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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Ding An Sich – And… / Wandering 7″

inner sleeve

inner sleeve

I think it was sometime in the late 80s when I first saw Ding An Sich playing live in An Club.

ding-1They were playing Post Punk at its finest while on their gigs the band created an atmosphere full of mystery.

Their 7″ single “And… / Wandering” was their only release by that time, so I bought it as it was a limited edition.

I saw them again, with more or less the same line-up, supporting the Damned.
Since 1989 when this single was released, things changed a lot for Ding An Sich.
Ding An Sich took shape in 1987, in Athens and they released this single as well as the album “Old As Forever.New As Tomorrow
in the very early 90s with the following line up: Panagiotis Merekos on vocals, Nick Sarikostas on bass , George Polizos on the drums , and the guitarist Dimitris Papalakis.

The band recorded the single at “111 studios“, a place that recorded a lot of Greek rock albums during the 80s (although I can’t consider it as a high quality studio…)

back cover

back cover

People came in and out of this formation but the band is still active today with a number of album releases that I am not
going to deal with right now as I wanna focus on this 7″ single.

inner sleeve 2

inner sleeve 2

As I am aware of how rare this single is, I am posting here a couple of lyrics sheet etc.
One more thing I gotta point out: Ding An Sich were not very “camera friendly” so it is very difficult to find any band photos.

Click here for more:
http://www.myspace.com/dingansich

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2008 in New Wave / Dark Wave

 

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The Flowers Of Romance – Dorian Grey

One more punk rock band was formed in Athens in 1981 to become well known over the Greek borders thanks to their albums, as a Gothic Rock band.

Initialy named as The Gift but soon to change their name to The Flowers Of Romance paying a tribute to Sid Vicious’s band.

Costas Venos on the guitar, Tasos Dimitriadis on the bass and the singer Mike Pougounas started rehearsing with several drummers (Aris Lazarakis was one of them – later to join Chaos Generation and then The Groupies) till George Venizelos joined them to get things started.

Influenced by The Clash, The Damned and Dead Boys, The Flowers Of Romance, in the beginning, were rehearsing with Birth Ward 82, and later shared the studio of Ex Humans and Ausschwitss.
With the above mentioned line up, the band recorded a number of songs that some of them were released on a tape in 1986 titled “Anovis” and on 1992 were featured on the tape “The Flowers Of Romance…The Story So Far” that was released in England by the tape label Music & Elsewhere.

As they were using English lyrics, they didn’t made it to the punk rock compilation “Diataraxi Kinis Isixias” and in 1984 Dimitriadis and Venos left the band.

The Flowers Of Romance 1986

The Flowers Of Romance 1986

Pougounas and Venizelos were joined by guitarist Achileas “Lao” Geromoshos and bass player Haris Stavrakas to go on a string of gigs and recorded new material evolving the music style of The Flowers Of Romance from punk rock to gothic.

Gigs were held in universities, clubs and political demonstrations creating this way a great fan base.
The band released the cassette “Anovis” featuring 5 studio songs and 5 live recordings with tracks that were never printed on vinyl such as “It’s  Survival” and “This is Radio Christiania” to name but a few.
Most of the times, the audience would follow them after the gig to watch them play a late night volley-ball match against the band Panx Romana.

The singer of Panx Romana got them in touch with Wipe Out Records and in 1988 The Flowers Of Romance had their track “Autumn Kids” featured in the compilation album “Wipe Out presents 12 Raw Greek groups”.

By that time Venizelos was replaced by the drummer Babis “B.B. Romeo” Efthymiou, Stavrakas was replaced by Teo Botinis (later with the band September) while guitarist Platon Papadimitriou joined the band turning The Flowers Of Romance into a five piece.

Dorian Grey

Dorian Grey

With this line up they recorded the first Greek gothic rock album “Dorian Grey” which was released in 1990 and also made their first appearance on the Greek national television (at the same show and at the same night when One Night Suzan were on).

“Dorian Grey” was recorded in 65 hours and actualy captured the chronological era of 1986-1989 as tracks like “Kashmir” and “There is Nothing We can’t Solve Together” were writen in 1986.

It was recorded in Blue Moon Studios, during 1989, after the suggestion their close friends and labelmates Film Noir.

Blue Moon Studios were run by Chris Manolitsis, a Greek/South African producer/sound engineer who worked on most of the albums of the “top” greek dark wave bands of the time, such as Yell-O-Yell, Metro Decay, Film Noir and others.

The album featured a cover of  Marc Bolan’s “Children Of the Revolution” and was distributed also in Germany, Australia and USA thanks to the band’s connections, selling thousands of copies.

The album line up

The album line up

Like all three Flowers Of Romance albums that followed, “Dorian Grey” is considered to be as one of the 50 best Greek rock albums of all times.

