Focus. A mid​-​life crisis compilation.

by Severed Heads

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Musi Clover
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Musi Clover Sevs in Space is consistently my favorite song from all of Severed Heads' works. So many Headian idioms to unpack in here, from that little breathy looped sample to the crunchy aural backdrop and that soaring outro.
There is a melancholy, an infinite sadness underneath it all in here that pierced me, without really knowing why. And now I've read the liner notes it finally makes sense. Favorite track: Lufthansa c/w Sevs in Space.
da5idh
da5idh thumbnail
da5idh It's Tom. the real Ellardian deal. No need for favourites. Everyone loves Dead Eyes Opened, it's sublime as is Heart of the Party but I am sure the man himself probably would like us to look beyond. They are all resplendently excellent arty-facts of a true originator. RIP sevcom , long live nilamox <3
The Dark Outside
The Dark Outside thumbnail
The Dark Outside it's really a sad song about nuclear war that remains catchy enough to sing along to. Favorite track: Lo Real.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Immediate download of this 34 track compilation - includes a 45 page booklet.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $5 USD  or more

     

1.
Twister 03:27
2.
Cry 03:01
3.
4.
5.
Care is Dead 02:48
6.
Goodbye 03:19
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
ANIMal 04:06
14.
15.
Dollarex 04:58
16.
Snow 04:10
17.
18.
19.
Life's Oven 03:10
20.
21.
Choose Evil 04:03
22.
23.
24.
ChikiBox 04:17
25.
Book Burner 03:54
26.
27.
28.
Geldmund 04:45
29.
Snuck 03:22
30.
Lo Real 04:03
31.
Three Doors 04:33
32.
33.
34.

about

Making this compilation required killing a few darlings. I had to look hard at four albums, cauterise their weakest parts, bring them into close comparison, write about their failings and virtues. I had to bring them kicking and screaming into NOW where everything is in flux and flow.
They would have just sat rotting in the past, no one visiting their graves.

Win or lose they are at least alive.

From 1979 to 1989 the ascent of Severed Heads was unsteady, but with momentum. From bedroom to the world was the familiar narrative delivered over a time frame in which most rock and roll bands are born and die.
The second North American tour in 1990 was the first inkling of turbulence – the audience dividing into rap and grunge, and losing interest in the kind of music we produced.

In retrospect (that useless superpower) I should have studied the sound montage work coming from black America, inspired by the same period as gave us life. But bored with that history I chose a kind of electronic country & western. What was exotic for me must have been ugly for others – it confused everyone. Cuisine was pumped and dumped by our Canadian label over a few months in 1991.

I started work again, now meeting rejection after rejection. We were out of style.

In 1993 I tried flying to Canada to talk face to face about Gigapus. Old friends were now too busy to meet. The A/R guy suggested a bass player and a female singer. Soon after that label was nothing but female singers. In Australia we attempted our first fuck with formats – CDROM, the first MP3 download – and led by a top 20 single there was a short moment where the old industry held its ground. Then it cracked.

Record labels sank into the mire screaming, taking bands down with them.
For a long while I played small gigs. I sold my gear for food. I found real jobs. I went back to the bedroom, but this time landed ahead of a wave.
I worked on ‘Music Servers’ – anti albums of hateful ambience (the joke is they would win an industry award in 2005).

In 1998 we sold thousands of hand made Haul Ass CDs mail order. It was a return to DIY, real independence instead of ‘indie’ myths that the majors were now marketing (I know, my job helped market those myths). Haul Ass marked eight years of a decline that refuted the storyline ascent of the first decade.

It was a further eight years before I felt curious enough to try ‘an album’ by ‘the old band’. Under Gail Succubus tried to recall the energy of earlier years. Some tracks are good, but most are just sketches of a ghost. It was tired on arrival.

Music genres started to dissolve, the tribes ageing and living in their past, the young unable to pick Led Zeppelin from Public Enemy. There was no pressure from a label and no expectation of success. Gail included a second disc Over Barbara Island that led to a different line of music - filmic, instrumental, illustrative. It was the next decade in embryonic form.

This compilation describes a fall from a height, not just for us but for recorded music. There’s myths either end of this journey. The visible ‘underground’ was always a confection - the real underground has become a museum of collectable antique objects. The scene today sells false memories, and the entire concept of an ‘album’ is dead to the children of the moment. Of course it should be.
It’s part of growing up.

credits

released July 2, 2021

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Severed Heads Sydney, Australia

Established 1979.

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