All Posts,Old Music,Radio — Dan on November 17, 2009 at 5:18 am

New Viva-Radio Pyjamarama show Victory Garden goes up tuesday at 1pm, and should cycle in and out of the archives thereafter. I’ve been listening to a lot of Broadcast lately and had just discovered the Broadcast Origins youtube series and was thinking of doing a show of Broadcast influences. Then I decided not to and just followed my whims and picked a bunch of typical favorites and less typical favorites and maybe they work together, maybe they don’t…YOU be the judge! I’ll get back to Broadcast and their influences soon though. I’ve decided that Stereolab are my favorite band of the 90s and Broadcast my favorite band of the 00s and they are very similar in many ways but very different in others and I will write another blog post in the (near) future about both bands. For now, VICTORY GARDEN!

1. The United States of America-The American Metaphysical Circus
Another discovery care of the fine-folk at the Oberlin Co-Op Bookstore Record dept, from when the CD was initially released by CBS or Sony. This record is pretty mind-blowing to anybody who had a standard classic-rock upbringing. A band with no guitar, fretless bass, ring-modulated vocals, synthesizers droning and everything heavily processed. Produced by Joe Byrd and released in 1968, the songwriting runs the gamut from fuzzy rockers to ethereal hymns, songs rooted in classic americana, some Beatles rips and moody and dark experiments like this song, who’s closest relative may be The Velvet Underground and Nico. The breadth and ambition of the record could be likened to what Van Dyke Parks might have done if he had studied with Morton Subotnik. The songs aren’t all great, but enough of them are to make this a total classic. This song especially is such a blueprint for certain key aspects of Broadcast that when I first heard the latter I completely wrote them off as a shallow imitation. The first couple of songs on their first LP, The Noise Made By People, for starters. It took me a few years to get over that, and I’ll talk about that more in my forthcoming epic blog post about Broadcast and Stereolab, due out sometime in the next year or two.

2. The Red Krayola-Victory Garden
No clear relationship to the prior song, accept maybe as a nice counterpoint. One similarity of course is that the Red Krayola, originaly the Red Crayola, pre-lawsuit, are among the few other truly revolutionary and avant-garde bands of the period. I’d say that in comparison with the Red Krayola, The United States of America are a conventional rock band plugged into a voltage processor. I suppose I don’t see any reason to go into the history of these bands, you’ve got wikipedia. But if I can say anything personal about The Red Krayola and it’s mainstay Mayo Thompson, well there’s just nothing like The Red Krayola. The first two albums stand alone as such a unique experience. Among the two weirdest, most experimental albums that could even remotely be called “rock” that emerged from the 60s, and completely different from each other, while still having amazing, shining moments of accessibility. Victory Garden is one of the few straight up songs on their second LP God Bless the Red Krayola and all Who Sail With It, and it’s a charming ditty. The few songs on this record pretty much prefigure a very specific but very primal aspect of what could be called “indie-rock”. There were very few bands at the time who were willing to be this loose, this raw, this direct. I’d also like to mention that while I’m cool enough to have been a fan of The United States of America prior to hearing Broadcast, my first exposure to the Red Krayola was because Galaxie 500 covered this song on the Blue Thunder CD EP, which I bought in Portland Maine at a record store called Bad Habits while on a trip during summer camp. Their version is awesome and they also cover New Order’s Ceremony.

3. Flying Saucer Attack-Come and Close My Eyes
This is NOT the kind of indie-rock I was thinking of when I was discussing Victory Garden. But I like this band and this song. I like things that are both noisy and pretty. At the same time. Or taking turns. Some of the new hipster stuff that’s coming out now seems like post-modern versions of this aesthetic. Similar but done with samplers instead of distortion pedals or something.

4. Main-There is Only Light
Couldn’t find a picture of this and sold the actual CD some time ago. (no judgement there, I sold ALL my CDs, except the ones YOU gave me). This is tangentially sonically related to Flying Saucer Attack. I’d say FSA have a relationship to the Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine axises in their merger of a modern british psyche folk with krautrock and shoegaze inspired noise. Main is a more direct descendant, growing out of Loop, who I just now decided are the grunge Spacemen 3. (Sorry if this is getting questionable, I’m really tired.) They put out this really cool record of fuzzy drones and krauty repetition and Wire-esque loops and songs, then got into the whole “ambient isolationism” thing and threw out their guitars and bought field recorders and I stopped listening. I’m sure it’s all good, but I like to sing along.

5. The Trypes-A Plan Revised
Couldn’t find a good enough pic, couldn’t be bothered to scan my copy. Another Feelies side-project. Glenn and Bill from the Feelies joined keyboardist John Baumgartner band The Trypes while the Feelies were on one of their many breaks and recorded The Explorers Hold EP in 1984. When the Feelies would return with The Good Earth, they’d have Trypes members Brenda Sauter and Stanley Demeski. The Trypes have a definite Feelies sound and feel, but a more psychedelic vibe and Baumgartner’s keyboards make it something else all together. The Trypes EP is one of my favorite things ever and I hope it gets reissued in one form or another.

6. Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies-Patriot’s Lullaby
After the United States of America LP, leader Joe Byrd released this LP, which isn’t quite as good, but has a few gems on it.

7. Broadcast and the Focus Group-The Be Colony
The centerpiece of this internet playlist, or any internet playlist. Broadcast’s latest release is a collaboration with the Focus Group. The Focus Group is Julian House, who has been Broadcast’s graphic designer and occasional tour DJ for some time. He also runs the Ghost Box label, which is relatively new to me. An entire label filled with british acts obsessed with old british library records. The label has a great consistent aesthetic and brand, and a somewhat consistent sound. And it’s a really cool sound but a lot of it is more experimental/sampled collages. This song is one of the few moments on the CD where you get a proper Broadcast “song”. For those following Broadcast’s career, on their last album Tender Buttons, they had shed most of the musicians in the band leaving the percussion to be mostly electronic. This collaboration with The Focus Group seems to move them more towards using samples, of actual old library and soundtrack type releases or of their own creations, I’m not sure. No matter, this is awesome.

8. Elephant’s Memory-Old Man Willow
Speaking of Broadcast and soundtracks…Elephant’s Memory were a psychedelic band from New York best known for playing with John and Yoko in the early 70s. This earlier song appeared in the movie Midnight Cowboy, and is often mentioned along with the United States of America as a key Broadcast influence.

9. The Fates-Sheila-She Beats In My Heart
I first heard about this record when it was posted on the blog Bimble’s Windy Weather. The band is comprised of original Fall and later Blue Orchids member Una Baines with her sometimes partner Martin Branah and several other women, with many songs deriving from pre-Christian and feminist themes. It’s a really cool album. I had met Bimble, who’s real name was Mark, on the I Love Music forum where we often talked “post-punk” among other things. I met him at the first Part-Time Punks festival and traded some music with him, I think I sent him a CD of italo-disco, which I don’t think was quite post-punk/new-wavey enough for him. A few months ago I found out he took his own life. I just started writing some thoughts about him but decided I didn’t have the space to make it all make sense and this wasn’t the time or place. I know he didn’t even like this record that much, and he wasn’t that into the Italo I sent him, but we bonded heavily over enough music that his memory and enthusiasm is permanently stamped on countless favorites of mine and other likeminded fans.

10. Mayo Thompson-Horses
My favorite song from one of my favorite records. After the Red K(c)rayola got increasingly experimental and alienated pretty much everyone, I can’t imagine anyone would think that a few years later Mayo would round up some session musicians and whip up this goddamn record, which was reissued on Dexter’s Cigar, the David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke curated reissue imprint of Drag City. There’s nothing exceptionally sonically avant-garde about this record. It’s an album of adult songs. Songs about relationships and sex and god knows what. Some people may think his voice is less then radio-ready, but I’d rank him with Bob Dylan or Neil Young. He’d emerge again a few years later with a few other versions of the Red Krayola…collaborating with art collective Art & Language, fronting a super-groups of post-punk hipsters, exploring marxism, producing The Fall, Cabaret Voltaire, The Raincoats etc and eventually joining Pere Ubu for when they got really weird, including a much stranger version of this song.

