Landed on the bell tower

Shriekback – All Lined Up (1983)

Shriekback was an English rock band formed in 1981 in Kentish Town by Barry Andrews, formerly of XTC and League of Gentlemen (keyboards/synthesizers/vocals), and Dave Allen, formerly of the Gang of Four (bass). They had many band members over the years, including the infamous Luc van Acker, who joined Shriekback in 1984 and would later become a founding member of the Revolting Cocks, along with Ministry’s Al Jourgensen.

But enough name-dropping; let’s get the beat-dropping. This is a track from “Oil and Gold,” the first full-length Shriekback album, released in 1983. As a single, “Lined Up” was a minor club hit, reaching number 39 on the Australian charts. In the UK, “Lined Up” was released twice (the second time as a remix), peaking at number 89 initially and only number 78 for the remix. Unbelievable.

Clan of Xymox – Michelle (1987)

At the beginning of January, we saw Clan of Xymox live in Utrecht. I liked this concert way more than the one from the Cure we had in November.

The Cure played a lot of newer, slower tracks that didn’t set me on fire. Xymox had a nice mix of old bangers and more recent work. Much more energy and a great atmosphere. More tempos and guitars with plenty of reverb, which is just how I like it.

They are also quite active and keep on touring. I saw they are now in the US and Canada. The venues are pretty small, especially when compared to The Cure, of course, but that also contributes to more engagement with the audience.

Clan of Xymox had multiple band members over the years, with the only constant factor being lead singer Ronny Moorings. Even though the band was formed in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in 1983, Ronny’s Dutch was a bit rusty because of all the touring and mostly because he’s also been living in Berlin for quite some years.

When I still owned records, I had the 80s albums from Xymox; I must say I hadn’t heard most of their newer tracks and quite like their more recent work. An eye-opener for me. Still, for now, I picked my favorite one from the Medusa album of 1986.

I’m just a sucker for some tempo and sneering guitars. By the way: when preparing for this episode, I noticed they have a lot of female names as track names. Also think of Jasmine & Rose, Michelle and of course the famous one: Louise.

Insta Outcast: FM Attack & Vandal Moon – Séance (2021)

Vandalmoon is Blake Voss & Shawn Ward, a Canadian duo from Vancouver. On this track, they collaborate with FM attack, one of the pioneers of the synth-wave genre. This track, séance, was written and recorded live in Vancouver, B.C., on Halloween. As they say: Spirits were channeled from the afterlife in this recording.

This 2021 track is a single, but their full-length album “Queen of the Night” is worth checking out. It is a concept album about being young in a world that’s falling apart. A year ago, they released another track with FM attack, the single Cry Cry Cry. All very worthwhile.

Yellow Magic Orchestra – U-T

Yellow Magic Orchestra was a Japanese electronic music band formed in Tokyo in 1978. You may know one of the 3 founders that also had a solid solo career later on: Ryuichi Sakamoto. He also made several movie soundtracks and won a Grammy and an Oscar for the soundtrack he made for the movie “The Last Emperor.”

Like Kraftwerk, they were a similarly influential electronic band, but their music didn’t always reach Europe in their earlier years. That happened in the early 80s, and they significantly influenced several synth-pop bands and house producers. The music of YMO is much more light-hearted than the more dystopian and robotic themes and sounds from Kraftwerk. Anyway, I’m moving on from the Kraftwerk comparison.

I chose this song, U-T. That is short for Ultra Terrestrial. The song is not particularly light-hearted, nor is the rest of the album. I think it has the right atmosphere and also fits within the genres we play in our podcast. And a small side note for our listeners: we tend to share songs via Spotify. However, in this case, I’m using an edit of this song without vocals and a bit more darkness.

It’s from their 4th studio album, BGM, from 1981. BGM, another abbreviation, stands for Background Music. The album focused more on atmosphere and mood; some even say this album was a turning point for YMO and the international Pop music scene.

They successfully merged lyrics, samples, and their signature programmed sound on BGM. Fun fact: This album was the first to feature the Roland TR-808, one of the earliest programmable drum machines that soon became iconic.

There are some very cool videos of some concerts they did on Youtube.

