Zagreb [1986-90] vol II: Cul-de-Sac

v.a. Zagreb [1986-90] vol II: Art [ethnic forgeries, avant pop, free jazz, jazz pop, art rock,  noise rock, pop rock]

*subject to change*

Brojani (1985 – 1987)

Srđan Sacher’s main band after he had left Haustor. The first version of Brojani were Haustor rhythm section (Sacher & Gulić) with Nebojša Stijačić (band leader of Cinkuši) as guitarist. The second version split up in two directions / groups: Waitapu and Vještice.

Cul-de-Sac I (1986 – 1991)

Free improvisation group founded by late Dragan Pajić (guitar) and Damir Prica (sax; ex Haustor, ex Tkp) with a revolving door of musicians from Zagreb. By the 1991 they recorded few cassettes and one of them was “The End Of The World And Other Songs (Including Hit Single)” issued by FV založba in 1989. The Zagreb-Amsterdam-Zagreb anthology (1987-2006) titled “L’Equipe Extraordinaire” (2xLP) has been issued  through Dirty Old Label this year. Rhythm & sound (noise) for cleansing mind & soul.

cul de sac 89

Other Songs (Including Hit Single)

The End Of The World

Dee Dee Mellow (1987-1989)

Jazzy trip initiated by Jurij Novoselić (alt sax; ex Film) and then fully realized with Srđan Sacher (bass player; ex Haustor) and Srđan Gulić (drummer; ex Haustor). Their repertoire consisted of jazz standards covers, reinterpretation of world music songbook and few original songs. FV založba opened collaboration with new bands on Zagreb’s “scene” with Dee Dee Mellow “Live” (1988) tape.  Working in parallel with other bands, sax player and drummer joined Disciplina kičme (Belgrade) while bassist left his band Brojani to dedicate more time in newly formed Vještice.


Dee Dee Mellow



Kruha i jogurta

Ozo spi (cover of Hungarian folk song)

Waldorf (mid 1980s – 1990)

Kindergarten funk mixed with white noise or something like that? Regression into unbridled childhood? Don’t know yet. Various Artists “Ča je život vengo fantažija”  (Search & Enjoy, tape, 1994) would help but it’s not at my disposal. Waldorf participated at YURM ’85 festival.

Sin Albert (1985-1990)

Some sort of arty rock band with post-punk foundations fronted by guitarist Daniel Šuljić. Before breaking up they recorded few songs in the studio which were issued by  “Search & Enjoy”, new independent publisher in town. Sin Albert are dry sounding and swift but somehow tired too on their eponymous debut. It does sound like they are singing themselves to sleep through Velvet Underground lazy vibes but one can discern kinetic potential locked in. I should hear samples from their earlier work to get a better picture.


Sin Albert – Sin Albert (1990) 7″ EP

Ja želim čuti

Tri mala dodira



Boxer (1989)

Short-lived post-punk band comprised of two bass players and a drummer. They hardly left their rehearsal space in 1989. However, the members were present on the fluctuating “scene” before and after Boxer. Bassist Josip Suić joined Phantasmagoria and Svadbas, drummer/vocalist Robert Bušić (ex Sin Albert) later played with Brujači and Kojoti & bassist/vocalist Hrvoje Crnić collaborated with performance group Montažstroj and soon started to compose music for theater/film. Boxer managed to record few demo songs during their brief existence which I quite like so here they are – tracks from the attic:





The House Painters (mid 1980s – 1990)

Funkified art-rock or just modern pop band. Don’t judge them by cassette cover. The House Painters don’t sound like The Smiths. Talking Heads were one of the starting points regarding their possible influences. More I listen to The House Painters more I like ’em, especially guitar parts. The vocals are too high in the mix for my own aural pleasure but what the heck.  “Music For Leopold IV” tape in format of an imaginary mini-LP:

house painters

A side: SIM Studio ’87

Paint The World




B side: TROOLY Studio ’89



I Woke Up In A World Of Light

Medicine Man

Waitapu (1987 – 1990)

Waitapu, led by guitarist Hrvoje Danilović, continued creating and refining sophisticated pop music influenced by  reggae & afro-pop from the point where his previous band Brojani arrived at. They did record studio material but being a perfectionist, the guitarist destroyed  all the master tapes. So the story goes… I am intrigued.

SexA II (1988 – 1991)

Lustful noise-rock boars on the prowl – live in Galerija SC on a lovely late spring evening. Tender mating calls (with the occasional grunts) in the din of thick sounding electric guitar. “No Sleep ‘Till Pussy / Fuck Piction” vinyl debut was issued by Idle Valley / FV Založba at the same time as release of this tape.

sexa live





Vještice (1987 – 1996)

Three-headed band comprised of members from Azra (drummer Leiner),  Film (guitarist Juričić) and Haustor (bassist Sacher) moving up and towards the light, and out of the blind alley via recording deal with a “major” label. In 1989 Jugoton issued their debut album “Totalno drukčiji od drugih” – distillation of world music / folk / ethno influences into optimistic pop-rock which appealed to a larger audience. Small independent publisher from Osijek “Plavi pilot” somehow managed to release their second album “Bez tišine!”. Remain in light!


Diaframma ‎– Siberia (1984)


Pop consumer confession again: I am not well versed in Diaframma’s work. It wasn’t destined for export, like Italian hard-core punk. Diaframma remained inside their homeland boundaries.

“Siberia” is recognized as capolavoro of Italian new wave / postpunk. Upon initial listening I wasn’t impressed but once I started to recognize signs of life underneath thin copertina of icy reverb the picture fell into place. Eight songs in half an hour, quite fitting for a Sunday afternoon indoors in allegedly depressive month of January. (Finally with some snow and chill in the air outside, as proper winter should bring.  Where have all the seasons gone? You can have six months of fake summer. I want four seasons back!) But as I said, “Siberia” isn’t immediate listening experience and an impulsive savage/naturalist in me wished for the rough mixes or 8-track garage recording of instrumental tracks.  The studio recording gives aura of the group scattered across a large freezing empty space with the strongest echoes emanating from the singer. Synthscapes are very tasty but barely audible on few tracks. Bass slaps I dig, as usually. The leader in the band, prolific songwriter / guitarist (in later line-ups on vocals as well), Federico Fiumani, decided to suppress the rock ego and toned down the role of guitar in this arty stage of Diaframma. And although the songs gathered for their debut LP  have wintry pace, the group energy captured on other recordings generally reveals lively and forward oriented shape-shifting dynamic. I wouldn’t say that Diaframma were bunch of depressed Italian youth thou. First and foremost, their main muse seems to have been Venus. Followed over the span of the decade, they can be valued as Italian contemporaries of Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure, Simple Minds and The Wedding Present. I suspect that they were cherished on a local level. Early Diaframma shares some common ground with Pingvinovo potpalublje too. In mid 1980s their vocalist was very distinctive Miro Sassolini who gave Diaframma touch of romantic glamour. But for the purpose of “Siberia” even he was a bit down. (on songs like “Elena” or radio friendly “Tre volte lacrime” which followed after “Siberia”, he flies despite the heartache, and pulls the band higher off the ground).  I might check other albums by Diaframma one day. I hope I won’t be disappointed by overtly populist moves. Diaframma =  drama.


