giovedì 27 settembre 2012


"Lišće prekriva Lisabon" is the band's second effort and it differs a lot from their debut: though the sound is still recognizable, this one represents a more difficult listening (most of the tracks are fragments admittedly created under the use of LSD and can barely be considered as songs). 
Anyway, despite being structurally crazy, the album shows some clean arrangements: keyboards are shiny and well calibrated, and the rhythm section is more tangled than ever (some patterns are puzzling).
Trumpet player Pero Ugrin preciously appears on two tracks ("Leptir" and "Alabama", the latter from the Brecht-Weill songbook).

It's not easy to tell which album is better: if you are into the song-form concept you will probably prefer their debut, if you are into a less structured kind of music, you will probably prefer this one. They are two faces of the same gold medal. 

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lunedì 24 settembre 2012


In 1981 Električni Orgazam changed the face of Yugoslavian music by being part of the historical album "Paket aranžman", along with Idoli and Šarlo Akrobata: that fundamental release marked the beginning of Balkan new wave more than any other record. 

I'll post it in the near future, but now let's focus on Električni Orgazam: this is their full lenght debut album and it was released just a few months later. It shows a matured band, less dependent from punk's urgency and more conscious of its potential. 
Helped by the production of the Grupa 220 ex-member Ivan Stančić, the Serbian quintet exhibits some refined arrangements, with Srđan Gojković and Ljubomir Jovanović detonating a red-hot guitar vortex, and Ljubomir Đukić providing compulsive synthetic patterns and electric organ flows. Gojković and Đukić also shared vocal duties, in a both theatrical and hysterical mood.

The album became a cult object in Yugoslavia and received NME's praise when Rough Trade imported some copies in Great Britain. Anyway, Električni Orgazam would definitely reach the mainstream status only five years later, when they changed their style into a more conventional pop-rock sound.

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domenica 23 settembre 2012


If someone liked Ziyo's first album, he has to give a chance to their second one too. It's slightly less wave oriented, with a much more muscular guitar sound, but still very dark and atmospheric, expecially if you compare it to their mid-90's works. Moreover, it contains their first hit, "Bliżej Gwiazd" (no. 1 on the Trójka singles chart), an incredible, epic song that flatters somewhere between the Church's "Under the Milky Way" and the Mission's "Wasteland"

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domenica 16 settembre 2012


For Azra's second album Branimir Štulić obtained as much freedom as he can get from the publishers of Jugoton Records. He produced it in person (unlike their debut effort) and he wrote some of his most powerful lyrics, equally dividing them between love songs and political anthems. Some tracks contain really harsh slogans ("Poljska u mome srcu"/"Poland Is in My Heart"; "Užas je moja furka"/"Horror is My Vibe"; "Kurvini sinovi"/"Bastards"), which testify that the Yugoslavian government policy wasn't as strict as the Soviet ones (as you probably know, Yugoslavia didn't sign the Warsaw pact and it wasn't technically part of the Eastern Bloc).

"Sunčana strana ulice" is the opus magnum of Azra's studio career. It is a double vynil, with six songs on each side, and it lasts over an hour. 
Štulić worked hard on the acoustic guitar sound (particularly high and sharp) and on echo techniques (in some moments the percussion are threated as in Jamaican dub records), while the arrangements ranged from folk ballads to rock'n'roll, crossing some cripple post-punk miniatures. Mišo Hrnjak's bass guitar is often prominent, and some songs are heavily marked by the presence of wind instruments (saxes, trumpet, tuba, harmonica).

The biggest hit of the album, "Odlazak u noć", is a jangle pop gem which predates English-speaking indie pop (only Orange Juice's "Falling and Laughing" was released before it). Other impressive numbers are the choral power pop anthem "Užas je moja furka", the obscure tango of "Kurvini sinovi", and the indolent post-punk of "Poljubi me", but honestly, nearly every song deserves attention. 

