Alternative Rock, New Wave
Kevin Dolan - drums
John Blake - bass
Chris Manecke - guitar, vocals, keyboards
VIDEOS with comments :
I agree with Miss Parker :
"Abecedarians sound a whole lot like Chameleons UK - which isn't so bad." -Miss Parker.
01 Smiling Monarchs
02 Benway's Carnival
Link to download:
"One of the great hidden gems of electronic music, this three piece band hailing from California pulled out all the stops for their debut single on Factory in 1985. A whooshing rising tone brings the proceedings to a start, segueing into a heavy morse code synth pattern as a massive bombastic drum beat engulfs the speakers like John Bonham at the drum kit of the damned. A playful hail to the king melody announces the arrival of the title's grinning royalty, punctuated by lead singer Chris Manecke's stentorian vocals. If one were forced to make a comparison then it's the best song The Human League never wrote - who themselves at this point (1985) had lost it big time.
Factoid: Uncredited mixing duties were provided by New Order's Bernard Sumner"
03 Beneath the City of the Hedonistic Bohemians
04 I Glide
05 Mice & Coconut Tree
06 The Misery of Cities
Link to download:
"The Abecedarians' first full record wore its British influences heavily on its sleeve, so it's no wonder the band had already released a single on Factory Records -- at times, you get the feeling that all three members listened to nothing but Closer and maybe some A Certain Ratio and Crispy Ambulance material when they were first forming the band. Far from being simply copycats, though, the trio brought in a stark emotional and musical sensibility to the realm of American indie-rock of the time, avoiding either post-R.E.M. jangle or incipient punk-grunge snottiness. If anything, their peers were the likes of American Music Club and Thin White Rope, though Eureka's lengthy tracks doesn't quite reach as high as either of those two bands at their finest. Guitarist/vocalist Chris Manecke takes understandable center stage; his stringwork unsurprisingly relies heavily on digital reverb, though that isn't used as a fig leaf to cover inadequacies, as his sharp slashing on songs like "Ghost" demonstrates. As a vocalist, the Ian Curtis/Bernard Sumner style of flat projection is a clear model for Manecke, but so is the quiet intensity of the Comsat Angels' Stephen Fellows and the Sound's Adrian Borland's empathetic passion, making for an attractive overall combination. The crisp interplay of drummer Kevin Dolan and bassist John Blake (the latter of whom throws in some [at times] surprisingly funky fretless work) makes for the perfect counterpart to Manecke. Picking out highlights is a bit hard -- Eureka is consistently strong throughout -- but there are some definite breathtaking moments. "Soil" blends a relentless drive that calls to mind late-'70s Bowie with some truly haunting guitar lines, while the instrumental "The Other Side of the Fence" adds piano and synthesizer to a slightly gentler arrangement to set a definite sense of downbeat mood, much like Joy Division's "The Eternal.""
"If you love melodic music thats not too soft or not to hard, this is the album. It came out in 1986 and im still listening to it in 2005!"
Abecedarians opened for the Durutti Column
01 Press Escape
02 Where Whitie Ain't Allowed
03 John's Pop
04 Suffrin' Tarnation
06 Spagetti Western
08 Misery Of Cities
09 Panic In Needle Park
Link to download:
02 Spaghetti Western
03 Where Whitie Ain't Allowed
04 Wild Flowers Grow From the Trash
05 Press Escape
06 Laugh at Yourself
07 Sufferin' Tarnation
08 Panic in Needle Park
Link to download:
"A little more conventionally rocking than the spare impact of Eureka, Resin maintains the same level of punch and post-punk emotionalism which characterizes the Abecedarians' sound, resulting in another miniclassic to go alongside the earlier record. At a few points, Manecke's lyrics don't quite connect as they should -- while the delivery of "Dinner" is marvelous, as is the nervous crawl of the music, the lyrical combination of religion, sex and food is a bit tortured as the song progresses. This said, it's all about the general ambience to begin with, and on that level the Abecedarians are again flawless, bringing a haunting darkness to just about everything they do. Though the bandmembers work with a different engineer here than any of the three which helped on Eureka, the basic sound of the band remains almost exactly the same, a testament to how clear the trio was about its music. In a neat development, a little bit of humor creeps into things as well on Resin. The self-explanatory "Spaghetti Western," with Manecke delivering a great Morricone impersonation on guitar while archly singing about sheriffs shooting down best friends and waiting for the hangman's noose -- it's clearly not meant to be taken seriously, and helps in considering the rest of the album with a slightly lighter eye as well, especially considering other tracks are called "Sufferin' Tarnation (Surf Western)" and "Where Whitie Ain't Allowed," an instrumental aside from the movie sample which provides the title. It isn't all fun and games, though, and on songs like the forceful "Press Escape," where the sly computer metaphor of the title hints at the wracked lyrics and strong music of the track, the Abecedarians come into a power all their own. ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide"
Track 1-5: From the LP "Eureka", originally released June 1986 on South West Audio Reproductions. Re-released on Caroline Records (Carol 1342) in August 1987.
Track 6: Originally released on Factory UK. July 1985
Track 7-13: From the LP "Resin", released February 1988 on Caroline Records (Carol 1343).
