Killing Joke ‘Brighter Than a Thousand Suns’ version craziness

It was a long time before I made the move to adopt CD format releases, perhaps equal parts refusenik and pauper behind the decision. But eventually the changing tide meant much was being missed because of the lack of a CD player and so it was time to get out there for one and start to buy the shiny silver discs. Obviously, the main push point on this were those albums with a big difference between what you got on vinyl and what you got on CD… Wire’s 1990 ‘Manscape’ album was the driving force for me personally, but one of the earliest examples of this variance in formats in my area of interest was Killing Joke’s 1986 album, ‘Brighter Than A Thousand Suns’.

Killing Joke - 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns' front cover designs - UK 1986 LP, Cassette and CD and 2007 UK CD
^ Killing Joke – ‘Brighter Than A Thousand Suns’ front cover designs – UK 1986 LP, Cassette and CD and 2007 UK CD

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Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double album (Cachalot Records / Cherry Red, A RIPE 1, 1982)

‘Letter From America’ is a double vinyl compilation album and cassette released in the US in 1982 that gathered together all of the tracks from two of the wonderful Thomas Leer’s original UK releases for Cherry Red records, the ‘4 Movements’ four track 12″ EP and the ‘Contradictions’ 2 x 12″ album, in a sleeve that adapted the Matisse cut-outs inspired design of the ‘4 Movements’ EP.

Thomas Leer - 'Letter From America' US double LP - front sleeve design
^ Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double LP – front sleeve design

The ‘4 Movements’ 12″ EP had been my entry point – specifically, the track ‘Tight As A Drum’, which I had heard played on the BBC Radio 1 John Peel show one night, August 1981. It sounded amazing – such a busy, unique sound and structure, its no surprise that that track in particular has had something of a renaissance by its inclusion on various post-punk compilations over the years. The sound has movement alright – like it’s been plugged into the voltage and animated into life as some form of echoing dub that is both coming and going at the same time. Continue reading “Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double album (Cachalot Records / Cherry Red, A RIPE 1, 1982)”

Gang Of Four ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, 0-29907, 1982)

A desirable release back in the day for UK dwellers such as I, another tasty US 12″ EP that contains otherwise unavailable mixes and, in ‘Producer’, a track that was never issued this side of the ocean at all – and packaged up in a unique sleeve design as well, taking its styling cue from the ‘Songs Of The Free’ parent album.

Gang Of Four US 1982 'I Love A Man In A Uniform' (Remix) 12" EP front cover
^ Gang Of Four US 1982 ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) 12″ EP front cover

Side One:

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Remix) (5:35)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair with Hugo Burnham. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo.

Side Two:

Producer (2:33)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Dub Version) (4:48)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo. Continue reading “Gang Of Four ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, 0-29907, 1982)”

Gang Of Four – ‘Yellow’ US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, MINI 3494, 1980)

Back in the early ’80s and my nascent record buying bug began to flourish with a regular wage packet from a Saturday morning job, there were many a tempting release to be found in the record racks of local shops such as 1-Up, The Other Record Shop, Bruce Millers, Easy Rider and the like. The exotic, foreign pressed 12″ EPs or mini-album that scooped up tracks from individual 7″ single releases and brought them together in a new sleeve design were especially eye-catching. With its bright yellow cover design and stark type arrangement, this positively shouted from the racks. However, it would be some time later before I would come across a copy – before then would be a copy of ‘Solid Gold’ swapped from a school friend and the wonderful ‘Another Day, Another Dollar’ mini-album, found in the second-hand racks of 1-Up, which I have written about before. And far from the expected compilation of tracks from the singles, on close listening there is far more going on, as we’ll see…

Gang Of Four US 1980 'Yellow' 12" EP front cover
^ Gang Of Four US 1980 ‘Yellow’ 12″ EP front cover

In the UK (and various other territories) the Gang Of Four were signed to the establishment machinery that was EMI Records – however, in the US, they were signed to Warner Brothers Records instead – since the US EMI equivalent, Capitol Records, had passed on the chance to sign the band (a facsimile of the rejection letter having most recently been one of the items of ephemera in the 2021 ’77-81′ boxed set). So, there was inevitably some leeway for Warner Brothers and their take on how the band’s releases should work – this EP (which isn’t actually called ‘Yellow’, though that has become its unofficially official title these days, not least on CD re-issues). Additionally, when it comes to the music, this EP is not quite as straightforward as its cover credits might indicate. Continue reading “Gang Of Four – ‘Yellow’ US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, MINI 3494, 1980)”

Siouxsie and the Banshees – ‘Tinderbox’ UK CD and vinyl re-issues – and album timeline

There’s never a shortage of opinion online about Siouxsie and the Banshees and their work. I’m not one to dive in to it all, but one thing I would pipe up for is ‘Tinderbox’, a personal favourite of mine. I always feel that this album is likely the last Banshees LP to be based on the template that had held sway from ‘The Scream’ onwards and John McKay’s unmistakable and original style. It feels as if a distinct guitar style was passed baton-like from Smith to McGeogh and Carruthers over the preceding albums, but after ‘Tinderbox’, some major surgery would be carried out on the Banshee’s DNA. A re-focus on shifting the guitar element into either a more abstract noise-merchantry role or a supporting role in tandem with the widening emergence of keyboards as the foundation of the sound.

'Tinderbox' 1986 UK LP front cover
^ ‘Tinderbox’ 1986 UK LP front cover

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