PVC – “PVC” (1982)

pvcCredited as one of the first punk bands in West Berlin, PVC was founded in 1977 and it was five long years until their studio debut was released in 1982. (♠)  I was lucky enough to come across this at Berlin’s Cortex Records, a shop that primarily carries new/unopened albums.  They’ve got a smattering of used stuff, most of which was contemporary, but hidden in the back of the bin looking all forlorn was this old school classic.

PVC played sped-up rock ‘n’ roll.  Their songs have a bit of attitude, but lack the sneer and swagger of many of their contemporaries.  The music is tight like a coiled spring, no slop or filler to be found.  Songs like “Waves” and “Chromosome XXY” move more towards the new wave part of the spectrum while still retaining a rock core – no synthesizers here, but definitely fitting into a more poppy mold.  The B side opener “Berlin By Night” is a worthy homage to their gritty home city and is widely (and rightfully) considered one of PVC’s best tracks.  For my money, though, I’ll take “Satellite” with it’s weird, stilted delivery.

PVC doesn’t appear to have ever been released on a non-vinyl format, which is a bit surprising.  Fortunately someone ripped it and posted it online (see below), and as an added bonus the record actually isn’t all that expensive – you shouldn’t have trouble getting a decent copy for $20 or so if you’re into it.

(♠)  PVC contributed tracks to a number of compilations prior to their first studio album.

Terror Bird – “Human Culture” (2011)

terrorbirdTerror Bird is the project of Vancouver’s Nikki Nevver.  Sonically Terror Bird are a bit retro, the synths harkening back to the 1980s, with a sort of dark romantic vibe.  The music is a soft dreamy foundation that helps suspend Nevver’s vocals, an effect that comes together most fully in the ethereal “Cemeteries”.

I didn’t find Human Culture available anywhere for listening online, but you can check out some of Terror Bird’s other releases at Nikki’s Bandcamp page HERE.  If Human Culture is any indication, there’s some great stuff to be heard there.

Aykцыoh – “Дyплo” (1990)

aykublohFirst things first.  I’m not sure I spelled the band or the album name correctly.  For that matter I could easily have the band name listed as the album name and vice versa.  I don’t speak Russian, and I can’t find anything about this record online.  It was another of the oddball discs I pulled out of the New Wave box at Berlin’s Sound Vinyl Store.  One of the interesting things about Berlin is you can find some stuff from the “other” sider of the Iron Curtain there, and as someone who was a teen during the death throes of the Cold War I’ve always had a certain fascination with Ronald Reagan’s so-called “evil empire”.

Musically this record is a bit experimental, a kind of free jazz approach to rock and new wave.  It has a unique stylistic flair, a cross between Purrkur Pillnikk and the Dead Kennedys (especially in the vocals)… and, you know, maybe The Police or something slower from Wang Chung.  It’s weird and interesting, the music and vocals a bit disconnected and each kind of doing their own thing.  Other than that, it has me at a bit of a loss.

If you know anything about this record, I’d love to hear from you.  Post a comment or shoot me an email!

Blue China – “Tomorrow Never Knows” (1982)

bluechinatomorrow2Google searches reveal very little about Blue China other than that they were Swiss and the title track for this five-song 12″ is a Beatles cover (and I didn’t need the interwebs to figure that last part out).  What’s happening on this record?  It’s like a lo-fi proto-Smashing Pumpkins kind of thing, but super proto.

I found it in a box labelled “New Wave / Goth / Darkwave” sitting on the floor just inside the door of Berlin’s Sound Vinyl Store and it seemed interesting enough.  And it is.  They style is more on the experimental side of new wave and the beats have a machine-like quality to them.  Overall the tracks feel more like demos than completed work, great sketches that just need to be filled out a bit.

Kuldaboli – “Stilleben 053” (2019)

kuldabolistilleben

Outside of the big hitters like The Sugarcubes, Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men, and the like, it’s pretty rare for me to run across Icelandic vinyl out in the wild.  I figured I’d have a shot, though, on our recent trip to Berlin and Copenhagen given that so many Icelandic electronic artists move to Berlin and the close ties between Denmark and Iceland.  And the first nugget I found was this newly-released five-song collection by Kuldaboli, which was in the New Arrivals bin at Berlin’s Hard Wax.  I’d just learned of the release while at the airport in Seattle waiting to depart, so I was pretty excited to lay my hands on a copy.

The down side is that all five of these tracks have appeared elsewhere previously.  “Nýtt heimsmet í kvíðakasti karla”, “Maður er negldur”, and “Svæsin blæti” all appeared on the 2016 CD Vafasamur Lífsstíll 2015-2016, while “Sovétríkin” was part of a super-rare split 2017 10″ release with Kosmodod and “Strangar Reglur” was on the first Sweaty Records CD comp called VA_001.  I’ve never managed to get my hands on that split 10″, so at least one of the songs was new for me.

I’d probably refer you to my post on Vafasamur Lífsstíll 2015-2016, which is linked above, for more on Kuldaboli’s overall sound.  I’m a huge fan, so even if I’d known there was only one track here I didn’t have I still would have bought Stilleben 053.  You can check it out at the label’s Bandcamp page HERE, though I don’t see the vinyl for sale there, so it might be a bit harder to track down.