11. Galaxie 500-Another Day
Galaxie 500 introduced me to the Red Krayola so I figured they deserved a spot here. This is the one song from On Fire, my favorite album of theirs, that’s sung by Naomi, and it’s beautiful.

12. Movietone-Sun Drawing
Flying Saucer Attack-related british psychedelic post-shoegaze indie rock. Kind of reminds me of Opal.

13. The Oscillation-Head Hang Low
Don’t know much about them. On DC records, which I primarily know for the krautrock-esque nu-disco act The Emperor Machine. I think this was their “rock” signing? A bit of the Spacemen 3/Spiritualized/Main thing going on, but updated for the post-electroclash era. Sorry, I’m really running out of steam here.

14. Labradford-Soft Return
This sounded really great on headphones during sophmore year of college. I just spelled that “softmore”. Time for bed.


All Posts,Radio — Dan on September 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm

New Viva-Radio Pyjamarama show Checkout Time goes up tuesday at 1pm, perfect for post-lunch pre-mid-afternoon drag perk-up. Just tune into Viva-Radio at 1pm eastern or check the archives of Pyjamarama at various times after. This show is just a bunch of stuff that has been making me happy these last few weeks.

1. Jet-Song For Hymn
Loved “Nothing to Do With Us” from the Glitterbest compilation, finally heard the whole LP c/o Jim Allen (not John Allen). Great Sparks-esque arty glitter/glam with this pleasant Phil Spector-esque intro.

2. Mittagspause-Herrenreiter
Strangely, I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole NDW/german new wave scene except for a few of the hits, I find a lot of it a bit too stern and humorless…imagine that. But I have been gravitating to some of the earlier more punk stuff, like the totally catchy Male and Mittagspause, who have member connections to DAF, Fehlfarben and SYPH. Also check out Testbild on youtube. Sounds like if Neu! 2 was released 5 years later.

3. The Nightingales-Blood for Dirt
What can I say that I haven’t already?

4. Age of Chance-Bible of the Beast
For some reason everyone keeps talking about C86 as if it was all about jangly twee pop bands and not noisy, angry and chaotic bands drawing more from The Fall and the Nightingales.

5. Bob Seger-Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
Always loved this surprising track, “oh hey, I knew Bob could rock, but not like this!”. DJing my friend Nate’s wedding with my old friend Rebecca brought this song back into my life, and it’s amazing video which I’ve included below. You won’t be able to think of Bob the same way again.

6. Sandy Bull-Gotta Be Juicy (Or Aint Love)
Lots of talk in certain quarters of I Love Music about artsy folk guitarists and I just checked this one out for the first time recently. Lots of multi-tracked overdubbing of weirdness. File this between Amon Duul and Haphash and the Coloured Coat and Fred Neil’s and John Fahey’s raga-folk jams.

7. The Beatles-The Night Before
I just discovered The Beatles. No, that’s not true, I’ve always liked them and have gone through periods of listening to this record or that, but all the recent fuss has made me give a serious study. As usual I’m most attracted to that golden 65/66 period and particularly find upbeat and happy or melancholic pop ragers like this my faves. But checking out all the reissues and listening to the entire catalog in chronological order for the first time has certainly made some things pop out. Like how many times have I heard Eight Days a Week on the radio, in movies, in the air, etc, and NEVER until just now did I ever hear the beautiful intro/outro chords. I plan on editing them together and repeating them for hours.

8. Fuxa-100 White Envelopes
Ah Oberlin. Talk of Bright online reminded me of this band and this CD that I loved while in college, when it was new and exciting to mix krautrock and shoegaze aesthetics into low-fi indie-rock. I have to dig up that Fuxa/Bright plastic pink 7″ to see if I still love it like I used to.

9. Dion & the Belmonts-My Girl the Month of May
Mentioned this in a prior post. Goddamn is this a good song. For fans of Del Shannon, Everly Brothers, Frankie Valli, circa 66-68.

10. De Artsen-She’s in Love
Thanks to Mike Wolf for this one via Facebook. The band that evolved into Bettie Serveert playing loopy repetitious minimal and moody indie-rock of the highest order.

11. V3-Checkout Time, Mr. White
Jim Shepard. It doesn’t get any better then this. And stories don’t get more tragic. I’ll write a long post about him at some point. In a prolific period with many releases on many labels in many styles, it was hard to filter through it all at times, but on the Launchpad Explosion double 7″ you can find this gem. Shoulda been huge.

12. Din A Testbild-Die Siebziger
More german weirdness I never really noticed until lately. A bit of a PIL/Joy Division vibe to this.

13. Section 25-Sweet Forgiveness
I had most of Section 25’s records for years but for some reason never picked up Love and Hate, which opens with this song that’s just perfect. Big and catchy, some similarities to big New Wave sounds, some to more experimental/minimal synth type sounds.

14. Shaun Harris-Today’s a Day
When discussing Dion on Facebook a friend sent a “break-up” mix he had made for a girl. Great stuff but this one really caught my ear.

15. McDonald & Giles-Flight of the Ibis
Was Viva leader Matt discussing this? Can’t remember what brought it up, Fripp’s pre-King Crimson collaborators with some wonderful flighty pop music.

16. Bob Bannister-Eight Day Clock
Guitar experimenters like Sandy Bull and 90s low-fi atmosphere creators like Fuxa and unheralded noise rock guitar gods like Jim Shepard got me thinking of this. Just a slice of Bob.

17. The Dictators-Stay With Me
The final song played at my friend Nate’s aforementioned wedding last week. I never knew the Dictators beyond Cars and Girls and having to go to Manitoba’s once or twice, but seeing the happy couple and friends and family rock out to this put some good feelings in me for real.

and before I go…here’s Bob (Seger, not Bannister):


All Posts,Old Music,Radio — Dan on June 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I realize now I haven’t blogged about my Viva Radio shows in a while. Hey, what do you know, it’s been over a YEAR! Now I’m not like some of those other Viva DJs who update every week, I update only when inspiration hits. Or when I’m really bored and/or frustrated and looking for a distraction. Or when they email me and say “hey Dan, how about a show?” So here’s the last bunch ‘o shows playlists typed up so more people will stumble on my blog while googling. Sorry I’m not gonna give the complete history or some weepy story about how each song changed my life, I’m not that bored and/or frustrated, and I have a lot of work to do. A few of these shows are up and accessible at the Viva Radio Pyjamarama page.

