Dec 7, 2016

RhoDeo 1649 Aetix


Today's artists are an English post-punk/new wave band, originally formed in Hornsey, London in 1978. The original line-up consisted of Indian-born lead singer and principal songwriter Bid (real name Ganesh Seshadri), Canadian guitarist Lester Square (real name Thomas W.B. Hardy), drummer John D. Haney and bass guitarist Charlie X. The band went through several bassists in the next few years, including Jeremy Harrington, Simon Croft and Andy Warren they broke up in 85 then reunited in 90, broke up again by 98 and then a decade later re united, currently a more stable stuation sees them releasing albums again, but this here is about their debut on the scene in the Aetix..  ......N'Joy

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When the British art school punk band the B-Sides changed their name and direction to become Adam & the Ants, guitarist/vocalist Bid and guitarist Lester Square opted out to form their own group, the Monochrome Set. Founded in London in 1978, the band (also comprising ex-Gloria Mundi and Mean Street bassist Jeremy Harrington and former Art Attacks drummer J.D. Crowe) was quickly snapped up by the Rough Trade label, and during 1979 issued three singles -- "He's Frank," "Eine Symphonie des Grauens," and its signature number, "Monochrome Set" -- all completely different in content and stylistic approach.

Strange Boutique After former B-Sides bassist Andy Warren grew tired of life in Adam & the Ants, he rejoined bandmates Bid and Square, replacing Harrington. In 1980, the Monochrome Set released their debut album, the cabaret-flavored Strange Boutique, followed later that year by the singles "405 Lines" and "Apocalypso" as well as another, more accessible full-length effort, Love Zombies. Complete with new guitarist Foz, keyboardist Caroline Booth, and drummer Nick Wesolowski, they returned in 1982 with a cleaner, more melodic sound on the LP Eligible Bachelors; "The Jet Set Junta," a satiric jab at the Falklands Islands conflict, became a significant hit the next year. The compilation Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Sessions & Singles, Vol. 1 also appeared in 1983.

Following the departure of Square, the Monochrome Set veered even closer to light pop fare on singles like 1985's "Jacob's Ladder"; the sound subsequently crystallized on the nostalgically themed LP The Lost Weekend. When the record met with a dismal commercial response, the group disbanded, only to re-form in 1989 around the nucleus of Bid, Square, and Warren along with new keyboardist Orson Presence. The 1990 album Dante's Casino did little to raise the Monochrome Set's chart visibility, but the band soldiered on, releasing Charade in 1993, Misere in 1994, and Trinity Road in 1995. They broke up in 1998 while Bid formed a new band, Scarlet's Well. In 2011, members of the Well joined a reunited Monochrome Set, which also featured Bid, Square, and Warren. Signed to the Disquo Bleu label, the band released Platinum Coils in 2012 and Super Plastic City in 2013. Spaces Everywhere (2015) found them on their new home of Tapete Records, the label that a year later would release Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Unreleased & Rare, Vol. 2, a sequel to their 1983 set. The group stuck with Tapete for its next album, 2016's Cosmonaut, which featured Bid playing all the guitars due to the departure of Square. The band also welcomed John Paul Moran back on keyboards. Mike Slocombe, who had previously been in the band in 1990 and played on the Dante's Casino album, joined the band in September 2016, replacing Steve Brummel on drums.

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Monochrome Set's debut album for Virgin followed the indie success of their singles "Alphaville," "Eine Symphonie Des Grauens," and "The Monochrome Set." By the time it was scheduled, Andy Warren (ex-Adam & the Ants) had replaced Jeremy Harrington on bass, and the lineup was completed by guitarist Lester Square (also ex-Ants), Indian-born vocalist/guitarist Bid, and former Art Attacks drummer J.D. Haney. Although it can't quite match Eligible Bachelors for songwriting, there are a number of superb, non-single album tracks that make this an essential purchase for fans -- especially "Ici les Enfants," "The Puerto Rican Fence Climber," and "The Lighter Side of Dating." Amid the austerity of post-punk England, and before we became awash with irony and archness, we needed a band who could raise their eyebrows and smirk at it all without ever being condescending (or maybe only a little bit condescending).

Monochrome Set - Strange Boutique (flac  230mb)

01 The Monochrome Set (I Presume) 5:13
02 The Lighter Side Of Dating 2:45
03 Espresso 3:14
04 The Puerto Rican Fence Climber 3:00
05 Tomorrow Will Be Too Long 3:00
06 Martians Go Home 2:04
07 Love Goes Down The Drain 2:29
08 Ici Les Enfants 3:09
09 The Etcetera Stroll 4:42
10 Goodbye Joe 2:43
11 The Strange Boutique 3:12

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One of the classic, undiscovered albums of the early '80s, Eligible Bachelors is a tour de force of wit and musical imagination. It features some of the funniest songs ever committed to vinyl, kicking off with "Jet Set Junta," which, alongside bookend song "The Ruling Class," pillories the neuroses of the wealthy. "The Mating Game" is also deeply amusing as a cad's cynical guide to the opposite sex, with lyrics like, "Blond, brunette or redhead, black, yellow or white/They taste the same, in the mating game." But it's not all jokes. "The Midas Touch" is an exquisite slice of whimsy riding a near-perfect guitar riff, with an emotional reach that shames most peers of songwriter Bid. Whether or not the rear cover testimonial from Andy Warhol is genuine, the Monochrome Set had released an age-defining record here. It's a shame nobody else knew about it.

