Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I found out about Asylum Party from a link posted by Dee Dee Penny on some social media site I follow her on. It makes sense that the head Dum Dum Girl would want to share this, as it seems to be generally in the same realm of chilly enchantment as some of her work on Too True. Asylum Party was completely unknown to me, so it was a real treat to hear this captivating song. Asylum Party lasted during the second half of the 80's and was apparently one of the best bands to come out of the French "Coldwave" genre. Coldwave was a term initially coined by Sounds magazine to describe Kraftwerk, but it soon evolved to describe dozens of obscure French and Belgian post punk bands in the early 80's. I've started listening to some Coldwave compilations, and AP is by far the most tuneful and harmonically satisfying of them all. I'm guessing vocalist Thierry Sobézyk was the main composer. Whoever it was, they really had a skillful touch for writing haunted, uncanny songs.
Asylum Party doesn't have a Web site, their music is not available on iTunes or eMusic, and their CD's are pretty scarce, having been out of print for some time. Amazon sells them new or used starting in the $40 range, and the vinyl goes way over $200. Or you can just visit some of those shady blog sites that host mp3's, and pray your antivirus is up to date.
Even though their vintage is a bit later, they share a slightly Goth-y, undead eeriness with some other post punk bands, such as Siouxie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, and even early Cocteau Twins.
Their 1989 video, "Misfortunes?," certainly plays up the phantasmal atmosphere: