Archive for October, 2013

The Chyldren- Mortis Hora

Posted in 1980s, 1987, darkwave, synth, synthpop, the chyldren, uk on October 29, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

Now that blog culture has come full circle, there are very few “holy grails” left to uncover.  However, this LP has achieved near mythic status to me over the years after hearing a loose track ages ago.  I don’t even remember how I came across the track, and having it tagged improperly didn’t help much, as it took me some time to figure out that the band name was The Chyldren and not The Children.  Either way, I was always curious to hear the rest of it, and here we have it, another donation that comes courtesy of xerfrank.  Thanks again!

All talk aside, this record, like VHF and Eleven Pond before it, deserves it’s mythic status, less so based on the quality of the recording but moreso because it was never *officially* released.  Sure, there are copies of it out there, especially if you’ve got $700 to spare, but good luck finding this one in your local record store.  The story behind it is simple: band makes record, record goes to print in 1987, record does not make it past the test pressing phase.  It should be self explanatory, but in case you’re not a vinyl collector or of a younger generation, test pressings are simply copies of an album used to gauge the quality of a pressing, as anomalies, variables, and errors can be rather commonplace.  Now in my experience, there’s usually only four or five test pressings of a given record, mostly for individual band members or label personnel.  With that in mind, I’m not sure how 8 people (or more, since discogs records are never 100% accurate) came across a test pressing, but I suppose it could be possible that they pressed more of these than usual to be sold at shows or given away to friends.  Either that, or some people on discogs are theoretical collectors.  All copies of this album come complete with a (rather goofy) cover/sleeve that looks professional, but the inner label is handwritten, as shown here in photos.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the music.  You might expect this record to be a complete novelty, judging from the goofy cover, terrible font choices, and religious themed psuedonyms used by the three band members (my personal favorite is Lucifer the Cross, though your mileage may vary).  Well, it’s not.   The album is a rather good, if but a little one-dimensional synth-driven record that utlizes the same bombastic drum machine pattern and vocal melody on almost every track.  So, while the band certianly doesn’t take themselves too seriously, even on the compositional side of things, there are some nice gems to be found here, even if they all sound pretty interchangeable with each other.  The good news is that the album is rather short- 7 tracks in 25 minutes, so as long as you like the vibe, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

You know, it’s funny that I mentioned both VHF and Eleven Pond up there, as this album almost comes across like a hybrid of both records, combining the synth-heavy, toe-tapping catchiness of VHF with the darkwave/Factory records vibes of Eleven Pond.  The religious themes also remind me heavily of Eyes of God, but in all honesty, this LP sounds like a long lost, fully synth-driven cousin of Sanity Plexus, but I digress.  Check this one out for yourself.

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The Chyldren- Mortis Hora LP
1. Private Crucifixion
2. Sin
3. Chase Me
4. Speed
5. Burn
6. Fade Away
7. You
8. Dope

*download it here*

Vietnam- Vietnam LP

Posted in 1980s, 1985, coldwave, new zealand, post-punk, vietnam on October 22, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

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(Photo credit: Neil Monkhouse)

Sorry for the delay, it’s been a very busy time at SOR headquarters so I’ve been slacking a little bit.  Plus, it’s Fall in New York, so I’m trying to make the most of being outside before hibernating for the winter.  Anywho, here’s a post lovingly ripped and donated by xerfrank, a fellow friend and passionate collector from Spain.  You may have seen this back on Vinyl Obscurity a few years ago, but I believe the post was taken down immediately by some Mediafire bots looking for the latest Rhianna record, long before his blog disappeared into the either as well.  I also included the “best” track from this record on my last v/a compilation, so some of you may be interested in hearing the rest of it.  While ‘Victory’ reigns as my favorite track on this record, I enjoy this one as a whole.

There’s little to be found about Vietnam, yet another extremely difficult band name to Google, but I do know that they existed for a short period of time as part of New Zealand’s post-punk movement and released this record in 1985 on Jayrem Records, a catch-all label for local artists.  There’s the pre-requisite Joy Division influence present in the vocals (fans of De Press, The Opposition, Stranger to Stranger, and Dropopop should enjoy this one especially) but the music jumps from moody post-punk and flirts occasionally with jangle-pop progressions and dreamy, Cure-esque melodies.  “China Tonight” is an excellent moody instrumental track with a descending synth/piano melody.  “Behind the Paintings” is as gloomy, yet driving political anthem, a general theme in the lyrics that hints at a slight U2 influence, who were at the peak of their fire-y political leaning at that point in time.   Honestly, with a name like Vietnam and with artwork like this, it’s safe to assume that the lyrics have a little more spark to them.

EDIT 6/30/14:  I’ve since been in touch with Adrian Workman, the band’s bassist and synth player, who has shared some tales about the band’s inception and current whereabouts:

Four lads from the same High School in working-class town called Wainuiomata (pronounced Y-noo-ee-o-ma-ta , a suburb of Wellington, NZ).  We started writing/playing together in my parents garage and drove the neighborhood insane over a period of time. New Zealand in 1982 mirrored Thatchers UK; an ultra conservative government, poor economy and civil unrest. Wellington (the nations capital) was a volatile mix of public servants, politicians, university students ,and skinheads. The messages of the Punk and Post-Punk era emanating from the UK resonated strongly in the Wellington music scene and local musical acts discovered their own version of the genre. 

The legal drinking age was 20 years old, yet we performed in pubs, clubs and community halls from as young as 16 years, somehow avoiding detection from the authorities.
 
