Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Now

The NowNew York, NY's, The Now were caught in the New Wave rush in 1979. They were playing the Max's Kansas City scene when they signed to Midsong International Records and hooked up with producer de jour Bobby Orlando. An album was "produced, arranged, engineered and concieved" by Mr. Orlando and sold about 200,000 records - enough to warrant a second LP which the band started to record. Then the label literally disappeared from their New York City offices. The band never received a dime and that was the end of The Now. The band splintered off into various bands but none achieved any level of success.

A live disc recorded in 1979 was released on CD. Check it out here.

Thanks to Geoff Danielik for his patience and answering my emails. Geoff continues to record, write and produced. His company is Alter Ego Productions. Visit his website here and hear what he is up to at his myspace page.

The Now were:
Jeff Lennon - (Geoff "Lip" Danielik)
Mamie Francis
Robin Dee
Bobby Ore - (Bobby Orefiece)

Go to the download page to get The Now - "Can You Fix Me Up With Her"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Department S

department sFormed from the ashes of faux ska band Guns For Hire, and named after a tv detective spoof, London's Department S released three singles between 1980 and 1981 including "Is Vic There? ","Going Left Right" and "I Want" on Stiff Records. The band appeared on Top of the Pops and a Smash Hits cover. They were on the brink of a break out. They recorded an album called "Sub-Stance" with producer David Tickle who engineered Blondie's "Parallel Lines". The band experienced some line-up changes and a shift in musical styles. Then Stiff decided to stiff the band and didn't release the record. Increased friction between band members and lack of management support was the final undoing.

Mau Mau Records released a CD collection in 1993 but a thorough release of the Department S material came out in 2003.

Sadly vocalist Vaughn Toulouse died of AIDS-related illness in 1991

Department S were:
Vaughn Toulouse - Vocals
Mike Herbage - Keyboards
Tony Lordan - Bass
Stuart Mizon - Drums
Anthony Lloyd-Barnes - Synth
Mark Taylor - Guitar

Hear some more music and watch some videos at the Department S myspace page.

Go to the download page to get Department S - "Going Left Right" 12" version

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Baby it's Cold Outside

[It's well below freezing outside today and I found myself singing "Baby Its Cold Outside" to myself so I figured I'd post the song.]

pezbandThough Chicago's Pezband formed in 1971, in 1978 retail giant Record World crowned Pezband “Most Promising New Act of the Year.” Perhaps that's because they got lumped into the resurging skinny tie power pop scene of the late 70's. They released 3 full length LP's (Pezband, Laughing in the Dark, and Cover to Cover), as well as two live EP's (30 Seconds over Schaumburg and Too Old Too Soon). Despite talent, great records and critical acclaim the band never sold a lot of records and quickly found themselves in the cut out bins. [I dug out my Pezband LPs and price stickers on the jackets revealed that I paid .25 cents for their debut and a buck for their second]. Being signed to South Plainfield NJ's Passport records certainly didn't help them much. They split up in 1980.

Pezband were:
Mimi Betinis: Guitar, Vocals.
Mick Rain: Drums, Vocals.
Mike Gorman: Bass, Vocals
Tommy Gauvenda: Guitars

Pezband LPs were reissued on CD for the first time in Japan a couple of years ago. They can be found here (self-titled debut) , here (Laughing in the Dark) and here (Cover to Cover).

Pezband have since reformed and have a myspace page.

Go to the download page to get Pezband - "Baby it's Cold Outside"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Brains activity on the increase

[I received the following email today and decided to pass it along since I had posted about The Brains almost two years ago. Thanks for the email Richard]


"The Brains, the Atlanta band that flared briefly in the 1980s with the hit “Money Changes Everything” and then flamed out, is returning, in a sense. The guys plan a one-off gig at Club 29 in Decatur on Saturday (1/27/2007) that will feature Tom Gray (the brain behind the Brains) singing five or six Brains songs, with backing by the Swimming Pool Qs (fellow exiles from the 1980s Atlanta rock scene), with guest appearances by ex-Brainsmen Charles Wolff (on drums) and perhaps Rick Price (on guitar). Gray, who lately gigs with his chamber blues ensemble Delta Moon, is perplexed but pleased about the redux. “The Brains’ site on MySpace, run by our former fan club president, has more ‘friends’ than Delta Moon does,” he said in a recent e-mail. “Somehow forces I don’t understand are converging.”

