I’ve only managed to dig up a few snippets about today’s band- NY based minimal wave act Hysterica Passio. Drawing name inspiration from an outdated term for dementia used in Shakespeare’s King Lear, the band put out but one 12” single in 1982 before their demise two years later. The band would toss these two tracks on various Flexi-Pop compilations soon after, but would never record another note.
*songs removed by request*
Naturally, I’ve no Youtube videos, band photos, or links to pick up their material in mass-quantities. The original vinyl single however, should one be lucky enough to find a copy online, fetches approximately $80.
Today’s band was so truly innovative that most of their output sounds futuristic and ahead of its time even today…
Formed in San Francisco under the pretenses of making ‘scary, funny music,’ Chrome was created by a drummer/synth player and a lone guitarist in 1976. Though the band would start as a straightforward synth-driven psychedelic project, their music would quickly take a turn for the more experimental and strange as the band shifted lineups after their debut. Over the course of four years, the band, (mainly) consisting of Helios Creed and Damon Edge, would release a slew of albums, their development accelerated by their extremely prolific nature. Their songs were part science fiction epics, part pre-punk fury, and mostly deconstructed experimentation.
This short incarnation of the band would serve as a blueprint for the upcoming post-punk and industrial movements, Chrome joining the ranks of early innovators Suicide, Silver Apples, and Throbbing Gristle. When the band split in 1983, Damon Edge relocated to Europe and continued on under the same name, releasing records consistently until 1995, when he died of heart failure in Los Angeles. Upon Damon’s death, Helios reformed the band out of tribute, carrying on sporadically with new and original collaborators both live and in the studio.
Here’s two tracks I’ve uploaded from the original incarnation of the band. The first is a more rare but solid track, released in a more widespread form via recent compilations of the band’s earlier material, and the second is the lead-off track from their 1977 record Alien Soundtracks.
and for your futuristic, acid-loving viewing pleasure, click below to watch the (very A Clockwork Orange-esque) video for the 1980 single ‘New Age.’
Most of their recorded output is extremely difficult to get a hold of, outside of anthologies and used bins. However, according to their official site, three early records have been re-released and remastered. For more information on all of this as well as more on the band, please click below:
The Snake Corps formed in 1984 after the original demise of British psychedelic post-punk act Sad Lovers & Giants. In the wake of the band’s split, guitarist Tristan Garel-Funk formed a new five-piece unit, collecting a few more like minded-fellows, and set out under this new name.
The band was not unlike it’s predecessor, exploring a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape alongside a driving post-punk edge. The band would tour heavily outside of the UK, developing a slight cult following for their curious blend of dreamy effects and hard punk rhthyms. The band, though hard-working, had a very distanced approach to their affairs and had alienated the British record industry, rejecting potential superstardom as a new shoegaze movement was taking hold of Britain towards the end of the decade.
The band would take a hiatus around 1990 after recording a handful of poorly distributed records, never quite achieving the success or recognition as many of their contemporaries would shortly. In 1993, a long-since recorded final record hit the market alongside a career retrospective, but though a bit of buzz was finally on their side, members of the band had already parted for keeps and the band officially called it a day.
I’ve uploaded two tracks by the Snake Corps for your downloading pleasure. The first, ‘Animals All’ hails from their debut record, 1985’s Flesh on Flesh. The second song, ‘Seagull’s Eye’ is a more catchy number, featured as the opening track on 1990’s Smother Earth.
Hailing from Australia, today’s band Severed Heads relied early on tape loops and abrasive synthesizers, and over the course of several years perfected their noise-based craft into a blend of experimentation and pop music.
The band formed in Sydney in 1979 under the name Mr. and Ms. No Smoking Sign and changed their name to Severed Heads as they began recording their expansive discography. With their unique stage shows and noise-laced yet catchy tracks, the band developed a rather large following and by 1984, they embarked upon a rather large world tour backed by their single ‘Dead Eyes Opened.’
