Friday, May 24, 2013

If Then Else - warhead (1981)

If-Then-Else's Warhead stands as one of the lost monuments of the Post-Punk era.

It's intentions are made clear with opener "Hey Big Oil", that sounds like a locomotive whose steam-engine puffs menacingly, ready to demolish everything in it's path and bring forth devastation. The loose Minimalist cum Industrial cum Krautrock cum Progressive Electronic schematic "Sidewalker" isn't as menacing, but is an ample representation of the industrial wasteland they inhabit.

The repetitive stabbings of "The Wedge" are unambiguous in their appetite for destruction, while the more esoteric tension of "Warhead" hints towards mental disease. The machines run unchecked in "Crows Over A Parking Lot", marking a point in time where the promising era of technological advance has turned to an improvisational nightmare that's about to consume our lives.

Things have clearly gone out of control in the Acid Rock inferno "The Central Figure" and there is no turning back, as "Vesta" lugs you into a world of perpetual malaise and frenzy. The final destination of "Vernichtung" can only be schizophrenia, damaged circuitry, perennial ravage, and fried limbo
. Get it here (vinyl rip, includes pictures of the cover and vinyl).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Floor Kiss - goodnight moon (1985)

There is nothing particularly bad about this Pop Punk mini-album, which sounds like a rougher version of the Go-Go's; it's quite okay, but nothing more than that. To look for distinctions we have to look at the musicians' curriculum vitae, to find that drummer Dee Pop was a member of the Bush Tetras, bassist Kevin Fullen a member of Band Apart, and guitarist Michael Paumgardhen a member of 8 Eyed Spy, none of which shows in the music here. Perhaps more of note is that this was released on cult french label L'Invitation au Suicide.

Get it here (vinyl rip, includes pictures of the sleeve and vinyl).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Polysics - neu (2000)

The Polysics refined their derranged pinball-tilts of songs to a formidable degree in Neu (the name paying tribute to?..).

"Go Ahead Now" introduced their electro epileptic fits - fused with the energy of hardcore, and then taken to an even more extreme level with "MS-17", fueled with nuclear mini-progressive videogame deviations and a devastating beat. "S.V.O." takes Kraftwerk-like discordant electronics (circa Computer World) and builds an elaborate construction of amphetamine robotic frenzy, while "Each Life Each End" declares their ties with derranged ditties, Japanese pop and batty videogames, infused with turbine-like tempo changes and miniature-prog synthetic stylings (not dissimilar to the way later-era DNA stylized their whacky songs).

For example "Disorder" is built around a gargling beat and synthesizer lines, fractured-funk guitar phrases, semi-howling vocals, almost math-rock deviations and an anthemic chorus. The recipe is intensified even more with the frenetic jam "CY/CB". Then "X-Rays" is glam-disco electro with hard-rock guitars and industrial-drill intensity, while "What" goes into cryptic vocoder and new-wave disco-punk mode, and "I'm A Worker" into mental Supermario in fast-forward mode. Get it here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Suburban Lawns - gidget goes to hell/ my boyfriend (1979)

The Suburban Lawns hadn't quite developed their spazz aesthetics in this debut single from 1979. Nevertheless, this remains a delightful slice of bouncy new-wave with heretic attitude. Get it here (vinyl rip, includes pics of the sleeve and vinyl).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Frightwig - faster, frightwig, kill! kill! (1986)

Frightwig sound more restrained in Faster, Frightwig, Kill! Kill!, as the opener "Beverly" shows. This is also confirmed by "Crazy World", a Punk Blues a la Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds with nutty overtones, but overall saddled with theatrical pretense. Where is the mania?

"Big Bang" threatens more, with a T.S.O.L.-like fatalist delivery and spook ambient effects, but still finds itself a long way from the violent car crash of the debut. The same applies for the sabbath "Punk Rock Jail Bait" (somewhere between The Vyllies and The Honeymoon Killers). Do Frightwig do Death Rock this time around?

"Manifest Destiny" finally picks enough traction to present an Acid-Punk meltdown, the kind we love Frightwig for. And we're on fire! The psychotic growl and shriek of "Booby Prize" would make other punk bands turn their heads in shame at their own irrelevance.

The syncopated punk ritual "American Express" is one step lower, albeit a very small step. However, the glacial cool of "I Don't Want To Be Alone" doesn't really suit them, no matter how classy they are (and they are classy). The anthemic Gospel-Rock "Freedom", which closes the album, is both a genuine surprise (elegant, with an emotional zenith in the coda) and a disappointment (out of place and tame for their standards).

Get it here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Visage (1980)

Visage and Ultravox were the quintessential new-romantic bands. Ultravox turned the movement to an ideology, and Visage were their down-to-earth counterparts. Ultravox made for music for the heart, while Visage made music for the clubs. Coincidentally, Midge Ure and Billy Currie participate here, as do John McGeoch, Dave Formula and Barry Adamson from Magazine.

The tracks can be roughly divided into two categories. The elegant ones, with the symphonic synthesizers, the futurist attitude, the dandy poses, the romantic classicism ("Visage", "Fade To Grey", "Blocks On Blocks"), and the playful, glam influenced ones (the galloping "The Dancer", the wild beats of "Malpaso Man", the robotic "Tar", the metallic disco "Moon Over Moscow").

The album ends surprisingly with "Visa-age" (that nods to the spare minimal-wave of John Foxx), and the apocalyptic instrumental "The Steps". The combination of the cerebral wavers from Ultravox and Magazine, and Blitz-kids Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, has come up with the goods. Get it here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dance Disaster Movement - we are from nowhere (2003)

Their Dance-Punk is anguished and pounding, if not downright neurasthenic, but also clumsy, and derivative of the past (the usual suspects: Blurt, Crash Course In Science, The Contortions etc etc). Worthwhile listen though. Get it here (updated link).