Almost Modern was an obscure alternative new wave band that formed in San Francisco during the early 80’s. They mix it up well on this presumably lone offering. Quasi Modal erupts with style and energy while a variety of musical genre sounds emanate from the speakers. They come across with an alternative rock swagger, but you can clearly hear the new wave and power pop influences intertwined throughout their distinct arrangements. There’s the crunchy guitar sounds that are the hallmarks of alternative indie rock outfits, but this band of five also employs healthy doses of keyboards, which balances out the proceedings. Standout tracks include the new wave melodies of “Social Services”, “Dance It Off” and the Devo inspired “Paint A Picture”. A modern alternative rock feast with creative contortions to spice things up. Recommended.
…Out of print private pressing via Strange Weekend Records…
White collar crooks
Dance it off
Paint a picture
I can’t please you
Call that love
Bully Boy functioned way below the radar in obscurity during the 80’s and that’s quite unfortunate, because they were as good as any commercially successful 80’s new wave rock band. This California based trio hit all the marks of what was so popular with the new wave rock acts in the early to mid 80’s. Frontispieces had enough electric guitars to seduce rock fans while maintaining the interest of the dance club crowd with its pounding grooves and synth inflected melodies. They even throw in a couple slower tracks for good measure. The band that they most sound like or I should say the singer that they sound like is Belouis Some, who scored a couple hits back in the mid 80’s.
The songs deliver the goods - Take the dramatic melancholy of ‘Can You Hear Me’. This easily could have been on one of the many teenage 80’s movie soundtracks from John Hughes (RIP), it’s quite polished. ‘Help Me’ is another standout with is infectious urgency and dance floor prowess. They also had the radio friendly cuts – ‘Someday Soon’ and ‘I Don’t Remember’. Yet another gem of the 80’s new wave pop rock scene that missed the record executives and public’s attention and subsequently plummeted into obscurity. It’s quite a rare item these days.
…Out of print private pressing via Eagle Records ...
Can you hear me
Do you wonder
I don’t remember
Be with me
Wait for me
Here’s a stellar well executed obscurity from a Bedford, MA indie group. The Lads played a tight skillful new wave oriented sound coupled with power pop influences. This one and only album is soaked with bright, energetic and effectual melodies that stand up to any of the more popular acts from the early 80’s. Out From The Shadows is highly recommended for the collector searching for a satisfying private press entry and desires a getaway from those more commercial offerings of the day.
…Out of print private pressing via Un Records ...
Get back in the race
In the clouds
On the prowl
Out from the shadows
Empty subway train
A friend recommended this album to me many years ago and I recently broke it out again for another spin. The band was from Minneapolis, MN and played a polished alternative new wave sound. The album’s lead off track ‘Blackout’ is awash with shimmering melodies and divine vocals and I’m sure it received local alternative radio station airplay. It’s a standout confection. The rest of the album is very consistent with a handful of capable top drawer cuts sprinkled throughout this ten song set, including ‘Rain On Our Parade’. I’m pretty sure this was a one off effort.
There seems to be more and more bands in today’s market that employ many of these eclectic 80’s sounds from the the long lost 80’s bands. One band that comes to mind is Phoenix, who were just on Saturday Night Live a few weeks back. I watched them, enjoyed the infectious song they played, but could clearly hear the 80’s influences shining through. In any event, Life Speeds Up is highly recommended for fans of modern rock, new wave, alternative, synth wave.
…Out of print private pressing via Blackberry Way Records ...
Walking in the night
I’m on fire
Rain on our parade
Female fronted new wave post punk influenced meanderings by this obscure indie band who hailed out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The band plays with some sharp edges at times, like the post punk indie rock of ‘Ready’ and ‘Like Lovers Feel’. They then move into synth wave territory with the urgency of ‘Big Kids’ and the melodic mid tempo title song. Blondie and Missing Persons come to mind with the clever ‘Decisions’. We even get some indie pop tangents with the charming ‘Go Ahead And Kiss Her’ and the Natalie Merchant sound of ‘Gracefully And Lady Like’. The standout for me is the compacted synth treat ‘Believe It’, which harkens back to early 80’s Terri Nunn/John Crawford Berlin. There’s a solid serving of variety on this 12 song set, so if you’re into the female fronted indie new wave alternative sound, then this lot is for you.
…Out of print private pressing via Clone Records ...
No ones girl
Like lovers feel
Go ahead and kiss her
Gracefully and lady like
Scared of the dark
A recent find during a local record store digging trip. Upon seeing the minimalistic jacket artwork, this one definitely peaked my interest so it went right into the buy stack. After repeated attempts to research the name and other relevant information given on the record sleeve, I was left with nothing meaningful. Oh well, this blog does focus on the obscure and this one gets that mark in spades.
The band comprised of four members and looked to be operating out of New York City. This extended player’s four songs display an energetic guitar infused new wave set complete with impassioned vocals and tight crisp melodies. The standouts for me were the straight up new wave power pop rocking ‘Generation Trap’ and the melodic slowed down tempos of ‘Far Away’. A rather cool little piece of wax…
…Out of print private pressing via Ripchord Records...
→ This blog will focus on private and independent releases that are out of print from the 1980s alternative music scenes - new wave - minimal synth - post punk - power pop - darkwave - electro - experimental - avant garde - coldwave - gothic - indie rock - industrial wave - All records are sourced from my personal collection, unless noted otherwise.
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