Review: There was a little of Talking Heads about 3 Teens Kill 4, an arty, post-punk combo whose 1983 album No Motive has long been a favourite with dusty-fingered crate diggers. As this Dark Entries reissue proves, the band's vocal style, musical arrangements and love of madcap stylistic fusions drew heavily of David Byrne and company's open-minded and singular approach. This is perhaps most evident on the low-slung dub disco outing "5/4", stripped-back bass-and-drum machine jam "Hut/Bean Song" (whose odd lyrics discuss shaking cans of baked beans) and sample-heavy fuzziness of "Tell Me Something Good". Brilliantly, this edition also features two previously unreleased tracks that were left off the original album.
Review: Belgian reissue imprint Stroom are back with more retro obscurities, this time in the form of 48 Cameras: the brainchild and life project of self-proclaimed non-musician Jean-Marie Mathoul. After hearing an album of William S. Burroughs reciting poetry, Mathoul decided to put poems and spoken word to music. He was a poet in his own right, having already published a book of poems. At a literary event in Liege, he met UK-based writer Paul Buck (author of the novel The Honeymoon Killers) and the two of them decided to collaborate - and thus formed 48C. Mathoul was said to have built the album in his mind, long before starting the recording process, which involved something of a 'non-band'. The musicians and collaborators never actually recorded together, and to this day some haven't even met each other. Jean-Marie Mathoul sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 66.
Review: Stockholm industrialists Agent Side Grinder began life by releasing eight albums in seven years between 2008 and 2015. Here they return to action with their first LP since, the suitably dark, throbbing and intense "A/X". There's much to enjoy from start to finish, from the intoxicating, EBM-influenced paranoia of "Decompression" and grandiose mid-80s Depeche Mode brilliance of "Stripdown", to the unsettling throb and panicked electronics of "The Great Collapse" (a kind of "Personal Jesus" for the Twitter generation) and the unholy late night pulse of "Wounded Star", where Sally Dige's fragile and glacial vocal rises above a slo-mo arpeggio bassline and icily clandestine chords.
Review: The judicious Minimal Wave clan deliver another brilliant compilation of rare and wonderful music from the 1980's, this time an anthology of the best work from Japanese artiste Tomo Akikawabaya. Sourcing these songs in their original format has become harder and harder over the years, so they've really done us a favour with this effort. The double LP is made up of loneseom drones, lo-fi drum machine grooves and gorgeous synth work, all coated in Akikawabaya's wonderful vocal stance. The Japanese artiste has a unique style that borders on the melancholic, yet her music is always charged by a driving, proto techno feel. This is one to check if you weren't in the know.
Review: Active between 1982 and 1994, Chicago duo Alebra Suicide was a unique proposition. Comprised of deadpan spoken word vocalist Lydia Tomkiw and guitarist Don Hedeker, the pair won plenty of plaudits for their unique blend of lo-fi drum machines rhythms, sparse post-punk guitar motifs, sequenced synthesizers and distinctive vocals. "Still Life" - the second retrospective of their curious career from Dark Entries - offers a neat introduction to their strange sonic world, drawing on cuts from a multitude of forgotten albums and singles. It's well worth picking up, if only to admire the undoubted brilliance of the pair's unique fusion of styles and sounds.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.
Review: 32 years later... Eberle and Jones' third album still sounds as singular. Cosmic, futuristic, soulful, innovative; from the disparate twangs and Floydian vocal processing of "The Fisherman" to the poignant chords and distant breezy harmonies of "With Louise" via the space blues of "Seven Days From Now", this captures a unique moment of musical flux and clarity and has aged incredibly well. If anything it's more resonant as you hear so many echoes of inspired bands and artists who've followed. Its first reissue in almost 17 years, this experience is long overdue.