Unlike most bands featured on these pages, Severed Heads are still alive and kicking, having gone through several record deals and lineup changes (Tom Ellard remaining the only original member to date) since their conception and peak. The band would disappear from the music industry in late 1999, but continues to release underground and independent recordings and live collections on a semi-regular basis. Their most recent work includes a soundtrack to a DVD film entitled The Illustrated Family Doctor in 2005.
I’ve uploaded two of my favorite Severed Heads tracks from their earlier days… The first, ‘Triangle Tangle Tango’ is a favorite of mine to spin, featured on 1989’s Rotund For Success. The second track, ‘We Have Come to Bless This House’ is featured on their classic 1985 record City Slab Horror.
Happy friday, ladies and gents. Today’s band is one I could find little information on aside from their origin and lone release info.
Der Deutsche Adel is the name of the band, a German post-punk band with a killer coldwave sound and just one self-titled release under their belt. Can’t seem to dig up any more info about the record, but it’s easily one of the best of its kind.
Though the band hailed from Germany, the LP is a French release. Curious. Here’s the info:
Der Deutsche Adel- Der Deutsche Adel 12”/MLP
1. Unfurled Flags
2. Build Those Fires
5. Sally Oh Sally
6. Guess Works
I feel as if I’ve made a dozen allusions to this band in previous posts without any actual information on them, so for today, I shall be profiling Crime & the City Solution.
The band was one of several formed from the demise of the Birthday Party, 4AD’s premier scuzz-punk unit led by Nick Cave. The band existed previous to the Birthday Party, featuring an unknown cast of characters among mainstay singer Simon Bonney, but no recordings ever surfaced until the mid-80s, with a more infamous lineup. A strict comparison could be made between the bands, for distinctive guitar work and a similar blues-based drawl was also a basis for Crime & the City Solution’s repertoire.
Alongside Bonney, other prominent members of the group have included Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S. Howard, Mick Harvey of both BP and Badseeds fame, Swell Maps drummer Epic Soundtracks, and Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke (aka Von Borsig). Was this a supergroup? Perhaps by definition, but the band survived several lineup shifts and have released five full-lengths and a handful of EPs, each one different depending on contributors.
Though each Crime record is a unique and solid effort on their own, I’ve uploaded a duo of tracks which both appear on 1986’s Room of Lights, my favorite of their records. The first is their best known song, the epic and powerful ‘Six Bells Chime’ and the second, the closing track from the record.
I first heard of this band from a sequence in Wim Wender’s 1987 film Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire). Here’s the very scene, a live shot of the band performing ‘Six Bells Chime’ in a small German venue. The volume’s a bit low, but I still love this scene so:
Although neither of these artists need a lengthy formal introduction, today’s writeup will feature a two track single, an exciting and stellar collaboration by two great experimental artists.
Einstürzende Neubauten (translation: collapsing new buildings) formed in 1980 in West Berlin, the brainchild of several local avant-garde musicians. Since then, the band has deconstructed the face of popular music, remaining an active, prolific, and powerful force in industrial and experimental music.
Lydia Lunch is an American musician and poet. She was the former frontwoman of influential NYC no-wave act Teenage Jesus & the Jerks until the band disbanded in 1979. She then persued a solo career, offering up several classic records and collaborations, and has since explored film, poetry, and other creative disciplines.
In 1982, as the two were gaining steam and exploring the boundaries of music with their own respective acts, Einstürzende Neubauten would record but two tracks with Lydia Lunch, also featuring contributions from Birthday Party/Crime & the City Solution guitarist Rowland S. Howard. What resulted is a true masterpiece of experimental work, a frightening two track 12” single entitled Thirsty Animal. Combining the subtleties and talents of both units, these two pieces are among the most powerful and harrowing tracks that either would record.
…and here they are, for your listening ‘pleasure:’
Please pardon the lack of updates over the past few days, my dears…but I have been indisposed and out of town. That said, I’ve dug up an old favorite for you folks today, one that were once on to something great before disbanding prematurely, but have since resurrected themselves and are a currently active and coherent unit.
Bunnydrums culminated with various members of the Philadelphia punk rock scene in 1980. Keen on expanding the punk aesthetic with a slew of dance rhythms, saxophones, and electronics, Bunnydrums would set up shop and focus most of their energy recording, but would occasionally gig out in support of such bands as R.E.M., Pere Ubu, Bauhaus, and the Cult.
