Thomas Leer and Joe Crow singles reissued and expanded

This month Dark Entries will be releasing records of two UK DIY Post-Punk musicians.
Thomas Leer and Joe Crow. Leer released his debut 7″ “Private Plane/International” in 1978 in a limited run of 650 copies that quickly sold out after being named Single Of The Week by NME and championed by John Peel. We added 2 bonus tracks and expanded the 7″ to the 12″ format for this reissue with original artwork, never before seen photos and liner notes on a newsprint insert.
Joe Crow released his debut single, “Compulsion/Absent Friends” i 1981 on Cherry Red Records and an edited version of “Compulsion” later appeared on the ‘Pillows and Prayers’ compilation in 1982. Covered by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode in 1989, “Compulsion” reached a new audience. Our expanded reissue stretches the 7 inches to 12 inches and adds 3 unreleased bonus tracks recorded at the same time as “Compulsion”

01 Private Plane
02 International
03 Kings of Sham
04 Absent Friends

Thomas Leer is an innovative electronic musician who was born in Port Glasgow, Scotland. He began singing for a local band at age 13, and was writing his own music by 18. By 1977, he had moved to London, where he fronted Pressure, a Clash­-esque punk group with fellow experimental Scottish musician Robert Rental. After hearing Kraftwerk, Leer became interested in synthesizers – not long after, he was exploring the experimental techniques of Eno, Zappa, Beefheart, Faust, and Can.

In 1978, Thomas released his first single, “Private Plane”/“International”, on his own Oblique Records. Both songs were recorded in his small Finsbury Park flat over three days, using a TEAC A3440 4-­track recorder and an ALICE mixing board. The only effects used were a Watkins Copicat tape echo unit, Electo Harmonix DrQ filter, an old Roland drum machine, and a Stylophone. So as to not wake his sleeping girlfriend, Leer’s vocals were nearly whispered, which lends them a textural, psychedelic quality. NME named “Private Plane” Single of the Week, and the hand-stamped first edition of 650 promptly sold out. For this expanded reissue, we’ve added 2 bonus tracks. “Kings of Sham”, from the 1981 Cherry Red Records sampler “Business As Usual”, is perfect motorik trance, echoing Conny Plank’s 1970′s productions. “Saving Grace” is the extended instrumental version of Leer’s second single “All About You” from 1982, a slow­-burning cosmic work-out chock-full of anthemic synth riffs.

All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The jacket is an exact replica of the 1978 handmade edition enlarged for the 12” format, featuring a cut and paste collage by Thomas. Each copy includes a two­-sided newsprint insert with never­-before­-seen photos, an interview, and liner notes by Professor Keith R. Laws. 37 years later this is fresh UK D.I.Y. post­-punk, compelling pop with a dark heart, vacillating between the pretty disturbing and the disturbingly pretty.

01 Compulsion
02 Absent Friends
03 Each To His Own
04 Funny To You
05 We Said We Wouldn’t Look Back

Joe Crow is a post-punk musician from Birmingham, England. He was a member of legendary Brum band The Prefects, and hung on long enough after the name-change to appear on a couple of early Nightingales singles. In 1981 Joe began his solo career and recorded a 2-song demo “Compulsion” and “Absent Friends”. Joe sent copies of the finished recordings to Cherry Red, who thanks to Lawrence of Felt, ended up releasing the single in 1982. An edited version of the single would later appear on the compilation “Pillows & Prayers” that collected songs which originated as 45s or EPs. Martin Gore of Depeche Mode subsequently covered “Compulsion” on his ‘Counterfeit’ EP in 1989 forever solidifying its status in the cannon of UK melancholic synth pop.

“Compulsion” and “Absent Friends” were originally intended as a double A-side. Composed, performed and recorded by Joe on an 8-track reel-to-reel at Sinewave Studio, Moseley Village in February 1981. Joe plays everything: guitar, bass, Boss Dr. Rhythm, Bee Gees Rhythm Machine, Wasp synthesizer, bongos stuffed with towels and an old tin tray for a snare drum. Everything was borrowed. “Compulsion” is an imaginary suicide note, a meditation on loss and grief. Its dark twin “Absent Friends” is an anti-song: no verses, choruses or middle-eight, some willfully odd chord progressions and plaintive yet melodic keyboard motif. Both songs are a spectral hybrid of alternating childlike and cynical vocals over lo-tech basement electronics with profound lyrics. This expanded 12” reissue adds 3 unreleased bonus tracks on the B-side taken from a mini-album of nine songs, recorded at the same time as “Compulsion”. Originally titled “Ken Blagdon Sings” with music by Joe Crow and lyrics by photographer Brendan Jackson, as a birthday present to the latter’s girlfriend, Jacqui Neave. The whole session lasted one day and the line up was Brendan Jackson (alias Ken Blagdon; vocals/percussion), Joe Crow (vocals/bass/guitar/Boss Dr. Rhythm/Wasp synthesizer), Mark Rowson (drums), Helen Rowson (alto saxophone), Eamonn Duffy (Nightingales bassist; squawks) and Legs Akimbo (technicals).

All songs have been remastered from the original master tapes for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The jacket is an exact replica of the 1982 edition enlarged for the 12” format, featuring front and back photos of Joe from a dawn beach shoot at Hayling Island, Hampshire, England. Each copy includes a two-sided newsprint insert with lyrics, never-before-seen photos and liner notes by Joe Crow and Robert Lloyd of the Nightingales. These songs are perfect new wave / post-punk tracks, full of attitude and dark romanticism.

Our next 3 releases will be out in May:

DE-084 No More – A Rose is a Rose LP+7″
DE-091 Max Guld – For Enden Af Corridoren LP
DE-093 Carlos Peron – Dirty Song EP

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