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venerdì 14 settembre 2012

AZRA - "AZRA" (1980)

Branimir Štulić, Azra's leader, was not really satisfied with the band's debut album. Even though it contained some of their best known numbers (the epic folk-punk of "Gracija", the power pop of "Marina", the bluesy post-punk of "Obrati pažnju na posljednju stvar"), Štulić felt that the production of Yugoslavian rock veteran Drago Mlinarec didn't fit with the sound of the band. Actually, the dynamics of some instruments are not as rich as you would have expected from such a blockbuster, but the average quality is still high and everyone in the local music scene considers this a milestone. 

I may prefer the band's second album, but "Azra" is still a required listening, as it contains a bunch of classics ("Gracija", "Jablan", "Uradi nešto", "Iggy Pop").

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lunedì 10 settembre 2012

AZRA - "SINGL PLOČE 1979 1982"

Azra were one of the most popular Yugoslavian bands. 
Their first three albums are generally regarded as ultimate classics, and they all reached the top 10 in YU100, a selection of the best Yugoslavian rock albums, as voted by 66 journalists, musicians, and other artistic personalities. 
Founded in Zagreb in 1977 by Branimir Štulić (vocals, guitar, songwriter), the band faced every kind of guitar-driven style (anthemic pop, punk rock, folk ballads, ska, and experimental new wave fragments).

This anthology collects ten songs originally released between 1979 and 1982, as part of four non-album singles. They are easily enjoyable, as they represents the most immediate face of the band. The first two tracks ("Balkan" and "A šta da radim") altogether formed one of the key-singles of the local new wave.

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mercoledì 5 settembre 2012

ZIYO - "ZIYO" (1989)

Guided by singer and bass player Jerzy Durał, Ziyo was a magnificent Nowa Fala band, at least until 1990. Unfortunately, like many Polish post-punk acts, the more they proceeded into the 90s, the more their music betrayed the original formula, preferring a bad macho-rock in the wake of Guns & Roses. 

Anyway, while Ziyo remained inside the borders of post-punk, their music was no less than wonderful (think to Sad Lovers & Giants, the Chameleons, and the more atmospheric moments of the Church).

Recorded in 1987 but released only two years later, this debut album was the result of a 250 hours studio work, experimenting with new technologies and stratifying sound flows. The obsessive production, the epic but melancholic approach, and some passionate, well cronstructed anthems, made it one the best efforts on the dreamy and romantic side of gothic rock. 
Despite having sold 180.000 copies between 1989 and 1991, "Ziyo" is currently out of stock.

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lunedì 3 settembre 2012


Founded in Wrocław at the dawn of the Eighties, Polish quartet Klaus Mitffoch released just one album, but it is widely considered one of the best of its era. 

Lead singer and bass player Lech Janerka also wrote the anti-regime lyrics, using a mix of metaphors and grotesque situations that successfully bypassed the censors. The album is composed of sixteen tracks, eleven of which are fragments, shorter than two and a half minutes. The music offers skeletal, sparkling post-punk textures, mostly dominated by bass and guitar hooks, but sometimes crafted by delicate keyboards (i.e. "Siedzi", "Klus Mitroh", the epic "Strzeż się tych miejsc"). Even though it was not the definitive blockbuster of Polish rock, "Klaus Mitffoch" was able to sell over 120.000 copies in 1985 only.

P.S. I also included three essential non-album tracks, released as singles in 1983-84. One of these, "Jezu jak się cieszę", was their most successful song, selling over 80.000 copies and reaching no. 1 on the LP3 Polish chart. 

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sabato 1 settembre 2012

LADY PANK - "OHYDA" (1984)

To give a sequel to the most successful album of your era mustn't be easy. In fact, Lady Pank's second studio work often suffers from the comparison with its predecessor. 
Despite selling over 150.000 copies in one year, "Ohyda" failed to reach the massive following of "Lady Pank", nor reached the same respect among the critics. 

If it was released by a band without such a cumbersome debut album, probably it would have been regarded as a little classic today. I like two songs in particular, the atmospheric ballad "To jest tylko Rock and Roll" and the post-punk anthem "Zabij to".

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