Total Pageviews

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Go-Betweens - Right Here

The Go-Betweens - Tallulah

Released : 1987
Recorded : January 1987 at Camden, London, England
Genre : Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Length : 39:11
Label : Beggars Banquet Records then LO-MAX Records
Producer : Richard Preston

Tallulah, the Go-Betweens fifth album, was supposed to be the band's breakthrough recording in America. That said, its sound is nearly a full-on break with the edginess that began to fade on 1986's Liberty Belle and The Black Diamond Express. More lush, rounded, and polished, it sounds like a record made in the mid-'80s thanks in large part to Lindy Morrison's use of drum programs in addition to her trap kit. Add to this the contributions of new member Amanda Brown on violin, oboe, and backing vocals and one has a revamped band. Fans didn't take to the new sound with kindness initially, but the songwriting of Forster and McLennan was so much more focused and taut, it more than compensates for production errors. Nowhere is this more evident than "Right Here," the album's opener. The multi-tracked violins drive the center of the tune sprightly, in an off-rail, cut-time tempo. Robert Vickers' colorful keyboards and Morrison's programming are truly adornments, but McLennan's soulful yet philosophical vocal anchors the tune on bedrock and is supported by a beautiful chorus of backing vocals led by Brown. "You Tell Me," sung by Forster, leads with distorted guitars held in check by the sweetness of the melody and Morrison's meld of trap and synthetic drumming. Once more, keyboards counter the guitars as Vickers accents the beat pushing Forster and the wafting backing vocals deeper inside lyric and melody. McLennan's "Someone Else's Wife," is, by contrasts, stark, dark, and suffocating with moody strings accenting the protagonist's plight. The driving "Cure-ish" riff that kicks off Forster's "I Just Get Caught Out," is nearly transcendent; its pained verses are juxtaposed against backing vocalists filling the refrain with a cheery ba-ba-ba-ba-bum. The nearly funky organ and bass swirl of "Cut It Out," is unlike any Go-Betweens song before or since. The beautiful cello and violin section that fuels "The House That Jack Kerouac Built," with a shimmering rhythm guitar line, is the perfect maelstrom for Forster's gorgeous images of stolen illicit love in a dodgy cinema and are topped only by his desperate delivery. This recording may not have had fans of the band swooning at the time, but despite its production it has aged exceptionally well although it remains a product firmly of its time. The raw emotion, vulnerable tenderness and romantic desperation in its songs, textured by the blend of strings and keyboards, adds depth and dimension to this well of fine songs.


1. Right Here
2. You Tell Me
3. Someone Else's Wife
4. I Just Get Caught Out
5. Cut It Out
6. The House That Jack Kerouac Built
7. Bye Bye Pride
8. Spirit Of A Vampyre
9. The Clarke Sisters
10.Hope Then Strife


The Go-Betweens - Worlds Apart EP

Released : November 21, 2005
Recorded and mixed at La Chunky Towers.
Genre : Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Label : LO-MAX
Producer : Mark Wallis & The Go-Betweens

Worlds Apart is a 7" vinyl EP by The Go-Betweens, released on 21 November 2005 on LO-MAX Records in the UK only. It contains a collaboration with Sushil K Dade alternately known as Future Pilot A.K.A., along with other songs recorded at the Oceans Apart sessions.


1. Finding You
2. City of Lights
3. Crystal Shacks


The Go-Betweens - Send Me A Lullaby

Released : November 1981 (AUS), February 1982 (UK), 2002
Recorded : July 1981, Melbourne, Australia
Genre : Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Length : 35:37
Label : Missing Link (AUS), Rough Trade Records (UK), Circus
Producer : The Go-Betweens and Tony Cohen

