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.
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:
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.