The first two releases in a possible continuous reissue program from NYC based label Sacred Bones unearthing some long lost records that are on want lists of very obscure 80's post-punk and pre-goth record collectors.
13th Chime hailed from Haverhill Suffolk, a city 60 miles from London of about 20,000 people with no train station that's probably best know for it's toothbrushes and who's most famous citizen is record label Some Bizarre's owner Stevo.
With a reference from Orwell's 1984 used for their band name and living in a place where you submit to being stuck or imagining ways of getting out-it's a damp and foggy affair. In their two year existence of 81-83 they released 3 singles and made a demo for IRS-all of which are comp'd on here. De rigueur sound from the era of raincoat wearing mope-rock. Scratchy and flanged guitar grind sounds reminiscent of Killing Joke and Siouxie & the Banshees and prominent counter-melody basslines in the Joy Division & Bauhaus vein (Opening track "Cuts Of Love" opens paraphrasing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" to these ears before it goes of into it's own dark places) while vocals emote in a dour croon. As where a lot of bands from that era have found their sound years later to be stuck in just that era though-there's something about the songs here that have an aggression to them to a point where if one was to told this is a new band taking those times at a jump of point it wouldn't be so hard to believe. Maybe it's because of the lack of string synth washes (or hell, the lack of synths all together).
The Cultural Decay were from Belgium who's career existed from 80-82. Their sound is that of the transitional period of when some post-punk bands were heading into what was dubbed "Cold Wave". The songs are dark and brooding with a recorded in a spooky alcove sound because it had the best creepy echo they could find. Though the band consisted of a traditional rock band line-up (two guitars, bass and drums) plenty of synth bloops appear and on such tunes like "Song Of Joy", a track that features a collage of overlapped singing and talking that may or may not be inspired by the Gang Of Four's "Anthrax" or a Can's use of tape loops, some saxophone skronks and squeals.
Not too long ago a college freshman that has just recently started embarking on a musical journey that has started taking him a little deeper than what the Warped tour and Alternative Press had to offer him said to me "I'm surprised Joy Division aren't more influential". I told him that they are more than he may realize and have been for quite a long while. The next time I see him I am going to point him in the direction of these two albums.