Soft Cell

Soft Cell was an English electro-pop duo from Leeds, composed of singer–lyricist Marc Almond and keyboardist–programmer Dave Ball. They cut multiple singles in advance of their 1981 debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which spawned the international hit “Tainted Love” and the club staples “Bedsitter” and “Sex Dwarf.” A visual accompaniment to the album, Non-Stop Exotic […]

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — also known by the acronym OMD — are an English electronic band that released seven albums between 1980 and 1986 on DinDisc and Virgin. Singer–bassist Andy McCluskey and keyboardist–singer Paul Humphreys are the mainstays of the band; joined on successive releases by drummer Malcolm Holmes and saxophonist–keyboardist Martin Cooper. […]

Strange Advance

Strange Advance was a Canadian new wave band that released the 1982–85 Capitol albums Worlds Away and 2WO, followed by the 1988 Current release The Distance Between. Members: Darryl Kromm (vocals, guitar), Drew Arnott (keyboards, drums, vocals), Paul Iverson (bass, backing vocals, 1982-84) Formation They assembled in 1980 when singer–guitarist Darryl Kromm and keyboardist–drummer Drew […]

Hard Corps

Hard Corps were an English coldwave/synthpop band from London that released a standalone single on Survival Records in 1984, followed by a pair of singles on Polydor in 1985 and a fourth on Sonoscope in 1987. The singles were collected  with additional recordings on two compilations by specialty archivists Minimal Wave during the 2010s. French-born […]

Industry

Industry were an American New Wave/synthpop band from NYC, formed in 1978 as Industrial Complex by ex-Cathedral drummer Mercury Caronia. The initial combo released an eponymous EP on self-press Metro Records in 1980. After a lineup overhaul that roped-in fellow Cathedral alumnus Rudy Perrone, the band issued a second EP, Turning to Light, on self-press […]

The Expression

The Expression was an Australian new wave electro-pop band from Sydney that released two 1983–85 albums on Mushroom Records and charted with “With Closed Eyes.” Members: Dowling Neville (keyboard, vocals), Haran Tom (vocals, guitar, percussion), Henkenberg Bill (drums), Hopes Steve (drums), Lumsdaine Tim (bass), Manassah Stephen (bass), Slingerland Guy (drums), Wong-Yen Andrew (guitar) Background The […]

The Human League

The Human League are an English synthpop band best known for the 1981 global No. 1 hit “Don’t You Want Me.” They emerged on the Sheffield post-punk scene with the 1978 DIY release “Being Boiled” / “Circus of Death,” a pioneering electro-pop single. The original lineup of singer Philip Oakey, slide-projectionist Adrian Wright, and keyboardists […]

Ensemble Pittoresque

Ensemble Pittoresque were a Dutch coldwave band that released two albums on Clogsontronics and Vip Records circa 1983/84. In 2007, a 40-minute demo recorded in 1982 was issued by U.S. specialty label Minimal Wave. Members: Richard Neumöller (vocals, guitar, tapes), Paulus Wieland (synthesizer, piano), Marion Prinz (vocals, synthesizer, 1983-84), Le Biquo (synthesizer, trumpet, 1983-84), Ed […]

Freur

Freur was a Welsh synthpop band that released the 1983–85 CBS albums Doot-Doot and Get Us Out of Here. Drummer Bryn B. Burrows played earlier in the Fabulous Poodles. Freur’s nucleus morphed into Underworld. Members: Rick Smith (keyboards, guitar), Karl Hyde (vocals, guitar), Bryn B. Burrows (drums), John Warwicker (synthesizer), Alfie Thomas (bass) Background Freur […]

Fiction Factory

Fiction Factory were a Scottish synthpop band that released the album Throw the Warped Wheel Out with accompanying singles on CBS in 1984, followed by Another Story on Foundry Records in 1985. Members: Kevin Patterson (vocals), Chic Medley (guitar), Graham McGregor (bass), Eddie Jordan (keyboards), Mike Ogletree (drums, percussion) Discography: Throw the Warped Wheel Out […]

