CLOSE TO THE NOISE FLOOR: FORMATIVE UK ELECTRONICA 1975-1984

If you were around for the early New Wave era, or just curious about when it was still hungry and vital, then this is a box set that you will love. It showcases the early sounds of the synthesizer used in bands to create sounds, noises and in most cases, songs that still raise the hair on your arms. This collection has sixty tracks across four CD, a great detailed booklet, and has bands that you’ve heard of like the Human League, Blancmange, and OMD, to obscure artists that will make you try to hunt down their music….if you can……

This collection goes from the very experimental, with beeps and other strange noises making up songs, to beautiful soundscapes and early industrial. This was just as punk rock at the time as picking up a guitar, maybe more so, since a lot of these were done on homemade machines and with even cheaper materials. The CDs are packed full of songs that were made in a hurry and not with any eye on being on a chart, just made to do something in the spirit of the times and to create something. To think that a lot of these people have moved on and have forgotten about a lot of this, it’s a great collection to get people to hear things that would have been forgotten except for the greedy and horrible collectors who charge an arm and a leg for these singles online. The big song on here is the Human League track “Being Boiled,” but the others all have their charms and I’m glad to have the chance to hear a lot of music that I never had the chance to hear back then. The remastering is fantastic, especially since some of this came off of cassettes, the sound is clear and makes for a great listen.

I could go on and on about the artists and songs, but you just need to go out and get a copy of this collection. While not being definitive….and how could it ever be? The collection is a great beginning to expanding on your idea of what synthesizer music started out as, as well as being sad at how bad a lot of it turned out later in the ’80s.

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http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

THE BANGLES: Ladies And Gentlemen…The Bangles!

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The Bangles got together and personally picked out these songs, songs from the beginning of their career and remastered for optimal sound. These sixteen tracks are from their debut single, EP, demos, live tracks and compilations. A lot of these are on CD for the first time ever. These songs feature the original line-up of Susanna Hoffs, Debbi Peterson. Vicki Peterson, and original bassist Annette Zilinskas. Michael Steele, who replaced Zilinskas appears only on the live tracks.

I remember seeing their EP back when it first came out in 1982, and could only find it on cassette, so I picked it up and loved it so much. I played it all of the time and waited for new music from them. Of course we got new music a couple of years later and they started to blow up on video shows and radio. This is a great way for me, and those who liked them back them, as well as the curious to hear these great songs. You can hear the youthful energy and pure fun that they had during this period and it’s infectious. You get great covers of The Turtles “Outside Chance,” Paul Revere And The Raiders’ “Steppin’ Out,” and Love’s “7 And 7 Is.” The songs are pure pop that has a nice edge to them and shows that they had the chops to become big……and they sure proved that. It’s great that they have released these songs, and the remastered sound is fantastic too. The album is full of songs that should be classics, and to people who have followed them since the beginning, they are classics.

Yes, they were made in the early 80’s, and they had a 60’s sound to them, but the songs still hold up….good music is good music regardless of the era. Bands nowadays could take a page out of their songbook and realize that you need to do what you love and you will shine, even after all of these years, these songs shine like the sun.

https://www.facebook.com/thebangles/?fref=nf

http://www.thebangles.com/

https://www.facebook.com/omnivorerecordings

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ALIEN SEX FIEND: Classic Albums Volume 2

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Alien Sex Fiend is a combination of goth, new wave, and industrial that has been a going concern since 1982 and still continues now. The heart and soul of the band is Nik Fiend and Mrs Fiend who are like the Energizer bunny……..they keep going and going and going…….thankfully for us all. This is a remastered collection of four albums, and the second such collection of their music in this format. You get Here Cum Germs, Another Planet, Curse, and Open Head Surgery, which is their fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth albums. You also get remastered music, bonus tracks, a booklet, mini LP sleeves and a clam-shell box to store it in.

A fantastic collection of albums that showcase the band at the end of the 80’s and the early 90’s when they were getting a lot of interest in North America as well as the UK and Europe. It has them getting deeper into sampling and electronics and doing more experimental things, but still sounding like themselves. The albums have a great mix of cartoonish lyrics and manic music that mesh together perfectly. Here Cums Germs has a great continuation of their earlier albums, and a foreshadowing of the more electronic sounds coming on the next bunch of albums. Another Planet is just Mr and Mrs Fiend and they put together a great album of solid songs. From “Bun-Ho!” to the covers of “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine,” the album is a treat. Curse has the fantastic “Now I’m Feeling Zombiefied,” and a huge jump into techno, hip-hop style music that is strong on this album, but still retains the feel of the band. Open Head Surgery continues on from the previous album with a similar sound and has the band leaving the batcave/goth sound pretty much in the dust. The remastered sound gives the listener the opportunity to hear the little sounds that got lost on the previous recordings, and the cleaner sound makes for a better listening experience. The bonus tracks are a treat and the information in the booklet is interesting to read.

