Jul 19, 2017

RhoDeo 1729 Aetix


Today's artists were a British rock band formed in 1976 by John Watts and Steve Skolnik at Brunel University, Uxbridge. The original line-up consisted of Watts (vocals, guitar), Skolnik (keyboards), David Graham (bass) and Steve Liddle (drums). The band's name is pronounced fisher zed, a pun on "fish's head" with the "h" dropped, as is usual in many British regional accents. The pun also relies on leaving the "r" unpronounced as in common British non-rhotic accents....N'Joy

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Fronted by the enigmatic John Watts (vocals/guitar), Fischer-Z leaped onto the music scene in 1979 with their quirky debut album, Word Salad. This quartet (also featuring Steve Skolnick on keyboards, Steve Liddle on drums, and David Graham on bass) played a rough-and-tumble form of new wave that was equal parts Roxy Music and Talking Heads with art pop and prog rock leanings. Watts' vocals were extremely distinctive, veering from a low baritone to a higher register that was not unlike Pete Townsend on helium. Although this schizophrenic debut didn't set the charts on fire, they did score a few minor hits with "The Worker" and "First Impressions (Pretty Paracetamol)" (a tamer re-recording of the album's opening track). Their second album, 1980's Going Deaf for a Living, was a far more cohesive effort, less prog rock and more melodic than their debut. It even contained a bona fide hit in "So Long" which even drifted over to the U.S. and garnered impressive radio play. By the time Red Skies Over Paradise was released in 1981, Skolnick was gone and Watts' musical vision was more direct and less arty than before. Although European sales for this album were FZ's strongest yet, it was passed up for release in the U.S. (as has been the case with all of the subsequent FZ albums). Realizing that his musical vision belonged to him and only him, Watts chose to end FZ on a high note and continue as a solo artist. Watts released One More Twist in 1982, then the slickly produced The Iceberg Model the following year, neither living up to the huge sales of the last FZ album. After EMI let him slip away, Watts formed the Cry (with Graham back on board) and released an album on Arista before quietly slipping out of sight. Re-forming Fischer-Z in 1987 (with Watts being the only original member, although Skolnick makes a cameo), FZ hit big in Europe and Australia with the single "The Perfect Day" and the album Reveal. Though the album sounded nothing like the Fischer-Z of old, Watts took his finely tuned talents and presented them to a much wider audience. Fish's Head (1989) was more of the same, albeit a bit heavier. With yet another lineup change, Watts and FZ released the absolutely stunning Destination Paradise in 1992, their best effort yet. This touching and beautiful album featured more acoustic guitars than ever before and focused on Watts' songwriting skills and passionate, earthy vocals (which had dropped an octave or so since their debut). Trying to capitalize on the success of Destination Paradise, FZ quickly issued the rougher Kamikaze Shirt in 1993, mixing their softer side with an edge (and, in some cases, a dance beat). Two years later, FZ issued Stream, a close second to Destination Paradise as their finest work. Realizing he was at another crossroads, Watts laid FZ to rest again and began pursuing his solo career in earnest. His first solo album under his "new" moniker, JM Watts, 1997's Thirteen Stories High, continued where Stream left off. Two further albums followed under the Watts moniker before the he would revive the Fischer-Z name for a second time on 2002’s Ether. Watts continued to release music under his own name as the decade progressed, but would periodically return to Fischer-Z, issuing This Is My Universe in 2016 and Building Bridges in 2017.

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This impressive debut may not have forecast what was yet to come, but it possessed a lot of quirky charm. Channeling the energy of punk and the musical aerobics of prog-rock (tempo changes, detours, etc), John Watts and friends certainly proved that they could be as inventive as any other art-pop band (Roxy Music and early Talking Heads suddenly spring to mind). Watts' touchingly manic vocal range irritated some but was entirely original, especially on FZ classics such as "Pretty Paracetamol," "The Worker" and "Remember Russia." Not even close to being a synth-pop band, Steve Skolnick's keyboards shared equal time with Watts' frantic guitar, both backed ably by drummer Steve Liddle and bassist David Graham. Although this album was both jarring and enjoyable, it sounds a bit dated almost 40 years on.

