martes, 23 de febrero de 2010

Die Laughing - Heaven in Decline

Genere: Rock/Pop.

Style: Goth Rock, Indie Rock.

Similar Artists: All About Eve, The Shroud.

Recording Year: Grave News, 1997.

Die Laughing originally formed in late 1986-early 1987 (in the flat above the RSPCA in Radford Road, Hyson Green) from the remnants of Vital Stance - a punk band consisting of John Berry (guitar & bass), Ian Fletcher (drums), and Tina Thurman (vocals.)
Vital Stance recorded one three-track demo and played a few gigs around the Nottingham area, but soon after the demo was recorded and with the introduction of Stuart Salt (Johns cousin) on bass, it was a unanimous decision that Alison Turner would replace Tina on vocals, and with this came the change of name and musical direction.

Most people automatically think that the name Die Laughing came from The Missions Wake this is not the case. The name was decided when Alison fell about in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.The rest is history.
This line up played many gigs and released three demos, including one for a single called Insomnia that never happened, and also recorded a track called Wake which featured on a very rare compilation album called Underground Resistance. During this time the band had only one line up change with Rick Martin replacing Ian on drums towards the end of 1987.
The band split in 1988 after the release of their final 4 track demo Of Hearts & Tears, when Alison left. Auditions were held but a new vocalist was never found and the line up members simply moved on.

Four years later in 1992 the line up everyone knows as Die Laughing was born when John Berry (guitars) teamed up with Rachel Speight (vocals) and formed the song writing nucleus of the band.
Within a few months a newly-acquired bass player in the form of Dave Shiner, keyboard player Ruth Tyson and drummer Tom completed the line up. The band recorded their first demo Poems Of Your Life at Cage Studios in Sheffield (recording four early Die Laughing songs) as an experiment to see how things would work. The recording went well but the drummer disappeared soon after and was never heard of again and to this day we have no idea what happened to him!!
After purchasing a drum machine (Dr Duck) and a crash course in drum programming the first gig was on 12 February 1993, held at the famous Narrow Boat public house on Canal Street in Nottingham. From the band's point of view this gig was very successful and would spur them on for several years to come.
The band's second demo Love Amongst The Ruins was recorded in March 1993 and came with a choice of two coloured sleeves, red or blue. The demo contained four brand new tracks highlighting the band's writing capabilities and received excellent reviews from fanzines and underground publications around the world, pushing the band to new heights within the scene.
The band continued writing inbetween a hectic gigging schedule around the UK and late 1993 saw a return to Cage Studios for a self-financed single Nemesis. Four tracks were recorded with the addition of a live session drummer but unfortunately touring and studio costs took their toll on any finances the band had, and the single idea was shelved and the tape released as the Nemesis EP in October 93.

Heavy touring around the UK during the summer of 1994 with Children On Stun had urged the band to bring in another guitarist, Ian Holman, which would add power to the live performance of the band. Due to the success of the tour, it was decided Ian should become a permanent member and contribute to the writing of the songs with John and Rachel.
October 1994 saw the release of the Shadows & Silhouettes cassette which featured a new recording of Nemesis (back with the drum machine) and two new tracks.
Ian made his recording debut with Die Laughing on the band's final visit to Cage Studios in 1995 after the band had been approached by independent London label Grave News Ltd and 'Gothic Rock's Mick Mercer.

Following impressive reviews and gigs the band were asked (and paid) to record two new songs, Harlequin for the Dreams In The Witch House compilation (Grave News), and Safe Little World for Mick Mercer's Gothic Rock 2 compilation (Jungle), both released in 1995.

Die Laughing were now getting worldwide attention and Nemesis was receiving lots of airplay in the clubs of New York, and with this came mail and fanzine interest from the United States and Europe. Things were looking good and the band was signed by Grave News to release a seven-track mini-album Glamour & Suicide.

The band spent one week recording the 13 tracks but opted for a month break before returning to finish and mix the album.
The album was released in May and saw Die Laughing embarking on a short but very successful first trip to Germany with Vendemmian to promote the album in Europe.
On returning to the UK it was announced that the success of Heaven In Decline as an import was so good the licence had been bought by a Japanese label to manufacture and distribute the album for the Japanese market.

Fields Of Haze.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2010

Orgy - Candyass

Genere: Rock/Pop.

Style: Industrial Metal, Electronic

Similar Artists: Godhead, Sevendust, Fuel.

Recording Year: Elementree, 1998.

Spawned by the fertile L.A. alt metal scene, Orgy adds catchy melodic hooks to the familiar mix of crushingly loud riffs and electronic-tinged production. Formed in late 1997, Orgy consists of vocalist Jay Gordon, guitarist Ryan Shuck, guitar synthesist Amir Derakh, bassist Paige Haley, and drummer Bobby Hewitt. Shuck had collaborated on material with Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis, while Derakh had produced several records for already-signed L.A. bands, so it was no surprise that Orgy became the first band signed to Korn's Elementree subsidiary of Reprise Records. Their debut album, Candyass, was released in 1998. Their cover of New Order's "Blue Monday" and second single, "Stitches," instantly pushed them into the mainstream. Dates supporting Love and Rockets and shows with Korn's Family Values Tour only fueled their popularity into the next year. Their experimental sci-fi sophomore effort Vapor Transmission, which hit number 16 on Billboard's Top 200, followed in 2000. Two years later, Jay Gordon and his Dad, Lou Gordon founded their own label, D1 Music. Founding drummer Bobby Hewitt also left the band for a three-month stint in Snake River Conspiracy although he participated in the recording sessions for Orgy's third album. Punk Statik Paranoia was planned for a February 2004 release.

It was only a matter of time before someone added obvious hooks and electronic smarts to the post-industrial roar of alt-metal. That's exactly what Orgy does on its debut album, Candyass. It's hard to call this stuff industrial, since its sensibilities are directly out of metal -- hard-hitting riffs, big hooks, and tight songwriting -- but since Orgy is living in the electronica age, everything is given a computerized surface, complete with processed guitars and thundering digital bits. It's a now sound, no two ways about -- it's of the moment, totally 1998, and that's why it's hard to actually judge its merits. Candyass has the intoxicating rush of a new sound, but it's hard not to feel like all of its pleasures are on the surface. Still, you take pleasures where you can get them, and Orgy offers more than expected on this promising debut.

Fields Of Haze.

Gang Of Four - Peel Sessions

Genere: Rock/Pop.

Style: Post Punk, New Wave.

Similar Artists: The Clash, Band Of Susans, Scritti Politti.

Recording Year: Dutch East India Trading, 1990.

In later years, some bandmembers claimed that the best Gang of Four album of all was, in fact, this collection of three separate sessions from 1979 and 1981. It's little surprise why -- recorded with brisk, blunt immediacy, Peel Sessions is both a showcase for the band's sheer power and amazing transformation of funk and punk for its own virulent ends, with all three sessions featuring the full original lineup. Good production from Bob Sargeant, who produced all tracks except the last three, helps immensely, while there's no track repetition at all. A gripping version of "I Found That Essence Rare" begins the collection, Andy Gill's guitar slashing like a vicious weapon and Jon King's vocals getting even more wired and intense as the song continues. As for the Dave Allen/Hugo Burnham rhythm section, it sounds like it could beat down walls. From there, Peel Sessions serves up one highlight after another. Also from the first session, "Return the Gift" builds to a powerful climax, King's plaintive call "Please send me evenings and weekends" echoing into the distance, while "At Home's He's a Tourist" is stripped-down aggression at its finest. On the second session, "Natural's Not in It" is the standout, featuring some of Burnham's best drumming ever, while Gill's clipped riff gets a deservedly strong performance. King's singing sends everything over the top, while his work on "Ether" is equally strong, balanced between collapsing quaver, simmering outrage, and smooth passion (consider his delivery of the final "white noise in a white room" in the midsong break). His occasional melodica, as heard on "Not Great Men," adds to the performances nicely. As for the last session, the murky, dislocated performance of "History's Bunk" makes for a fascinating, weird listen, while "To Hell With Poverty" tops things off with some brutal disco.