The first official album from the Go-Betweens, after a slew of earlier recordings and initial singles, was described by Forster and McLennan in later years as sounding like a practice room session, "metallic folk in a way." It's a fair assessment, and certainly while it's the work of a young band, Send Me a Lullaby is still a promising start, showing that the original trio had an aesthetic and the talent to carry its work over an album's length. Another McLennan comment, that it's the 1981 version of the Pixies, is partially accurate -- there's no walls of feedback or screaming, but the songs are short, brisk, angular. The not-so-secret weapon, as one can imagine, is the singing of Forster and McLennan, investing even the sharpest songs and most cutting rhythms (check out the relentless rhythms of the art-funk "The Girls Have Moved") with a sometimes desperate and sometimes withdrawn emotion. At points the vocals are forced, as can also be heard on Very Quick on the Eye, but both are starting to audibly try out other approaches. As musicians, the three definitely had something of that 'metallic folk' thing about them, with Morrison's drumming adding a sometimes brusque but (except for part of "Eight Pictures") never brutal touch to the proceedings that holds up quite well. Forster's guitar work and McLennan's bass are both interesting to hear in context given how much of an influence they would exert in later years. Rather than sounding like they're trying to recodify rock and roll or the like, it's a series of often gentle explorations in restraint, saying more with less. There are definitely more thrashy numbers that live might well have completely rocked out -- "People Know," with its squirrelly guest saxophone from James Freud, is the most likely candidate of all.


1. Your Turn, My Turn
2. One Thing Can Hold Us
3. People Know
4. The Girls Have Moved
5. Midnight To Neon
6. Eight Pictures
7. Careless
8. All About Strength
9. Ride
10.Hold Your Horses
11.Arrow In A Bow
12.It Could Be Anyone


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Men Without Hats - Rhythm Of Youth

Released : March 20, 1982
Recorded : 1981-1982
Genre : Synthpop
Length : 40:20
Label : Statik Records, MCA, Virgin
Producer : Marc Durand

Men Without Hats' debut album Rhythm of Youth was a set of catchy, appealing synth pop. Although the material on the album was wildly inconsistent, the group's energy was infectious, making up for the weaker songs. And when the band managed to write a solid melody -- such as the hit single "The Safety Dance" -- the results were quite memorable.


1. Ban The Game
2. Living In China
3. The Great Ones Remember
4. I Got The Message
5. Cocoricci (Le Tango Des Voleurs)
6. The Safety Dance
7. Ideas For Walls
8. Things In My Life
9. I Like
10.The Great Ones Remember (Reprise)


Men Without Hats - Freeways EP

Released : 1985
Recorded : 1980, 1984-1985
Genre : Synthpop
Label : Statik Records

After the comparative failure of their second album, Folk of the 80's (Part III), Men Without Hats released this EP to fulfill their contract with Statik/Sire in Canada. It was largely a reissue of their original 1980 EP Folk of the 80's, which had been released independently and was difficult to find by 1985. The four original EP tracks were featured on one side of this reissue, while the other side included just one track, "Freeways (Euromix)". (That song had previously been issued on 12" singles in Britain and America but had never been released in Canada.) The EP came with all-new cover art and an insert with a photo of Hats lead singer Ivan Doroschuk. The Freeways EP is now a much-sought-after collector's item, particularly the cassette version. (The latter format featured three bonus tracks -- English-, French- and German-language versions of "Freeways.") This is atmospheric synth-pop, very much of its era ('80/'81), but lots of fun, and yes, you can dance if you want to.


Folk Of The 80's
1. Modern(e) Dancing
2. Utter Space
3. Antarctica
4. Security (Everybody Feels Better With)
5. Freeways


Men Without Hats - Folk Of The 80's EP

Released : 1980
Recorded : 1980
Genre : Synthpop
Length : 15:19
Label : Trend Records
Producer : Marc Durand

Folk of the 80's is an EP released by Canadian synth-pop group Men Without Hats. Recorded in the summer of 1980 at Studio A in Montreal, Canada and released later that year, it was their first release.
The song 'Antarctica' is featured here in its original length with an extra instrumental break and verse that does not appear in the edit used on the album Rhythm Of Youth and future compilation albums.
All four songs on the record later appeared on the band's Freeways EP in 1985.
The EP is not to be confused with Folk of the 80's (Part III), the band's second studio album.


