Today's artists were an English post-punk band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1981. The band originally consisted of singer and bassist Mark Burgess, guitarist Reg Smithies, guitarist Dave Fielding and drummer John Lever (replacing original drummer Brian Schofield). They released six studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 2003............N'Joy
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The atmospheric pop band the Chameleons formed in Manchester, England, in 1981 from the ashes of a number of local groups: vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess began with the Cliches, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding arrived from the Years, and drummer John Lever (who quickly replaced founding member Brian Schofield) originated with the Politicians. After establishing themselves with a series of high-profile BBC sessions, the Chameleons signed to Epic and debuted with the EP Nostalgia, a tense, moody set produced by Steve Lillywhite which featured the single "In Shreds."
The quartet was soon released from its contract with Epic, but then signed to Statik and returned in 1983 with the band's first full-length effort, Script of the Bridge. What Does Anything Mean? Basically followed in 1985, and with it came a new reliance on stylish production; following its release, the Chameleons signed to Geffen and emerged the following year with Strange Times. The dark, complex record proved to be the Chameleons' finale, however, when they split following the sudden death of manager Tony Fletcher.
While Burgess and Lever continued on in the Sun & the Moon, Smithies and Fielding later reunited in the Reegs. In 1993, Burgess surfaced with his proper solo album Zima Junction. He and his band the Sons of God toured America the following year. In 95 Mark released Paradyning together with Yves Altana, who turned up in Invincible too, Mark's next group that released two albums Venus (99) and Black and Blue (02).
As the '90s came and went, the four members of the Chameleons UK continued to work on music and see one another on a personal basis. While their own musical projects kept them busy, a reunion was practically inevitable. The Chameleons reconnected in January 2000 to prep for three May dates in England. The acoustic-based, self-released Strip was available by showtime and for a limited time only. Additional European dates followed throughout the summer, and by fall the Chameleons UK played their first American shows in nearly 15 years. Several live efforts appeared shortly thereafter. Why Call It Anything? (2001) marked the Chameleons' first studio album since 1986's Strange Times. This Never Ending Now appeared two years later, and a reunion tour which took them across Europe and the United States, the band dissolved once again in early 2003.
Black Swan Lane is a US/UK indie rock band/project founded in 2007 by Jack Sobel and John Kolbeck (formerly of The Messengers), and Mark Burgess For their first release, Long Way From Home, issued in 2007 by Eden Records, Sobel, Kolbeck and Burgess were joined by three Burgess associates: Yves Altana, Achim Faerber and percussionist Kwasi Asante. Vocalist Anna-Lynne Williams guested on the song "Fakers".
In November 2008, Sobel and Burgess were joined by Andy Whitaker and Andy Clegg to reform the Sun and the Moon for a one-off US show in Sobel's hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. During practice sessions for the show, several new songs were written which later became the basis for Black Swan Lane's second album, The Sun and the Moon Sessions, released in June 2009. Asante also collaborated on this album. In April 2010, the band released their third album, Things You Know and Love, to critical acclaim. In August 2011, the band released their fourth studio album, Staring Down the Path of Sound. For the first time, Burgess did not participate.
In 2009, Burgess and Lever reformed to play Chameleons back catalogue material, under the name ChameleonsVox. They issued an EP, M+D=1(8), in November 2013. In 2014, Lever and Fielding reunited to record an album as Red-Sided Garter Snakes. The group's album, Endless Sea, also featuring contributions from vocalist James Mudriczki (of Puressence) and Andy Clegg, was released in July 2015. Lever died on 13 March 2017 at the age of 55.
