Zero Le Creche – Last Years Wife

I have just unearthed a classic that obviously has completely passed me by; then again, it was 32 years ago.zerolecreche01

Goth band ‘Zero le Creche’ released the Single ‘Last Years Wife’ (Flicknife) in 1984 hitting number 11 in the indie charts and was featured as runner up single of the week in the Melody Maker. Produced by Henry Padovani, it was their biggest hit in their short career and at the time was popular on the Goth scene.

I discovered this gem whilst reading the brilliant book ‘Sharp! Flicknife & Other Adventures’. On page 152 Zero Le Creche become Flicknife Records first Goth band signing and 32 years later, here I am searching them out on the Internet. I love the melodies and particularly the silky smooth vocals; the style is of the goth era, I’d say it has a commercial slant, sort of a ‘Psychedelic Furs’, early ‘Cure’ meets Bauhaus.

The band line up consisted of Andy Nakanza (vocals), Terry Miles (bass), Richard Ollie (drums) & Andy Mitchell (guitar). Not too long after this release Nakanza (real name Andy Manning & sometimes credited as Nkanza) quit the band and was replaced by vocalist Jamie Lord. In 1985 second single ‘Falling’ (Cherry Red) was released but without anything near the same success as their debut, soon after they disappeared from view. I suspect losing the original vocalist played a big part in this turn of misfortune which is a shame really.

They re-surfaced in 2008 with a 21 track album featuring all of the songs from the ‘Last Years Wife’ EP, second single ‘Falling’ and a host of previously unreleased studio recordings (plus one live). Another EP was released in 2010 entitled ‘Silence Speaks’.

Original vocalist Andy Nakanza resurfaced in 1986 fronting ‘Boom Boom Room’ releasing ‘Here Comes The Man’ (Epic) which peaked at 74 UK national charts in 1986.

Hindsight is always a better judge in life; for whatever reasons Andy Nakanza departed from the band, in my opinion, had he stayed, I think that both he and Zero Le Creche would have steered a much more successful direction and who knows! Maybe gone on to much bigger things.

Auto-Pilot – 8-Zero

Electronic music from the late 70’s to early 80’s is encapsulated in this latest release from Auto-Pilot. This album, with its retro sound & strong tracks really captures that magic era of Synth-pop. The early influences are all in there, Gary Numan, Japan, Human League, Kraftwerk etc

You can unearth this gem at the following links –

i-Tunes    Amazon     Junodownload

 

Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

 

36 Years Ago Today…

Way back in the late 70’s to early 80’s a truly superb band existed making highly original music seemingly following no particular style. They were amongst a small numberjapan-gentlemen-take-polaroids-1 of similar bands that the press at the time labelled the New Romantics. Japan competed against the likes of Duran Duran, Visage & Spandau Ballet etc but being much less commercial in sound they tended to hover in the shadows. For me, Japan were, and still are, the true kings of the genre, the real leaders who deserved the crown purely for cool, originality and ability.

Exactly 36 years ago today, October 24th 1980, ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ was the first Japan album released on Virgin. It received moderate success reaching 51 in the album charts and the single of the same name reaching 60. Two years later in 82, ‘Night Porter’ reached 29 in the UK singles chart.  For me, this album is one of the best there has ever been, admittedly, it is a matter of taste, all music is but something stirred real deep inside when I first listened. Something so refreshingly different, it really hit a nerve.

By 1983 the japan-gentlemen-take-polaroids-2band was no more, disintegrating into history. I had the real fortune of seeing them live not just once but twice during two different tours, the last of which was promoting their final album ‘Tin Drum’. Another great album and tour but that first gig, one year before remains to this day the best band & live experience I have ever seen and this album being amongst the best of the best.

If you have never heard Japan you could be in for a treat, maybe dive straight in and play ‘Night Porter’ with its haunting aura, just simply wow, what a song, a timeless classic beyond belief.

Track Listing –

  1. Gentlemen Take Polaroids
  2. Swing
  3. Burning Bridges
  4. My New Career
  5. Methods of Dance
  6. Ain’t The Peculiar
  7. Nightporter
  8. Taking Islands in Africa

Johnny Come Latelys – Messiah Complex Part 1 (EP)

Manchester, the sprawling metropolis of the north, home to so many of the coolest bands ever to have graced our music scene and within this melee of clambering talent sat Supajamma, fronted by ex Audioweb vocalist Sugar. Sadly the band with the wonderful fronting Sugar demised and dispersed into the world of ex band members.

