Tag: Gang of Four

Live Footage: Influential Post Punk Act Returns with a Reworked and Remixed Version of a Live Favorite

Minimal Compact, comprised of Berry Sakharof (guitar, keys, vocals), Malka Spiegel (bass, keys, vocals), Samy Birnbach, a.k.a. DJ Morpheus (vocals), Rami Fortis (guitar, vocals) and Max Franken (drums), initially formed in Amsterdam back in 1980. The band were part of the original post-punk explosion — and interestingly enough, they have long been considered one of the genre’s most unique. The members of Minimal Compact developed a sound centered around propulsive rhythms, spacious bass lines, lush keys, mesmerizing guitar lines and vocal melodies with a Middle Eastern inflection through the release of a couple of ground-breaking and influential albums, including 1984’s Deadly Weapons, which featured the club hit “Next One Is Real” and their most commercially successful album, 1985’s Raging Souls. 

In their short time together, the members of Minimal Compact toured around the world, from Poland to Japan, gaining a reputation for energetic, unpredictable and intense live shows. However, their studio recordings seldom captured their live sound and energy. The band broke up in 1988 with each of its individual members continuing onwards with a variety of creative projects including releasing solo efforts, hosting radio shows, having  art exhibitions, collaborating with a number of artists, DJ’ing, running record labels, hosting TV shows and the like. But during the next 20 years, their influence began to grow exponentially. In fact, by the time the band reunited for a handful of shows in 2004, they had begun to be recognized as influential originators. Since 2004, the members of the band have reunited for live shows just a handful of times — but each and every time, the individual members of the band recognize an undeniable magical quality between them. 

Recently, the members of Minimal Compact reconvened and went into the studio with their longtime producer and collaborator Colin Newman to finally capture their live sound with several of their signature songs being re-recorded using a mix of live recordings and studio-tooled performances — with the end result being the band’s forthcoming album Creation is Perfect. 

Slated for an October 25, 2019 release through the band’s own Minimal Compact label, the album will reportedly be a timely reminder of how essential and forward-thinking the band has been — and still is. Interestingly, Creation is Perfect’s first single is a reworked version of a live favorite, “Statik Dancin,” that captures the feel of their live set while retains the original’s spastic and fidgeting energy, angular hooks and dance floor friendly groove. But the new version also features a slick, studio polish reminiscent of Gang of Four’s Return the Gift. 

“We still play “Statik Dancin’” like we always did: driving, minimal, a bit moronic but still catchy,” the band’s Malka Spiegel says in press notes. “This version has a combination of the energy of the live version plus a fresh sounding production”.

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Currently featuring founding members Cynthia Sley (vocals), Pat Place (guitar) and Dee Pop (drums) along with newest recruit Val Opielski, the New York-based act Bush Tetras can trace their origins back to when Sley, Place, Pop and Laura Kennedy (bass) formed the band back in 1979.  Interestingly, their full-length debut Too Many Creeps was considered one of their scene’s defining moments as it accurately captured the vibe, feel and ethos of that scene’s particular moment.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Bush Tetras were an opening act during The Clash’s legendary, spring 1981 17 show run at Bond International Casino. After the release of their Topper Headon-produced Rituals EP, which featured the chart-placing “Can’t Be Funky,” Laura Kennedy and Dee Pop left the band and were replaced by Bob Albertson (bass) and Don Christensen (drums); however, the band broke up.

For the better part of the next three decades, the members of the band were fairly elusive, although interestingly enough, the band’s original lineup reunited on a couple of occasions — in 1995, which resulted in 1997’s Beauty Lies and recording sessions the following year, which resulted in a Don Fleming-produced album that was shelved when Mercury Records was sold. That album was finally released in 2012.

In 2005, Julia Murphy replaced Kennedy and they resumed playing and touring across New York. The band toured across Europe the following year. Sadly, Laura Kennedy died in 2011 after a long battle with liver disease. In 2013, Cindy Rickmond, a former member of Cheap Perfume, Grayson Hugh, Church of Betty and Unknown Gender briefly replaced Murphy. And in 2016, Val Opielski, a former member of Krakatoa, Walking Hellos, PSXO and 1000 Yard Stare joined the band.