Specchi d’acqua

Desiderio del nulla




Diaframma pre 1984

Don’t Look Back: Skopje (SR Macedonia)

Vol VII: Rock and Pop Music in Skopje in the 1980s

(incomplete overview)

*subject to change*


This far away ex Socialist Republic was/is situated deeper in the Balkans where Byzantine ways of singing and chanting have persevered in liturgy. Skopje, the capitol city, was hit by powerful earthquake in 1963 and rebuilt in steel and concrete. So, despite relatively sunny climate and warmhearted folk, one could find just enough Socialist gray areas even down there. Well, I can only guess. Macedonia as a land is usually (and superficially) associated with red vine, mutton, blood red poppies & jazz-rock virtuoso Vlatko Stefanovski’s band Leb i sol whose rise to fame progressed in parallel with the new wave happenings. Although Makedonija very often brings in mind sunshine too, where those rock generations really children of sun (Deca sunca) or darkness? It might seem like the majority of them were children (youth) of God: post-punk (or dark-wave or Gothic) bands that operated like mystic sects branched from Macedonian Orthodox Church – bringing religious Sunday school out of the half-secret parochial classes to the Electric Church and rock stages across the country to amplify their beliefs.

The earliest Macedonian punk and new wave bands didn’t leave official recordings behind. They probably lived fast and died too early or transformed into something else. In general, Macedonian artistic spirit of mid 1980s struck a chord with dark wave.

skoplje rock fest 84 yugopapir

Since I am not that much familiar with the history of rock and pop music from Skopje and SR Macedonia, beside obvious punk rock or post-punk names (Badmingtons, Bastion, Padot na Vizantija, Mizar etc.), here’s the segment from Wikipedia as a brief overview:

The late 1970s saw the emergence of punk rock. The first punk rock band was Fol jazik, formed in Skopje in 1978. During the 1980s other notable punk groups were Saraceni and Badmingtons, both led by Vladimir Petrovski Karter. Later he switched to a more mainstream sound and formed the group Aleksandar Makedonski.

The new wave scene featured artists such as the ska group Cilindar, Usta na usta and Tokmu taka. Tokmu taka’s vocalist Ljupčo Bubo Karov from Kavadarci later became popular as an actor of the comedy TV show K-15, while Usta na usta’s member Aleksandar Prokopiev became a prominent writer. Another influential band was Bon Ton Bend with Dario Pankovski, who released many hits of new wave music.

The synthpop trio Bastion which featured Kiril Džajkovski was one of the most important 1980s acts. Another notable 1980’s act was Haos in Laos (allegedly in a sort of New Romantic style). The pop-rock group Memorija formed in 1984 was one of the most prosperous from this period. The most productive in the country was the post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock scene which included the cult bands Mizar, Arhangel and Padot na Vizantija, the latter led by Goran Trajkoski. Later he formed the neo-folk group Anastasia which became internationally acclaimed with its soundtrack for the Milčo Mančevski’s Academy Award nominated film Before the Rain.

Notable heavy metal artists were the groups Karamela and Concorde, the latter being remembered for their more radio-friendly hit “Visoki štikli i crni čorapi” (“High Heels and Black Stockings”). Its guitarist Venko Serafimov later started a successful solo career.

Noќ nad Makedonija (1981-90)

The very beginning (1980-83) of the dark decade in rock in Macedonia mainly remained undocumented and the scarce demo recordings are unavailable.

Početok i kraj 1983-86

Badmingtones (ex Fol jazik, ex Saraceni) (1983-86) fronted by ever-present punker V.P. Karter played slightly melodic punk-rock throughout the mid decade and even managed to leave a demo tape behind. Now very rare, it consists of earlier recordings done in their own studio and three tracks recorded in professional studio of RTV Skopje in 1985. Their basic punk-rock sound was enriched with electric organ on studio material.

Bastion was yet another smooth ex-YU synth pop combo: drum machine, fretless bass, synths and baby doll singing in Serbian (then known as Serbo-Croatian – the official language in Yugoslavia). The trio was formed in 1983 by Ana Kostovska (vocalist), Kiril Džajkovski (keyboards) and Ljubomir Stojsavljević (bass guitar). The author of their lyrics was the internationally acclaimed film director Milčo Mančevski, at that time a correspondent of the magazine Džuboks. He was also the film director of their music video “Hot day in Mexico”. It’s a shame that at least one single track on their only record was not sung in Macedonian. I remain emotionally reserved to some degree but can understand appeal, there is some beauty in delicate fragility of Bastion’s almost minimal approach.  Synth-pop fans that dig albums by Talas (BG), Videosex (LJ) or Denis & Denis (RI) should check it out. The original copies of “Bastion” (1984) issued by PGP RTB are fetching silly prices nowadays.


Energetic post punk (via Echo and the Bunnymen, U2 or Comsat Angels) of short-lived Padot na Vizantija (ex Afektiven naboj) was documented only on a couple of studio/live demo tracks scattered as appearances on three cassette releases (various artists compilations). They split up too soon and freed space for powerful gothic rock delivered by post-JNA Mizar or Mizar II. Surprisingly, Padot na Vizantija toured a bit in their short lifetime and even participated at YURM ’85 festival in Zagreb where they got excellent reviews. If they had managed to record and issue debut album in ’85 it would fit nicely in dark-wave post-punk albums series championed by this blog/site. Padot na Vizantija anthology has been issued by NE! Records this year.


Gradot e nem (1986-90)

Mizar II put out two critically acclaimed gothic rock (or deathrock) albums before the official end of Yugoslavia. The self-titled debut “Mizar” (1988) would be the most important record from Macedonia from the 1980s (if we put Leb i sol albums in separate category). I used to think that the sophomore effort “Свјат Dreams 1762 – 1991” (1991) was significantly inferior but now I realize that I was wrong – it has its own strong points. I can be fussy only about the clean production on both, as usually.


Mizar – Mizar ‎(1988, Helidon) – the most important rock album from Macedonia

Aporea (aka Apokrifna realnost) self-released religiously (spiritually) themed vintage industrial tape “Na rekah vavilonskih” in 1988. The material was recorded after Padot na Vizantija had disbanded, sometime in the between the fall of ’85 and winter of ’88.

Lola V. Stain recorded two albums of ambiental music before crucial member Zlatko Origjanski joined Anastasia. The debut “Ikona” (1990) issued for an independent label from Zagreb (Blind Dog Records) is comprised of two long multi-part atmospheric instrumentals: “Makova polja” & “Rani jadi”. These two complex songs are structured from the interchangeable variations based on either bagpipes, traditional ethnic drum (tapan)  or a jazzy psychedelic theme.

lola v stain

Anastasia started as collaboration of musicians from Padot na Vizantija, Aporea and Mizar who composed atmospheric music influenced by Macedonian folk and Byzantine church music. This lineage also represents specific artistic vision of Goran Trajkoski that had started with punk band Afektiven naboj. The first EP “Na rjekah vavilonskih” was released as  12’’ record in 1990. It was introduction of sorts for the film soundtrack “Before the Rain” that would become international hit few years later.


