jeudi, août 30, 2007

CHRISTIAN DEATH, a compilation (81/94, death rock)

Change of style.
Yes, a short"gothic" visit in the world of CHRISTIAN DEATH - inventor of the "death rock" (sort of dark punk rock). Not to be confused with the cheap and marketed gothic styled black / heavy metal you meet nowdays with such bands as Cradle of Filth, Marylin Manson etc...

Ok, recently CHRISTIAN DEATH has become one of them, in their later incarnation. But in the 80s, it was a completly different story : created by Rozz Williams, their 1st incarnation released one cult album, "Only Theatre of Pain", regarded as an absolute underground and "batcave" classic : distorted guitars (almost "ring modulated" - to compare with early SONIC YOUTH, yes!), confused drums from beyond, and this desperate voice - in comparison the saddest Robert Smith almost sounds like Sinatra.

After that, the band dissolved, Williams continuing with members of POMPEII 99 (I'm looking for the albums, if they exist, could you share them?), their leader Valor playing the guitar. 2 good albums were made, in a much softer style. This kind of "classic period" is rather dark, but not really "gothic" in my opinion.

Then, Rozz chose to leave the band, Valor becoming the main composer / singer / producer. To my ears, the 2 albums he made from this point, "Atrocities" and "The Scriptures", are 2 dark / psych / punk mixed rock masterpieces, and should be considered by every "weird rock" fans as such. Of course, everything is not good, but the music here is incredibly eclectic. It even reminds me of some krautrock bands like AMON DUUL2 who ignore boundaries in music.

At the end of the 80s, Valor and his friends made 3 contrasted albums, keeping on trying new styles : you'll find some really good things, but so many horrible tunes too... Don't try "All the Love / all the hate" first if you want to enter CHRISTIAN DEATH discography, this imitation of heavy metal is rarely successful. Then Valor stopped.
He came back in the 90s with a new band and made one inspired album, "Sexy Death God" but, unfortunenatly, turned later into black metal parody of little merit (and no interest at all), maybe because he'd gained the interest of the young goth metal fans who possibly consider C.D a godfather of the dark music. Don't loose yourself in this period.

To confuse us a little more, note that while everybody thought he was dead, Rozz Williams came back in the 90s too, with his own CHRISTIAN DEATH (there was a trial for the use of the name) that has nothing in common with Valor's. In my opinion, the 2 or 3 albums and the dozens of live and re-takes sessions of old tracks are rather pretentious and not really interesting, despite what some early fans may think - Rozz finally suicides in 1998, that's probably the reason. On the contrary his band called SHADOW PROJECT, with the same members as this CHRISTIAN DEATH incarnation, made an excellent album (their 1st, untitled) very similar to "Only theatre of pain", with some tracks composed in the early years but that were never recorded...

Ooch, sorry I was long, but it's not easy to explain. Please take a look to All Music Guide, where a very good biography has been made.

For the beginners, I tried a best of, to be heared in chronological order, with this track listing :
1. Deathwish (demo, 1981)
2. Desperate Hell (demo, 1981)
3. Spiritual Cramp (only theatre of pain, 1982)
4. Romeo's Distress (only theatre of pain, 1982)
5. The Drowning (a catastrophe ballet, 1984)
6. As evening falls (a catastrophe ballet, 1984)
7. Lament (Ashes, 1985)
8. The Danzig Waltz (Atrocities, 1986)
9. Chimère de-si de-là (Atrocities, 1986)
10. Strange Fortune (Atrocities, 1986)
11. Four Horsemen (The Scriptures, 1987)
12. Golden Age (The Scriptures, 1987)
13. Erection (sex drugs & jesus christ, 1988)
14. Climate of Violence (all the hate, 1989)
15. Angel (all the love, 1989)
16. Woman to Mother Earth(all the love, 1989)
17. Eternal Love (sexy death god, 1994)
18. Temples of Desire (sexy death god, 1994)

Don't look the povocation and the crow's style, just listen. Who can resist to such songs as Romeo's Distress, Strange Fortune or Temples of Desire?
You tell me after having downloaded this compilation here .