In reverse order…

My Strange World An eclectic mix, there’s connections, but maybe only in my head.
1. Martin Rev – My Strange World
2. Ana Da Silva – The Lighthouse
3. Quando Quago – Go Exciting (12″ version)
4. Judy Nylon – Others
5. Ruth – Mabelle
6. + Instruments – Paradise
7. Laurie Mayer – Black Lining
8. The Moles – Cassie Peek
9. The Passions – Runaway
10. Ann Steel – Sweet Life
11. Red Crayola with Art & Language – Keep All Your Friends
12. Flying Lizards – Hand 2 Take
13. Michael Nyman – A Walk Through H
14. Arnold Dreyblatt – Group Velocity
15. Meredith Monk – What Does It Mean
16. Mic Woods – Weekday Lovecrush

Chain or Reaction All New Zealand, all the time.
1. Peter Jefferies & Robbie Muir – Catapult
2. Roy Montgomery – Something Else Again
3. Plagal Grind – Vincent
4. The Chills – Doledrums
5. Cyclops – Lunar Fall
6. Dadamah – Papa Doc
7. This Kind of Punishment – Overground in China
8. David Mitchell & Denise Roughan – Grey Funnel Line
9. Alf Danielson – Glover
10. Dead C – Scarey Nest
11. The Clean – Tally Ho
12. Alastair Galbraith – Stormed Port
13. Nocturnal Projections – Nerve Ends in Power Lines
14. The Bilders – Bedrock Bay
15. Pin Group – When I Tell You
16. The Gordons – Spik and Span
17. Norma O’Malley – Some Tame Gazelle
18. Peter Jefferies – Chain or Reaction
19. Alastair Galbraith & Graeme Jefferies – Timebomb
20. Roy Montgomery – In Our Own Time

Dignity of Labor Early (mostly) UK electronic/new wave/industrial, not unlike my last Beats in Space appearance.
1. The Human League – The Dignity of Labor (Part 1)
2. Fad Gadget – Back to Nature
3. Chris Carter – Outreach
4. The Associates – White Car in Germany
5. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Attack Decay
6. Vice Versa – New Girls Neutrons
7. The Future – Blank Clocks
8. Severed Heads – Lamborghini
9. Our Daughter’s Wedding – Airlines
10. Yazoo – Goodbye Seventies
11. OMD – Messages
12. Heaven 17 – I’m Your Money
13. Cabaret Voltaire – Kneel to the Boss
14. Throbbing Gristle – AB/7A

Biting My Nails Again, some threads exist, sort of avant/fake white dub, digital dub, I dunno.
1. Piero Milesi – Modi 2 (Extract)
2. The Lavender Pill Mob – It Doesn’t Matter
3. Alla – Una Dia Otra Noche
4. Genevieve Waite – Biting My Nails
5. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
6. Sister Nancy – Bam Bam
7. Cabaret Voltaire – Digital Rasta
8. Renegade Soundwave – Liquid Up
9. Vivien Goldman – Laundrette
10. Flying Lizards – Her Story
11. Scritti Politti – Jacques Derrida
12. Holger Czukay, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebizeit – How Much Are They?
13. L Voag – Kitchen
14. Agentss – Agentss
15. Tom Ze – Gloria
16. Brian Eno – St. Elmo’s Fire
17. Snatch – Amputee

Sail on Sailor Songs for a sinking boat or something.
1. Glen Campbell – Galveston
2. Split Enz – Six Months in a Leaky Boat
3. Thomas Dolby – Europa & the Pirate Twins
4. Echo & the Bunnymen – The Cutter
5. In Embrace – Our Star Drawn Through Panes
6. The Lines – Ultramarine
7. Can – Future Days
8. This Heat – A New Kind of Water
9. Tindersticks – Tiny Tears
10. Stephen Mallinder – Del Sol
11. 808 State – Pacific
12. Beach Boys – Sail on Sailor

The Simple Life I think I wanted to just make sure this one rocked, indie-, punk- or otherwise.
1. Sparks – Propoganda/At Home, At Work, At Play
2. The Ex & Tom Cora – State of Shock
3. Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – The Operation
4. Mission of Burma – That’s How I Escaped my Certain Fate
5. Oxford Collapse – Please Visit our National Parks
6. V3 – Hating Me, Hating You
7. The Stranglers – Bitching
8. Dry Rib – Quail Seed
9. Artery – Pretends
10. Toy Love – I Don’t Mind
11. Peter Jefferies & Robbie Muir – Catapult
12. The Saints – This Perfect Day
13. The Cigarettes – All I Want is You
14. Alternative TV – Action Time Vision
15. Male – Risikofaktor 1:X
16. Subs – Gimme Your Heart
17. Rudi – Big Time
18. Helter Skelter – I Need You
19. Urinals – I’m Like You
20. Clive Langer – The Simple Life

Little Fluffy Clouds This is me in 1992.
1. Renegade Soundwave – Murder Music
2. Pop Will Eat Itself – 92ËšF (The 3rd Degree)
3. Meat Beat Manifesto – Psyche-Out
4. Psychic TV – I.C. Water
5. Aphex Twin – Analogue Bubblebath 1
6. Orbital – Chime
7. The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
8. Ultramarine – Stella
9. 808 State – Pacific 202
10. Tranquility Bass – They Came In Peace
11. Richard H. Kirk – The Feeling (Of Warmth and Beauty)

Frozen Warnings “Arty” mix, some “world” and some “hippie” stuff. Best Viva playlist ever?
1. John Cale – Frozen Warnings
2. Popol Vuh – Gemeinsam Tranken Sie Den Wein
3. Catherine Ribeiro – Un Sourire, Un Rire Des Éclats
4. Mahogany Brain – Silkskin Dawn
5. Illitch – N.A. (No Answer)
6. Faust – Baby
7. Rita Lee – Vamos Tratar Da Saudade
8. Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies – Moonsong: Pelog
9. Franco Battiato – Areknames
10. Hapshash & The Coloured Coat – The New Messiah Coming 1985
11. Amon Düül – Bitterlings Verwandlung
12. Comus – The Herald
13. Nico – Frozen Warnings

That’s it for now, go listen to all of them, let me know what you think, thanks.


mp3,Old Music,Radio — Dan on May 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Things are pretty busy for The Lines so I figured it was time for another update, and while I’m at it, why not share some music?

First, The Lines appeared on Ambrosia Rasputin’s show on Resonance FM a few months ago, as mentioned here. Mr. Rasputin played some selections including some releases Rico Conning worked on both now, like a beautiful track from Torch Song’s Laurie Mayer, and then, like a classic song from the Swan’s Children of God, which Rico engineered. And of course they played some Lines.

Around 5 minutes and 30 seconds in, Rico announces a selection from their forthcoming album. That’s right, another Lines release! For everybody who thinks they’ve heard it all, Memory Span and Flood Bank simply comprise the complete RELEASED output of the Lines. After the release of their final album, they continued recording, moving further into electronic, dance and experimental territories. Acute is planning on releasing this as a limited vinyl and digital download, and other then the few times this has been played amongst friends, this is probably the first time anybody has heard this. The song Single Engine Duster is an instant Lines classic…the songwriting and melodies are as good as anything they had released, but the production is more aggressive and electronic then anything they’d done till then.The rest of what will make up this album is varied in style and as good, ranging from atmospheric instrumental grooves that sound like Savage Republic jamming with Cabaret Voltaire to (almost) straight up vocoder and drum machine electro-funk. Really amazing stuff and a few of the super-fans who’ve heard it have ended up liking some of it better then the stuff that actually was released!

Later in the set, the Lines played live, mixing old unfinished tapes with new live improvisations. Very krautrock, very cool.

And that wasn’t the last time they’d get some radio attention in the past few months. At the end of March, Henry Rollins played a track from Flood Bank on his KCRW radio show. We’re proud to say that Henry seems to be a fan of Acute and has played most of our releases on his radio show. You can check the tracklisting and info for the show here, unfortunately it seems it’s no longer archived, sorry I didn’t post about this sooner. I know Henry has played Metal Urbain and Ike Yard among other Acute releases, and he always makes a point of saying how he makes sure to check out our releases because he seems to trust our judgement. You should too!

Meanwhile, beyond their appearance on Resonance, The Lines continue to meet up and play together. With hope, this will result in some shows and maybe even some new recordings! Make sure you befriend them on Myspace to keep up to date on all the details, though obviously I’ll keep posting here.