1. Modern(e) Dancing
2. Utter Space
3. Antarctica
4. Security (Everybody Feels Better With)


Men Without Hats - Safety Dance

Monday, October 17, 2011

Depeche Mode - 101

Released : March 13, 1989
Recorded : Pasadena Rose Bowl, June 18, 1988
Genre : Synthpop, Alternative Dance, New Wave
Length : 95:45
Label : Mute, Sire (US/Canada)
Producer : Depeche Mode

While the band later felt the end results were something of a mixed effort, at 101's best it's a quietly revelatory study in typical D.A. Pennebaker style of a group that ended up becoming genuine American superstars without following a conventional route to stardom. It also benefits from none of the outrageous self-importance of U2's near contemporaneous Rattle and Hum. 101 combines footage from Depeche Mode's 1988 stateside tour and the tracking of a number of New York fans who won a contest to be in the film and follow their idols via bus. The fans themselves actually are more or less the stars of the film, a fun cross-section of late-'80s folks who are basically just themselves -- changing dates on driver's licenses to buy beer, arguing about art versus fashion -- nothing earth-shattering, just the humor of life. As for the bandmembers, they're seen doing everything from prepping up publicity shots, killing time with pinball machines, gearing up for performances, being interviewed, and telling odd stories -- again, it's not the end of the world, it's just what is done. Alan Wilder goes into both a bit of history and a demonstration of his setup, while Andy Fletcher admits he's in the band more or less just "to keep everyone together!" Interspersed throughout it all are live cuts, most from the record-shattering concert at the Rose Bowl that provided the full soundtrack to the film, including the famous throw-your-arms-back-and-forth sequence during "Never Let Me Down Again" that transforms the audience into a sea of limbs. Far from being the lifeless zombie of synth music stereotype, David Gahan throws himself into his performance like a young Freddie Mercury, though it's true that Fletcher does prove why he's known for doing little more than clapping his hands and singing along. Add to that a ream of employees who look like they came out of This Is Spinal Tap, most notoriously PR person and future wife of Gahan, Theresa Conroy (there's also a knowing backstage reference à la David St. Hubbins to "rock & roll" at one point), and more long-gone fashions and haircuts than can be counted, and 101 is a surprising treat.


disc 1
Behind The Wheel
Something To Do
Blasphemous Rumours
Things You Said

disc 2
1. Black Celebration
2. Shake The Disease
3. Nothing
4. Pleasure Little Treasure
5. People Are People
6. A Question Of Time
7. Never Let Me Down Again
8. A Question Of Lust
9. Master And Servant
10. Just Can't Get Enough
11. Everything Counts


disc 1
disc 2

Depeche Mode - Get The Balance Right And Live Tracks

Released : 31 January 1983
Format : 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD, box set
Recorded : 1982
Genre : Synthpop, Industrial, New Wave
Length : 3:13 (7"/single version), 7:58 (12" version)
Label : Mute
Producer : Depeche Mode and Daniel Miller

Get the Balance Right! is the seventh single by Depeche Mode, originally released on 31 January 1983. It is the first Depeche Mode single with Alan Wilder as an official band member, and the first with a song written by both Martin Gore and Wilder ("The Great Outdoors!").
Get the Balance Right! was not included on the following album Construction Time Again, but does appear on the American compilation People Are People and the compilation The Singles 81-85.


Studio Side
1. Get The Balance Right (Original Mix)
Live Side
1. My Secret Garden
2. See You
3. Satellite
4. Tora! Tora! Tora!


