Category Archives: Terror Bird

20 Dark Pop Greats

Featuring : Group Rhoda + Terror Bird

There have always been fabulous moments when the worlds of popular music glide into the villages constructed at their parameter. Whilst there, they mingle with the inhabitants, sometimes fall in love, sometimes bear children. Sometimes those children stay the village, sometimes they return to the citadels governed by the deity of cross-media potential. It would be completely out of character if we didn’t celebrate these creatures, born out of step with the rigid codes of their parents.

Terror Bird’s odyssey — beginning in the 4-tracked rooms of Vancouver and snaking its way via the LA Station Radar love this ‘ere blog flirted with last year and finally hopping through the East End of London’s ode to Synth Wave and arriving this year in a gorgeous 7″ from Night School — seems as improbable as it does inevitable. Like all great pop.

When I Woke Up comes all over PJ Harvey with a hammered keyboard straight from the minimal claws of Petit Mal. The (relatively) epic build here, so strong, it could only have come into being by splicing the DNA of Carl Craig with Spector era Tina Turner. The tension feasts on a few X-factor hopefuls until, two thirds through, Toni Bassell’s tortured soul is summonsed to possess Nikki Never’s yelping call out into the darkness. Bold, subtly violent and a touch over three minutes. you can’t ask for better, darker, more moving pop than that.

Terror Bird – When I Woke Up

When I Wore Up’s taken from a 7″ on Night School that came out at the beginning of March and which we unforgivably slept on because we’re rubbish sometimes.  It’s amazing and limited to 300 copies which is a pretty dangerous situation.

San Francisco’s Group Rhoda is pop in the same way that Kate Bush is pop, i.e. perfectly.  Gorgeously enunciated vocals over deceptively simple but giddying-ly evocative arrangements – check.

Concrete Jungle takes what sounds like the end of a run out grove and turns it into a rolling heartbeat intertwined with a foggy hiss; then quickly adds a simple keyboard melody over subdued synth chords.  As much as Fever Ray places her voice behind demonic layers of sound, Group Rhoda foregrounds hers; beautifully clear, naked and well enunciated.  This is folk abducted from Newport, dragged through cold wave and left in a mist filled scrap yard for once commodified and slightly damaged electronics.

Group Rhoda – Concrete Jungle

Group Rhoda don’t have anything to sell yet but you should check out her website to hear more glorious outré pop.

At this point the post usually wraps up but in this instance, not posting another track from Group Rhoda would just be extreme rudeness given the riches presented to us in a neatly labelled zip.

The epic and delicately tense Model Home gets our deserved attention here.  Managing to distil both the Exotica and the spy soundtrack influences that went towards the dearly missed Broadcast; here Group Rhoda takes a rhythmic preset straight from a Lynchian lounge and add enough warm fuzzy bass to transport us back to the 60s before taking the blue-hued spotlight to deliver the straight-to-camera vocal that cuts through you while whispering in your ear.  The breakdown near midpoint is so simple it becomes, for the short time it appears, the most beautiful thing in the world.

Group Rhoda – Model Home

With thanks to Amitai for the tip and Mara for sharing.

20JFG Podcast: LA Station Radar

We couldn’t but petition the wonderful people at LA Station Radar for a mixtape after a week listening to their last CD compilation on repeat. They kindly sent it our way a few days ago, and it is as great as we expected. Devastated wastelands populated by wolves that carry in their battlescarred fur the seed of pretty flowers to come, teenage pogo classicism, sick wave snottiness and the kind of slow we love- enjoy.

LA Station Radar 20JFG Mixtape

1 Head of wantastiguet (tape on open mouth)

2 Climax golden twin “does your mother know i’m there?”

3 Movietone “hydra”

4 Young marble giant “brand new life”

5 No more “suicide commando”

6 Fröhliche eiszeit “die welt lst Die mehrheit”

7 Eat skull “no intelligence”

8 Dredd foole and the bin “ghost rider”

9 James ferraro “memory theater 1”

10 Mystery track

11 Magazine “because you’re fright”

12 the wedding present “once more”

13 the homosexuals “prestel”

14 SE rogers “do me justice”

15 Woods “twisted tongue”

16 Flowers “after dark”

17 Freesha “gole”

They recently released Terror Birds’  ‘Shadow on the Walls’ in a  7” that you would be well advised to purchase here. The title track is a lovely insomnia fantasy synth oddity that we told you about here.

Terror Birds- Shadows on the Walls

The Rats in the Walls

Featuring : oOoOO + Terror Bird

Terror Bird’s ‘Shadows in the Halls’ lends itself to a couple of different interpretations. On the one hand, it could be a lovely portrayal of the way in which sharing your bed can work to assuage the terrors which flow and ebb in the night when it is at its darkest, evil poison oozing from jaws agape, forever frustrated by the inviolable force-field of love irradiating from two together. On the other hand, it might be that it is those terrors that are themselves born and bred in the wasteland of insomnia which spreads under the storm clouds of doubt as one sleeps and the other frets. It could be both things…life is complicated, ‘Shadows in the Halls’ seems to finish with a question mark.

No matter what, it is a wonderful electro-pop oddity full of lovely 80s chimes, gliding synths and, of course, the voice Nikki Nevver turned into duo and soaring, expanding strong enough to vanquish into oblivion any shadowy succubi that might try to crawl up the stairs.

Terror Bird- Shadows in the Halls

This is included in an album soon to be released by french wiz kids LA Station Radar. Good things come in pairs: They are also putting out an album in Night People/Adagio 830. They are currently booking a tour over Europe in June and July, if you have any ideas about cool places they could play, drop them a line here: myterrorbird at gmail.com

oOoOO, perchance ruling monarchs of that province that some call ‘drag’, where emotions ooze slow and twisted, and blood spills thick like cough syrup, thrill us once again, this time with ‘NoShore’, a Lynchian murder ballad which advances across undead cowboy country like a spiritual storm of smudged contour, projecting lightning bolts of pure black and a hail of tears. Slowed down vocal effects and a bassline which is the echo of thunders rumbling distant in the vaults of the afterlife, pummelling rhythm like the steps of a funereal procession engulf us into a space of hallucinated mourning.

This is the sad song that ghosts sing when one of them fades away into a blinding life, birthed into life. You can’t win.

oOoOO- NoShore

NoShore is included in Dark as Night, a super-limited cassette compilation which the psychic dudes at Bathetic have just released. It also features music by S U R V I V E, SLEEP ∞ OVER and Terminal Twlight, all bands which we love. Go get.