Last year saw the release of Take The Fall EP through Wharf Cat Records, the first batch of new music from the band in over 10 years. Over the winter, Third Man Records cleared their Cass Corridor showroom floor, invited the band down to Detroit — and enlisted the help of Third Man Mastering’s Bill Skibbe and Warren Defever to record their recently released “There is a Hum”/”Seven Years” 7 inch. A side single “There is a Hum” is a slashing bit of post punk, reminiscent of Entertainment-era Gang of Four and Sonic Youth — but seething with a neurotic anxiousness. B side single “Seven Years” manages to be a mischievously anachronistic track that sounds as though it could have been released at any point within the past 30 years. The glitchy and spastic track features some blistering and energetic guitar work centered around cowbell-led percussion and a sinuous bass line. Both tracks find the legendary post punk/No Wave act boldly reminding the listener that although it’s been a while, they play with a fury, passion and purpose that many younger acts lack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Post-Punk Act Squid Releases an Explosive and Expansive New Single

With the release of a series of critically applauded singles, an incendiary live show, and three packed Glastonbury Festival sets, the up-and-coming disco post-punk, disco funk act Squid — Ollie Judge (vocals, drums), Lous Borlase (guitar, vocals), Arthur Leadbetter (keys, strings), Laurie Nankivell (bass, drums) and Anton Pearson (guitar, vocals) — have quickly developed a growing national profile. 

Building upon that momentum, the act which splits its time between Brighton, where it initially formed and London will be releasing the Dan Carey-produced EP Town Centre through Carey’s Speedy Wunderground Records digitally on September 6, 2019 — with a physical release on November 15, 2019. Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, the EP’s  new single “The Cleaner” will likely remind listeners of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo-era Devo, Talking Heads, Entertainment!-era Gang of Four and LCD Soundystem  as the track is centered around a slinky, disco funk bass line, explosive blasts of squiggly synths, cowbell led drumming, angular guitar lines, explosive feedback and shouted lyrics within an expansive song structure that’s one part post-punk, one part art punk, one part No Wave freak out. And as a result, the song manages to evoke the uncontrolled, neurotic frustration of someone who’s at the end of their rope. 

“‘The Cleaner’ is a lost acquaintance, one that we’ve spent the past year trying to get to know . . . tirelessly working and turning up whenever needed,” the band says about their latest single. “We work for the money to spend out time doing other things. ‘The Cleaner’ imagines the divided work and play structure and thinks about breaking from it.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sego Return with a Trippy Visual for the Post Punk Anthem “Neon Me Out”

Now, over the a significant portion of this site’s nearly nine year history,  I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstays Sego. Initially comprised of Mapleton, UT-born founding duo Spencer Peterson and Thomas Carroll, the band expanded to a quartet with the addition of Alyssa Davey (bass) and Brandon McBride (guitar, keys) last year.

As you may recall, the band’s long-awaited sophomore album Sego Sucks is slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Roll Call Records, and the album is partially inspired by  the band’s extensive touring across North America, Europe and the UK and by the addition of the band’s newest members. Unsurprisingly, both events have made the band’s sound and approach much more focused — while retaining a raucous and rowdy spirit. The rowdy and anthemic album single “Shame” was centered around a shout worthy series of hooks, buzzing and distorted guitars, thumping beats and pulsating electronics paired with ironically delivered lyrics. Sonically speaking, the song found the band moving towards a radio friendly, somewhat pop-leaning take on pop. Interestingly, Sego Sucks’ latest single “Neon Me Out” sort of continues in a similar vein — it’s centered around anthemic, sing along and shout along worthy hooks and a propulsive bass line; however, the song to my ears  is a seamless and mischievous synthesis of Odelay-era Beck and Gang of Four-like post punk. And while radio friendly, the song touches upon social media distortions and social media fame, boredom, phoniness, the desperate attempt to fit into a scene, and so on with a post-modern sense of ironic aplomb. 

Decidedly lo-fi, the recently released video is a lysergic-tinged trip, comprised of a series of collages of the band hanging out, fucking around and so on, the members of the band playing in front of a fun house mirror-like distortion. It creates a weird view of the band’s innermost world.  

N0V3L is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based creative collective that operate out of house, where they produce their own music, videos and clothing. Naturally, all of these various elements converge and convulse for the members of the collective to create music that openly challenges the gluttony and ruin wrought by power. The collective’s forthcoming debut EP NOVEL is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Flemish Eye Records — and from the EP’s first two singles “To Whom It May Concern” and “Natural,” the collective specializes in frenetic, angular and dance floor friendly post-punk centered around group-yelped anti-capitalist mantras.

And while sonically, the act’s sound immediately brings Entertainment!-era Gang of Four to mind, “To Whom It May Concern” is centered around the tense and uneasy recognition of time flying by and that you may have wasted the only valuable resource you have. “Natural,” is centered around a shimmering melody and a propulsive, dance floor groove but with an anxious, uncertain fury.  Interestingly, the act continue a long tradition of acts reminding the listener that the dance floor is the place for dialogue, action and resistance. 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Silverbacks Release Hallucinatory Visuals for Gang of Four-like “Just In The Band”

Initially begun as a bedroom songwriting project of primary songwriters, founding members and brothers Kilian and Daniel O’Kelly and eventually expanding into a full-fledged quintet, the Dublin-based art punk band Silverbacks specialize in an angular, and furious post-punk centered around a triple guitar-led attack, lead singer Daniel O’Kelly’s dryly humorous lyrics and infectious hooks. The Irish quintet’s Daniel Fox-produced single “Just In The Band,” will be released through the band’s PK Miami Records early next year, and while the new single continues a run of uneasy, downright anxious singles, it has a Gang of Four-like muscular groove that reveals a young band expanding upon their sound.