The band has gone through a lot of different styles and sounds throughout their career, but through it all, they still are Alien Sex Fiend. This band changes, but yet stays the same in a lot of ways………thankfully for us.

http://www.asf-13thmoon.demon.co.uk/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

SHUT UP SIDNEY: Death…And Crime…And The Rage Of A Beast

 

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This band has been around for a while now and has kept up a standard of no misogyny, and no capitalism, and of course Dead Kennedys like punk rock. Ten more tracks of punk that will get you thinking and slamming at the same time.

The band has a Jello Biafra like singer who sings/shouts the venomous lyrics out like a foul flavor that is spat at the listener with energy to spare. The lyrics are thoughtful and insightful, which is a great thing with so much aimless garbage out there. The band is tight and plays with power and just on the cusp of total destruction of their instruments. The songs are great to sing along to, but also great to listen to as well. All of the songs are gripping and will sound amazing in a live setting, with the walls dripping with sweat and the crowd soaked too…just like the shows that I used to go to ears ago. The production isn’t crystal clear, it has a nice grit to it….it’s punk damn it! I hate the perfect little bands that clean it all up and suck all the guts out of the recording, these guys keep the grime in their to make sure you know that they are not a bunch of fakes. The punk is older sounding, more like the early 80’s and sounds great to these ears.My favorite tracks were “Welcome Home, Jesus(Sanitorium),””Wasting The World,” and “Consumer Culture.” Don’t think that the other songs weren’t good, they are, just that these three songs, all in a row, grabbed me the most.

An album for those who like to have something in their head as well as to play loud and slam along to. A great addition to their discography and to your music collection.

https://www.facebook.com/SUSpunk/

https://shutupsidney.bandcamp.com/

http://smokedcheeserecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SmokedCheeseRecords/

TED NUGENT: State Of Shock

 

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Ted Nugent…..what more really needs to be said? A man who could slay with his guitar playing and crazy onstage antics, has pissed off a lot of his fans with his views, but this is just pure rock and roll. This album has been remastered, has an OBI strip and most cool of all…….is on green vinyl.

You get the Nuge still at his hungriest and most blistering playing on this album. Starting with the incredible “Paralyed,” you get an opener that has riffs aplenty and tight playing from the rest of the band that just jumps out at you from the grooves. “Take It Or Leave It” just carries on from the first song with more amazing guitar playing and is beyond catchy. “Alone” is a gentle ballad that shows the tender side of the Nuge and makes for a nice rest before getting back to the rockers. “It Don’t Matter” is one of those songs that should have been a hit song with the terrific playing and the infectious chorus. “Snake Charmer” is another song that should be played over and over again…such a fun song and great to sing along to. The only song that didn’t hit me and knock me over was “I Want To Tell You,” but that still gives you nine out of ten songs that will kick you in the ass. The remastered sound is amazing, you can hear the band’s playing better than ever, with the band’s emotions and energy coming through better than ever. Plus the vinyl looks awesome too, nothing like colored vinyl…lol.

An album that will not only sound great, but will look great being played, plus you don’t have to buy those scratched up used copies from second-hand stores to hear kick ass tunes. Whether you like the man’s ideas or not, this is an album that stands up there with all of his best and still sounds better than a ton of what’s out there now.

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

http://culturefactoryusa.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tednugent

http://www.tednugent.com/

THE RAVE-UPS: Town + Country

The Rave-Ups 1985 debut album Town + Country, has received a long-awaited reissue from Omnivore Records. As frontman Jimmer Podrasky noted on Facebook, “I wrote the liner notes for this reissue of a record that was an important part of my musical past. Hearing this stuff thirty years later is a real treat and I’m very thankful to Omnivore Recordings for making this possible.” The Rave-Ups formed in 1979 in Pittsburgh, PA and relocated to Los Angeles in the early ‘80s. The band released two albums on Epic Records before calling it quits around 1990. Town + Country, which has been out of circulation and almost impossible to find for decades, is the jewel of The Rave-Ups discography. This will be its first domestic release on CD.

If you were a fan of the movie Pretty In Pink, then you have heard two of the songs on here, the fantastic “Positively Lost Me” and “Rave-Up, Shut-Up” that were in the club scenes. With these two great songs, you would have thought that they would have been well-known, but that didn’t happen. The album is chock full of great songs with a touch of country edge, but not enough to make you two-step, just enough to give the songs a different sound than what everyone was playing at the time. A real highlight of the album is the great cover of The Byrds “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.””In My Gremlin,” “By the Way,” and the poignant “Better World” are songs that need to be heard. With the terrific remastering, you can hear every nuance in these songs and feel the raw emotion.

This reissue of Town + Country features the original ten songs, plus a whopping eleven previously unissued bonus tracks, including live radio performances recorded for Deirdre O’Donoghue’s influential Snap program on Los Angeles’ legendary KCRW-FM, as well as 1986 material produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and Mark Linett. A detailed historical essay from the band’s Jimmer Podrasky, complemented by numerous unseen photos from the sessions/era, make this not only a document of time + place, but one that helps document a moment in musical history.

