Saturday, May 30, 2009

STOCKHOLM MONSTERS




"Manchester UK's criminally overlooked Stockholm Monsters. This early 80s band has the region's fingerprints all over them and the production from New Order bassist Peter Hook just makes it all the more so. Some say they are the middle ground between A Certain Ratio and Happy Mondays, some say they tread the same water as The Wake, Joy Division and early New Order, some say they are an evil Smiths"(http://www.landlockedmusic.com/staffpicks1.php)







































"While The Smiths receive the majority of the attention when it comes to 80s singles bands, the relatively unknown and under-appreciated Stockholm Monsters were actually the better pop outfit"Tony France's thinly wavering voice, John Rhodes' skeletal riffing, Karl France's gorgeous bass tone, the swirling horns...they all combine to brew a sublime audio stew that penetrates the ear at a nearly subconscious level."


















"Another too-often-overlooked member of the Factory family, the Monsters neatly bridged the gap between early ACR and the Mondays. Echoes of the Smiths and New Order resound in many of their songs"(http://www.dailytunes.com/songs/20070307082133.html)


















"I loved them and couldn't sell them," (Factory records guru Tony Wilson)

"Incredible band, severely underrated"



Country:
UK
City:
Manchester
Genre:
Electronic, Rock
Style:
New Wave, Synth-Pop, Post Punk


Members:
Tony France - Vocals, Guitar (1980-1987)
Lita Hira - Keyboards (1981-1983)
Shan Hira - Drums (1980-1987)
Jed Duffy - Bass (1980-1982)
Karl France - Bass, occasional keyboards onstage (1982-1987)
Lindsay Anderson - Trumpet (1982-1984)
John Rhodes - Guitar, occasional keyboards onstage (1983-1987)
Paul Kershaw (1983)



Their record label was Factory Records:
http://home.dialix.com/~u3336/factory/index2.html

http://www.myspace.com/factoryrecords1976

http://www.myspace.com/factoryrecords

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattybusiness/3523473376/in/pool-factoryrecords



ALMA MATER PLUS (1984, re-released in 2002)

Credits:
Artwork By [Design And Lettering] - Trevor Johnson (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Johnson_(designer))
Engineer - Mike Johnson* (tracks: 1 to 12, 18 to 19)
Engineer [Recording] - CJ* (tracks: 1 to 12, 18 to 19)
Producer - Be Music (Pseudonym used by the individual members of New Order for their remix/production work.) (tracks: 1 to 16, 18 to 19) , Stockholm Monsters (tracks: 13, 16, 17)
Written-By - Stockholm Monsters

Notes:
Tracks 1-10 released as the album Alma Mater (FACT 80) , 1984.
Tracks 11-12 released as a 7" Single (FAC 107), 1984.
Tracks 13 and 16 released as on 12" Single (FAC 146), 1987.
Tracks 14-15 unreleased 7" mixes of FBN 46 Single, 1985.
Track 17 recorded as a demo in 1987.
Tracks 18-19 recorded for Alma Mater but not segued


VIDEO:
"Kan Kill"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZnN-bn-bhU

Tracklist:

01 Terror (2:53)
02 Where I Belong (2:33)
03 Decalogue (5:29)
04 Winter (3:09)
05 Five O'Clock (2:38)
06 Life's Two Faces (3:22)
07 Your Uniform (2:55)
08 E.W. (3:31)
09 To Look At Her (4:47)
10 Something's Got To Give (1:38)
All At Once (7") (1984)
11 All At Once (2:52)
12 National Pastime (2:38)
13 Militia (3:35)
How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (12") (1985)
14 How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (7'') (4:04)
15 Kan Kill! (7'') (4:05)
16 Partyline (Partylive Mix) (4:09)
17 Stupid (2:37)
18 Your Uniform (2:57)
19 Life's Two Faces (3:36)


Link to download:
http://rapidshare.com/files/238567359/somste.rar

"john darnielle (mountain goats) said this of this album: Best album ever. BEST ALBUM EVER. *BEST ALBUM EVER."

