Friday Classic Dark: Moev – Cracked Mirror


Vancouver-based outfit Moev is the focus of today’s Friday Classic Dark feature. The group was formed in 1981, on the cusp of British synthpop’s infiltration into the American mainstream. In Canada, synthpop was becoming a thing, too, around this time; Images in Vogue had just formed, Strange Advance cropped up shortly thereafter, and Spoons began to feature drum machines and synthesizers more prominently in their work. Against this (cursory) backdrop, Moev’s early output displayed an estimable blend of dark synthpop and hook-laden new wave. By the mid-1980s, the group signed to Nettwerk Records, home of industrial acts Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly. The Nettwerk deal coincided with the first of Moev’s many reconfigurations in musical style and personnel.

Although Moev has produced several notable tracks, we wish to draw your attention to “Cracked Mirror”, their infectious and bittersweet debut single. Two recordings of this stellar track exist; the 1981 version from their self-released debut EP, and a rather different, but equally compelling, rendition from their 1982 12″ Rotting Geraniums. Kick off the weekend with both interpretations of this Canadian synthpop classic!

Moev – “Cracked Mirror” (1982)

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Friday Classic Dark: Landscape Body Machine – No Cable


Landscape Body Machine – No Cable

In this week’s installment of our barely beloved music history series we will have a quick peek at a IDM group from the more recent past, Vancouver’s Landscape Body Machine.  They were formed in 1992, and are perhaps only provisionally acceptable as part of this feature, as they are still putting out music, but this song amused me far too much not to include it.  The track was on their 1999 album, Structure and is apparently an angry rant left on the CBC’s answering machine by an unhappy customer set to some heavy beats.  Enjoy it you god damn cocksuckers.

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Friday Classic Dark: Exxotone – Big Shot

Exxotone – Big Shot

Another week another visit from the ghost of Canadian music past.  This week we’re heading back to the beautiful city of Vancouver for a passing glance at the skronky, arty New Wave of Exxotone, about whom even the mighty internet knows next to nothing.  As near as the FCD can tell it was the project of one Randy Pandora who had previously been in a semi-legendary Vancouver band called The Generators who never put out a record.  Exxotone’s output spans two tracks on the Vancouver Complication, one of which is so poorly produced its virtually unlistenable, and the other is called Big Shot and its super great and presented above accompanied by a video of Randy Pandora talking about eating out of the trash in just about the most endearing way he possibly could.

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Friday Classic Dark: UJ3RK5


UJ3RK5 – The Anglican

UJ3RK5-Eisenhower & The Hippies

UJ3RK5 – The Locator

After a one week hiatus due to the unrelenting intensity of NXNE FCD is back, refreshed and ready to plunge into the murky waters of the before time.  On tap this week we have the much beloved, never imitated, spasmodic spiraling madness wave of Vancouver’s short-lived art rock superheroes UJ3RK5 (as per wikipedia, “pronounced ‘you jerk’ – the five is silent).  The band was formed in the late 70s, coalescing into their final lineup in 1979 and releasing one EP, before signing to PolyGram and promptly breaking up in 1980, with several members of the band moving on to successful art careers.

Their recorded output is limited to the aforementioned EP and two tracks on the Vancouver Complication, a wonderful snapshot of the Vancouver scene released in August of 1979.  The sound is remarkable.  The immediate comparisons to the Talking Heads and the B-52s are certainly valid, but UJ3RK5 maintain an unhinged quality that, coupled with their frantic precision set them apart from both bands and their contemporaries in the Vancouver scene.  Frank Ramirez’ angryman shouts recall fellow art rock/new wave also rans Wazmo Nariz and Jim Skafish, and would be risible were they not backed with such conviction and employed in the service of his arch, smartest guy in the room ramblings.  The Anglican, possibly the highlight of their 6 song oeuvre, is a loving take down of Anglicanism expressed, for reasons unknown, in the vocabulary of science fiction over a DEVO-like robotic shuffle, but with violins.  Eisenhower & The Hippies, named for a work by American conceptual artist Dan Graham, was an unlikely minor radio hit and is the bands most overtly political track, though those politics remain inscrutable, (sample lyric: “Eisenhower and the hippies/one synonymous with the other/try to make it clean as houndstooth”) but features the band at their most dynamic, expertly building tension with their frenetic stops and starts.  The A-side’s final track, The Locator, is perhaps the closest UJ3RKS get to an orthodox pop song and provides a tantalizing glimpse of what they could have become, fusing their general oddness with a harmonized hook and unlikely dance beats.  Perhaps the most remarkable thing about UJ3RK5 is how fully realized their sound is.  Every moment of their lone EP feels deliberate, designed by a razor-sharp aesthetic sensibility to be received exactly as it was conceived, and  it leaves a bittersweet feeling.  This band were too good to give us so little.                       

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