Severed Heads: CDSD

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Severed Heads. Tom Ellard & various collaborators. Classic? Dud? Mangle My Pig Junior?

electric sound of jim, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

At the very least, "Big Car" is classic. And how many songs can you play using only the black keys on yer keyboard? ("Dead Eyes Opened")

electric sound of jim, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

BRIAN MACDONALD AND DAN PERRY TO THREAD! Unless there was one already.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Nope, I checked

electric sound of jim, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ah good. Well, they will be here soon enough. Oh yes. All I can say is "Band good." And they are.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

there's a couple of interesting tracks on 'ear bitten' - but they're definitely not worth the $500us that the lp gets on ebay.

philT, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i think some of the early stuff sometimes has a wistful similarity to boards of canada. but yeah, dead eyes opened, goodbye tonsils, petrol, there was a lot of stuff in the early 80s that was really very good. i wonder if the name puts some people off possibly, if you get to see any of the videos they can be interesting too, somehow get across the sterility and isolation of early 80s australia even in crowded cities (or how i like to imagine it possibly)

been a long while since i've played, i'll play them again this week i think, then come back to this thread

gareth, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Their new lp "LAP TOP POP" is coming out soon...

They are incredible.. the album HAUL ASS is amazing.. It was put out by SEVCOM... check out Tom and the Sevheads on

todd, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC. End of story. I can't think of a single thing of theirs that I would destroy. Initial searches would have to include _Blubberknife_, _Come Visit The Big Bigot_, "Hot With Fleas", "Big Car", "Golden Lights/I'm Your Antidote", "Unleash Your Sword", "7 Miles", "Host of Quadrille", and "Nation".

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, anyone into the current crop of 'idm' should certainly rush and listen to "Since The Accident" (1983) and "City Slab Horror" (1984). Pretty damn foreshadowing. Though, you could also credit Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire for influencing these records, too, but the weird little glitchiness and popiness of the Severed Heads records makes it uncanny.

Brian MacDonald, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

When I was younger (12?) I saw the "Canine" video and it changed my life. All that stuff about Hey Dog and Hey Cow and I was utterly hooked.

I'm not as enamoured with anything post (and including) Gigapus but it's still good. I could listen to Bulkhead all day.

electric sound of jim, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

eight months pass...

gareth (gareth), Sunday, 24 November 2002 12:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Let's break it down.

The electronic sounds: very innovative and definitely ahead of their time, for the most part. As brian mentioned, should definitely appeal to a lot of current IDM fans--those artists might kill for some of the sounds Ellard achieved using only tape or vinyl.

The vocals: very cartoonlike, sometimes annoying; at other times that quality is just what the material needs.

I actually draw the line at Big Bigot in terms of the really interesting stuff...after that point it was all about dancing and was a lot less innovative. Though I'll still admit I like "Hot With Fleas". Just picked up the Gashing the Old Mae West EP as penance, though.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Sunday, 24 November 2002 15:21 (eighteen years ago) link

THe thing I liked about them was how they worked the dance groove to their advantage. The last halves of _Bad Mood Guy_ and _Rotund For Success_ still have some decidedly odd tracks on them.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Sunday, 24 November 2002 18:51 (eighteen years ago) link

There's a new record out (now? or soon?) by Ellard - details at of course - and they also provide web space for "artists" (musicians, designers, etc) to exhibits their works (have a look at to see it in action)

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 25 November 2002 00:55 (eighteen years ago) link

two months pass...

I did a search for 'Severed Heads' and Dan Perry's name kept popping up again and again and again

I may be getting hold of a cheap copy of "Clifford Darling" which I'm very very excited about.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Thursday, 30 January 2003 01:25 (eighteen years ago) link

Please don't live in the past, Jim.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Thursday, 30 January 2003 03:11 (eighteen years ago) link

at least i wasn't the poor sap i saw pay $300 for Ear Bitten the other day

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Thursday, 30 January 2003 03:13 (eighteen years ago) link

Ow, that hertz.

I recently paid, like $9 for a copy of Gashing the Old Mae West, but it was worth it I guess.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Thursday, 30 January 2003 03:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Somehow I've managed to get most of their post-Since the accident discography without breaking A$10 for any item. of course now that Ellard has re-released most of it on CDR cheap it seems kinda stupid buying the secondhand vinyl..