"The tag Be Music (or B-Music, taken from the name of New Order's publishing company) was first employed by Peter Hook for the production of Stockholm Monsters' Death is Slowly Coming, which appeared on the flipside of the Martin Hannett produced single Fairy Tales, in February 1982. From this point on the oblique appellation was used by all four members of New Order as a moniker for a string of often breathtakingly innovative productions on Factory Records and its affiliated labels, but disappeared after 1985."
(
http://www.neworderonline.com/Music/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=514)

"They knock me down but I won't fall over!"
Cooor, I had/ have this on vinyl as one of my prized possessions, many items have been nicked at parties but not this beauty. Must be 85 or 86 when it came out - a time when Factory records was majestic. Joy Division, New Order, ACR, The Wake, Section 25, The Stockholm Monsters - we just had talent to waste and as was the want of the Manchester label we (well ,they) did so. Not more so than in the case of the Monsters. A couple of really good singles (see "All at once" CD - another new release with the singles on it) and then Alma Mater came out. The songs sound as great today as they ever did. There were too many comparisons made with New Order for the health of the SM's but there's a naivety in what they play here, a desparation and melacholea in the vocals.

There's an upbeat start with Terror and Where I belong, it slows for a couple of tracks (Winter) - a few whimsies in there (Five o'clock), not too long but lovely little tunes and then it kicks off again with the segued Life's two faces and Your Uniform
And talk about value - beyond the Alma Mater album there's an extra 9 tracks, i was so chuffed with this. With Factory's no advertising (and usually no stocking /selling policy as far as I could see) it was always very hit and miss getting hold of some of the SM songs .. well across this release and another two there's the whole catalogue and more. Some fabulous and lively music - Manchester wasn't all gloom and doom - just listen to the drums go all through All at once, National Pastime, Militia. It Manchester music from a time before you had to be "e'd" for it to sound good - and you get Partyline thrown in, it could very well be the best song you've never heard."

"What we have here is something definitely worthy of much more attention than it got back in the 80s. To me, the music here sounds like what you'd get if you took OMD, paired them up with the driving rhythm section from Gang of Four circa "Songs of the Free", threw in the guitarist from, oh, I dunno, Psychadelic Furs, and then morphed David Tibet, Gavin Friday, and Bon Scott into one entity and made him sing. Then, you make sure to have *someone* from New Order producing (in this case, Peter Hook). What you end up with is a record chock full of infectiously catchy, sharp, melodic pop tunes, made up of wiry, treated guitars, pleasant sheets of gossamer synths, and throbbing bass set to a pounding beat. All coated with desperate vocals sung by our mutant Friday/Tibet/Scott singer.

The songs are great. Danceable, simple, irresistibly melodic, and they stick in your brain like glue. But there's a certain moodiness too, as some songs slow down a bit and languish in more sombre, hazy, lovely atmosphere. The singing, however, takes some getting used to. Part of the problem is that he yells a lot, and lacks a certain subtlety, sense of dynamic, and restraint. And he has an annoying tendency to sing in the same rhythmic timing and meter on several songs, which gets to be repetitive and a bit numbing after a while. Plus, that kind of hoarse Gavin Friday/David Tibet vocal quality is not all that pleasing to my ears. BUT, I more or less got over that hurdle, and I find the music thoroughly enjoyable on many levels.

The 9 extra bonus tracks are absolutely essential, and fit right in with the proper album, making this a pretty cohesive cd."

"Alma Mater, the Stockholm Monsters' only full-length release in seven years of existence, sounds like nothing that came before or after it in the group's catalogue. Instead, it bridges 1984's two defining U.K. musical trends, the somber guitar jangle of the post-Smiths indie poppers and the dancefloor-bound electronics of post-"Blue Monday" New Order and the rest of the Factory Records raincoat brigade. The songs are mostly in minor keys, even the faster ones, and they're built on a twin-size bed of skittering electronic drums and brightly chiming arpeggiated guitar chords. Lindsay Anderson's trumpet, so much a part of the group's early singles, is downgraded to an occasional blat here and there, and Tony France's newly melodic vocals sound so different than before that it's almost hard to believe they're by the same guy. The doomy post-punk of earlier songs like "Miss Moonlight" is here transformed into a low-key melancholy with a much lighter touch. Terrific pop songs like "Five O'Clock" and "Terror" propel where once they would have pummeled, with Karl France's rubbery bass and Anderson's layered keyboards particularly reducing their sonic aggression. Slightly too dark hued to be merely pretty, Alma Mater is a terribly satisfying record that was all but ignored at the time of its release but sounds absolutely prescient in hindsight."
(
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:azfixq80ldae)

"I could spend hours and consume entire notebooks expounding upon the untouchable genius of The Stockholm Monsters and their glowing melodies and completely impeccable songs. But, for me, that is not what this album is about--it is about the timeless, utterly personal moments embodied within every note of Tony France's voice and painted in vibrant colors by the quasi-chaotic, vaguely soaring ebbs and flows of sparkling personality embedded within every song. The Monsters condense the past completely into the present, and the result is the creation of perfect pop moments that craft an 'image' within my head--a portrait, for me, that consists of so many real experiences that make this album a universal and personal treasure. When I hear the chorus in the background of "Where I Belong" desperately chant "everything's wrong!"

