Long time no see, I know! Well, time flies when you’re in love and when I say I’m in love you best believe I’m in love L-U-V! Been a busy new year so far and I hit the ground running! Here’s a quick update on what to expect:
Storm Stereo has been on hiatus for the last couple months, as I just don’t have the time I used to for shows. But you can catch me DJing every second Wednesday at Locomotiva collective, bookshop and café-bar. Also, expect a few special shows, coming by summer 2019:
A long-overdue Italian special, with both old and new punk and hardcore, courtesy of my friend Anna.
A Russian special, courtesy of my new friends in Total Rejects and Alex Herbert, who has just finished a wicked undertaking, What About Tomorrow?: An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot, which you can check out here.
A long overdue electronics special featuring a bunch of my über-talented friends from Greece and abroad! Stray tuned and check out past shows here.
The Struggles is a new project I’m working on with my beloved partner in crime Lefteris Yakoumakis and our first split zine will be ready in April! We just returned from the 1st Comics Festival in the colourful city of Larisa, which was superbly organized and hosted by Eκδόσεις του Κάμπου. We had a great time and made new friends and look forward to also attending the Athens Comicdom Con this April, with our new zine! Sneak preview below.
The first ΨΗΧΟΣ output has already seen the light of your computer screens. I’m hoping to try and commit it to cassette tape, just for the heck of it. In the unfortunate event that you’re one of the five people who cares, I’ll be working on new material for a summer release. My dream for 2019 would be to buy a small theremin, a decent field recorder and tape duplicator. If my financial scheming goes to plan, I might be able to repress the first Greek Punk Mixtape, and start work on the second Greek Mixtape, this time only with current bands and projects.
I’ll also be working on a new zine and a couple zine contributions, namely: a zine for the Punks Around series, hope to be done with that by the end of 2019, more info when the time comes! A piece for Girls Room, that has asked me to contribute a written experience, so I’ll be writing about Endropi, what it means to me and why I think it’s important for similar such groups to exist. And N o w h e r e #3, an interview zine with some of the most interesting people in the current punk, electronic and experimental underground scene here in Athens. The output has been very special these last couples years and I think it’s worth documenting their projects and trajectories. Including (hopefully) interviews with Andreas Kavvadias (dE), Venus Volcanism & In Atlas, Blakaut and more!
Lastly, Barcelona show in January was great, and even though I think most people were kinda blown away, I like to think they experienced something new and different compared to the current Athens sound. Next up, hoping to book one of your all-time fave hardcore bands from the US for September. More infowhen I got it! No spoilers yet!
I’m very pleased to announce that I have finally finished Part I of my field recording project, ΨΗΧΟΣ – Ορχήστρα Θορύβου (PSIHOS – Orhistra Thorivu | FROZEN SOUND – Noise Orchestra)
It comprises six pieces of musique concrète in the form of sound collage. Composed of field recordings sourced over the course of two years, across five cities, arranged and looped to create an abstract audio narrative. From morning coffee to a nightmarish apartment building scene, then heading to Zizkov and other neighbourhoods of Prague, returning to Greece and the cities of Trikala and Meteora over Easter, down to the Peloponnese and the small mountainous village of Partheni in Arkadia, and back to Athens again.
You can give it a listen below:
Each track aims to transfer the listener to a specific place and scene. Each sound has been minimally edited, to retain its original, raw qualities — from the passing cars and the wind to birdsong and collateral noise. Sounds include but are not limited to: AM radio static, noisy neighbours, power drill, skipping record, children’s playground, spoon, tripping on acid through abandoned train tunnel at night, wind blowing through metal door in Zizkov, water faucet, loose pavement tiles, Japanese gong, pan lid, monk bells in Meteora monastery, spring storm, match that won’t light, belled Babuska doll when played with by a cat.
• • •
Between switching jobs, getting a touch of thee ol’ depression and grieving, and after an amazingly successful show with Endropi and great feedback to the FEF release, both of which took months to prepare, it’s time for a short break. There are a bunch of exciting new punk, hardcore, noise and indie releases coming from Greece, so we’ll be catching up with them in early 2019. ΨΧΣ will be back next year with new sounds.
We’ll be kicking off 2019 with some rad shows and I’ve got a hot surprise up my sleeve for January… So stray tuned!