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Thursday, 30 January 2003 03:26 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
wanderings today brought me 'goodbye tonsils'! i can see what gareth means. yeah sounds pretty good on first listen

prima fassy (mwah), Monday, 1 March 2004 21:23 (seventeen years ago) link

just enough sense of not knowing what they are doing and overlong feeling things out and yeah the 1984 on the sleeve obv to save me from static caravan hell

prima_fassy (mwah), Monday, 1 March 2004 22:22 (seventeen years ago) link

hey don't diss the caravan man

the surface noise (electricsound), Monday, 1 March 2004 22:24 (seventeen years ago) link

i'm so not trippin balls on this one!

prima_fassy (mwah), Monday, 1 March 2004 23:09 (seventeen years ago) link

you hurt me in my heart

the surface noise (electricsound), Monday, 1 March 2004 23:17 (seventeen years ago) link

i'm so much trippin balls on this one as i am exploring the secrets of treating deaf mutes

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 1 March 2004 23:24 (seventeen years ago) link

exploring the secrets of treating deaf mutes=my favorite Severed Heads song. That and 4WD. And big chunks of Come Visit the Big Bigot/Dead Eyes Open and Rotund, Cuisine as well. Much prefer the analog Dead Eyes Open to the FM version on the ep.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:10 (seventeen years ago) link

There are so many versions of "Dead Eyes Opened" it's hard to keep track. Dan, are you talking about the FM version being the one that starts with the guy saying "is your name Patrick Mond... *dum DUM* it IS?"? If so, I slightly prefer that version only because the outro is kinda noisy and goes on forever in that Severed Heads way... although I like the, um, "phatness" of the analog kick sound in the original version.

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:22 (seventeen years ago) link

There REEEAALLY needs to be some Severed Heads tribute album released... and not just by IDM bands.. I'd think some earlier Severed Heads songs would sound great even as a more straight forward guitar/bass/live drums/vocals arrangement. (though I stress "some")

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:24 (seventeen years ago) link

i bags "big car" (i can play the bassline)

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:25 (seventeen years ago) link

all the way to the bottom, maggie.. you've made it... *sob*...

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:30 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm sure the Liars could do a great "Ayoompteyempt/The Bladders of a One Thousand Bedouin"..

and A.R.E. Weapons could go a great "Now, an Explosive New Movie"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:33 (seventeen years ago) link

i'd love to hear an electroclash version of "pilot in hell"

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:35 (seventeen years ago) link

The Postal Service : "First Steps"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:36 (seventeen years ago) link

Ladytron: "Nation"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:38 (seventeen years ago) link

broadcast "contempt"

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:40 (seventeen years ago) link

Stereolab "Twenty Deadly Diseases"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:42 (seventeen years ago) link

of course, Fischerspooner "Propellor"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:43 (seventeen years ago) link

chicks on speed "canine"

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:46 (seventeen years ago) link

Kylie Minogue "Hot With Fleas"

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 00:56 (seventeen years ago) link

Now that's a very astute one, donut bitch.

the music mole (colin s barrow), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 01:08 (seventeen years ago) link

i did a cover of 'we have come to bless this house' and then binned it after realising that severed heads are pretty much untouchable.

i was speaking about this eralier with a friend - if they hadn't had such an intimidating (to some) name, could severed heads have been as big as new order?

stirmonster, Tuesday, 2 March 2004 01:12 (seventeen years ago) link

I think their biggest problem was being based in Australia - the usual problem.

the music mole (colin s barrow), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 01:15 (seventeen years ago) link

I think it's more then the name...the artwork on the Nettwerk releases and the associations with Skinny Puppy(Ellard did a record w/ one of them, I think? and/or helped produce something of theirs, which if memory serves me correctly he later referred to as "teaching them how to use their synthesizers) Maybe not as big as New Order but maybe as big as Cabaret Voltaire? Maybe they were as big as Cabaret Voltaire. I think even the poppiest Severed Heads tracks walks that thin-rope of weirdness. But I also think when people listen to dancey and or noisy electronic music, they don't think "how is the songwriting" and Tom Ellard's a great goddamn songwriter. I think there was a tribute CD made by members of the Severed Heads mailing list, which is apparently a very active group that Tom contributes to.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 01:25 (seventeen years ago) link

tom ellard sure is a great songwriter but i guess his voice is offputting to a lot of people. yr also right about the weirdness. take 'harold and cindy hospital' - a great pop song but freaking weird or what?

