21.8.11

QUIET ROOM : She Sits Alone (WiN 7", 1981) / HALF CHURCH : Turmoil EP (WiN 12", 1981).

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QRm2
QRm1
Hailing from San Francisco, & affiliated with both the late '70s Mabuhay Gardens scene & precipitant Californian post-punks The Sleepers, Quiet Room only managed to put out one 7" single in their brief lifetime. Released in 1981 in a puny edition of a few hundred copies, this WiN Records release is already listed at £60+ on Discogs & the like. Whilst the A-side, "She Sits Alone", is an adequate serving of proto-Gothic synthcore, it's companion piece, the dystopian clatterbeat™ of "Pictures In The Attic" is exceptional - a West Coast response, perhaps, to the misanthropic British electronic vanguard championed by Mute & Rough Trade. The result is a ennui-soaked hybrid of Chrome & Our Daughter's Wedding, an unusual assimilation of atmospheric processed guitars & sparse D.I.Y. technologia that, though fundamentally melodic, sports a malevolent leer. I'm surprised it's not been more widely recognised or, indeed, compiled - it has far more "crossover potential" than L.A.'s scathing Nervous Gender or Screamers, 2 other neglected protagonists of seminal U.S. synth-punk. A slightly unhelpful Myspace page aside, there's virtually no information about Quiet Room online , so drop me a line if you can shed any further light on the band or their label (thanks). Incidentally, I couldn't help noticing that they look suspiciously similar to the scourge of Southend On Sea on the band portrait below...
Half C
The only other WiN label release I've come across is Half Church's interesting Turmoil 12". Once again, information is scant, though I've established that it was recorded at London's Street Level studio (as frequented by the Fuck Off Records crew) in March '81, & was produced by the legendary Kif Kif Le Batteur (aka Keith Dobson of World Domination Enterprises / Here & Now). For a Californian band (&, yes, they definitely were a Californian band), Half Church sound absurdly British - like The Middle Class but better - their e.p. referencing Metal Box, Entertainment &, less predictably, UK Decay & The Mob. So who were they & what else, if anything, did they release? Intrigue!

24 comments:

  1. Hello
    I just reissued an unreleased Quiet Room song on a compilation of Bay Area New Wave bands on my record label Dark Entries
    www.darkentriesrecords.com

    and you can read more about Quiet Room and hear songs here:
    http://lpcjavg.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi this is Philip Peters from Quiet Room. I was actually in Half Church for the fist few gigs also. Check out the QR site at:

    www.lpcjavg.blogspot.com

    Thanks for including us!

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  3. The plot thickens! Thanks so much for getting in touch, gents... if these uploads are a problem just let me know & they'll be gone (clicks fingers) like that, OK?

    Great to see a bit more info about Quiet Room online. What's the deal with Half Church though - did they ever record/release anything else?

    Let me know, IAN.

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  4. WiN is back, having just released the Alex Benitez self-titled debut CD (full length plus bonus track).
    on CDBaby.com/alexbenitez
    and also available at ITunes and Napster
    or direct from WiN soon at www.facebook.com/7thworldWiN

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  5. Excellent news, I'll track it down over the weekend...

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  6. Half Church sounds very much like our Belgian post-punk bands used to. Check this one out, posted by Curious Guy: No Big Business LP.

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  7. Possibly the reason we sounded "absurdly British" is the fact the singer was from Shepherds Bush. The only thing I can think of that was in-authentically British was when while singing backup on one unreleased session, I pronounced the word "half" *your* way. (come to think of it, that word caused me no end of problems ordering in pubs- I'd say, "half pint" my normal way and the barman would think I said "HAVE a pint?"...Sheesh...)

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  8. Thanks for getting in touch, Jah. I'm not surprised the word "half" caused you problems in the pubs over here - we drink pints, man, PINTS!! Ordering a half can be a risky business, depending on the kind of hostelry you're frequenting... (half pints are "for women" after all!).

    So, I'm assuming you were in Half Church at some point then? Care to shed any further light on 'em? And did I just spy the magic words "unreleased session"? Tell us more...

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  9. I was the drummer from inception to '84; I may have a couple of other unreleased tracks I could send but that one I referred to is just too embarrassing to bear public scrutiny. (I *WAS* only 20 years old at the time, after all....)

