Category: post punk

On this day in music history: October 8, 1980 – “Remain In Light”, the fourth album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Brian Eno, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas and Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from July – August 1980. The bands third and final collaboration with producer Brian Eno, many of the albums songs are inspired by experiments with African polyrhythms and recording the basic tracks in pieces then looping and editing the final results. Talking Heads also bring in outside musicians such as King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and singer Nona Hendryx. The final product is a genre defying and innovative work that receives great praise from fans and critics alike. The albums distinctive cover artwork, features photos of the four band members with red computer rendered masks obscuring their faces (except for their eyes, noses, and mouths). The design is created by drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth in cooperation with Walter Bender from MIT (Massachusetts Institute Of Technology). The process involved in creating the computer generated rendering, proves to be very arduous and time consuming, due to the limited amount of computer memory available. It spins off two singles including the classic “Once In A Lifetime” (#103 Pop). In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued with four unfinished outtakes from the original recording sessions in 2006. The same year, it is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records. In November of 2018, the album is reissued as a limited edition pressing (5,500 copies), on red vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Remain In Light” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. Another limited edition LP, pressed on grey vinyl is issued as an exclusive through big box retailer Target in 2019. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: September 5, 1988 – “Peepshow”, the ninth album by Siouxsie & The Banshees is released. Produced by Siouxsie And The Banshees and Mike Hedges, it is recorded at Marcus Recording Studios in London from January – March 1988. The pioneering British post punk/goth rock bands first album of all new material in over two years, it is the first to introduce new members keyboardist Martin McCarrick and guitarist Jon Klein who replace guitarist and keyboardist John Valentine Carruthers. It spins off three singles including “The Killing Jar” (#2 Modern Rock) and the innovative, backwards masking track “Peek-a-Boo” (#1 Modern Rock, #53 Pop) which is the first single to top the newly established Modern Rock chart in Billboard Magazine. The songs chorus quote from the 30’s Tin Pan Alley pop song “Jeepers Creepers” (written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer), resulting in the band giving the authors a co-writing credit to avoid legal action. “Peek-a-Boo” is also supported by a visually striking music video, becoming an MTV favorite, breaking out from the channels alternative rock program “120 Minutes” into heavier rotation. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2014, with three additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in December of 2018. “Peepshow” peaks at number sixty eight on the Billboard Top 200 becoming the bands second highest charting album in the US.

