Saturday, December 10, 2011

Breaking Circus - The Ice Machine (1986) & Smokers' Paradise ep (1987) + bonus 7" in FLAC

Last week I was inspired by the request of another blogger to rip Breaking Circus' 1985 ep The Very Long Fuse to the lossless FLAC format as opposed to my usual MP3s.  Today I present submit to you the remainder of the B/C oeuvre, starting with their only bona fide full length, The Ice Machine, a Homestead Records product dating back a quarter century ago.  Pound for pound, I regard The Very Long Fuse as their strongest record, but Ice Machine comes in at a very, very close second, featuring some of their most pummeling selections, namely "Took a Hammering" and "Swept Blood," both of which are profoundly induced with a solid dose of Big Black.  Something tells me that Steve Björklund and Co. had a few collective go arounds with Atomizer before tracking this baby. 

The Circus' third and final 12" Smokers' Paradise trails it's two predecessors by a good distance, but is markedly more diverse, with prominent keyboard presence on the title cut, and pop flirtations elsewhere.  I have to concede that "Eat Lead" and "Emperor Calvin" are as hard boiled as anything in their catalog.
I'm a bit confused regarding Breaking Circus' final salvo, a 1989 45 which is essentially a Björklund solo venture featuring electro-pop renderings of Naked Raygun's "Home of the Brave," and a UK Subs song, "Warhead" on the b-side.  My confusion lies in the fact that supposedly it came bundled with a fanzine with no picture sleeve, but my copy has an accompanying sleeve, a bright yellow one at that (depicted below).  Was my version only available separately from the zine?  No bigee.  I got mine, and that's what counts.  Anyway, enjoy the "hammer" records in glorious, FLAC-o-phonic sound.'

The Ice Machine
01. Song of the South
02. Ancient Axes
03. Daylight
04. Caskets & Clocks
05. Deadly China Doll
06. Laid so Low
07. Took a Hammering
08. Walter
09. Swept Blood
10. Where
11. Gun Shy
12. Evil Last Night

Smokers' Paradise ep
01. Smokers Paradise
02. Three Cool Cats
03. ShockHammer Thirteen
04. Emperor Calvin
05. Medicine Lake
06. Eat Lead

1989 7"
A. Home of the Brave
B. Warhead


Holly said...

Many thanks!

slovenlyeric said...

My copy came with the Fanzine. Never saw the version you show before. I loved this band. I am surprized that Steve Björklund did not make much more music after this. He had a website or facebook with some demos which may still be around. But unless someone knows differently, I think this is the end of the line for him as a recording artist.

spavid said...

Just went to his Myspace page where he has a few tracks up, including a rather hideous techo version of "Driving the Dynamite Truck."

Brushback said...

Yeah, he's got a new project, High Value Target with the drummer from The Effigies. They've got a 12" pressed.

spavid said...

Wonder if they're any good. Have you heard them Brushback?

Steve said...

High Value Target has a Facebook page. 12" red vinyl EP is available now.

Brushback said...

I've heard it, and it's amazing how Steve's singing voice hasn't changed a bit. You know it's him instantly.

jmhouse said...

Bjorklund was also in Ballon Guy in the early 90's for a brief period. They were not my cup o' tea so I don't know many of the details. I don't think he's on any recordings. He had some very serious health issues in the mid-90's but it seems like he must be alright now.

Breaking Circus and Rifle Sport eventually shared a couple members, including Todd Trainer, one of my favorite drummers, who is now in some band called Shellac.

Brushback said...

I owned a Balloon Guy 7" back in the mid-90's (it was iffy), but yeah, I never saw Steve's name on the back of any of their records even though I kept looking.

jmhouse said...

Yeah, I'd say "iffy" kinda describes Balloon Guy. Incidentally, Minneapolis had a ton of great and now-obscure bands in mid/late-80's. I'd recommend both the ragged garage rock of the Baby Astronauts LP and the crunchy pop of Dragnet. Of course, Halo of Flies were great and not-so-obscure. Rifle Sport's post-punk was a bit of an acquired taste vocally, but once acquired they were quite awesome. Run Westy Run had a somewhat forgotten great second wind in the early nineties before collapsing in a heap.

spavid said...

For some indiscernible reason I was scared off by Balloon Guy. Maybe because when I was a youngster I was intimidated by folks (i.e. clowns) who made balloon animals. Mine was an awkward childhood.

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Talisman said...

Any chance you could re-up these? Just found my old vinyl too warped to play...