The band released a handful of singles, a duo of EPs, and two full length, 1983’s PKD and 1984’s Holy Moly before their split on New Year’s Eve, 1986. Though the current lineup occasionally explored other musical avenues and managed a few one-off shows the year after they split, the band would remain dormant until the new millennium, when the band shockingly reunited. Though they have yet to release new tracks, they’ve been gigging steadily in the east coast, and after signing to Metropolis Records, they have since remastered and re-released most of their back catalog on the compilation PKD/Simulacra.
For your listening pleasure, I’ve uploaded two seminal Bunnydrums tracks, the driving synthetic drone of ‘Smithson’ and the funky dark groove of ‘Holy Moly.’ Enjoy!
and here’s a youtube video of the revamped band performing the song ‘Closed Eyes’ live at the Trocadero in July of this year.
Keep your eyes peeled for Bunnydrums live dates in the east coast, including a gig in NYC with our little band, Funeral Crashers in October! For interested purchasing parties, here’s a link to order PKD/Simulacra on CD:
Today’s band is one that became a household name in the mid-1980s based on a one-off hit, but hasn’t made any commercial impact since, lost in the hearts of 80s nostalgia and easily dismissed as a one-hit wonder. Truth is that today’s band, Modern English, were more than capable of writing a myriad of other amazing songs, and a handful of seminal records in an emerging post-punk scene, even if they went mostly ignored by all but the impassioned.
This Essex-based band originally began in 1977, originally christened the Lepers. The band released a one-off single before changing their name to Modern English and signing to a budding 4AD records, the band being the first that Ivo Watts-Russel approached after creating the label. Both stylistically, and commercially, Modern English helped put the label on the map.
Musically, the band originally drew heavily from the doom and gloom of fellow contemporaries Joy Division and Bauhaus, a rude awakening for fans who stumbled across them after the perfect pop song ‘I Melt With You from their 1982 sophomore record, After the Snow.
Pressured after such a large success, the band fell apart after one more record, two of the original members departing for greener pastures, but instead of a side-project, the band revamped and kept pushing forward, occasionally releasing records into the 90s. Though they remained a college favorite, the band never again broke the US or UK charts. Despite sporadic output, Modern English remain together to this day, playing gigs from time to time. The band has a new recording contract with A.P.G. as of 2001, but there’s no clear word as to when to expect new material.
I’ve uploaded a handful of tracks from their debut record, 1981’s Mesh & Lace. The first was also their second single, while the second is a deeper cut and favorite from the record. Here they are, for your listening enjoyment:
Some classic minimal synth for you today, ladies and gentlemen… Today’s band is the Fast Set, a one man synth project who’s first and only 7” recording was also the very first release on what is now known as 4AD.
The Fast Set is comprised of avant-artist David Knight, who signed with with Axis records upon its inception in 1980, just before label-head Ivo Watts-Russel was forced to change the label’s name to 4AD. As a one man project, the Fast Set recorded just one 7” single for the song ‘Junction One’ in 1980. The b-side of the single was a synthetic dirge rendition of ‘Children of the Revolution’ by T.Rex.
The band’s only other recorded moment was a cover of T.Rex’s ‘King of the Rumbling Spires,’ released on a Some Bizzare compilation in 1981. Afterwards, David disbanded his project and went on to work with the likes of Danielle Dax and the Shockheaded Peters.
Here’s that lone single for your listening and downloading pleasure:
*DOWNLOAD LINKS REMOVED* Click here to purchase these via 4AD’s official site.
Systems of Romance was created in mid-2007 to serve as a dumping grounds for all great things coldwave, minimal synth, post-punk, synthpunk, industrial, synthpop, and various other combinations of these styles. Feel free to make requests, noodle around, and discuss all you like...
Otherwise, this blog is dedicated to showcasing material that has long since been out of print. If you are aware of any of these items being readily available from the artist or label, or take issue with these tracks being uploaded, please let me know so I can amend the post or remove the links.