Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Josef K- The Only Fun in Town (1981) / Sorry for Laughing (1990) / Young and Stupid (1987) MP3 & FLAC

"So I'll disappear through the crack in the wall, and the memories I leave
will be nothing at all."

Despite Josef K's brief existence (they decided to disband after releasing only one album), they proved to be one of the more influential bands of their era, which only serves to remind what a dynamic and utterly unpredictable time Post-Punk's early years actually were. Staunchly unconventional, the band formed in 1979 and almost immediately became a charter member of the burgeoning Scottish Post-Punk scene, especially after signing with Postcard records, a legendary Scottish indie label run by Alan Horne who also issued Orange Juice's early singles. Josef K frontman Paul Haig: "Alan Horne was desperate to become Scotland's answer to Andy Warhol, and Postcard Records was more conceptual than corporate. Really, Alan kept a few papers in a top drawer in his flat- that was Postcard [....] There was some pushiness from him to be more accessible, like Orange Juice. He really didn't like our trebly guitars and our noisiness." Despite Horne's reservations about the commercial viability of the band's sound, Josef K released several critically-lauded singles before recording their debut album, Sorry for Laughing, in late 1980; however, on the eve of the album's release the following year, the band decided to scrap it, claiming the album sounded too polished. In actuality, Sorry for Laughing, though not representative of Josef K's live sound at the time, did seem to open up a number of new sonic vistas for the band, as it tempered their trademark abrasiveness a bit in the service of a slightly more arty and fully-formed sound. On the title track, the band comes across as something like a version of Joy Division with grander pop inclinations, and on the stunning, "Endless Soul," Josef K edges into territories unknown as they carve out an abrasively poppy sound that proves to be a heady counterpoint to Haig's nervy croon. Now without an album to release, the band returned to the studio and hammered out The Only Fun in Town in less than a week. Haig: "When we recorded The Only Fun in Town, we wanted to keep our live sound as much as possible. We thrashed it out in a really short time- it only took six days- and on purpose we mixed the album low because we wanted to keep that live feel, which again in hindsight was pretty stupid. Afterwards we made things slightly more polished, but the album was still pretty abrasive." Whereas Sorry for Laughing suggested a band edging toward a slightly more open, approachable sound, The Only Fun in Town is a torrid and uncompromising blast of trebly alienation. On lead track "Fun 'n Frenzy," a spidery Television-inspired lead guitar figure is counter-balanced with some dissonant chording from the rhythm guitar, setting up a strange, almost surf-rock feel for Haig's razor's edge croon. One of the re-recorded songs that benefits greatly from the less-polished approach of The Only Fun in Town is "Sorry for Laughing," which, while certainly sounding more shambolic, contains one of Haig's best vocal performances- he is far more convincing here than on the earlier version. Ironically, after having gone to the trouble of recording a new debut album because the original, according to Haig, sounded "flat and disinfected," the new album was roundly panned by the critics, with NME actually claiming, "Josef K have cheapened themselves and cheated the world." The band dissolved soon thereafter, but in another ironic twist worthy of their name, twenty years later they became one of the most influential bands of the original Post-Punk era. Haig: "Josef K were the ultimate band for me. It was so intense, a way of life, a very special thing. And that's proved by the fact people are still interested in what we did."

The Only Fun in Town / Sorry for Laughing   
(Rev-ola/Creation U.K. ~ 1999/1981 ~ Remastered)


-The Only Fun in Town
 1. Fun 'n Frenzy  (2:06)
 2. Revelation  (4:17)
 3. Crazy to Exist  (2:59)
 4. It's Kinda Funny  (3:30)
 5. The Angle  (2:43)
 6. Forever Drone  (2:01)
 7. Heart of Song  (2:54)
 8. 16 Years  (2:32)
 9. Citizens  (3:01)
10. Sorry for Laughing  (3:13)

-Sorry for Laughing
11. Fun 'n Frenzy  (2:11)
12. Heads Watch  (2:07)
13. Drone  (3:08)
14. Sense of Guilt  (3:05)
15. Art of Things  (2:20)
16. Crazy to Exist  (3:03)
17. Citizens  (3:06)
18. Variation of Scene  (3:31)
19. Terry's Show Lies  (2:48)
20. No Glory  (2:35)
21. Endless Soul  (2:31)
22. Sorry for Laughing  (3:22)

Young and Stupid   
(Les Temps Modernes ~ 2002/1987 ~ Remastered Edition)

 1. Romance  (2:54)
 2. Chance Meeting  (2:58)
 3. Radio Drill Time  (4:06)
 4. Crazy to Exist (Live)  (3:01)
 5. It's Kinda Funny  (3:40)
 6. Final Request  (2:18)
 7. Sorry for Laughing  (3:01)
 8. Revelation  (4:16)
 9. Chance Meeting  (3:07)
10. Pictures (Of Cindy)  (2:19)
11. The Angle (One Angle)  (2:42)
12. The Angle (Second Angle)  (2:36)
13. The Missionary  (3:49)
14. Heart of Song  (3:20)
15. Applebush  (2:20)
16. Heaven Sent  (3:35)
17. Endless Soul  (2:25)
18. Radio Drill Time (Demo)  (4:18)
19. Torn Mentor  (5:13)
20. Night Ritual  (2:45)
21. Adoration (Live- Aug. 16, 1981)  (4:42)


  1. Hmm...first of heard of it, I'll have to check it out. By chance do you have any Tones On Tail?

  2. Well after that excellent review I look forward to giving this band a listen. I am still amazed by how many bands I haven't heard. I thought I knew what was happening too. The truth hurts!

