Archive for the US Category

Razor Penguins- Discography

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1986, cassette, demo, goth, goth-rock, post-punk, razor penguins, US on October 24, 2016 by Frankie Teardrop

As the wind picks up and the sun sets earlier, I find myself clutching my post-punk records close to the chest. What better time than to post the full 7” discography by US goth/post-punk band Razor Penguins. Though they sound inspired by both the UK scene as well as the budding LA “desert-goth” scene at the time, the band hailed from Columbus, Ohio.

These two releases appeared with a five year gap in between, quite a long time to wait for a follow up… The first 7” is incredible, both tracks gloomy and incisive as ever. “Paris” sounds right at home with Lung Overcoat, another US band with a similarly UK-inspired sound. The flip is far gloomier, with a nasty churning guitar working its way throughout much of the backing track. The second 7” is a bit more of an instrumental affair, though their style hadn’t changed much in five years. The title track has a bit of spoken word vibe throughout, while the second song is a straight instrumental, akin to the likes of the recent Savage Republic reissues which stripped their otherwise classic material of vocals.

I’ve also included a demo tape that’s been floating around the web elsewhere, in case you may have missed it on other blogs… I can’t take credit for the cassette rip, which is extremely murky and is very likely a transcode, but in case you want more Razor Penguins, this cassette features seven unfamiliar songs that may have been slated for a full length record. The only track that appears in duplicate here is “The Math Professor,” which may explain the single’s otherwise demo-esque vibe… I don’t have a year on the cassette, but I reckon it was recorded between 81 and 85…

Paris

Razor Penguins- Paris 7” (1981)
1. Paris
2. Indifference

Razor Penguins- Demo K7 (???)
1. The Math Professor
2. Less
3. Tides and the Moon
4. Untitled 1
5. At All
6. Exchanges
7. No Expectations
8. Untitled II

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Razor Penguins- The Math Professor 7” (1985)
1. The Math Professor
2. August

*download all three here*

The Bell Jar- Beginnings of Ends 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1986, indie, post-punk, US on September 16, 2016 by Frankie Teardrop

I have this ritual where I occasionally parse my shelves and purge a dozen or so records every now and then to make room for all the new things coming in. Quality over quantity in a city where every square foot is key. Sometimes, I’ve purged records I’ve re-bought later down the line, misjudging them, or changing my mind in a very expensive manner. In this case, this one made the latest pile of purges, but after listening one last time, I realized it’s actually better than I remembered!

That all said, this is the first 12” from The Bell Jar, a post-punk/indie band based from California who take their name from the Sylvia Plath novel. This record was released in 1986 on Out There Records, with a full length LP appearing a year later. I haven’t heard that one just yet. As for the sound, this one definitely fits in with a lot of the C86 things happening at the time, falling right in line with the Mighty Lemon Drops (especially in the vocals), Echo and the Bunnymen, Railyway Children, Icicle Works, etc. It also reminds me of a less bleak version of the Black Sea LP. I could do without the Dylan-esque “Kid Talk,” but “Walking Through Fire” is wonderful, and the prominent synths in “Where To From Here” are equally excellent.

belljar

1. Walking Through The Fire
2. Kid Talk
3. Where To From Here
4. Jimmy’s Cold December
5. Water

*download it here*

The Blessed- Taboo 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1985, goth, post-punk, the blessed, US on August 23, 2016 by Frankie Teardrop

I was out last night with a few pals, digging through my favorite NYC record store bin when I came across this one. At first glance, the cover piqued my interest, and after a ten-second preview at the listening station (I am often quick to judge), I was sold. This particular slice of wax is the second release from The Blessed, a US-based post-punk band. Their first 7”, a more traditional punk affair, fetches obscene prices, but this particular record can be found for just a few bucks. The stylistic change makes sense given the gap between releases (six years), as this record definitely adds a darker approach to an already incisive guitar palate.

As for the songs- I could do without the first track’s lyrics and vocal melodies (though I do enjoy the prominent synth stabs), but the following tracks definitely have a fair amount of bite to them, a welcome addition to the mid-80s goth/post-punk cannon. Hope you enjoy!

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The Blessed- Taboo 12”
1. Rubbernecking
2. Rags to Riches
3. Potter’s Field

*download it here*

One Life- The Crowning 12”

Posted in 12'', 1980s, 1988, boston, goth, goth-rock, post-punk, US on June 2, 2016 by Frankie Teardrop

Quick and dirty- both this post and the sound of this record. Released on Beautiful Sounds and based in the Boston area, One Life put out but one 12” of raw, incisive post-punk in 1988, and were never heard from again. Definitely recommended for fans of the first Choir Invisible LP, The Blessing, and The Bolshoi. As for larger touchstones, some major Psychedelic Furs overtones- as if Richard Butler lived in LA in 1985 as far as the title track is concerned. Funny though, as the vocals are a bit less monotone on the other tracks.