Did an interview with Athens’ Chain Cult for MRR. Get the hard copy, Maximum Rocknroll #425, Oct. 2018 here. Also check out MRR‘s snazzy new website—it looks totally killer! ❤
Haven’t had time to write or upload any info for past Storm Stereo shows, as this summer has been hella busy, hectic, stressful, sad, exciting and fun all at the same time, between guests here, visiting Berlin for Atonal, losing both friends and family, and hustling to make rent. Δε θα’ρθει η ξεκούραση για τους καταραμένους.
I did, however, finally get round to the Japanese Special, which you can hear in Five Parts. Featuring minimalism, avant garde, noise, weirdo pop,hardcore and post punk, and of course D-beat and crasher crust—that last show courtesy of Bak at Scull Crasher Distro (word on the street is a new No Exit zine is in the slow works…). You can also check out new Greek punk and hardcore releases via his e-store.
Also got round to dedicating a show to the amazing women of the rebetiko sound and some other stunning women vocalists from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s in Greece, plus another couple of your usual mixed bag shows. You can check all that out here.
Next week we return with a killer new show for the new season, chock-full of new punk, hardcore, post-punk, D-beat, metal and more from Greece, Europe, the US and UK, SEA and more, and all tracks hand-picked by Under the Demos!
We’re back with another episode of your favourite autobiographical radio show. A typical mixed bag for you this time, half-inspired by Halim el-Dabh‘s birthday and half-inspired by a Nikola Tesla quote. El-Dabh was an Egyptian-American composer, musician, teacher and ethnomusicologist whom I recently discovered, and have been in awe of his work ever since. A pioneer of tape music and early musique concrete, he very correctly realized that life is vibration, and this powerful notion—whether pertaining to life or music—really struck a chord in me (vibration pun intended). When I saw we share a birthday (he would have been 97 this Sunday, March 4), I realized I just had to pay my respects on this show.
We also get introduced to the musical mind of Charles Cohen and his project with Jeff Cain, the Ghostwriters. Cohen passed away last year and I have found his (limited recorded) output to be very moving. He didn’t really believe in recording and his music was almost all improvisational, using the incredible, rare Buchla analog synthesizer – an instrument we’ve heard on this show before played by Suzanne Ciani, among others, and which we’ll be exploring further one day.
Also new on this show is Ghédalia Tazartès, a cult French artist whose music can be as difficult as it is beautiful, and Dorothy Carter, an American musician who experimented with a number of incredible instruments, such as the hammered dulcimer, zither, psaltery, and hurdy-gurdy. Do you know any of those instruments? No, me neither, that’s why I was so intrigued! We’ll be hosting an Unusual and Rare Instruments Special in the future, so stray tuned.
If you’ve heard this show before, you know I love the eastern sound and how it differs to the western scale of music, so we travel to Lebanon and Turkey in the ’70s and ’80s, with music from Elias Rahbani, Arif Sağ , and Hülya Süer. Both these countries had fascinating musical output, be it folk, pop, psych rock, jazz, experimental classical and everything in between.
We detour via Mali and hear the duet Amadou et Mariam and their endearing track “Je Pense a Toi,” which beautifully mixes traditional musical elements with the romanticism of the French language, and listen to a manifesto of sorts (“Against”) by poet Dinos Christianopoulos, put to music by Pleasure Constitution (Σύνταγμα της Ηδονής) from Greece. We stay in Turkey for a few final minutes, by way of Romanian duo Khidja and their track “Drums of Taksim.” I may have been wrong when I said the spoken word used on this track comes from a lecture. Irrelevant of the source, however, the words are so powerful and intense, I hope it will impact you the way it impacted me.
We close it off with Burqa Boyz, about whom I could find almost zero information but who have a couple really good tapes you can hear online.