I inexplicably think of kids strolling across the lawn at the end of summer, momentarily joyful but on the cusp of melancholy and disaster. When I hear the icy keyboard riff drift slowly beneath the minor-key guitar in "E.W." I envision hot summer nights, laying in bed and looking out into the alluring darkness arriving so late.
You see, "Alma Mater" is the best expression of melancholy ever committed to record--hell, it's also the most uplifting, the most enlightening, the most spiritual record of all time. It contradicts itself at every turn, turning inconsolable sadness into soaring moments of vindication and somehow holding itself together amidst the messy clash of desperation and hope, of past, present, and future. Forget "emo" and all that "confessional music"--at the precise moment Tony says "Oh I love you oh so much..." at the height of the atmospheric chaos and bubbling bass of "Militia," every soul singer who has ever lived ought to give up, because they have nothing on this guy and all the grey, dreary moments beneath the sun that he condenses into one simple line.
That's the magic of the Monsters: they get straight into your head without pausing to tell you "what they're doing" or making a single concession to the expectations of your ears. They go off on a tangent, they quietly make gold out of lead and leave you wallowing in total awe, subsequently wondering how any band could say so much with such simple songs and ancient sentiments. A perfect example is "Kan Kill!" where Tony begins "It's getting kinda lonely here with everyone around"--while loneliness is an emotion you could find in any pretentious nu-metal or 'raw' folk song (nothing is 'raw' when compared to this utterly fatless and streamlined work of genius) ; yet the second half of the line, delivered in a mute, warbly voice, makes all the difference, separating The Stockholm Monsters from every pretender melancholic rock band in history.
They are so good that they make The Smiths look pale and Joy Division look pompous--while I certainly love both of those bands, neither of them possesses the Monsters' inimitable penchant for mind-bendingly direct and alluring songs that seem to function more like funhouses, like deceptive and intriguing creations in which you can lose your mind amidst the commingling of excitement, surprise, and intrigue.
That said, "Alma Mater" is the greatest house of mirrors ever constructed. It is a musical canvas upon which the elongated and ambivalent days of your youth are rendered simultaneously in neon color and stark neutrals; it is simply, a candle whose flame is the human condition, wafting within the darkness yet maintaining a hint of warmth, a grain of hope... "

More review:
http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2002/09sep_text.html#6

http://www.leonardslair.co.uk/stockholm.htm

http://www.popnews.com/popnews/stockholmmonsters/ (French)

http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4213.jpg

http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4212.jpg






















ALL AT ONCE (SINGLES 1981 - 1987) (2002)

Credits:
Artwork By [Booklet Layout] - Julien Potter
Artwork By [Original Sleeve Design], Artwork By [Original Lettering] - Trevor Johnson
Mastered By - James Nice (James Nice founded LTM Publishing (Les Temps Modernes) in 1984.), Stephen Pitkethley
Engineer - Chris Jones (from Revenge, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge_(band)), Mike Johnson (tracks 08,09)
Engineer - Chris Jones (
http://www.worldinmotion.net/revenge/biography/chrisjones.htm), Shan Hira (track 15)
Producer - Be Music (tracks: 2 to 11, 15, 16)
Producer - Stockholm Monsters (tracks 12-17), Martin Hannett (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Hannett and http://www.martinhannett.co.uk/bio.htm) (track 01)
Written-By - Stockholm Monsters

Notes:
Tracks 1 & 2 released on 7" single Fairy Tales (FAC 41) on Factory Records, February 1982.
Tracks 3 & 4 released on 7" single Happy Ever After (FAC 58) on Factory Records, August 1982. Track 5 previously unreleased remix, March 1984.
Tracks 6, 7 & 16 released on 12" single Miss Moonlight (FBN 19) on Factory Benelux, March 1983.
Tracks 8 & 9 released on 7" single All At Once / National Pastime (FAC 107) on Factory Records, June 1984.
Tracks 10 & 11 released on 12" single How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (FBN 46) on Factory Benelux, June 1985.
Tracks 12 to 14 released on 12" single Greetings Two (MASO 70002) on Materiali Sonori, March 1987.
Track 15 released on 12" single Partyline (FAC 146) on Factory Records, April 1987.
Track 17 is a portastudio demo of an unreleased, intended single on Factory Records, 1985.