Thomas Leer

Thomas Leer — aka Thomas Wishart (born 1953) — is a Scottish musician and producer who released several small-press recordings during the late 1970s, including a collaborative album with guitarist/keyboardist Robert Rental. In 1981, Leer issued his first of three back-to-back shortplayers on Cherry Red. His first proper album, The Scale of Ten, appeared on […]

Drinking Electricity

Drinking Electricity were a Scottish coldwave/art-punk band that released three shortplayers on local small-press Pop Aural in 1980. The band issued a standalone single on Survival Records in 1981, followed by the album Overload on that label in 1982. Members: Anne-Marie Heighway (vocals), David Rome (guitar, vocals), Paul Edgley (bass) Discography: Overload (1982)

Kuruki

Kuruki were a Belgian coldwave/electro-pop combo that released five shortplayers and one album between 1981 and 1984. The band included veteran Flemish-rock journeyman Alain Bureau, who released a praised 1975 solo album under the modified surname Buro. Members: Gerry D’Haeyer, Alain Bureau Discography: “Crocodile Tears” / “W.S. remake” (1981, 7″) “Just a Cat” / “Marina […]

Snowy Red

Snowy Red was the performance moniker of Belgian coldwave musician Marcel Thiel, aka Micky Mike. He released two self-contained albums — Snowy Red and The Right to Die — circa 1981/82 on small-press Dirty Dance. The moniker represented an actual band on two subsequent ’80s releases, Vision ‎and The Beat Is Over. Thiel briefly resurrected the Snowy […]

Berlin

Berlin were an American New Wave/synthpop band from Los Angeles. Members: John Crawford (bass, vocals, 1979-86), Rod Learned (drums, 1979-82), Chris Ruiz-Valesco (guitar, 1979-82), Daniel Van Patten (drums, 1979-82), Jo Julian (keyboards, 1979-80), Ty Cobb (lead vocals, 1979), Terri Nunn (lead vocals, 1979, 1981-87, 1998-present), Toni Childs (lead vocals, 1979), Virginia Macolino (lead vocals, 1980), […]

Our Daughters Wedding

Our Daughters Wedding were an American New Wave/synthpop band from San Francisco. Members: Keith Silva (vocals, synthesizer, keyboards, guitar), Layne Rico (synthesizer, vocals, drums, drum machine), Scott Simon (synthesizer, saxophone, vocals, guitar, bass synth), Jim Nevius Discography: “Nightlife” / “Raincoats & Silverware” (1980) Digital Cowboy (EP, 1981) Moving Windows (1982)

Missing Persons

Missing Persons were an American New Wave band from Los Angeles. Members: Dale Bozzio (lead vocals), Warren Cuccurullo (guitar, vocals, 1980-86, 2001-03), Terry Bozzio (drums, percussion, keyboards, synthesiser, guitar, vocals, 1980-86, 2001), Patrick O’Hearn (bass, synthesiser, 1981-86), Chuck Wild (keyboards, synthesiser, 1981-85) Discography: Missing Persons (EP, 1980) Spring Session M (1982) Rhyme & Reason (1984) […]

The Twins

The Twins were a German synthpop duo that released four albums on Hansa International between 1981 and 1985, followed by a fifth release on CBS in 1987. Members: Ronny Schreinzer (vocals, drum machine, synthesizer, electronic drums, vocoder), Sven Dohrow (synthesizer, computer, sequencer) Discography: Passion Factory (1981) Modern Lifestyle (1982) A Wild Romance (1983) Until the […]

Propaganda

Propaganda were a German electro/art-pop foursome that released the EP Present the Nine Lives of Dr. Mabuse in 1984, followed in 1985 by the album A Secret Wish and the remix collection Wishful Thinking. All titles were issued on producer Trevor Horn’s ZTT label. The bands second proper album, 1234, appeared in 1990 on Island. […]

