Sometimes, the right phrase is enough to get me to pick up an album. I’d gone to Academy Annex’s new space in Greenpoint a week or so ago to check out their selection of zines; while there, I also checked out some of the records hanging on the wall. One of them was from a group whose name I didn’t recognize: The Victor Dimisich Band. I saw that this was on Siltbreeze, which boded well; then I saw the staff recommendation: “Gloomy NZ pop.” Sixteen dollars later, I exited the shop, album in hand.
Besides recording credits and the information I was able to find on distributor Midheaven’s website, there doesn’t seem to be much out there on the group. They were short-lived, coming together in the early 1980s, recording an EP and a handful of other songs. Stephen Cogle’s vocals share a haunted quality with those of The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce. There’s an offbeat formality to his delivery in some of these songs that’s also notable: “Claude” could fit nicely on one of John Cale’s mid-70s albums, for instance. And it’s probably no coincidence that they have a song called “Thirteenth Floor.” Basically, it’s tautly played, deeply intense rock music that hints at weirder things to come. Highly recommended.