All Be Music producer credits, as labelled on the original versions, were in fact exclusively by Peter Hook. CD mastered at Lime Tree Studios by James Nice and Stephen Pitkethley.


VIDEO:
"Partyline-Live"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRBIamkd2Us&feature=related

Tracklist:

01 Fairy Tales (2:58)
02 Death Is Slowly Coming (3:37)
03 Happy Ever After (3:06)

04 Soft Babies (3:37)
05 Miss Moonlight (1984 Mix) (4:49)
06 The Longing (1:51)
07 Lafayette (2:31)
08 All At Once (2:54)
09 National Pastime (2:40)
10 How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (12") (5:15)
11 Kan Kill! (12") (7:25)
12 Partyline (12") (5:50)
13 Militia (3:36)
14 Dumbstruck (3:47)
15 Partyline (12" Version) (4:15)
16 Miss Moonlight (4:52)
17 Shake It To The Bank (3:29)


Link to download:
http://rapidshare.com/files/238567617/somhi.rar

"While The Smiths receive the majority of the attention when it comes to 80s singles bands, the relatively unknown and under-appreciated Stockholm Monsters were actually the better pop outfit, a fact to which "All at Once" brilliantly testifies. Here you get 14 stellar singles (and alternate mixes of the colossal "Partyline," the chilly "Miss Moonlight," as well as the previously unreleased demo of "Shake It To The Bank") not likely to be bested by any band in the near future. From the chimey debut "Fairy Tales" to the controversial, mind-blowing "How Corrupt Is Rough Trade?" to the earth-shaking "Militia," the Monsters display an uncanny knack for clear, disaffected songwriting, desperate sentiment, and memorable melody. Tony France's thinly wavering voice, John Rhodes' skeletal riffing, Karl France's gorgeous bass tone, the swirling horns...they all combine to brew a sublime audio stew that penetrates the ear at a nearly subconscious level. All of these songs possess a discernably thick tension (conveyed through the uniquely dramatic vocal performances of France) that threatens to tear the composition apart at any moment. Yet the Monsters miraculously hold it together, and the chaos fades into an epiphany, one moment of pure genius--the guitar solo in "Militia," the voice samples in "Kan Kill!," the desperate vocals in "Partyline," the whistling noise in the background of "Fairy Tales." This compilation is shot through with magic moments, and anyone who has not heard of the Stockholm Monsters should immediately go out and buy this, then purchase the band's sole album "Alma Mater." They are both precious gems from a lost era and lamentably bygone band: I would go so far as to say "All At Once" is the best CD I've ever purchased. It's that good."

" Despite dipping further and further into the history of Factory Records, LTM records are nothing if not thorough in their quest to release everything they can on this important label's roster. This trawl has produced many gems: Josef K, Crispy Ambulance to name but a few. The Stockholm Monsters were dismissed at the time as the runt of the Factory litter. This singles collection isn't bad at all though, revealing the band to a much more promising act than earlier documentation would claim. Their first single 'Fairy Tales' and its B-side 'Death Is Slowly Coming' have that same eerie quality as Kissing The Pink's 'Last Film'. 'How Corrupt Is Rough Trade?' and 'Kan Kill!' bear the influence of their producer Peter Hook; both possess trademark New Order bass guitar playing wrapped around The Monsters airy melodies. 'Miss Moonlight' and the farewell effort 'Partyline' were fine, slightly edgy singles but some of the other material suffers from a lack of a memorable melody that only serve to highlight Tony France's vocal shortcomings. Although never really destined for the success of their forefathers, 'All At Once' is not without its moments."
(
http://www.leonardslair.co.uk/stockholm2.htm)

"The Stockholm Monsters are one of those bands that you either love, or you've never heard of. They were great, but not really cut out for stardom. Opening with the nursery rhyme charm of "Fairy Tales", you progress through the almost ridiculously joyous sounding "Happy Ever After", the heavier "Miss Moonlight", the effervescent "All at Once", the angry but bizarre "How Corrupt is Rough Trade", the electronic pop of "Partyline" to the unfinished "Shake it to the Bank". 17 tracks and all wonderful. Honest. Think New Order play the more humorous end of The Smiths catalogue and you'll be getting close. Go on, give it a try, it's not expensive and some of the lyrics are great. "Alma Mater plus" is also fab. But buy this first."