  3. Oh goodie! Only had Young and Stupid before. Thanks!

  4. Got my goog workin! Gonna post Wayne Newton, Engelbert Humperdinck, Boxcar Wille, Jose Schenkmano and Barry Manilow!

  5. WOW...I already have "The Only Fun In Town/Sorry For Laughing" CD so getting "Young And Stupid" is a definite bonus for me. I used to frequent some of Edinburgh's trendy bars in the New Town and met Paul Haig a couple of times during 1983. Always had fond memories of seeing Josef K and Orange Juice during their Postcard days playing some awesome music. Another couple of firm Edinburgh favourites from back then were "Fire Engines" and "Scars"...Seek them out :))

  6. I sold all my orignals of Josef K for huge wads of money. Didn't really regret it either!!
    Really like all of Paul Haig's stuff and as for him and Billy Mackenzie together... Now you're talking.

  7. Dean, I have the Tones on Tail comp that has all their recordings. I'll post it here this coming weekend

  8. scurfie, these guys have a sizable following among the Franz Ferdinand set, but I just think they're a nice bit of trebly goodness

  9. MT, that's a formidable list. Any deluxe editions?

  10. AndieJames, Fire Engine is already on my radar. I'll look around for both. Haig seems like a very interesting bloke

  11. Michael, I was thinking of posting some of Haig's solo work. Any further recommendations?

  12. Sometimes it is deluxe redux, there is many video files inside the album directories. Mostly windows formats but there is some quicktimes, got gigs of quicktimes on the ol' mac machine. They run awesome on a mac machine but look crappy on a ibm/windows box. >:-]

  13. I was just having a look for the gig that I was at with Josef K and Orange Juice...and dag nab it, I found it!!


    Scroll down about a quarter of the way and there's some pics of both bands plus the original month gig flyer for April 1980 (I was 15 and at high school...) :))

  14. That Edinburgh page is primo scree! Great Bauhaus link loads of cool pics. Thanks for sharing.

  15. yes, thank you for the link to the amazing page. Great stuff!

  16. voixatre, (from Michael), I'll get back to you on Paul Haig "stuff". We all have different musical tastes; as they say, "One man's meat is another man's poison" but have you come across the Associates from the 80's. For me anyway they are the finest group Scotland ever produced. I actually cried when I heard that Billy Mac (kenzie) took his own life. A troubled soul indeed... Try and check out ANY of their albums, 12"s. I am sure the readers would be interested to hear them if they haven't already. Cheers, Michael.

  17. Michael, I definitely will look for the Associates. I have a Fire Engines double post planned for the near future. Did Billy Mac do an album with Haig at some point?

  18. This seems to be the same version as what I posted on HFS40K a while ago because both have a couple of tracks that have decoding problem. Guess we are still left at finding a perfect rip :)

  19. voixautre, (from Michael). Indeed Billy Mac made an album with Paul Haig. Originally released in '99 on 'Rhythm of Life' it was reissued in 2004 on 'One Little Indian' with 4 bonus tracks.
    I had to buy it again and being an obsessive still have both copies. It has a sort of 'electronica' start about it but then goes 'rock' for want of another word. Then there is his 'piano' album 'Transmission Impossible' plus the mega-fine 'Auchtermatic' - both also on 'One Little Indian'. I feel I should plug his other 2 solos, 'Beyond the Sun' and 'Outernational'. And then I can't forget 'Eurocentric' an album he made with Steve Aungle. As you can see I am an obsessive - and I don't care! For me Billy was one of the finest male vocalists ever, maybe because of his great warmth and charm when I met the Associates at a gig in Cambridge (UK).
    R.I.P. my friend.
    P.S. Paul Haig to follow!!

  20. voixautre, (from Michael again!) - Paul Haig...
    A complete contrast to music of Josef K!
    More electronic. The first solo 'Rhythm of Life' reissued in 2004 with 5 remixes, definitely has an 80's feel to it. But a fine album indeed. 'The Warp of Pure Fun' followed, then 'Circa' and then 'Coincidence vs. Fate', all albums having great tracks on them. He then went onto 'imaginary' soundtracks making 'Cinematique 1' '2' and '3'. In '07 he made 'Electronik Audience' which definitely has a Kraftwerk feel to it. Then came 'Go out tonight' which is back to 'rock' and then lastly, 'Relive' which I can't really remember as I only have this on an mp3 file!! So I would try the first 4 that I mentioned and then maybe go on from there. Can't believe he has been making solo albums for 28 years now!
    Cheers, Michael.

  21. leakingwater, I forgot which one I grabbed from HFS- is it "The Only Fun in Town"? If so, I'll get a perfect copy posted here ASAP. Let me know

  22. Michael, thanks for all the info on Haig and Billy Mac, I found all the remastered re-issues of The Associates and wow, how could I have not known about this band? I will be posting them in the near future. Another band that is pretty amazing is The Scars. So much incredible music, so little time!

  23. leakingwater, I've replaced "The Only Fun in Town/Sorry for Laughing" with a perfect 100/100 EAC rip. Enjoy!

  24. voixautre, (from Michael). I think that you hit the nail exactly on the head with your comment about music and so little time.
    Really looking forward to seeing your posts on the Associates and hopes that everyone likes the music they hear.
    I'll try and check out the Scars too.
    Cheers, Michael.

  25. Michael, since starying the blogs, I've discovered so much music that I wonder if one lifetime is enough to listen to it all. It's both exhilarating and frustrating. The Scars are another Scottish post-punk band from the same time (early-eighties) and I really like them!

  26. Thanks voix. I was looking for this.

  27. frankroo, you're welcome my friend! More Scottish post-punk coming soon :)

  28. That's fine and keep posted for them Voix!

  29. Thank you for the Young and Stupid comp!



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