For the last post of this month, we present a charismatic indie synth wave band that was born in 1979 by two brothers. The band was from Seattle, WA and during their early days were part of a burgeoning local indie music scene. They received local radio airplay via KZAM and KJET. Their first main single was “Under”, which was included on the Seattle Syndrome Two various artists compilation. A very cool LP in its own right we say….Anyway, shortly after the above mention compilation was distributed, Moving Parts released their self titled private press EP on MPI Records. Word spread, and the band started getting gigs at high profile venues which further pushed the notoriety. This fivesome were at the top of their game when they opened for Crowded House….The guys were contacted by big wigs at Epic Records and started preliminary talks to provide demos, etc…. Sadly, the band almost hit the big time but it wasn’t meant to be…demo deal with Epic Records crashed and burned once Sony stepped in…Ahh…what could have been. We think there was real solid talent to be enriched here….
Moving Parts has visibility and presence on the web and you can get much more detailed information on their story, see pictures, download music and contact them right → → HERE
As always, we provide some samples for review and download below…
We seem to find an endless supply of new wave synth indie bands from the Southern, CA market. It is definitely an area that was rich in these types of resources back in the early-mid 80’s. The Bytes were a five member band that could have slotted in nicely with Devo and the B-52s on some occasions. They establish some garage quirkiness right out of the gate with both female and male vocals. This set up can be edgy at times but also creatively poppy at other times. We do prefer the female vocal treatments best. The Bytes look to have produced just this one and only album. It was a private press release via Alter Records in Newport Beach, CA, just the way we like it…There does seem to be copies of this LP available through various online vehicles, but not too many….Please partake in some listening below to formulate your own opinions… → →
Days Of 29 emerged from a chance meeting of two old friends at Heathrow Airport in the early 80’s. After jamming together with the assistance of a drum machine, a plan was hatched to start a band…They were able to persuade another friend to join and take over guitar duties… This trio then proceeded to scour London for weeks looking for another band mate to head up the drums department. They found the fourth member within a month and the band was complete….The next phase was to move to Scotland and create music for a year and a half….They set off on playing local gigs and by chance a record exec from the local independent label Trigger Happy experienced their gloomy post punk wave set and whisked the band off to Palladium Studios…The group produced this 3 song EP in 2 days and started playing shows around Britain, promoting the single “Destination D-Day”….. They also received positive local radio airplay. Another EP was in the works, but we believe it never came to fruition…. The lead singer kind of reminds us of the stellar Marc Almond at times…Check out the main single below and if you are further interested, take in a download of all three tracks....→ →
We change courses here to serve up this obscure LP for the experimental side in you. Live Sex was a trio from the United Kingdom that classified themselves as an improvising collective. They had been working together for five years before they produced this esoteric album. Despite their abstruse origins, we believe these Englishmen put forth a rather cogent offering here. There’s new wave, art rock, industrial and some in between styles present within these eight song titles. You are even treated to a song that ends with an intense Saxophone climax......Here’s a nice little rant by the group which is taken from the album sleeve notes:
“Tiresome, inconsequential dabblers Live Sex proffer these filthy jewels to the real world, where everything costs money and fails to pieces. To this end have we labored our strange hearts mad with love. Now, dear one, permit Live Sex to occur in your head, that the faith we have cherished in our secrecy may at last find its expression”.
This album ended up being produced, released and distributed jointly by two independent record labels – Hopewell Records, USA and Very Mouth Records, UK. What a great team effort. It seems to be available in certain areas within the marketplace and with minimum price points. You also get a big red poster as a bonus within the album sleeve…Preview below….If you so choose…
We can’t stay away from the minimal new wave synth sounds….This unknown album is content rich with synth effects and arrangements. Information was an electronic adept duo from Southern, CA in the early-mid 80’s. The core group consisted of Ray Hernandez and Todd Lyall....They enlisted a variety of session musicians to assist in the overall sound make up, but between there duo standing, they covered all drums, percussion, vocals and synthesizers.
The title song launches into a fast paced keyboard driven workout and adds a creative twist with an addition of spoken background female vocals in French dialogue…Even know this album is quite unknown and maybe rare, these guys did have a relationship with local alternative radio station KROQ FM and received radio play. Does anyone remember hearing them? They specifically call out the radio station and thank them on this album. Recorded, mixed and produced by Sound A Round One Music out of Pasadena, CA. You can hear some influences, but they clearly knew what they were doing and successfully added their own individualistic marks…. We’ve picked out some of the more memorable songs below for immediate listening and download:::
What can we say...this is some cool minimal synth wave that exhibits whimsical lyrics that bounce around to pleasing synth effects. It also adds curious male and female lyrics to both songs. It was privately pressed on Cheapskate Records out of the United Kingdom. We believe there may be more from them somewhere out there...