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Easily the high point of the Chameleons' fascination with digital delays, pedals, and making the studio an instrument, the band's second album still is seen by many a fan as being just a little too lost in the production to have the same impact as Script of the Bridge did, despite equally excellent songs. The decision must ultimately be the listener's, but in the end the production argument is much more a quibble than a condemnation -- no matter how you look at it, What Does Anything Mean? Basically proved to be that rarity of sophomore albums, something that at once made the band all the more unique in its sound while avoiding a repetition of earlier work. Ironically, the first track, "Silence, Sea and Sky," turned out to be the least Chameleons-like track ever, being only a two-minute synth intro piece played by Mark Burgess and Dave Fielding. But with the gentle intro to the absolutely wonderful "Perfumed Garden," lyrically one of Burgess' best nostalgic pieces, it rapidly becomes clear exactly which band is doing this. The empathetic fire that infused Burgess' words for songs like "Singing Rule Britannia (While the Walls Close In)," a poetic attack on the Thatcher government, finds itself matched as always by brilliant playing all around. John Lever's command of the drums continues to impress, and Fielding and Reg Smithies remain guitarists par excellence; the searing, sky-bound solo on "Return of the Roughnecks" alone is a treasure. The sublime combination of the rushing "Looking Inwardly" and the soaring, blasting rip "One Flesh," leading into a relaxed instrumental coda, anchors the second side, while "P.S. Goodbye" provides a lovely, melancholic conclusion to an astounding record. The 2 CD set contains a re-mastered version of the original album, plus a 9-track bonus disc featuring previously unreleased demo recordings. The demo tracks were recorded in 1984, immediately prior to the full album session and showcase the songs in their full, original intensity.
The Chameleons - What Does Anything Mean Basically (flac 569mb)
01 Silence, Sea And Sky 2:00
02 Perfume Garden 4:36
03 Intrigue In Tangiers 5:17
04 Return Of The Roughnecks 3:27
05 Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In) 4:17
06 On The Beach 4:11
07 Looking Inwardly 4:29
08 One Flesh 4:29
09 Home Is Where The Heart Is 4:54
10 P.S. Goodbye 4:03
11 In Shreds 4:10
12 Nostalgia 5:24
Bonus Disc (Original Album Demos)
13 Intrigue In Tangiers 4:44
14 Return Of The Roughnecks 3:38
15 Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In) 4:40
16 Perfume Garden 3:55
17 On The Beach 3:45
18 One Flesh 4:31
19 Home Is Where The Heart Is 4:36
20 Looking Inwardly 4:02
21 P.S. Goodbye 4:27
The Chameleons - What Does Anything Mean Basically (ogg 200mb)
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If there was a should-have-been year in the Chameleons' history, 1986 would clearly be it, and Strange Times demonstrates that on every track, practically in every note. Signed to a huge label, with production help from the Dave Allen/Mark Saunders team who worked on the Cure's brilliant series of late-'80s records (here providing a more balanced sound between guitar effects and direct punch than appeared on What), the Chameleons delivered an album that should have been the step to a more above-board existence on radio and beyond. Right from the start, a stunning upward spiral of a guitar riff begins the unnerving character study "Mad Jack," the bandmembers mix their skills, experience, and songwriting ability perfectly and take everything to an even higher level. The first half continues with three more stunners: "Caution," a semi-waltz that moves well, pulls back, and then slams home, "Tears," a crushingly sad, acoustic ode to personal loss, and "Soul in Isolation," combining a huge majestic wallop with Mark Burgess' anguished study of alienation. And just when you think it couldn't get any better -- "Swamp Thing," the definitive Chameleons song, complex, building, tense, epic, perfectly played (John Lever's drumming is simply jaw-dropping, the Reg Smithies/Dave Fielding guitar pairing totally spot on), and with one of Burgess' most poetic, personal lyrics. It just keeps going from there, the second half covering everything from more sweeping tunes ("Time," "In Answer") to bare-bones melancholy ("In Answer," "I'll Remember"). Bonus tracks: an alternate and equally striking "Tears," the driving "Paradiso" and "Inside Out," and two covers. The take on Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing" is a quick fun goof, but the version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Burgess especially has been and remains a massive John Lennon fanatic, quoting songs by him liberally throughout his career) surges and soars, beating out by a mile all the times others have covered it. From back to front, Strange Times could never have enough praise. British versions of Strange Times on CD and LP came with a second disc of bonus tracks; when the album was reissued in the U.S. in 1995, the bonus tracks were simply added to the album proper.