anyhow, here in the uk, they were never even a blip on the radar. very sad but very indicative of the (pre techno) uk conservatism for any electronic music that wasn't kraftwerk.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 2 March 2004 01:52 (seventeen years ago) link

hi, twitch!

lauren (laurenp), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 02:03 (seventeen years ago) link

severed heads had a following amongst the wax trax/nettwerk types. After I got into the Cabs and Throbbing Gristle etc, I dabbled in that stuff and immediately hated most of it (I haven't forgotten how you feel about Skinny Puppy though!) but for some reason the Severed Heads really stuck. It's been this constant thread, it's how I met Morgan Geist and many years later, how I bonded with some of the NYC techno people, hearing Greater Reward at techno parties in the just pre-electroclash days of 2000 or so.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 02:40 (seventeen years ago) link

By the way, if anyone here wants to try to do a cover version of "Dead Eyes Opened", I have a copy of the original source material he cut up and used for that. I can possibly make a copy of mp3 it up if anyone cares that much.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 02:51 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, I remember Severed Heads getting the "New Order vs. Residents" comparisons quite a bit in college radio.. but yeah, that S R Gilmore art and the Skinny Puppy association (which was basically Ellard "showing them how to use their synthesizers" on the "Chainsaw" ep... and note how more fucked up Skinny Puppy sounded after that!) certainly scared off a lot of people who avoided Wax Trax! and most Nettwerk stuff like the plague.. but you know, they probably wouldn't have had ANY U.S. or Canadian following if it weren't for Nettwerk, so they should be given some credit here.

Tom doesn't have a single kind word to say about Ink records, the UK label that ripped the band off, but did pretty much got their stuff distributed on vinyl... and is the reason most of us on this thread might actually own any Severed heads vinyl pre-1985 at all.

donut bitch (donut), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 07:02 (seventeen years ago) link

hi lauren! are you going to be in miami this week?

sean - please do make that available as an mp3. i'd like to hear it, even just out of curiosity. i adore 'dead eyes opened'. joakim from tigersushi has done a really excellent re edit of it that should be out soon. i was a bit wary as it's such a sacred song but he has done a very respectful job.

i never knew that ink records ripped them off but i have to say, if it wasn't for ink releasing their stuff over here, i don't think i'd have discovered them until much later when nettwerk started putting their music out.

and dan, i used to be mad about skinny puppy but i can't say i have put on any of there records in the last decade whereas severed heads are always on my stereo. most people in the uk probably only know 'greater reward' and think they made house records as it was a huge dancefloor hit in the summer of love ('88). that piano - mmmmmm!

stirmonster, Tuesday, 2 March 2004 14:20 (seventeen years ago) link


etc, Thursday, 23 January 2014 08:00 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

really enjoying Barbara Channel 3, released last month (of course it's "not a SH album")

ugh (lukas), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:23 (seven years ago) link

couple SH reissues coming out on Dark Entries.

dan selzer, Tuesday, 18 March 2014 02:16 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

And said reissues would appear to be these:

This news led to discussion on FB about them and a friend just posted this amazing story:

After they opened for Skinny Puppy at The Roxy in '86, I was sufficiently flabbergasted that I walked up to Tom post-show and stuttered something stupid like "Bu ... bu ... but ... how do you DO that?"

He fixed me with the patented Tom Ellard Thousand Yard Stare and replied,

"Well it's not DRUGS if that's what you mean!"

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 May 2014 21:41 (seven years ago) link


denial plan (electricsound), Wednesday, 7 May 2014 22:29 (seven years ago) link

also that one track

ugh (lukas), Thursday, 8 May 2014 00:05 (seven years ago) link

If I can be a bit of pedant that review kinda annoyed me:

"Dark Entries will press up an extended version of "Dead Eyes Opened" along with two other tracks, "Bullet" and "Mount.""