Depeche Mode - Strangelove

Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell

Released : 5 October 1981
Recorded : December 1980–August 1981, Blackwing Studios, London
Genre : Synthpop
Length : 44:58
Label : Mute, Sire (US/Canada)
Producer : Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller

Though probably nobody fully appreciated it at the time -- perhaps least of all the band! -- Depeche Mode's debut is at once both a conservative, functional pop record and a groundbreaking release. While various synth pioneers had come before -- Gary Numan, early Human League, late-'70s Euro-disco, and above all Kraftwerk all had clear influence on Speak & Spell -- Depeche became the undisputed founder of straight-up synth pop with the album's 11 songs, light, hooky, and danceable numbers about love, life, and clubs. For all the claims about "dated" '80s sounds from rock purists, it should be noted that the basic guitar/bass/drums lineup of rock is almost 25 years older than the catchy keyboard lines and electronic drums making the music here. That such a sound would eventually become ubiquitous during the Reagan years, spawning lots of crud along the way, means the band should no more be held to blame for that than Motown and the Beatles for inspiring lots of bad stuff in the '60s. Credit for the album's success has to go to main songwriter Vince Clarke, who would extend and arguably perfect the synth pop formula with Yazoo and Erasure; the classic early singles "New Life," "Dreaming of Me," and "Just Can't Get Enough," along with numbers ranging from the slyly homoerotic "Pretty Boy" to the moody thumper "Photographic," keep everything moving throughout. David Gahan undersings about half the album, and Martin Gore's two numbers lack the distinctiveness of his later work, but Speak & Spell remains an undiluted joy.


1. New Life
2. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
3. Puppets
4. Boys Say Go!
5. Nodisco
6. What's Your Name?
7. Photographic
8. Tora! Tora! Tora!
9. Big Muff
10.Any Second Now (Voices)
11.Just Can't Get Enough


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Pale Fountains - Pacific Street

Released : 1984
Genre : New Wave
Label : Virgin
Producer : Howard Gray, The Pale Fountains

The bounciness of the Pale Fountains went penalized in the days of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths. "Optimism -- yuck." Michael Head's stylistic hopscotch and wide-eyed sunnyness might have translated better in the late ‘90s, had he stuck with that program for his later band, Shack. If the band had set their sights on one or two areas of their record collections for inspiration instead of darn near everything, Pacific Street might not have been so out of place when it was released. Bold indeed, the expanded version of Pacific Street (issued by Virgin with four bonus tracks) veers from every angle of ‘70s AM soft rock, stylish soul pop à la Orange Juice (but not as effective), Bacharach/David, and Brazilian jazz. You can imagine Dionne Warwick singing the chorus of "Abergele Next Time"; the non-album single "Palm of My Hand" veers dangerously close to muzak, and the steel drum-and-trumpet combos were more than enough to incite gagging from the pop underground. Too bad. Like the following From Across the Kitchen Table, Pacific Street wasn't able to succeed on the charts, so the too varied and too happy Pale Fountains were left in limbo. For all its faults, the band's debut isn't half bad, and it doesn't sound horribly outdated decades later.


1. Reach
2. Something On My Mind
3. Unless
4. Southbound Excursion
5. Natural
6. Faithful Pillow (Part I)
7. You'll Start A War
8. Beyond Fridays Field
9. Abergele Next Time
11.Faithful Pillow (Part II)


The Pale Fountains - ... From Across The Kitchen Table

Released : 1985
Genre : New Wave
Label : Virgin
Producer : Ian Broudie

The Pale Fountains' Ian Broudie-produced second record ditches a couple of the scatterbrained influences of the debut, so it makes for a slightly more consistent listen. Not all of the odd wrinkles are abandoned, though; they still sound as if they are trying too hard to distinguish themselves from the rest of the flock. The Fountains' strength lies in folksy pop, but on a few too many occasions, the incessant smoothness and inability to latch onto one style holds them back. Surprisingly, the title track is almost synth-pop, but a smattering of horns makes sure it isn't completely such. On "September Sting," they try their hands at Laurel Canyon country-rock and fall flat on their jumpers. When they want to, they can write finely tuned, sophisticated pop songs that are quite pleasant. Instrumentally, "Stole the Love" doesn't sound a great deal different from the Smiths. "Shelter" and "Jean's Not Happening" are fine strummers. Though a decent record and an improvement over the debut, Kitchen Table frustrates. They were too anxious to zig or zag when they could have stayed the course. After establishing themselves as a cult band, the Pale Fountains eventually broke up, with Michael Head forming the similarly cultish Shack.


