Thursday, February 22, 2007

MORBID OPERA – Jesus Loves You - So Give Us Your Money! (EP, 1983)

First off, I’d like to declare that I’m a pretty much a sappy sucker for most any song featuring a decent female singer, whether it be a rowdy punk rocker, a robotic minimal waver, or sludgy doom metaller… if a chick is on vocals there’s one thing for sure - I’ve probably got both ears all up in it! Now, one evening in the midst of researching female-fronted punk bands, I ran across the smallest snippet concerning this arresting vintage wonder that calls itself Morbid Opera:

“Morbid Opera are a totally strange female outfit, mean, weird, divine.”

…Female? ...Strange?? ...Mean??? ...Weird???? ...Divine?????

*GULP* Oh god, I just had to hear them! So after a good hour of e-searching (there wasn’t much information available) I found out that the band was 75% female (3 girls, 1 guy?), from Florida, and had just one EP and some compilation tracks under their belt. And after a just a few months of e-shopping I managed to seize a copy of that one official EP entitled “Jesus Loves You – So Give Us Your Money!”

This 6-tracker enthusiastically begins with the X-like scream-shout punk rock stomp of “Liar”, only to slowly dive downward into some dark and plodding postpunk with “Private Prostitute” and “Deep End”. “One Dimensional” picks up the pace again with its chugga-chugg rhythm and some ultra-bluesy guitar riffing; while “Madness” smoothes the edges with a hypnotic beat and sullen lyrics. The final track “Sledgehammer” is sure to amuse with its funky framework and loose, careless energy. Overall there's quite a nice assortment of moods and styles on this one, making it an easy addition to most anyone’s punk/postpunk playlist. Great find!

DOT #4

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

RED WEDDING - Nails (12-inch EP, 1984)

From the late 70s to mid 80s Los Angeles was the place to be if you hoped to explore untrodden heights of creativity in music. From punk to new wave to deathrock and beyond, LA cracked boundaries and encouraged experimentation, ultimately allowing countless new breeds of musicians to emerge and thrive.

Formed in 1981, Red Wedding was far ahead of the pack in terms of both originality and technical skill. With a weighty nod to psychedelia and an enthusiastic thumbs-up to prog, the band craftily melded fanciful guitar hooks with sci-fi electronics and danceable beats to create their signature sound of spooky, spaced-out postpunk. “Nails”, the band’s second and final release, was praised by music fans and media press alike for its multifarious form; from the dark and groovy opening track “Goddess No More” to the synthesized chirps and bleeps of “Twist” (anyone ever heard of the band Reseau d'Ombres?) and the somber minimalism of the romantic “Somewhere”, this 6-song EP is sure to have you up and dancing, or at least bobbing your head, from beginning to end. Highly recommended for those curious to hear a Chrome-molested Flock Of Seagulls… if that makes any sense at all. Red Wedding's official website is here.

“…Record producer Kim Fowley approached the band about managing them. While the members were flattered, Fowley wanted too much artistic control and the band turned him down.”

DOT #3

Thursday, February 8, 2007

YOUR FUNERAL - I Want To Be You (7-inch, 1982)

Your Funeral was a three-piece, all-female, dark postpunk band from Denver, Colorado’s original alternative music scene. Members included Jeri Rossi, Karen Sheridan, and Cleo Tilde. The two tracks available here stretch from bouncy Cure-esque poppiness, to tribal doom and gloom, complete with catchy bass lines and snotty vocals that might best be described as young Siouxsie Sioux accented with a heavy slap of Lydia Lunch-like desperation. This is the band’s only official release and is a well sought after gem among the postpunk/goth record collecting crowd.

“We had the record pressed at a small plant in Wyoming -- they had done the Allen Ginsberg/Gluons single for us before this one. When I got the box of records for Your Funeral, there was a letter in it stating that they wouldn't press anymore records for us because they thought we were evil and satanic! It was a great letter, replete with bad grammar and poor spelling -- I'm sure I've still got it somewhere in the basement but I'll probably never find it again...”

Singer/guitarist Jeri would later release a solo 7-inch, “I Left My Heart But I Don't Know Where / It's a Mans Mans Mans World”, both tracks akin to the works of the aforementioned Lydia Lunch.
In the mid-80s Jeri would go on to front another band called Black Cat Bone, but unfortunately none of their material ever made it to vinyl. She has since made herself a career in both filmmaking and writing, and currently resides in San Francisco. Learn more about her here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

ZRU VOGUE - Nakweda Dream (7-inch, 1981)

Nakweda Dream is probably one of the most charming songs I’ve ever heard, and one of a few that I can listen to looping hour after hour and still walk away humming the melody without a shred of annoyance. That said, as many times as I’ve explored its scenic peaks and haunted valleys, for some reason a fluid description completely evades me. Within you'll find poetic but somber male vocals, a nice danceable rhythm, and that sad weepy guitar thing, which compounded will surely expose the soft spots of your inner being. But then, lingering just beneath all of it there is this immense and inescapable sense of madness lurking about, which like an improperly sedated schizophrenic, threatens to explode in fiery cloud of shrapnel any moment. And maybe, just maybe, it does.

"Nakweda Dream" single received critical acclaim in the alternative press, including Sub-pop who named it the best independent single of 1981.

From what I can tell, the rest of the band’s discography is firmly rooted in a tribal-funk fusion of sorts, if interested you can pick-up a compilation of tracks including Nakeda Dream here. And if you’re looking for more songs with this particular sound my best suggestion would be to check out the European coldwave scene of the 1980s which holds many similarities in both mood and composition.

DOT #1