You may also like:

Fields Of Haze.

viernes, 12 de febrero de 2010

Tuxedomoon - Ship of fools

Genere: Pop/Rock

Experimental, Avant Garde, New Wave.

Similar Artists: Tirez Tirez, Peter Principle, Mikel Rouse.

Original Recording Year: Crammed Discs, 1986.

Tuxedomoon was an avant-garde, electronic-oriented collective whose music ranged from new wave pop to jazz fusion to more experimental synthesizer soundscapes (usually including saxophone and violin), which were frequently married in concert to performance-art shows. Tuxedomoon was formed in San Francisco in 1977 by two electronic music students at San Francisco City College, Blaine L. Reininger (keyboards, violin) and Steven Brown (keyboards, other instruments). Brown's local theater connections supplied equipment and occasional vocalists in Gregory Cruikshank and Victoria Lowe, plus more frequent contributions from singer and performance artist Winston Tong. Punk and new wave were opening up the San Francisco music scene at the time, and Tuxedomoon landed an opening slot for Devo in 1978 at around the same time they cut their first single, "Pinheads on the Move." Lowe quit the band before their first EP, No Tears, which featured off-and-on members Michael Belfer (guitar) and Paul Zahl (drums). Tong and Belfer departed temporarily, and Peter Principle (b. Peter Dachert) joined as a full-time member. Tuxedomoon signed to the Residents' Ralph Records in 1979, which eventually got them overseas exposure. Feeling that their ideas were more in tune with the European electronic music scene, the band toured Europe after 1980's Half Mute, for which Tong returned with filmmaker and visual artist Bruce Geduldig. After 1981's Desire, the band relocated permanently to Rotterdam, where Reininger began to branch out as a solo artist. Tuxedomoon was also hired to score a Maurice Bejart ballet, the results of which were released in 1982 as Divine. Reininger left for a solo career in 1983 and was replaced by Frankie Lievaart and horn player Luc Van Lieshout. In between side projects and scoring, the band sought an international deal for their forthcoming LP Holy Wars; it was eventually released in 1985 and became the band's biggest commercial success. Tong left the group for good that year, leaving Brown and Principle the only remaining San Francisco members; multi-instrumentalist Ivan Georgiev was hired to replenish the group's sound for 1986's Ship of Fools album and tour. 1987's jazz-fusion-oriented You was Tuxedomoon's final studio album, although scoring work from past projects was subsequently reissued in Belgium. In addition to Reininger, Brown, Principle, and Tong have all recorded as solo artists.

Fields Of Haze.

sábado, 6 de febrero de 2010

X Mal Deutschland - Tocsin

Genere: Pop/Rock

Post Punk, Darkwave.

Similar Artists: Last Dance, A Split Second, Siouxsie and The Banshees.

Original Recording Year: Nesak International, 1984.

Sounding like howling witches burning at the stake, the ghoulish shrieks of Xmal Deutschland's 1982 debut single "Incubus Succubus" immediately won the approval of goth rock connoisseurs. The German band wasn't able to maintain its black-clad sound, selling out to pop before the inevitable breakup, but Xmal Deutschland competed with Siouxsie & the Banshees for goth royalty. Xmal Deutschland was formed in Hamburg, Germany, in 1980 by Anja Huwe (vocals), Manuela Rickers (guitar), Rita Simon (bass), Fiona Sangster (keyboards), and Caro May (drums). Originally an all-girl lineup, Xmal Deutschland added a male when Simon was replaced by bassist Wolfgang Ellerbrock.

In November 1982, Xmal Deutschland opened for Cocteau Twins in England, and the group caught the attention of the Twins' label, 4AD Records. The band was signed to the label and released their first LP, Fetisch, a year later. Fetisch hit number three on the U.K. independent charts. Xmal Deutschland headlined a U.K. tour in 1983 and recorded a live session for renowned British DJ John Peel. Percussionist Manuela Zwingman quit the group, and Peter Bellendir became the band's new drummer. The similarly gloomy Tocsin followed in 1984. On 1987's Viva, Xmal Deutschland hit their creative peak, puncturing their doom rock sound with the eerie hooks of "Matador" and "Sickle Moon." However, Xmal Deutschland's Halloween days were over by 1989's Devils. Despite its ominous title, the group cheered up, dropped the German lyrics for English, and lost all of their credibility. They disbanded soon thereafter.

