Archive for September, 2007

Au Pairs

Posted in au pairs, british, death disco, post-punk on September 6, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Formed in 1979 in the UK, the Au Pairs attacked gender, sexuality, and politics with their funk-based blend of female fronted post-punk.

More in line with James Brown than with Bauhaus, Au Pairs would record two full length records, a series of singles, and a handful of BBC Sessions before breaking up in 1983, just before they were slated to record with legendary post-punk producer Steve Lillywhite. Despite their brief splash, the band’s gender-charged lyrics, scathing guitar hooks, and catchy dance rhythms would serve as a major influence for the Riot Grrrl movement in the 1990s.

After the band’s demise, lead singer Lesley Woods would form an all-girl band called the Darlings, who split quickly. Lesley would leave the music industry all together soon after, and now practices law. Other members of the band joined jazz and funk outfits after their Au Pairs tenure.

For your listening enjoyment, I’ve plucked a track each from the band’s two studio records. The first, ‘We’re So Cool’ kicks off their first record, 1981’s Playing With a Different Sex and the slower, more atmospheric dub track ‘Sex Without Stress’ hails from their sophomore effort, Sense and Sensuality, released in 1982.

download Au Pairs – ‘We’re So Cool’
download Au Pairs – ‘Sex Without Stress’

Though the band remained a cult-classic before and after their run, they enjoyed a bit of buzz from the post-punk/underground music documentary Urgh! A Music War, featuring a series of captivating live performances. Here’s their spot from the film, performing ‘Come Again’ live in London.

The (Hypothetical) Prophets

Posted in 1980s, coldwave, france, minimal, the hypothetical prophets, wave on September 5, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

The (Hypothetical) Prophets were an ephemeral French coldwave band consisting of duo Bernard Szajner and Karel Beer. The band formed in 1980 and released a series of 12” singles and one full length record before their quick demise.

Despite a short discography, the band’s craft was unique. Singing in both their native tongue as well as English and alternating between male and female vocals, the the dozen or so songs recorded under this name are haunting minimal wave at its finest, a mixture of harsh electronic experimentation and catchy pulses of synth.

I’ve been trying to get a hold of their lone LP, 1982’s Around the World With the (Hypothetical) Prophets, but in the meanwhile, I’ve uploaded two tracks, both appearing as their own respective A-side. However, these versions are plucked from the 2004 So Young, But So Cold: Underground French Music 1977-1983 compilation. Enjoy!

download the (Hypothetical) Prophets – ‘Person to Person’
download the (Hypothetical) Prophets – ‘Wallenberg’

I didn’t think I’d be able to find any videos, but lo and behold, click below for the video for ‘Person to Person.’

Since the band’s split, Bernard Szajner would continue to record music under his own name until 1986, persuing other artistic ventures in theatre and the arts soon after. However, according to his official site, plans are in the works to release four (!) records and rehearse a band for future touring. For more information, news, and bits and bobs on Bernard, click below for his official site:

Official Bernard Szajner site
pick up So Young But So Cold through

Soft Cell

Posted in 1980s, minimal, soft cell, synth, wave on September 4, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

A bit of a nostalgic kick and a semi-request for today’s post; another name known for but one splash song to many and for several classic recordings by those who followed them further.

Soft Cell were a sleazy electric music duo featuring singer Marc Almond and multi-instrumentalist David Ball. The band formed in Leeds in 1980, recording a few one off tracks for compilations alongside Depeche Mode, OMD, and The The. When the Daniel Miller produced single ‘Memorabilia’ hit the charts and the dance floors soon after, the band was given one last shot to fully break into the UK charts. Whereas most bands featured on these pages would fold or fail in the wake of such a challenge, Soft Cell would succeed; their cover of Gloria Jones-by-way-of Ed Cobb song ‘Tainted Love’ would become a smashing success. The song was then featured on their 1981 record Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which also caught fire in the US. Marc Almond would also appear in a video for Coil’s dirge-tastic version of the song, and would contribute vocals to their following record The Horse Rotorvator.

Soon after the buzz, the band began a quick descent. Two records later, internal problems between the pair had forced the band apart, though each member would further record with new projects and under collaborative efforts. Though Marc would enjoy a fruitful solo career and David would form and re-form a band called the Grids, neither would reach the triumphs they shared with thier brief flirtation with chart success.

In 2001, the pair reunited for several well-received gigs and have since resumed recording, releasing a record in 2002 and several live records. A remix record is slated to be released this year.

I’ve uploaded two early Soft Cell gems for your listening pleasure. The first is their initial club splash ‘Memorabilia’ and the second, the sordid and debaucherous fan-favorite ‘Sex Dwarf,’ featured on Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.

download Soft Cell- ‘Memorabilia’
download Soft Cell- ‘Sex Dwarf’

I could just as easily post the regular round of Soft Cell videos, but since the videos for ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Bedsitter’ can be found from several immediate sources on Youtube, here’s a special treat instead- a video of Soft Cell and Clint Ruin/Foetus/Jim Thirlwell performing a cover of Suicide’s ‘Ghost Rider’ in 1983:

Ok, ok, and to watch the original video for ‘Tainted Love,’ click below:

More info and purchasing links here:
Marc Almond’s homepage
Soft Cell on