Your mileage may vary with the extended remix that kicks off this 12”, but otherwise, I can’t recommend this one enough! Many thanks to Goutroy and Glenn for turning me on to this one.

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One Life- The Crowning 12”
1. The Crowning (Extended Mix)
2. The Crowning
3. Never Sleep Again
4. Fate
5. Holy Grace

*download it here*

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.

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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:

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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

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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*

Bangah- Bangah 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, baltimore, indie, new wave, US on June 4, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s an excellent four song 12” from US band Bangah, released in 1984. The band, like most US bands featured here, were from Baltimore, which was apparently THE town for underground wave music in the States, so it seems… As for sound, Bangah employ a great mix of new wave and indie/jangle pop, with a slight Factory Records influence thrown in for good measure. My favorite here is “It Means Very Little” which reminds me of a mid-period Wake song with a more vibrant singer (think Ultravox) and excellent, icy synths. In general, the band remind me quite a bit of underrated UK bands The Icicle Works and Wild Swans.

Vocalist Eric Snyder was also active in the Ultra Violets, whose record I’ve seen in a few bins over the years but haven’t checked out yet…

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Bangah- Bangah 12”
1. Every Wave
2. Trapped/Hide & Seek
3. It Means Very Little
4. Pale Fire

*download it here*

The band also appeared on Baltimore dance program Shakedown, performing an unreleased song. The audio isn’t great here, but definitely a decent look at the band in their prime:

Crashblack Big Orange- Crashblack Big Orange K7

Posted in 1980s, 1989, chicago, crashblack big orange, darkwave, goth, goth-rock, post-punk, US on April 15, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

Today’s post is a supplement to Goutroy’s excellent post from 2012. His original post featured the lone full length LP from Chicago based husband and wife duo Crashblack Big Orange, which was a surprisingly excellent late 80s darkwave record in the vein of Intelligence Unit, Stimmen Der Stille, Xmal Deutschland, & Insulin Reaction. I’ve always thought these guys were kind of like a gothier version of X (or even a much less campy version of Rumania-era Nuns).

In his post, Goutroy mentioned that the band released three demo tapes prior to the LP, so this is one of the three missing pieces to the puzzle. This particular demo from 1989 is a single sided, self-titled affair, and features three tracks- two of which are exclusive to this release. The final song appears on the LP as well, and doesn’t seem to be too heavily altered, so it’s hard to tell if they just re-used this version or re-recorded it in exactly the same manner. The two exclusive tracks are exactly what you’d expect if you’re already a fan of the LP. The uninitiated can expect plenty of trashy, distorted deathrock-style guitars, high energy drum patterns, a mix of excellent male and female vox, and plenty of menacing hooks to go around.

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Crashblack Big Orange- Crashblack Big Orange K7
1. Voices
2. Nerves
3. Strange Sky

*download it here*

If anyone has a copies of the remaining two demos, feel free to drop a comment or an email! Would love to hear them!

Twelfthnight- Masque 7” + Demo Cassettes

Posted in 1980s, 1983, bell hollow, deathrock, goth, goth-rock, Greg Fasolino, Joe Kasher, Joe Truck, New York, new york city, post-punk, Redex, Scarecrow, The Brain Eaters, US on December 19, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

The holiday season is soon upon us, and I’m going to put the wrap on another excellent year with a gift from my bandmate, Greg Fasolino, who some of you may also be familiar with from Bell Hollow and The Naked and the Dead.

Anyone who knows Greg is aware of his vast archiving skills, complete with photos, setlists, friendships, and a collection that most of us would kill to own.  That said, the stories about this particular band date back to his time in the Naked and the Dead, a female fronted deathrock band from NYC who released one acclaimed demo before splitting.  The band reformed in the early 2000s with a different singer and have released archival material as well as sprinkled reissues of the demo across several compilations.  During his years as an underground musician, journalist, and all around music superfan, he befriended fellow musicians Joe Kasher (aka Joe Truck) and Andrew Cushen, who were both luminaries of the 1980s NYC underground as well.

It’s this musical partnership that is responsible for the tracks we’re posting today, but first a little backstory.  Cushen was originally involved in a band called Redex, who only released two demos in the early 1980s.  We’ll get to those another time, perhaps!  After Redex split, Cushen met Kasher and decided to form a new project, heavily influenced by the UK post-punk bands that were gaining momentum at the time.  They recorded two demos as well, one before releasing this 7” on Gash for Cash records in 1983, and one shortly afterwards.   As I understand it, Kasher and Cushen played every instrument you hear on these recordings, but recruited members to perform a few live shows.

