Archive for the synthpop Category

Various Artists- Systems of Romance Vol. 7 & 8

Posted in 1980s, coldwave, compilations, Intro, mélopée, New deutsche welle, new wave, post-punk, synth, synthpop, systems of romance, uk, various artists, Vibø, wave on September 1, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

I’ve been talking a big game about this Various Artists compilation series for a long time. So many allusions to the next installment of loose tracks have been made over the past few years, always saying the same thing. Stay tuned, etc. Well, it just occurred to me that it’s been THREE (3) years since the last installment, which is just pathetic on my part. That said, in order to atone for these missed opportunities and empty promises, I’ve assembled not ONE, but TWO compilations, just like the old days. Some of these tracks were passed on by friends and allies of the blog, others by band members themselves, and as always, quite a few come from the record shelves. Little writeups to follow below, but for now, let’s get to the tracklisting, shall we?


Various Artists- Systems of Romance Vol. 7
1. Blood Brothers- Beyond The Nightmare
2. Unfamiliar Skies- Loveland
3. I Wish- The Name
4. 4711- New Holland
5. Glass Lady- Glass Lady
6. Lovers- Siam
7. Forever Till Never- When Kids Are Alone
8. Dancing On Your Own- Martin & Martin
9. Loss- Camouflage
10. Saison Fleurie- Cello
11. The Haunting Moon- Lyon in Winter
12. ふり返った男- Imitation Brain
13. Epics- Moravagine
14. Deutschland Brennt- D.U.R.
15. GG Man- Underjordiska Lyxorkestern
16. Pathetical Twat- Weaveworld
17. Ansassa- Tiistai
18. Symétrie (Live)- Pro Memoria
19. Zondagsplicht- Vibø
20. Pour Everyone- Irrelevant


Various Artists- Systems of Romance Vol. 8
1. The Tribute- Christophe Grelier
2. Sisters- Carter Burwell
3. Dancing to Kill- Almost Alone
4. Curtain of Love- Ce Soir
5. Ultraviolet- Fade to Black
6. L’Arbre- Mélopée
7. Frozen (Demo)- Yvonne
8. Uomini di Vetro- Sirtaki
9. Darkness- A Distant Echo
10. Clever Dancers- Paul Piacentini
11. Grey Day- Nick Haward
12. Nuclear Car- Chapter 13
13. Tornado- The Blue Law
14. In Your Window- Indians Fall In Love
15. Korea- European Toys
16. Grind- October Game
17. Stormy Weather- Systems of Romance
18. Apynee- Laughing Out Loud
19. Disunion- Baby Hotel Hunger
20. Is This the End?- Avo-8

*download both compilations here*

Vol. 7 credits:
1. French band, released in the mid 90s, early 2000s. Also known as Beyond the Nightmare About Claudia.
2. Rare compilation appearance from these US-based synthpop greats, responsible for this trashy 12”. This track was released in 1993 on the American Independence- The New York Underground compilation. They were never heard from again.
3. Another track with virtually no information to be found out in the ether. Welcoming any tips on this one!
4. Incredible post-punk with cold synths from the Netherlands. They have a wealth of unreleased material, all available on Youtube.
5. Sleazy italo disco vibes from the UK, This is their lone single, the flip being an instrumental dub version.
6. Not related to the Israeli band of the same name, but instead the second project from Jacqui Brookes, aka Shox and Intro, respectively. This is the b-side of their Catrix 7”, a much better song than the intended single.
7. The a-side from a killer post-punk/wave 7” from the US, released in 1985.
8. An old Wierd party favorite, donated by a friend some time ago. Has seen many a play on the NYC dancefloors, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you anything about this otherwise italo/synthpop smash.
9. Not related to the German synthpop titans, but instead the centerpiece of this Swedish wave band’s second record, released in 1986.
10. Neoclassical darkwave vibes from Portugal, released the mid-90s. This track hails from their third record.
11. Gloomy new wave track from a lone US 12”, released in 1986.
12. Japanese a-side, also from 1986.
13. Early Martial Canterel demo, recorded under the Moravagine alias and released on a 6 track cd-r of similarly early demos.
14. The A-side from a 1982 NDW single, released on Zenzor.
15. The standout track from this Swedish band’s lone LP from 1982. The rest of the album is a mixed bag of new wave/prog tracks, but this one is a cold gem.
16. Four piece UK band featuring frequent members and collaborators of The Chameleons, The Sun & The Moon, Black Swan Lane, etc. Features the same trademark sound as all three of these bands. Also appears in demo form under the name Music For Aborigines.
17. Standout track from this Finnish band’s debut LP, released in 1987.
18. Unreleased live track from this otherwise amazing French coldwave project, with heavy similarities to Cocteau Twins. Get their first demo tape here.
19. Unreleased demo track from these Belgian darkwave greats, whose 12” appears on these back pages as well.
20. Unreleased demo from Philippe Planchon’s post-Asylum Party project.

