If you’re a music fan, you’ve had it happen to you – you remember a bit of a song, a far-off recollection, and it drives you NUTS for days/weeks/months until you figure it out or give up. This is one such story, with a happy ending.
My friend Laura, who writes the Lyrique Discorde blog, has a regular feature on her personal Facebook page where every Friday she asks people to post songs on a theme. This past Friday, April 10th, the theme was “home.” Songs posted by her friends included “Home” by Depeche Mode, “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals, “Home and Dry” by Pet Shop Boys, and “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads. (Here is the resultant blog post)
I didn’t post a song, because I thought of a song called “Home” that I wanted to post, but I couldn’t remember who the artist was. It’s very difficult to find a song called “Home” when you’re Googling “home 90’s band.” It’s like trying to google The The once upon a time. (Their algorithms seem to have been adjusted)
So I vented my frustration on my personal Facebook page after spending a solid hour or two trying to think of it: “Drivin’ me nuts trying to recall the name of a band who had a song called “Home” in the 90’s. Slow song, electronic sounding. Mostly just remember the drums. Probably early-mid 90’s, like 93 or so.”
I have a lot of kind musichead friends who then tried to help, suggesting sites like whodoesthatsong.com, tsort.info, and allmusic.com. They also suggested songs, from “You’re My Only Home” by the Magnetic Fields to “Home” by Pop Will Eat Itself. I tried to further clarify by posting that I couldn’t remember any lyrics, just “‘Home…da da da da…home’ with the ‘da da da da’ being lyrics i cant remember, and that the singer had a deep voice with what might be a German accent, that it was a marginal song (maybe not a single), that I felt like the name of the band was two words (possibly starting with “the” like “The Something Somethings”) and started with an S, and that the beat in the song resembled the Amen break.
I tried to remember the song for the past 2 days. I was unsuccessful.
I also acknowledged that my “feelings” about the letter of the alphabet that band names start with has been wildly incorrect in the past.
This morning, as I dozed, I started thinking about what the song might be. I used the technique that my friend Richard suggested, which he called “state-dependent recall” and described as to “put your mind in the same place it was when you last could likely recall it.” I had sort of been doing that and could get brief flashes of memory to open up, only to close in that same instant, having not yielded any information.
Heading down the path of the German accent, I picked up my phone and Googled “german electronic bands 90’s” Of course there’s a Wikipedia article of German electronic music groups. 🙂 The list wasn’t too long, so I didn’t care that it wasn’t specifically from the 90s. I did not see a familiar band name in the list, but I still could hear the hint of a Germanic accent in my head when I remembered the song.
One of the suggestions on my phone when I googled “german electronic bands” was a list of industrial bands, so I clicked on that to have a browse. See, one of the nagging thoughts in my head was that the song was coming from a band that had a previous history of harder music, and this track was a bit softer than their previous music. Many industrial bands span a variety of tempos & styles within the genre, so I figured I’d give it a once-over. Not to mention that the genre in the early-mid 90’s was fairly plastic, being influenced by other genres (techno, house, etc) and legitimized in ways by popular bands like U2 and Depeche Mode.
Wikipedia’s List of industrial music bands
That list rendered on my phone as closed menus that I had to open one by one. (I liked this – it added to the suspense. :)) I opened the “A” section and saw à;GRUMH… – a band I hadn’t thought of for YEARS.
A bit of backstory – I had already started listening to the music characterized as “industrial” back in high school. Bands like Skinny Puppy and Depeche Mode songs like “Work Hard” and seeing the video of “Sensoria” by Cabaret Voltaire on FM/TV (Teletunes), a local video show here in Colorado on channel 12 public television.
Once I started working at KCR in 1990, I met others who had a like mind and were even more into industrial than I was. Specifically, another DJ known as Chase. He opened my eyes to a lot more industrial music than I knew existed, and some stuff harder than I had fathomed. (Thinking stuff like Foetus, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nurse With Wound)
So, back to à;GRUMH…. I clicked through to read up on the band, seeing as I hadn’t thought of them in so long, and wanted to know what they had gotten up to. Not much, as the Wiki article would show, but I saw that they were a Belgian band. Duh. German is spoken in some parts of Belgium, and there was a pretty solid component of Belgian industrial bands. Ok, so I needed to widen my scope. But I was going to look through this list anyway.
I made my way through the list, anticipating looking through the “S” section because of my strong feeling that the band name started with S. (Also realizing, as I said before, that my hunches about band names starting with specific letters often proved wrong.)
I browsed through some of the band names that I recognized to see if anything rang a bell. Chris & Cosey, Coil, Front Line Assembly, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Neon Judgement, Sister Machine Gun, The Young Gods…. I didn’t find any of them to have a single named “Home,” but some of the articles didn’t list singles.
Something about The Neon Judgement rang a bell, and they’re a Belgian band, so I clicked through to their website, and then to their discography page.
Hey! WAIT! That album cover…I think that’s it!!!
|The Neon Judgement – Are You Real – 1991 Play It Again Sam Records|
Thanks to all of my friends who tried to help! I knew it was something I’d have to find for myself, by myself. And I’m glad I did.
But wait, there’s more! On The Neon Judgement’s website, I see that they’ve got a vinyl box set coming out later this week on Record Store Day, Saturday April 18, 2015. Coooool!
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