Monday 21 April 2008

Alternative archives February-March 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pax Cecilia - 2007 - Blessed Are The Bonds

BLESSED ARE THE BONDS, our 2007 release, is now available for free download on our website, We have a few remaining physical copies we will be distributing at shows and in person, we thank everyone who requested a copy, and we hope that you continue to share our music with others...

Reviewers and other friendly web-publications:

The Muse's Muse
"The Pax Cecilia has created an album that reconfigures the possibilities of ambient, art-rock and progressive metal, making it sound beautiful, menacing and refreshingly new as they do it. Blessed are the Bonds is one of the few pieces of art that transcends definition, and transforms nothing more than twelve notes into a musical force that will reveal something different with each listen. For an album that will only cost you an hour, this is nothing short of a masterpiece."

Sputnik Music
"I haven't been stirred by an album like this in a long long time. There is a divine power boiling inside of Blessed Are the Bonds that makes it feel like the stars are aligning..."

Maelstrom Online
"Blessed are the Bonds is an album that reassures people that music is actually art. The hold this album has on your emotion is almost exquisite, as it runs the gamut from sublime to disheartening..."

Deaf Sparrow Zine
"Blessed Are the Bonds is one of those ambitious records that travels through foreign and uncharted territories, conquering all and in the end coming home triumphant..."

Metal Review
"I’ve simply run out of great things to say about this band and this album, and frankly I’m not sure there are enough words to do it justice."

"I just stood in awe of the majestic metal ambient awesomeness."
- John Stepp

Download it here :

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Deus Ex Machina - 1990 - Motorpsycho

Deus Ex Machina - 1990 - Motorpsycho

Tracks :
1 Inspiration
2 Mass Media
3 Motorpsycho
4 Unreliable
5 Even If We Lose
6 Curious
7 Chase Me
8 Deus
9 Execute *
10 Iraq'n'roll *
11 False Promises *
12 Killing My Name *
13 December *

Review :
The band's first release came as a violent punch in the stomach to the unsuspecting Greek scene of 1990. Raw and romantic at the same time, established Deus Ex Machina as one of the biggest names for the years to come until today. A true classic! Current CD includes fully remastered original album with bonus tracks of long out of print band singles, complete with extra rare, older material previously released on compilations only, plus the infamous "Execute/Iraq'n'Roll" single.

Bio :
Deus Ex Machina were formed in 1989 by Dimitris Spyropoulos and Dimitris Manthos in Athens, Greece. Spyropoulos and current drummer Yiannis Venardis were veterans of the local punk scene of the early 80s. The band eventually gained overwhelming acceptance of the alternative crowds.In the years to come, this resulted in over 500 concerts with increasing success, establishing DXM as a predominantly kicking live band in spite of their limited discography.

In the course of their history DXM have suffered several setbacks including a number of serious car accidents and repeated personnel changes. So far, not only did they persevere, but on top of every adversity, they seem to come out on a limb with added stamina each time. Nowadays, DXM are considered as one of the major established acts of the greek alternative scene. Some of the highlights of their history include their appearance in landmark anti-Bosnian war concerts in Skopje, FYROM in 1994. In 1995, at the height of the Bosnian war, they toured Serbia. Year 1996 finds them appearing in major festivals in the cause of peace in the Balkans. Year 2000 was marked, among other things, by their memorable appearances at the Biennale 2000 in Torino, Italy.

Furthermore, over the years DXM have performed in a large number of concerts promoting social consciousness, which is also reflected on the lyrics and the overall attitude of the band. More notably, in the last two years, they have appeared several benefit concerts supporting the cause of the Zapatista native insurgents of the Chiapas region in Mexico. A respectable sum has been raised for the erection of a school for Zapatista children to be completed in the year 2004. The band has already accepted an invitation to appear at the completion ceremony.

The next major step is coming with the release of their latest Signs LP/CD in February 2003. This sums up effectively the final result of the last three years of hard work and experimentation. The album was produced by accomplished producer Hardy S. Party (Giant Sand, The Style Lab) marking the opening of a new phase in the evolution of the band.

As active supporters of the peace movement, they participated in several protest activities against the war in IRAQ. Suffice to say that this last war came as if anticipated by the band's grimly prophetic "Iraq 'n' Roll". The song was written back in 1991 inspired by the then recent Gulf War.

More info about the band here :

Download or Buy

Thanks regularpaul for this one !!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hetch Hetchy - 1988 - Make Djibouti

Hetch Hetchy was Lynda Stipe's band (under the name Lynda Limner) after the demise of Oh-OK. Although HH existed for several years in Athens and Gainsville, GA, they released only this mLP and an LP- both on the short-lived but great Texas Hotel records (in 1991 they had recorded several tracks for a third album, that was never released). Hetch Hetchy sound rather different in their two LPs - in fact only Linda Limner/Stipe plays on both - 'Make Djibouti' can be called post-punk, dark, even gothic (as gothic can be a Michael Stipe produced album), though "Swollen" (with Hugo Largo on production) has more ethereal sound.

