Archive for the 1981 Category

Passing Smiles- Life 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1981, minimal, minimal synth, post-punk on May 10, 2024 by Frankie Teardrop

Fresh from the needle to the internet – it’s been a while since we’ve had a bonafide minimal synth record, so here’s one from 1981 that features all the great touchstones – rickety, loud synths, some post-punk guitars, and DIY vibes through and through. Passing Smiles were a US-based project that only released this 7” to my knowledge. John Ross, pictured on the back of the sleeve, is the main musician, playing all guitars and synths, while Bill Miles played drums and Brian Leech played piano on side B. Based on this, I might go so far as to say that this was a one-man project with help from some friends…

The A-side is the “hit” so to speak, while the B-side offers a more reflective, somber mood. Both tracks are excellent and certainly touch on the frailty of existence and the balance of life and death, even going so far as to feature a biblical quote (Philippians 2:8) on the back cover.

Without any further ado, enjoy!

Passing Smiles – Life 7”
1. Life
2. Death

*download it here*

Magic Dragon – Emotional Landscape / Courage of Lassie – The Temptation to Exist LPs

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1986, canadian, courage of lassie, magic dragon, minimal, minimal synth, neo-folk, neoclassical on March 6, 2023 by Frankie Teardrop

Canada seems like an unlikely haven for a minimal synth/neofolk project with a very European-style sound, but that said, here are two of my favorite LPs from up north.

Magic Dragon formed from the wake of Private School, a punk band who released one single in 1979. Members Maddy Schenkel and Ron Nelson quickly formed Magic Dragon, enlisting bassist Rachel Melas to record their lone LP  Emotional Landscape, which was released in 1981 on Friends Records. The album combined the folky interplay of bands such as Steeleye Span and Mellow Candle with minimal electronics, skittering drum machines, and experimental passages, creating a singular sound that few bands, especially on the western hemisphere, were flirting with. Some other touchstones I can think in this vein are UV Pop, Mekanik Kommando, Solid Space, Les Joyaux De La Princesse, Collection D’arnell~Andrea, and Modern Art, all of which flirted with folkier and experimental influences over their tenure.

Magic Dragon soon evolved, adding violin player Rod Booth. The band changed their name in 1983 to Courage of Lassie (keeping the nostalgic/childhood magic and wonder alive in name), and self-released a cassette in 1984 that featured, amongst new material, the first track from the Magic Dragon LP. Their core folky/minimal synth hybrid sound remained intact, and the band soon recorded The Temptation to Exist, which consisted of a handful of songs from the cassette, a couple of new tracks, and a haunting cover of Pete Seger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” done in Marlene Deitrich’s German-vocal style. This LP was originally released in 1986 via Amok Records, but has been re-released in 1987 and 1991, respectively. The band would release two more albums (1988’s Sing or Die and 1994’s This Side of Heaven) before calling it a day.

While folks may have heard both of these records before, I’m happy to provide newly digitized versions. Hope y’all enjoy!

Magic Dragon – Emotional Landscape (1981)
1. Objet Du Desire
2. Memories
3. Egyptian Radio
4. Once Upon a Time
5. (White Monkey) Under the Volcano

Courage of Lassie – The Temptation to Exist (1986)
1. All That I Know
2. Iron
3. Hiroshima
4. The Rose
5. Hopes & Fears
6. La Notte
7. Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind
8. Air Du Temps

*download both LPs here*

Be sure to visit the band on Facebook.

Club Tango- Performance & FTN 7”s

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 23 skidoo, Disco Zombies, mystery plane, post-punk, uk, worldbackwards on April 13, 2022 by Frankie Teardrop

Fresh from the mailbox to the turntable, here’s the full 7” discography by UK band Club Tango, all of which was released in 1981. I love both singles, though have slight preference for FTN,” the track I first heard and fell in love with ages ago (with many thanks and much love to Only Death Is Fatal blog for turning me on to originally).

