And here we are, back with season 3, episode 3 of The Infected!
Thanks for listening, enjoy the show and links in these shownotes
Undertheskin – Drown (Negative album 2019)
The main reason I tend to pick older tracks, is that I can look up and provide much more backgrounds to talk about. Of course there are plenty of new bands and music I’d like to play, but you would be hard pressed to find anything on them at all.
That also goes for Under The Skin.
Undertheskin is one-man studio project and live trio. But if you listen to his music, it sounds like a 10 man band. The man responsible is Mariusz Łuniewski from Poland.
He launched the first album in 2016, and a second one (called Negative) in 2019. That title negative sure ticks the box, as you’ve just heard.
And that whole album does not have a bad song on it in my opinion, it is built up really nicely, like a story that’s being told when listening to it as a whole.
A story told by atmosphere. It sounds like a double espresso of post-punk but with a modern twist.
The formula is a mix of 80’s electronics, shoegaze-like guitars and tormented vocals. But different than previous or other new bands that try to emulate the old Post-Punk sound with old and repetitive tricks. Maybe it’s because of the synth work and layered production.
Depeche Mode – Strangelove (Music for the masses, 1987)
This next song is not only our Infected Classic; this was also the solution of last week’s 8-bit minute: ‘Strangelove ‘by Depeche Mode. Again, we had correct answers coming in from several listeners – listen to the 8 bit minute at the end of this Podcast to guess this week’s track! Free merch awaits!
Musically, ‘Strangelove’ sounds like a cooler, more refined follow-up to their previous single ‘Master & Servant. ‘ In terms of the lyrics, on the surface, ‘Strangelove ‘can be seen as an ode to freaky fetishes but reading more in-depth into it, the lyrics can also be about emotional instability or unavailability. To me, this is a song about a relationship where someone cheats on their partner, who is aware of it, and yet they don’t break up. Society may consider a relationship where one of the parties is unfaithful strange, but it works for them. This is their Strange Love. Can you imagine being in a relationship like that?
In the end, all is fair in love and war, whether it be whips and chains or infidelity. If you can’t stand the devices, get out of the torture chamber.
It’s a fine line between pain and pleasure, and as always, Depeche Mode is on a mission to walk that line.
Production-wise, Depeche Mode had some funny unwritten rules when recording the album ‘Music For The Masses.’ Some of it derived from the Kraftwerk way of doing things. Think of rules like ‘no high hats’ ‘no presets,’ ‘no chords,’ although that last one was broken a couple of times… But if they did do a chord, it would be layered out of various monophonic parts.
With these rules, you might think they were giving themselves a hard time for the sake of it, but it did undoubtedly give them a unique sound and a unique approach.
The original demo of “Strangelove” was much faster paced, but the band members decided to slow it down to blend in better with the album’s overall tone. The version on the album is actually sort of a hybrid. It is partially based on the slowed-down single version and partly based on the Daniel Miller remix 12″ that they really liked. Those two were blended for the album version.
But I like the single version better. The original demo was much faster and more urgent, and the single version captures that intensity better. It’s also interesting to note that two bass lines are going on here. Go check it out.
Isolation Ward – Lamina Christus
The next band is Isolation Ward from Belgium. Most of us feel like we’ve been in an isolation ward, for the last year, right?
The band was formed in Brussels in 1979 when the 2 friends Stephane and Jean-Pierre sold their skateboards to purchase an electric guitar and a bass. They soon added more friends with benefits. Those benefits being: Musical instruments of couse 😉
They toured a lot in their short existence, with bands like The Birthday Party, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. But unfortunately, after several line-up changes the band would destabilize too much to keep going and maintain the chemistry. Their final gig was in May of 1983.
For the mathematicians among us: yes they existed only for 4 years. Such a shame. But luckily they left us with some great and powerful singles.
One of those is Lamina Christus, produced by Peter Principle of Tuxedomoon, and released by Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1982. I will play it in a moment. The track feels like a force that drags you down into darkness, like a predator dragging its prey down. There’s nothing uplifting here, and that’s the way I like it.
Lastly I have to make a confession:
After Xmal Deutschland from last episode, my rants about Liz Frazer, and now selecting another one of my all-time favorite tracks. I think it’s time for me to confess I have a weak spot for female singers within Post-Punk.
The whiney, nasal voice of Nathalie Bourlard just gets me everytime. Also the bass, sounds like a singer now I think of it, also whining and complaining in the background.
Vision Video – Static Drone (single, February 2021)
This is our Insta Outcast. We have a brand new single from the upcoming debut LP by friends of the show Vision Video. The album will be called Inked in Red https://visionvideo.bandcamp.com/album/inked-in-red and will be released on April 16th.
Inked in Red, the album, is a personal story from the experiences of frontman Dusty. He was an American soldier on assignment abroad and a rifle platoon leader on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. It will be a ten-track story of mental health destruction, borne of equal parts human mortality and government incompetence.
This single Static Drone precedes the album, and we have been waiting eagerly for the release since we talked to Dusty a few episodes back in the show. There is also a new video for Static Drone out now on YouTube:
Again, this track was produced and recorded by the band with Tom Ashton of the March Violets, and man, did they get the sound right. Vision Video is blessed with three band members that double as singers, which works out well. The energy and contrast between the sound and the lyrics make this a special song, but I also really love the track’s open, acoustic feel.
The Danse Society – Clock
The Danse Society is without a doubt one of the many bands that drowned in the abundant musical offerings in the 80’s. A lot of talent, but lost in time. But mostly because of a terrible recordlabel and contract.
Arista wanted them to make more songs with hit potential and put them under enormous time?) pressure. The result of that is the album “heaven is waiting”. It didn’t make a dent in post-punk history, but don’t be fooled by public opinion, because there are plenty gems on there.
Spotify finally put that album online about 6 months ago. There is a lot of great music and quality made by The Danse Society. Just listen for yourself.
The Danse Society were an English gothic rock band, formed in Barnsley in 1980. They achieved moderate success during their career, like I mentioned.
Between 1980 and 1982 the band released a handful of singles and 12” EP’s and the debut album “Seduction” on their own independent label, Society Records.
Their third year their year. Playing sold-out tours and the success of “Seduction” won them a recording contract with Arista Records. At the same time, that was the beginning of the end.
In 1986, after releasing their final album as Danse Society International, all of the band members, except the lead singer Rawlings, left to form another band that I never heard of: Johnny In The Clouds.
I’m not the only one that loves The Danse Society. A campaign entitled The Danse Society Reformation Plot was started on Facebook at the end of 2009 and succeeded in bringing most of the band back together. The reformed Danse Society, featuring new vocalist from the group Blooding Mask, released a new album in 2011.
I picked an earlier track to give you a taste of this great band.
Ist Ist – You’re Mine (Architecture, 2020)
Ist Ist is an act that came on my radar late last year when we interviewed Then Comes Silence, another band we consider friends of the show. Mattias of Then Comes Silence warmly recommended Ist Ist, and I can totally see why.
The band was formed in Manchester, and they have been playing live gigs steady since 2014. Although they stubbornly refused to sign with a manager or any record label, they released 2 EP’s in 2018 and 2019 and finally brought their first full-length album into the world last year, in 2020. Early in their career, they were regularly condemned as “too out there,” but they are fiercely proud of their independence and uncompromising, intense sound.
You’re mine was the second single to be taken from their debut album, Architecture. Musically the driving energy and rhythm impressed me. Their sound seems to be a cocktail of Joy Division, Fields of the Nephilim, and Editors. The booming bassline and moody vocals are distanced but somehow also passionate. I like it!