Monochrome Set - Eligible Bachelors (flac  262mb)

01 The Jet Set Junta 2:03
02 I'll Scry Instead 2:50
03 On The 13th Day 3:06
04 Cloud 10 3:30
05 The Mating Game 3:20
06 March Of The Eligible Bachelors 3:01
07 The Devil Rides Out 3:02
08 Fun For All The Family 3:45
09 The Midas Touch 4:53
10 The Ruling Class 2:45
11 The Great Barrier Riff 3:39

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The Monochrome Set's curtain call before Bid launched a haphazard solo career, Lost Weekend offers "Jacob's Ladder," which was almost a hit single (heck, there was even a video). It was not to be, however, despite the move to Warners' subsidiary Blanco y Negro. The irony of the Monochrome Set was that they were always a small-budget band working on the most regal material. Still, there are several more great songs here, the best including "Letter from Viola," "Cargo," and "Wallflower" (also a single).

Monochrome Set - The Lost Weekend (flac 292mb)

01 Jacob's Ladder 2:58
02 Sugarplum 3:42
03 Cargo 3:43
04 Take Foz 3:13
05 Letter From Viola 4:33
06 Don't Touch 3:28
07 The Twitch 2:22
08 Wallflower 3:40
09 Starry Nowhere 3:49
10 Boom Boom 2:05
11 Cowboy Country 4:52
Bonus Tracks
12 Andiamo 3:13
13 Big Ben Bongo 3:17
14 Le Boom Boom 2:09
15 Yo, Ho, Ho And Three Bottles Of Wine 4:54
16 Wallflower (Saloon Bar Mix) 3:27

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For all of the many sterling qualities the Monochrome Set exhibited over the years -- and truly, they were one of the most consistently enjoyable bands of the U.K. indie pop scene during their periods of activity, circa 1978-1985 and 1990-1995 -- they were absolutely maddening about their compilations. For one thing, the band released nine proper studio albums in their two incarnations, from 1980's Strange Boutique to 1995's Trinity Road, but more than half again that number of compilations have been released since the first, 1982's grab-bag of BBC radio sessions, early singles, and unreleased tracks Volume Contrast Brilliance. Many of these have mashed together re-recorded versions of familiar Monochrome Set songs (with no indication of their provenance) with outtakes, B-side rarities, and unexpected gems that have appeared nowhere else, but there has never been a truly comprehensive collection of Monochrome Set singles. Frankly, it seems highly unlikely that there ever will be one, because Virgin Records maintains control of the group's first two albums, Strange Boutique and 1981's Love Zombies, while Cherry Red has the reins to the rest of the catalog, barring 1985's misbegotten The Lost Weekend, a release for Warner Brothers' Blanco y Negro label that tried to turn the defiantly quirky group into mainstream pop stars. 1997's double-disc Chaps got past this problem by having the mid-'90s lineup of the band re-record the Virgin and Warner Brothers era material; it's simpler to just buy either Colour Transmission or Tomorrow Will Be Too Long: The Very Best of the Monochrome Set, either of which contains both Virgin albums in their entirety, and to ignore The Lost Weekend. With those caveats aside, 2008's The Independent Singles Collection is, at last, Cherry Red's attempt to make sense of the Monochrome Set's non-LP catalog. Lacking the rights to the Virgin and Warner Brothers material, The Independent Singles Collection therefore doesn't have gems like 1980's gorgeously spooky "Goodbye Joe" or 1985's "Wallflower" (the one gem from that era), nor does it contain any of singer/primary songwriter Bid's solo singles released during the group's late-'80s hiatus. But it does finally gather in one place the A- and B-sides of all of the band's independently released singles, from "He's Frank" (in both its original version from their 1978 debut single and the superior 1979 remake "He's Frank (Slight Return)") to 1995's "Kissy Kissy." This includes comparative rarities like the original single recording of 1982's "The Jet Set Junta," a different version than the more familiar take that has appeared on most previous compilations, including Volume Contrast Brilliance, and a number of lesser known flip sides that showcase the band's more experimental side. If someone was only planning to buy one Monochrome Set compilation, this should be the one.

Monochrome Set - Independent Singles Collection (flac 511mb)

01 He's Frank 2:37
02 Alphaville 2:56
03 Eine Symphonie Des Grauens 2:22
04 Lester Leaps In 2:38
05 The Monochrome Set 2:19
06 Mr Bizarro 3:31
07 He's Frank (Slight Return) 2:41
08 Silicon Carne 3:29
09 Fallout 2:55
10 The Mating Game 3:20
11 J.D.H.A.N.E.Y. 3:21
12 Cast A Long Shadow 3:20
13 The Bridge 3:06
14 The Jet Set Junta 2:03
15 Love Goes Down The Drain 2:41
16 Killing Dave 4:24
17 House Of God (Live) 3:42
18 Sweet Death 2:19
19 Forever Young 3:14
20 Hurting You 4:19
21 Little Noises 4:04
22 I Love Lambeth 3:45
23 Kissy Kissy 3:45
24 All Over 3:26
25 Closing Time 3:26

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Earlier, Wavetrain 11

Monochrome Set - Love Zombies   (flac    217mb)

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Ian Buckley said...

My favourite band. 'Nuff said.

klea waht said...

please reup The Strange Boutique in FLAC


finvarra said...

"Eligible Bachelors" seems to be the only working link. Could you please reup any/all of the others by this wonderful band? Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

please reup The Strange Boutique