Arhangel was Macedonian alternative rock band formed in 1989 by Risto Vrtev (the first vocalist in original Mizar). Their debut album was recorded during last days of Yugoslavia and even pressed in Zagreb by Jugoton in 1991. However, as an active rock band, Arhangel have been more significant for post YU Macedonia.


As an exception to the “rule” and due to the scarcity of recorded Macedonian bands I’ll add Telo-nauka sovršena who were actually living far away from Skopje – they came from a small town Struga (as local punk band Afektiven naboj). I quite like material from their only official release – tape “Kadis” (1988, SKC Niš) but not so much some sound production choices. Like Mizar, Telo-nauka sovršena often sound better to me live than in studio. One can here ghosts of Joy Division [unknown pleasures] or early New Order buried in the hiss and flutter of an old cassette tape. Never heard earliest recorded material (pre “Kadis”), if it really exists in any format.

I am going to end retrospective tripping on ex YU music with this post and take a small imaginary vacation at some fancy resort on the lake of Ohrid. Seeping cold juice under a huge parasol listening to Bastion would make me good now on the verge of winter. I am kidding comrades! I need to spend some quiet time as a recluse contemplating and meditating in a remote Macedonian monastery (without holy scriptures of any kind, of course). OK, I am leaving you with Mizar, not in misery. Godspeed!

The end.

The First Two Revelations of Mizar (from a great Wikipedia entry)

Mizar (Macedonian: Мизар [miˈzar]) is a Macedonian rock band from Skopje. They achieved a status of a cult band, especially in Macedonia and across the Western Balkans.

The group is notable for its first self-titled album, as it was the first popular music in Western Balkans record in Macedonian language. The album was a major success and it is listed among the top ten rock albums ever released in Western Balkans.

Mizar was formed in 1981 in the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Because of the band’s avant-garde sound and image, its Christian leanings and support for Macedonian self-determination, they were viewed with certain degree of suspicion by the former authorities. Still, the group received great media attention including numerous appearances on the national television.

The band got its name after Mizar which is a guiding star for orientation of travelers in the deserts. The name was given by Panta Džambazoski.

Mizar’s musical style is post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. Beside influences such as Joy Division for instance, Mizar also uses elements of Traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music. Another main part of their music is Goran’s (both Tanevski and Trajkoski) vocals which are based on Christian church chants.

In their long history, Mizar has had 5 Revelations, all of them with different singers.

The First Revelation (Risto Vrtev)

Mizar were formed in 1981 in Skopje as an instrumental trio of Gorazd Čapovski on guitar, Valentin Žabjakin on bass and Panta Džambazoski on drums. In late 1981, Žabjakin left the band and was replaced with Ilija Stojanovski. Risto Vrtev joined on vocals soon after. In 1982, the group recorded a demo tape for Radio Skopje. They then sent this tape to Jugoslovenski Rock Moment (also known as YURM), who wrote a short but glowing review of the tape. During 1983, the band then had to break up shortly after due to the members’ mandatory army commitments.

The Second Revelation (Goran Tanevski)

In 1985, when the members of Mizar returned from the army, Čapovski attempted to form a band called Inola-X with Vrtev, but it didn’t work out. Mizar then reformed with Goran Tanevski in place of Vrtev and a new keyboardist, Slobodan Stojkov. They started to use elements of the traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music blended with post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. This phase of Mizar is known as Мизар – Второ Откровение (Mizar – The Second Revelation). Vrtev later founded Arhangel (Archangel) which was awarded as the best rock act in Macedonia during the 1990s. Arhangel inherited certain features of Mizar but with a more conventional rock approach which is why Arhangel was sometimes referred as the Rock Mizar. In 1986, the band filmed a music video for the song “Stoj”.

In 1986, the band played the “Druga godba” festival in Zagreb, but altercations within the band caused Džambazoski and Stojkov to leave the group. They were replaced by Vencislav Smakjoski and Goran Trajkovski respectively. This lineup played at Festival Omladina, with Vladimir Kaevski on keyboards, and contributed two live tracks to the festival’s compilation. These tracks are the first appearance of Mizar on record. Trajkovski would later be replaced by Sašo Krstevski, while Stojkov was replaced by Katerina Veljanovska.

In 1986 they recorded a few demos and were a support act for Laibach and Disciplina kičme on their Yugoslav tour. In 1987 they were awarded for their unique sound at the most significant rock music festival which was held in Subotica.

They released their first, self-titled album, in 1988 with the following line-up:

Goran Tanevski (vocal)
Gorazd Čapovski (guitar)
Boris Georgiev (drums) (ex. Badmingtons)
Sašo Krstevski (bass)
Katerina Veljanovska (keyboards)

The producer was Goran Lisica-Fox. Beside their own songs, the album also included a cover version of the notable Macedonian folk song Zajdi, Zajdi under the title “Златно сонце” (Golden Sun). One of the best known songs from the album is “Девојка од Бронза” (Girl made of bronze).

By 1989, the lineup had stabilised to the following:

Goran Tanevski – vocals
Gorazd Čapovski – guitar
Ilija Stojanovski – bass
Žarko Serafimovski – drums
Vladimir Kaevski – keyboards

This lineup’s first appearance on record was the Demoskop 1 compilation in late 1990, where they contributed two tracks, “Veligden” and “Glas”. Between October and December 1990, the band recorded their second album, Svjat Dreams, releasing it on 7 September 1991, the day before Macedonia split from Yugoslavia. The title of the record is inspired by the song Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. On this album they covered the traditional song 1762 and a song written by Vrtev, the first singer of Mizar titled “Дом” (Home).

Don’t Look Back vol. VII: Skopje (1-2-ex-YU!!)

Noќ nad Makedonija (1981-90)

Početok i kraj (1983-86)

Badmingtons – Site obični luđe [1985]
Badmingtons – Doađa sabota [1985]
Badmingtons – Moram li jas? [1985]
Bastion – Deca sunca [1984]
Bastion – Mesec u šolji [1984]
Bastion – Molitva [1984]
Padot na Vizantija – Početok i kraj [1985]
Padot na Vizantija – Istata sostojba [1985]
Aporea – Dzvezdo javljajušta solnce [medieval]

Gradot e nem (1986-90)

Aporea – Na rjekah vavilonskih [ancient]
Mizar – Gradot e nem (live) [1987]
Mizar – Stoj [1988]
Mizar – Devojka od bronza [1988]
Mizar – Hoden že [1988]
Aporea – Kondak Sv. Prohoru Pčinjskomu [undated]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Grešnici [1988]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Niz vekovi so grevovi [1988]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Plastična zemlja [1988]
Arhangel – Arhangel ’80 – ’89 (live) [1989]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Son (live) [1989]
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 1 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 2 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 1 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 3 [1990]
Mizar – Abja mem [1990]
Mizar – Veligden [1990]

Telo-nauka sovršena – Nebo [1990]
Mizar – Običen čovek [1990]



Don’t Look Back: Novi Sad (SR Serbia)

Vol III: Rock and Pop Music in Novi Sad in the 1980s (incomplete overview)

*subject to change*

Korekcije faktografije, dopune, HQ mp3 doprinos (bilo bi lijepo čuti Ove sezone vedri tonovi!) i slično… su dobrodošli.

