A brand new crop of sessions will be here on the firstday of each month, replacing the ones before them. mr. obscure can be contacted via his old pal and cowering slave stuart Jones, at email@example.com
Alternative TV (sometimes known as ATV) were an English post-punk band formed in London in 1976. They pioneered reggae rhythms in punk and then moved on to redefine the musical rules.
They were formed by Mark Perry, the founding editor of Sniffin' Glue punk fanzine, with Alex Fergusson. Early rehearsals took place at Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records studio with Genesis P-Orridge on drums (recordings from this period appeared, long afterwards, on the Industrial Sessions CD). The band's first live appearance was in Nottingham supporting The Adverts. The debut on record was "Love Lies Limp", a free flexi disc
issued with the final edition of Perry's fanzine. For their first two singles Perry and Fergusson were accompanied by drummer John Towe (ex-Generation X) and Tyrone Thomas on bass; Towe later left to join The Rage and was replaced by Chris Bennett. This line-up was the most straightforwardly "punk" version of ATV, although they combined short, fast songs with extended pieces such as "Alternatives to NATO", in which Perry read an anarchist political text and envisaged the possibility of a Soviet invasion of Britain. Shortly afterwards they released the "How Much Longer"/"You Bastard" 7" in December 1977. The A-side was a pointed critique of punk style:
"How much longer will people wear/Nazi armbands and dye their hair?" At the end of 1977 Perry sacked his chief collaborator and co-writer Fergusson. The latter went on to form the short-lived Cash Pussies and, a few years later, Psychic TV along with Genesis P-Orridge. Tyrone Thomas switched to guitar, later replaced by Kim Turner, while Dennis Burns joined on bass. A dub-influenced single, "Life After Life", was released, followed by the band's debut album,
The Image Has Cracked, both featuring Jools Holland guesting on piano. By the end of 1978 only Perry and Burns remained from the previous line-up, although ATV used additional musicians live and in the studio. The second album, Vibing Up the Senile Man (Part One), saw the band take a more explicitly experimental direction which alienated both the music press and audiences. The group eventually evolved into the avant-garde project The Good Missionaries, releasing a live album, Fire From Heaven, in 1979. Perry reformed ATV in 1985 and went on to release further records over the following decade with varying line-ups, Perry the only constant member. ATV's last studio album, Revolution, was released in 2001, followed in 2003 by the official live bootleg album Viva La Rock'n' Roll. Their first studio album in 14 years, Opposing Forces, was released in 2015. here's their only peel session, taped on 05/12/1977.
The Chameleons (known as The Chameleons UK in North America) were an English post-punk band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1981. They 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 four studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 2003. Burgess alone continues to play Chameleons songs live under the name ChameleonsVox. this is the third of three sessions for our hero, put down on 05/05/1984.
The Cocteau Twins were a Scottish rock band active from 1979 to 1997. They were formed in Grangemouth by Elizabeth Fraser (vocals), Robin Guthrie (guitars, drum machine), and Will Heggie (bass), with Heggie replaced by multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde in 1983. The group has earned much critical praise for its distinctive ethereal sound and the soprano vocals of Fraser, which often abandoned recognizable language altogether. They have been recognized as pioneering the 1980s subgenres of ethereal wave and dream pop
and were associated with UK label 4AD for much of their career. There were four sessions for John, who really liked them. here's their debut outing, secured on 21/06/1982.
Jazzy post-punks Dislocation Dance emerged from Manchester, England in the late seventies. Their first EP, a self-titled 7" was a co-release between two labels, Delicate Issues and New Hormones and was recorded in May 1980. The group proper formed in 1978 and included chief songwriter Ian Runacres
(vocals, guitar), Andy Diagram (trumpet, vocals, also of The Diagram Brothers), Paul Emmerson (bass), and Dick Harrison (drums). The Slip That Disc 12" EP featured a more confident sound, as well as a cover of The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out". Both this release and the group's debut album Music Music Music (1981) featured the Runacres, Diagram, Emmerson and Harrison line-up. New Hormones also issued a string of poppy singles by the band before closing due to lack of funds. In 1982 Dislocation Dance signed to Rough Trade. 1984's Midnight Shift album saw Kathryn Way rejoin as vocalist and the band explore a more jazzy pop sound.
A final EP, "What's Going On", saw the replacement of Way by Sonja Clegg. They called it a day in 1986, with Clegg going solo, releasing an album in 1987, and Diagram taking his trumpet to pop success with James. In 2000 the group reformed for a tour of Japan. A new Dislocation Dance album, Cromer, was released by Vinyl Japan in 2005 whilst their New Hormones and Rough Trade catalogue was issued on remastered CDs by LTM in 2006. the following year they played a couple of gigs in Manchester, at the Carlton Club in Whalley Range. Their fourth studio album, The Ruins of Manchester, was released in May 2012. here's the second of two sessions for peel,
recorded on 12/06/1982.
The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. After signing to independent label Creation Records they released their first single "Upside Down" in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy was released to critical acclaim in 1985 on major label WEA. The band went on to release five more studio albums before disbanding in 1999. They reunited in 2007. Uncle John was fond of them, handing them no less than seven sessions. Here's the first, recorded on 23/10/1984.
When popular brighton post-punk pop combo the chefs moved to london in 1981 they had a strong cult following after issuing two brilliant singles on attrix records. they had signed to graduate records (home of ub40) and decided to change their name to Skat. having already taped one classic session for john - a big fan of theirs - they issued a marvellous cover version of the velvets' femme fatale as a single (which sadly did nothing) and
then came up with another splendid peel session (1982) as skat before splitting up. here's that skat session, immortalised on 08/03/1982. glistening pop music with a slight rockabilly feel and a lovely girl vocal, one of my favourite sessions - why not give it a listen?
Steel Pulse are a roots reggae musical band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England, which has a large number of Afro-Caribbean, Indian and other Asian migrants. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass). After the band formed in 1975 their debut release, Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku, arrived on the small independent label Dip, and linked the plight of urban black youth with the image of a greater African homeland. They followed it with Nyah Luv for Anchor. They were initially refused live dates in Caribbean venues in Birmingham due to their Rastafarian beliefs. Aligning themselves closely with the Rock Against Racism organisation and featuring in its first music festival in early 1978, they chose to tour with sympathetic elements of the punk movement. Eventually they found a more natural home in support slots for Burning Spear, which brought them to the attention of Island Records. Handsworth Revolution was an accomplished album and one of the major landmarks in the evolution of British reggae. However, despite critical and moderate commercial success over three albums, the relationship with Island Records had soured by the advent of their third album, Caught You. Tom Terrell, who would later serve as their manager, was instrumental in masterminding a Steel Pulse concert on the night of Bob Marley's funeral, which was broadcast live around the world from the 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C, on 21 May 1981. They switched to Elektra Records, and unveiled their most consistent collection of songs since Handsworth Revolution with True Democracy, distinguished by the Garvey-eulogising 'Rally Round' cut. A further definitive set arrived in Earth Crisis. However, Elektra chose to take a leaf out of Island's book in trying to coerce the group into a more mainstream vein, asking them to emulate the pop-reggae stance of Eddy Grant. Babylon The Bandit was consequently weakened, but did contain the anthemic "Not King James Version", which was a powerful indictment on the omission of black people and history from certain versions of the Bible. There were eleven steel pulse albums released between 1978 and 2004. peel was a big fan, giving them five sessions over the years. this one's the first, preserved on 31/08/1977.
The list of band names below is purely for illustrative purposes - I don't pretend to have sessions by all these people - but I do have a frightening amount of them.