Part three of our series on essential Belgian cuts made in collaboration with Perrier – following on from hip hop and funky jazz – sees us tend to our harsher side and select 25 iconic local prog-rock, cold wave and post-punk cuts. We guarantee you’ll be reaching for the ceiling by the end of this one.
1. COS – Amafam
Experimental fusion-jazz outfit led by Daniel Schell that released five albums between 1974 and 1982. This track, from their debut album Postaeolian Train Robbery, saw the band edge ever so closely to prog-rock, with what is undoubtedly one of the best opening drum sequences in the history of Belgian music.
2. Kalika – Because I Think
Psychedelic soul funk with heavy tints of blues-rock, Kalika released only one album in 1973, one that fetches ridiculous prices on Discogs. Reissue please.
3. Pazop – Harlequin of Love
Absolute killer of a psychedelic prog-rock track, this one comes from Pazop’s infamous debut album, whose somewhat ambiguous title, Psychillis of a Lunatic Genius, resulted in the record label blocking its release. It finally saw the light of day in 1996, thanks to French reissue imprint Replica Records.
4. Kandahar – The Fancy Model
Fast forward to 0’50” and feel the power that is Kandahar’s unique blend of psychedelic prog-rock. Fronted by Karel Bogard, founder of Dwarf Records (Solis Lacus, Tjens Courter and the likes), the group released three albums from 1974 to 1979 and it is said that Marc Moulin was a big fan. A gem from start to finish for beat makers.
5. Dragon – Introduction (Insects)
Another sample-ready cut, this one remains so unbelievably relevant to this day that a rapper could lay a few verses on top of it and no one would notice it was actually recorded in 1976. A few reissues have popped out here and there so not one you’ll have to sell the family for. All killer.
6. Tuxedomoon – No Tears
Released on the San Francisco-by-way-of Brussels punk pioneers’ debut EP in 1978, this track embodies absolutely everything Tuxedomoon were at the height of their punk years. Frontal, fervent and unapologetic, they were one of the first bands to benefit from the local force that was Plan K. Whilst you’re at it, make sure to check out the score they penned for a Maurice Bejart ballet in 1982.
7. The Cultural Decay – Brave New World
Early 80s new wave outfit that released only two 45s. Think De Brassers, Siglo XX and The Cure.
8. The Lost – Security
New wave art rock in the same line as Happy Mondays and Talking Heads. Kind of track that’d surprise the dancefloor.
9. Siglo XX – Fools
Iconic Belgian cold wave act from Genk that released a string of albums between 1979 and 1989, mostly in the line of Joy Division. This is the first track off the album Live Sides recorded in Amsterdam and released in 1984 on Antler Records.
10. Siglo XX – Individuality
Off Siglo XX’s debut 7” released in 1989. Absolute stomper of a track.
11. Company of State – Heroïne Eyes
Belgian post punk new wave act that released three singles between 1983 and 1986, and an LP in 1987. This track is off a compilation, From Behind the Bushes, released in 1987 as a collaboration between Colour Records and Belgian magazine Mad in Belgium.
12. Nausea – Vocal Expression
Beauty of a synth pop, no wave track released as a 7” in 1982.
13. De Kommeniste – Ritmische Dans
Late 70s punk outfit from the Antwerp area that released two singles and a long player, the later a much sought-after record. Think The Cure and Joy division with a bit more of a punch to it.
14. Minimal Compact – Statik Dancin’
Israeli new wave outfit that released a string of albums on famed Belgian record imprint Crammed Discs. This monster of a track comes from their debut mini-album, released in 1981, and will set any dancefloor on fire. Comes with a brilliant music video too.
15. Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel – Decollage
Marc Hollander, Vincent Kenis and Veronique Vincent pretty much invented Belgian art rock; with their iconic band Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel – which went on to become The Honeymoon Killers – gaining cult status with the release of this first full-length album, a jamboree of varying influences and experimentations.
16. Spitfires – Sinking Boat
Electronic prog-rock outfit that released this unlikely dancefloor killer on their 1979 album An Eye on Everything. Major tip.
17. Lavvi Ebbel – No Place To Go
Stomper of a new wave, Talking Heads-like cut on Guns and Crêpe Flambée 1977 – 2014, a compilation of both previously released as well as unreleased material out on Starman Records. Fun fact: leader Luckas Vander Taelen is now in politics. Fun fact 2: the band once played an intimate concert in our Brussels offices.
18. Kebab – Life It’s a Joke
Punk band from Ghent. Give it a while but, once it kicks in, all hell breaks loose.
19. Marine – Life in Reverse
Stunner of a track, released in 1981 on Les Disques du Crépuscule. Some of the members in Marina went on to start seminal Belgian new wave act Allez Allez. Pounds of funk in this one.
20. Satin Wall – Dans les profondeurs
Dark, moody and somber, this one’s off the game-changing compilation Various Artists – B9 Bis – Belgian Cold Wave 1979-1983 which was released in 1981 and included material by Digital Dance (see below), Kid Montana, Poliphonic Size and Tristes Tropiques.
21. Gruppenbild – Tranquility
This one creeps up on you from nowhere. Released as a 7” back in 1982 and included in the seminal compilation Koude Golven – A Collection Of Belgian Cold Wave & Punk 1979-1984 released by darling imprint OnderStrrom Records in 2010.
22. Digital Dance – Human Zoo
With firm foundation in the early days of the local Brussels punk scene (Jerry WX played in Chainsaw and X-Pulsion). Human Zoo was a more melodic, new wave-tilting imprint that released just a few obscure 7” singles in the late 70s and early 80s. Thankfully Sub Rosa released a compilation of their work, and they were also included in the crucial compilation Various Artists – B9 Bis – Belgian Cold Wave 1979-1983.
23. Red Zebra – I Can’t Live in a Living Room
No list dedicated, in part, to Belgian punk would be complete without this one. Essential in more ways than one.
24. Company of State – Dark
Off the band’s first 7” released in 1983. Vocals take a while to come on but once they do, it’s all melancholic magic.
25. Des Airs – Lovely Lady of the Roses
And we end with one for the romantic crooners out there. Released on Crammed Discs in 1982, this is the perfect closer.