The album opens with the clarinet of Armistead Welford (Love Tractor, Gutterball, Sparklehorse) and then, over a thick wall of keyboards, comes the great voice of Linda. With 'Prescent' it's moving to a more Cocteau Twins territory, though the music is more unpolished. Bass-dominated and dark enough 'Sad Song' closes A-side. 'Catscan' and 'Hard on Lynda' that opens and closes the B-side are like a lengthy track interruped by the nightmarish 'Urgent'. They both have strong beat and Lynda shows her Siouxsie influences - and an impressive voice.

Although Lynda Stipe in this lengthy interview for Perfect Sounds Forever, refers to 'Swollen' -Hetch Hetchy's second (and last) release- as their best, I find Make Djibouti more interesting and adventurous. Even if 'Swollen' has much improved playing and sound, I enjoy 'Djibouti' better, because it has more edges, great ideas and atmosphere.

After Hetch Hetchy Linda Stipe formed several bands, and today plays cello in Flash To Bang Time 

Here are the links: link1 or link2

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

9353 - 1985 - We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God

More incredible paranoia pop. Rerelease of the decade  (10 out of 10)
(FLEX discography of US punk & hardcore on the now oop 1993 CD reissue of "We are absolutely sure there is no god" LP)

Back in 80s, Washington DC undreground scene, was a hardcore dominated scene (remember Minor Threat and Governement Issue). There were a few bands with substantialy different sound, like the legendary Crippled Pilgrims and Hyaa!, but these were the exceptions to the rule. And ...there were 9353.

Because of the pain complain to the rain all about this insane game of what you're doing your freedom will be taken away for the rest of your days how can you regard it as only an inconvenience and if you ask him his name he won't have the right answer ask him his name he'll just leave the room ask him his name he won't have the right answer stuck in the wrong place without the right answer because of the pain complain to the rain all about this insane game inside of our minds our freedom is taken away for the rest of our days we regard it as only an inconvenience and if you ask us our names we won't have the right answer ask us our names we'll just leave the room ask us our names we won't have the right answer...

This is an exerpt from the lyrics that fill one entire side of the inner of the vinyl release (in tiny-print). I could have chosen anything from the lyrics and it would be as representative as this one: unstoppable blubbering without any obvious meaning, start or end, yet with an inner logic. With this kind of lyrics, it may be true that they have difficulty to finish their songs, as I've read in a forum.
Add to these the vocals of Bruce Merkle (who is responsible for the lyrics), which are like you have a Dan Treacy (without the accent) and Frank Zappa duet in the same song, the continuous pumping rhythm of Vance Bocknis' bass and Dan Joseph's drums, the heavily echoed but nevertheless clear sound of Jason Carmer's guitar and the music which is kinda post-punk, like a mutated Bauhaus/Gang of Four hybrid, take a look at the photo below and imagine how this band would seem to the hardcore audiences of 1984-85 Washington DC.
From the opening "Spooky Room" (as good as their famous "Famous Last Words" from To Whom It May Consume LP, to the gloomy "Bastard", to the trashed cover of "Born To be Wild" to the mocking "Viva La Sleaze" that closes the LP, there's a twisted sense in this record, yet all fall perfectly in place: there's nothing pretendious here, just four guys trying to wreck everything they can, with their music, humor and energy.

Although accused from Trouser Press as not too accomplished musicians (which I think is not at all true - especially for this album), 9353 created their own sound and made some astonishing music, VERY different from its time and place. After all, one of the good things in rock is that you don't have to know how to play any instrument to make good music - talent and imagination is enough, and 9353 had them both.

There is a widely spread rumour about the origin of their name i.e. that they "were named after the specimen number on a jar the singer stole from a medical museum. The jar contains a dead foetus in formaldehyde. The baby has one eye and a penis growing out of its forehead." Although one of the band members made clear that their name was chosen because these four numbers just sounded good, this foetus did appeared on the label of the B-side of "We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God" - not very nice to look at.

9353 made two LPs in the eighties (To Whom It May Consume -1984 and We Are Absolutely Sure There Is No God -1985) and one in the nineties (Insult to Injury, Magically Delicious -1994). Unfortunately their two original vinyl albums, their CD re-issues of 1993 (with several bonus tracks) and their 1994 reunion CD are desperately out of print, with no sign of a future re-release.

Regarding the jacket of "We are..." LP, it was made to have two front sides. Although the CD reissue used the 'hell' cover as front, I've always prefered the 'collage' cover.

Recently Bruce Hellington (formerly Merkle) and Vance Bocknis reformed the band and they seem very active. Jason Carmer is now working as a recording engineer in San Francisco Dan Joseph (who is now a composer based in New York) in his site calls 9353 "Washington, DC's notorious Southern New Wave Metal" band.