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On this day in music history: August 26, 1985 – “The Head On the Door”, the sixth album by The Cure is released. Produced by Robert Smith and Dave Allen, it is recorded at Angel Studios in London from Early – Mid 1985. Following the UK success of their previous album “The Top”, Cure leader Robert Smith, continue to expand the bands more pop based sound (but maintaining their characteristic dark edge) begun on the previous effort with their next release. “Door” is the first to introduce new members Boris Williams (drums) and Porl Thompson (guitar, keyboards) and marks the return of bassist Simon Gallup to the band. The album is a pivotal release in the bands career as it is their first release to receive significant support in the US from both college radio and the burgeoning commercial Modern Rock radio format, as well as video outlets like MTV which increases the bands fan base beyond its small but loyal cult following. It spins off two hit singles including “In Between Days” (#99 US Pop, #15 UK) and “Close To Me” (#13 UK). In 2006, a 2 CD Deluxe Edition album is released. The first disc is a remastered version of the original album, with the second disc featuring Robert Smith’s original instrumental demo recordings, early band demos, and three live bootleg tracks recorded in Paris in December of 1985. Out of print on vinyl for nearly twenty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2008, and reissued again in 2016. “The Head On The Door” peaks at number fifty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 17, 1987 – “Substance”, the fifth album by New Order is released. Produced by New Order, it features material recorded from 1981 – 1987. The twelve track double LP compilation consists of the 12-inch single mixes and their respective B-side dub mixes. The CD and cassette versions feature track listings that are expanded to twenty four and twenty eight tracks respectively (including “1963”, the B-side of “True Faith”). The album also includes the newly recorded track “True Faith” (#4 UK) which becomes their first top 40 single in the US (#32 Pop). “Faith” is also supported by abstract and surreal music directed by French/Moroccan choreographer and mime artist Philippe Decouflé (The Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy”), that receives widespread play on MTV and other video outlets. The albums’ packaging is designed by graphic artist Trevor Key of Peter Saville Associates with the initial pressings featuring the artist name and title embossed on the front. Subsequent re-pressings feature flat text printing to save on printing costs. “Substance” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number thirty six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 3, 1979 – “Fear Of Music”, the third album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Talking Heads and Brian Eno, it is recorded at Chris and Tina’s Loft, The Hit Factory, and Atlantic Studios in New York City from April – May 1979. Recorded in just three weeks, mostly in Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s New York City loft, with The Record Plant’s mobile recording truck, they expand on the sound of their previous album “More Songs About Buildings And Food”, incorporating more dance oriented rhythms along with David Byrne’s eclectic lyrics and vocals featured front and center. The album’s cover art features a matte black cover with a metal diamond plate floor pattern embossed on the front and back with the band name and title printed in green ink. The initial idea was to make the LP jacket out of a plastic material, but when that proves to be too expensive, the artwork is printed on regular cardboard paper stock. It spin off two singles including “Life During Wartime” (#80 Pop) and “I Zimbra”. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2006 as a hybrid DualDisc featuring four additional bonus tracks. The DVD side features the album remixed into 5.1 surround sound, and also contains the videos for “Cities” and “I Zimbra”. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2013. The same year, a limited pressing on marbled green vinyl (500 copies only) sold exclusively through Boston based record store Newbury Comics. “Fear Of Music” peaks at number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 18, 1980 – “Closer”, the second album by Joy Division is released. Produced by Martin Hannett, it is recorded at Brittania Row Studios in Islington, London from March 18 – 30, 1980. Originally formed in 1976 by Bernard Sumner (guitar) and Pete Hook (bass), the two friends decide to buy instruments and form a band after seeing The Sex Pistols perform in their hometown of Manchester. Along with their mutual friend Terry Mason (drums), they also ask Martin Gresty to sing lead. When Gresty turns them down, they go in search for a lead singer by placing an advertisement in a local Virgin Records store. The ad is answered by Ian Curtis, another childhood friend who is also an avid fan of the punk rock scene. Initially calling themselves Warsaw after the David Bowie song “Warszawa”, they play their first gig on May 29, 1977 along side The Buzzcocks, Penetration and John Cooper Clarke. Warsaw go through a succession of drummers after Mason steps aside to manage the band. Third drummer Steve Brotherdale is replaced by Curtis’ former school mate Stephen Morris in August of 1977. The band also abandon their original name after only three months when they discover there is a London punk band called Warsaw Pakt. They rename themselves Joy Division, after the name of the forced sex slavery wing of Nazi concentration camps, referred to the in the novella “House Of Dolls”. After releasing their first EP “An Ideal For Living” in 1978, they sign with Manchester based indie label Factory Records. Releasing their debut album “Unknown Pleasures” in June of 1979, the band increase their already loyal following and begin writing material for the follow up. With their rise in popularity, singer Ian Curtis’ personal problems also begin to overwhelm him. Suffering from epilepsy, Curtis begins having frequent seizures, becoming increasingly depressed as his marriage also is failing. He pours his emotions into the lyrics of Joy Division’s songs, most poignantly in the non-album single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (#13 UK), and others like “Atrocity Exhibition”, “Isolation” and “A Means To An End”. The band complete the recording of their second album “Closer” in less than two weeks, at Brittania Row Studios in London, owned at the time by Pink Floyd. Two months before it’s released, Ian Curtis commits suicide on May 18, 1980, by hanging himself. He is only twenty three years old at the time. When “Closer” is released, it is very well received and is praised as a post-punk masterpiece. Surviving members Sumner, Hook and Morris (with his girlfriend and later wife Gillian Gilbert) form New Order out of the ashes of Joy Division, going on to even greater success during the 80’s and beyond. “Closer” hits number one on the UK Indie Album chart, peaking at number six on the UK Album chart, and is certified Gold in the UK by BPI.

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On this day in music history: July 6, 1984 – “This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get”, the fourth studio album by Public Image Ltd. is released. Produced by Public Image Ltd., it is recorded at Maison Rouge Studios in London from Late 1983 – Early 1984. The bands fourth album originates as “Commercial Zone”, a solo album recorded by PiL guitarist Keith Levene in 1983. The album is completely re-recorded (including a re-recording of the single “This Is Not A Love Song”) after Levene departs from the band. Several of the songs on the album including “The Order Of Death” appears in numerous films and television programs including “The Blair Witch Project”, “Hardware”, and “Miami Vice”. The title is taken from a repeated refrain on the opening track “Bad Life”. “This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get” peaks at number fifty six on the UK album chart, and does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 16, 1986 – “The Queen Is Dead”, the third studio album by The Smiths is released. Produced by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, it is recorded at Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey, UK, RAK Studios in London and Clear Recordings in Manchester, UK from July – December 1985. Morrissey and Marr write the majority of the songs for their third album during and between tours of Great Britain in 1985. Recording begins in the Summer with the song “Bigmouth Strikes Again” at Johnny Marr’s home studio. Originally intended to be just a demo, the band like the original version so much that it is released as single in advance of the album in May 1986. The rest of the album is completed later in the year in London and Surrey. When it debuts in the late Spring of 1986, it receives universal praise from the press and fans alike upon its release, and is regarded by many as The Smiths best album. Out of print on vinyl since the early 90’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Rhino Records in 2009, also including card for an mp3 download of the album. It is also remastered and reissued on CD in 2011 for its twenty fifth anniversary, with a limited numbered edition (to 2,000 copies) pressed a 10" LP (Europe only) for Record Store Day in April of 2011. The album is also reissued as a five LP deluxe box set in 2017, including the original ten song album, demos, single B-sides, and a full unreleased live concert recorded at Great Woods in Boston, MA on August 5, 1986. “The Queen Is Dead” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number seventy on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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