You see Ryuichi behind a wall of ridiculously expensive synthesizers and gear. A jumping girl behind even more synths. And a smoking drummer behind the biggest drumkit I’ve ever seen. Other band members have sweat bands on their heads, and they are giving it their all. If you were to buy that equipment in 2023, you could probably not even find half of them, or afford the ones you could. The band quit in 1984 and briefly reunited in 1993.

Tones on Tail – Go! (Club Mix) (1983)

Tones on Tail was a British post-punk band formed in 1982, initially a musical side project of Daniel Ash of the gothic rock group Bauhaus. Initially, as a duo with Glenn Campling, his flatmate who had also been a roadie for Bauhaus. After their break-up in 1983, they were joined by Bauhaus’s drummer Kevin Haskins 1983. The band’s name referenced how calibration tones were recorded on the “tail” of reel-to-reel tape.

The song was a B-side of the single “Lions” but became a hit in dance clubs. It made several appearances in popular culture in later years. It was sampled in at least ten songs, among which Girl Talk’s “What’s It All About” and DJ Fresh in “The Immortal,” but most famously, Moby used a sample of it in his 1990 dance hit “Go!”. The influential track also made it into the movies: In 1997, it was featured in the film Grosse Pointe Blank and Go! was also featured in the 2003 cult film “Party Monster.”

Sixth June – Trust

This sounds much older than it actually is, right? This track is from 2020. I think the clap sound from the Linndrum helps get that older feeling.

Personally, I mainly want to share songs that I really like with our listeners. Unfortunately, in many cases, those are also the artists I can’t seem to find much info about. Sounds familiar? No big issue because we also want to avoid reading much information out loud. That can also be a bit boring to listen to. We’re not an audiobook.

Anyway, this is one of those. I’m talking about the Sixth of June. Not to be confused with the band “Death in June” (which is also great, by the way) is a project from Berlin with origins in Belgrade. Formed in 2007 by Laslo and Lidija. During that time, countless new bands and projects were formed for the old minimal and dark 80s sounds.

Bands like Xeno & Oaklander, Void Vision, She Past Away, Lebanon Hanover, and more. I quite like most of that movement, by the way. The sound is not new per se, but each band gives its twist to the glorious sounds of the 80s.

The band name, Sixth June, has no specific reference to any June 6th in history. I looked up what happened on the sixth of Junes in world history. The game Tetris was launched in 1984. And Kennedy was shot. Laslo and Lidija probably met for the first time on that date or something like that.

Lidija is also an actress, and they also make their own music videos. Quite the “film noir” look and fitting to the music they make.

Siouxsie Sioux & Brian Reitzell – Love Crime (Hannibal soundtrack)

Did you see the serial killer series “Hannibal” Goof?
Creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller was an enormous Siouxsie and the Banshees fan. It turned out Siouxsie was an admirer of Hannibal, so when he heard about this, Fuller wanted to try to get Siouxsie to record a track for the show’s finale. There were only two issues: Siouxsie was retired. She hadn’t set foot in a studio or written a song for over eight years. And the show was in its last season, and the networks had already canceled it. Still, Bryan Fuller went to the two network bosses. His pitch was:

“‘I know the show is canceled… and it’s absolutely unheard of for a showrunner to come back to you and ask for more money for a show that has no further revenue potential for you, but it’s Siouxsie Sioux, and it would be her first single in eight years, and it’s such an honor.’ So both networks said, ‘Yes, absolutely, we’ll split it right down the middle, and we’re doing this because we love you, we love the show, and we love Siouxsie.”

So Siouxsie Sioux ended an eight-year songwriting hiatus when she contributed this track, titled “Love Crime,” to the series finale of Hannibal. Her haunting, strings-laden track was directed by the show’s music supervisor Brian Reitzell. She asked him, ‘If you could put it into a sentence, what is this season about?’ And he said that it was a love story. He played some strings he composed, and she said this piece was the first thing she heard that inspired her to do anything. She then wrote the lyrics without seeing any footage, but it worked perfectly because she was a show fan.

An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized, more intensely flavored course. It is small, usually, just one or two bites, selected by the chef and offered free of charge to all present at the table. This is Hannibal and Will’s love theme from the Hannibal soundtrack, as heard in the final episode, ‘The Wrath of the Lamb.’ It is called “Love Crime.”

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