 Fischer-Z - Word Salad (flac  235mb)

01 Pretty Paracetamol 3:59
02 Acrobats 2:42
03 The Worker 3:35
04 Spiders 1:44
05 Remember Russia 3:37
06 The French Let Her 3:20
07 Lies 3:58
08 Wax Dolls 2:47
09 Headlines 3:24
10 Nice To Know 2:53
11 Billy And The Motorway Police 2:13
12 Lemmings 3:00

Fischer-Z - Word Salad   (ogg  89mb)

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With guitar much more dominant and Watts' songwriting more refined, GDFAL was an incredibly exciting album. Moving away from their prog leanings and embracing bits of reggae, FZ had become a cohesive pop band capable of anything. Their hit single "So Long" had one of Watts' most heartfelt vocals, while the playful (and slightly irritating) "Limbo" proved that he wasn't always entirely serious. The band bounced off the walls on tracks like "Four Minutes In Durham (With You)" and "No Right," yet they remained perfectly in control. The album's title track remains one of Watts' most brilliant songs, catchier than a pitcher's glove (and "So Long" wasn't too bad either!). With hardly a bad song in the bunch, this is still one of FZ's most popular albums -- so much for the sophomore slump

Fischer-Z - Going Deaf For A Living (flac 210mb)

01 Room Service 3:41
02 So Long 4:59
03 Crazy Girl 4:26
04 No Right 2:36
05 Going Deaf For A Living 3:31
06 Pick Up / Slip Up 2:37
07 Crank 3:06
08 Haters 4:07
09 Four Minutes In Durham (With You) 4:00
10 Limbo 2:14

Fischer-Z - Going Deaf For A Living   (ogg  82mb)

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With keyboardist Skolnick gone, FZ continued as a trio, recording this wonderfully dark album filled with political intrigue and emotional hang-ups (making personal feelings political and vice versa). Eschewing some of their earlier quirkiness, Watts and Co. were far more direct and serious. Whether he was portraying the crazed fan ("Marliese"), the guilty survivor of a suicide ("Wristcutter's Lullabye"), or providing social and political commentary ("Berlin," "Red Skies Over Paradise," "Cruise Missiles"), Watts' lyrics were biting, but the melodies didn't hit home quite as often as the previous album. The overwhelming response that this album received in Europe paved the way for Watts to leave home and go solo. Thus endeth Fischer-Z's original lineup.

 Fischer-Z - Red Skies Over Paradise (flac 270mb)

01 Berlin 4:36
02 Marliese 3:53
03 Red Skies Over Paradise 4:37
04 In England 2:45
05 You'll Never Find Brian Here 2:12
06 Battalions Of Strangers 5:07
07 Song And Dance Brigade 3:06
08 The Writer 3:23
09 Bathroom Scenario 3:51
10 Wristcutter's Lullaby 2:49
11 Cruise Missiles 4:20
12 Luton To Lisbon 1:56
13 Multinationals Bite 3:36

Fischer-Z - Red Skies Over Paradise   (ogg  107mb)

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After two solo albums and an album with the Cry, Watts reactivated Fischer-Z without bothering to bring in any other original members. Whether it was a calculated move to shift units or a sign that Watts had rediscovered his original vision is up to the listener, but there's no denying that he remained a distinct and exceptional songwriter. Steering the band into a "modern" direction, this album reintroduced a heavier keyboard presence into their sound. "The Perfect Day," the first single, was a hit in Europe and Australia and paved the way for more chart success. Watts had pulled himself out of his dark mood and was actually having fun again. "Leave It to the Businessmen to Die Young," "Tallulah Tomorrow" and "Realistic Man" were some of his finest songs to date. A grand return to form.

Fischer-Z - Reveal (flac  281mb)
01 The Perfect Day 4:18
02 Leave It To The Businessmen To Die Young 4:58
03 I Can't Wait That Long 4:42
04 Tallulah Tomorrow 4:37
05 Realistic Man 3:23
06 Fighting Back The Tears 4:56
07 Big Drum 3:44
08 Heartbeat 3:07
09 It Takes Love 4:07
10 So Far 4:00
11 Marguerite 3:18

Fischer-Z - Reveal   (ogg   107mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you very much!