Until next week, I’ll be celebrating another year under the sun. “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” —Nikola Tesla
With love from outer space
HALIM EL-DABH – My Life is Vibration
HALIM EL-DABH – Element, Being and Primeval
THE GHOSTWRITERS – Boticelli Rewind
DOROTHY CARTER – Autumn Song
ELIAS RAHBANI – I Think of You
ARIF SAG – Şu Samsunun Evleri
HÜLYA SÜER – Şeker Oğlan
GHÉDALIA TAZARTÈS – Yama Yama
AMADOU ET MARIAM – Je Pense a Toi
TO SYNDAGMA TIS IDONIS (PLEASURE CONSTITUTION) – Enandion (Against)
KHIDJA – Drums of Taksim
BURQUA BOYZ – Chunk Up the Duce (CC remix)
Part II of the Greek Special, featuring post-punk, synth pop, new wave from the ’80s and ’90s, plus a couple newer tracks. Sorry for the lack of written info on this one, things have been extra busy. I’ll get back to add some thoughts to this when I have some time. Thanks for listening and thanks to M. for reminding me of how great some of these punks bands were!
If all goes well, we’re planning on recording a special series of shows, centred around the book The Rock Diaries (Τα Ροκ Ημερολόγια) by Yiorgos Tourkovasilis, originally published in 1986 and repressed in 2016. Our plan is to narrate the book—which is a vibrant, colourful verbal history of youth and music subcultures in Greece during the ’70s and ’80s—to discuss a couple of the larger issues covered (μπίρι-μπίρι), and of course to play some Greek punk music for you!
Stray tuned on that one, though it will all be in Greek. (Translation ideas already spring to mind of course—perhaps next year!)
Enjoy last week’s show. Until next time, stay humble, try and do something you enjoy every day, and make those goodbye kisses count. You never know when you’re gonna get hit by a bus…
With love from outer space,
ARNAKIA – Diver of the Sky
AT LAST – Nothingness
RODONDO ROCKS – Listen to the Wind Blow
TO SYDAGMA TIS IDONIS – You Came When I…
CLOWN – White Cells
PETUNIA PIG – A Dream So Grey
THE ANTI-TROPPAU COUNCIL – Insanity
CAPTAIN NEFOS – Crystal Palace
AUSSCHWITSS – Threat
ANYPOFORI – 8 Fores (8 Times)
IN TRANCE 95 – Presidente
KYOTO – Silver to Silk
X-BEAT – One With the Night
SIGMAY FAY – Tonight
IHORYPANSI – Only for You
LOST BODIES – Orange Tree
I’m very excited about this week’s show. Like all Storm Stereos, it’s directly connected to what’s happening in my life at the moment, and I’ve had the pleasure of being reintroduced to the past. It’s funny how you can listen to something and it won’t really register, or you’ll forget about it, or it’ll just get lost among the dozens of mentally, digitally and physically created lists of songs. Since I’ve been back in Athens, I’ve been remapping and rediscovering my connection to the city – whether through bands, historical accounts, neighbourhoods, show spaces, and friends old and new. It’s rather endearing when you can return to a place you had once all but written off to find there are actually a myriad ways to experience it, redefine your perception of it and ultimately strengthen your bond.
So when a friend played Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for me and reminded me of how great they are (and not just for their use of the Mellotron!), it seemed apt to open with them. “Each time I look at you, is like the first time, each time you’re near me, the thrill is new.”
So, we delve into the past (briefly) and listen to Συνθετικοί and Χωρίς Περιδέραιο, two synthwave bands that were part of a larger (post)punk scene that incorporated (killer) synths, the most well-known being ANTI… but also Anypofori, Ausschwitss, Clown, Chapter 24 and more (more on these bands next week!). As with most Greek bands of the time, the music is steeped in melancholy and heart-squeezing melodies and introspective or challenging lyrics to match. On “Είναι Σίγουρο” (“It Is Certain”), Synthetics sing: “In my room, see colourful posters, heroes who fill you with memories, all heroes are fake, this whole world is fake, you feel alone, you are alone.” Pretty existential stuff, not surprising given the climate of the dying 1980s and the disillusionment felt by the leather-jacket-clad youth with the crazy hair. Also how good are the kaleidoscopic vocals at the end of that song?
Then we zoom back to the present and head to Thessaloniki, Greece’s beautiful and vibrant capital of the north. We listen to a new project, Mazoha (Masochist), which totally fucking rocks! Just on the first listen I could hear all these great influences coming through: from Wipers-esque guitars, to raw, ’80s drum machine beats, synths and bass that recall ΟΔΟΣ 55 and sarcastic lyrics (that reminded me a bit of Όρεξη για Τίποτα somehow). I could see it fitting perfectly on a split record with Gay Anniversary from Athens. Also wanna see this live so I can cry/dance along to “Υπεραναισθησία” (“Hyperanesthesia)! “I should not see you again, not think of you again, you give me all the things I don’t need, you bring me panic, so what if we were lovers, so what if I told you I love you?”