All four tracks have that excellent rickety 1981 post-punk sound I generally go wild for. The first single features male vocals, while the second adds a female vocalist, who is unknown as far as I can tell. The band features several musicians who also were involved in various well known projects. Alex Turnbull would join 23 Skidoo, Andy Ross also was a member of The Disco Zombies, and Dave Henderson, Paul Hood, and Nigel Lackey would carry on as minimal post-punk outfit Worldbackwards with Dinah Mulholland. Is Mulholland the same singer on the FTN single? Do tell, if so! Lackey would also play in Mystery Plane, whose “Curse of the Bodysnatcher” is a stone cold classic.

Henderson eventually became a music journalist, while Ross became a music executive for British label Food, and is likely more well known these days for being the genius to sign Blur, one of my all-time favorite bands. He just passed away in January of this year, so this one’s for you, Andy. <3

Club Tango – Performance 7”
1. Performance
2. Fun Specialists

Club Tango- FTN 7”
1. FTN
2. Get the Picture

*download both here*

RJ/8- Tomorrow Never Listens 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1981, post-punk, power pop, US on June 5, 2019 by Frankie Teardrop

I can never get enough of rickety, DIY post-punk from 1981. This 7” fits the bill perfectly, two razor sharp energetic tracks from US band RJ/8. This is their only release, one and done, the way these things often go. The band recorded these tracks in Virginia, where they were likely from, also home to Fresh Tracks, the label responsible for pressing this 7”.

Early Sad Lovers and Giants vibes here, mostly due to the copious use of saxophone and call-and-response echoes. Overall, a very UK sound mixed with a smidge of power-pop energy, very rare to hear in the States around this period of time.

Wish I could tell you more about this one, but hope y’all enjoy!

RJ/8- Tomorrow Never Listens 7”
1. Tomorrow Never Listens
2. The Game

*download it here*

Persian Rugs- Burning Passion Pain 7”

Posted in 1981, 4ad, Pale Saints, Persian Rugs, post-punk, uk on August 10, 2018 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s an oldie but a goodie – a 7” that has been ripped and shared before but always at a curiously low bitrate. It’s a rather affordable sliver of new wave-y/dreamy post-punk, the first in an otherwise hit-or-miss catalog from UK band Persian Rugs, released in 1981. The a-side is a very catchy affair, but it’s the b-side that not only is the winner of the two tracks for me, but also has a direct lineage to classic 4AD, in a very unsuspecting way.

So the story goes: When Ian Masters left Pale Saints to form Spoonfed Hybrid, the band continued on with co-vocalist Meriel Barham taking the reigns. Their third and final record Slow Buildings is a divisive affair, but has one standout track, the immaculate, powerful, and weepy “Fine Friend,” which was released as a single. If you’re familiar with that cut, you may immediately hear shades of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” throughout, and no doubt, there is some correlation there as well, but if you listen to “Poison in the Airwaves” and “Fine Friend” back to back, you can’t miss the similarity. This was completely intentional, as 4AD’s Ivo-Watts Russel pitched the song to Pale Saints as a cover, in the vein of a This Mortal Coil-esque retelling. Rather than cover it directly, the band rewrote the lyrics, kept the chorus melodies, and added the entire second half of the song to prove their own power was still intact.

I love this story, love both tracks, and adore that this otherwise obscure nugget is woven into the fabric of my favorite record label, an easter egg that most still are unaware of. With that in mind, please enjoy this single, and have a great weekend, y’all!

Persian Rugs- Burning Passion Pain 7”
1. Burning Passion Pain
2. Poison in the Airwaves

*download it here*

Decades- Just Another Dream & Hell 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1982, minimal, minimal synth, post-punk, uk on March 28, 2018 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s a mysterious pair of 7” singles from UK-based post-punk/minimal synth band Decades. Not to be confused with the French band of the same name (though these singles were pressed in France), this particular project released only two 7”s in the early 1980s on the equally unknown Emperor label.

All four tracks feature glacial drum machine rhythms (most likely DR-55), deep bass, eerie synth lines, and hypnotically stark guitar. The vocals float on top, adding a sense of dread to an already gloomy cocktail. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but an amazing listen that calls The Cure’s incredible Carnage Visors soundtrack to mind.

