Purists for a few additional bits and bobs!

Fad Gadget

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop


It’s tough to dedicate a mere sliver of space for this one, for Fad Gadget were above and beyond, true pioneers. The brainchild of the late Frank Tovey, Fad Gadget were the first outfit to be signed to Daniel Miller’s Mute label, hot off the heels of Daniel’s own single ‘Warm Leatherette / T.V.O.D.’ (under the Normal moniker).

Over the course of four records and several single releases, Fad Gadget grew under a budding performance art and new wave movement, inspiring a series of musicians to come in both the industrial and wave genres. His lyrics were bleak yet laced in sometimes goofy sarcasm, while the music pulsed with electric rhythms and the sounds of whirring machinery.

This brand of unique intensity translated well into the live setting with an abundance of theatricality, Tovey covering himself in tar and feathers, hanging upside down from rafters, and often shaving himself completely with a razorblade.

In 1984, Tovey shed the Fad Gadget moniker and continued to explore the avant garde realm under his own name rather than the pseudonym, withdrawing from the music business in 1993. In 2001, Tovey picked up the Fad Gadget moniker once more to play a series of shows with former proteges Depeche Mode. He continued to perform until April of 2002, when he died of a sudden heart-attack.

As for the today’s downloadables, I’ve selected one of the outfit’s first singles as well as a deep cut from 1982′s Under the Flag:

download Fad Gadget- ‘Back to Nature’
download Fad Gadget- ‘Under the Flag II’

and for your viewing pleasure, here’s a video for ‘Collapsing New People,’ Fad Gadget’s best known tune:

Fad Gadget’s discography is more readily available than most of the artists usually posted here, so just take a peek at the local Amazon website for a start:

Amazon.com

Section 25

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Section 25 formed in Lancashire in early 1978, a pair of brothers recruiting members for a more avant sort of dance group. As they rose to some degree of prominence with England’s Factory Records (Joy Divison, A Certain Ratio, Happy Mondays, etc.), the band was immediately written off as a Public Image Ltd. soundalike and as derivative of their fellow Factory mates. Over time however, the band’s own subtle style became more apparent.

A more ambient sort of dance band, Section 25 combined pulsing relentless rhythms, jagged guitar work, and alternated between ethereal female voices (heard on their later releases) and an abrupt male voice for vocal duties. Their connection to New Order and Joy Division remained steadfast over their tenure, for their first single was produced by Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis and manager Rob Gretton, their first record by Factory favorite Martin Hannett, and their third LP, From a Hip by Bernard Sumner of New Order. As the band continued to play gigs and record, they shifted from a rhythmic dub sound and evolved into a more electro-dance outfit.

After ten years, the band split and fell silent until June of 2007, when a reunited band (minus vocalist/keyboardist Jenny Flowers, who died before recording more than a handful of tracks in 2004) released their fifth full length Part-Primitiv, a series of new songs written and recorded over the course of six years.

For the downloading, here’s a selected duo of tracks. The first is an alternate recording of ‘Looking From a Hilltop,’ originally featured on From a Hip. The second track is taken from 2007′s Part-Primitiv.

download Section 25- ‘Looking From a Hill (Restructure)’
download Section 25- ‘Poppy Fields’

Click below to watch a video for the first version of ‘Looking From a Hill.’

Get some Section 25 discs here:

Amazon.com link

Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (also known as DAF) were an NDW band from Düsseldorf, Germany. They formed in 1978 and split soon after, proving another influential leader in a budding synth scene.

The band held a pseudo-political approach, their name translating into English as German-American Friendship. Many of the band’s songs, though existential and nihilistic at first glance, were rumoured to have political undertones. The band originally began as a four-piece outfit, though after their first few records the band trimmed to two, vocalist Gabi Delgado-López and programmer/synth tech Robert Görl.

Though the band always employed a series of keyboards and analog synthesizers, DAF took a more synth-based approach soon after trimming their ranks, steering away from thrasy guitar-driven punk of their first two records, while still retaining a bit of their previous fury and intensity. The band soon gathered a large cult following, and quickly influenced emerging synth and industrial acts such as Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, and Coil.

Though remaining inactive for nearly two decades, both members of Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft went on to pursue solo material, recording and developing electro and techno music over the course of their hiatus. The band reformed in 2003 with a slicker sound, new songs, and a higher political agenda.

For today’s consumption, I’ve uploaded a track from their third record, Alles is Gut as well as one of their more cherished early single releases:

download Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft- ‘Kebab Traume’

download Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft- ‘Als wär’s das letzte Mal’

and in closing, here’s a live performance of one of their best known tracks- ‘Der Mussolini,’ taken from a 2003 reunion show:

for purchase info:

D.A.F. Amazon music page

Six Finger Satellite

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Once in a while, a band comes along that has the sheer intention of hitting you in the guts. Six Finger Satellite are one of those bands.

