Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Here is the debut 7" by I'm Spartacus / I Spartacus. This one dates back to '83, and it wouldn't be until 1988 that they returned to vinyl with the "Crank" 12" (found at Phoenix Hairpin's blog here), and ending with the1989 LP "The Greats" (posted directly below). This one is pretty straight-forward early 80s post-punk with some odd western influences... The title track has never blown me away, but always an enjoyable listen.
Preview samples here:
I'm Spartacus - Donna Is Distressed 7" (1983, Decade Records)
01. Donna Is Distressed
02. Seven Wonders of The West
Get this 7" + the LP (posted below) below (I stuck them together on accident when doing a reupload)
If you would ask me what my favorite Australian record is, I might reply "Crank" by I Spartacus some days. I doubt if I Spartacus were intentially going for a "gothy" sound, but that 12" surely is private press bliss if you're into that sort of stuff. This is the follow up to that EP, and their final release. The first time I ever noticed this one on eBay, the seller had it listed as "The Greats - The Wonderful World of I Spartacus", which is how I would interpret it as well if I simply saw it in a shop and just glanced at the cover. Naturally, this left me scratching my head since it was Australian and from the same era, and luckily someone I knew purchased it and later confirmed it was the same band.
This LP certainly took longer to grow on me than the "Crank" 12", probably due to the fact that I had such high expectations that it would essentially be a continuation to that release. There are a few tracks that could have been outtakes from that EP ("The Greats" and "Part of The Art of Eve"), though this LP is certainly a bit more varied. "Cut Me Down" and "Drumheart" both have dancefloor potential. There are some slower tracks too ("The Strangest Life", "She Has No Tears", "Beautiful Again", and "Godsmoke")... as well as some short instrumental interludes.
This release is quite rare, apparently the singer grew tired of transporting several heavy boxes of unsold LPs every time he moved house (claiming "often"), and left his stash of LPs in an alley outside a house that he was moving from. Surely most, if not all, of those LPs were probably destroyed. I Spartacus were from Syndey, and the singer (Jack Marx) is now a well-known journalist and author. You can read Jack's own account of I Spartacus here. If you look around on youTube, there is a live clip by them performing the first two songs on this LP from the early 90s (maybe their last show?). Check above for their debut 7".
Preview some samples here:
I Spartacus - The Greats LP (1989, Self-Released)
01. The House of Sparto
02. The Greats
03. Beautiful Again
04. Part of The Art of Eve
06. She Has No Tears
08. The Strangest Life
09. Cut Me Down
10. Our Love & Agony
Get this LP + the 7" (posted above) below (I stuck them together on accident when doing a reupload)
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Strange private press (1,000 copies) from a band that appears to have been based out of London. The LP comes with an extensive booklet containing a lot of political and philosophical rants... by glancing through it, I would think I just purchased an anarcho punk album! Discogs has this one listed as Second Coming for the band name, I don't think this is the case...
Couple cool dark/gothy tracks on here (my favorites), "Antipop" reminds me of Depeche Mode, some standard new wave tunes, few synthy ones, and others bordering on indie. I liked the LP better after a few listens... not perfect... but certainly pretty decent overall minus a few tracks. The track "Smiling Backwards" ends very abruptly, it is like this on the LP... not an error on my part. "Consequences" contains a skip or two on my copy, but one of the less memorable songs.
Preview some samples here:
Direct Action - The Album LP (1985, Second Coming Productions)
01. Insect Control
03. Kevin & The Constitution
07. In All Honesty
10. Smiling Backwards
11. The Haunted
Rare, obscure French compilation... By glancing at the cover, you'd probably think this one is total shit, and there are some shitty bands on here... but you'd probably never guess there are some cold wave hits too. U-Bahn has an excellent track with some Siouxsie-vibes, Ultima Dance are great too --> a bit like Parallèles De Montségur, and Dimension Libre are decent. Body Body go for a dancy sound, Point De Chute are new wave/guitar alternative rock, Anne Vivien and Masculin-Pluriel are pop/new wave, and Willie & The Lightnings play shitty rock'n'roll.
Preview some songs here:
VA: Rock Azur LP (1987, Logos Disques)
01. Anne Vivien - Les Belles Manières
02. Body Body - Body-Body
03. Dimension Libre - Trotteuse Perverse
04. Masculin-Pluriel - Nuit Blanche
05. Point De Chute - Voyageur
06. U-Bahn - Can You Hear Me
07. Ultima Dance - Esmeralda
08. Willie & The Lightnings - Don't Feel Ashamed To Rock'N Roll Tonight
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Rare UK minimal synth gem... not to be confused with the German band with the same name from the same era.