We then skip along to the UK for a minute and listen to Retrofuture, a really great band from London that mixes beautiful vocals with indie guitars and dreamy synths – the vocals on that track for some reason reminded me of Belly and other 4AD bands, which is great ’cause 4AD is one of my favourite labels. Top stuff! In keeping with the synth theme, Fata Morgana also give us one hell of a catchy track with analog gear! Then we head to Turkey and listen to She Past Away, a band that’s been around for a few years now and that deserve your attention for their mix of moody post-punk and synth/coldwave. Likewise, Night Thoughts from Cardiff (feat. members of Chain of Flowers), and Cold i from Athens (feat. members of Valpourgia Nychta and Unfit Earth – the Volos band, not the metal band) and Chain Cult from Athens (feat. members of Archi tou Telous, Lifewreck, Dirty Wombs, on tour with Pol Pot whom we also listen to) will sit well with fans of dark, guitar-driven, bass-heavy post-punk (love the chorus vocals on every one of these songs!)
Also on this show we check out what’s happening on the hardcore front, starting with Asid from Sheffield, one of the city’s finest new bands, of which it has many! Sheffield also has a wicked show space that is under threat, so if you can, why not donate to help them keep the punk alive?
We continue with a web of punks making up a bunch of really great Athens bands. Let’s see, there’s Antimob, who have raging new material after a long time (damn you Panos, your solos are fire!), this time in the form of a split 7″ with brotherly-band Χωρίς Οίκτο (Horis Ikto) (their guitarist also plays bass in Antimob, the drummer also sings and drums in Paroxysmos, the bassist plays guitar in Sarabante, and the singer also plays in Cut Off), then there’s Μόλυσμα (Molisma) (featuring members of Sarabante and the Vagabonds 77, they’ll be playing with Arms Race here in Athens in February) and Παροξυσμός (Paroxysmos), who, in my humble opinion, have all the best elements of what Greek punk and hardcore means to me, bringing to mind classic GRHC bands like Antidrasi and Forgotten Prophesy, with top-notch vocals and grazing guitars. The singer/drummer is one to keep an eye on, as his playing is matched by his excellent influences and deep knowledge of punk, hardcore and metal music. Great stuff!
And, even though technically not based in Greece though informed by their Greek and New York punk and hardcore heritages, we also listen to Mati, from Queens, NYC. Mati along with Efialtis from London are the only two bands I know of that exist outside Greece who both have (sick!) vocals in Greek. Perhaps the most famous Greek diaspora punk band is Free Yourself, who started playing in 1992 in Dusseldorf, Germany, but after that my radar goes blank. If you know of any other Greek diaspora punk bands I’m not aware of, please do get in touch!
Until next time, don’t let the winter blues get you down! Next week we have Part 2 of the Greek special, with more post-punk, new wave, synthpop and more! Stray tuned, this Wednesday 10-11pm on intersonik.net.
With love from outer space,
Storm Stereo #36 tracklist
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK – The More I See You
ΣΥΝΘΕΤΙΚΟΙ / SYNTHETICS – Είναι Σίγουρο / It Is Certain
ΧΩΡΙΣ ΠΕΡΙΔΕΡΑΙΟ / HORIS PERIDEREO – 48 Σιωπές / 48 Silences
MAZOHA – Υπεραναισθησία / Hyperanesthetized
RETROFUTURE – Cult of the Sun
FATA MORGANA – Historias del Oriente
SHE PAST AWAY – Kasvetli Kutlama
NIGHT THOUGHTS – Owl in Daylight
COLD I – Flower Garden
CHAIN CULT – Empty Hearts
POL POT – We Need Lasers
SKELETAL FAMILY – Promised Land
ASID – Bastards
MOLISMA – Μάτια Γεμάτα Τρόμο / Eyes Full of Terror
MATI – Αυτοκτονία / Suicide
ΧΩΡΙΣ ΟΙΚΥΟ / HORIS IKTO – Τέλος / End
ANTIMOB – Με το Κεφάλι Κάτω / With Your Head Down
PAROXYSMOS – Μολυσμένα Ένστικτα / Infected Instincts