1. Shelter
2. Stole The Love
3. Jean's Not Happening
4. Bicycle Thieves
5. Limit
6. 27 Ways To Get Back Home
7. Bruised Arcade
8. These Are The Things
9. It's Only Hard
10.... From Across The Kitchen Table
12.September Sting


The Pale Fountains - Longshot For Your Love

Released : 1998
Genre : New Wave
Label : Marina Records
Producer : Dave Dade

Collected and released when Head was on the verge of a new level of appreciation via Shack, Longshot for Your Love -- compiling radio sessions, unreleased tracks, and various other obscurities -- made for an appreciative peek back at his early-'80s days with the Pale Fountains. The opening liner notes in the booklet from Yasuharu Konishi of Pizzicato Five are perfectly appropriate. There's a clear sense throughout this enjoyable disc how Head's first outfit provided a bridge between swinging '60s pop and the efforts of a later generation, not merely with Pizzicato Five but Belle & Sebastian or any number of Burt Bacharach-loving acts of the '90s. Head's singing has a rich but clear resonance, calling to mind the exquisite team of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, while his band's preference for non-feedback-producing guitars ("Love Situation" the notable exception!) and inventive percussion and string arrangements works wonderfully. About the only band remotely like it in the U.K. would have been the earliest incarnation of Pulp, but the Pale Fountains have a sunnier, fuller feeling to their songs, helped in large part by the inspired inclusion of trumpeter Diagram. Those who know him best from his work with James or Spaceheads will enjoy his delicate leads and gentle backing on songs like both takes of "Just a Girl" and a peppy cover of the James Bond movie theme "We Have All the Time in the World." The two BBC sessions presented -- the first a four-song John Peel effort, the second a three-song turn on The Old Grey Whistle Test -- are the heart of the album, and deservedly so, including wonderful takes on the title track, "Benoit's Christmas," and a cover of Deniece Williams' "Free." Detailed essays on the group and a slew of often amusing photographs fill out this excellent CD.


1. Just A Girl
2. (There's Always) Something On My Mind
3. Lavinia's Dream
4. Longshot For Your Love
5. Thank You
6. The Norfolk Broads
7. Benoit's Christmas
8. Hey There Fred
9. Palm Of My Hand
11.We Have All The Time In The World
12.Just A Girl
13.Love Situation


The Pale Fountains - Thank You

Friday, October 7, 2011

China Crisis – Working With Fire And Steel 12"

Released : 1983
Recorded : Track 1,2 Recorded at Amazon and The Manor,  track 3 Recorded at Amazon 16 track, track 4 Recorded in Eddie's bedroom.
Genre : New Wave, Synthpop
Producer : Mike Howlett (track 1, 2), Eddie (track 3), Garry, Gil Norton (track 3, 4)

Utterly hypnotic synths, and the unintelligible pseudo-Commie lyrics ('Fashion play your part/to be workers of Red'---huh???) seal the deal.


1. Working With Fire And Steel
2. Fire And Steel (Mix)
3. Dockland
4. Forever I And I


China Crisis – Black Man Ray 12"

Released : 1985
Genre : New Wave, Synthpop
Label : Virgin
Producer :  Walter Becker, China Crisis


A nice title track and the real bonus of the 12 inch is Its Never Too Late, far to good a track to buried on a limited edition disc.

