Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sinking Ships: Dream 7"

Here is the rare second 7" from Lincoln, England's Sinking Ships. The band released only a handful of recordings in their brief existence - two 7"s and a couple compilation tracks - so their songwriting never really had a chance to evolve. It's a shame, because each song touches upon a different style. Their first 7", Cinema Clock - which can be found over at Systems of Romance with a brand new, high-quality rip - featured a Wire-esque post punk banger and a more anthemic pub-punk song.

This record features a questionable choice for a B-side: a long live dirge that changes little over its six minutes and could have benefitted from a studio recording and could have been shortened by a few minutes. It renders the B-side rather low in sound quality since it's spread so thin - and it's already a rather cheap pressing.  The A side, Dream, is my favorite song of theirs along with Cinema Clock. It takes the arty atmospherics of early MOdern English, throws in sax a la Psychedelic Furs (perhaps a result of having opened for the Furs on their early tours); the result is a brief, dark DIY post-punk song that could have been a classic.

Sinking Ships: Dream 7"
1980, Recession Records
A: Dream
B: After the Rain (live)

Click here to listen!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Apex Curve: Territory EP

Despite this blog's tendancy to highlight the obscure synthpop, post punk, and new wave records from the 80s, I have a soft spot for 1990s synthpop. When I was in high school and college, Cause and Effect, Celebrate the Nun, Seven Red Seven, Mesh, De/Vision, and the first Iris album were my soundtrack. I bought all the CDs by Red Flag and Anything Box, not just their debuts. Hell, I even had a Red Flag T-shirt at one point. So while that sometimes belittled, often forgotten era of synthpop may be underrepresented on this blog, I suppose this post is a small way to remedy that.
Apex Curve was a synthpop trio from San Jose that featured Steve Smith, founder of the Razormaid-inspired Art of Mix series of DJ-only remix albums. The EP only has 3 songs, although 2 of them have remixes and extended versions (I suppose remixes would be inevitable given the Art of Mix relation). The song "This Time" is a bit of a bland throwaway track. "Treachery" is more interesting; it's an imperfect midtempo synthpop song, but has a nice chorus. There are a couple remixes of the track, too, including a 7" remix - which is weird, because I don't believe Apex Curve released anything aside from this CD. But the real winner is Sunday, a melancholy danceable synthpop smash that sounds like it was recorded after a 24-hour marathon listening session of Violator, Naive Art, and Anything Box's Peace. The Club mix of the song is similar to a lot of the Art of Mix releases (reflecting Steve Smith's input on the band), with its extended intro, slightly muted vocals, and emphasis on the drums and the beat. It's the mixes of this song that make this CD a gem and fetch rather high prices for a CD.

Apex Curve: Territory EP
1991, Art of Music International

1 Sunday
2 Treachery
3 This Time
4 Treachery (Extended Mix)
5 Sunday (Club Mix)
6 Treachery (7" Re-Mix)

Click here to listen!