MMW: Joy Division

In case you didn’t know – The band was founded in early 1977, soon after the Sex Pistols had made their first appearance in Manchester. Guitarist Bernard Albrecht and bassist Peter Hook had met while at the show and later formed a band called the Stiff Kittens; after placing an ad through a Manchester record store, they added vocalist Ian Curtis and drummer Steve Brotherdale. Renamed Warsaw (from David Bowie’s “Warszawa”), the band made its live debut the following May, supporting the Buzzcocks and Penetration at Manchester’s Electric Circus. After the recording of several demos, Brotherdale quit the group in August 1977, prompting the hire of Stephen Morris. A name change to Joy Division in late 1977 — necessitated by the punk band Warsaw Pakt — was inspired by Karol Cetinsky’s World War II novel The House of Dolls. (In the book, the term “joy division” was used as slang for concentration camp units wherein female inmates were forced to prostitute themselves for the enjoyment of Nazi soldiers.)

Haunting melodies, emphasized by the isolated, tortured lyrics of its lead vocalist, Ian Curtis, became a trademark of the group. Ian Curtis, an epilepsy sufferer, was prone to breakdowns and seizures while on stage — it became difficult to distinguish the fits from his usual on-stage jerkiness and manic behavior.Two days before Joy Division was to embark on their first US tour (May 1980), singer Ian Curtis committed suicide by hanging.

Hear it: Blue Velvet & Black Coffee with Patrick, Tuesdays 2-4 p.m.


MMW: Legendary Pink Dots

Formed in London in 1980, the Legendary Pink Dots moved to Amsterdam a decade later. A rotating ensemble of band members have come and gone in the 25 years the band has been together, but the prophet Edward Ka-Spel (singer, keyboards), and Phil Knight aka The Silverman, have been the mainstays. Another long time member, Niels Van Hoornblower (various wind instruments and one of my favorite members – he’s a great entertainer on stage), has a great presence on many recordings. The Dots are Legendary (at least in my mind) for blending pop elements with abstract exotica ranging from sampled psychedelia to classical instrumentation. Throw in brooding, apocalyptic lyrics, and the result is a concoction that must be heard, and I have been lucky enough to seem them numerous times in and around San Francisco, and once in Pittsburgh.

Hear it: Blue Velvet & Black Coffee with Patrick, Tuesdays 2-4 p.m.


MMW: Archgoat

This Finnish band was active from 1989-1993 as a three piece with members Lord Angelslayer on bass/vocals, Ritual Butcherer on guitar, and Blood Desecrator on drums. They played primitive black/death metal purely dedicated to devil worship and death. They only released 2 demos and one EP before entering into cult legend. They reformed in 2004 and finally began recording full lengths with 2006s “Whore of Bethlehem” and 2009s “Light-devouring Darkness” along with several EPs and split releases. They’ve also played live recently including a rare US performance at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest. Their music is not for the lighthearted or those interested in melody or song craft.

Hear it: Too Evil to Have a Human Name with Bill, Sundays 7-9 p.m.


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