Record Label: Doomtown Records

Doomtown Records – survivalist punk label from Zagreb NOW!, that has been around for 10 years or so. Three recent releases issued last summer plus one Cold War bunker re-issue.

If I had a cassette deck player…

PARNEPAR (Zagreb)

Above average minimalist art punk. Playful. Moglo je biti snimljeno u u studiju “Druga maca”. 1981. Artistička radna akcija – pozdrav iz Zagreba!

Dobar dan, izvolite (cassette album, 2020)
Karaoke satri
Se Bastijan
Čovjek prosjek

APSURD (Beograd)

Belgrade’s hardcore punk tradition lives on. U svakom slučaju, ugodno iznenađenje za mene. Sviđa mi se kad mi ne bude prijatno, ponekad.

Derealizacija / Svemu će doći kraj (LP, 2020)
Apsurd
Mučnina
Derealizacija
Svemu će doći kraj

Apsurd’s Derealizacija/Svemu će doći kraj 12″ is the band’s first output in the form of vinyl format. Actually, it’s a collection of two EP’s. A-side brings you six songs previously released as a tape “Derealizacija” while the B-side includes six entirely new songs recorded last year in the bands practice room on primitive 4-track machine.

THE CELETOIDS (Zagreb)

Lautarpunk rules! Always awesome, in any band format or appearance.

Optic Nerve (cassette EP, 2020)
Light Beam
Graveyard Signals

And back from the grave:

PSIHOKRATIJA (Beograd)

Occult electronic session ’88. Darkwave. Theatrical Synth Pop/EBM crossbreed. Goth. Gloom. Confessions of a mask. Doom. Noćas me nazovi crnim stršljenom!

Album mentalnih fotografija (cassette album, RE, 2016)
Who Is Alive, Who Is Dead
Fantazma
Ponoćni hod

Doomtown’s reissue version of this tape is the official reproduction of the 1988 tape remastered from the original master tapes and approved by the band and Gorjan Krstić. Limited to 125 copies!

bandcamp: Doomtown Records

Online Store / Big Cartel: Doomtown Records

Record Label: Fox and His Friends

Will you survive? A couple of electronic songs or even full albums [via Fox & His Friends], for (temporarily) socially distanced and self-isolated version of clubbing, might occupy your extra free time indoors. First the esoteric political theory mixed with pop art [via NEP] and then the (living room) dance floors.

Fox & His Friends releases music without genre boundaries, tends to discover rare, obscure and forgotten stuff, the sounds that have timeless value, both contemporary and vintage. All releases are made from original master tapes, carefully remastered and pressed to please the smartest of music connoisseurs. The label is run by Leri Ahel and Željko Luketić, long time professionals in the field. Label offices are in Rijeka and Zagreb.

Zagreb: NEP

NEP were founded in Zagreb, New Europe in 1982. The members and collaborators of the collective were from all over Yugoslavia. In New Europe, allegedly, everybody is in. NEP became more visible in the second half of the decade. I accidentally omitted NEP from the “cul-de-sac” Zagreb post. Here they are in a deluxe LP edition, for your vintage industrial archive:

NEP – Pop Not Pop (Songs For New Europe 1985-1989) ‎(LP, Ltd., 2020)

NEP was a loose multimedia collective formed in 1982 Zagreb, ex-Yugoslavia. The founder Dejan Kršić collaborated with various artists in a quest of re-thinking the stale concepts of art history, position of the author and the barriers between pop and elitist high culture. Heavily influenced by Walter Benjamin and Andy Warhol in theory and Brian Eno and Kraftwerk in music, Kršić created NEP as an umbrella term (NEP meaning Nova Evropa or New Europe) of diverse rule-breaking activities, covering graphic design, music, photography, video, news-media and theoretical work. Musically NEP focused on experiments in ambient and tape-music, self-released and on hard to find compilation tapes like “The Cassette Played Poptones” (1988). Deeply immersed in pop-culture, politics and art theory Dejan Kršić’s search for perfect pop music with cutting critical edge peaked in 1989, the year ‘Decadance’ track was conceived in studio. Fox & His Friends team (Leri Ahel & Željko Luketić) published the extended 12” single in 2017 with Snuffo Remix on B-side. It received rave reviews in music media like MixMag and DJ Mag and it is still played on dance-floors around the world. But the story around the NEP is musically (as well as artistically) much wider: for the first time Fox & His Friends team compiles best cuts from unreleased and rare NEP self-released tapes, covering the period from 1985 to 1989 on seminal POP NOT POP album...

bandcamp: NEP

NEP samples from self-released “Nova Evropa” (1988) / VA – “The Cassette Played Poptones” (Sestra Wazelin, 1988):

NEP ‎– Nova Evropa (self-released tape, 1988)
Naš cilj – komunizam
Kada se forme lome (When Attitudes Become Firm)
Novi poredak

What about capitalist realism? Is there really no alternative? Is it possible to imagine an alternative to capitalism that is not some throwback to discredited models of state control?

Beograd: The Master Scratch Band

Recorded at “Druga maca” studio in Belgrade and originally released as mini-LP “Dégout” by Jugoton in 1984.

The Master Scratch Band – The Breakwar ‎(LP, Ltd., 2020)

Fox & His Friends in collaboration with Jugoton dived deep into archives and is releasing a full, complete version of the rare “The Breakwar” tape, with tracks “Tonight” and “Pocket” never pressed on vinyl, all sourced from original studio reels. This is not „Dégout“ 12” repress, but complete studio album that was never meant to happen, up until now. With the kind help of Zoran Vračević on credit list and liner notes, this is now the ultimate The Master Scratch Band album.

Equipment used: Commodore 64 Computer, Roland MC-4B Microcomposer, Prophet Pro-One, RSF Cobol II Expander, Korg Mono-Poly Synthesizer, PPG Wave 2.3 Synthesiszer, PPG Waveterm Computer, Boss DE-200 Digital Delay, Drumtraks Digital Drum Machine, Roland TR-808 RH. Composer, Electro Harmonix Vocoder, Linn Drum MKII, Juno 60, SH-101, SVC-350, VP-330 Vocoders, Polysix & MS10, Simmons drum module

Online Store by Big Cartel: Fox & His Friends

SFRJ: Various Artists, Jugoton

Are you perhaps a (nostalgic) dancing queen? 40+ party time!

Various Artists – Socialist Disco. Dancing Behind Yugoslavia’s Velvet Curtain 1977-1987 ‎(2xLP, Comp, Ltd., 2020)

Alternative backside title: “Socijalistički disco. Ples iza jugoslavenske baršunaste zavjese 1977.-1987. Odabrali Leri Ahel i Željko Luketić.” All tracks licensed from Jugoton / Croatia Records. Mastered from original studio reel tapes. Tracks D2 and D5 were originally published only in cassette format. All photographs are authentic vintage technical inventory of disco club Neboder in Zagreb, from the personal collection of Dušan Cvetojević. Gatefold sleeve with glossy cover.

bandcamp: Fox & His Friends

An Anniversary: Šumski

The 30th anniversary of Šumski is a nice occasion to listen to their back catalog & to give some extra praise for mature and masterful album “Ostrvo ledenog kita” (2018).

Šumski were founded in Zagreb in January of ’91 and as a peculiar band of their generation represent the last youth of SR Croatia. Šumski’s primary source of inspiration was an album by original hippy psych collective Amon Düül I, whose playful jamming music had briefly opened Kornel Šeper’s psychedelic third eye. Brimming with amateurish enthusiasm and carelessness young group even found the way how to enter YURM ’91 festival (the last one). Modest and now legendary Kekere Aquarium cassette label followed soon with notorious first issue KA001. When they properly learnt their instruments Šumski started to resemble a band that had some things in common with music issued under Rough Trade in early to mid ’80s – arty and quirky soft* rock, combined with Zagreb’s new wave legacy. Even if in recent times melancholy can reign supreme in their repertoire, Šumski were always and still are creatures of light.