If you can stand myspace (I can't) here's a really beautiful, well designed myspace site (complete with falling skulls) with more info on the Brains and the show.

And here is the title track from the "Dancing Under the Streetlights" EP released in 1982 on Landslide Records.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Headboys

headboysEdinburgh Scotland's the Headboys released an album of pop rock in 1979 on Robert Stigwood's RSO label. The first single, "The Shape of Things to Come" was a minor hit and the band planned a U.S. tour to support the album and join the New Wave craze that they reluctantly became a part of. But they soon decided that they were not ready for touring and retreated to the Scottish countryside to record another album. The album was not released and the band split up.

Headboy keyboardist Calum Malcolm has owned Castle Sound Studios in Scotland where the Headboys lp was recorded for over 20 years and has produced records for The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout and others.

The Headboys were:
Lou Lewis - guitar and vocals
George Boyter - bass and vocals
Calum Malcolm - keyboards and vocals
Davy Cross - drums and vocals

Go to the download page to get The Headboys - "The Shape of Things To Come"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Our Daughters Wedding

Our Daughters WeddingSan Francisco's Our Daughters Wedding started playing in 1977 with bass, guitar and drums but in 1978 they quit. One year later they met in New York and decided to start all over again, this time using only rhythm machines and synthesizers. "We started playing at the Hurrah! club as supporting act to James Chance and Mi-Sex. At that time people did not like us and shouted 'where the fuck are the drums, why don't you use any guitars' and that kind of crap. But after a few years it became a fad, so it came as a surprise to us that it all of a sudden was okay to use synths" said a band member. They scored with the dance club hit "Lawnchairs" (1980 Design Records). Then they signed with EMI records and released the 5 song EP "Digital Cowboy" which featured a rerecording of "Lawnchairs", this time using real drums. In 1982 they released the LP "Moving Windows" but the band broke up not long after it's release.

Our Daughters Wedding were:
Layne Rico - synthesizers
Keith Silva - vocals/synthesizers
Scott Simon - saxophone/synthesizers

A complete collection of ODW tracks was recently release on Almacantar Records

Go to the download page to get Our Daughters Wedding - "Lawnchairs" Original 7" version [from vinyl]

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Units

The UnitsSan Francisco, California's The Units formed in 1978 and released their first EP in 1979. Through the years the band went through many lineup changes and brushes with the major labels. They signed with 415 Records in 1980 and after recording an album produced by Bill Nelson they had a falling out with the label and the record was never released. In 1983 they signed with Epic and once again recorded a full album with Nelson but only a six song EP, "New Way to Move" was released. The band split up in 1984. One of their greatest successes was "The Right Man" single (uprOAr, 1982). It's fitting that the record was released on the small New York uprOAr label. The song peaked at #18 on Billboard's Disco chart.

The Units opened for other great synth bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, Gary Numan and OMD as well as Sparks, Bow Wow Wow and the Psychedelic Furs. Despite the exposure major success eluded them.

The following people were in The Units at some time:
Randy Dunagan - Vocals
Scott Ryser - Synthesizer, Vocals
Tim Ennis - Bass
Jay Darrah: Drums
Lori Lorenzo - Guitar
Ron Lantz - Guitar
Amy Weiss - Guitar
Richard Driskill - Drums, backing vocals
Rachel Webber - Projections, Synthesizer, backing vocals
Lx Rudis - Synthezer
Brad Saunders - Drums
Seth Miller - Drums
David Allen, JR - Synthesizer, vocals
Jabari Allen - Synthesizer, vocals

Find out all you need to know about The Units here.

Go to the download page to get The Units - "The Right Man"