"I've just done the review on Alma Mater - that's another the Monsters rereleases and I can only endorse what the other reviewer has said - it's brilliant. You are missing out if you don't buy this. I spent about twenty years scouring vinyl revivals, record fairs and every where. I had a limited amount of the SM stuff on plastic, paid over the odds for some of it but still couldn't get it all. AND NOW HERE IT IS - spread over three cds... you don't know you're born! There's no point missing out again, repeating the mistakes of the past, every one is a classic track. From naivety and simple beginnings ( Fairy Tales)to heart rending closure (just listen to the "Thank you's" they do on Partyline .. eeeh the Chameleons, the Co op Bank .....)"



"Fairy Tales":

"The main forte appears to be Gabriel impressions along the Rael theme, whilst a nice bass line superbly produced prongs the air. Atmospheric noises occur stage left and the whole thing isn't bad at all."
Mick Mercer (Zigzag, February 1982)

Martin Hannett and Stosckholm Monsters:
"the stockholm monsters were a young band signed to factory by tony wilson, and as such, suffered the fate that many such bands did. coming onto factory in 1980 was a blessing and a curse: a blessing for the notice it would bring a band, but a curse for being labelled as a joy division clone, or otherwise inconsequential. tony would, in later years, be particularly bitter about the failure of the monsters to earn acclaim or sales, disappearing along with other factory acquistions, such as the northside, the distractions, and the adventure babies.

hannett's involvement with the band appears to be quite brief - only one song survives as half a single. the other half is produced by the producer who would unofficially take the mantle of factory's inhouse producer after hannett, "be music productions", bernard sumner. the track, "fairy tales", is alarmingly charming, and one of their better songs. the bass is much less noticeable than on other hannett productions, though the drum machine provides the song with a good stiff structure. altogether agreeable."
(
http://www.martinhannett.co.uk/frame.htm)

1982 review of "Fairy Tales" 7":
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/archive/showartefact.php?aid=4204&fid=17

http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4204.jpg

More review of Fairy tales:
http://fac586.blogspot.com/2007/10/stockholm-monsters-fairy-tales.html

1985 Fanzine:
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/archive/showartefact.php?aid=4215&fid=17

"Miss Moonlight":

"This three-song EP marks the Stockholm Monsters' graduation to 12" vinyl after a pair of 7" singles for the Factory label. The A-side, "Miss Moonlight," is one of the very best songs the Manchester-based quintet ever released, an anxious slice of post-punk built on Shan Hira's monomaniacal drumming and some droning one-note keyboard lines. Tony France's vocals move from a sweetly androgynous croon to hoarse shouting by the end, as Lindsay Anderson's floating trumpet passages provide much needed breaks in the steadily increasing tension. It's a minor post-punk classic. The two brief B-sides are miniatures that exist right on the edge between song sketches that could use some fleshing out and quickly recorded filler. That said, "Lafayette" has an unexpected '60s garage rock edge, thanks to its "96 Tears"-style Farfisa organ that lifts it a notch or two above the dismissable." ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

"Partylie":
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4219.jpg

"All At Once":
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4209.jpg

"National Pastime":
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4211.jpg

"How Corrupt Is Rough Trade":
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4216.jpg

More review:
http://poundforpound.blogspot.com/2007/09/stockholm-monsters-all-at-once-singles.html

http://www.gullbuy.com/buy%5C2002%5C5_7/stockholm.cfm




THE LAST ONE BACK (ARCHIVE 1980-1987) (2002)

Notes:
A Collection of rare and unheard songs in studio demo and live form from the Stockholm Monsters' archive.

Tracks 1 to 5 Studio Demo At Suite 16, 1987.
Tracks 6 to 8 Live At The Walthamstow Assembly Rooms, 11 November 1985.
Track 9 Live On Granada TV, 18 February 1987.
Tracks 10 to 11 Pre-Release Demo Mixes On FBN 46 Cassette, 1985.
Tracks 12 to 14 Live At Sheffield Polytechnic, 23 September 1981.
Tracks 15 to 17 Second Studio Demo, 14-15 January 1981.
Tracks 19 to 19 First Studio Demo, 30 August 1980.
Track 20 Live At Utrecht Muziekcentrum, April 1982.