*as opposed to hard/heavy or hardcore

Slušaj taj zvuk!

bass, vocals: Kornel Šeper
drums, percussion: Boris Begić, Berko Muratović, Ivo Urli, Petar Šakić
guitar, vocals: Marin Juraga
guitar: Javor Jeić (1991-92)

trumpet: Igor Pavlica

Lov na vile (tape, 1993)
Safari (tape, 1995)
Safari
Mali mišić i Marija
Jacques Tati ide na more
Baba spava (CD, 2000)
Baba spava
Ubićemo
Mali sat
Ronioci (CD, 2003)
Privremeni smještaj
Odlazak se odgađa
Ronioc
Ostrvo ledenog kita (LP/CD, 2018)
Jednog dana
Prijatelji se sele na selo
Duh mladih na verandi

bass, vocals: Kornel Šeper
drums: Viktor Krasnić
guitar, vocals: Marin Juraga
guitar: Franjo Glušac

trumpet: Igor Pavlica

bandcamp: Šumski

Record Label: Šareni dućan / Blind Dog Records

Šareni dućan bookshop from Koprivnica (Croatia) recently became small record label, a joint-venture with Blind Dog Records (Zagreb).

Here is a selection of ex-YU related vinyl issues & official reissues.

The samples (digital files) used for this post originate from previous versions.

HAUSTOR, Zagreb, Croatia

Haustor – Ulje je na vodi 2 x LP (2019)

Haustor on speed! Recorded live on 6th January 1982 at “Kulušić”, Zagreb. Quirk out!

Pali i vuci
Cijeli svijet je bolestan
Radnička klasa odlazi u raj

TALAS, Beograd, Serbia

Talas – Perfektan dan za banana ribe LP (1983, 2020)

New wave synth-pop candy ’83 for daydreamers.

Sama
Brodovi
Banana reggae

LUNA, Novi Sad, Serbia

Luna – Nestvarne stvari (1984, 2020)

Outstanding post-punk album, a local & regional masterpiece. Recorded in September ’83. Nicely reproduced (and remastered) alternative for scarce and overpriced original issue.

Fakir
Nestvarne stvari
Balder na prozoru

Šareni dućan webshop.

(The) Lesser Men ‎– References, Reflections: Revelations (2019)

thelessermen

On their third album, in the face of yet more line-up interferences, Zagreb’s auto-bio-core quartet sets out for a pilgrimage of sorts, fathoming out the heart and soul of their music through inspection of references and reflections. Come along, immerse your ears in their revelations! (Geenger Records)

Lottery Score pt. 1

Babies Are Born

Comedians

Endless

Lottery Score pt. 2

I saw (The) Lesser Men playing short set before The Membranes / Mark Lanegan Band last November. Their music (in which keyboard player is the lead) filled the empty venue and kicked my ass (almost like Simple Minds; which isn’t correct reference, by the way). Yet it made me jump on my feet and get closer to the stage. The sparkle in the night. Southeast at Easter ’18. That sort of revelatory stuff.

bandcamp: (The) Lesser Men

ESC Life – Born To Be Mild (2018)

esc life

ESC Life is a quartet from Zagreb, Croatia, fixated on loud guitars, solos, fast rhythms and pop songs. Heavily influenced by power-pop and punk rock giants like Descendents, Nova Mob, The Hold Steady or Superchunk, they play with cliches of popular music of the 20th and 21st century, but never ironically. “Born To Be Mild” is filled with witty, fast and catchy indie rock tunes about life after 30, love and adulthood!

Morning Sickness

Say You Will

Born To Be Mild

My hat’s off to you, Zagreb’s premier indie rockers! (škrlak)

Jaki ste.

bandcamp: ESC Life

Žen – Sunčani ljudi (2017)

Act of gentle surfacing from the deep past back into the present times Zagreb. Not with Margaret Atwood but with beautiful Žen. If you’ve been looking for bright sunny people, they are here.

zen-suncani-ljudi-OUTER-PRIPREMA

A gdje su staze?

Pusti me da hodam

Tijelo zna

Jugomental

Namaste. Ili po naški, moj naklon.

bandcamp: Žen

October File: Concerts In Zagreb

Alive (and kicking) in Zagreb. October ‘19.

SHORTPARIS (Russia)

Saturday 28.09., Močvara

Shortparis come from Saint Petersburg (via Novokuznetsk, Siberia). They have the appearance of being on a serious mission. For the first seasonal (autumnal) concert which I saw in the series of concerts at the end of September and during October Shortparis set the bar very high. Fantastic! Shortparis are (already) masterful in the art of performance. They play genuine (Electro) Body Music which defies past & present pop categories. The live show became too physical at some point. It seemed so exhausting even to watch that I wished for more synth sounds / fat techno beats & less manic dancing and body movements. Amazing. Shortparis are scary as well.