Before I go, I figured I’d share some more Lines rarities. First we have the version of On the Air recorded at Alaska Studios. After the release of the On the Air single but before the recording and release of the Cool Snap EP, the band went into Alaska to record a possible album. This included new recordings of On the Air and Not Through Windows from the single, early versions of the Cool Snap songs, a very early version of Nerve Pylon, and 3 otherwise unheard songs, Time To Go, Uneasy Affair and Blisstability–the latter two making their first appearance on Acute’s Memory Span compilation. (or Hyped2Death’s Messthetics 102, if you’re really keeping track). Time to Go and the other early versions will remain in the vaults for now, but here’s On The Air…

On the Air (Alaska version)
control-click to download

Another awesome–and even more essential–rarity, is the original version of the song Transit. Recorded for their second Peel Session, Rico would rewrite the lyrics before the final version that appears on the single and on Memory Span. This version is more direct, aggressive and has the classic Peel Session raw intimacy lacking in the more subtle and produced final version.

Transit (2nd Peel Session)
control-click to download

So enjoy these tracks and check out the Ambrosia Rasputin jam session and the special sneak-preview of our next Lines release, which you will be hearing plenty about soon enough.


All Posts,mp3,Old Music,Radio — Dan on February 25, 2009 at 12:14 pm

The Lines are back! I’m excited to report that The Lines have been rehearsing again for the first time in many years. They hope to play some shows and record some music. I’ll do my best to keep you informed here on this blog, but the best way to follow them would be to check out their myspace page here. We’ll be adding more press and information and the guys will be be posting to the blog with announcements, such as this one…

Resonance Radio appearance

Dear best friends,

we have been cordially invited to join Mr Ambrosia Rasputin on his wednesday evening, wireless show. Show starts at so make sure your generators are fully wound and batteries loaded. We will play some of our recorded music, which has not been heard since the mid – 1980s and then, only by a minute portion of the conescenti. We will also play music by other artistes, and although there will only be three of us: Rico; Michael and Nick, we aim to perform live, making it up on the spur as it were. Resonance Radio 104.4 Fm

So definitely tune in tonight, 9pm UK time, to Resonance Radio 104.4 Fm in London, or online here.

Meanwhile, accolades for Flood Bank continue to pour in. Check out Andy Kellman’s 8/10 review at allmusicguide, an extensive 8/10 review by Timothy Gabriele for PopMatters, and Kris Need’s 4 star review for Record Collector in which he states The Lines are “Monstrously ahead of their time”. Extra thanks to Kris for letting us use his 1981 interview with the band from Zig Zag magazine in the liner-notes for Flood Bank. Both Lines releases got a mention in Simon Reynold’s ‘Year in Reissues’ feature for The Wire’s 2008 Rewind issue, where Flood Bank was also listed in the Office Ambience chart.

Also make sure you check out the January 2009 issue of Dazed and Confused magazine for a great 4 page feature on the band with some more of Martin Mossop’s photography. Great article, but features the glaring mistake of calling Acute a “Brooklyn” label. I know Brooklyn is the hippest place on earth, but technically we are based in DC and the slightly less hip borough of Queens. Gotta represent!

What can we expect in the future? Hopefully some live shows and new music and in the meantime, they’ve been going through the archives and digging out more old stuff, unreleased stuff better than most bands released stuff, I assure you! More info about that soon!


All Posts,event,Old Music,Radio — Dan on December 9, 2008 at 12:32 am

To help celebrate the 35th anniversary of NYU’s radio station, WNYU, 89.1, I’ve been invited to DJ Wed night on (Make The) Product, Jacqueline Castel’s awesome radio show dedicated to DIY music. For a year or two, (Make The) Product has been an amazing outlet of self-released underground music. Because WNYU is looking back, I’ve been invited to play some DIY music from the days of old. I’ll be playing a lot of my favorite music from that fertile late 70s/early 80s period when DIY really came into it’s own, focusing on self-produced and self-released music, as well as some of the crucial—or just cool—small labels/collectives. Expect to hear the Desperate Bicycles, Scritti Politti, The Homosexuals, Throbbing Gristle, Metabolist, Thomas Leer, Robert Rental, Funboy Five, One Gang Logic and selections from cool labels like Object Music, Propeller Records, Waldos and Absurd Records.

There may also be give-aways to WNYU’s 35th anniversary concert, featuring Pylon, Christmas Decorations and others. Here’s WNYU’s blurb…

*Wednesday December 10, 7:30-9 p.m.: *DAN SELZER Guest DJ Set on (Make The) Product!

In honor of WNYU’s 35th Anniversary, (Make The) Product! will be doing a special broadcast to survey the d.i.y. and small press underground music scene from the past 35 years, with an emphasis on the late 70s/early 80s d.i.y. scene. The show will be joined by Dan Selzer, founder of local label Acute Records (with reissues from The Lines, Fire Engines, The Prefects, &
Theoretical Girls to name a small few), for a guest DJ set on the show. Don’t miss this show during a very special anniversary week at WNYU Radio!

(Make The) Product is a weekly 90 minute radio program on WNYU devoted exclusively to demos and otherwise self-released, small press, and live recordings with limited to no distribution. Check the website ( for playlist archives, show listings, and postings on guests, live sets, and interviews! Tune in each Wednesday with
your host Jacqueline from 7:30-9 p.m. on WNYU Radio.

and the official show information/description…

(Make The) Product!
Wednesdays 7:30-9pm
WNYU 89.1 FM NewYork

Producer/Host: Jacqueline Castel (

(Make The) Product! is a weekly one-hour radio program dedicated to demos and otherwise self-released, private press, live, or found recordings with limited distribution. Be it freak folk, experimental, noise, punk, or free form psych drones, (Make The) Product! seeks out the rarest in vinyl, tape cassette, and CD-R releases from the local and international underground.

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All Posts,Old Music,Radio — Dan on May 27, 2008 at 2:29 pm

The law of diminishing returns…the first few times I posted about my Viva Radio shows, I included a picture of the record’s sleeve and a paragraph or 4 about each selection. The last time, I skipped the artwork. This time, I’m skipping the descriptions completely. I have more important things to do, including writing about Acute’s latest release, Memory Span by The Lines. However I thought I’d share the playlists to the last three shows, all of which can be streamed from my Viva Radio show page, Pyjamarama. Maybe if I have time I’ll come back and rant about each track, for the two of you that would care.

O.K. Let’s Go

This was a return to my UK DIY roots. Not that I was listening to the Scrotum Poles while in middle school, but during the period when I was first discovering tape trading on the internet and making my first internet radio playlists (on Supersphere, which I think is gone). I think I stopped making mixes of this stuff because eventually I could just say, “go buy some Hyped2Death CDs” Some of these tracks are on the Hyped2Death Messthetics CDs, some I discovered from the 2 volume Instant Pop Classics bootlegs, some I got turned onto by Steve at Low Down Kids, a few songs care of fellow fans Michael Train and Joshua Gabriel and the rest here and there. These are mostly DIY, lo-fi, low-budget UK post-punk pop gems. The music ranges from twee and quaint to arty and avant-garde, but it’s all quite catchy.

1. I Jog & The Tracksuits – Redbox
2. The Funboy Five – Life After Death
3. Bathroom Renovations – Intensely Henna’d
4. Thin Yoghurts – Girl on the Bus
5. Scrotum Poles – Pick the Cat’s Eyes Out
6. The Farmer’s Boys – Drinking and Dressing Up
7. IQ Zero – I Must Obey
8. Grow Up – Missing
9. Steve Miro – Smiling in Reverse
10. Slight Seconds – New Me
11. One Gang Logic – Who Killed Sex?
12. Metropak – O.K. Let’s Go
13. Desperate Bicycles – (I Make the) Product
14. Mud Hutters – Water Torture
15. Club Tango – FTN
16. Beach Bullies – Windowshopping
17. To The Finland Station – Betray
18. Happy Refugees – This is Cold
19. Beyond the Implode – This Atmosphere
20. Tronics – Baby’s In a Coma
21. Versatile Newts – Blimp
22. Graph – Drowning

The Crunch
This is more post-punk, mostly, and of a decidedly more “funky” style. I wasn’t trying to do a strict “post-punk funk” dance mix or anything, just picking some more of my favorite post-punk type tracks that you could possibly dance to, depending on level of inebriation most likely. Or angst. These aren’t floor-fillers or anything, though Carl Craig did steal one of these, but they’ll definitely get you shaking in your seat. I know all over people say they play “post-punk” at their dance parties, which usually means Bloc Party and the occasional Gang of 4 selection. This is one version of a post-punk dance party.