Vietnam was definitely a coming together of 4 very different people that shared a common malaise; suburban isolation in a depressed and oppressed society in the early 1990’s. We were a  weird combination of cultural/ethnic diversity, (unusual in that musical era), and ironically we all achieved well in school and sports…being working class was a badge of honour for us and  we strongly resisted being pigeon-holed into societal roles. Vietnam was a head-fuck for many people because, I believe, we delivered more than was expected of us given our collective backgrounds. We almost dethroned a significant corporate rock band in the national ‘Battle of the Bands’ comp, leaving them crapping their collective duds after we performed a kick-ass set, including  a Vietnam version of ‘Echo Beach’ and just missing the final cut. Anyways…this show got us attention from the right people.
 
It was a pretty intense music scene from memory. Vietnam was a square peg in that scene, mainly due to the stigma associated from the suburb we came from. We played a lot of shows,( including the Aerial Railway stage at ‘Sweetwaters’,  an annual 3 day Music festival, (just think Woodstock meets Lollapallooza). Supported some good acts of the era and made our EP in late 1984 (released in 1985). Radio with Pictures TVNZ picked up ‘Victory’ and the video was made at the cost of taxpayers monies. Shortly after the release I migrated to Sydney, Australia (18 yrs old) in mid 1985, Pete Dransfield followed about a year later. After several attempts to reincarnate a version of the band under different monikers we went our separate ways in 1988, and Pete returned to NZ.
 
Pete released some material in the late 1990’s under the name ‘The Thorn Field’ , became a semi-professional boxer, and continues to work in the live music scene in NZ in a technical capacity.
 
Shane went on to have a stellar career as a national spokesperson for indigenous programs relating to smoking cessation (Go Bro!). Leon has continued to perform political rap in various line-ups.
 
I joined Sydney Band ‘The Bhagavad Guitars’ in late 1988, and stayed with them until 1992. Releasing several recordings in this time on the Red Eye Label, including the belated release of an album produced by Toney Cohen (of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fame) in 1995 (Lead vox  ‘No News’). We almost made it to the States, but the band imploded exactly at the critical moment:(
 
I was also a founding member with ‘The Verys’ in the grunge era of the 1990’s, releasing the EP ‘That’s A Moray’ in 1993. Ran my own record label briefly and ventured into twisted world music with Bonepeople in the late 1990s. Recently recorded a reformation album with The Bhagavad Guitars in 2011 called ‘Unfamiliar Places’ (Lead vox ‘Autumn’). Check out my name on ‘Discogs’ website for refs. and/or reverbnation ‘Bhagavad Guitars’.

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Vietnam- Vietnam LP
1. Broken Doll
2. China Tonight
3. Behind the Paintings
4. Another Day
5. Victory

*DOWNLOAD LINK REMOVED* – please visit B.F.E. records (website/bandcamp) for a reissue of this LP with some bonus tracks!

There’s also a video for “Victory” (!).  Feels like it’s been ages since we had one of those:

Thanks again to xerfrank for ripping this one!  I have some mail arriving over the next few weeks that may interest some of you looking for something a little seedier/synthier.  In the meanwhile, I picked up some rad stuff in Canada, one record in particular that deserves a re-posting ASAP.  I also have another post lined up from xerfrank’s expansive archives, as well as more from Klumpa’s collection to come in the near future.  Also, perhaps some modern surprises as this year winds down to a close.

 

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On a completely unreleated note, might I bring your attention to THIS?  I have a new project that you all may enjoy, and we just released a limited edition cassette (!) on fellow Brooklyn-based label Function Operate.  I reckon a few of you may enjoy it, and we’ll have plenty more news soon.  If you want to check in on us, we can be found HERE.

Toccata- We Are the Sub-Machines 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1987, british, new wave, synth, toccata, uk on October 8, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

I first heard this one on a cassette while sitting in a car outside the Wierd party with Martial Canterel and Nick from Crispy Nuggets, and we all couldn’t get enough of it.  I’ve been trying to track the single down since with no luck, but many thanks to Klumpa for providing a rip of this one to share. We can expect a few more treats along these lines, including a handful of loose tracks just itching to be compiled and an Italo flavored 7” to come over the next few weeks.

Very little info to be found about this band (who shares the name with classical terminology, making it difficult to google), though the sleeve indicates that this was released in 1987 and featured the duo of Jan Sinclair and Pete Ward, with various guest musicans and backup singers contributing.  There are a few Pete/r Wards out there, some active around the same period, so I can’t really pinpoint which, if any, are responsible.  Believe me, I’ve tried!

However, here we have two excellent tracks, the a-side coming across like a Kissing the Pink/Eurythmics hybrid with a stomping, torch song rave-up, while the b-side has a very neofolk-esque frailty reminiscent of the Nature & Organisation record and other Rose Mcdowall contributions over the years…

Any more information on this one is welcome!

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Toccata- We Are the Sub-Machines 7”
1. We Are the Sub-Machines
2. Gypsy Eyes

*download it here* (RE-RIPPED 11.21.15)

Decade- Diva Diva 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1987, coldwave, Decade, france, french, post-punk on October 1, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

Originally posted by the great Dreams and Voices and freshly ripped from my own copy, this is one of my favorite mid-tempo French singles from Montpellier, a little romanticism in the B-side to get you through the week.  As he mentions, there’s a Little Nemo vibe in “Diva Diva,” certainly a welcome addition to the cold, melancholic French catalog.  “Conquistador” isn’t too shabby either, with a sinister synth undercurrent and a percussive-heavy melody.

This single was released in 1987 and is their only known recording.  Not much more to say about this one, other than enjoy!

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Decade- Diva Diva 7”
1. Diva Diva
2. Conquistador

*download it here*