A volatile mixture of any of Steve Albini’s pet projects (Shellac, Rapeman, Big Black, etc.) and the quirky synthpunk stylings of bands like Devo and Suicide, Six Finger Satellite came to prominence in the early 1990s as part of the influential wave of Sub Pop acts. Formed in Rhode Island, the band incorporated a slew of buzzing synths into an fast, abrasive, and jagged punk template- creating some furiously catchy and violent tracks.

Over the course of ten years, the band would release four records and a few eps under Sub Pop before splitting up. Members of the band went on to join the Chinese Stars, the Juan Maclean, and most notably, the LCD Soundsystem.

Today’s tracks are two of the standouts from their 1995 sophomore effort, Severe Exposure:

download Six Finger Satellite- ‘Rabies (Baby’s Got the)’
download Six Finger Satellite- ‘Parlour Games’

and as a visual treat, here’s a live performance of ‘Man Behind the Glasses’ from a show that appears to be in someone’s living room:

Jeff & Jane Hudson- No Clubs 7”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Today’s band has been through several different stylistic changes and the main members have been involved in a slew of projects throughout the years.

In their first incarnation, a pair of musicians from Boston named Jeff and Jane Hudson formed the Rentals in 1977, a art-punk band who shared similar bills with the likes of the Clash, the B-52s, and James Chance & the Contortions. After relocating to NYC, the band released a full length record on Beggar’s Banquet and subsequently split. After a brief tenure as the Manhattan Project, playing opening slots for no-wave terrors Suicide, the pair split off and recorded together as simply Jeff and Jane Hudson.

The band employed a TR-808 drum machine and took up synth pop, releasing two records in two years and a series of 7” singles that explored synthetic territory with a bit of the old art-punk aesthetic. They shared stages with Ministry, Public Image Ltd., and Duran Duran. The duo split in ’85 to pursue separate projects, and only reunited in 1995 under the same name as a psychedelic act. As far as is determined, the duo still play together under this style, and have re-recorded older tracks and Rentals songs alongside their newer material.

Today’s tracks are from their synth-era, and I’ve uploaded one of their 7” singles as well as one of their more well known tracks for your listening pleasure. Also linked below is a recording of the Rentals song ‘Elephants,’ taken from Jeff and Jane’s official site. Without any further delay:

Jeff and Jane Hudson- No Clubs 7”
*Download links removed, see below for reissue info*

other links include:
the official Jeff and Jane Hudson website (includes purchasing information)
Jane’s page
Jeff’s page

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ATTENTION, dear readers- you can now get a remastered copy of all the Jeff and Jane Hudson via the always excellent DARK ENTRIES label, an awesome reissue label based out of the west coast. Click here for more info!

A Place to Bury Strangers

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Anyone who’s known me both online and off knows that I champion today’s band at every single step, having seen them live about a dozen times and talked about them in conversation to absolutely no end. After catching them live once more at Galapogos this past Friday eve, it’s only appropriate for them to make their appearance on these pages…

Hailing from New York City, A Place to Bury Strangers are explosively sonic post-punk/shoegaze outfit often deemed “the Loudest Band in NYC.” Rather than being loud for the sake of being loud, the band combines the coarse sonic textures of both the shoegaze and no-wave movement with the craft and beauty of dreampop, a delicate yet perfect balance that is far more moving than it is unsettling.

The origins of the band trace back to Virginia’s Skywave, a similarly styled outfit featuring fuzzed out guitar tones and abrasive drum machines. Guitarist Oliver Ackermann relocated to NYC and took the helm of a A Place to Bury Strangers, expanding on the already jagged soundscapes of Skywave, adding more catchy rhythmic undertones and a more intense approach for this new outfit. Meanwhile, the remaining members of Skywave remained local and formed fellow shoegaze group Ceremony.

On record, the band is overdriven and sharp, all instruments pushing into the red with a pseudo-industrial aesthetic, while on stage they are an intensely passionate and pummeling force of fury, a treat for both the eyes and the ears.

Oliver is also founder of the Brooklyn-based experimental pedal company, Death By Audio. Many of the band’s unique sonic textures are the result of his own audio experimentation and deconstruction of electronics.

Needless to say, this band is best experienced at maximum volume. For your listening pleasure, here’s a handful of self-released EP tracks:

download A Place to Bury Strangers- ‘My Weakness’
download A Place to Bury Strangers- ‘I Know I’ll See You’
download A Place to Bury Strangers- ‘I’ve Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart’

…and here’s a live video of the band performing the yet-to-be-released track ‘Gimme Acid’ at a Jezebel Music showcase at Union Pool on April 17th of this year. If you look closely, you may spot me thrashing away in the front…

For more information about the band, including more tracks, visuals, and show information:

homepage
myspace page