THE NIGHTINGALES : Idiot Strength (Vindaloo / Rough Trade 7", 1981).

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I posted the 'Gales debut 7" a while back but the files vamoosed back up the digital wizard's sleeve when Hotfile finally waved its white flag & discharged itself from active duty.

Released in 1981 (with a little financial assistance from Rough Trade), "Idiot Strength" hasn't dated in the slightest - it's angular, it's contentious, it's got a bone to pick, & if it was released tomorrow you'd probably buy a copy. How sad is it then that it's music of this ilk - 35 years old, I might add - that remains the focal point of the Beeb's default substitute for John Peel, i.e. the lamentably half-baked Radio 6? You'd naturally assume that an entire station's worth of meticulously coached DJs would compensate for the absence of one tubby middle-aged baldie in a Kenny Dalglish T-shirt but, as a large percentage of its playlist still appears to be gleaned from repeats of sessions Peel commissioned or records he used to play, apparently not. The words "missed opportunity" spring to mind (as do "short" & "sighted").

Anyway... The Nightingales were made up entirely of ex-Prefects at this early juncture: Joe Crow (guitar), Eamonn Duffy (bass), Paul Apperley (drums) & Robert Lloyd (cakehole) - though half of them had departed before the year was out. Immediately hereafter, Cherry Red stepped in & began releasing a string of scrappily exceptional 45s, en route to the barbed & rambunctious Pigs On Purpose LP. Neither side of "Idiot Strength" was included on Cherry Red's otherwise comprehensive rash of Nightingales' CD reissues. Tsk.

Truculently provincial, The Nightingales remain one of the UK's finest live bands - establishing a revivified quinquagenarian vanguard alongside Vic Godard's Subway Sect, Davey Henderson's Sexual Objects, the intermittent Blue Orchids, & the perennial Monochrome Set - & have recently been confirmed as part of Stewart Lee's All Tomorrow's Parties line-up: slobbering broadsheet write-ups to follow, etc (providing ATP don't flick the "abort" switch at the eleventh hour again). Which is some sort of vindication I suppose?


RAINY DAY WOMEN : Frauen Für Schlechte Tage (Monogam 7", 1980).

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Apparently, back in the late 1970s, West Berlin's governing Senate operated a generous policy of offering super-cheap loans of several thousand Deutsch Marks to vermählten frish (newly wed) settlers. Realising it was too good an opportunity to ignore, Monogam Records' founders Michael Voigt & Elisabeth Recker entered into a literal marriage of convenience to finance the pressing of their initial brace of releases, a sequence of excellent NDW/post-punk 7"s that included Rainy Day Women's eponymous debut. Rainy Day Women was Michael & Elisabeth's own project - frigid synths, scratchy guitar, numb vocals - that's them on the sleeve. Definitely not to be confused with the sapless Australian indie featherweights of the same name.

Though it existed for less than 2 years, Monogam found both the time & money to shepherd records by the emerging Einstürzende Neubauten (their debut single in fact), Mania D., Die Haut, Mark Reeder's Die Unbekannten, P1/E, & Rudolph Dietrich (an early member of Kleenex), as well as Rainy Day Women's only other release - an impossible-to-find untitled 4-song cassette with little-to-no packaging or extraneous information.

By the mid '80s, having retired their joint imprint, the Voigts were both moving within Nick Cave's caliginous circle: Michael's People's Records financed the recording of Honeymoon In Red - The Birthday Party's troubled collaboration with Lydia Lunch - but ran out of money before it was completed (the tapes were subsequently mislaid for several years), while Elisabeth dated the (cough) "Black Crow King" for a time following his split with his long-term partner Anita Lane.