Vol. 8 credits:
1. Neoclassical track from the mid-90s, released on the Cantara I compilation. Christophe was mostly active in No Words.
2. Plucked from the Psycho 3 soundtrack and featuring Stanton Miranda, yet another killer collaboration between the pair that brought you Thick Pigeon and the killer Wheels Over Indian Trails 12” on Factory Benelux. This is Carter’s first soundtrack work, a world where he is still active today.
3. Unreleased demo from this UK synthpop duo.
4. Flip side from a Scandanavian synthpop single from 1983. This is the first of three singles by Ce Soir. The A-side is nice, but this is the real standout of the two.
5. Lone compilation appearance from these US goth greats. It’s by far my favorite track of theirs, with a menacing edge and a slightly questionable organ line. Released on an otherwise mixed bag compilation. Miller High Life wave?
6. Centerpiece of this French coldwave band’s CD release from 1995. Get their earlier material here.
7. Demo track from mid-90s Sweden.
8. I couldn’t tell you a thing about this one!
9. The only released track from this Belgian synth band, released on the Blitz Pop 2 compilation in 1983.
10. Standout from the 1985 Out of the Box LP, recorded in one continuous take. Another Wierd party favorite.
11. The a-side from an extremely rare UK minimal synth single, released in 1983.
12. The b-side from a US-based 7” from 1982.
13. Gloomy, standout new wave track from a lone US 12”, released in 1988. If I recall, this is the only track that sounds anything like this.
14. Unreleased track from this UK-based post-punk/goth band, originally featured on the band’s Myspace page. This one goes out to Michael B. Wood from Return of the East, who passed away recently, but not before sharing this obscure band with the world.
15. Title track from this rickety UK post-punk band’s second release from 1984.
16. Probably the most well-known band on here, if only because it features a young, pre-Nettwerk Sarah McLachlan on vocals. Originally released in 1986 on the Out of the Fog (The Halifax Underground 1986) compilation.
17. US-based 12”, named after this blog just kidding, but still a nice slice of excellent new wave from 1983.
18. Another one I know virtually nothing about, and welcome any further information!
19. AKA Hotel Hunger, a Danish post-punk band. This track hails from their first 12”, released in 1986.
20. UK-based indie-rock/pop in the style of Shop Assistants, Flying Nun records, etc. This is the title track from their 1987 12” of the same name. Thanks to Goutroy for passing on an extra copy!

Tone Set- Calibrate Mini-LP

Posted in 1980s, 1983, arizona, minimal synth, synth, synthpop, synthpunk, tone set, US on August 22, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

Been slacking for a bit here, my apologies. Skipping to the top of my imaginary queue is a fresh rip of Tone Set’s classic Calibrate mini-LP/12”, released on Valentine’s Day in 1983. I originally covered this band in 2007, back when I was posting only a handful of tracks and maybe a video or two, and it took eight years to track a semi-affordable copy of this gem down. Man, time flies!

Click here for a refresher on this Arizona-based synthpunk band, who invoke the same spirit as Devo, The Units, Voice Farm, Oppenheimer Analysis, etc. It’s also worth noting here that the A-side features upbeat pop songs while the B-side features re-recorded versions of their earlier tape experiments.


Tone Set- Calibrate LP
1. Life Is Busy
2. Living In Another Land
3. Slim
4. Out Out!
5. What Good’s A Hit Song?
6. Wigglin Around In Middletown

*download it here*

More soon, I promise!

