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"SPIN - Songs You Must Hear Now!"

"New York quartet's bell-ringing guitars and dark-overcoat charisma transport you back to the Chameleons' anthemic heyday." - SPIN

"Midnight Of The Century review"

Blacklist – Midnight of the Century
Review by Mike Bax

I find it a little weird that I knew this album was going to be unique before I even played a song from it. Call it gut instinct or something… I liked the cover artwork, and the bio accompanying the album indicated that the album was both epic and dense. Sure, this could be said of almost all of the albums that spill out of the numerous bubble envelopes that grace my mailbox… but Blacklist called out to me for some reason.

Blacklist’s material reminds me of some of the early post-punk bands I dug from the late seventies and early eighties. Bands like Bauhaus and Joy Division. Of course… throwing two significant names like the Bauhaus and the mighty JD will get me a verbal thrashing from the puritans out there. But I’m sticking to my guns – their influences can be heard on numerous songs on Midnight of the Century. I’ll also throw in The Edge, as the guitaring on ‘Flight of the Demoiselles’ by James Minor & Josh Strawn is reminiscent of some of U2’s more epic material.

All comparisons aside… Midnight of the Century is a fine debut album, from a Brooklyn band destined for great things in the coming year or two. There’s enough honest blood, sweat and tears on each of the eleven tracks to attract a solid following from the most jaded of music fans out there. Hit their MySpace and be prepared to be humbled. - Fazer Magazine

"Wierd Records profile"

Scene and heard: Cold wave
Welcome to New York clubland's best-kept secret ... gloomy European post-punk

Just when you thought every seven-inch of the post-punk 80s had been plundered, affect a suitably melancholic pose for the revival of a new old sound from the vaults – cold wave.

Not so much forgotten as little heard in the first place, cold wave – and its dancier, synth-powered cousin, minimal wave – finds its roots in early 80s France. There, bands like Montpellier's Les Provisoires and Courbevoie's Asylum Party started playing gloomy post-punk in their native tongue, inspired by the icy guitars and studio-produced drum sounds pioneered by Factory Records producer Martin Hannett. The French press called it la vague froide, and the sound spread across Europe, but it never went overground, and vast amounts of records slipped under the radar, lost to history.

"The original waves of both the cold wave and the minimal electronic bands were a phenomenon that occurred entirely outside of metropolitan areas like Paris, Berlin, or Amsterdam," says Pieter Schoolwerth, a New York promoter whose club, Wierd, has done much to rescue the lost sounds from obscurity. "Many of the most important bands were from the suburbs and small towns, and I think this sense of 'isolation' from commercial, metropolitan media informed the music's expressive sense of longing for community or connection."

Schoolwerth began throwing Wierd parties at the Southside Lounge in Brooklyn back in 2003, events that first of all attracted what he describes as "a mix of visual artists, musicians and true outcasts – transvestites, truckers and Hasidic Jews were all in attendance on a weekly basis, and we went out of our way to embrace the real lost, lonely souls". In 2006, Wierd became a record label to capture the new bands congregating around the club, like anthemic cold-wavers Blacklist – think: the Mission, the Chameleons, big overcoats – or the more severe minimal electronic bands like Sean McBride's projects Martial Canterel and Xeno and Oaklander, all clanking synthesisers and mordant, gothic vocals.

Now, cold wave and minimal synth seems to be at the point electroclash found itself at in 2001: New York clubland's best-kept secret, poised for crossover success. Perhaps, like electroclash, the music will remain a little too arch, a little to arty for mainstream consumption. But the Wierd parties have now found a permanent Wednesday night home at Home Sweet Home, an old factory in Manhattan's Chinatown, and Schoolwerth is busy compiling a compilation, WIERD Records Presents: Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics - Part I, for release in the UK on Angular Records later this year.

"We've had parties everywhere, from people's painting studios to proper rock clubs all over the city. We even had one party where Echo West from west Germany performed with Xeno and Oaklander on an old second world war ship anchored in the Hudson river," says Schoolwerth. "And we now have a new, younger generation of club kids, students and music fans who are feeling the melancholy pleasures of the cold wave." - The Guardian UK

"The Legends/Blacklist @ Santos Party House, NYC 6/24/09"

A giant disco ball hung in the center of the room at Santos Party House, reflecting patterns of light over the entire surface of the floor. On the stage, The Legends, hailing from Sweden, played a set of twee-informed fuzz rock. A heavy dose of fog filled the room as the band careened through several high-energy numbers, recalling both the Jesus and Mary Chain’s feedback-laced assault as well as the fun, playful flair of The Vaselines, complete with dry, high-pitched female backing vocals and the steady strike of the tambourine. The band weren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I can’t hold that against them in this case.