PILE (USA)

Monday 30.09., KSET

Pile are modest rock band (in Capt. Beefheart tradition lately) from Boston. Their earnest songs (from couple of albums that I listened to) don’t stick in my head for some reason but I was curious enough to check them live. They were great in concert. At first I had bizarre sensation of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like I am too old. Pile didn’t disappoint thou. And I was glad in the end. New album “Green and Gray” is pretty good, especially after repeated listening.

BLACK MIDI (England), NEON LIES (Zagreb, HR)

Wednesday 02.10., Močvara

Unlike other sparsely attended concert dates in October, Močvara was packed for Black MIDI. What the fuck!? Boys were great – a tight young band with a great drummer and three reluctant vocalists – the main one mumbles nonsense, the other whispers and the third one shrieks occasionally. Black MIDI were announced like next big thing in Britain but for me personally it’s enough that they are excellent at what they do. It does not bother me that their mixture of styles is not so new. There were many American bands that played similar variants of math-rock / post-rock throughout the whole 1990s and beyond. Good news is that Black MIDI’s angularity is musical, it’s not a mere exercise in sudden breaks, complex rhythm patterns and shouting out. Surprisingly, I like art pop production (Euro touches) of the debut album despite the fact that the role of their excellent drummer was pushed too far in the background for my taste. Was too tired to be focused during crowded concert. Let the younger generations (they were present in public) have Black MIDI. I had enough.

Neon Lies synth alter ego of Goran Lautar was great.

SOULSIDE (USA)

Monday 07.10., Močvara

Had they visited Zagreb during legendary Euro Tour ’89 perhaps more people would come to greet them 30 years later. Even Girls vs. Boys pedigree didn’t help. Anyhow, Soulside played old songs in style. It sounded good (and they looked very vital). But my feet were heavy and my mind was somewhere else for some reason. I loved Soulside music in my late teens and early twenties. “Hot Body-Gram” LP still holds up. It is one of the best records from the late 1980s Dischord catalog.

FÖLLAKZOID (Chile)

Wednesday 09.10., Vintage Industrial

OK, this was a psych performance art by psychedelic rock band gone digital / minimal. Different clothes, new approaches. Transvestite style. Föllakzoid presented their latest album in entirety. Stuff that Wire magazine could like. I might check their early albums someday. Missed their concert few years ago.

 TUDÓSOK (Hungary), ŽBLJ MOZAIK (Samobor, HR)

Tuesday 15.10., Močvara

Lured by jazz-punk promises and bright colors I came to see them.  My fondness for Central / Eastern Europe had a role in deciding too. I didn’t even hear of Tudósok before the concert although they are a cultural institution from Budapest with roots in the 1980s Novi Sad. Shame on me! The attendance was very sad once again (cca. 25 souls) but the band can be joyful with or without their loyal public. They made my day and couple of following days as well. Truly uplifting experience of the very first order. I’ve been enlisted right there on the spot by bleating saxophones. Now I am a fan.

Žblj mozaik  guitar & drums duo from Samobor provided short, fast & nice intro.

UFOMAMMUT (Italia)

Wednesday 16.10., Močvara

One more astounding concert that reached Shortparis at the level of intensity and artistic focus. Great psychedelic metalheads Ufomammut sound better live than on records. Tender psychedelic intro disarmed me immediately. Psychosis inducing video slides in the background, perfectly synchronized with heavy metal riffs, were great visual distraction. Ufomammut really proved to be mighty power-trio. But I was simply tired if not doomed. Had to sit on the bench by the bar like an old person with wobbly legs. My very regular biorhythm is not fit for late hours entertainment. Ufomammut’s latest studio album “8” is my favorite one.

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE (Japan)

Wednesday 30.10., Tvornica kulture

As expected, Acid Mothers Temple delivered an excellent concert. I enjoyed it although I am not familiar with their music (albums). AMT hyperactive drummer reminded me of Amon Düül II’s  Peter Leopold in style which is a compliment, of course. Hawkwind synth sounds burdened few songs here and there and I wished for a different pattern. Side effects of general tiredness swept me over and my naturally psychedelic mind got trapped in my painful body. Qi doesn’t flow freely up and down my spine anymore. But it will.