Dial M

Dial M were an American New Wave/synthpop duo from Los Angeles that released a self-titled album on small-press D&D Records in 1983. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Maierhoffer had a creative hand in albums by the Village People (Renaissance, 1981) and Cher (I Paralyze, 1982). Keyboardist/singer Mike Kapitan subsequently worked with Thomas Dolby. Members: Mike Kapitan (Lead Vocals, […]

The Flying Lizards

The Flying Lizards were an English electro/art-pop project that yielded two albums on Virgin between 1979 and 1981, followed by a third on Statik in 1984. The project was ostensibly a twosome between composer/producer David Cunningham and a succession of vocalists: Deborah Evans-Stickland, Patti Palladin (Snatch), and Sally Peterson. The second album, Fourth Wall, features […]

Dramatis

Dramatis were an English electro/art-pop band that released the album For Future Reference on the Rocket Record Company in 1981. The album yielded four singles with non-album b-sides; three further standalone singles followed in 1982. Dramatis coalesed from the 1979/80 backing band of Gary Numan. Drummer Cedric Sharpley recorded two albums circa 1975/76 with symphonic-rockers Druid. […]

Oppenheimer Analysis

Oppenheimer Analysis were the English coldwave duo of singer Andy Oppenheimer and keyboardist Martin Lloyd. The pair self-released the cassette-album New Mexico — credited to the reverse-namesake vocalist — in 1982. Songs from that release were combined with unreleased early-’80s material on the 2005 self-issued CD Songs from the Atomic Age. That same year, an […]

Naked Eyes

Naked Eyes were an English electro/art-pop duo composed of singer Pete Byrne and keyboardist Rob Fisher. They first appeared in late 1982 with a hi-tech cover of the Bacharach/David classic “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me.” In 1983, they released Burning Bridges on EMI, charting with “Promises Promises,” “When the Lights Go Out,” and […]

Organ

Organ was a Finnish synthpop band that released two singles in 1981–82 and the album Nekrofiilis, all on Poko Rekords. Members: Pekka Tolonen (synthesizer), Mikko Saarela (synthesizer), Tapani Lahtinen (synthesizer), Seppe Parkkinen (synthesizer, percussion) Discography: Nekrofiilis (1982) “Kundi meikkaa” / “Kaavakekauhu” (1981) “Suajele mua vähän jostain päin” / “Neekerisuukkoja” (1982)

M

M was the recording moniker of English musician, vocalist, and songwriter Robin Scott (born April 1, 1947), who released three electro/art-pop albums under the name between 1979 and 1982 on Sire. Ten years prior to his M run, he released the folk album Woman From the Warm Grass on Head Records. In 1981, he collaborated […]

Kissing the Pink

Kissing the Pink was an English synthpop band that released three albums between 1983 and 1986 on Magnet Records. Their first, Naked, spawned five singles, including the UK hit “Last Film.” Members: Nicholas Whitecross (lead vocals, guitar), Jon Kingsley Hall (keyboards, synthesizer, vocals), Stephen Cusack (drums, percussion, vocals, 1980-88), George Stewart (keyboards, vocals, 1980-85, 1988-present), […]

New Musik

New Musik was an English synthpop band that released the 1980/81 albums From A to B  and Anywhere on GTO/CBS, scoring hits with “Straight Lines,” “Living By Numbers,” “Sanctuary,” and “This World of Water.” After their 1982 release Warp, mastermind Tony Mansfield went into production. Early keyboardist Nick Straker left pre-record to front his own […]

John Foxx

John Foxx is an English keyboardist, songwriter, and producer who first emerged as the frontman of Ultravox, a pioneering electro-rock band that released three 1977–78 albums on Island Records. In 1980, Foxx debuted as a solo artist with Metamatic, a collection of minimal wave and ambient-vocal cuts on his own Virgin-imprint Metal Beat. Foxx embraced […]

