1. Tokyo Olympics – Radio (1981, A Side, Dublin)
2. Kissed Air – Kariba (1982, A Side, Belfast)
3. Neuro – Nairobi (1982, A Side, Waterford)
4. The Atrix – Triad (1982, A Side, Dublin)
5. The Camino Organisation – Human Voices (1982, A Side, Dublin)
6. Stano – Room (1982, A Side, Dublin)
7. Virgin Prunes – Pagan Love Song (1982, A Side, Dublin)
8. Kissed Air – Out Of The Night (1982, A Side, Belfast)
9. Pop Mecanics – Soldier Boys (1982, A Side, Dublin)
10. U2 – A Celebration (1982, A Side, Dublin)
11. The Blades – The Bride Wore White (1982, A Side, Dublin)
12. The Alsations – 5 Honours And A 175 (1982, A Side, Dublin)
13. The Tabs – Million Miles (1982, A Side, Dublin)
14. Blue Russia – Russian Around (1983, A Side, Dublin)
15. Eugene – Julie Cries (1983, A Side, Dublin)
16. Microdisney – Pink Skinned Man (1983, A Side, Cork)
17. Five Go Down To The Sea – Elephants For Fun And Profit (1983, EP Track, Cork)
18. Neuro – Silhoutes And Silent Figures (1983, A Side, Waterford)
19. Reufrex – Capital Letters (1983, A Side, Belfast)
20. Big Self – Ghost Shirts (1983, A Side, Belfast)
21. Autobop – Secrets (1983, A Side, Dublin)
22. The Blades – Downmarket (1983, A Side, Dublin)
23. Five Go Down To The Sea – Glee Club (1984, EP Track, Cork)
24. Microdisney – Dolly (1984, A Side, Cork)
25. Blue In Heaven – Julie Cries (1984, A Side, Dublin)
26. The Fountainhead – Rhythm Method (1984, A Side, Dublin)
To illustrate this curious period in alternative Irish music you don’t have to look any further than DC Nien’s transformation from tough looking, edgy sounding post-punks (that’s them above deafening that poor woman) to the New Romantic / dance band, Tokyo Olympics. Initially released in December 1981, Radio was the title track of the band’s only album released in 1982. Despite the makeover and new sound, success outside Ireland proved elusive.
Also employing those distinctive early 80s dance, bass and drum patterns and guitar rhythms were Kissed Air. Kariba was the first of three releases from the Belfast band, that initially relocated to Dublin before moving to London and releasing the follow up ‘Out Of The Night’. Kabuki, the record label started by the band would also help launch the careers of other important Irish acts.
Neuro from Waterford, were another band to marry a Post Punk / New Romantic look and sound. The band signed an international deal with WEA and released two singles ‘Nairobi’ in 1982 and ‘Silhoutes And Silent Figures’ the following year. However, a mooted album never appeared. The band’s session for the Dave Fanning Show can be found on the excellent Fanning Sessions blog.
The Atrix’ first post Procession album release ‘Triad’ had a more synthesized sound than their earlier material. It was to be the last release by the original band, though John Borrowman did reuse the name for the Irish release of his next band’s ‘Very Much In Love‘ single in 1985. The singer’s final set ‘Stoned Circle’ recorded some years later, can be heard courtesy of Fanning Sessions. Fan of the band, John Fleming has posted a half hour gig originally recorded and broadcast by RTE in March 1982.
Also embracing the latest technology were Dublin band The Camino Organisation on their 1982 single ‘Human Voices’.
Following the demise of The Threat, their synth player, Stano released the experimental single ‘Room’. He went on to release several albums.
After their ambitious New Form Of Beauty project, The Virgin Prunes released their debut album, If I Die I Die in 1982, which included the single ‘Pagan Love Song’. The band’s powerful stage presence is well demonstrated in this live performance of the song.
Pop Mecanics were a Dublin New Wave / Pop band. The excellent ‘Soldier Boys’ was their only single release.
U2’s only release in 1982 was the standalone single ‘A Celebration’.
Thankfully, The Blades didn’t allow new trends or technology to influence their sound. The band continued to release timeless singles, including ‘The Bride Wore White’ in 1982, and ‘Downmarket’ in 1983.
The Alsations released a number of singles, the most memorable of which was ‘5 Honours and a 175’, which they performed on RTE’s Non Stop Pop.
Dubin Power Pop band, The Tabs released their only single ‘Million Miles’ on Vixen Records in 1982.
Blue Russia featured future Cactus World News guitarist Frank Kearns. ‘Russian Around’ mixed by Phil Lynnot was a single release in 1983.
Dublin band Eugene made their live debut supporting New Order at the city’s SFX Hall in 1982. They also won the Hot Press ‘Best Unsigned Act’ the same year. The band performed their only single ‘Julie Cries’ on The Late Late Show in 1983, and presenter Gay Byrne certainly gave them a detailed introduction.
As already mentioned, Kissed Air set up Kabuki Records to release their debut single ‘Kariba’, and the label also put out early releases by London bound Cork bands Microdisney and Five Go Down To The Sea, as well as the comeback single from Belfast band Ruefrex.
After the release of ‘Pink Skinned Man’, their second single on Kabuki, Microdisney signed to Rough Trade. ‘Dolly’ was a single from their 1984 debut album, Everybody Is Fantastic.
Five Go Down To The Sea evolved from Nun Attax, and released the Knot A Fish EP on Kabuki in 1983, featuring ‘Elephants For Fun And Profit’. The following year ‘The Glee Club’ EP was released on Abstract Records. Paul McDermott has produced an excellent radio documentary Get That Monster Off The Stage which explores the life and music of lead singer Finbarr Donnelly.
Ruefrex had split in 1980 shortly after they featured in the BBC documentary Cross The Line, but regrouped in 1983 to release ‘Capital Letters’ on Kabuki. An album, Flowers For All Occasions followed in 1985.
Belfast band, Big Self’s 1983 single ‘Ghost Shirts’ was used as the theme tune for RTE arts programme Visual Eyes.
Autobop from Dublin made a number of TV appearances including this Late Late Show performance of their only single, ‘Secrets’. The band featured the late music journalist George Byrne on bass.
Blue In Heaven and The Fountainhead both released two albums and several singles, but it could be argued that neither act ever bettered their debut 45’s, ‘Julie Cries’ and ‘Rhythm Method’.