1. Black Man Ray
2. It's Never Too Late
3. Animalistic (A Day At The Zoo Mix)


China Crisis – Wishful Thinking 12"

Released : 1984
Format : 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded : 1983
Genre : New Wave, Synthpop
Length : 4:08 (7" single edit), 4:40 (12" single / album version)
Label : Virgin
Producer : Mike Howlett

Wishful Thinking is a song by English pop group China Crisis, released as the third single of their 1983 album Working with Fire and Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume Two. It reached #9 in the UK charts in early 1984, becoming their only top 10 hit single in that country. The song is included on numerous compilation albums.


1. Wishful Thinking
2. Some People I Know To Lead Fantastic Lives
3. This Occupation (Extended Mix)
4. Some People I Know To Lead Fantastic Lives (Extended Mix)


China Crisis - Wishful Thinking

China Crisis - Hanna Hanna (Extended Mix)

Released : 1984
Recorded : January 31, 1984 at Reading University (live)
Genre : New Wave, Synthpop
Label : Virgin
Producer : Mike Howlett (track 1)

Fantastic live versions of both 'Raincloud' with it's fade-in start and 'African' and white with it's crashing drum start and perhaps the only acceptable drum solo of the eighties.


1. Hanna Hanna (Extended Mix)
2. Here Come A Raincloud (Live)
3. African And White (Live)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Lacuna Coil – Halflife

Released : 2000
Recorded : January 2000
Genre : Gothic Metal
Length : 20:23
Label : Century Media
Producer : Waldemar Sorychta

Very rare fold out digipak only released in Lacuna Coil's native Italy.  All the tracks are on the US version of  'Unleashed Memories', however this is still very rare and collectable.  'Halflife' isn't as good as the previous EP release, the self entitled 'Lacuna Coil' as some tracks lean slightly (only very slightly) over to the death metal side (because of Ferro's vocal style). Never the less 'Halflife' is still essential Lacuna Coil wailings.


1. Halflife
2. Trance Awake
3. Senzafine
4. Hyperfast
5. Stars


Lacuna Coil - Ethereal (Demo)

Released : 1996
Genre : Gothic Metal

Ethereal is a demo, released by the Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil in 1996. Ethereal was the first name of the band, as well; but seeing as there was a name clash with a Greek band called Ethereal, the band changed their name. The demo includes two tracks. Shallow End which was released officially via Lacuna Coil's official site and also through, but as of August 2006, Frozen Feeling has still not been released.


1. Shallow End
2. Frozen Feeling


Lacuna Coil – Enjoy The Silence

Released : June 26th, 2006
Genre : Gothic Metal
Label : Century Media Records
Lenght : 12:20
Producer : Waldemar Sorychta, Lacuna Coil

"Enjoy the Silence" is the second single by Lacuna Coil from their album Karmacode. It made the New York Post's Top 100 Cover Songs list.
There is a UK version of the video and an International one. Both videos include the band performing in a dark room, but aside from that the UK version shows live clips of the London Forum show, while the International one shows scenes of a city (Portland, Oregon), the countryside, and a bay.


1. Enjoy the Silence
2. Virtual Environment (non album track)
3. To the Edge (live)
4. Fragile (live)
5. Tight Rope (live)
6. Enjoy the Silence (live)


Lacuna Coil EP

Released : April 7, 1998
Genre : Gothic Metal, Progressive Metal
Length : 27:52
Label : Century Media
Producer : Waldemar Sorychta

Lacuna Coil's debut EP shows the progressive-metal band to have a pretty distinctive sound, with male and female vocals trading off over the group's melancholy, sometimes dark instrumental work. While the group's songwriting could use some more focus, their style marks them as a band with potential.


1. No Need To Explain
2. The Secret ...
3. This Is My Dream
4. Soul Into Hades
5. Falling
6. Un Fantasma Tra Noi (A Ghost Between Us)