VIDEO:
Ad Infinitum - Telstar (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUeXwDUJepQ

Tracklist:

01 No More (3:07)
02 Dear (2:46)
03 Before Your Eyes (3:21)
04 Stupid (2:37)
05 House Is Not A Home (3:20)
06 When I Smile (3:29)
07 Where I Belong (2:43)
08 Hand Over Fist (3:04)
09 Partyline (4:15)
10 How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (5:15)
11 Kan Kill! (5:23)
12 Systems Failing (3:15)
13 M/C (3:25)
14 Endless You (4:25)
15 Future (4:28)
16 Copulation (4:43)
17 Fairy Tales (4:06)
18 Catch Me In Confusion (3:03)
19 We Are A Nation (2:34)
20 Love Is A Dose (3:59)


Bonus:

AD INFINITUM - Telstar (12") (1984)

Notes:
Ad Infinitum was Peter Hook (Warsaw, Joy Division, New Order,see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hook and
http://www.myspace.com/peterhookneworder), and members of Stockholm Monsters.
Latin words ad infinitum, meaning, "on and on, forever."


21 Telstar (3:12)
22 Telstar In A Piano Bar (5:05)


Link to download:
http://rapidshare.com/files/238572733/somla.rar

"I wouldn't recommend this as a first-time buy or as an introduction to the Monsters, being as it is a selection of band demos. (If you want an intro to the band, get Alma Mater Plus.)

"The Last One Back" is a must for fans of The Stockholm Monsters, who were surely the fifth equal best band on Factory. The demo's are all (funnily enough) demo quality, ie a bit rough n ready. But this suits the band, who knew how to make a furturistic sound without needing massive studio dollars. Also, the demo format works especially well with the band's earlier material which has a playful sense of its own naivety. A decent selection of songs too, spanning the band's undervalued and obscure seven -year career.

All in all - brilliant. I'd like to see more compilations of this type, ie not barrel scraping decades-dead rappers 'duetting' with R&B stars, but real honest genuine collections of demos, because they can be a fascinating listen, as anyone who's ever heard New Order's Western Works demos will attest. Stockholm Monsters constantly surprise with the strength of the vocals, the melodies they use, and the muscularity of the sound. This band may have worn Aitch sweaters and had snowball fights, but you wouldn't mess."

Monsters who inspired Oasis (
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/entertainment/music/rock_and_pop/s/8/8445_monsters_who_inspired_oasis.html):
THE inspiration behind supergroup Oasis has been revealed as - Stockholm Monsters.

You have probably never heard of them, but Noel Gallagher has revealed that seeing his Burnage neighbours sign with legendary Factory Records convinced him that he wanted to be in a band.

Speaking on the JK and Joel Breakfast Show on Key 103 today as the new Oasis album Heathen Chemistry was released, Noel said he was proud to have been born in Manchester because of its musical heritage.

"I started to get into music early on because all the older guys that lived round our way were in a band from Burnage called the Stockholm Monsters.

"They were the first band ever to come from Burnage and I think they had a top 75 hit with a song called Fairy Tales.
"From that you get into Joy Division, New Order and then it was the Smiths and then the Roses and then the Mondays and then you start your own band."

Former Monsters' drummer Shan Hira, now a producer and sound engineer touring with the Chemical Brothers, once worked as a drum roadie for Oasis.

He said Noel's remarks were hugely flattering. "You always want to try and pass something on. I am just surprised we have not heard about it before. I think they are a really good band and have inspired a lot of other bands to start going in a band."

More review:
http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/gfx/400-4221.jpg



Biography:
A neglected part of the Factory Records scene, the Stockholm Monsters are a key link between the bristly art-funk of A Certain Ratio and the good-foot indie dance vibe of Happy Mondays and the other Manchester bands of the late '80s. Often seen merely as New Order proteges (Peter Hook produced all but one of their records) and victims of both record company indifference and unnecessary potshots by the cynical British music press, the Stockholm Monsters deserved better treatment than they usually got.

Formed by teenage brothers Tony and Karl France (vocals/guitar and bass/keyboards, respectively) and fraternal twins Lita and Shan Hira (keyboards and drums, respectively), the Stockholm Monsters gathered in suburban Manchester in 1980, signing to local indie powerhouse Factory Records the following year. Just before the release of their first single, the Martin Hannett-produced "Fairy Tales," 17-year-old trumpet player Lindsay Anderson joined the band. Although "Fairy Tales" was a minor success, hitting the middle reaches of the U.K. indie charts, the Hook-produced follow-up, "Happy Ever After," was a sales disappointment.

