venerdì 25 giugno 2010

Equal but different

Blasting into the post-punk consciousness with a tremendous debut album, the Au Pairs, fronted by lesbian-feminist Lesley Woods, played brittle, dissonant, guitar-based rock that shared political and musical kinship with the Mekons and (especially) the Gang of Four. The music was danceable, imbued with an almost petulant irony, and for a while, very hip and well-liked by critics. Unlike many bands of the day, however, the Au Pairs (at least initially) backed it up with searing, confrontational songs celebrating sexuality from a woman's perspective. Also, they took swipes at the conservative political climate sweeping England after Margaret Thatcher's election as Prime Minister. Occasionally, Woods' commitments to sexual and social politics made her sound inflexible, doctrinaire, and hectoring (especially on their OK second album). But, at first blush, the Au Pairs were a mighty intimidating proposition, able to take on so much and deliver great music in the process. After a desultory live album in 1983 (Live in Berlin), the band split up, and Woods and her bandmates have maintained a low profile. ~ John Dougan

domenica 20 giugno 2010

Tapes from darkness

Neon is not a common name for italian post punk lovers. Born in Florence, the cradle of peninsula's wave, they were probably the first important post punk gothic band in our country and they are still nowadays one of the most active band in 80's Italian new wave time, still marking Italian rock history. The band, which was born first as a duo at the end of the 70's in Florence's undeground culture, soon stands out for its Kraftwerk and new wave icons' synth, which made their style a unique 80's cultural dream's specimen, together with newromantic and post punk tought of bands like Joy Division, Ultravox and Human League. In 1980, the band got off to an electronic start with the single "Information of death", and later, through several line up changes, it achieves to synthetize a mix of obsessive electro sounds, obscure athmospheres and quite original pop melodies which take shapes in later works like "Tapes of darkness" (1981), "Obsession" (1982), "My blues is you" (1983), "Dark Age" (1984); in 1985 "Rituals" sanctioned Neon as the best Italian new wave band of that year. Excellent studio productions and intense live activities has brought Neon to be one of the few icons belonging to alternative 80's Italian music scene.Marcello Michelotti's band, following a different direction from their well known hometown friends Litfiba, choosed a difficult electronic and experimental sound instead of easy rock'n'punk tunes. Their impressive abilty to combine dark and powerful sound gave us some of the best pages of italian wave. In late 2005 a cd box containing Neon's first vynil works has reissued: "Boxed", and it allowed audience to appreciate more and more quartet's emotional fund, innovative power and mainly showed its heritage into the international electro - wave scene. In 2008 two other cd issues: Oscillator, the first Neon concert back in 1979 in Florence and Memories, the best of Neon 1980-1986. In 2009 their first album "Rituals" was released in cd with 3 bonus tracks. The band is in activity, live and preparing a new cd album. Long live Neon!

martedì 15 giugno 2010


Before The Psychedelic Furs and The Bunnymen came the Wasted Youth. They were an original early 1980s band from London, completetely devoted to the the Peter Perret sound mixed with a decadent taste inspired by Brian Ferry. They sounded quite original for the times, blended early Goth and post-punk with dark acoustic strains of the sort associated with Nick Drake and Syd Barrett but also with Black Sabbath! The line-up of the band was Ken Scott (vocals & guitar), Rocco Barker (guitar), Nick Nicole (synth), Darren Murphy (bass) and Andy Scott (drums). Their records were released through Bridgehouse Records, a label set up by the bassplayer's father in the pub he owned in Canning Town. Wasted Youth emerged from the remnants of mid 70's Heavy Rock band Warrior, fronted by Ken Scott. They disbanded anyway in 1982 after one fantastic album (Wild and wandering) and a bunch of precious singles. There were several posthumous releases and some rare tracks too. Rocco Barker was later in Flesh For Lulu and now he's a tv star!!!

giovedì 10 giugno 2010

Marlene on the wall

Never loved the nineties, never loved grunge, never loved post rock... but i would like to make a special post today for my friends Marlene Kuntz with their unique mixture of existential post noise-rock. They are from Cuneo a little Piedmont province, and they were founded around 1990 by the guitarist Riccardo Tesio and the drums player Luca Bergia. The singer and guitarist Cristiano Godano, who previously sang in the broken up Jack on Fire, immediately joins the band and became their leader. They come to the final in the rock contest "Rock targato Italia" in 1993 and Gianni Maroccolo notices them. Their first album, "Catartica", released in May 1994, is one of the best italian post rock album ever. This album contains most of the "classics" of the band, which their public still wants to listen to during their concerts nowadays. Marlene were (are) a real class act and their public still adore them after more than 20 years, a rare example of coherence and musical convinction. They never went to Sanremo Italian Festival and you will not see them very often on tv. But they are very famos nowadays, still playing a sophisticated style of dark and brooding music, a little bit influenced by grunge but also devoted to the italian traditional idea of post punk music. They have been on the music scene for around 20 years and they surely deserve their premiere place in our poor rock history. If you enjoy well-constructed hypnotyc songs a la Radiohead played with panache then they are worth a listen!