Provodim dane u parku nekom, u drugi grad otplivam rekom
tu spavam u potkrovlju slepom, rano uveče i posle još

“Došla su tako neka vremena” (La strada)

Novi Sad, the capital city of Vojvodina (at the time autonomous region in the north of Socialist Republic of Serbia) was a multi-cultural micro-center for new wave happenings. As with any other blog post about the ex-YU city “scenes”, this one starts with a domestic punk band too.

Pekinška patka (1978 – 81) was at the same time the first Serbian (or as their singer likes to point out as an illustration – the very first punk band from Christian Orthodox cultural setting). A lot of punk-rock scholars and fans around the world hold their debut album (at least one year late in production) “Plitka poezija” LP (1980) in high regard. It’s an example of entertaining punk with catchy hooks and exactly because of that melodic aspect Pekinška patka can be regarded as an authentic case globally. By the way, their singer Čonkić (Čonta) was a high-school professor at the time! Weirdos.


In Novi Sad there were quite a lot punk bands (Gomila G*, Crkveni pacovi*, Rafal*, Armija Spasa*, Van kontrole*, Dva minuta mržnje, Vrisak generacije, Fluorel Tačkaš*… ) of all varieties stretching the old school punk-rock tag over street-punk/Oi and later throughout whole decade over various versions* of hard-core punk. Looking back (from safe distance) it seems that Novi Sad was also capital city of street-punk/Oi in ex-YU. Obvious pick of the litter would be Dva minuta mržnje (studio demo ’84).

Pekinška patka II (1980 – 81) is yet another example of fairly successful transformation into post-punk band (quite tight instrumentally). However, Čonta’s changed persona hovering above in darker circumstances can grate my oversensitive ears on few songs. It took me years (even decades) to get accustomed. One can have impression that the second album came too soon (with obvious post-punk influences and ideas brought in with new guitarist Bulatović barely toned down) or that Pekinška patka were losing the steam towards the end. That said, I prefer “Strah od monotonije” LP (1981) nowadays.


Original guitarist/sax player of Pekinška patka left the band before completion of their second album to join newly formed young ska-punk band Kontraritam (1980-82). Thanks to exceptional rhythm section Kontraritam could easily bring it on in concert. Lucky kids with happy feet.

New wave / power-pop bands of note in Novi Sad were Pop art* (officially undocumented) and Fotomodel (with a single put out by Jugodisk).

New wave circus rock troupe Laboratorija zvuka hailed from Novi Sad too. They were often novelty guests on ex-YU TV channels playing upbeat songs specifically arranged for children or, at the other side of spectrum, they were offering lascivious tunes for adult public. “Laboratory of Sound” caravan traveled across the country quite a lot. They even had conceptual performance abroad in London at some point in mid-decade.

New wave art project La strada (1979 – 81) led by Slobodan Tišma ended prematurely with formation of Luna. From this early phase they left behind two studio songs recorded in 1980.

Luna (1981 – 84) put out only one post-punk / dark-wave album and then (acrimoniously) split up before LP even appeared in the stores. Group of distinct individuals – great drummer Fece aka Firči (would become part of EKV (Belgrade) gang soon), excellent guitarist Bulatović aka Bale (ex Pekinška patka II), cohesive organ/synth player Mitrušić aka Mina & peculiar poet Tišma (ex La strada; here as stressed-out vocalist on the verge of mental breakdown) – barely managed to keep Luna together to document their intense existence. Film noir scenario! Perhaps presence of bass player would have pushed “Nestvarne stvari” LP to an even higher level… Well, I am being fussy here because this album really is awesome as it turned out. I might be emotionally more involved with Obojeni program and Boye but regarding the post-punk time frame “Nestvarne stvari” (Helidon, 1984) is picked as the centerpiece album from Novi Sad. Recorded in autumn of 1983 it would fit perfectly in early 4AD portfolio of bands (Bauhaus, Birthday Party, Mass, Modern English, Xmal Deutschland, Wolfgang Press) closing the post-punk years of said esteemed label with a record license from Helidon label.


LunaNestvarne stvari (1984) – definitive post-punk album from Novi Sad

Luna sank in Danube to be washed ashore (think of some secluded river inlet overgrown with sedge rather than right between sun bathers on Štrand in summer time) as La strada II (1984 – 8?) again.  Tišma kept on cooperation with Luna synth player Mina and invited Kontraritam dudes for reformed version of La strada. They recorded eponymous album in 1986 (or was it really Live Aid summer ’85?). It was pressed in even less copies than “Nestvarne stvari” by Luna.  La strada were moving away from new-wave / post-punk templates towards literate guitar pop-rock (and 1960s influences). In my opinion Tišma’s vocal performance on La strada suits him better than his attempts at singing on “Nestvarne stvari”. On “La strada” (M produkcija RNS, 1987) album Tišma seemed to be more relaxed although he was unsatisfied with the end results. His brooding voice evokes (Slavonic) melancholia of river plains pretty well. In the flat field people do get bored.


Grad (1981-82) was short-lived post-punk band (DAF, Joy Divison / New Order) interested in synths and cold electronic sounds coming out of Germany.

Boye (1981 – 199?) Enough!!! Enough of street-punk boot-boy bravado! Make space for girls to rock out freely or just dance and play modern pop songs. Or whatever they like to call their style. The Raincoats and Kleenex/Lilliput … might have left an impression on girls from Novi Sad. Boye recorded two excellent albums “Dosta! Dosta! Dosta!” (PGP RTB, 1988) and “’78” (Search & Enjoy, 1990) in succession that were preceded with plenty of tentative synth-pop/post-punk demo steps around Jugoton contract. Allegedly they had enough recorded material for an album even as early as 1984.

Obojeni program (1980 –  ) are indeed rock institution from Novi Sad today. Who would say. They formed in the early 1980s, finally recorded debut LP as late as 1990 for newly established indie label “Search & Enjoy” from Zagreb and… remained present. People often find Branislav Babić Kebra’s piercing vocal a required taste but to me he sounds just perfect.  Band’s fascination with M.E. Smith & the fall might be constant although not directly evident in their music. I am not sure if Obojeni program were ever captured on tape before unavoidable mid-1980s hiatus (JNA). Allegedly their early years were characterized by punk-funk sound. They continued live activities in 1985/86 with revolving membership and for a couple of years band existed as drum/bass/vocal trio. At the tail end of the decade Obojeni program would find balance with new guitarist and record long-waited first album together with Dušan Kojić – Koja (Disciplina kičme, Beograd) as producer. “Najvažnije je biti zdrav” LP (1990) is legendary around these parts.