Colour Scream- 12” Discography

Posted in 1980s, 1988, 1989, new wave, synthpop, US on July 6, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

I’ve been kinda loving this band for some time, and finding a few cheap copies of their discography has solidified it over the past few weeks. Colour Scream were a US based new wave band from southern California that flirted with a variety of styles across one mini-LP and remix 12”, released in 1988 and 1989 respectively via Whet Reign Records.

I’d recommend starting with the Dance No More 12”, which features several similar remixes of the title cut, a synthpop SMASH that hits hard where it counts. Equally nasty as it is catchy, it’s definitely ripe for the dance floor. There are two additional tracks on this 12” (one that’s exclusive) that are more indicative of their overall style, a hybrid of Flock of Seagulls-esque wave with college rock leanings. Closest comparison I can come up with is the underrated Vigil LP from 1987.

If you dig the additional tracks from the 12”, there’s more to be found on the mini-LP. But even still, no track is the same, and while some are pure wave goodness, the acoustic dirge “So Long” is a standout for me, almost like a precursor to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” as far as mood is concerned. The version of “Dance No More” from the mini-LP is very different, more dramatic and a bit darker than the remix version, almost beatbox-esque. Kinda took me surprise after playing the hell out of the remix!

Here’s the deets:


Colour Scream- Living and Dying (1988)
1. Will My Fear
2. Across the Sky
3. Jasmines Faith
4. Walls In the Way
5. So Long
6. Dance No More


Colour Scream- Dance No More 12” (1989)
1. Dance No More (Radio Mix)
2. Across the Sky
3. The Monster and I
4. Dance No More (Sir Arthur Mix)
5. Dance No More (Tiananmen Square Mix)

*download both here*

The Severance- Dreams Of Youth 12”

Posted in 12'', 1990, 1990s, ebm, synth, synthpop, the severance on June 24, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

Sometimes I forget just how much I love synthpop. We’re talking giant beats, huge hooks, almost shameless use of electronics and a tremendous command of melody. Mostly I just love stuff that sounds like classic-era Depeche Mode. Meanwhile, I picked this one up in a cheap-o bin in the bowels of NYC, and with just one glance to both the front & back covers, I knew exactly what to expect and knew it would hit that sweet spot…

This particular German 12” kicks off with a killer four-on-the-floor track. This track could have fit nicely in a set with “Strangelove,” Cetu Javu, Few Boys, Secession, Celebrate the Nun, and so on and so forth. While hearing three tracks of solid synthpop without any variation would have suited the works just fine, there’s a bit more to this record than meets the eye. While “Dreams Of Youth” will satisfy even the most thirsty of palates, the second track is the clear winner in my book, a more aggressive track with a little EBM flavor. Fans of The Arch, Aimless Device, and A Split Second should adore this one. The third track falls back to the synthpop sound, but is just as catchy as the A-side, with a slower tempo and a chirpy arpeggiator running throughout.

This is the first of three releases from The Severance, released in 1990 (arguably the peak of this sound), and I haven’t heard their 1994 LP to see how the band evolved over the years. Two members would reconvene as Winterkälte in the mid 90s, with a harsher, more industrial/ebm sound.

That all said, hope you enjoy!


The Severance- Dreams Of Youth 12”
1. Dreams of Youth
2. Electrocult
3. Crying Child

*download it here*

In other news, I just returned from San Francisco, which after a few days of record digging with Goutroy, I found some more gems to share, as well as a few to re-rip in higher quality. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some West Coast goodies and some other surprises!

Eirin Peryglus- Bronson 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1987, eirin peryglus, minimal, minimal synth, synth, synthpop, uk, wales, welsh on June 27, 2014 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s an old favorite that the postman just dropped off at my door the other day, so I thought I’d celebrate with a fresh rip of this Welsh synthpop classic.  Released in 1987, this is the first of five releases by the band, and my favorite that I’ve heard to date.   Seriously, the A-side is the perfect mix of powerful female vocals, chorus-heavy guitars, and a rollicking beat, which plenty of synth hooks to keep you coming back for more.  It’s been a regular in my DJ sets for some time, and I’d honestly rank it as one of my all-time favorites, through and through.  The flip is no slouch, either!

Vocalist Fiona Owen was also a member of Plant Bach Ofnus (translation- Timid Little Children), who were a little more on the esoteric side, but no less delightful.  Her husband, Gorwel, was also a member of the project, and the two still make music together to date.