Meanwhile, Blacklist delivered a set chock full of icy, dark rock seldom heard in this day and age. It had been far too long since I’d last seen the New York post-punk revivalists, fresh off the release of their debut record, Midnight of the Century. Their performance was a solid affair, running through several of the record’s standout cuts with the same coldwave guitars, pounding rhythms, and catchy hooks in tow. Highlights included the powerful proclamation of “Still Changes,” the darkwave dirge of “Language of the Living Dead,” and closing track “The Believer,” which combined both the soaring immediacy of U2 and The Alarm with the more steady cadence of classic Sisters of Mercy, resulting in one of the band’s strongest and most satisfying numbers.

Blacklist’s set came to its conclusion far too early for my taste, but fortunately, the band will be appearing as part of the upcoming Brooklyn-based Eye and Ear Festival, alongside several like minded peers, DJs, and record vendors. For those eager for a dose of the New York underground this summer, look no further. - Limewire Blog

"Flight Of The Demoiselles single"

Brooklyn rock quartet Blacklist just announced their new album, Midnight Of The Century, will be out July 28th through Wierd Records, and man has it been a minute since we heard anything this clean. Ed Buller, who's worked with Suede, Slowdive, and White Lies, contributed mixing, while Howie Weinberg–masterer of Nevermind and a million others–did his thing at the end. "Flight Of The Demoiselles" is one of those songs that would sound awesome on a big stage, and we enjoy thinking of our lives on an epic level like that so we are cosigning. Do you even know what a demoiselle is? It's a crane. A gorgeous, exotic crane. Now you know. Our spell check still doesn't. - RCRD LBL

"Blacklist / Wierd Records profile"

The Wierd Records Social Club
A Cold Wave-worshipping crew drags frigid, gothic pop darkness into the light
By Jonathan Garrett
Tuesday, May 26th 2009 at 3:38pm
Scott Irvine

The title of brooding post-punk quartet Blacklist's debut CD nicely sums up their darkly romantic worldview, but Midnight of the Century also serves as a rallying cry for the band's fledgling NYC-based label. Founded by Pieter Schoolwerth in 2006, Wierd Records—spelling intentional—specializes in music as lyrically ominous as it is sonically austere: Though some dismiss it as a mere revivalist tribute to '80s goth rock, the imprint actually casts its net far wider, hailing international phenomena like France's guitar-driven Cold Wave (derived from Joy Division and the claustrophobic, steely production of Martin Hannett) and the synth-based Minimal Electronics movement.

"In the U.S. and England, it's an uphill battle for people to even find this music," Schoolwerth explains. "Because the original Minimal Electronics and Cold Wave bands never made it here, this music is just incredibly unfamiliar." The label head, a respected visual artist by day, has taken it upon himself to introduce Americans to these dark sounds via a small but burgeoning family of contemporary acts, including Miami's Opus Finis, Martial Canterel, and, of course, fellow Brooklynites Blacklist. Midnight eschews either genre's formal trappings: While Blacklist did offer a faithful cover of seminal Cold Wave band Asylum Party's "Pure Joy in My Heart" on an early EP, the full-length's icy sound and quaking bottom end is counterbalanced by a more inviting, anthemic impulse, epitomized by surging lead single "Flight of the Demoiselles."

The band largely owes its existence to Schoolwerth, who, along with future Blacklist drummer Glenn Maryansky, began Wierd as a series of DJ nights at the Southside Lounge in 2003, providing a regular social outlet, an escape from art-studio solitary confinement, and a chance to share his enviable stacks of rare vinyl. What began as an informal weekly ritual for a handful of Williamsburg residents eventually morphed into a series of elaborate events staged throughout the city—everywhere from painting studios to proper rock clubs to an old World War II ship anchored in the Hudson—and featured live performances from artists who shared Schoolwerth's vision. At one such party, Maryansky met Virginia transplant Josh Strawn, Blacklist's future frontman. Wierd even played host to the band's very first show in 2004; both Strawn and Schoolwerth credit a community "driven by live performance and supporting your friends" for the band's development. "It's everything that the Internet can't be," their label head explains. "Flesh and blood, which is very rare in this day and age."