Cult postpunk band Ove sezone vedri tonovi (1981 – 83) even appeared at YURM ’82 festival in Zagreb. Velvet Underground, This Heat and RIO bands are usually mentioned as possible influences or just OSVT’s affiliation. It seems that they disappeared without the recorded evidence of existence. Few OSVT members continued with free form avant-garde group Cirko della primavera** in the second half of the decade. Low budget avant cassette label Nikad Robom originated from this group of forward (or outward) looking folk. As a side note, Đorđe Delibašić – Đoka, member of the collective, recorded SexA’s noise-rock album in Novi Sad in 1990.

According to the book “Novosadska punk verzija” Armija kontrasta ltd* were short-lived post-punk band with rhythm-machine.

Neon vojnik* (ex Crkveni pacovi), Krik maske* and Skice* (ex Linija otpora) shared common love of Killing Joke at the different time frames and probably in a slightly different way. Judging by track “Grobar” solely Neon vojnik really had something to offer. After all, Killing Joke used to be popular with UK ’82 street punks and anarcho crowds as well. Do you remember Blitz (UK) boys and their excursion into post-punk waters on their second full length album?

Mitar Subotić aka Rex Ilusivii was an experimental electronic musician and producer.

Art-rock white-funk synth-pop romantics of Novi Sad were called Heroina. Frontman Petar Janjetov is esteemed artist / comics author today. At the time of recording their only album “Heroina” (1985) they had to replace departed drummer with a drum machine. It is somewhat reminiscent of Roxy Music, Boa (Zagreb) or Gang of 4 (during “Hard”). One can easily find couple of attractive songs (nice guitar playing) while in the heart-broken mood.

Ponoćni kauboj*  were rock band (with brass section) from the second half of the decade. Perhaps they realized that in “punk-rock” the part that really matters belongs to “-rock”. The only one track I’ve heard by them reminded me of Električni orgazam (Belgrade) and their own R’n’R transformation.

Hip-hop punk rockers Atheist Rap surfaced out of the hard-core punk scene in 1989 and reigned over Novi Sad (and beyond) in oncoming decades. Street-punk/Oi and hard-core in general gained momentum around that time and you get first studio recorded material by  Vrisak generacije (Oi punk), Ritam nereda (Oi punk), Mr. Joint (Oi punk/HC), Kapetan Leshi (hard-core), Generacija bez budućnosti (hard-core), KNO / Invalidi uma (hard-core)…

* scarce info about these bands gathered from “Novosadska punk verzija” book

**read more thoroughly about other side of Novi Sad on this extraordinary blogspot guide: Other Novi Sad Scene of the 1980s

Don’t Look Back vol. III: Novi Sad (1-2-ex-YU!!)

Pekinška patka – Biti ružan, pametan i mlad (’79)

Fotomodel – To nisi ti (’81)

Kontraritam – Obojeni grad (’82)

Pekinška patka II – Monotonija (’81)

La Strada – Sat (’80)

Grad – Gradsko šetalište (Maske) (’82)

Rex Ilusivii – Zla kob (’83)

Neon vojnik – Grobar (’83)

Luna – Fakir (’83)

2MM – Terorizam (’84)

Boye – Mikrosvet (’83)

Heroina – Zaigrajmo (’85)

Rex Ilusivii – Arabia (’85)

La Strada – Došla su tako neka vremena (’85)

Ponoćni kauboj – Mesec (’88)

Boye – (Gde) možemo se sresti (’88)

Atheist Rap – Atheist Rap (’89) uživo

Obojeni program – Kosmos u tvom srcu (’90)

Ritam nereda – Suton (’90)

Cirko della primavera – Sveti Mihajlo u laganom afričkom kasu u kozinom stilu ubija sedmoglavog apokaliptičnog zmaja (’89)


FEB ’17: the Bats – the Deep Set

“The Deep Set”, jedini  ovogodišnji album slušan u veljači u web admin kutku,  uklapa se u the Bats pravocrtni tradicionalni pop-rock kanon u svakom pogledu. U usporedbi s prethodna dva “The Guilty Office” i “Free All The Monsters” ne prepoznajem pjesme koje bi odskakale kao iznimne. Možda pomalo sladunjava “Busy”? No nije toliko bitno jer su The Bats danas (od “At the National Grid” nadalje) meni osobno bolji nego ikad prije, a s pauzama u istoj i jedinoj postavi postoje od ’82. Kapa dolje. Hats off to the Bats!


Don’t Look Back: Zagreb (SR Croatia)

I stand for language. I speak for truth. I shout for history.
I am a cesspool for all the shit to run down in…

Do you want New Wave or do you want the Truth? (Minutemen, 1984)

Vol I: Rock & Pop Music in Zagreb in the 1980s

Disclaimer: These blog-posts (and the skewed point of view they carry) have nothing to do with the members of Pingvinovo potpalublje but with web administrator only. Please, send all your hate mail his way.

***subject to change***

Prljavo kazalište [1977-1980], Zagreb’s first (officially documented, at least) punk-rock band of sorts,  were teenagers from (despised) east end suburb that just about in time accelerated their sloppy Rolling Stones beginnings. They were typical high-school failures that even resembled protagonists from Alan Ford (Italian comic book extremely popular in YU) after which they named the group. Prljavo kazalište also had the very first Croatian “punk” single out in 1978. Both early punk-rock singles and then the 3rd ska single (if they had put reggae tinged number “Neka te ništa ne brine” on b-side it would be a double-sided ska-killer) are pretty OK in my book. I am not very enthusiastic about their albums but looking back they do have few moments of worth scattered on each, more so on s/t than on “Crno bijeli svijet”. Whatever they had in common with punk-rock they lost when the first frontman Davorin Bogović left the band. Too soon Prljavo kazalište went after success and became bland pop-rock institution destined for ex-YU sport halls. A cartoon punk character turned into a caricature – Prljavo kazalište are just an opening paragraph in this long-winded post anyway.

Few years older dudes from mysterious band Loš zvuk (borderline old-school punk-rock /  hard-rock with electric organ) had a lone single put out in 1979 as the only document of their existence. It’s not a bad record (sound) but it could have turned out much better with different vocal approach. Loš zvuk might have heard Iggy Pop / the Stooges before they heard Sex Pistols or the Stranglers. Similarly oriented Noćna smjena was a garage-rock/pub-rock band influenced by the Rolling Stones. “Vrtlog / Stojim na uglu” is pretty cool little single for the fans of the genre, nowadays totally forgotten and very rare.