Xmal Deutschland's second full-length album is a creative high point, a Teutonic marriage of Siouxsie & the Banshees' inviting Goth-pop and the majestic sonic spaces of the Cocteau Twins. Less offputtingly bleak than the quartet's earlier records, but without the unfortunate candy coating of the albums that followed, these 11 songs are precariously balanced between neo-psychedelic pop in the traditional 4AD style — the opening "Mondlicht" would not sound out of place on a TMC album — and the more aggressive, artsy sound of their first EPs. The former is clearly winning; "Incubus Succubus II," a much glossier remake of the song that first garnered U.K. attention for the group, features a less tortured (but still German-language) vocal from Anja Huwe over a smooth, throbbing pulse that trades in the spiky scrappiness of the original for a clean, but not antiseptic thrust. The clash of styles actually works quite well, giving Tocsin a palpable creative tension that adds a frisson of intensity to what might otherwise be just another collection of Goth-pop tunes.

Fields Of Haze.

viernes, 5 de febrero de 2010

Covenant - Ritual Noise EP

Genere: Electronic.

Electro, Dark Ambient, Club Dance.

Similar Artists: VNV Nation, Wolfsheim, Funker Vogt.

Original Recording Year: Metropolis, 2006.

Fields Of Haze.

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2010

:Wumpscut: - Wreath Of Barbs

Genere: Rock / Pop

Electro Industrial, Industrial Dance.

Similar Artists: Funker Vogt, Haujobb, Front Line Assembly.

Original Recording Year: Metropolis, 2003.

:wumpscut:'s distinct, dark electro sound has been such a force in the industrial scene that it has become a reference point to describe other acts. Characteristically dark yet never quite standing still, Rudy Ratzinger's inflicted expressions bind together anguished synths and a vocal style that is the voice of an imagined genocide. This is the shadowed corner in which Wreath of Barbs lurks.Ratzinger finds new ways to torture his hardware by walking a path between :wumpscut:'s earlier, bleak electro sound; the noisier feel of releases such as Embryodead; and a new glimmer in the darkness. "Opening the Gates of Hell" is an expected :wumpscut: crafting of rough electro and punishing beats painted over with something goth and could be opening the gates if it was meaner and had teeth. :wumpscut: depart from formula, with the (deservedly) title track "Wreath of Barbs" presenting more than the usual routine — the sonorous bass and slow avalanche tempo impel the track into a beautiful disquiet. "Deliverence" is likewise a commanding track, operating in a smoother dancebeat territory than usual for :wumpscut:.Unfortunately, Wreath of Barbs is not just about :wumpscut: hitting new heights. The addition of Aleta Welling's female goth-esque vocals is an experiment that will only work well for the conditioned :wumpscut: fan, and then only some of the time. "Dr. Thodt" is musically an interesting enough track, but the misplacement of the vocals and uninspired lyrics together relegate it to the filler track category. "Line of Corpses" suffers even more, with even less happining lyrically and musically and both vocalists unable to save the track. The better formula would seem to be to leave the vocals at the minimum and work up the music — the heavy synths of "Troops Under Fire," reminiscent of a veteran working over early Mentallo & the Fixer, do not lie. All of this makes Wreath of Barbs a bipolar release of peaks and troughs. There is no question that when it's on, it is some of :wumpscut:'s finer vintage. When it is all averaged out, Wreath of Barbs continues the tradition well — except with more than the a few memorable moments for those who are up to the task.

Fields Of Haze.

miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2010

VNV Nation - Standing

Genere: Rock / Pop

Electronic, Electro Industrial, Dark Ambient.

Similar Artists: Front 242, Covenant, Apoptygma Berzerk.

Original Recording Year: Metropolis, 2000.

The electronic project VNV ("Victory Not Vengeance") Nation was conceived in London in 1990 by Ronan Harris, debuting in May of that year with the 12-inch "Body Pulse." "Strength of Youth" followed a few months later, and at the end of the year Harris relocated to Toronto, where VNV Nation opened for Nitzer Ebb on their Canadian tour. After moving back to Europe, Harris released only a handful of compilation tracks in the years to follow.

Fields Of Haze.

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Seven Year Itch

Genere: Rock / Pop

Post Punk, Goth Rock, British Punk.

Similar Artists: The Fall, Joy Division, The Mekons.

Original Recording Year: Sanctuary, 2003.

Siouxsie and the Banshees were among the longest-lived and most successful acts to emerge from the London punk community; over the course of a career that lasted two decades, they evolved from an abrasive, primitive art punk band into a stylish, sophisticated unit that even notched a left-field Top 40 hit.

Throughout its numerous lineup changes and textural shifts, the group remained under the leadership of vocalist Siouxsie Sioux, born Susan Dallion on May 27, 1958. She and the Banshees' initial lineup emerged from the Bromley Contingent, a notorious group of rabid Sex Pistols fans; inspired by the growing punk movement, Dallion adopted the name Siouxsie and formed the Banshees in September 1976. In addition to bassist Steven Severin and guitarist Marco Perroni, the band included drummer John Simon Ritchie, who assumed the name Sid Vicious; they debuted later that year at the legendary Punk Festival held at London's 100 Club, where their entire set consisted of a savage, 20-minute rendition of "The Lords Prayer."

Soon after, Vicious joined the Sex Pistols, while Perroni went on to join Adam & the Ants. The core duo of Sioux and Severin, along with new guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris, reached the U.K. Top Ten with their 1978 debut single, "Hong Kong Garden"; their grim, dissonant first LP, The Scream, followed later in the year. Two days into a tour for their 1979 follow-up, Join Hands, both McKay and Morris abruptly departed, and guitarist Robert Smith of the Cure (the tour's opening act) and ex-Slits and Big in Japan drummer Budgie were enlisted to fill the void; although Smith returned to the Cure soon after, Budgie became a permanent member of the group, and remained with the Banshees throughout the duration of their career.

With ex-Magazine guitarist John McGeoch on board, the band returned to the studio for 1980's Kaleidoscope, a subtler and more melodic effort than their prior records; on the strength of the U.K. Top 20 smash "Happy House," the album reached the Top Five. A year later, the Banshees released the psychedelic Juju, along with Once Upon a Time, a collection of singles; at the same time, Sioux and Budgie formed the Creatures, an ongoing side project. Following 1982's experimental A Kiss in the Dreamhouse, McGeoch fell ill, and Smith temporarily rejoined for the group's planned tour; a pair of 1983 performances at London's Royal Albert Hall were recorded and later issued as Nocturne. Also in 1983, Severin and Smith teamed as the one-off project the Glove for the LP Blue Sunshine.

After his recovery, McGeoch opted not to return, so the Banshees recruited former Clock DVA guitarist John Carruthers after Smith exited following the sessions for 1984's dark, atmospheric Hyaena. With 1986's Tinderbox, Siouxsie and the Banshees finally reached the U.S. Top 100 album charts, largely on the strength of the excellent single "Cities in Dust." After 1987's all-covers collection Through the Looking Glass, Carruthers took his leave and was replaced by ex-Specimen guitarist Jon Klein and keyboardist Martin McCarrick for 1988's Peepshow, a techno-inspired outing that gave the group its first U.S. chart single with "Peek-a-Boo."

In 1991 -- the year in which Sioux and Budgie married -- the Banshees performed on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour; their concurrent LP, Superstition was their most commercially successful, spawning their lone U.S. Top 40 hit, "Kiss Them for Me." Another singles collection, Twice Upon a Time, followed in 1992 before the group returned after a long absence with 1995's stylish The Rapture, produced in part by John Cale. A year later, the nostalgia surrounding the reunion of their former heroes the Sex Pistols prompted Siouxsie and the Banshees to finally call it quits; Siouxsie and Budgie turned to the Creatures as their primary project, while Severin composed the score for the controversial film Visions of Ecstasy.