Strawn hopes that Midnight, Wierd's most accessible and rock-oriented release, can serve as a point of entry for those curious about the label and its musical roots. "Instead of taking all these little weird things I like and making something really weird," he explains, "it's kind of an interesting thing to me to try and take all that weird stuff, send it into the center of the universe, and hope it changes the orbit of everything." - Village Voice

"Getting To Know... Blacklist"

NEW YORK — Music fans who miss the glory days of post-punk and ‘80s alternative need look no further than “Midnight of the Century,” the debut album from New York quartet Blacklist, which offers a quick fix.
Blast recently spoke with three-quarters of the band (minus guitarist James Minor) as they prepared for the July 28 release of their record.
The Blacklist seed was planted in 2004, when singer Josh Strawn and guitarist Ryan Rayhill, both New York transplants, met each other and shortly thereafter formed a band whose sound emulated the likes of Iron Maiden and Motorhead. The eventually addition of drummer Glenn Maryansky prompted their music to evolve to a “more melodic, atmospheric post-punk” aesthetic, according to Strawn.

Music fans who miss the glory days of post-punk and ‘80s alternative need look no further than “Midnight of the Century,” the debut album from New York quartet Blacklist, which offers a quick fix.
Strawn’s soaring, Peter Murphy-esque vocals don’t seem to fit with his softspoken, contemplative offstage persona. A high-minded, politically passionate frontman who says that, if music were not an option, he’d be studying Farsi in pursuit of a journalism career in Iran, Strawn’s resume includes a past stint as a community organizer for ACORN. His list of lyrical inspirations includes figures like George Orwell and astronomer Carl Sagan.
The name Blacklist, originally proposed by Rayhill, is an apt reflection of this mindset.
“It was kind of serendipitous,” said Strawn, pointing to the fact that he often draws on the memoirs of political dissidents to flesh out his songs (sample lyric: “We’re gonna gather in the street like soldiers … we’re gonna burn our flags”). The album title itself is a throwback to Russian revolutionary Victor Serge, whose novel “Midnight In the Century” offered a detailed account of life in the Gulag.
Sonically, “Midnight of the Century” is crafted from accessible metal that occasionally strays into pop territory and, at times, even borders on danceable. From the moment it gets underway with the thumping opener “Still Changes,” “Midnight” immediately calls to mind ‘80s alternative powerhouses like Joy Division, The Cult and The Church. But the band members identify more obscure bands like The Sound, The Lucy Show and Asylum Party — “a lot of stuff that flew under the radar in the ‘80s that should have made it big,” according to Maryansky — as being more influential.
The fact that Blacklist’s sound doesn’t fit easily into one single category (“A lot of people like to put us in the goth hole,” Rayhill laments), but instead blurs the divisions between New Wave, metal, pop and glam rock, sits well with the members.
“There’s always been an effort to walk interesting lines between what’s a macho sound and what’s a feminine, makeup-wearing sound,” Strawn said. “We’re into all of it. … it’s more about a sonic space than it is about trying to fit into it.”
Elizabeth Raftery is the managing editor of Blast - Blast Magazine


Midnight Of The Century LP - July 2009 (Wierd Records)
Flight Of The Demoiselles single - May 2009 (Wierd Records)
Solidaire EP - 2008 (Wierd Records)
Blacklist EP - 2005 (Wierd Records)



To listen to Blacklist is to listen to people who have chosen to stand in opposition. Complex and modern themes are wound tightly inside impressionistic lyrics, available to be unravelled by the curious listener or ignored by those who find themselves moved primarily by the force of the music. The band's debut LP, Midnight Of The Century, is raw ambition mixed with raw power. Mixed by Ed Buller (Suede, Slowdive, Pulp, White Lies) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Muse, Jeff Buckley, Iron Maiden, U2, Nirvana), it is a potent dose of rock and roll maximalism.

When the revolutionary Victor Serge coined the idea of a midnight in the century, he was referring to the dark pact between two of the cruelest tyrants the world had ever seen. And yet Serge is perhaps best known for his rambunctious, stubborn attitude in the face of such darkness: "the course is set on hope," he wrote. It is precisely this marriage of extremity to romantic optimism that characterizes Midnight Of The Century -- not just in the realm of ideas, but musically as well. Despite its density of sound and shadowy atmospheres, the record is the soundtrack to an uplifting journey that is as personal as it is universal. It is also a fitting manifesto announcing the arrival of Blacklist.