Klinska pomora [1977-1980] was a wild teen punk band from the other side of town (Novi Zagreb) inclined to excessive behavior. They have never recorded anything to prove their infamous rank. The concerts at the end of their existence allegedly sounded like coherently played punk rock. Members later appeared in other bands of which (beside unavoidable Psihomodo Pop)  La Fortunjeros were most durable. La Fortunjeros boys couldn’t quite decide which way to go through rite of passage – as true punk-rockers (with black leather jackets or skinny ties) or with lies (in theater costumes). La Fortunjeros recorded plenty of demo tracks but only one single was pulled off  through the Jugoton label – an adolescent impersonation of Adam Ant.

Neron reportedly played simple and direct version of punk-rock aiming at physical aspect of concert entertainment (drinking, dancing and having fun) and avoiding intellectual pretensions of slightly older new wave colleagues. Following the replacement of singer and arrival of new players they gradually transformed into one of the Zagreb’s most enduring popular rock bands: Psihomodo Pop. The earliest version of Psihomodo Pop [1982-84], with guitarist Kepeski and saxist Banjeglav in lineup, recorded very good demo/live tracks. By the time of their very late and (from the strict rock perspective) disappointing debut album “Godina zmaja” (= fairly average tribute to the Ramones), Psihomodo pop glamorized, softened and heavily compressed their former art-punk attempts. New wave pop-rock band Heroji* appeared out of nowhere and disappeared without the trace apart from few articles in music newspapers and  few live tracks (“Osuđen na život”, “Zaustavljam vrijeme”, “Šarena strana mjeseca”)  hanging on the internet. Who were these unknown heroes? According to scarce information Heroji played during 1982-83 around Zagreb and participated in YURM festival. For the time being we can pretend that Heroji were fine modern rock band, worth remembering …

New generation of minor league street-punks started to be more visible as late as mid decade. They kept punk boyish scruffy dirty and even fast. For the most part I remain unconvinced (not my cup of tea!) but they had their place in town. Of them all Z.R.M. aka Zona rane masturbacije kept the closest connection to first wave of punk-rock. (Demo ’84 = melodic rudimentary punk with shaky old-school tempo!) Sköl, Excess, Blitzkrieg and Patareni were much more influenced by UK street-punk ’82. In the second half of the 1980s there must have been a lot of basement hard-core punk bands in the city. It would be pointless to list them all since hard-core punk is really not a big deal anyway. Among them you’ll find: Generali (HC with crossover (metal) tendencies – there were couple of decent songs in their repertoire – for example “Crni snijeg”), Patareni (transformed into grind-core pioneers), Motus (HC punks w/ good debut cassette album as a whole) and then again Sköl.

Zagreb spawned good deal of skinny tie late 1970s new/wave power/pop pop/rock bands in Blondie / Boomtown Rats / the Jam / Police vein. I don’t mind Parlament pilfering Police’s image & sound to get attention. Unfortunately, lukewarm debut album smacks of calculated populist move (probably coordinated by the record label) to sell more products. Usual common sins: feeble vocal with nothing important to say  or sing about pushed up in the mix; individual instruments toned down in the mix; youthful energy significantly downplayed etc. Oh, shut up and bang on the drums!! Parlament’s career went downhill faster than they climbed up pop-charts in the first place. Fickle Aerodrom was in principle a band with prog background / mentality that was trying to navigate trendy new-wave airways. The only album worth checking-out, considering proficient playing vs. banality of ideas, would be “Tango Bango”. Middle of the road new-wave pop-rock group Patrola knew the craft of tuneful songwriting and was quite functional live band. Voice of singer Metessi could carry the melody and stir the emotion behind it. Don’t let record cover art turn you off, the album is better than it may look. Not bad at all. After sudden split up Patrola members soon emerged in an average pop-rock group Zvijezde & ill-conceived synth-pop project Tora. Another very polite early 80s pop-rock band (late 60s & country-rock inclined) were Animatori, a type of band that 3 generations in a household could like – even a pious Catholic grandmother would approve of them, which is some kind of sin in itself, of course. Meticulously recorded “Anđeli …” LP works in their favor, especially today. Speaking of innocence, Stidljiva ljubičica, a teen band from a nearby small provincial town Vrbovec, competed for public attention  in and around Zagreb in the early 1980s too. Nicely recorded debut album “Osvrni se na mene” is composed of simple stripped-down songs covering general boy/girl topics.

Power pop idiom was so prevalent in Zagreb in 1980/81 that even arty bands like Haustor got entangled in it (if we take into account pop aspect of self-titled debut).

The cream of this loosely imagined power-pop section was the oldest band (original Azra spin-off from ‘78) & the hardest when it comes to rock – manic Film [1978-1983]. Film was definitive pioneering new wave band from Zagreb. They brought contemporary appearance / simple modern rock sound to town, sticking out of the crowd even more when compared with anachronistic aspects of their peers, for example Azra. Unfortunately, Film tarnished their reputation with many questionable decisions – among them a trip to Sweden to record a quasi art-rock album! But let’s go back to the beginning.  Despite the fact that Film was harbinger of the new and that their local popularity was indisputable, the record companies were late, as it often goes in real life. Everything was in slight delay, starting from abolished debut single by original Azra that consisted of Film members mostly. Too complicated to grasp, I know! Anyway, the excellent first single “Kad si mlad / Zajedno!” (1980) adorned with lovely street themed cover was at least a year late. Unsatisfied with treatment in Suzy, Film  subsequently left the label from their hometown. Once the debut album was finally put out through Slovenian label Helidon it was already 1981. The newness lost its spark. The end result album “Novo! Novo! Novo! Još jučer samo na filmu a sada i u vašoj glavi” was charming but also considerably polished in the studio. Ill-produced by Boris Bele from seminal 70s rockers Buldožer (Slovenia/YU), album only partially delivered promises of Film’s convincing live appearances. Listening to it one doesn’t feel the sheer force of the forward driving rock motion the band was famous for.  Stiff studio sound of the debut was radically improved a few months later on mini-LP “Film u Kulušiću (Live!)” (1981). Film simply became even better live unit when more proficient drummer Ivan Piko Stančić took over la batterie. However, there is an unpleasant rumor circulating around town that not only additional clapping and cheering of the public were added in the studio  but also some extra overdubs. Nevertheless it worked well at the time and it went gold with sales well above over 50,000 copies. At that point Film was nationally established as an energetic upbeat act. Album that followed, fittingly titled “Zona sumraka” (Twilight Zone) (1982), touched upon the darker issues of rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle like drugs, ruined personal relationships, ennui etc. Joie de vivre vibes of the first releases were gone. Failing to deliver a hit-single “Zona sumraka” album was a commercial downfall. Reviews were mixed too. It sounds pretty good to me! It is definitely my favorite studio album by Film. Stančić’s decision to leave the band marked the end of “proper” Film. Prior to his departure, the band went to Sweden and recorded a weird mélange of strangely arranged new wave pop & art-rock. With singer Jura Stublić’s hilarious and hectic rock persona on top of it, “Sva čuda svijeta” (1983) at times sounds psychedelic and “spaced out” and at times outright silly. Stubborn Stublić was always a one-off, resembling a speed freak beatnik/hippie type more than your average punk rocker. Indeed, “Holy Trinity” of the Zagreb New Wave: Azra, Film & Prljavo kazalište were all fronted by intense but peculiar personalities & the output of the bands reflected those personalities pretty well.