Following another lineup change, with Lita Hira being replaced by guitarist John Rhodes and Anderson adding keyboards to her trumpet duties, the Stockholm Monsters released a fine EP, Miss Moonlight, in 1983. Unfort
unately, despite Hook's continued involvement, Factory Records apparently lost interest in the group and shunted them to their Belgian subsidiary label Factory Benelux, then seen as the label's dumping ground for vanity projects and failed experiments. (Ironically, many post-punk connoisseurs now find Factory Benelux releases more interesting than most of the proper Factory releases of the era, the mother label having largely turned into a straight dance imprint after the massive success of New Order's "Blue Monday" 12".) The Stockholm Monsters' sole long-player, Alma Mater, came out in September 1984. A low-key record blending jangly guitars and skittering electronic percussion, Alma Mater bridges the gap between the British indie pop and dance scenes of the era much in the same way that New Order would on their next couple of albums. Half a decade later, of course, the Stone Roses and others would take this hybrid to the top of the charts and the forefront of the British national consciousness.

Armed with a deliberately provocative title and a cover photo of a nude pubescent girl, the aggressive and experimental 12" single "How Corrupt Is Rough Trade" charted higher than anything the Stockholm Monsters had released since their first single. Anderson left the group shortly after its release, and it was assumed that the Stockholm Monsters were finished. Surprisingly, a final single was released two years later, but its appearance suggested turmoil in the band's ranks. At the same time that the Peter Hook-produced version of "Party Line" came out on Factory in the U.K., the Italian label Materiali Sonori released a much different mix with a new set of B-sides, with the band getting the production credit. The band split for good shortly thereafter, with Shan Hira becoming a noted producer and studio owner in Manchester, working with the Fall, the Chameleons, and others. ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide


1980
Summer The Stockholm Monsters were formed during the summer by Tony France (guitar) and Ged Duffy (vocals), two unemployed kids from Burnage, South Manchester. They then got together with Shan Hira (drums) and started rehearsing at his parent's home in Didsbury. It was soon apparent that Tony was best suited to taking over the band's singing duties with Ged switching to guitar. Nigel, a friend of Shan's then joined as the bassist. They chose the name Stockholm Monsters as Vienna by Ultravox was a hit at the time and they liked the European feel of the name. At the same time Nigel read a headline out of the Manchester Evening News: "Monsterous Fungus kills woman in council flat" so they called themselves The Stockholm Monstrous Fungus. After a couple of days this was sensibly shortened to Stockholm Monsters.
August They play there first gig at the Cyprus Tavern as party of the Manchester Musicians Collective. They played 2 songs and the gig lasted for 20 minutes. 200 friends of the band turned up and Factory Records co-owner, Alan Erasmus, popped in whilst driving past.
The band then recorded their first demo at Frank The Hippy's flat in Didsbury on 4-track.
Winter Nigel leaves after declaring the band as shit and is replaced by Shan's friend, John (guitar) and his sister Lita Hira (keyboards). Ged switched to bass.
The band were spotted by Rob Gretton and Peter Hook supporting The Rezillos at Rafters and were offered the chance of a deal with Factory Records if they could produce a demo.

1981
January They record the demo for Factory and support New Order on tour.
Spring Factory sign the band and give them a 2 day slot at Strawberry Studios to record their first single with Martin Hannett. The plan was to record and mix 2 songs but only Fairy Tales is recorded and unmixed. The band then go to Cargo Studios with Peter Hook to record James as the b-side but after several unsuccessful attempts decide to record Death Is Slowly Coming instead.
May The band advertise for guitarist and audition Eddie during an actual gig at Rafters. He joins.
September The band use a trumpet for the first time on MC.
October Eddie leaves to go and live in Israel.
Winter Tony's brother Karl joins the band as guitarist. The band return to Cargo to record Something's Got To Give andthe video version of Soft Babies. The actual video itself was shot at Shan's parent's house.

1982
January The band miss the trumpet as part of their sound so Lindsay Anderson joins the band.
February Release debut single Fairy Tales on 7", produced by Martin Hannett. Fairy Tales reached no. 43 in the Indie Charts.

The band record Happy Ever After and Soft Babies at Strawberry Studios with Peter Hook.
April Toured Holland, Belgium and France as support to New Order. Following this tour Ged leaves the band.
August Release their second single Happy Ever After produced by New Order's Peter Hook.

1983
March Release Miss Moonlight 12" EP on Factory Benelux.
Lita Hira leaves and John Rhodes (guitar) joins.
Spring Commenced recording of their debut LP.