Sample both tracks here:
White Russia - Valentine 7" (1980, Trivia Records)
Monday, October 10, 2011
Here is the sole release by Baraka, a rare French band crossing coldwave, new wave, touching pop, and synth. I would put them in the same category as bands like Smirnov and Fatidic Seconde. For a private press, quite polished and well-produced... so I would imagine they could have easily been radio pop if in the hands of a major label/producer... though like most bands they never made it to the big league and left us only with this gem. My copy is missing the insert, so I don't have much information... but this one was limited to 1,000 copies. "C'est Pour Ton Bien" is a great coldwave pop track!
To preview some samples:
Baraka - Baraka 12'' (1986, Self-Released)
01. Des Jours Meilleurs
02. C'est Pour Ton Bien
03. Le Chant Des Sirènes
04. Les Enfants Du Paradis
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Idle Lovéll were a gothic / dark wave band from the Los Angeles region that only released this record. They included Michael Knott on vocals, who I had never heard of before, though he has quite a massive discography beginning with the early 80's punk band The Lifesavors... and is apparently a well-known figurehead in alternative Christian music. This is the first and probably last "Christian" record I'll ever post on here... hehe, normally not the stuff I seek out! However, I wouldn't let that discourage anyone from checking it out since it contains many excellent tracks. The better tracks remind me of some songs by bands such as South of No North, Art Boulevard, Necropolis of Love, or tracks such as "Out of The Window" by Aerial FX, etc... "Shallow" and "Only" are very good dark wave tracks, "Drone" is gothy, "I Can't Wait" is dreamy, "One-Sided Love Affair" has a jangle-pop vibe, and "Touch Me In The Wind" is my least favorite since it has a lame "radio-friendly" sing-a-long chorus. Overall, very good stuff if the religious overtones don't pester you.
Idle Lovéll - Surge Et Illuminare MLP (1984, Blonde Vinyl Records)
01. Touch Me In The Wind
03. I Can't Wait
05. One-Sided Love Affair
Monday, October 3, 2011
This is a tape I took a gamble on several years back since it was fairly cheap, the seller had some other cool items, and in this case I did get lucky (and not fall victim to sales puffery) since it 1) contains some good coldwave songs, 2) never have seen it since (it hasn't been off the radar either), 3) nor heard their name spoken/typed/written from anyone else besides a few personal friends after I have sent tracks to over the years, or the individual I purchased it off. I thought I got lucky once again few years ago when "googling" this band and finding a contact, but after talking to the guy -- turned out that there was another late 80s French band with the exact same name who just happened to be influenced by Xymox, Christian Death, and (I believe he wrote) buddies with a member(s) of Opera Multi Steel... but there was no connection or awareness!
Oh well... this band were a two-piece out of Lyon, who sound like a poor man's Opera Multi Steel with some stronger Cure influences. Super-duper rare French coldwave tape.
Crises En Themes - Aquarelle Mission K7 (1990, Self-Released)
02. Digital Scream
03. Octobre Rouge
05. Mery's Hollogram
07. L'horizon Des Prisons
08. Hot Girl
09. Fenêtre Sur Cour
10. Et Angélique Rêve
11. Dr Muller
Shadowplay was the solo project of Michael Scholz, nowadays best known as the singer of cult 80s goths Taste of Decay. However, quite a few years before I ever heard or read about Taste of Decay... there was Shadowplay (not to be confused with the US band I posted last week, the Finnish band, or others sharing the name). Naturally there are some very similar Taste of Decay sounds, but perhaps a bit more introspective at times (it is a solo project after all). Michael mentions influences by Joy Division, Bauhaus, Sad Lovers & Giants, and Danse Society... though the Bauhaus influences comes out heavily on the vocals at times, and there is certainly some big-time Cure influences here-and-there. This is nothing groundbreaking, but certainly good quality DIY underground goth music, especially for being a debut cassette-only release. The title track is probably my favorite on here, though know I had this tape for a couple years before the song I ever grabbed my attention, "Come Inside" is a dark analogue synth track, and there are quite a few other decent tunes as well.
Michael also sang for Garden of Pleasures (best known for their track "Pandora's Box" off the New Alternatives LP) from '87-91, and has been involved in a few other bands (even pre-Taste of Decay). For more information on some of his projects, check out his way out-of-date website: http://home.foni.net/~michel/shadowplay.html
Myspace here for some more info and random tracks including a newly recorded version of "Out of Control" off this tape: http://www.myspace.com/shadowplaygermany
Here is the Shadowplay discography (ignoring compilations)
Another Autumn Day K7 (1988, Individual Pop)
An Ideal World K7 (1990, Self-Released)
Tears K7 (1992, Self-Released)
A History of Shadowplay 1988-1992 K7 (1993, Beton Tapes)
A Perfect Frame (A Compilation of Previously Unreleased Songs) K7 (199x, Self-Released) <- Think Promo-only, have only seen it one time
Shadowplay - Another Autumn Day K7 (1988, Individual Pop)
01. Out of Control
02. The Spell
03. Could Be Me
04. Eyes Like Hell
05. Two Sides
06. Another Autumn Day
08. Come Inside