Cut-off point for mentioning pop-rock in general would be 1984, after that you get only vapid products of typical 1980s studios or simply garbage.

The most popular of all (new-wave) bands from Zagreb ever was Azra, led by charismatic Branimir Đoni Štulić (a beatnik from Balkans, a barefoot hippie & a rock guitarist in one). Being open to all sorts of stuff I do feel and understand appeal of this band but strictly limited to their most creative period [1979 – 1982] when they were a tight power trio. Cocky frontman Štulić (= bone of contention) was an idiosyncratic dude with overpowering ego. It shows all over their recorded output. Undeniably he had guts, hard-working ethic and remarkable talent as well. Reggae influenced drummer belonged mainly to class ’78 unlike Štulić who was more in ’68 frame of mind (blues-rock, the Beatles). Seemingly accidental bassist with quiet demeanor anchored the band for a while and brought needed stability. Highly charged live energy of Azra’s early concert repertoire should have been translated into raw 4-track garage recording. Surprisingly they tried to capture it with a mellow hippie (oblivious of zeitgeist) behind the console and … never mind, the debut s/t (1980) album certainly got its own specific charm. I grew to appreciate as it is. The follow-up “Sunčana strana ulice” (1981) 2 x LP was praised by rock critics and was extremely well received by public immediately upon release. It has reached canonical status locally and beyond over the time. However, not everybody has been (permanently) impressed. I find most of the acoustic songs underwhelming. There are a couple of trite examples among electric guitar songs too.  The sound quality of the recording (or production job) varies and occasionally it is not quite fitting, especially for hard-driving rock. Similarly bloated “Filigranski pločnici” (1982) 2 x LP sounds good deal heavier (which is good news!) but still there are too many songs for my liking. So, both double (studio) albums put out in succession would be admirable well-rounded single set LPs once cleansed of filler (often pedestrian puns wrapped up in haphazardly sketched songs). Triple (!!!) album “Ravno do dna” (1981) is widely considered as the best one for picking – the essential live overview of the band. Jugoton label spent plenty of vinyl raw material pressing Azra records during intensive period of two years and yet not a single one of them turned out impressive from start to finish; always something hasty, unfinished and incomplete about them. Megalomania and unpleasant aesthetics aside, Azra had a very important redeeming feature – they were genuine rock band on stage. Azra come(s) alive!

When one thinks about Zagreb in the 1980s the name that should cross his (her) mind in the milliseconds should be Haustor. Even band name “Haustor” fits well recalling drab unkempt facades of the faded provincial Austro-Hungarian past & dark damp and smelly “Haus Thüren” (driveways) of the city’s downtown architecture. Haustor was in a certain way also starting point for the arty section of Zagreb’s music scene. Gradually honed out from the hippie/psyche free form collective, Haustor took over the city art scene sometime in late 1979. Their self-titled debut album is to this day one of the best releases  from Zagreb ’81 (and Croatia in general). It’s a fine example of successful art-rock (think of Gong/Roxy Music rather than Genesis/Bowie) & new-wave (reggae slant) cross-pollination that was in the foul city air all those years. According to the witnesses slightly boxed studio recording didn’t quite capture Haustor in full swing. Broadened live repertoire (also a bit boxed and claustrophobic) can be heard on posthumously issued CD album “Ulje je na vodi”. It was recorded on Epiphany Eve, in January ’82 just before band went on a hiatus (JNA). This recording gives additional insight into the nature of the group’s quirky music. Haustor discography was also enriched by excellent 7″ EP “Majmun i mjesec” issued by Jugoton in 1982. Generally speaking, Haustor were at their best with Srđan Sacher (a poet, a bassist and an ethnologist) in a role of the band’s co-author [1979-1984]. This period of Haustor was crowned by modest masterpiece: “Treći svijet” (1984). Later albums with Darko Rundek as main songwriter are, if not excellent then at least, very good.  “Bolero” (1985), the only recording without Sacher’s contributions, is almost like a Rundek’s solo LP. There is only one total dud on this album – hilariously bad “Take the Money and Run” rap recital. Rest of the songs are local classics of the mid decade & few of them have been frequent on the radio to this day. They utilized rhythm machine a lot on “Bolero” and stylistically got closer to Karlowy Vary synth-pop aesthetic (“La Femme”). The last Haustor studio album “Tajni grad” (1988) was more like a group effort again – Gulić behind drums & Sacher back on bass on few songs. Haustor was a rock band that digged reggae jazz and world music equally.

Three post-punk names that should never be omitted when Zagreb is in question are: SexA (Captain Beefheart filtered through South Slavic minds – arty, haughty and wild – mental and visceral art-rock attack), Trobecove krušne peći (untamed jazz-funk no-wave youth barking from the city’s darkest corners) and Pingvinovo potpalublje (the closest to introverted and self-contained bookish types that Zagreb could ever get). Pingvinovo potpalublje were initially dismissed as half-baked Joy Division copycats which was very unkind. On the contrary, recorded evidence shows that they cherished distinctive mystic vision of their own.

Superb drum-box post-punk band Korowa Bar lost its serrated edge quickly and transformed into smooth minimalist synth-pop Karlowy Vary. Before fading out into oblivion Karlowy Vary added a drummer to the line-up and, judging by studio recordings, became even more anemic. At the very end they put out thin sounding official debut (actually the second album) titled “La Femme” and split up.

Beside power-pop Zagreb was also (in)famous for sophisticated Eastern European romantics who preferred art-rock (David Bowie, Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and Japan) to dirty punk: Boa & Dorian Gray. I have the impression, based on what little I saw of film footage, listened to and read over the years, that they were quite potent as live acts. I’ve never heard Boa’s Demo ’80 but live tracks from 06/81 and 05/82 reveal them in superb form, especially guitarist who didn’t shy away from feedback and bassist with fat solid funky tone. At that point in time (1980/81) Boa was a thrilling modern rock band, few miles ahead from almost every other band in town. Unfortunately, Boa lost considerable part of its stylized vital power in the recording studio. They went so far and recorded problematic sophomore album in the state of the art studios in Sweden – now surprise! – it turned out ice glossy. Today it can be categorized as overproduced and dated disappointment, so painfully neutered it brings tears to my eyes. The sound of drums (holy instrument!) on that super polished album was totally desecrated. [approached as synth-pop/art-rock hybrid, album “Ritam strast” is pretty OK due to still very good content/songs] Dorian Gray followed the bad example. [Dorian Gray II were synth-pop/art-rock act so the second album “Za tvoje oči” recorded in the same Swedish studio turned out as even better accomplished product in overall than their unfortunate debut] Actual debut recordings by both bands are fine enough art-rock records although just a little bit too clean for my filthy low-tech taste. Anyhow, Boa and Dorian Gray were great live bands and represent this suave face of Zagreb very well. Trotakt projekt  – band from Metković that moved to Zagreb to make a career and enjoy life in big city – schlepped behind for a while; one foot in new-wave the other one in a permanent shadow of Saint Bowie. They were passable for an overambitious pop-art project until they decided to… dance! Young synth-pop troupe Fuj tajfel was dancing and clubbing around town for few years to no avail.