1. The Nightingales – The Crunch
2. Boots for Dancing – Hesitate
3. Manicured Noise – Metronome
4. The Tea Set – Tri-X Pan
5. Funkapolitan – As Time Goes By
6. Au Pairs – It’s Obvious (Peel Session)
7. The Raincoats – Balloon
8. Dislocation Dance – Roof is Leaking
9. Gist – Clean Bridges
10. Design for Living – Red Ribbon Day
11. Family Fodder – Silence
12. Flying Lizards – Steam Away
13. Camberwell Now – Speculative Fiction
14. Scritti Politti – P.A.S

Transparent Radiation
This was describes as “kinda 80s, kinda psychedelic”. Not the most specific theme, just some slightly spacey stuff, 60s influenced post-punk type stuff. Some not that 60s or psychedelic, but just stuff I thought would fit nicely. I think I did an OK job.

1. The Tea Set – The Preacher
2. The Stranglers – Let’s Tango in Paris
3. Psychic TV – Just Like Arcadia
4. Echo & the Bunnymen – I’ve Read it in Books
5. The Teardrop Explodes – Camera Camera
6. Clinical Noise – Venus Comes
7. Schleimer K – She’s Gone
8. The Servants – Transparent
9. Sun City Girls – Soft Fragile Eggshell Minds
10. Meat Puppets – We’re Here
11. Robyn Hitchcock – Acid Bird
12. Opal – Happy Nightmare Baby
13. Sonic Youth – Tom Violence
14. Swans – The Other Side of the World
15. Live Skull – Demon Rail
16. Spacemen 3 – Ecstasy Symphony/Transparent Radiation (Flashback)


All Posts,Radio — Dan on April 16, 2008 at 1:06 am


Thursday afternoon, April 17th, catch the PART TIME PUNKS radio show special focusing on Acute Records. PART TIME PUNKS is the DJ partnership of Benny Shambles and Michael Stock. It’s a club night every Sunday at The Echo in LA, and it’s a radio show Thursdays on KXLU 88.9 FM from 2pm to 6pm PST (or 5pm to 9pm Eastern, or as I call it, normal time). So if you’re in the LA area thursday, be sure to tune in and if you’re anywhere else, you can stream at the KXLU website.

Benny Shambles and Michael Stock, photo: Alex Prager

And what’s so special? Well, they’ll be playing selections from many of Acute’s great releases, as well as some likeminded stuff such as the bands that got me into all of this like the Homosexuals and the Desperate Bicycles. They’ll also be playing some Carpark and Paw Tracks stuff, to make sure KXLU’s ASCAP reporting fills the fat pockets of my partner Todd Carpark. Even more special, they’ll be playing not only tracks off our upcoming CD Memory Span by The Lines, but some demo and unreleased material, including a track from the never released lost “3rd album”. And if that wasn’t enough, there will be a few CD giveaways. And if you act now, you get a second Flowbee, the Showtime Rotisserie and the football phone. Hurry while this offer lasts!

So spread the word. More info about The Lines releases coming to this website very soon.


All Posts,Old Music,Radio — Dan on April 2, 2008 at 1:19 am

Just thought I’d post the tracklists of my two most recent Viva Radio shows, both available in the archives of my show Pyjamarama. I’m gonna try to chill on the extended essays regarding each track, there’s gotta be some mystery in life, right? Actually I’m just too lazy.

The first show focused on the prettier side of early Detroit Techno and some likeminded sounds coming out of Chicago in the mid/late 80s/early 90s and some of the early UK IDM that drew so heavily from Detroit. This may not be “pretty” to some people, I guess one person’s ecstatic vision of a slightly-melancholic utopian future is another person’s mind-numbing repetition of bleeps and bloops.

I first got into techno via the likes of 808 State, the Orb, Moby and acts better left unmentioned, but the discovery in the summer before my first year of college of the just released Warp Artificial Intelligence CD, with massive US distribution thanks to Wax Trax/TVT, really blew me away. The concept of electronic music not made for dancing really jibed with my interest in the likes of Wendy Carlos and Vangelis, but the dance music influence was unmistakable. Within a few years, IDM as it would be titled, went further and further from it’s roots in more experimental, and to me less appealing, directions. No matter as my arrival to college lead me to the roots of this music…all the artists listed as influences in the very educational liner notes of the Artificial Intelligence CD. I knew the experimental/industrial/new wave side of things, but who was Rhythm is Rhythm? I soon found out and spent the next several years with a tape of Detroit Techno permanently in my car’s tape deck, driving back and forth between New York and Cleveland, Pennsylvania country-side flying by to the tune of what was surely the music of the future. Alternately, in my friends car with Black Dog’s Bytes and B.12’s Electro-Soma…he had a CD player. Not all of this is “dance music” but it’s all Techno one way or another and it all still sounds like the future to me.


1. Long Ago – A Relic
Derrick May and/or Carl Craig from the Transmat Relics comp

2. Model 500 – Infoworld
Juan Atkins techno perfection, also on Relics, from the Ocean to Ocean 12″.

3. Stasis – vcf
Early IDM, 1993 UK techno track from Steve Pickton, on the Redcell/Stasis compilation. Redcell was B.12.

4. Mr. Fingers – Stars
Chicago House god Larry Heard in 1987, I think it’s only available on bootlegs now. Stuff like this made me confused about what the difference was between House and Techno back then. Shockingly beautiful, surprisingly remiscent of Severed Head’s Dead Eyes Open.

5. Ron Trent – Altered States (Terrace Light City Mix)
Not sure when this came out, it’s been remixed and re-released about a thousand times. I think from 1990. The original version is pure minimal Chicago Techno House, this remix is from Terrace/Stefan Robbers from the Netherlands.

6. Reel By Real – Aftermath
Martin Bonds with Juan Atkins. This was on the Techno Two compilation, and thus made it onto my detroit techno tape, and along with Infoworld and many other classics, supplied the soundtrack to many 8 hour car trips along route 80.

7. B.12 – Telefone 529
B.12 were the purists of the IDM/Artificial Intelligence set, their CD Electro-Soma is about as perfect as Detroit Techno gets, no matter where it’s made. This track, released as Musicology, is on the Artificial Intelligence comp.

8. Fuse – Dimension Intrusion
Another classic from the early days of AI. Fuse was yet another project from Richie Hawtin of +8 records, at that point probably best known for Cybersonik. Most of Fuse’s tracks were minimal/banging techno cuts, this was like his ambient track or something. Has he done anything this good since? Has anybody?

9. Drexciya – Aqua Worm Hole
Even in the weirdest most experimental corners of the neo-electro revival of the mid 90s a group like Drexciya could still show that shimmering celestial quality of these heartfelt synthetic emotions.

10. Underground Resistance – Quadrasonic
Another group known best for noisier and more banging stuff, this is a relatively early UR track that creates and trippy, spacey atmosphere with a bubbly and yes, pretty, acid line.

11. The Black Dog – Techno Playtime
Another of the Artificial Intelligence/early IDM groups, the mysterious Black Dog were like the opposite of B.12. They mined the entire history of late 20th century dance music and threw it in a blender. Echoes of Detroit, Chicago, New York, breakbeats, disco, whatever, all thrown together with odd time-signatures and abrupt changes, defying you to actually dance to it, while still sounding like dance music. This is an early track. The CD Bytes is super essential, you can probably get rid of every other “IDM” CD ever if you have that.

