Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Diagram Brothers - Some Marvels Of Modern Science ,LP, UK,1981


The Diagram Brothers were a quartet of passingly deranged Mancunians who produced a few singles, an album and an EP mostly on the Buzzcock's New Hormones label, all except their first single We Are All Animals. They did songs of urban angst in the most discordant way possible, usually with brass and electric guitars but they weren't afraid to use milk bottles, bread trays and Casio VL-Tones either. Art terrorism at its most polite. They wrote songs about Satanism among the fondue folk, mail order bargains that turn out to be utter rubbish, Little Englanders and people who think that buying a motorbike instantly makes them James Dean. They also put the Manchester Evening News to music which is probably a first. Trouser Press magazine reckoned that they were a poor man's XTC but this is a disservice to both bands. They both liked to play silly buggers on occasion but otherwise had little in common.
information for this piece comes from Jonathan Howard
Andy said about the Diagram Brothers in an exclusive interview with One Of The Three
Diagram Brothers from 1980 to 1982. Me and my brothers formed this guitar band, in Manchester. I played bass guitar. We called the music "Discordo". The music was made to a strict formula or set of rules. All the guitar chords were based on discordant notes, all the beats were very simple rock or disco, and all the words were very very straightforward and down to earth. Let me give you an example :
"Bricks, lay them down in a straight line. Bricks, build them into a wall. Bricks, very useful objects. They're not expensive at all."
The Diagram Brothers were big favourites on the John Peel show, we recorded three sessions for him that he played many times. The Diagram brothers recorded 2 singles, an album and an EP for New Hormones label ( the Buzzcocks label). They are not available any more, although me and my brothers are looking into getting them re-released on CD."
The line-up for the band was :
Fraser Diagram - Vocals / Guitars
Lawrence Diagram - Guitar
Andy Diagram - Bass
Simon Diagram - Drums
The releases were :
October 1980 - We Are All Animals / There Is No Shower 7" (Construct Records - cat no CON-1)
July 1981 - Bricks / Postal Bargains 7" (New Hormones - cat no ORG9)
November 1981 - Some Marvels Of Modern Science (LP) (New Hormones - cat no ORG17)
July 1982 - Discordo 10" EP (New Hormones - cat no ORG21)

20 comments:

Steve said...

My scientist uncle once spent an evening in the pub with Andy Diagram and they managed to fill the entire evening yakking about the highly technical pros and cons of various methods of fermenting beer. This would've been 1980. Is Andy still into real ale?

mutantsounds said...

of course he is...try google to search about Andy diagram and you will see many results.

rich said...

Hi Mutantsounds, I think you should take this post down to be honest. I too offered most of the Diagram Brothers recordings last year when it looked like their stuff wouldn't be reissued and waxed lyrical about how great their music is. I deleted it long ago; LTM have just put this CD out which looks fantastic:
http://home.wxs.nl/~frankbri/ltm2480.html
I hope everyone that doesn't own the vinyl buys the CD and for those that own the vinyl, you get it all nicely remastered, the early singles, 16 page booklet etc. very nice and beats the crap out of mp3s!

mutantsounds said...

Hm, well i don't know....suddenly everyone gets interested in the early punk/diy scene and puts out cd reissues...i wonder if the incomes from these reissues go to the authors....to be honest myself i don't want to put it down....music does not belong even to it's creatos and has to be spreaded every possible way...but i can add your comment in this post instead..

rich said...

My plan is to resurrect the music of the early noughties in a decade or two. I would, I'd like to get involved, 'cept f''k all happened in music of the early noughties

Anyway, rock n'roll!

P.S. LTM started mid 80s, I think

mutantsounds said...

I lived myself the early 80s music scene and was deeply involved in it....believe me...I try very hard in every possible way to ressurect it since the early 90s when i was sure without any doubt that since 1985 music stucked and was awfull.But we talk about ressurection ,not the making of zombies from the past.Look at the Cure and Echo and the bunnymen today...they are dinosaurs with old rotten ideas...even some of my favorite bands (Zounds , Astronauts,Deep freeze mice) are now replaying what they did in the early 80s.Admit it my fried...i do not know your age but i think you must be muxch younger than me...it is proved that all ressurection are total failure...music is not something with no dependance of social,political,cultural circumstances...it depends on these and since these change no ressurection is possible...all we can achieve is a making of a grotesque clown....and that's a shame...it's better to get to know this music ,love it and respect it...things can never be the same again
my regards and my respect to your tastes
mutantsounds
PS:LTM started in the late 80s/early 90s

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Great post, great band, if yer bored or have a minute to spare take a trip here:

http://nuzzprowlinwolf.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

An plans on releasing the Diagram Brothers three Peel Sessions on CD anytime soon? I'd love to hear that last session with those songs I've never heard! Thanks.