Track listing: SIDE A 1) Shooting a love fix 2) In her House 3) Christmas in a Cunthouse 4) Children Of The Revolution  5) 1000 Dying Words

SIDE B 1) There Is Nothing We Can’t Solve Together 2) Kashmir 3) Picture Pillow 4) Opium 5) The Last Summer Night (On Earth)

Click HERE for their next release…

 

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Don’t Forget This Happy Feeling

Label logo

Label logo

In the beginning of the 90s, In Those Days and Little Charmer, two Greek fanzines dealing mostly with the Athenian indiepop scene  introduced to the Greek audience the sound of early Creation and Sarah Records.
Pretty soon “Innocent Label”, a Greek indie-pop label was found to release tapes of Greek indie-pop bands.

The first Innocent Label release was One Night Suzan’s tape, in 1992, titled “Autumn Falls” and  featuring 6 tracks of the band.
Other bands close (can’t write “signed to” for a tape label) to Innocent Label, were
Next Time Passions who released  “Sleepy Hollow Lane” in 50 copies, Groove Machine and Sound Devise (not to be spelled as “device”).

In 1993, the members of One Night Suzan & Next Time Passions, Zissimos “Crooner” and Makis “Skychild”  P. set up their owns record label, This Happy Feeling.

Their first release was the single “Angel Flower” by Next Time Passions.
They  released a split 7’ single in 1994 for the Spanish label Elephant Records.

next time passions

next time passions

Next Time Passions on A side and Impossible Tymes on B side (actually Impossible Tymes were formed by members of Next Time Passions and One Night Suzan).
Next Time Passions would appear again on the compilations: “Pop Secrets From the Greek Underground Scene” in 1997, “See Dee” in 1998, “Try A Little Sunshine” in 1999.
In the year 2000 were featured in the compilation You Make Me Smile (A Shelflife Records Collection) of the American label Shelflife.

 

one night suzan

one night suzan

One Night Suzan released their limited 7” single  “Don’t Let Them Kill Our Taste” for This Happy Feeling in 1994.
Their best song, “Until” was on the side A.
This band appeared on the same compilations as Next Time Passions did, plus one more for Shelflife Records: “Picnic Basket (A Shelflife International Pop Compilation)”.

1994 was the year for This Happy Feeling to release also the 7” single “Only Lust” by the Kissamatic Lovebubbles.
They appeared with their unreleased track “Total Hangover” five years later on the compilation “Try A Little Sunshine” and with the same song during 2001 on “Picnic Basket (A Shelflife International Pop Compilation)”.

next time passions/impossible tymes

next time passions/impossible tymes

The last release of this Athenian indie-pop label was Crooner’s 7” single “Sounds From the Valley Of Love” in 1994.
Crooner was the collaboration of Zissimos “Crooner” and Makis “Skychild”  P. and in 1998 they released the album “Heaven Airlines”.
The album was released in  the U.S.  through Shelflife Records, Japan through Victor Entertainment and Philippines through Universal Records.
During 2001, Crooner released the album “Soft Escape” for the Japanese label, Tone Vendor.
Tracks of the band were featured in compilations worldwide till 2003.

the Crooner – concord baby

The label This Happy Feeling stopped operating in 1996.

Makis P. & Crooner are nowdays exploring more electronic areas under their new name : Hyplar.

Hyplar – Fssst Boeing (747 Mix)

For of This Happy Feeling click here
For more Hyplar click here

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2008 in New Wave / Dark Wave

 

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Dirty Saints

Elf

Elf

Although Athens was always the center of the Greek rock scene, other Greek cities were very active also.

Thessaloniki offered a lot of rock bands, with Trypes being the most commercially successful band in Greece.

The town of Ioannina is a located on the north-western part of Greece that had some great bands during the last 20 years:  Chapter 24, Metallaktiki, Psygeio-Psygeio, Fuzzy Nerds and Dirty Saints, to name but a few. 

Live clubs in Ioannina like Palladio, Mantzato, Ozon, Irida were often having some live gig.  Each band was focused on different genres and left their mark on the rock map of the country.

The garage band of the Dirty Saints was formed in 1988 by the singer and guitar player Costas Grammeniatis (brother of Vana Grammeniatis – singer of the experimental/noise band Psygeio-Psygeio – released 2 LPs), bass player Fanis Zaimis, guitar player Theodoris Tsoumanis, keyboard player Babis Ikonomou and Stavros Bilis on the drums.  They were signed to “Fifth Dimension”, a record label from the city of Patras who in 1990 released a 7″ EP titled “Hi”.  The band toured Greece to promote it.

Hi

Hi

While some members of the band worked with members of the band Psygeio-Psygeio on an experimental side project called “Panic Machine” during 1991-1992, Stavros Bilis was replaced by Jimi Papadimitriou on the drums.