This is from 9353's myspace page
This is where I borrowed the band promo photo from 25 years ago and this recent photo of the reformed band. 

There's also a myspace page from 9353's friends, where you can listen to some more of their music.

Detailed discography here

Unfortunately Adult Swim records, the label that reissued both their LPs in 1993, seems to be inactive today. Last time I checked though 9353s releases were officialy out-of-print.

And finaly here are the links for the LP: link1 or link2

This is for my friend gomonkeygo - you should visit his New Disease blog for live recordings with very good sound quality from some of the best bands of the 80s.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

World of Pooh - 1989 - Land of Thirst

"The Yanks have colonized our subconscious" (Wim Wenders - Kings of the Road)

Any kid listening to rock music has his/her mind haunted by America, at least by its image.

I've never been to San Francisco, yet I consider it something like a promiced land, ever since I learned about Ashbury Height and Summer of Love (Yes, I know there's nothing left today, but this doesn't change a bit of the image I have). For many years I've listened carefully to any band came from there - and still do. Every now and then I find music that assures me that my little ...err obsession is not wrong at all, on the contrary it's very rewarding (the latest find is of course Wooden Shjips).

After this rather off-topic introduction, let's go on to World of Pooh, a very promising band from SF, that didn't last enough to get known, yet their few releases are objects of desire in certain circles - not only because of their rarity but for their musical value as well.

Brandan Kearney, Barbara Manning and Jay Paget were World of Pooh. Kearney said that the band existed from 1983, though Manning joined in 1986. Brandan Kearney is a major figure in San Francisco undreground/experimental circles and participated in a million bands - the most known are Caroliner, World of Pooh and Tarnation. Barbara Manning -former 28th Day- while in the WoP, released her first solo album "Lately I Keep Scissors" (with Greg Freeman on production and Kearney playing in it) which is an absolute must have, and if you don't listen to it you'll regret this huge lack in your musical education for the rest of your life. Jay Paget was a long time Thinking Fellers Local Union 282 member.

This trio soon became very hot action, due to their amazing shows in the SF clubs. In 1989 the cult Nuf Sed label released their only LP - unfortunately in very small quantities- which almost immediately went out of print. Shortly after that, the band was no more, due to Kearnan and Manning's differences. There were two more 7-inch releases after their demise and the rest of their output are contributions to numerous compilations (
To Sell Kerosene Door to Door anyone?) that are even rarer than the LP.

"Land of Thirst" never re-released, although there's a continuous demand from the fans until nowadays, and became a part of the myths and legends of the US underground. Around 2001-2002 there were discussions about a CD with all the released material of World of Pooh, but Kearney himself
put an end to the release of this project, although it had actually started to take shape. This is surely a pity, because this means that their great music will remain unheard and unknown to the unlucky people who weren't in San Francisco around 1988-89 or aren't visitors of Lost-In-Tyme!

Well, what about the music? Described as "
terse, poppy and loopy" and "nervous pop/art group" by two gyus who know what they're talking about and, besides that, they have saw them live.
I've started my hunting for "Land of Thirst" after listening to a couple of tracks (Mogra being one of them) in the radio in 1990, believing that World of Pooh was the new Barbara Manning group, and this was a psychedelized version of her "Scissors" album (which I've already had, as a huge fan of hers). When (after several years) managed to find it and listened to it from start to end, I realised that was not Barbara's new band. It's clear that Kearney had the last word to this record - even at Manning's songs - and in a way these songs (some of them already included in "Scissors") got the electrified treatment they need to earn their place in "Land Of Thirst" - not as psychedelic as I've expecting but nevertheless different, as they were performed by a band now and not from a solo artist, as in "Scissors". In fact they sound more "rockin" than the rest, just to underline the difference from the solo recordings. I'll mention that Gregg Freeman produced both records.
Not as chaotic as Thinking Fellers records, not as folk as Bedlam Rovers, more weird than X-Tall and Donner Party, I think that "Land of Thirst" is an essential record if you wanna know what kind of music was created and played in San Francisco in late 80s-early 90s. I wouldn't know if the love/hate relationship between Manning and Brendan was true or not, but "I'm On The Wrong Side", the only track they co-wrote and "Mr.Coffee-Nerves" and "Mogra" on which are both on vocals, are pure magic.

My personal favorites are the weirder tracks, but if you listen carefully to any of the 13 tracks of "Land of Thirst" you will discover a million beautiful details hidden in the background - distant voices, found sounds, tiny organs. You can discover this New Zealand "chunga-chunga" beat, made famous by the
Clean, the Bats and the Chills, you can discover the peculiar turns of the song melodies, that drive them out of the regions of pop. You can discover the psychedelic essence throughout the record. And you can discover three imaginative, talented, brilliant artists who made an exceptional record, full of songs that invite you to live with them, and believe me, it won't be a boring life.

Link1 or Link2

You can find their ultra psychedelic version of Carpenters' "Druscilla Penny" here.

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