Voice Farm
August 8, 2009 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Electronic Music pop band Voice Farm was formed in the early 80s when Charly Brown and Myke Reilly started performing in the San Francisco area together. Their earliest single perked up a few ears, and by 1982 they had recorded a full album of material.

Later albums would help draw audiences to their outrageous live shows, and the band finally settled into their own studio.

Their breakthrough single, Free Love (bonus extended dance mix), was well reviewed, but the video was unfortunately banned by MTV. That didn't deter Depeche Mode from selecting them as warm-up act for their 1991 World Violation tour. But just when Voice Farm was about to make the leap, their record label collapsed and forced the band into long years of silence, except for their television commercial and visual art soundtrack work.

But Voice Farm has suddenly resurfaced. With a new single, apparently new live shows, and the entire new album available for free listening. The new album and a reissue of their seminal album F are also available at iTunes. (iTunes store link)

(much of the material is NSFW)
posted by hippybear (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Man, The World We Live In is such a great album. I first heard them on the Alternative Tentacles comp Let Them Eat Jellybeans and was immediately struck by how a band could be punk and yet not play hardcore.
posted by item at 11:37 AM on August 8, 2009

I loved that song. "You're with me even in my sleeep"
posted by bink at 12:26 PM on August 8, 2009


When I was twelve years old, my sister went away to college, where she was paired with a roommate from California. She came back home for her first break, and had two CDs with her, borrowed from this new roommate -- They Might Be Giants's Flood, and Voice Farm's Bigger Cooler Weirder (the original release that started with "Ding Dongs and Things", not the second release that starts with "Free Love"). Those two CDs were my first foray into the music of my teenage years -- two full albums of stuff that was stranger, more unabashedly joyful, and less rational than most of the stuff I heard on the radio. It's strange to realize that Voice Farm is what eventually got me into The Ramones, but there we are, it was the early nineties, these kinds of things happened. Modern times are strange, I suppose.

I later bought my own copy of Bigger Cooler Weirder, but it was different that what I'd remembered, missing some key things from the original I'd heard (like the extended instrumental at the end of "Ode To Buffy"). It took me a long time and a lot of searching before I finally discovered, about a year ago, that I hadn't just hallucinated the version I remembered -- there were actually two releases of the album, one of which started with a deeply weird spoken-word piece that involved a bunch of unconnected phrases, grunting, and a slow crescendo into the album's first song. I only just recently got this first release, and I am PSYCHED BEYOND MEASURE that there's a new single out. Wow.

Man, this is an AWESOME post. Thanks.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2009

Greg Nog: You've been mefi mailed. :)
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on August 8, 2009

Strange that their own web site doesn't distinguish between the two versions of Bigger Cooler Weirder...but great to hear they're back!
posted by Lazlo at 6:02 PM on August 8, 2009

Well SOMEONE liked David Byrne...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2009

The website doesn't even mention 1995's "The Love Experiment" album. Plus there are several singles and such which also aren't listed. I don't know why it isn't a complete listing, seeing as how the website was created by one of the band members...
posted by hippybear at 7:04 PM on August 8, 2009

I can't understand a word you're saying; you have a thing in your mouth.
posted by mer2113 at 7:58 PM on August 8, 2009

they are great live, i saw them open for Depeche Mode on their Music For The Masses tour at the Cow Palace in SF, 1987? something like that. they have crazy props, did costume changes in a flash behind a raised curtain, and generally just rocked out. I have their CD somewhere, and every couple of years make someone else take a listen.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:36 AM on August 9, 2009

Wow, thank you very much for this post!

I bought their album Bigger, Cooler, Weirder after hearing it playing in a record store in Westwood when I was in college. Earth is one of my favorite songs.

Despite the catchy tunes and innovative sounds and samples, I suspect their spoken word vocals were a little too weird for mainstream appeal. As an example, I never heard any of their songs played on KROQ at length, but for years KROQ played the intro to their song "Free Thinker" as the stereotype of hip club music -- but they cut out the first few seconds that started with a cartoonishly high pitched voice yelling "Hey, Free Thinker...". The song then breaks down by going in and out weird, spoken-word ramblings, cool techno riffs, good vocal harmonies, and back to weird voices saying random things.

Anyway, I had no idea they had other albums - Bigger, Cooler, Weirder was the only album of theirs I ever saw in a record store, and that wasn't around for long. Nor are they on Rhapsody.

But I've been enjoying checking out some of their other stuff on their web site. Again, thank you for the link!
posted by Davenhill at 11:06 PM on August 9, 2009

Sweet Jesus! That's AWESOME. I wanted to thank you. I heard "My Idea" when I was living in San Francisco. I think I heard it before the album, Bigger, Cooler, Weirder was actually released. It must have been on college radio or something. I LOVED the song, but I kind of forgot who who the band was (and me catching a show or two at the Mabuhay Gardens.)

Every now and again, a bit of the song would pulse through my brain and I'd try to lay a finger on what it was, who sang it, etc. It's VOICE FARM.

The minute I saw the post, it all came flooding back. I went to their site and I played the song. Awesome as ever!

Thank you for cheering up the worlds oldest and straightest punk.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:55 AM on August 10, 2009

AWESOME! I am so excited. I haven't thought about them in so long.. And really anyone who refers to themselves as post totalitarian cinematic electro-pop is worth a re listen in my book.
posted by Zoecole at 4:55 PM on August 10, 2009

Hello hippybear!

Voice Farm Loves You!
Thank you for the brilliant history/bio/info/links!!
May the ghost of Shelly Winters (from Lolita) visit you regularly, bestowing you with an ongoing state of metanoia, enlightenment, dark humor and grace (Slick).

posted by charlybro at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Charly! I'm so tickled you found this thread. And you joined MetaFilter! Hurrah! It's an excellent online community -- I hope you'll continue to participate once this thread has run its course.

A lot of people really love your work. It's so great that you and Myke are back doing the grooves again. Thanks for what you do!
posted by hippybear at 2:16 PM on August 24, 2009

posted by Greg Nog at 5:12 PM on August 24, 2009

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