03 Other Side Of The Future, The
04 I Glide
05 Mice And Coconut Tree
06 Smiling Monarchs
08 Spaghetti Western
09 Where White Ain't Allowed
10 Press Escape
11 Laugh At Yourself
12 Surf Western
13 Panic At Needle Park
Link to download:
"I had many of these cuts on their original vinyl sources, which is why - that one fateful afternoon at the record store when I held this in my hand - I didn't get it. Big mistake. MTV gave the cut 'Soil' some play on 120 Minutes (it is one of their best - good video too) and they made some nice comps to boot. I think this is kinda dark, almost what is now called goth; but this band could really play and the songs were always tight. If you remember 120 Minutes back then it was like an analog Leather Nun or Wire kinda. At the same time, if you like the classic early goth era, it is a little like 'Faith' era cure, mixed with prime Sisters Of Mercy too, but better musicianship, an American sensibility, and less drama. I wish I had this! Please re-issue the damn thing! Find it online somehow. So good. Soil, Ghosts, Smiling Monarchs, Coconut Tree...all gooood."
"AB-CD is short for Abecedarians, a short-lived Southern California band that created lush, atmospheric guitar-driven tunes that sounded like Michael Brook in a four-piece. I have seen some of their singles hanging around, but got the entire collection of studio and live productions from a guy in SoCal who found a couple of the band members and got permission to reproduce their entire work in one compilation. Wonderful unkown band."
LIVE AT HARRY C'S, REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA, June 15th, 1988
Abecedarians opened for the Throwing Muses
01 Where Whitie Ain't Allowed
02 Press Escape
05 Spaghetti Western
06 I Glide
08 Mice and Coconut Tree
09 Sufferin' Tarnation
10 Laugh at Yourself
12 Dinner (soundcheck)
Link to download:
part of independent project's "archive series"; early recordings dating from '83 - '85,plus Eureka's "Beneath the City of the Hedonistic Bohemians" and "The Misery of Cities"; Resin's "Wild Flowers Grow from the Trash"; Scream's "They Said Tomorrow"; and "Benway's Carnival," the B-side to the Factory single "Smiling Monarchs." PLUS seven songs from a live gig on June 17, 1988, onto the second CD
01 Beneath The City Of The Hedonistic Bohemians
03 John's Pop
04 Come Out
06 Spaghetti Western
08 Where's Karen
10 The Other Side Of The Fence
12 They Said Tomorrow
01 Benways Carnival
02 Beneath The City Of The Hedonistic Bohemians
03 The Misery Of Cities
04 Wildflowers Grow From The Tras
05 They Said Tomorrow
live gig on June 17, 1988 :
06 Where Whitie Ain't Allowed
07 Press Escape
09 Lift Off
10 Spaghetti Western
12 Laugh at Yourself
Links to download:
"Other Side of the Fence compiles rare mid-'80s demos, remixes and other recordings between 1983 -1985 cut by the Abecedarians before their move to Factory Records. However, the music here proves the Abecedarians were always a Factory band, at least in spirit; their instrumental interplay recalls both Joy Division and New Order throughout the collection, most particularly in the juxtaposition of subdued guitars against driving bass found in "Ghosts" and "John's Pop." ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide"
"This second release in the IPR archive series is a stunning collection of early demos and other recordings from this unique band. It includes five previously unreleased songs and demo versions of some of their other early material. Perfect for anyone into the 4.A.D. or early Factory groups, this numbered edition of 1750 copies is packaged in a die cast letterpress sleeve. Beautiful and recommended!"
Abecedarians have roots in both post-punk and atmospheric 4AD pop, much like the Joy Division/New Order axis. The group first appeared along with fellow Southern Californian bands Jane's Addiction and Kommunity Fk on the Scream compilation, signing to England's Factory label for the single "Smiling Monarchs" in 1985. Abecedarians moved to Caroline one year later for debut album Eureka, and Ab-CD Resin followed in 1988. Two compilations have since been released: The Other Side of the Fence (which collects unavailable early demo tracks on a 10" record) and Ab-CD Resin, which is the album to get considering it collects virtually all of Eureka and Ab-CD Resin, plus the Factory single.
The Abecedarians sound is characterized by lead-man Manecke's deep, rich and distinctive vocal delivery and idiosyncratic lyrics; along with guitarwork that swims in a gravy-like sea of reverb. the rhythm section is a sturdy, restrained anchor for the atmospherics their songs swim in, with the occassional synth part thrown into the mix for good measure. The band would alternate between more upbeat, poppy, synth-driven post-punk and slower, sludgier, and decidedly stranger dirgelike material. although they made a couple of great pop songs, it's the latter category of their material i find the most intriguing.
Their first official release was the 12" single "Smiling Monarchs" on Factory. One of the few American bands to be featured by the label, the single was even mixed by Bernard Sumner of New Order. This is probably why it leans so heavily towards a NO-style sound, and is in fact a bit uncharacteristic of the band. the single has highly processed guitar, and makes them out to be a synth-pop group. it has few of the characterisitics that made them special and unique, and i personally find it a bit grating, even. tragic, really, given the profile it could have given them. they would then go on to release a couple of records on Caroline, make the scattered compilation appearance, and in the ensuing years slowly but surely peter out.(http://mopeymumblemous.livejournal.com/22294.html)
Smiling Monarchs 12 Eureka EP 1986 (Southwest Audio Reproductions)
Eureka EP (Re-release) 1986 (Caroline Records)
Resin LP 1987 (Caroline Records)
Scream Compilation LP 1987 (Geffen Records)
AB-CD CD 1988 (Caroline Records)
The Other Side of the Fence double EP 1990 (Independent Project Records)