1984
June Release a 7" single: All At Once.
September Release their debut LP titled Alma Mater.
Lindsay Anderson leaves.

1985
August Release How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? 12" on Factory Benelux reaching no. 47 in the Indie Charts.
September The bands are victims of a theft from their rehearsal room in which most of their equipment was stolen.

1987
April Release Party Line 12" single and the Italian Greetings Two 12".
After recording demo tracks the band decide to split up.

More bio:
http://www.ltmrecordings.com/smbio.htm


ALBUMS:
Alma Mater (1984)
All At Once (Singles 1981 - 1987) (2002)
The Last One Back (Archive 1980-1987) (2002)

Shan Hira (http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Shan-Hira/559972993 and http://www.plaxo.com/directory/profile/64427119759/1b40361b/Shan/Hira)

Originally the drummer in the Stockholm Monsters, later the resident engineer at Suite 16 Studios and more recently live sound engineer for the Chemical Brothers.

After leaving the band, Shan became the co-owner of Suite 16 Studios in Rochdale and it's resident engineer. His list of credits include producing and/or engineering Ganzheit(1986), The Fall (1989), Echo & The Bunnymen (1999),The Chameleons (2000), The Reegs (1987, 1997)and Laugh (1988), British Sea Power (2007). He is currently working as a live sound engineer on the current Chemical Brothers tour.
Shan has been working as the sound guy for The Streets. He also worked on New Order's last live dates in South America in 2005.



Lita Hira
is the sister of Shan Hira.
Played keyboards in Stockholm Monsters 1981-1983
Guested on Royal Family And The Poor's 1984 LP

Lita is working in an administrative job at a hospital


Jed Duffy
"ged duffy married kids"

"The story of Lavolta Lakota is a rather short one, and their discography comprises only one 7", Prayer. The band was formed in 1982, by former Stockholm Monsters guitarist Jed Duffy and Dave Hicks. They played a short series of dates, supporting The Death Cult. When Prayer, based on the Red Indian chant Blue-Smoke Woman was issued in July 1984, the band were on the verge of their split. The record's rather high price tag can be explained by the fact, that founder guitarist Hicks later played in Peter Hook's hobby band Revenge for a while"

(http://home.planet.nl/~frankbri/fbnstory.html)


Lindsay Anderson
is a music teacher now

Karl France, Tony france and John Rhodes still living in Manchester but i have no more info (perhaps i found all members on Facebook.com, or i found folks with the same name??)
If you know more about them, please message me!


Paul Kershaw
Sadly, died following a heroin overdose.

More info for the band:
http://web.archive.org/web/20050829112116/http://www.stockholm-monsters.freeserve.co.uk/

http://www.prideofmanchester.com/music/stockholmmonsters

http://www.tangents.co.uk/tangents/main/2002/april/monsters.html

http://www.myspace.com/stockholmmonsters

http://www.cerysmaticfactory.info/forum/view_post.php?thread=52893

http://www.cerysmaticfactory.info/stockholm_monsters.html

http://www.newwavephotos.com/StockholmMonsters1.htm

http://www.technikart.com/archives/5124-the-stockholm-monsters (French)

http://www.last.fm/music/Stockholm+Monsters

http://freakytrigger.co.uk/old-ft/essays/2002/07/stockholm/

http://www.skatterbrain.org/2007/04/i-love-stockholm-monsters-and-so-should.html

http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/archive/showartefact.php?aid=4206&bid=882

7 Comments:

Anonymous Surrealchemist said...

Say hello to Shan for me, if you ever see him!

Paul "Hymie" Cullivan, Ganzheit.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

could you post the lyrics of these marvellous band. i bloody love them. please. im from turkey, i know english but still couldnt get it all right. go madchester! yeah!

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks !!

i have been looking for this for a long time!!

6:19 PM  
Blogger geza said...

Wow. What a great post!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Cresh Wainright said...

I visited Manchester in 1987 and spent alot of time hanging out with Tony France. When I told him I was from NY and wanted to say hi, him n his brother drove right over to see me. I had alot of fun with them. This was soon after the band split. Factory at the time was too busy parading New Order to pay attention to bands like SXXV and Stockholm Monsters. I found the demo cd a bit weak, maybe another few listens are in order. Shan's dad put up the money for Suite 16. Anyhow, love this band, great post, thanks!
Cresh in NY

7:11 AM  
Blogger oldskool said...

Just what I was looking for, and all the links alive, hooray! Thank you so much!!

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

4:44 PM  

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