mercoledì 20 febbraio 2013

When the buses were red

(Torino Calling 1982-87) - A collection of rarities & demos
28 years later there is still someone listening to that old post punk cassettes, with quite exotic titles like "City Delicatessen"or  "Space invaders" and "could have been" bands like Suicide Dada or Sythetic Sun? Yes, here I am, with my old rotten collection of demo-tapes. Nothing original and anyway nothing that survived the time... but sorry, i can't forget and this is still the music I like! So you have travel back in time once again and now you are in 1982 where a bunch of unconventional people, often dressed like scarecrows,  were deeply involved into "my" tkind of music... and they were called dark, goth, punks, skins, mods or wavers or they weren't called at all. But in the eighties they really were the only most visible form of alternative music and culture - oh yes, they were quite strange, but not enough bizarre yet. What kind of music i'm talking about? Well it's very easy to say, listening to this wave collection of joydivisionesque/robertsmithesque/marcalmondesque tunes, part punky but more introspective, a little dark and moody, sometimes emotional and quite artistic although no less rock and roll oriented. It was the same old story, even in Torino, north of Italy. Another town filled with disaffected youth facing miserable futures discovers new sounds through records & visiting artists. Then adventurous bands like Teknospray & Blind Alley starting to create their own style, twisting and turning guitar sounds into something new. The story told that, apart from Mr. Casacci, none of our local bands become national or worldwide artists, others at least have one or two moments where they briefly realize a dream of musical success, while many simply burn out and rejoin the real world after their youthful energy dissipates. Another beautiful failure, a scene that probably "never was" and suddenly died exactly when a "new wave" attempted to overthrow the very order of rock and roll. Those are still the days where I belong...

Winter never ends (CD-R not on label)
The new wave scene of Torino 82-87 vol.2

00. Polaroid- Un'estate Inclemente II (soundtrack)
01. Tally Ho - Transmission
02. Tommy De Chirico - Close Your Eyes (demo version) 1983
03. Casino des images - God counts women's tears (re-mix)
04. Quiet - Enemy Inside (unreleased)
05. Synthetic Sun - Tell Me What It's For
06. Aqua - Due
07. Magritte - Freedom & Power (never realesed).mp3
08. Prostitutes_ tiny d.
09. Suicide Dada - Acque (2012 mastering)
10. Avantgarde - Call Me Liar (12 mix)
12. Deafear - Stillness Resting (last demo)
13. Inox - Waiting for you
14. Monuments - Herz Von Samt (demo mix)
15. Chromagain - Spot (Whistle)
16. Martin Mixo - Staff's Stuff (b-side)
17. Carmody - Messangers Of Love
18. Blind Alley -  I Was Dreaming (1983 pre mastering mix)
19. No strange_ shadows of my soul
20. Statuto - Ghetto (Vacanze version)
21. Blue Vomit - Non mi alzo in pullman!

venerdì 1 febbraio 2013

Goodbye Toulouse

Whoever Vic is, wherever Vic is, he can't take the credit for inspiring a very, very fine record. Written on the strength of a phone-call that turned out to be a wrong number, 'Is Vic There?' is the first single by some bunch calling themselves Department S. It's good, alright, and so are they. But you needn't take my word for it: in the recent NME Winners Poll, being chosen as a fave new act by Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton, with an additional 'best single' nomination by Weller as well. I'd last seen four of the London five piece just as they were emerging from the ruins of a group called Guns For Hire, at a Rock Garden debut which singer Vaughn Toulouse was later to sum up as "A drunken bloody mess" - not a million miles from my own impression of the event, as it happened.
Department S aren't used to the interview game yet and they discuss themselves with a succession of reluctant shrugs and mumbles, unwilling to try and define their music too closely, and partly suspicious after Vaughn had found himself grotesquely misquoted in a Hot Press piece last week. (But then you often find that the most eager, articulate talkers, who'll theorise about their work until the cows come home, are the ones least capable of delivering where it really counts: in the music itself.) Toulouse, incidentally, has only recently finished a stint as a critic himself, contributing reviews to The Face.
Anyway, the facts are these. The quartet which made its chaotic debut in London last July, soon grew to five-piece with the introduction of synth player Eddie Roxy - who left soon after to form his own synth-oriented group. His replacement is Mark Taylor, who doubles between synth and guitar: "Because the synth isn't important enough in our sound to warrant a full time player. The main reason we got it in the first place was just to fill out the sound - not to get all Gary Numan." Apart from Taylor and Toulouse, there's Michael Herbage on guitar, Tony Lordan on bass and Stuart Mizon on drums...
Having recently struck up an association with Jake Riviera, the Department S found themselves with the chance to put out a 45 on Riviera's Demon label - resulting in the enigmatic and tense 'Is Vic There?', backed by a knockabout version of Bolan's 'Solid Gold Easy Action', both sides produced by ex-Mott The Hooplers Overend Watts and Buffin, who the band met through friends The Nips. It was a rather unadventurous choice for a B-side, though the band themselves are less than happy with it, putting it down to running out of studio time and lack of control over mixing. "We did it for a joke in the first place, cos we didn't have enough songs. None of us was there when it was mixed. I really don't like that song", Vaughn explains. "It's about the worst song Bolan ever wrote. But all the best ones have been done, like the Banshees did 20th Century Boy".
The follow up single will be 'Clap Now' which they describe, pulling faces, as "Psychedelic Funk….with glam-rock drums". And if that sounds confused, it's meant to. "We're all different people really, all of us are having our own say".
Two of the group's bigger breaks so far have come with support slots for Toots & The Maytals ("except the crowds wouldn't listen cos we were different. I remember these kids at Cardiff shouting 'C'mon, skank it up boyo' and I just thought 'Aw, fuck off' ") and, more successfully with The Jam ("the only headliners to give us a decent sound check"). What remains to be seen is whether Department S can ever create a sizeable audience of their own. "Short hair music" is the definition that Vaughn Toulouse favours, but he stresses that their main aim is to find and provide an alternative - both to the elitism of Spandau Ballet & Co. and to the bootboy boredom of present punk. Not that the band are ready to make any great claims for themselves. The reckless abandon of their stage act contrasts with the cautious reserve they display in other areas: "We haven't signed anything. We haven't even got a manager. We don't want to jump in until we know what we want to do. We're all fairly inexperienced in group things".
At the same time, they repeatedly assure me they're not taking it seriously, that "it's still a laugh". So can they succeed? I think that they can if they can find the will, they'll find there's a way.
Between Boots and Ballet Shoes/ Paul Du Noyer - 'NME' - 21st February, 1981