Two years later, in 1992, Dirty Saints released their last LP, “Elf”, for the same record label.

They split in 1994.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Garage

 

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How To Fight Amnesia

Fight Amnesia

Fight Amnesia

I noticed a lot of people are searching for the Fight Amnesia fanzine, so I decided to upload a little something.

As I mentioned in the past, Fight Amnesia was a xerox copied fanzine released by Into The Abyss’s main man, Yiannis Kalifatidis.

Its main purpose was to help as many musicians as possible to come together.

Initialy Kalifatidis was paying for all the expenses till he asked his readers to at least pay for postal expenses.

The ads in the fanzine were mostly payed by CD or LP copies for his private collection (who says “money makes the world go round” ? we are talking bout a vinyl junkie here…)

Each issue was coming out in about 500 copies (or more) and this particular one holds interviews of Dave-Id Busaras (ex-Virgin Prunes), The Flowers Of Romance and the Italian band Artica, plus lots of other stuff.

You can find reviews of the following albums: Porcupine Tree “Signify”, Jah Woble “The inspiration of William Blake”, Cathedral “Supernatural Birth Machine”, Einsturzende Neubauten “Ende Neu”, Patti Smith “Gone Again”, Devil Doll “Dies Irae”, Asylum “Vent”, Peter Hammil “Sonix – Hybrid Experiments 1994-1996”.

There is the “Underground Zone” section with information about underground bands from around the globe plus an other additional section full of official and demo releases of underground bands.

George Fakinos, a well known Greek dj, has written a special article titled “Athens Underground” offering information regarding Athenian Record shops, Music Clubs and Comic shops (in general a tourist guide for people who would be interested to pay a visit to the “other side” of Athens).

Fight Amnesia editiorial

Fight Amnesia editiorial

The editorial is also signed by Katerina who was playing a vital role in the edition of the fanzine.

I don’t know if there were any further issues of Fight Amnesia after this one but in any case, Fight Amnesia was a good way to bring the bands in touch with each other, help them promote their releases, find a label etc.

Don’t forget, the internet was not big back then and people were using snail mail instead of emails…

For more information about Into The Abyss click here.

p.s. You might find Yianis Kalifatidis as Giannis or Iannis or Jiannis Kalifatidis. It doesn’t matter cause its all the same…

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2008 in Publications

 

Christos Alexopoulos – Vouveau

Is it possible for an instrumental album to be a political album?

Is it possible for an instrumental album to use different languages?

Well, what we have here is a guy who during the 90s was a member of the Greek alternative band Common Sense (they released a 7” single and an LP).  Common Sense was the opening act for Dodgy, Giant Sand and The Tindersticks.  After they split, Christos Alexopoulos started his solo career.

Additionally, Alexopoulos composed music for short films and theatre plays and also worked on television.  He composed contemporary classical music pieces which have been performed in Greece, Italy, and the Ukraine.

During 2006 the Athens Youth Symphony Orchestra (AYSO) twice performed his string orchestra piece, “Petite Fantasy“.

Since 1999 he teaches Music Theory and Harmony at the Orfion Conservatorium in Athens.

Vouveau

Vouveau

The new album of Christos Alexopoulos (his fifth, to be more precise) came out on November 10, 2008.  With 12 tracks trying to catch the moment, the mood, and the feeling while changing a sunny day into a rainy one and vice versa.  The song titles are written in several different languages in order to describe the soundscape of the surroundings of a citizen of the world.

This is a political album that leaves a taste of loneliness on the listener’s tongue.

The 12 instrumental melodies are mostly based on Alexopoulos’s piano, flirting with experimental music, minimal electronica, noise, world music and simple modern jazz.

Alexopoulos, who is also a founding member of the free-improvisation group The 3rd Man Element, gathered a lot of fine musicians for this album.

Vouveau back

Vouveau back

The trumpet player, Andreas Polyzogopoulos, has given concerts as a member of various bands in clubs and festivals in Greece, Holland and Italy playing jazz, world, free impro as well as his own compositions and is now a member of the band Poly Quartet.

The guitar player is Socos, of the experimental band Socos & The Live Project Band.

Costas Stergiou, who is a member of the band Misuse, is on keyboards, piano, and glockenspiel.

The one-time member of the 80s new wave band Art Of Parties, is virtuoso sax player Dimitris Vassilakis, who also released 3 jazz solo albums.  He has been collaborating with some of the best international jazz musicians such as:  Abdullah Ibrahim, Theodosii Spassov, Ralph Peterson, Marc Johnson, Andy Sheppard, David Liebman, Alfredo Rodriguez, Ed Schuller, and many more.   Also on trombone is the ex-member of Apurimac, Chistos Alexakis.