In other words...the Dead Eyes Opened single, which is that long, and featured those two songs.

dan selzer, Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:13 (seven years ago) link

eight months pass...

new "solo" ellard

sounding pretty good on initial listens

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Sunday, 1 February 2015 06:42 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Come listen to Come Visit the Big Bigot with me

np: "Twenty Deadly Diseases"

DJP, Friday, 27 February 2015 19:41 (six years ago) link

i've been playing 'harold and cindy hospital' a lot lately - love the total switch-up from punishing slo-mo death-stomp to that really pretty synth melody

donna rouge, Friday, 27 February 2015 19:51 (six years ago) link

and its all kind of the same vibe

cherry blossom, Friday, 27 February 2015 19:59 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

Sevs continue to be more active onstage since splitting up than for years before: US tour titled Better Dead Than Head

Sept 18 San Francisco at Elbo Room
Sept 19 Glendale, LA at Complex
Sept 20 Seattle at the Highline
Spet 23 Austin
Sept 24 NYC at Santos Party House
Sept 25 Tampa
Sept 26 Chicago at Cold Wave Fest

( who ALSO my boss and his sister!) (sic), Friday, 8 May 2015 04:30 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

Last Thursday they debuted the first "new" Heads material since 2007, a 20-minute piece which was performed live as an entire radio session. Streamable here.

glandular lansbury (sic), Wednesday, 1 June 2016 08:19 (four years ago) link

now downloadable

glandular lansbury (sic), Thursday, 9 June 2016 03:06 (four years ago) link

Link doesn't seem to work, could you try again?

albvivertine, Thursday, 9 June 2016 05:20 (four years ago) link

it's an rss feed, will work in Firefox!

glandular lansbury (sic), Thursday, 9 June 2016 08:20 (four years ago) link

Eh, maybe he'll put it up on his Bandcamp.

albvivertine, Thursday, 9 June 2016 08:34 (four years ago) link


just sayin, Thursday, 9 June 2016 08:57 (four years ago) link

three weeks pass...

video snippets up now

(wave hi to me at 0:24)

glandular lansbury (sic), Friday, 1 July 2016 04:23 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

Been coming back to Rhine a lot recently.

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Friday, 28 April 2017 04:21 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just two cents from a loooong time Clifford. I wouldn't have guessed it, all those years ago. But it seems to me nowadays that the real genius in Severed Heads is/was not Tom Ellard (though he's def. the best songwriter). No, the man responsible for making those songs/trax so strange and memorable and so memorably strange is/was Garry Bradbury! His solo works (and w/ the duo SIZE) over the last several years are the answered prayers for Clifford's who thought the post-BigBigot era Heads was not exactly the avant cat's PJs, that they were previously. And that's with all the humour and weirdness in full flower. I really can't recommend them all enough.

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Monday, 15 May 2017 05:24 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

Listening now to some Garry Bradbury on bandcamp, and it's great stuff! Vyrna is on the money.

christopher.ivan, Friday, 30 June 2017 23:17 (three years ago) link

vyrna knowl is also wading through a ventilator.

dan selzer, Friday, 30 June 2017 23:44 (three years ago) link

Yeah that Panspermia Plus compilation is 33 tracks long, available free if you want, and extremely good.

albvivertine, Saturday, 1 July 2017 23:23 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

thanks for the recommendation, my first exposure to Bradbury didn't click, but this is pure candy

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Friday, 4 August 2017 18:20 (three years ago) link

five months pass...

New Sevcom sampler, four tracks, good listen

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 27 January 2018 19:36 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

And Mr. Ellard has a new album out under his own name:

Ned Raggett, Monday, 2 April 2018 00:38 (three years ago) link

released simultaneously with a new Severed Heads album-length-project, it might be worth noting:

(Aversion 2 is the sequel to an as-yet-unreleased album called Aversion, which is covers of classic rock songs; Aversion 2 is built on samples of classic rock songs.)

It sounds like rock but only a memory of it, or an approximation made by an algorithm. I like some rock music, and there’s no criticism implied, just some curious misrepresentation which allows me to practice some heavy psychedelic production.

just noticed tears shaped like florida. (sic), Monday, 2 April 2018 08:01 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Started a farewell* tour last night, eight more US dates before the band goes back in the box. Tom announced several songs as not having been played in America before, and a few haven't been played live at all before.

A tour-exclusive CD features studio recordings of the new arrangements of most of the setlist:

* yes, they stopped without fanfare once, and played a final show ever twice after that. but Tom's saying that forty years into the band (and ten years of playing boring old songs to boring old farts as a nostalgia reunion act) he's definitely had enough of lugging flight cases around, and he & Stewart have lives & jobs. any future Sevs performances would be one-offs in unusual circs, like the JSPAC show or Beautiful Arabic Surface live-to-air.