Two of these ex band member, Simon Collier (bass) & Dan Adams (drumjcls), re-emerges in the form of ‘Johnny Come Latelys’ where Simon conceived, composed and performed almost all of this 4 track EP alone with a little help from Donna Marie Stevens (backing vocals). Take the vocals away and the overall sound still carries the ghost of Supajamma.

It oozes northern urban grit, harsh reality, just getting out of bed and trying to survive knowing you can see what others seemingly pass unnoticed.  It’s all rolled and mangled into one in this, the ‘Messiah Complex Part 1’…

Kicking off is ‘The Truth Behind The Lies’, with its harsh undercurrent of distortions and wavering vocals (aren’t pretty but suit to a T) washed in echo, its angry, its real and raw. A politically charged rant at the bad world we get spewing from our TV sets, the evil that men do, the lies that glorify and the possible bleak future facing us all etc. It’s a biting snarling track making its point very clearly and in the context of the whole offering is the ideal starter.

The following three tracks (from this 4 track EP), have more of the same subject wise but do vary the groove, being clever, well produced & interesting. The vocals are nowhere near sublime but suit the style and blend into this dark world of the Messiah Complex Part 1. For me, the stand out track has to be ‘Saved the Day’. A beautiful slow groove that drives on and on, the message remains the same but the feeling has dropped into a more acceptance of the World and society that we have no choice but to live within it.

It’s a solid EP, with a true message that’s delivered well, so head on over to Band Camp (links below) and downloads your copy of the Messiah Complex Part 1. Get mad about it!

Links – Band Camp

 

Elvis the debut album 1956

I am listening to Elvis’s first album on heavyweight 180 gram vinyl LP record released in 1956 that is 60 years ago.For many people this is the album that started it all although some cite Little Richard some Jerry Lee Lewis some Chuck Berry as being the spark that lit the flame in terms of popular appeal Elvis was the one that made the biggest commercial impact as soon as the needle touches down on the platter and the opening lines of Heartbreak Hotel jumps out at you you know you are listening to history.

elvis first LP

 

Suede new LP “Night Thoughts

The new Suede album “Night Thoughts” is truly magnificent ! a relentless collage of ambient guitar driven lyrically philosophical stream of consciousness. Just like a maturing fine wine Suede get better and better so who needs Coldplay and their embarrassing leader Chris Martin. Watching him hamming it up with Beyonce last night at the Super Bowl what an unpleasant spectacle.WE HAVE SUEDE we don’t need stylized U2 soundalikes like Coldplay. 20 years on from “Coming Up” (1996) always my favorite Suede album that record now has a rival. as the NME review states “it snubs consolidation and takes a daring, defiant leap into the unknown”

SHAM – Fast Life Cafe


SHAM - Fast Life CafeSham is a man from Montreal, that we know and he is also a bit of an enigma in the music scene. Stage, studio or rolling his thing down on the subway is all in a stride, there are many sides to Sham but all pulling in the same direction. His previous release “Mix Tape” featured the track “Bullet”, take it from me, that is one bullet you wanna take in the head. From that point on I’ve always known Sham has bucket loads of talent & this latest release strengthens my judgement ten fold, in fact it excels in every way.

Opening title track welcomes all to the Fast Life Café – a soul is laid bare to the World, a World of pain and pleasure, depends what you want, guns, bomb, girls, under and over the counter drugs that gets you so high you’ll crack the ozone. This is a lyrical magician at work who conjures his genius throughout the album with amazing twists and contrasts. This album has been on loop in my car, my stereo & my personal player for 5 solid days. To pick a stand out track for me is difficult but if push comes to shove it has to be “Dream Chaser”. I’m just chasing a dream stuck in-between, where I wanna go and where I’m sick of being. Keep chasing that dream Sham because people like you are few and far between and deserve to be living that dream.

If you’re gonna go and get an album this week then make sure it is this one. Available to download at Bandcamp. It’s a Pay what you want deal but above all just get it on loop

SHAM