-M!

Anonymous said...

An plans on releasing the Diagram Brothers three Peel Sessions on CD anytime soon? I'd love to hear that last session with those songs I've never heard! Thanks.

-M!

Fraser Diagram said...

Fraser Diagram here. Apparently interest in the re-issued album has been good so far, according to James Nice at LTM, and we (the band) have just authorised LTM to go ahead and negotiate for the Peel Sessions to be released on LTM. When we were approached by James we didn't have a clue whether anyone would be remotely interested in hearing this music, so it's reasonable gratifying to know it is still of interest. More news as I get any about Peel session re-issues. Regards.

Anonymous said...

hi fraser diagram,

sorry i've downloaded this, it is absolutely fantastic, i don't buy cds, tell me how much the band gets off one cd sale and i'll double it and paypal to you?

Fraser Diagram said...

Hello Anonymous,

It's thoughtful of you to offer a paypal fee, but really not necessary. I'm glad you like the music; we spent ages crafting it at the time. I don't know where you found the download, and I don't mind at all- I would just say that if it was transcribed off the vinyl it might still be a bit 'thin'.

I personally don't expect to receive any money at all from this venture, especially as we will now use any funds generated to go ahead with financing the release of the Peel Sessions. For me it's mainly about getting the Diagram Brothers' music out in a format that people can access easily, whether it be CD, wav, mp3 or whatever.

Regards.

Anonymous said...

thats v kind fraser. i've got to say i have had your album on constant rotation for about 5 days now. angularity of the soft boys without the cartoonishness, or maybe of television, but with a bit of dub samba substituted for the 50s rock'n'roll.

are you playing anywhere in uk ever?

Fraser Diagram said...

Hello Anonymous,

I'll make a few more comments, and then perhaps we should take the conversation off-line as its between two people and I don't wish to clog up Mutant Sound's blog space unnecessarily.

You asked if we are playing anywhere in the UK. As of February 2007, I think its unlikely that the Diagram Brothers will play again. I thought that Mutant Sounds comments on Jan 25th were very pertinent (see above), and I tend to agree with him that most attempts to re-create 'popular' music from another time and space are at best a bit flawed, and at worst a real mistake.

In fact the Diagram Brothers met up last weekend (Feb 23rd 2007) for the first time in 25 years, when we all went to one of Andy Diagram's Spaceheads gig in Salford. It was all prompted by the re-release of the CD of course, and it seemed like an opportunity to catch up. There was no burning desire expressed to try and play together again; and besides, the music was quite complex to play, so I'm not even sure if we could manage it even if we wanted to!

Anyway, if you've got any other burning questions, you are welcome to contact me directly: fraser@diagram.me.uk

Regards

Herb said...

It's good that the Peel sessions are being considered for release. There are mp3's of them floating around, but "thin" doesn't begin to describe the quality. That's what you get for ripping from an old WH Smiths C90 cassette. Am I right in thinking that one session contained a version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" and weren't all bands doing a session obliged to cover it?

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Anonymous said...

i thought the song said that bricks were ......... very pleasant objects

Anonymous said...

Nice. I have very fond memories of the Diagram Brothers' Peel sessions (I still have 'em too - on a tape in a box in the garage somewhere!) but hadn't heard any of their records 'til now. You'll be pleased to hear that I've already purchased the LTM comp on the back of this post so thanks for bothering... IBx

Alan Terrill said...

You'll be pleased to hear that the complete Peel Sessions is to be released on LTM recordings in April 2011. Track listing is already up on http://www.ltmrecordings.com/diagrambroscat.html

Frank Knappa said...

Fantastic news and order placed. I sent a message to the soon to be but never seemed to arrive Diagram Brothers website (http://www.diagrambrothers.com/) and if I had not been a 40 odd year old male who had weathered a few storms, the distress of never getting a reply may have crushed me.
Never the less looking forward to this arriving in the post and playing it for the children as they sit trapped in the back of the car. Cheers.