Brojani* were an earlier [1984-86] offshoot of Haustor, sort of ethno / world music influenced with emphasis on rhythm. Waitapu* continued where Brojani II left off.

Dee Dee Mellow would be something like a jazzy avant offshoot of Haustor.

Cul de Sac were simply free! As free jazz screechers in a blind alley could be.

There was a short rockabilly revival gathered around few bands at the end of the ’80s. More style than substance (more cuddly pussy cats than stray tom cats)  as it usually goes with retro things.

Parallel NWHM (new wave of heavy metal) side of the city isn’t close to my heart (or the lower parts of my body) as much. I am only superficially familiar with few bands: hard-rockin’ Divlje jagode came mainly from BiH/YU but were formed in Zagreb in ’77, III kanal (turncoats of sorts, their 1st single was a new wave/rock product! ), Legija (shared drummer with Trobecove krušne peći!?), Teško vrijeme (aka Hard Time) and Anesthesia (ZG thrash metal beginnings).

New wave generations were steadily losing inspiration as the time went on and yet there  was a sudden spark at the end of the most exciting decade in rock. It coincided with influx of foreign bands that started to play more often in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade & and as well with more private investments  (money!) on the partially opened market.

Old guard re-shuffled and re-grouped for the very last time: Sacher (Haustor), Leiner (Azra) and Juričić (Film) got together in Vještice which were unfortunately a tad bit too much on the lite and bright side of things.

Restless members of SexA (mk II) had moment of epiphany watching Rapeman in Ljubljana in ’88 and resurrected the band (they could have found inspiration watching Trobecove krušne peći in ’87 at home). From that point onward SexA was a noise-rock band and it suited them perfectly.

Disciplina kičme, an outstanding band from Belgrade (Serbia/YU), upgraded the line-up / style with two members (Novoselić from Film on sax, Gulić from Haustor on drums) from Zagreb about that time too. This short-lived Serbo-Kroatian Freundschaft version of Disciplina kičme often played in Zagreb and was generally awesome.

The House Painters would be the first band that fully embraced lingua franca of rock – with British accent! In a way  they represent continuation of funk influenced art-rock (Boa and Dorian Gray) from Zagreb.   However, their funk was cerebral and quite stiff. It belonged to art galleries more than on the dance floor. The House Painters were also the main protagonists from the new generation of Zagreb bands active in the ”gap” years (mid to late 1980s). Decent output recorded in period 1987-89 can be heard on independently released cassette album “Music for Leopold IV” (FV Založba).

Ex-punks and scene hangers-on that later appeared in goth rock bands. Phantasmagoria (ex Eksodus, ex Sköl) were the most resilient of the bunch and became the most in/famous name in the following decade. Dark and psychedelic Endymion started to sing in English from the very beginning and as a result lost some points in my book. Different strokes for different folks!  A couple of songs by Nezaboravan san o…  (sang or recited in mother tongue) fitted Zagreb’s brooding melancholic mood perfectly. Kinda electronically beautiful. Speaking of city’s Goth subculture it’s worth mentioning a compilation tape  “041” (1989) issued by FV Založba. Although it is uneven and incomplete overview of goth-rock/dark-wave/alt rock (and related) bands from the second half of the 1980s it did capture atmosphere very well. Beside already mentioned Endymion (unfortunately somewhat overproduced in the studio)  and Nezaboravan san o…, it included Nemesis (goth pop-rock with female vocal reminiscent of March Violets, competently sang in English), Lepra (with two wildest tracks on this compilation echoing and emanating corrosive Killing Joke vibes) and Jozo oko Gospe (synth-pop/dark electronica project). Lepra & Nezaboravan san o… songs would be my favourites here.

So, in the late 1980s (famous reformed Marković year) first private “rock entrepreneurs” appeared on the scene. Legend of local independent publishing Zdenko Franjić founded Slušaj najglasnije! aka Listen Loudest! cassette label. Franjić has been pushing his favorite garage-rock / punk-rock bands up and down the Balkans since 1988. At the start he was picking young Croatian bands mainly on the Vinkovci – Zagreb – Pula (hard) rock route. He was also trying to break through via Forced Exposure and other leading American fanzines. I could perhaps recommend VA ‎”Bombardiranje New Yorka”, first tape by Majke and Machine Gun (Put za Nakovo). Slušaj najglasnije! label was also responsible for digging out and dusting off very fine post-punkers Boykot Für/WGP from Pula. I like ’em very much. Satan Panonski was his in/famous protégé too.  This peculiar and extreme punk performer from Vinkovci was in essence a troubled soul – one side G.G.Allin and the other Nick Blinko. Unfortunately, G.G.A. side was predominant – an atrocity exhibition I’d rather avoid to witness. On the other hand Slušaj najglasnije! also gave a chance to still innocent teen punk rockers Overflow (Through Department Store) from Koprivnica & boys didn’t disappoint. Surprisingly one and only release from Zagreb on Slušaj najglasnije! at the time was LP “Čista perverzija” by Sköl. Beefed-up through Motörhead and Killing Joke influences Sköl (mk II) upgrade was good enough but album generally suffers from lack of variety: thick guitar sound is lost in the mix and the vocals are up front but for some reason not captivating at all.

City’s another independent label of note – Search & Enjoy – started promising in 1990 and immediately bridged Zagreb and Novi Sad (Serbia/YU).  They put out remarkable LPs by two stalwart bands from the Novi Sad scene: all female Boye (“’78”) & Obojeni program (“Najvažnije je biti zdrav”). Search & Enjoy also picked Majke (Vinkovci, Croatia) from Franjić for vinyl debut “Razum i bezumlje”.  Studeni studeni – garage-rock punks with great name and not that great love (!) songs squeezed on 33 rpm seven-inch record. Had it been issued as simple single record (“A ja sam je volio” b/w  “Čisto kao suza”) it would have kicked ass harder and louder, using less lovey-dovey words too. Sin Albert – then contemporary art rock band whose dissonant strumming was harking back to Velvet Underground would have profited from 45 rpm 12″ format and dirtier sound. Both bands released their decent seven-inch debut EPs with a little help from Search & Enjoy.

Šumski (and their own locally very important Kekere Aquarium cassette label) would be about the last band mentioned here, formed early in 1991 … but they really belong to an opening chapter of ZG rock legacy in post-war Croatia.

* = more info / samples of music needed