Indians in Moscow

Indians in Moscow were an English New Wave/synthpop band from Kingston upon Hull that released a self-titled album with accompanying b-sides on IDS-imprint Kennick in 1984. Members: Pete Riches (synthesizer, keyboards, programming), Stuart Walton (bass, synthesizer, keyboards, programming), Adele Nozedar (vocals, 1981-85), David Page (drum machine, 1981-?), Martin Gosnold (synthesizer, 1981-?), Richard Hornby (drums), John […]

Landscape

Landscape was an English electronic band that released the 1977–78 jazz-rock EPs U2XME1X2MUCH and Worker’s Playtime, followed by the 1979–82 RCA albums Landscape, From the Tea-rooms of Mars… to the Hell-holes of Uranus, and Manhattan Boogie Woogie. Between their first two albums, they evolved from instrumental fusion to comedic electro–pop. From the Tea-rooms of Mars… […]

Yellow Magic Orchestra

Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) was a Japanese electro/art-pop trio that released six proper albums and a live disc between 1978 and 1983 on Alfa. They were formed by veteran multi-instrumentalist Haruomi Hosono (ex-Apryl Fool, Happy End) and featured drummer Yukihiro Takahashi (ex-Sadistic Mika Band). During YMO’s initial run, singer and keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto launched a […]

Heaven 17

Heaven 17 are an English synthpop/sophisti-pop trio from Sheffield that released five albums on Virgin between 1981 and 1988. The band was formed by the instrumental half of the original Human League, musicians Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who concurrently recorded as the British Electric Foundation. The trio was completed by vocalist Glenn Gregory, […]

Denis & Denis

Denis & Denis were a Yugoslav male/female synthpop duo from Rijeka in modern-day Croatia. The two released the 1984 album Čuvaj Se! and the 1985 EP Ja Sam Lažljiva, both on Jugoton, after which vocalist Marina Perazić left for a solo career. Keyboardist Davor Tolja enlisted fellow synth player Edi Kraljić for one further album […]

Twice a Man

Twice a Man were a Swedish coldwave/synthpop trio that debuted with the album Music for Girls on Silence in 1982. Between 1983 and 1988, the band released seven albums on Xenophone. Members: Dan Söderqvist (guitar, vocals), Karl Gasleben [Ingemar Ljungström] (synthesizer, vocals), Lars Falk (guitar, 1981-82), Jocke Söderqvist (synthesizer, 1983-86) Discography: Music for Girls (1982) […]

A Flock of Seagulls

A Flock of Seagulls are an English new wave band that was initially active during the first half of the 1980s. Their name originates from the climactic verse of the 1978 Stranglers epic “Toiler on the Sea.” Hailing from Liverpool, A Flock of Seagulls achieved iconic status with their highly acclaimed, mega-selling debut album. With […]

Yazoo

Yazoo (aka Yaz) was an English synthpop duo with (ex-Depeche Mode) keyboardist–songwriter Vince Clarke and soul singer Alison Moyet. They released the 1982–83 albums Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both and charted with “Only You,” “Don’t Go,” “Situation,” and “Nobody’s Diary.” Clarke formed the subsequent synth-duo Erasure. Members: Vince Clarke (keyboards, synthesizer), Alison […]

Visage

Visage was an English electro/art-pop project that yielded a self-titled album on Polydor in 1980, spawning the hits “Fade to Grey” and “Mind of a Toy.” Further chart and club hits followed with their 1982 release The Anvil, including “The Damned Don’t Cry” and “Night Train.” Both albums feature then-current members of Ultravox (Midge Ure, […]

Vicious Pink

Vicious Pink were an English electro-pop duo from Leeds consisting of keyboardist Brian Moss and vocalist Josie Warden. Originally dubbed the Vicious Pink Phenomena, the pair released a single apiece on the small-press labels Mobile Suit Corporation and Warehouse circa 1982/83. After shortening their name, the two released a trio of singles on Parlophone between […]

Fiat Lux

Fiat Lux were an English synthpop trio that released a standalone single on Cocteau in 1982, followed by five singles on Polydor during 1983 and 1984. The band issued a partial compilation EP, Hired History, that was later reissued in expanded form to include the band’s complete recordings, including the contents of a planned mid-’80s […]