The Chameleons - Strange Times (flac 528mb)
01 Mad Jack 3:55
02 Caution 7:46
03 Tears 5:05
04 Soul In Isolation 7:28
05 Swamp Thing 5:56
06 Time / The End Of Time 5:41
07 Seriocity 3:00
08 In Answer 4:54
09 Childhood 4:39
10 I'll Remember 3:39
11 Tears 5:06
12 Paradiso 4:35
13 Inside Out 3:33
14 Ever After 3:58
15 John, I'm Only Dancing 2:34
16 Tomorrow Never Knows 6:07
The Chameleons - Strange Times (ogg 187mb)
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A constant subject of debate among Chameleons fans has been and remains whether or not their three studio albums, for all their brilliance, were nonetheless overproduced, with Smithies and Fielding especially lost in reams of digital delay. For those who believe so, Peel Sessions clearly came as a godsend, but even if a listener doesn't care either way, the benefits of capturing near-live sessions of such amazing performers with high-end studio sound is reason enough to give an ear. Covering sessions from 1981, 1983 and 1984, the song selection mixes selections from the first two albums plus a few rarities - the earliest session, featuring original drummer Brian Schofield (solid, but nowhere as inventive as Lever proved to be later), contains fine versions of "The Fan and the Bellows" and "Things I Wish I'd Said," not to mention a brisk "Looking Inwardly," not officially recorded until four years later! Takes on Script classics like "Second Skin" and "Don't Fall" are more than welcome, but the standouts have to be the many numbers from What, such as "Return of the Roughnecks," "One Flesh" and "Perfumed Garden," here given a bite and drive that amazes. The closing track, "P. S. Goodbye," has a beautiful alternate beginning that, while simple enough, gives the song a totally different feel from the album version - more proof that even in the smallest of ways the Chameleons were truly one of a kind.
The Chameleons - John Peel Sessions+Tony Fletcher Walked on Water EP (flac 443mb)
01 The Fan And The Bellows 3:27
02 Here Today 3:44
03 Looking Inwardly 4:25
04 Things I Wish I'd Said 5:05
05 Don't Fall 3:52
06 Nostalgia 3:29
07 Second Skin 6:06
08 Perfumed Garden 4:36
09 Dust To Dust / Return Of The Roughnecks 3:26
10 One Flesh 4:46
11 Intrigue In Tangiers 4:12
12 P.S. Goodbye 2:20
In 1987, The Chameleons were ready to record their fourth studio album, to be released on Geffen. The band recorded four songs which were supposed to be released prior to the full album. Fletcher died of a heart attack just two days before these songs were recorded, and the band broke up acrimoniously soon after. In 1990, the band's main songwriter, Mark Burgess, formed the record label Glass Pyramid to help pay off the band's debts. The still-unused tracks from the 1987 Geffen session were to be used as the first Glass Pyramid release. Tony Fletcher Walked on Water was released on 1 October 1990. 1,100 copies were pressed for each format of CD and 12" vinyl. However, due to legal threats by guitarist Dave Fielding, the EP never made it to shops. The album has since been included as a bonus disc in remastered form with Dreams In Celluloid.
Literally the last recorded moments of the Chameleons - the band broke up mere days after the session documented here, even with a basic demo session, the Chameleons seemed capable of magic every time they picked up their instruments. "Is It Any Wonder?" carries a gentle touch to it, while "Denims and Curls" is a quick, sweet little guitar pop number with the band's usual edge downplayed a bit, but not by much. The clear winner here, though, is "The Healer," every bit the big epic as "Swamp Thing" and with a similar sense of build while not sounding like the earlier song at all; Burgess' own continued fondness for the track has shown in his various performances of it during his post-Chameleons career.
13 Is It Any Wonder 5:46
14 Free for All 4:25
15 The Healer 7:07
16 Denims and Curls 4:23
The Chameleons - John Peel Sessions+Tony Fletcher Walked on Water EP (ogg 157mb)
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