Filmed and edited by Stephen Connelly, the recently released video for “Just In The Band”  features the band performing the song in a small room — but shot with double exposures, which gives the visuals a hallucinatory air. 

Initially begun as a bedroom songwriting project of primary songwriters, founding members and brothers Kilian and Daniel O’Kelly and eventually expanding into a full-fledged quintet, the Dublin-based art punk band Silverbacks specialize in an angular, and furious post-punk centered around a triple guitar-led attack, lead singer Daniel O’Kelly’s dryly humorous lyrics and infectious hooks. The Irish quintet’s Daniel Fox-produced single “Just In The Band,” will be released through the band’s PK Miami Records early next year, and while the new single continues a run of uneasy, downright anxious singles, it has a Gang of Four-like muscular groove that reveals a young band expanding upon their sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sextile Release an Industrial New Wave-Inspired Banger

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk act Sextile, and as you may recall since the act’s inception in 2015, they’ve earned a devout following, as a result of an explosive live show and non-stop touring as both as an opener and as a headliner with the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Moon, Ought, ADULT., The Chameleons, Modern English and others. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve also played sets at Bersekertown, Cloak & Dagger and Levitation Festivals.

Interestingly, over that same year period, the act has gone through a massive lineup change that finds the act writing, recording and performing as a duo featuring Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto. Naturally, as a result of the lineup changes, Kehn and Scaduto have radically reinvented their sound with a move towards synths with minimal use of guitar; in fact, on their recently released EP, EP3, the duo use a KORG MS-10 sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster, a LinnDrum and various other percussion-based instruments to craft a decidedly industrial synth-based sound. Additionally, the duo cite futurist Luigi Russolo’s The Art of Noises as an influence on their approach, as their sound and songwriting is meant to evoke and mirror the chaos and brutality of the industrial era. EP single “Spun” was centered around explosive squealing bursts of guitar, scorching synths, thumping beats, industrial clang and clatter and a motorik-ike groove, and it some way the song found the band meshing  the aesthetics of Gang of Four and classic DFA Records (i.e., early LCD Soundsystem and Echoes-era The Rapture) while hinting a bit at Bay City Rollers‘ “Saturday Night,” thanks to its punchily delivered vocals.  “Disco,” EP 3’s latest single may argaubly be the most dance floor friendly song they’ve ever released as it sonically brings Yaz’s “Situation,” New Order’s “Blue Monday” and Ministry to mind, as it’s centered around a production of layers arpeggiated synths, industrial clang and clatter and a motorik groove — but lyrically, as the duo note,t he song’s lyrics focus on the lack of time to do anything productive or constructive, DIY spaces being shut down, gun control and constant media propaganda in a way that evokes our increasingly cynical, paranoid and uncertain world.  Civilization as we know it is collapsing before our eyes, and we might as well dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

Keehn and Scaduto directed the video and as they mention in press notes, visually and aesthetically, the slickly shot black and white treatment was deeply influenced by the New German Wave.

Comprised of an American, an Englishman and two Swedes, the members of FEWS relocated from London to Malmo, Sweden, where they unearthed its creative underbelly while internalizing the impact and influence of their new surroundings — and they immediately began working on the much-anticipated follow up to 2016’s full-length debut Means.  Interestingly, the band’s latest single “Business Man,” which will be released by Play It Again Sam, follows a self-imposed hiatus of sorts, one that had seen them writing and demoing new material, using the local studio of producer and friend Joakim Lindberg, while quietly returning to the UK to play a handful of well-received shows in London and Brighton. 

Sonically speaking, the explosive song is centered around twinkling Wurtlizer, slashing guitar and bass chords, feedback and distortion, thundering rhythms that fall and tumble around the mix and punchily delivered vocals — and while clearly drawing from Gang of Four, Wire, and Disappears, the song captures the modern day frustration of being caught up in the unending rat race, pointlessly striving for money to buy more shit that you really don’t want, and yet you can’t figure out how to get out the trap. Interestingly, as the band explains, the song “. . . is about people who realise they nee to shape up, get a haircut and suit, and work their asses off trying to please the boss. After a few years, burnout and the realization that the system is completely screwed, sees them lose their shit during the weekends before returning to the conveyor belt of conformity, trudging through the same bullshit week after week . . .”