Eurythmics

Eurythmics were an English electro-pop duo that released seven studio albums and a soundtrack between 1981 and 1989 on RCA. They scored multiple 1983–85 hits, including “Sweet Dreams,” “Who’s That Girl?” “Here Comes the Rain Again,” and “Would I Lie to You?” The duo consisted of vocalist Annie Lennox and multi-instrumentalist David Stewart. They recorded […]

Martha and The Muffins

Martha and The Muffins were a Canadian New Wave band from Toronto that debuted with a self-pressed standalone single in 1978, followed by three albums on DinDisc/Virgin in 1980/81. Under the initialed M+M moniker, a trimmed lineup of the band released three further albums on Current/RCA between 1983 and 1986. Members: Martha Johnson (vocals, keyboards), […]

Autumn

Autumn was a Belgian coldwave trio that released three cassette albums and the single “Synthesize” on self-press Micrart between 1980 and 1984. Two-thirds of the band concurrently recorded as Linear Movement. Members: Peter Bonne [aka Ense] (drums, guitar, synthesizer), Geert Coppens [aka Sen] (vocals, synthesizer), Peter Koutstaal (1981-84) Discography: Seven Days Autumn (cassette, 1980) “Synthesize” […]

Data

Data were an English synthpop trio that released two albums on Illuminated between 1981 and 1983, followed by a third on Sire in 1985. The band was headed by Norwegian-born musician Georg Kajanus, best known as the frontman of Sailor during the mid-1970s. Members: Georg Kajanus (keyboards, vocals, guitar), Frankie Boulter (vocals), Phil Boulter (vocals) […]

Spoons

Spoons were a Canadian synthpop band that released three albums on Ready Records between 1981 and 1983, followed by two further albums on Anthem during the late 1980s. Members: Gordon Deppe (vocals, guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals, bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synthesizer, 1979-80), Peter Shepherd (drums, 1979), Derrick Ross (drums, 1980-86), Rob Preuss (keyboards, synthesizer, 1981-86), […]

Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats were a Québécois New Wave/synthpop band that debuted with an EP on self-press H.A.T.S. Inc. in 1980, followed by two albums on Statik/MCA between 1982 and 1984. A further round of titles appeared on Mercury during the late 1980s. Members: Ivan Doroschuk [Ivan] (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Dave Hill (bass, 1977-78), John Gurin […]

Rational Youth

Rational Youth were a Québécois coldwave/synthpop band that released the album Cold War Night Life on Yul in 1982, followed by an EP and a second album on Capitol in 1985. Members: Tracy Howe (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Mario Spezzo (keyboards, 1981), Bill Vorn (keyboards, vocoder, 1981-82, 1996-97), Kevin Komoda (keyboards, 1982-83), Denis Duran (bass, 1983), […]

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby is an English keyboardist, songwriter, producer, and arranger who first appeared on the 1979 album English Garden by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club. After working for two years as a session musician (Foreigner, Jane Kennaway, Joan Armatrading, Thompson Twins), Lene Lovich charted with his song “New Toy.” Dolby launched his solo career […]

Fischer-Z

Fischer-Z was an English New Wave/electro-rock band that released three albums on UA/Liberty between 1979 and 1981, splitting thereafter so that frontman/songwriter John Watts could focus on his solo career. In 1987, he resurrected the Fischer-Z nameplate with a new lineup, releasing albums at sporadic intervals during the subsequent three decades. Members: John Watts (lead […]

The Fixx

The Fixx are an English modern rock band that released four albums and a live disc on MCA between 1982 and 1987. On their early releases, the band carried the sonic innovations of producer Rupert Hine to a wider transatlantic audience. Members: Cy Curnin (vocals, piano), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Charles Barret (bass, […]

Telex

Telex were a Belgian electro/art-pop trio that released the album Looking for Saint-Tropez on Vogue/RKM in 1979, followed by Neurovision in 1980. Two tracks from the former were appended to the latter for a U.S. issue on Sire. In 1981, the band enlisted the lyrical services of Sparks for the Ariola release Sex. Two further […]