It's fairly safe to say that after the rather bland and lackluster, pompous career-ending album The Rapture, hope for a Siouxsie and the Banshees reunion (albeit live or otherwise) was probably less than enthusiastic. Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie had been making post-breakup waves with the Creatures, and Steven Severin seemed to settle in nicely in his little world of ambient music and erotic poetry. All that Banshees business seemed to be locked away in the past. So when it was announced that the reunited core three of Sioux, Budgie, and Severin would be playing a handful of shows across America and England, it was greeted with surprise and curiosity. What would they do? Was this another big cash in on the punk revival, à la the Sex Pistols reunion? Amazingly, it was quite the contrary. The lack of a huge itinerary made the shows that did happen seem more intimate. But the real treat of the shows (especially the London one, captured on Seven Year Itch and its related DVD release) was the set list. While in the States concessions were made for some of the tunes that made a (surprising) dent on the radio, the U.K. set list was a purist's dream. Culling material from early albums such as Kaleidoscope, The Scream, and Join Hands was not only a way to retain some semblance of respect, but it was the logical thing to do given the fickleness of casual fans who probably wouldn't have made the trek to wherever to see them. This tour and its CD and DVD releases were made for the true fans, the longtime supporters who understood that the true magic of the band was found in its ability to make music that was genuinely interesting and out of the bounds of standard play lists and popular fads. A gem of a live record, Seven Year Itch leaves the listener satisfied that for once a great band got together and opted for class instead of mediocrity.

Fields Of Haze.

martes, 2 de febrero de 2010

Virgin Prunes - Heresie

Genere: Rock / Pop

Post Punk, New Wave, Alternative.

Similar Artists: Fad Gadget, PIL, Bauhaus.

Original Recording Year: Mute, 1982.

One of the more adventurous and avant-garde acts to rise out of the punk era, the Virgin Prunes formed in Dublin, Ireland in mid-1977. The group was led by the theatrical singer/songwriter Gavin Friday (born Fionan Hanvey in 1959), who as a teen fell in with a group of like-minded individuals who dubbed themselves the Lypton Village. While some of the social club's members, including a pair of youths named Paul Hewson and David Evans -- later known as Bono and the Edge -- went on to form the superstar group U2, the remaining members founded the less-commercial Virgin Prunes, taking their name from the local slang for so-called "outsiders" and "freaks," a recurring lyrical theme.

Originally comprised of Friday, vocalists Guggi (born Derek Rowen) and Dave-id (David Watson), bassist Strongman (Trevor Rowen), drummer Pod (Anthony Murphy) and guitarist Dik (Richard Evans, the Edge's brother), the Virgin Prunes baffled audiences at their outrageous first concerts, which borrowed more from the approach of performance art than the traditions of rock music. After gaining a cult audience, they issued their first single, the independently-produced "Twenty Tens," which earned them a deal with the Rough Trade label. After the departure of Pod (replaced by Haa Lacka Binttii), the Virgin Prunes released A Different Kind of Beauty, a sprawling, ambitious project made up of four interlocking chapters, released separately on the seven-inch, ten-inch, 12-inch and cassette formats.

Mary D'Nellon took over the drumming chores in time to record 1982's ...If I Die, I Die, a difficult work produced by Wire's Colin Newman which was released simultaneously with the box set Heresie, a performance-art piece which mixed studio and live recordings. In 1984 both Guggi and Dik, disenchanted with the music business, left the Virgin Prunes, prompting D'Nellon to take up the guitar and allowing Pod to return to the fold. The band then set about recording the album Sons Find Devils, which went unreleased.

When the Virgin Prunes resurfaced with 1986's The Moon Looked Down and Laughed, their music had gone through another stylistic change into melodic, ballad-driven pop, signifying Friday's increased fascination with cabaret music. He ultimately left the group in November; the liner notes of the 1987 live release The Hidden Lie contained a short statement confirming the band's break-up.

Fields Of Haze.
Related Posts with Thumbnails