Eirin Peryglus- Bronson 7”
1. Bronson
2. Y Dyn Newydd

*download it here*

The Sensational Creed- Nocturnal Operations 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1985, 39 lyon street, 7'', billy mackenzie, christine beveridge, jih, minimal, minimal synth, orbidöig, steve reid, synth, synthpop, the associates, the sensational creed on February 26, 2014 by Frankie Teardrop

I spent the majority of last year re-ripping a lot of my 7” collection and delicately cleaning up the sound (you can find more evidence of this here), so to tide you over until I finish putting the finishing touches on a new VA compilation, I figured I’d post a few of these here and there.  I’ll have that VA comp up in the next week or two, so stay tuned!

This has always been one of my favorite semi-obscure 7”s, clocking tons of plays and spins over the years.  This single was originally released on Situation Two in 1981 under the name Orbidöig, and this particular version was released in 1985 on Beggars Banquet with an identical track listing (though Down Periscopes has become Down Pericomoscopes for whatever reason. though likely a misprint).  I’m not sure why the band changed their name in general, but Sensational Creed is certainly a little easier to type…  There’s a third Orbidöig/Sensational Creed song on the 12” version of this reissue, a killer instrumental track that clocks in at 10 minutes, but I don’t own a physical copy of the 12”, so I won’t include it here for the time being.

Otherwise, this single has strong Associates connections, with Billy Mackenzie often calling Orbidöig his favorite band, despite their relative obscurity at the time.  The a-side features heavenly vocals from Christine Beveridge, who sang backup on several tracks (and Big Country’s breakthrough!) and also wiggled another “side project” out of the affair under the name 39 Lyon Street, created by Mackensie and Alan Rankine to release a single outside of their contract, with Ms. Beveridge on lead vocals and a properly credited Associates cut on the flip.  Steve Reid was also the second guitarist of the Associates, playing on 1985′s Perhaps after Rankine and Michael Dempsey’s departure three years prior.  It was likely this lineup change that dug this single out of obscurity and prompted a re-release.  Reid also played synths in Nu Shooz and bass on two tracks for Jih.  As if that wasn’t enough, Mackenzie also played tubular bells on the a-side here (though he is incorrectly credited as doing so on the b-side on the sleeve), while he and Mike Hedges (The Cure/Fiction Records) manned the mixing board with Reid.   The result is a killer single that while very Associates-esque in execution, stands on its own as a classic.

There’s another Orbidöig single, released in 1982 under the name Mackenzie sings Orbidöig, which features Billy on vocals and Reid on instruments.   I believe this one is considered an Associates release, taking the lineup changes and timing into consideration, and the track appears on a recent Associates singles collection.

sensational creed

Sensational Creed- Nocturnal Operations 7”
1. Nocturnal Operations
2. Down Pericomoscopes

*download it here*

Inbase- Christine 12”/7”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, die toten hosen, german, inbase, minimal, minimal synth, new wave, synthpop on January 28, 2014 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s another minimal synth classic that I believe has disappeared from the blogosphere, but also wasn’t ever shared in its complete form, as far as I can recall.  You can still hear this track at various clubs across the globe, and it was certainly in regular rotation in my own sets over the years. It also begs the question- who the hell is Christine and why does she have so many songs written about her?

Inbase was a studio project between three German musicians, Andreas Von Holst, Stefan Telegdy, and Herbert Böhme. They recorded this classic single in 1984, chock full of stabby guitar liness, driving electronic drums, and synth hooks at every turn (fans of Xoris Perideraio’s “48 Siopes” or Cinema 90′s “In Ultra Violet” should love this one, too). The single did fairly well at the time, garnering a pantomimed appearance on a German television show (linked below), but I don’t believe the trio ever performed live or recorded any further material together. Böhme would go on to record under several different monikers into the 90s, while I believe Von Holst is still active in Die Toten Hosen (under the name Kuddel), a punk band he joined in 1983.