The album was engineered by George Priniotakis who was once a member of the band Wasteland, along with Alexis Boltasis.  Alexopoulos also appeared during the 90s as a session keyboard player on Wasteland’s live shows.

This is a Puzzlemusik release. (Alexopoulos is Puzzlemusik’s owner.)
More information and sound here

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2008 in Music

 

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Compilation nr. 2

Fragmenta IV

Fragmenta IV

What we have here, is the vinyl compilation album that was released by the fanzine “Stis Skies tou B-23” (engl. In the shadows of B-23 gr. Στις Σκιές Του Β-23). fanzine. The Greek fanzines used to release compilations in the early 90s, that accompanied their issues.
This fanzine released three 7” EPs and two LPs.
“Fragmenta IV” was their last one, came out in 1992 and featured some bands that would later have lots of releases.
The tracklist:
Side a
Love In Sadness- Promised Land
Three Miles Away- Sometimes
Outland- Still
Groove Machine- Richard Brautigan
Raw – A Strange Traveller
Side b
Λώλαμα- Αίνιγμα
Illusion Fades- When I Was
Χαμένα Ιδανικά- Πυρηνικό Κατάλοιπο
Κοινωνικά Απόβλητα- Τριλογία
Αρνητική Στάση- Λόγια Σοφίας
Black House’s- Psycho War
Love In Sadness were formed in 1989 in Athens. “Promised Land” was the first song they ever released .
A year later they released their debut album, using Greek lyrics, that was titled “Aples Istories” (engl. Simple Stories gr. “Απλές Ιστορίες”) and in 1994 they appeared in the BAM International Festival in Barcelona.
The band signed a contract with the Greek indie label Warehouse Records to release the EP “Piso Ap ton Ilio” (engl. Behind the Sun gr. Πίσω απ’ τον Ήλιο) in 1996.
Warehouse Records released also the album “To Deftero Amartima” (engl. The second sin gr. Το Δεύτερο Αμάρτημα) a year later.
Their last album was released in 2000 and was titled “Katastasi Anagkis” (engl. State of Emergency gr. Κατάσταση Ανάγκης).
Most of the band members formed the band D-Volume in 2007 and already released an album.
Three Miles Away, were a dark band that released only this song.
The same goes for Outland too but what is not known is that, Outland were the musical vehicle of Irene Simeonidou’s, co-owner of the live club “Rock Palais”.
“Rock Palais” was one of the most important places for the Greek bands in the late 80s-early 90s.
Aris Psychas (ex member of the Drops) is playing the rhythm guitar on this track.
Simeonidou recently formed the band Terra Libera situated at Syros island.
Irene Simeonidou - Terra Libera

Irene Simeonidou - Terra Libera

Groove Machine were formed by Antonis Vlachos (later with the band  Drog A Tek) and Giannis Raouzeos (owner of Rubber records).
This duo never released a full length album but they took part in several Greek compilations till 1999.
Raw were dealing mostly with experimental electronic sounds. The three members Giannis Papaioannou, Makis Faros and Coti K. joined a lot of bands during their musical careers.
You can read about Coti K. and Makis Faros in past articles.
Papaioannou founded a record label called Elfish Records.
Lolama were based in Thessaloniki. They were formed in 1989 and released an EP titled “O Vomos Tis Monaxias” (engl. The Altar of Lonelyness gr. Ο Βωμος της Μοναξιάς) in 1993.
The band released a lot of demos and tapes till 2001.
The Illusion Fades were formed in 1990 and this was their first release before their debut single “Valentine”. They are still active and have released 5 full length albums (more about them in future article).
Hamena Idanika (engl. Lost Ideals gr. Χαμένα Ιδανικά) released only this song.
Retous Metamodernus

Retous Metamodernus

The four piece band Kinonika Apovlita (engl. Social Waste gr.Κοινωνικά Απόβλητα) were actually the band of Yiannis Kolovos, co-editor of “Stis Skies Tou B-23” fanzine.
They already had a 7” split EP released in 1989 titled “Retous Metamodernus”.
They were on the a side while Eitilop Pots were on the b side.

Arnitiki Stasi also shared a release with Kismet H.C. titled “Love Is Our Strongest Weapon”, in 1990, two years before the release of “Fragmenta VI”. Nothing else released later.
Regarding Black House’s I have a problem.
I am almost sure that they released an album during the 90s.
In case somebody wants to let me know, I would be much obliged.
Fragmenta IVb

Fragmenta IVb

It is easy to understand that these compilations helped some of the bands to reach a new audience.
Some bands continued releasing albums and singles and some were left with participations to compilations like this one.
There wasn’t any major or indie record label out there willing to release their stuff, so the fanzines took over.
To some bands that was a good start.
To some others, that was it.
 
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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Compilations

 

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