MONTAGE, S/T (baroque pop, 1970)

End of Micheal Browne history on the blog.
Between THE LEFT BANKE and THE STORIES, he joined this band called MONTAGE as a guest (uncredited on the original album). What is amazing is that he probably composed all the songs - what did make the other members?? I'm not sure they composed any album later...
You'll find in this album fabulous "summer" songs, the ideal for listening during your holidays. To my hears, the melodies are much more precious here than in the other albums recorded by Micheal Brown, it's the one you chould try if you're not in "baroque pop" (but what does this mean..? It's more or less like the Beatles, finally).
When I discovered this track called "Grand Pianist", in a summer morning (or was it at night?), I probably repeated it at least 10 times in the iPod... Absolutely magic!!

Believe me, once you listen to this, you'll run to find and buy it. For the moment, it's here.

THE STORIES, S/T (1972, baroque pop)

After the end of THE LEFT BANKE and a unique album with MONTAGE, Michael Brown formed THE STORIES with Ian Lloyd, but left the band just after the release of this first album.
In my opinion - but I'm not a specialist - very similar to LEFT BANKE, with some really good tracks. Nevertheless, it has not much in common with the beauty of MONTAGE's unique release...

Try it here if you already know MONTAGE - if not, download (and buy!) MONTAGE before.

mardi, août 28, 2007

THE LEFT BANKE, first 2 albums (1967/68, "baroque" pop)

I don't have much to say about this legendary band I don't know well at all (posted for a friend). They were featured teenage prodigy Micheal Brown, who will later involved in the even more interesting band MONTAGE (who recorded only one but extraordinary album) and in the first incarnation of an other influencial band of the "baroque" pop wave, STORIES (with a very first album too). Just consider that Michael Brown was 16 or 17 when he wrote and performed this music... Ouch, where was I when I was 16??

Here are the good albums before a third (last, and reputedly) bad recording.

lundi, août 27, 2007

CONSOLE, 14 zero zero / Freiburg EPs (2000, electro-pop

Back to work, with 2 funny and exciting electro-pop tunes by CONSOLE, whose albums are not so interesting (but they are ok if you're in electronica). Basically, each EP here consists in 1 track with several versions (and, for both, an original 1979 version by in a post-punk style. Very funny). As a kind of "bonus track", you'll find a promotionnal 3"CD with "the guide to make a a electro-pop masterpiece", with some de-mixed 14zerozero excerpts. Perfect to begin with.
Download these perfect electro-pop hits here

mercredi, août 01, 2007

Ø, Atomit EP (1995, minimal "techno" / electronica)

PAN SONIC's Mika Vainio is under this "no name" Ø, he made many EPs and albums in this genre I think he's invented - you should buy most of them, they are all really fascinating. More information here.
Among those I have, Atomit EP may contain the track I prefer, on side A. Even if you're not too much in minimal electronica you should try!
Find the LP rip here (no artwork found).

QUICKSPACE, The Death of Quicskpace (2000, indie rock)

As I don't know much about this band I've discovered recently, here is AMG's album review : "Taking a step back from the vast scope and experimentalism of their brilliant, sprawling album Precious Falling, Quickspace's Matador debut, The Death of Quickspace, hones in on the group's precarious, invigorating fusion of giddy noise bursts and moody, hypnotic lock grooves."
You've understand this is their last album, and it was a pretty good surprise when llistening to it : for me it sounds as a mix of NEU and early STEREOLAB (but much better), with very good melodies and some interesting textures in the guitar playing.
You'll find the album here.

ULAN BATOR, S/T (1995, no-wave / avant-rock)

Another band from the french "no wave / avant-rock / post-rock" of the mid-90s, aside from DEITY GUNS / BASTARD / SISTER IODINE. ULAN BATOR are probably the less weird of those bands, but not the less interesting. In my opinion, you'll find here strong early AMON DÜÜL2 (particularly in Phallus Dei period) influences mixed with an obvious SONIC YOUTH fascination for weird distorted chords.
It's a very good album you can download here.