There are three versions of “Christine” spread across various formats. I’ve included both 12” versions as well as the 7” single mix. I don’t happen to have the 7” instrumental edit, but if I come across it, I’ll be sure to include it in an update. That begs the question however- does anyone truly crave instrumental b-sides? It’s generally an italo phenomenon but I’ve seen it a few other times. I generally don’t listen to them myself, but I’ve always been tempted to make minimal synth/italo karaoke files with the handful of straightforward instrumental mixes I’ve acquired over the years… Any New Yorkers up for this? Anyway, I digress. Here come the downloads:


Inbase- Christine 12”
1. Christine
2. Christine (Instrumental)

bonus- Christine (7” Mix)

*download it here*

As promised, here’s an edited TV appearance of the track:

Sally Patience- The Triangle Man 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, electro, electronic, minimal, minimal synth, new wave, sally patience, synth, synthpop, uk on January 15, 2014 by Frankie Teardrop

Before we get started on new posts for 2014, may I please direct your attention to the following re-rips and reuploads:

B-Movie- Singles (new rips of Nowhere Girl, Remembrance Day, Marilyn Dreams, & the addition of A Letter From Afar 12”)
Signal Aout 42- Pleasure and Crime (new rip)
U-Bahn X- Young Hearts of Europe (new rip, new 7”’ rip, + digitally inserting Jabba the Hutt on side B)

Otherwise, sorry for slacking!  I have a bunch of new, unheard posts in the works, a new various artists compilation, as well as a few re-rips of classics from my own personal collection to keep us busy for the first part of the year.  So with that in mind, let’s kick the year off with a minimal synth classic that I believe was posted before by the great BX, but has disappeared since.  I came across a cheap, sleeveless copy of this one in a dollar bin here in NYC, played it once or twice at WIERD, and promptly forgot that I had it until recently, when reorganizing and digitizing my 7”’ collection.  This one is a tried and true killer, a bizarre electronic romp from 1984 with thick synth bass, disco strings, and eerie female vocals.  The best analogy I can think of is dystopian disco- the kind of dance music that you’d dance to in Blade Runner or Logan’s Run, for example…  The chorus is especially killer, and pays off in spades (human is so humorless- love that line).  Fans of JYL/Angela Werner should also love this one.  The b-side is equally stunning, a more unsettling synth track with a flamenco flair and backwards masked vocal samples.

This is the only single Sally Patience released, and no one knows what happened to her afterwards…  Just a brief moment, as some of the best gems tend to be.


Sally Patience- The Triangle Man 7”
1. The Triangle Man
2. Buried In My Boots

*download it here*

Peggy & the Pills- Nobody’s Bride 12”

Posted in 12'', 1985, italian, italo, italo disco, peggy & the pills, synthpop on December 4, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

It’s been a very low energy week here at SOR headquarters, so here’s something that gets my blood flowing a bit more, and hopefully will have the same effect on you.

This is a one off Italo 12” from Peggy & the Pills, recorded and released 1985.   While some Italo records fetch insane prices (some of the highest I’ve ever seen, actually), this one can still be found for a few bucks, and is worth picking up for anyone interested.   While the sound is very much in the Italo disco vein we all know and love, this song also calls the sweet, sugary, and sharp edge of bands like Strawberry Switchblade, Pink and Black, and especially Book of Love to mind.  There’s also some guitar undercurrents throughout the track, little stabs of chorus-infused strings that add an interesting element to the track.  I’m also reminded a bit of Stephin Merrit’s Future Bible Heroes project a bit, the sardonic wit of the lyrics call to mind some of the best moments from Eternal Youth, an album I used to adore (but haven’t thought about since coming across this record).

As with most Italo projects, the creators of this track had their hands in other releases.   Keyboardist Marcello Ciao was also the engineer for an early Litfiba release, while Mario Natale (arrangement) also worked with Den Harrow, Clockwork, and dozens of other Italo artists.



Peggy & the Pills- Nobody’s Bride 12”
1. Nobody’s Bride (Vocal)
2. Nobody’s Bride (Instrumental)

*download it here*

Sadly, Peggy Richardson, the wedding-dress donning diva from this 12”, passed away a few years ago, but drummer Andrea Contini has posted an excellent video honoring her life and the project.  This video appears to be the only “live” recording of Peggy & the Pills, and shows the three piece band backing Peggy in 1984, who swaps out her trademark wedding dress at the halfway mark.   Check it out below:

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.


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*