The Names (band)

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The Names
Also known as The Passengers
Origin Brussels, Belgium
Genres Post-punk
Years active 1978 (1978)–c.1984, 2007–present
Labels
Associated acts Jazz
Members
  • Michel Smordynia
  • Marc Deprez
  • Christophe Boulenger
Past members
  • Mike S. Christophe Den Tandt
  • Robert Frankson
  • Isabelle Hanrez
  • Luc Capelle
  • Michel Silverstein

The Names are a post-punk band from Brussels (Belgium), formed in 1978 around bassist, vocalist and songwriter Michel Smordynia.

History[edit]

The early lineup of the band featured Smordynia, guitarist Marc Deprez, and drummer/keyboard player Mike S. Christophe Den Tandt, with Robert Frankson and singer Isabelle Hanrez also briefly being members.[1][2] After local gigs as The Passengers, they changed their name in time for their debut single, "Spectators of Life", released by WEA in 1979 to test the market for home-grown new wave music.

The band were keen to sign to a British label, and connected with Factory Records at a Joy Division gig at the Plan K venue in Brussels.[2] The Names recorded "Nightshift" in Manchester in August 1980, with producer Martin Hannett, now with drummer Luc Capelle in the band.[1] The single was representative of their overall sound: dark, controlled modern rock in the mould of Magazine, Comsat Angels and Joy Division/early New Order. It peaked at number 35 on the UK Indie Chart.[3] In February 1982 the band recorded a session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show.[4]

The Names enjoyed a long and rewarding relationship with mercurial producer Hannett, who also oversaw their next single "Calcutta" (Factory Benelux, 1981) and debut album Swimming (Les Disques du Crepuscule, 1982; reissued several times since).[2] A motorcycle accident for Capelle saw Michel Silverstein step in as a replacement while he recovered.[2]

The group played live mostly in the Benelux countries and France, including the ambitious Crepuscule multimedia package Dialogue North-South in February 1982. The group had also been booked to appear in Manchester in July 1980 as support to A Certain Ratio at the Beach Club. When The Names were delayed, New Order stepped in for their first live performance after the end of Joy Division.

A final Names single, "The Astronaut", appeared in 1982,[1] again produced by Hannett, who had by then split from Factory Records. However the post-punk era was ending, and the band split.[1]

In 1995 the original core trio of Smordynia, Deprez and Christophe Den Tandt (keyboards) reunited as Jazz, releasing one album, Nightvision.[2]

In December 2007, The Names reunited for a gig during A Factory Night (once again). In April 2009, they released a new album, Monsters Next Door, on the Str8line label.[5] Christophe Den Tandt left the band in December 2009 and was replaced by Christophe Boulenger. Since then, The Names have appeared live in Italy and France.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Swimming (LP, Les Disques du Crépuscule TWI-065, 1982)[6]
    • Discovery (4:19) / Floating World (2:52) / The Fire (3:39) / Life by the Sea (4:50) / White Shadow (5:08) // (This Is) Harmony (5:41) / Shanghai Gesture (5:11) / Leave Her to Heaven (4:48) / Light (4:20)
  • Swimming + Singles (CD, Factory Benelux FBN-9-CD, 1991)[7]
  • Monsters Next Door (CD, Str8line S8L-TN01/7, April 2009)[9]
    • I Am a Stranger Here Myself (3:09) / Flesh Wounds (5:27) / I Liked You Better When You Were Dead (5:33) / Friendly Fire (7:58) / Welcome to Your Real Life (4:23) / Halloween in June (3:08) / Zeroes (5:27) / Never Change (4:54) / Traces (3:39) / Arcadia (5:19) / Dreamless (4:39) / In Time (5:39)
  • Swimming (CD, Factory Benelux FBN-9-CD, 2013)[10]
    • Discovery / Floating World / The Fire / Life by the Sea / White Shadow / Harmony / Shanghaï Gesture / Leave Her to Heaven / Light / Calcutta / Postcards / Nightshift / Discovery (Peel Session) / Life by the Sea (Peel Session) / (This Is) Harmony (Peel Session) / Shanghaï Gesture (Peel Session)
  • Swimming (2×LP, Factory Benelux FBN-9, 2013)[11]
    • Discovery / Floating World / The Fire / Life by the Sea / White Shadow / Nocturne // Harmony / Shanghaï Gesture / Leave Her to Heaven / Light /// Music For Someone / Calcutta / Nightshift / The Astronaut / Spectators of Life // Discovery (Peel Session) / Life by the Sea (Peel Session) / (This Is) Harmony (Peel Session) / Shanghaï Gesture (Peel Session)
Compilations
  • Postcard Views (cassette, LTM Recordings, November 1985)[12]
  • Spectators of Life (CD, LTM Recordings LTMCD-2320, 2001)[13]
    • Spectators of Life (3:01) / White Life (3:03) / The Drive (1:58) /Nothing to Fear (5:32) / Foreign Rendezvous (4:27) / Actually (4:02) / Memories (3:55) / Nightshift (3:20) / Mirrors (3:04) / Questions and Answers (3:12) / I Wish I Could Speak Your Language (4:52) / Other Enquiries (3:19) / Burn (4:06) / Tokyo Twilight (3:46) / Shining Hours (4:52) / Revenge (4:35) / Virtual (5:06) / I'm In Love With a German Film Star (4:47) / Ballade a Tervuren (2:09)

Singles, EPs[edit]

  • Spectators of Life (2:55) // White Life (3:00) / The Drive (1:55) (7"/12", WEA/Celluloid, 1979)[14]
  • Night Shift / I Wish I Could Speak Your Language (7", Factory FAC-29, January 1981)[15]
  • Calcutta (3:02) / Postcards (3:43) (7", Factory Benelux FBN-9, 1982)[16]
  • Soul Kitchen (4:25) / Revenge (4:37) (7"/12", Crammed Discs CRAM-5457/CRAM-54512, 1981)[17]
    • released as By Chance
  • The Astronaut // Shining Hours / Revenge (12", Les Disques du Crépuscule TWI-111, 1982)[18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]