Secret Steps was a new wave AOR band out of Brooklyn, NY in the mid 80's. These lads hooked up with a well known local Brooklyn record producer, Frank Buonadonna, who was known more for his dance music skills than wave music. Mr. Buonadonna ran a small twenty-four track studio out of his basement. Given the budgetary constraints, this was just what Secret Steps needed to get their album off the ground. Once completed, this inventive group went to the private label IMPAXX records, also out of Brooklyn, and got a record deal...Whatever happened to them after this enthusiastic record was produced??..We don't know....There's no reason to keep this confidential as the title states...You are delivered an infectious keyboard driven dance oriented new wave rock set. All the songs are top drawer caliber. We like to think that this album was a more edgier take on what the mainstream establishment was churning out during this time...Take a listen below and if you want more, go HERE for all the songs. They just posted it today as well...We tied...
We really like this indie import from British North America. This new wave group took up shop in Montreal, Quebec during the early 80’s. They consisted of five members who wrote and produced all songs on this EP….Is there more output by them…not sure??.... The set starts with “Standing Still” which is a killer dance oriented song. You really can’t stand still when you hear it…it’s got a great beat, catchy chorus and distinctive drum stabs throughout. We then move on to “Song For A Rebel” which provides more of the same but in a darker fashion. A nice change up is handed out with “Sleep Dancing” – with it’s almost slight reggae influenced back beats…Although it does maintain its indie new wave integrity....so don’t worry….We see there are copies out in the marketplace for moderate prices and some not so moderate prices, but that’s just for a SS copy..…it’s highly recommended…
Here is an obscure one for you…this band of promising young new wavers seems to be unknown as we tried unsuccessfully to obtain any tidbits of information on them. What we believe to be there only officially released single - contains two songs and was self produced by the band members….We also believe they were from here in the states…where?…who knows…..hopefully someone does and will rise to the occasion and provide some edification for us…we would like to know more about these ambitious modern rockers….
What you receive upon take off – solid well polished melodic new wave in the vein of White China and other obscure indie bands of the mid 80’s…The first song on Side A “Midnight Arena” is an up-tempo rumbling synth wave arrangement….the second song on Side B “Been This Way For So Long” takes it down a notch and provides the melancholy that we all expect from these mid tempo wave numbers…..Hear for yourself below….We find this to be quite rare….We hope you like….
Moving into more edgy territory from our last post we have here an ominous looking album by this most alternative looking foursome. Red Scare was a female fronted indie alternative rock band out of Los Angeles, CA in the early 80’s. Their sound can be teetering on the lines of punk on some songs, but they also add excellent elements of indie guitar rock to smooth out the proceedings from time to time. This lone album starts out with a short frenzy of punk oriented tunes which is indicative of their image. It then settles down with some post punk influenced tunes and ends with more female alternative edge.
The title track is a solid post punk number with aggressive guitar lines and some strategic distortion….. “Flight 007” presents a catchy new wave arrangement which runs along with a James Bondish 007 theme….The album was privately pressed on Upstart Records out of Los Angeles, CA. Upstart Records catered to the alternative punk crowd with their line-up of artists, although Red Scare does wander nicely into the post punk alternative arena which we like…creative obscure stuff…We've included some of the more noteworthy songs in the download samples…we suggest you have an open mind…
Compilations with unknown artists can reveal some hidden gems from time to time. Some can be boring and lack overall talent, while others can immediately spike your interest and fulfill the ears with solid tracks. In this case, once you delve deeper into this v/a compilation – there is definitely more than meets the eye and ear for that matter. What we have here is an early 80’s selection of what was then promising bands out of the United Kingdom trying to make a name for themselves. All tracks on Side One were recorded in either 16 or 24 track studios. All tracks on Side Two are dedicated to the art of 4 track recording. The inner sleeve provides short bios on each band and maintains a bit of secrecy in the process...would have liked more info... This compilation clearly showcases what can be accomplished on a limited production budget.
There is a mix of styles prevalent throughout, but the over-arching theme is a new wave minimal synth sound. The album is scarce and seems to command high prices in the online auction space…...Some of the more hardcore collectors covet this compilation due to one song and one song only – “The Contract” by The Enter. We will admit, at first pass this does capture your attention with its gloomy vocals and methodical synth effects… worth repeated spins for sure…. The Enter was a group of guys who produced minimal electronic music while serving in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force. We don’t believe they ever officially released additional material, which is a shame. You can be the judge on what they provided on this comp…it’s included in the download samples below...