Since I can’t seem to find much else to share, let’s let the music speak for itself. That said, there HAVE been a few copies of these extremely scarce singles being leaked out on discogs, so you know what to do if you want one of these for yourself at a reasonable price (for now)… Otherwise, here’s the info:

Decades- Just Another Dream 7” (1981)
1. Just Another Dream
2. China Doll

Decades- Hell 7” (1982)
1. Hell
2. Enderlein

*download both here*

Synthetic Dreams- 7” discography

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1982, minimal synth, post-punk, synth, synthetic dreams on June 5, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s the full discography from UK post-punk/synth band Synthetic Dreams. The four piece band released two singles in 1981 and 1982, respectively. Their first release isn’t as well known as the Sulphate Suicide 7”, but is just as good (if not a little better) in my book. The first track, “Obsession,” has an excellent punchy wave sound with lots of post-punk influence. However, the B-side is the real winner here- gloomy and dirgy, dripping with buzzing analog synthesizers.

Speaking of their second 7”, I’ve decided to include someone else’s rip of it here as well for those who don’t know it, as the blog who originally uploaded it has since disappeared into the either. More of the same excellent sounds here- the A-side being a spastic near-instrumental, and the flip containing much of the same synth-heavy energy, with more vocals this time around.

Enjoy!

Synthetic Dreams- Obsession 7” (1981)
1. Obsession
2. U+500

Synthetic Dreams- Sulphate Suicide 7” (1982)
1. Sulphate Suicide
2. Voices

*download both here*

Bikini Atoll- 7” discography

Posted in 1980s, 1981, 1982, british, new wave, post-punk, uk on March 10, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Here’s the full 7” discography by UK wave/post-punk band Bikini Atoll, who takes their name from a nuclear testing site in the Marshall Islands, located in the deep Pacific Ocean territory. As for the music, you can expect a mix of gloomy and jerky melodies, stellar female vox, icy synths, and a solid discography across these six tracks. If you dig things like Altered Images, Au Pairs, The Limp, Industrie etc. this is definitely the band for you.

Sadly, I don’t know much about them, though it appears that their lineup changed between the first and second single, mostly swapping their rhythm section. The first of the three is my least favorite (though not at all bad) so this might very well explain the jump in quality with a quick personnel shift. With that in mind, here’s the info for these killer singles:

Bikini Atoll- Don’t Reduce My Heart (To Beating Meat) 7” (1981)
1. Don’t Reduce My Heart (To Beating Meat)
2. Lucy In Furs (Laissez Faire De Lucifer)

Bikini Atoll- The Wall 7” (1981)
1. The Wall
2. Russian Doll

Bikini Atoll- Tribal Radio 7” (1982)
1. Tribal Radio
2. Splinter

*download all three here*

The Archaic Smile- Last Words 7”

Posted in 1980s, 1981, post-punk, the archaic smile, uk on December 1, 2016 by Frankie Teardrop

Sorry for the delay, y’all. I have  few things ripped to wrap up the year, so I hope to trickle out a few more posts before 2016 comes and goes. First up, here’s an excellent two-track 7” from 1981. In true DIY fashion, this is The Archaic Smile’s only release, on an unheard of label featuring a two tone paper sleeve. Sadly, there’s not much I can tell you about the band itself, outside of a probable origin in Yorkshire, Englad, so we’ll have to let the music stand for itself.

With that in mind, I don’t care too much for the A-side, a spastic number that seems more influenced by the likes of XTC and early Elvis Costello. It’s sufficiently springy and energetic, and thus, your mileage may vary on this. The real winner here is the B-side, a heavier, darker, and more driving affair that seems more inspired by Bauhaus and Joy Division, as if the band was aiming to wrap up the two polar post-punk extremes into one compact single. If that was the intention, it definitely succeeds! The single reminds me quite a bit of the Pop Stress single overall- especially the dynamic between sides as well as the sonic textures explored on each.

On that note, here’s the details:

The Archaic Smile- Last Words 7”
1. Last Words
2. Never Spoken

*download it here*

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…

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

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

*download all three here*