12. 0733 – Synthetic Emotions
Far as I know there’s only two 0733 releases, both credited to one Casey Tucker. The first one, with production by Richie Hawtin and on Hawtin’s other label, Probe, features the songs Loner, which ended up on the ubiquitous Probe Mission USA CD which you’d find in the techno compilation section of every Sam Goody in America somewhere between Zoo Rave and Rave Til’ Dawn. It’s a pretty perfect song. The second release, without a Hawtin credit but again on Probe is the Intelligensia EP from 1992, which features this song, which gave this show it’s name, for obvious reasons. SO BEAUTIFUL!

The next show probably came from the urge to continue down an electronic dance path as I was feeling like I made too many rock playlists. I started with an old electro-funk playlist, got rid of some of the more obvious choices and made it more eclectic, grabbing some not quite electro hip-hop, some breakdance type stuff, even some techno and freestyle. Lots of vocoders of course. Some influence from a few classic compilations. Streetsounds Electro comps, the Beat Classic comp, etc.

1. Newtrament – London Bridge is Falling Down
UK electro-funk from the early 80s.

2. The Russell Brothers – The Party Scene
I don’t know anything about this more then what I read on the StreetSounds comp and quickly forgot. Pretty dope and slept on track.

3. Fearless Four – F-4000
Mike Simonetti used to play this all the time. I think electro-funk DJs don’t know this because it’s from a “rap” group. Some of the dopest vocoder rapping ever.

4. Kraftwerk – Computer World
They had to be in here somewhere.

5. Model 500 – Night Drive (Time, Space, Transmat)
Juan Atkins once again. He started with Cybotron which was New Wave meets Prince meets electro-funk. Night Drive, along with No UFOs and Future represent the transition from electro-funk to techno.

6. Freestyle – Don’t Stop the Rock
Pretty Tony electro-funk freestyle party jam. If this doesn’t get them dancing, it’s time to go home.

7. Rocksteady Crew – Rocksteady Crew
First heard this on Night Flight’s take off on dancing on USA cable tv late saturday night sometime in the late 80s. Pretty goofy but insanely infectious. Should they have stuck with their day jobs?

8. Fearless Four – Rockin’ It
Another from Fearless Four, rocking it to Kraftwerk’s Man Machine. They had another jam called Just Rock which is them rapping over an insanse version of Gary Numan’s Cars. This is one overlooked old-school rap crew due for serious hipster reappraisal.

9. Faze One – Get Buzy
I know nothing about this other then it’s from England and was on StreetSounds Electro 20, and is exactly the kind of weird shit that would never fly in America but ends up sounding like hip-hop from mars, and thus, pretty wonderful.

10. B+ – B-Beat Classic
1983 West End classic, Spyder-D re-arranging the Sessomatto break. This appreaed on the 1997 Beat Classic compilation, an awesome collection of hip-hop stuff that sorta fell through the cracks in the mid 80s.

11. Levi 167 – Something Fresh to Swing To
Getting further away from electro, more of a boom-bap hip-hop kind of thing but it seemed to fit fine. Levi 167 was a grafitti artist, this came out on B-Boy Records in 1987. The instrumental version appears on the aforementioned Beat Classic comp, but as usual, I like the rap.

12. Man Parrish – Hip Hop Be Bop (Don’t Stop)
I don’t think I need to say anything about this. How about another personal anecdote? First year of college, Sarge’s Records in Oberlin, Ohio was going out of business selling off all their vinyl for a buck or two a piece. Todd Hutlock, the same fellow who was hooking me up with Detroit Techno CDs said “go check out the sale, there’s some classic electro stuff there”, and I bought this 12″. Now I know it’s pretty ubiquitious, but I’d never heard anything like that before in my life. For what it’s worth, I like the flipside, Heatstroke, even better, it’s more electro-disco than electro-funk, but both sides are totally awesome.


All Posts,New Music,Old Music,Radio — Dan on February 18, 2008 at 2:33 am

I know I said at least one post a week and promised all kinds of subjects. I say a lot of things. And if I deliver on 1/6th the promises I make, that’s still quite a bit of deliveries. I’ve got some updates and recaps coming up as well as some news and briefings, but for now I’ll just tell you about my latest Viva Radio show, Strange Kicks, another collection of slightly off rock and or roll. Check it out soon before it’s replaced with my forthcoming Viva show which will be all techno, all of the time.

There was no particular theme or genre for this show, but I was probably inspired by a package of CDs I got from Overground Records in the UK which included reissues of records by Alternative TV, The Mirrors and Vic Godard & Subway Sect. It’s not even as if these three bands sound alike and it’d be impossible for me to explain what would tie this selection together. I suppose it’s all rock-n-roll. It’s all a bit damaged, a bit fuzzy at parts. I should just get started. It’s getting late and there’s a lot to do.

1. Lou Reed–Real Good Time Together
I was really late to this record, totally slept on it for years. Man how my life would’ve been better if I had a copy of this in high school instead of New York. I’ve always been a sucker for conventional wisdom and only recently came around to the bulk of Lou’s post Berlin, late 70s/early 80s output, and Street Hassle is arguably the peak. First of all, the production is some of his most fuzzed out sounds, no wonder Spacemen 3 wrote a song called “Ode to Street Hassle”. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded 1/3rd in the studio, 1/3rd live and 1/3rd in the bathroom. Awesome female backing vocals. Don’t even get me started on the song Street Hassle, 11 minutes of cellos, poetry residing somewhere between Transformer and the Blue Mask, and a visit from Bruce Springsteen.

2. Car-sick Cars–Rock ‘n’ Roll Hero
One of the great benefits of, other then the free Macy’s gift card and the photos I can’t believe she would post them online, is the random friend requests from bands. I know you got 10 yesterday and they all sucked. Well I run a record label, which means I got 100 yesterday and they all sucked. Believe it or not, this particular post-punk reissue label is not interested in your heavy-metal emo trip-hop band from Moscow. But I try to take the time to check out the bands because for every clueless act that wants to get signed, there’s actually bands who are familiar with the music Acute has released, maybe they’re even fans.

One day I received three friend requests from bands/acts in Beijing, China. A bit of research led me to realize the common thread was an artist named Shou Wang, who seems to be a central figure in what is being called the “No Beijing” scene. The three pages were for himself, a project called White and the Car-sick Cars. The range of influences listed on the White page and his own page are wide-ranging and faultlessly hip, not to mention very much in line with my own. Einsturzende Neubauten, TG, Glenn Branca, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, etc. The music on those two pages are an eclectic selection of noise and minimalist inspired pieces.

I was more excited, however, by Car-sick Cars, his “rock” band. This particular list of influences pretty much sums up a large selection of my record collection. Branca, The Clean, The Fall, Joy Division, Neu!, Sonic Youth, Suicide, Swell Maps, Theoretical Girls etc. The music they make is noisy indie-rock with the minimal, chiming riffing of the early 80s post-punk and NZ bands and big accessible hooks like Daydream-era Sonic Youth. According to his myspace page, Shou Wang has played with Glenn Branca, Elliot Sharp, Neubauten and Car-sick Cars even appropriately opened for Sonic Youth. Hopefully they’ll get a full-length out soon, maybe they’ll even come play in NY. Check out all their songs on the myspace page, they’re great.