We are listing this purely on the trivial cheese factor and it doesn’t hurt that it’s virtually unknown and obscure…plus a scarcity….Everyone has to have some flimsy new wave cheese every now and then. Just look at the A side single song title and you know you’re in for a real treat…This fivesome from Madison, WI fulfills the request in spades with their up-tempo superficial new wave synth pop tunes. There are bits of crackle on the transfer, so we apologize in advance….It seems that this single didn’t see a lot of tender loving care from its previous owner.…They get a gold star for a creative song title…..We promise more serious obscurities on future posts, but in the meantime…try to enjoy this lightweight interlude…
Keeping the variety alive, we move to the power pop scene in the early 80’s…The Rings were a forgotten power pop band that hailed from Boston. The band never found major success and was relegated to the cut out bins. They did however manage some regional radio play with the single “Let Me Go” and created a video for this catchy tune as well….Their music slots in with the ever present strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies and of course you have to have the prominent guitar riffs in the power pop tool kit….According to the 1990 Pop Power book that details tons of power pop bands discographies, this self titled affair was listed as their only album….Given it was produced under MCA records, it’s not rare and can be found for moderate prices in the marketplace.
One of our personal blog rules is to try not to post items that have already been posted on other blogs (at the time of posting of course), but there are exceptions from time to time….this is one of them….The venerable Mutant Sounds posted the Treble EP back in 2007, but at the time did not have one of the three tracks - “We Never Get To Talk”….Well, it’s been three years, so we decided to list this moody sauntering minimal synth gem along with some additional singles that were done before and after the EP...
Information on this band from down under seems to be limited, but we believe they officially released 7 songs in totality, which includes the aforementioned 3 song Treble EP from 1982. They produced a single prior in 1981 called “I Think It’s Raining”…..And then produced a single after in 1984 called “And I Think It’s Happening Again”….Both of these had an accompanying B side track….There are two more tunes from 1984 that I’m not sure were ever formally released – “These Things Happen” and “I Like To Waltz”…..Both are excellent….
All of their music is quite rare and a challenge to track down....We have recently seen the Treble EP going for insane premiums on eBAY and the like…. The music is dominated by a deep vocalist that does a worthy job of catching your attention. It’s moody at times, dark at other times but maintains a new wave charismatic feel… Great stuff.... A sampling of singles is provided below:::
An entertaining minimal synth single from this one man band. Both songs were composed, produced, arranged, programmed and performed by Joseph Proveda a.k.a J.P. Video. Even the sleeve concept art was thought out by J.P. The songs are well executed and there is also some nifty female backing vocals to be heard. We have captured some additional details from the informative Minimal Wave site below:::
“He is also well known as a visual artist, television producer, writer, poet, occultist and amateur gynecologist. His body of work spans over 3 decades and he is currently writing music for symphony orchestras. JP Video has played with Jayne County, Johnny Thunders (ex New York Dolls), Black and Blue (w/ members of the Runaways), and the Lightwave Ensemble. JP Video's influences are Frank Zappa, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Coltrane, Igor Stravinsky, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Perotin, Ravi Shankar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Balinese music, British folk, Early music, and Bubblegum”.
We put forth this gem that is a minimal electronic EP from a group of five who were based out of Phoenix, AZ in the early 80’s. There seems to have been a small but well-founded indie scene in the Phoenix area during the early-mid 80’s. This intriguing six song set is a testament to what was being produced from the valley of the sun. This EP is an extremely skilled and accomplished outing by an uncelebrated and virtually unnoted group.
Vinyl Obscurity would match this electrical obscurity up against any of the more well known and established acts of the day... It’s packed with all the hallmarks of a great minimal electronic set….You have the overall simplicity of arrangements, the melodic vocal presentations, healthy doses of synth sounds and inclusive percussion intertwined throughout….There are both vocal and instrumental tracks to be found here…All are top drawer compositions for the genre….Even the artwork on the front, back and inner sleeve catches your eye..well at least it did for curious me….This is without a doubt a consummate minimal synth record of the early 80’s.
Kelley Hunt & The Kinetics was a female fronted power pop rock band based out of Kansas City back in the early 80’s. They were popular in the regional club and radio scene, but didn’t manage to break out nationally. This foursome pulled their resources together both musically and financially to self produced one album on the private indie label Awake Records. The album didn’t make any major waves upon its release and vanished into obscurity with many other power pop bands during the same time frame.
They did have some creativity under their belt with respect to the album and song titles. The album title “Blue Light Special” pokes fun at the venerable discount store chain Kmart and what is now the legendary discount practice that helped put Kmart stores on the map – the Blue Light Special. The band even takes it a step further and incorporates quirky lyrics about the frenzy this discount practice used to cause during the 1980’s. Check out the songs “Discount Store” and “Don’t Put Up A Fight”, which provide blow by blow details of the chaos that would ensue during these specials. The overall album does hit some peaks with crafty arrangements and these lyrically amusing songs.
→ 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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