The band quickly dissolved but the partnership continued as Cushen and Kasher drafted drummer Ronaldo Gonzalez (later of Swans) and Beth Balousek on vocals to form Scarecrow.  This band performed several shows under this name, and recorded one three song demo with a few live tracks, but as fate would have it, the band would also split as quick as they formed.  Kasher and Cushen then formed Chop Shop with Rebecca Korbet (later of Pussy Galore, King Missle) and Steve DiBenedetto, who also released a demo and recorded an unreleased album in 1985.  Meanwhile, Kasher and Cushen lent their expertise to Fasolino, co-producing the Naked and the Dead demo.  Greg also tells me that Cushen played e-bow on “Cassandra,” teaching him a skill that has become one of Greg’s signature sounds since.  Kasher also released a 7” with his next project, the Brain Eaters, in 1986.  Before Brain Eaters, Kasher and Fasolino played together briefly in a band called Burning Rome, who never recorded anything.  Everything’s incestuous!

Which brings us to today.  Kasher is still involved in the underground scene, and is currently playing as The Burning Ritual, who released their debut EP and are currently playing in the New York City area.  Kasher also collected several of these underground New York projects, including the Naked and the Dead, Scarecrow, The Children’s Zoo (featuring bassist Chris Bollman also of N&tD and Bell Hollow), and others for a compilation called Dark New York (Gotham City’s Post-Punk, Goth, and Deathrock Bands 1983-1988) Vol. 1, one of my favorite releases from last year.  We can only hope a volume 2 is in store in 2014!

Anyway, back to Twelfthnight.  I have here for you both demos (minus the 7” tracks, which I’ve been told are identical to the 7” pressings), and a fresh rip of the 7” from Greg’s collection.  You MAY recall seeing the flip-side to this on an early SOR compilation, erroneously credited to Twelfth Night (sorry!).  I’ve been curious to hear more about this band ever since, and while I’ve known Greg for ages, I had no idea that the missing pieces of this puzzle lay this close to home.

With that in mind, I’m very pleased to bring things full circle after all these years!  Thanks to Greg, Joe, and Andrew for their efforts both here and elsewhere!   Happy holidays and see you guys in 2014!

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Twelfthnight- Masque 7”
1. Masque
2. Tree Soldiers

Twelfthnight- Demo #1
1. Silent Spring
2. It Must Have Been Minutes

Twelfthnight- Demo #2
1. All Soul’s Day
2. Sanctuary
3. Premonition

BONUS:
1. Visions of These (Rehearsal 1983 – 17th Street, New York, NY)

*download all three here*

Psi Com- Worktape 1 and Demos

Posted in 1980s, 1984, alternative, deathrock, goth, goth-rock, jane's addiction, LA, los angeles, mazzy star, perry farrell, post-punk, psi com, red temple spirits, US on August 12, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

psi com group 2

Before there was Jane’s Addiction, there was Psi Com, a post-punk/deathrock band fronted by Perry Farrell.  The band released one demo tape and one 12” (re-released on CD and 10” in the mid-90s) in 1985.  The band began in 1983, when Perry answered an ad from guitarist Vince Duran looking for a drummer, as his fledgling band was primarily using a drum machine.  Instead, Farrell took over as vocalist, adding Rich Evac on bass, Aaron Sherer on drums, and Mariska Lassius on keyboards.  This was the lineup for their demo tape that was eventually sold at shows in 1984 with elaborate packaging reminiscent of Independent Project Records releases.  The photo above depics the lineup for these recordings.  Soon after the demo was released, Lassius and Evac left the band, replaced by bassist Kelly Wheeler for their 12” sessions.

Based heavily in the psychedelic roots of Pink Floyd as well as the UK post-punk movement, Psi Com’s sound was much more in line with Savage Republic, The Ex, and Bauhaus than the horror punk sound that was developing on the West Coast.   If anything, Psi Com was a vessel for the Red Temple Spirits sound moreso than the hedonistic excesses of Jane’s Addiction, though both bands continued exploring their psychedelic influences and alternative leanings.  Even Perry Farrell’s trademark wail is downplayed on these recordings, though there’s no mistaking it during certain key passages.

Psi Com broke up suddenly in 1985, after gaining a heavy local following.  Legend has it that Eric Avery, bassist for Jane’s Addiction, was drafted as a new bassist for Psi Com, changing direction as Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro joined.  Bassist Kelly Wheeler played briefly with Dino Paredes of Red Temple Spirits, and Aaron Sherer eventually retired from music after playing drums on several tracks from Mazzy Star’s excellent Among My Swan LP.

Here we have a fan circulated collection of demos and additional tracks, including the debut Worktape cassette as well a series of studio recordings and instrumentals that originally appeared on a Jane’s Addiction bootleg CD from 1991.  While the 12” has received a fair amount of attention as Farrell’s pre-Jane’s vessel, these demos are still rather obscure, and definitely worth hearing even if you’re not a fan of what came next. 

psi com worktape art

Psi Com- Worktape 1 and Demos
1. Hopeful
2. Them
3. Psi Com Theme
4. 14th Floor
5. Cat
6. Karuna
7. 14th Floor (Instrumental)
8. Cat (Instrumental)
9. Karuna (Instrumental)

*download it here*