3. The Bizarros–White Screen Movies
What was in the water in Ohio in the 70s? Don’t answer that. The Cuyahoga River may have caught fire, but that was in Cleveland. Whatever was going on in Akron was equally bizarre. Like their counterparts in Cleveland, the Bizarros had a severe case of Velvet Underground fever. This song, the last on their 1979 LP, has that 1-4-5 repetition, chugging guitars and killer droning combo organ that so many of the best Velvets followers mined. It pretty much starts and never lets go. Also like some of their counterparts in Cleveland, the Bizarros have been severely overlooked. Post-VU rock that fell through the cracks of the mid/late 70s. Clearly too accomplished and too adult to be punk-rock, but too angry and too weird to be mainstream.

4. Mirrors–Another Nail in the Coffin
Speaking of Cleveland. For those new to CLE rock, well, the Velvets played there and Boston, so in the 70s we get Pere Ubu and the Modern Lovers. That’s the simplified story. There was an exciting scene of several interconnected bands, The Electric Eels, perhaps the noisiest band of the 70s, if not just in Ohio, the Styrenes, who had a considerably artier approach with keyboards and art-rock songs, and right in the middle of the two, The Mirrors, simply a great rock band, operating very much as I described The Bizarros above, a mix of post-velvets rhythm and the kind of grungey art-rock song that could only come from Ohio. What original recordings existed were compiled on Overground Record’s great “Hand in my Pockets” compilation, but the band reunited in 1989 and recorded Another Nail in the Coffin, now available in an expanded version on Roir. These songs, and many more that appear on this playlist, would fit nicely on an earlier Viva playlist I did called “Drano in My Veins”. Well worth checking out if I may say so myself.

5. Anthony Moore–Judy Get Down
Where do I start with Anthony Moore, or More, as he’s sometimes known. He wrote some of the lyrics on Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason record. No, that’s far from his greatest accomplishment, though I assume he’s friendly with Dave Gilmour and I’m always touched to see remnants of the Floyd’s past as a british art-rock band, like bringing Robert Wyatt on stage to do the “Hello…is there anybody out there” portion of Comfortably Numb. Anthony Moore has more interesting things in his history, starting in the early 70s when he ended up recording two wonderfully fun, slightly silly, often beautiful albums of minimalist type music, Pieces from the Cloudland Ballroom and Secrets of the Blue Bag, as well as another more quirky and less listenable experiment called Reed Whistle and Sticks. About that same time, Moore and childhood pal Peter Blegved, along with Moore’s girlfriend Dagmar Krause, formed my favorite band of all time, Slapp Happy, and recorded some awesome records with Faust as a backing band. I’m not going to spend hours talking about Slapp Happy, but will recommend you read Phil Turnbul’s essay here. I’ll write my own appreciation eventually, I’m sure! The mid 70s brought his first solo art-pop LP, Out, which features some delightful songs, but this was followed by two records, 1978’s Flying Doesn’t Help and 1981’s World Service which rock that punk/post-punk/new wave influence anger, angst and sound, but with his unique style of art-rock/pop. Judy Get Down/Lucia is the single taken from Flying Doesn’t Help.

6. The Fans–Dangerous Goodbyes
The Fans were arguably the first New Wave band in Georgia. Now, that may not sound impressive at first, but when you think about what followed…The B-52s, Pylon, Method Actors, The Brains, R.E.M., etc, an interesting picture emerges. The main players were Alfredo Villar and Kevin Dunn, and they both seemed to have, amongst various other classic rock influences, a very serious Brian Eno thing going on, which is not a bad thing. However, because of their English art-rock fandom, and having records come out on the UK label Albion (also home to the dB’s), people thought they were british. Some of the sources I learned about them seem gone from the internet, but I think like some of the NY punk bands, while they formed and were an influence as early as early/mid 70s, the records didn’t come out till later on. After their break-up, Kevin Dunn had a vastly underrated solo career putting out a series of LPs and singles that are very cool and well worth picking up, and you should still be able to find them cheap. Dunn also produced Pylon’s Cool and the B-52’s Rock Lobster, and if that doesn’t get him into the hall of fame along with R.E.M.(who’s Mike Mills played with the Fans on a few occasions)…

However, the song I’ve included here, Dangerous Goodbyes, was written by the more mysterious Alfredo Villar, who I think left the music biz. The fuzzy, droney nature of the guitar and snarling vocals and squealing noise has always killed me. The flipside, Dunn’s Cars and Explosions, is no less awesome, and I recommend this single to anyone who likes good music, and nobody who likes bad. The Fans released 2 other singles, which weren’t quite as good, but well worth checking out. True/Deathwish has a classy power-pop song backed with an artier new wave/rock number, while the very rare first single, Lonely Girls/Telstar/Ekstasis is alltogether something else, arch art rock pop and a version of Telstar. Apparently this single made it to the jukebox of CBGBs where it was set at the wrong speed, and the bizarro sped up (or slowed down?) version of Telstar was quite a hit.

One final note about the Fans…prior to breaking up they were joined on synthesizer by Larry Tee, later famous for Ru Paul, and even later, infamous for Electroclash. Now, I’m too young to say I was there when the Fans played in Atlanta, but at least I can say I was at the first (and second) Electroclash festivals. Fischerspooner stole the show, nobody was prepared for Monotrona, and A.R.E. Weapons were not at the top of their game playing to a giant empty nightclub.

7. Devo–The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise
Devo are an obscure band from Akron, Ohio who tried to ride the coat-tails of the Bizarros and Tin Huey. They formed in 1973 and are best remembered for several laser disk video releases in the early/mid 80s. Little else is known about them.

8. Adam and the Ants–Car Trouble

9. The Monochrome Set–Alphaville
Before he was Adam Ant and before discovering the Burundi Beat, before dressing like a pirate or appearing on american TV, he was a punk, and Dirk Wears White Socks is one of the coolest records of the era, and this song is one of the best songs of any era. Punk/post-punk/new wave/glam, whatever, it’s a great record. I love the burundi beat stuff, the pop stuff as well, but this is something else. Even this record however is a progression from his very earliest stuff. Check out this clip of a performance of “Plastic Surgery” which also appears in Derek Jarman’s film Jubilee, which stars Adam as a naive young punk singer. And this very vintage bit of London punk history, a video for the song Dirk Wears White Socks, featuring his co-star from Jubilee, Jordan.

Some of the line-up changes in this period involved 2 members, Lester Square and Andy Warren, leaving one after the other to form The Monochrome Set with the awesome Bid. The first similarity (or was it a reference?) is the first song on the Monochrome Set’s first LP, Strange Boutique, called “The Monochrome Set (I Presume)” which opens with what else, the Burundi Beat, as well as jungle noises. Not the most culturally sensitive moment for the Monochrome Set. Coincidence or a dig at their old bandmate?

Another fun discovery however was from a bootleg of early Adam and the Ants live material from when Lester Square was still in the band. Here they are performing a version of the song Fat Fun sometime in 1978/79, which The Monochrome Set would record later that year with a bit more fidelity on a Peel Session.

Adam and the Ants–Fat Fun, live 78 or 79

To hear the Monochrome Set version, I recommend picking up the compilation Volume, Contrast, Brilliance, which is a collection of their early Rough Trade singles and Peel Sessions. Some of the Peel Sessions tracks would end up on their first few albums, but often these versions are better. The song included in Strange Kicks is Alphaville, the b-side to their first single, He’s Frank which was Rough Trade’s 5th release. A severely underrated band, The Monochrome Set wrote tons of great songs that mixed arch/twee/camp with punk/post-punk awesomeness. Bid is still writing and performing as Scarlet’s Well and even made it to NY a few years ago to play a small show at Knitting Factory backed up by some Brooklyn indie-pop kids. Many Monochrome Set classics were included to my great pleasure.