Chrisma

Chrisma were an Italian coldwave/synthpunk duo that released two albums on Polydor between 1977 and 1979. The nameplate was subsequently modified to Krisma for a string of synthpop recordings during the 1980s. Members: Maurizio Arcieri, Christina Moser Discography: “Amore” / “Sweet Baby Sue” (1976) Chinese Restaurant (1977) Hibernation (1979) Cathode Mamma (1980) Clandestine Anticipation (1982) […]

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club were an English New Wave band that released a self-titled album on Epic in 1979. Woolley had initially been a member of the Buggles, co-writing the duo’s popular song “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The Camera Club also featured keyboardist Thomas Dolby, who subsequently launched a successful solo career. […]

Bronski Beat

Bronski Beat was a Scottish–English synthpop band that released two albums and a remix compilation between 1984 and 1986 on Forbidden Fruit. The first album features singer Jimmy Somerville, who released two subsequent albums as one-half of The Communards. Members: Steve Bronski (keyboards, percussion, acoustic guitar, programming), Larry Steinbachek (keyboards, percussion), Jimmy Somerville (vocals, 1983-85, […]

Blancmange

Blancmange was an English synthpop duo that released three albums between 1982 and 1985 on London Records. Members: Neil Arthur (vocals, guitar), Stephen Luscombe (keyboards), Laurence Stevens (keyboards, 1979) Inception Blancmange formed in 1979 in Harrow when singer Neil Arthur (b. June 15, 1958, Darwen, Lancashire) teamed with multi-instrumentalists Stephen Luscombe (b. October 29, 1954, […]

Poeme Electronique

Poeme Electronique was an English coldwave band from London that released the 1982 standalone single “The Echoes Fade” on Disques Carrère. In 2009, two album’s worth of vaulted material appeared on the archival disc The Echoes Fade on Anna Logue Records. Members: Julie Ruler (vocals, choreographer), Sharon Abbott [aka Sharon] (vocals, choreographer), Dave Hewson (synthesizer), […]

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys are an English electro-pop duo that released four proper albums on Parlophone between 1986 and 1990, followed by more than a dozen further titles on the label over the subsequent quarter-century. Members: Neil Tennant (vocals), Chris Lowe (keyboards, vocals) Background Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in 1981 at a King’s Road […]

Olé Olé

Olé Olé were a Spanish synthpop band that released two albums with vocalist Vicky Larraz during 1983 and 1984, followed by four albums with singer Marta Sánchez between 1986 and 1990. Members: Gustavo Montesano (guitar), Emilio Estecha (bass, 1982-?, 2016-present), Juan Tarodo (drums, 1983-2007), Luis Carlos Esteban (keyboards, 1982-85), Vicky Larraz (vocals, 1983-85, 2016-present), Marcelo […]

Mecano

Mecano were a Spanish New Romantic/synthpop band that released three studio albums and a live disc on CBS between 1982 and 1985, followed by three further titles on BMG Ariola. Members: Ana Torroja (vocals), José María Cano (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Nacho Cano (keyboards, vocals) Discography: Mecano (1982) ¿Dónde está el País de las Hadas? (1983) […]

KaS Product

KaS Product were a French coldwave/synthpop duo that released two EPs on self-press Punk Records in 1980, followed by three albums and accompanying singles on RCA and Disc’ AZ between 1982 and 1986. Members: Mona Soyoc (vocals, guitar, piano), Spatsz (electronics, electronic drums, synthesizer) Discography: Mind (EP, 1980) Play Loud (EP, 1980) Try Out (1982) […]

Vision

Vision were an English synthpop band from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, formed in 1981 as Spiral Visions. In 1982, the band self-released the EP Danse Macabre and the cassette-album Insight, followed by the Italian chart single “Lucifer’s Friend.” A further round of singles appeared on MVM/PRT during the ensuing five-year period. Members: Andy Beaumont (keyboards), Russell […]