Monday, August 4, 2008

Classic 12-inch: Danielle Dax - Cat House

In 1989, Sire records released CAT HOUSE, a new single from Danielle Dax. Danielle was a recent signing to Sire and I'm sure her looks had most to do with that, but that pretty face was no indication of her sound. Danielle was a off-beat artist that had released some independent recordings on the small Cartel label and those recordings were as out there as anything Laurie Anderson or Lydia Lunch had ever done. She didn't sell a hill of beans in the US, but that's OK. I like my artists strange and's what Wikipedia had to say about Danielle Dax:

After a short modelling career - she won the "Miss Evening Echo" competition in 1976 - Danielle Dax did brief but notable time in an avantgarde punk band called The Lemon Kittens, during which Dax was included on the League of Gentlemen's 1981 eponymous album, performing vocals (credited as "Hamsprachtmusic") on the song "Minor Man". Dax then left The Lemon Kittens and embarked on a solo career, recording and producing the albums Pop-Eyes (1982), Jesus Egg That Wept (1984), and Inky Bloaters (1987) on her own label, Awesome Records. In 1988 she signed with Sire Records, which released her double album Dark Adapted Eye, containing material from her previous recordings, such as the well-known song "Big Hollow Man", and included the new and un-released recordings "Cat-House", "White Knuckle Ride", "When I Was Young", "House Cat", "Whistling for His Love", and "Touch Piggy's Eyes".
In 1984 she made her sole film appearance as the Wolfgirl (a non-speaking film role) in The Company of Wolves (by Neil Jordan). In 1988, her film credits came to include writing music for the short avantgarde film Axel by Nigel Wingrove.
In 1989 Danielle appeared on the Channel 4 show Star Test, being interviewed for 30 minutes by computer, and being asked questions such as "If you met God, what would you ask her?", to which Danielle replied "Why are the nicer people not as successful as the shitty people?", a very apt response given her subsequent lack of real success in the music industry.
In 1990 she released her lone major-label studio album, Blast the Human Flower, produced by Stephen Street — except for the tracks "Bayou" and "Daisy", which they produced together. Her last two album releases were in 1995 and consisted of a career retrospective double-album entitled Comatose Non Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax, and an EP of new avant-garde and almost completely instrumental material called Timber Tongue. Dax's career in the music business then went on indefinite hiatus, and was often referred to as a retirement.
From 1996 on, she has worked in interior design, and has appeared several times on the BBC interior design show Homefront.
According to her official MySpace page (maintained by long-time friend and former bandmate, Karl Blake), she has had several spoken word performances of her old material in the UK and on the continent, and there is some talk of new material being written. Her first three albums have been re-released on CD via her own label, Biter of Thorpe (with distribution through World Serpent).
Dax's visual art repertoire includes the original artwork for her album Pop-Eyes. The artwork was later pulled from the album after its first run, after some record stores cited it as "grotesque". The replacement cover art (which was later replaced by the original art, for the CD release) was done by Holly Warburton, who subsequently did the cover-art for Dax's albums The Jesus Egg That Wept, Inky Bloaters and Dark Adapted Eye.