This is an album that needs to be in your collection, one that cries out to be heard, one that you rears will thank you for. Get this and play it often and relive a time in the ’80s when music was in flux and bands were doing all kinds of experimenting with different genres.

https://www.facebook.com/JimmerPodraskyMusic/#

http://jimmermusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/omnivorerecordings

http://omnivorerecordings.com/

STATUS QUO: Hello! /Quo / On The Level / Blue For You

 

 

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Status Quo are an English rock band whose music is characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock. The group originated in The Spectres, founded by schoolboys Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster in 1962. After a number of lineup changes, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969.They have had over 60 chart hits in the UK, starting with 1967’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, and the most recent being in 2010, which is more than any other rock group. Twenty-two of these reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart.

Culture Factory has remastered four of their albums to make them look like albums. with slipcases and even bonus tracks on all of them. Giving listeners the chance to hear these albums in clear, crisp versions is a real treat and makes the albums sound spectacular.

Hello! is the sixth studio album and was released in September 1973, it was the first of four Quo albums to top the UK Albums Chart. In August 1973 the only single from the album, “Caroline” was released, reaching #5. This was the group’s first single to reach the UK top five. Its B-side was a non-album track called “Joanne” and is included on this release. “Roll Over Lay Down” is a tongue-in-cheek lyrical paean to bed space. “Claudie” and “Reason for Living” have a country underbelly that was nevertheless part of Quo’s musical recipe. “Caroline” is perhaps the ultimate Status Quo song, a seemingly simple, catchy rock’n’roll song. Lastly, “Forty-Five Hundred Times” is the quintessential Quo tour-de-force, starting a bit jangly before proceeding into a propulsive, stomping song.

Quo is the seventh studio album by Status Quo from 1974, with the only track to be released as a single was “Break the Rules,” in April 1974, and it peaked in the UK at #8. On this album there is generally a harder edge to the songs and performances, with less emphasis on the more pop side of the band. “Break The Rules” is a chugging, bluesy, driving song with the instrumental section adding a honky-tonk piano solo, and a wailing harmonica. This is an album to please the rock fan, it’s an album that contains enough variation for a listener not to get bored, and instant gratification when you first pick up the disc. The CD also contains the bonus track “Lonely Night.”

On the Level is the eighth studio album and in November 1974 the band released the only single from the album, an edited version of “Down Down.” The single gave the band their only #1 hit to date. Its b-side was the Parfitt/Young album track “Nightride.” This album is one of the definitive Quo long players with every sound, from the opening bars of “Little Lady” to the closing Chuck Berry cover, “Bye Bye Johnny.” The album starts with “Little Lady” and “Most Of The Time,” the first one being a great heavy rocker, and the other one slower with more of a bluesy feel to it. “I Saw The Light” and “Over And Done” are catchy songs that stick in your ears. “Nightride” is slower in tempo,and it’s got a good solid groove to it. Then there’s probably the best-known track from the album, “Down Down.” The opening of the song is so recognisable and it’s one of those tracks that you can’t help foot-tapping along to. This is the album version which is longer and not as concise as the single version that most are familiar with. “Where I Am” is a lovely ballad which is much lighter in tone than the other more rocking tracks on the album. The album closes with the rocking cover of Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny,” a key part of their live shows still. This release also includes the bonus tracks “Down Down (Single Version),” “Roll Over Lay Down (Live Version),” “Gerdundula (Live Version),” “Junior’s Wailing (Live Version),” and “Roadhouse Blues (Live Version).”

Blue for You is the ninth studio album by English rock band Status Quo, released in March 1976 and is both the last album to feature the “Frantic Four” lineup. “Rain”, the first single from the album, reached #7 in the UK charts after its release in February 1976. Its b-side was the non-album track “You Lost the Love.” The album was released the following month. It entered the British album chart at #1 and stayed there for three weeks, making it one of their most successful long players. An edited version of “Mystery Song” was the second single from the album and, released in July that year, peaked at #11 a few months later. “Drifting Away,” from their 1974 album Quo, served as the single’s b-side. In December that year the band decided to release a cover of “Wild Side of Life,” a song made famous by Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys. Its b-side was “All Through the Night,” which reached #9. “Is There A Better Way” has rolling bass, thrashing guitars and a very speedy little guitar solo which almost has the energy of punk rock.”Rolling Home” is another classic with dueling guitars, and wailing harmonica. Blue For You” is a restrained slice of blues/soul. “Rain” rocks really hard, almost borders on heavy metal in places. “Blue For You” retains all the crunch and pleasingly booming bass of all the other songs that came before. “That’s A Fact” has a terrific groove,  “Ease Your Mind” is a great blues boogie song , and “Mystery Song” closes out the album with another great track. The bonus songs on this CD are “You Lost The Love,” “Mystery Song (Single Version),” “Wild Side Of Life,” “All Through The Night,” and “Wild Side of Life (Demo Version).”

If you are a fan, you need to get these great looking and sounding remasters, and if you want to hear a band on top of their game, you definitely have to get these CDs. The sound of a band being everything that they could be and more, now with awesome sound and very collectible.

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http://www.statusquo.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

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