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  10. Well, I'd l.o.v.e. to hear anything else by HC that you'd be willing to share...

    Better still, you could kickstart a blog of your own & post it there, with a potted history of Half Church - this QR/HC post has proven pretty popular, so people are obviously still interested in your music? What do you think...?

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  11. Nahhh...no motivation; besides, Phil (from QR)
    already did that (a MySpace or Facebook page) with the band we were in together after HC & QR, Heru Ra Ha. I've had my fill of nostalgia.
    (though I wouldn't mind getting together w/ some of the guys from the old days and jamming sometime...) Tell me where to send them and I'll dig out those HC tracks for you if you like.

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  12. That's fair enough, everything has a time & a place I guess... & it's good to move on. Let me know if you change your mind(s) though...

    Email: rooksby at rocketmail dot com - I'd be very interested, & grateful, to hear any HC recordings you might want to send, & many thanks for breaking the seal on the archive!

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  13. Anonymous18.1.12

    Wow, how weird to find this. I bought this single by mail order from Rather Ripped Records in SFO based on the recommendation of the guy who did the mailers (Russ?) when I was looking for some cool synthipop. I still have the 45 but no turntable, I was moving stuff and this was in the pile and I wanted to hear it again... thanks for having it up.

    Jon

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  14. Rather Ripped, eh? I only know about that place c/o the S.Y. album...

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  15. I thought Rather Ripped was always in Berkeley; at least that's where it was when I used to buy stuff in the late '70s (on the north side of the U.C. campus) Of course I never went there after perhaps 1981 so it could have moved....

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  16. I couldn't tell you, the closest I've been to CA yet is, er... West Germany!!

    Thanks for those demos btw, though they're definitely "of their time", they're still v.listenable in fact, not too dated at all actually...

    n.b. If you're on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rather-Ripped-Records/152499768123825?sk=info

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  17. Hi Phillip; Hi Bob. I played bass in Quiet Room (and on the single). That's me looking quite goofy on the right in the top picture. I also used to play with Bob, and we called ourselves Half Church (Bob, you MUST tell the story of the band's name, otherwise I will) before Monty came along. But I think we only in Bob's apartment.

    I'll tell you Phillip and Paul (Draper, producer) had everything to do with making Pictures as good as it was/is. Everything from the toy xylophone to Erin singing the "ahh, ahh, ahhs."

    Link: http://youtu.be/7OvtTueQ-_g

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  18. Dave!? Fuckin-A! I was wondering where you might have gotten to lo these 30 years laterwards..... Yes! please elucidate the story
    of the name; all I remember is my wife came up with the logo (a variation on the pachuco cross tattooed on Dennis Meyer's hand.) Or so I recall... And BTW, Monte brought me the HC rubber stamp that ended up on the record label a few years ago. Got it sitting right next to me in the garage... Maybe I'll go stamping around downtown PA... -B

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  19. This is supposed to be about Quiet Room, not Half Church, but OK. The story you told me when I asked decades ago was: On Sundays you had a tradition of listening to both records of a double album; was it London Calling? You called it church. One Sunday you listened to only one of the albums, so called that a 'half church.' Thus a term, and a band name, was born.

    As to Quiet Room, Phillip can confirm, but I think it was actually a sign on the door where he worked, where workers could go to have a minute of peace.

    Your name has more interesting roots, Jah Bob.

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  20. "Half church", love it!

    The plot thickens, etc...

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  21. hee HEE; now I remember; that was my roommate Kevin who came up with that concept originally; Leslie came up with the logo (we drew prototypes on the side of my VW bus!) BTW get in touch dude.....

    (I wonder if everybody else reading this is going, "WTF?"...)

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  22. Anonymous30.3.12

    Bob, Dave, this is Phil. Just wanted to say I'm loving all this!

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  23. I know! Hey-- here's a thought: Let's start a band! We'll call it "The Rolling Stallones"....

    Seriously though; you, me, Brad, Dave, etc. We ought to get together for a hunk of milk or something sometime.

    ps. I just listened to that clip on YT of you fronting HC at a party at the flat in early '81, probably between when we got back and Jinks got back from the UK. (as "The Pete Murray Band") Rick was baked and kept missing the changes...

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  24. Hey Bob,
    Do you still have a copy of that first demo we did? Its had "We better have fun" on it with some others.
    Phil

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