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Thursday, 12 September 2019 20:58 (one year ago) link

oooh I could go see 'em in Houston this weekend!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:15 (one year ago) link

I'll be seeing them in New York, though not the show with Pop Will Eat Itself, who may not even make it as they're having visa issues, and even if they did make it and I was going to that show, which I'm not, I'd probably be better off as I'm not sure how I feel about a PWEI without Clint Mansell and I'm pretty sure they're music has not aged as well as Severed Heads, but the nostalgia is STRONG.

dan selzer, Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:18 (one year ago) link

ha ha, the Houston show was meant to be a co-headline with Pop Will Eat Itself, but got price-reduced to just Sevs playing live at a goth/alt DJ night bcz only 26 tickets sold. you'll have room to dance!

(last night was also meant to have PWEI, but the US embassy did not process their visas)

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:18 (one year ago) link

go! the show is a lot of fun.

stirmonster, Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:19 (one year ago) link


PWEI toured a This Is The Day... 30th anniversary show in the UK this year with four out of five classic-lineup members, but the US tour was/maybe is going to be more Graham's industrial metal nu-PWEI

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:22 (one year ago) link

hahaha, don't worry, I've spent plenty of evenings dancing at Numbers when it's 3/4ths empty

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:29 (one year ago) link

dammit why is the NYC show next week

brigadier pudding (DJP), Thursday, 12 September 2019 21:33 (one year ago) link

This was fun in SF. Wish I'd known about the CD.

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Monday, 16 September 2019 20:45 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

American tour CD now available on Bandcamp:

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 9 November 2019 00:45 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Oh a reissue of Clean with extra tracks, my twisted arm, etc.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 7 January 2020 23:14 (one year ago) link

Also Tom sez "If you have to have cancer, then the thyroid is a good place to have it, so I’m not worried, but I’m bloody cranky about it let me tell you."

interesting bits here

lukas, Wednesday, 8 January 2020 03:13 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

Ellard's latest rebrand as an unsevered solo artist is up:

At launch there's a CoKlaComa best of, an unreleased 2002 CoKlaComa album, and a $2 mini-album of interpretations of Pachelbel's Canon, under a new alias. He's said that Nilamox is intended to become the home for his future activities.

don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 00:59 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

A new C21st best-of-rarities mix streamable now, conceived for vinyl and out on December 8th in that format.

(Commissioned by Medical Records,) Heads mastermind Tom Ellard compiled this collection of work from the ‘00s from a variety of sources, from limited, hand-cut discs to video game soundtracks, and then wove snippets from those pieces into a stream of electronic consciousness. Four sides, four songs, all Severed Heads.

@oneposter (💹) (sic), Thursday, 19 November 2020 01:17 (five months ago) link


DJP, Thursday, 19 November 2020 01:18 (five months ago) link


stirmonster, Thursday, 19 November 2020 01:49 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

Ellard has remixed the first four Music Server albums into binaural sound

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 07:44 (four months ago) link

and 5 and 6 are on Bandcamp apparently in a format that works in 5.1 surround if you have that, or 360º if you have the latest unwired Apple Airpods, and they don't fall out of your ears when you move your head to follow the sound

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 07:50 (four months ago) link

one month passes...

Here's an hour of radio from a few days after Robert Racic died, playing tracks he edited or produced and talking to collaborators about his work. Pause-buttoned in 1996, and uploaded in 2021, by a guy who was in Sevs in between those dates.

(mp3 on dropbox)

stilt in the wings (sic), Sunday, 21 February 2021 09:59 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

We're making a spreadsheet of every Severed Heads live show. 250+ shows - but with gaps & errors. e.g. Brighton 1985 where? Melbourne Music Expo in 1987? Wollongong in 2007?
If you have any documentation all replies welcome.

— Tom Ellard (@t0m3llArd) April 30, 2021

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Saturday, 1 May 2021 08:19 (two weeks ago) link

There's a vinyl reissue of Rotund for Success coming out this year on Medical Records, fwiw

You guys are caterpillar (Telephone thing), Sunday, 2 May 2021 17:28 (two weeks ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.