10. The Fall–Entitled
Following a thread from the Monochrome Set on Rough Trade to the Fall during their post-Rough Trade, Brix era. I’m the type of Fall fan who thinks Brix added a lot to the band, from her back-up harmony vocals (and occasional lead, Hotel Bloedel is amongst my top 10 Fall songs) to her more accessible strumming guitar. Entitled is the B-side to Hey! Luciani, one of the singles from the mid 80s LP Bend Sinister. It’s also available on the 458489 B Sides double CD, something I hadn’t fully dug through for many years, and admittedly only came upon this song pretty recently. What was fun was noticing a melodic similarity to the recently released song Someone Great by LCD Soundsystem. Now, they’ve always worn their influences on their sleeve and I’ve never faulted them for that, there’s a difference between hommage and rip-off. But this is pretty subtle, less vocalizing in a manner reminiscent of Mark E. Smith but playing off his melody. Maybe I’m imagining it. Not that it matters, Someone Great is easily my top song of the last year, so I don’t care where it comes from. What this song really brings to mind is just how beautiful a melody Mark E. Smith could come up with, something not talked about enough.

11. The Nightingales–Which Hi-Fi?
The Nightingales and the Fall have often been mentioned in the same breadth. Both lead by cantakerous and irate working-class (or at least drinking class) British poets and surrounded by a revolving door of musicians. The Nightingales, and the punk band they grew out of, the Prefects, and several other Robert Lloyd projects were favorites of John Peel, giving Robert the second most Peel sessions after Mark E. and company. While researching for the Acute release of the Prefects recordings, I came across an ancient interview with Mark E. Smith where he chides Lloyd for being a great lyricist but not sticking with things. Well, Robert Lloyd has been back in action for a couple of years now and just keeps getting better. Our Prefects CD came out, a string of new Nightingales singles, reissues of the old Nightingales records and several tours. I’m not going to go on about how great they are live now because I need to post about their upcoming tour soon. Meanwhile, while looking for that old quote all I found was a recent one, Mark E. Smith saying “…as usual with Robert Lloyd, excellent lyrics.”

12. Subway Sect–Stool Pigeon
The Subway Sect was one of the original punk bands. Arguably they can be seen as the first post-punk band as well. While their contemporaries were dyeing their hair and ripping their clothes, the Subway Sect wore plain gray sweaters and trousers and sang dour lyrics. They can be seen as a template upon which The Prefects, Joy Division, Fire Engines, Josef K and other punk bands built their sounds and styles, a road different then emulating the Pistols or Clash, I suppose. After 2 singles, in early 78 they recorded their LP but it was never released and eventually lost. The band line-up completely changed and Vic Godard came back with a more old-fashioned style. Great songs, but not the primal seminal punk of the early years. Now, many years later, Vic got back together with some original members and some new and re-recorded the entire album as “1978 Now” and it’s available on Overground Records. As highly recommended as this comes, look for some of the Vic Godard/Subway Sect comps that have come in and out of print over the years so you can check out those early singles and some of the early versions of the LP stuff. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Parallel Lines. Less essential for your listening pleasure would be the version of We Oppose All Rock & Roll/Sister Ray from the Clash White Riot tour where Subway Sect is joined by the Slits and Prefects.

13. Grow Up–River
Grow Up are a mysterious band, or I suppose, a band little is known about. Guitarist John Bisset played in the Spherical Objects and helped run Object Music, the weird ugly duckling of a record label that existed in the shadow of Factory Records. Object Music released a small but eclectic catalog of bands ranging from some pretty out there stuff to some perfectly accessible pop and rock and roll, none of it destined for popularity accept amongst the loyal cult following that would exist over the years (of which I’m a junior member).

The Passage had their first release on Object, which is probably as close to stardom as the label would get. Steve Miro put out two totally wonderful singles and some records. IQ Zero were “Manchester’s answer to Devo” and released 2 singles on Object including the classic “Everybody Kills Insects” which features our anthem “Quirky Pop Music” (lyrics to be posted at a later date).

Most interesting to me is Bisset’s non-Spherical Objects band, Grow Up. There’s 3 singles I know of, this one features three extremely short and extremely sharp art-punk/post-punk type songs that even remind me a bit of the Urinals. Another one, You Are the One/Night Rally is a bit more conventional, with the A-side a perfectly friendly bit of indie-pop. The next single Joanne, is an immaculately produced bit of jazzy new pop sounding like an even better Dexy’s Midnight Runners with great lyrics (will you marry me before I go gray? will you marry me before I go gay?). On top of that there were TWO LPs, neither of which I’ve heard yet despite asking many people including Bisset himself. Any help?

14. The Wild Stares–All We Want
OK this is getting too damn long and I really don’t know much about the Wild Stares so I should keep it short. I know they started as part of the Boston punk/post-punk scene in the early 80s on Propellor Records and were based around Steve Gregoropoulos. I know they moved to LA at some point and put out a series of weird, unique and cool records through the 80s and Steve ended up working with Lavender Diamond. Read some here.

15. The Stranglers–Bear Cage
Now I know I don’t have to go crazy writing about them, there’s this thing called google. Apparently they were a huge band, which probably comes as odd to most young american type music fans working their way back through punk…The Stranglers are one of those bands who’s records are everywhere and you’re supposed to avoid them. Anyway, I already wrote about them in my post about the Wave the Rave Goodbye mix.

16. Alternative TV–Strange Kicks
After being a pioneering punk journalist, a pioneering punk band, a pioneering punk/dub hybrid, Mark Perry of Alternative TV went in some pretty avant-garde directions for a bit with Vibing Up the Senile Man, The Good Missionaries, The Door and the Window. In 1981, Alternative TV perhaps took a stab at the charts with this totally charming and accessible LP on IRS, also issues on CD care of Overground Records. It even has one octave-bassline proto-electroclash new wave dance track in “Communicate”.

17. The Bilders–Starry Day
Oh man it’s getting late I really should just post the tracklisting and ask all my thousands of readers to fill in the blanks, I’m sure somebody can do more justice to Bill Direen then I can. Direen is an underrated and overlooked low-fi rock genius from New Zealand, an entire country of underrated and overlooked low-fi rock geniuses. Flying Nun records released a series of CDs compiling his stuff of which I have two, Max Quitz and Beatin Hearts. They are often every bit as good as Chris Knox/Tall Dwarfs, Xpressway etc etc. Jay from Detailed Tang/Agony Shorthand had more to say.

18. John Cale–Dead or Alive
Sometimes it’s the most accessible and typical songs that are the most powerful. There’s no brutal guitar, no Eno playing the Eno, no droning viola, just pure rock-n-roll heart of the highest order.

19. Lou Reed–Shooting Star
No need to repost the photo. You don’t need to see how cool Lou looks when listening to this song, it just seeps cool out of every note, every distorted guitar riff, every saxaphone blurt. And we’ve come full circle and the cycle is complete.

20. Clive Langer & The Boxes–Had a Nice Night
Or is it? Consider this a coda or something. This is a discovery care of college housemate Oliver, I think on the same mix-tape as Strange Kicks perhaps. There’s plenty to read about Clive Langer on the internet. He was the main songwriter and one of 3 vocalists for post-glam pre-punk art-school outsiders Deaf School. He produced big records for Madness and Dexy’s Midnight Runners with his partner Alan Winstanley and he wrote the music for the movies Still Crazy and Brothers of the Head (which I have on my DVR right now). But what people don’t talk about is his own music, which included this wonderful LP, partially produced by his buddy Elvis Costello. The entire record isn’t as good as this song…few things in this dreary world are, but there are a few highs. But even better was the EP he recorded for Radar/WB called I Want the Whole World. 5 perfect songs…not punk, maybe a bit of the british angry young man thing going on. I don’t know, I just love it. Really big, amazing production, really touching lyrics, easily one of my favorite records that nobody ever talks about. You can get one on eBay right now for 10 bucks. A deal at any cost.

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