Monday, February 21, 2011

Translator - No Time Like Now (1983)

No Time Like Now is the second album from Translator, released in 1983 on 415 Records, distributed by Columbia Records. In 2007 the album was released on CD for the first time by Wounded Bird Records. The CD release included the 3 songs from the Break Down Barriers EP as bonus tracks.

No Time Like Now

Track listing
2."Beyond Today"
3."I Hear You Follow"
4."Break Down Barriers"
5."L.A., L.A."
6."I Love You"
7."No Time Like Now"
8."Everything Is Falling"
9."Simple Things"
10."The End of Their Love "
11."About the Truth"
12."Circumstance Laughing"

2007 CD bonus tracks:
14."Cry for a Shadow"
15."Break Down Barriers" (Extended Mix)

Translator is a San Francisco rock band that had success during the 1980s. They created a sound that spanned updated British Merseybeat and stripped-down punk-like rock to psychedelia. Inspired by the Beatles and 1960s California folk-rock bands such as The Byrds, their guitar-based music was very popular during the early 1980s on non-commercial campus radio and new wave music stations. But unlike similar groups including R.E.M., Translator did not get much exposure on mainstream classic rock radio. The group's stripped-down music and sometimes ironic and disturbing existentialist lyrics also helped to make them a significant influence on the alternative rock of the 1990s.

The four-piece band was formed in Los Angeles in 1979 when singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Barton linked up with Larry Dekker on bass and Dave Scheff on drums. A second singer/songwriter/guitarist, Robert Darlington, joined soon after and completed the lineup. The combination of 2 talented songwriters and a powerful energetic rhythm section became the key to their success.

Translator then relocated to San Francisco where they were signed to Howie Klein's independent label, 415 Records, on the strength of the demo tape they sent to college radio station KUSF: the loose and rambling yet laconic "Everywhere That I'm Not" has remained the band's signature tune. The song was featured on Translator's debut album Heartbeats And Triggers, which was recorded with the widely respected producer David Kahne. As a result of 415 Records' national distribution arrangement with Columbia Records the debut album received strong promotion and became an underground and College radio hit in 1982. “I remember being on our first tour when we were playing at the Ritz (in New York) and thinking no one was gonna come,” recalled Barton. “And I remember coming around the corner and seeing this line going out the door and down the block and it was like ‘Oh my God...we sold the place out!’

Between 1983 and 1986 the band completed 3 more albums for the same label. They received some airplay for "Un-Alone", from the second album No Time Like Now (1983), once again produced by Kahne. The self-titled third album Translator (1985) contained fan-favorites "Gravity" and "O Lazarus". The fourth Evening of The Harvest (1986) featured "Standing In Line" and "Stony Gates of Time." For the third and fourth albums Translator worked with another top New Wave producer, Ed Stasium. Though the later albums contained consistently strong original songs none got as much recognition as the debut.

Translator's music continued to have underground appeal and was featured on at least 3 different compilation albums during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2007 all four original albums were re-issued on CD by Wounded Bird Records with previously released bonus tracks. This series made their entire 1980s work on CD for the first time. In May 2008 the 2 CD collection Different Time was released. It contains previously unavailable demos, studio out-takes and live recordings spanning 1979 to 1986, with one track from 1996.

In 1996, ten years after their official breakup, the band was paid its highest compliment when Beatles fans mistook their take of the instrumental "Cry for a Shadow" for a new recording by the Fab Four from the Anthology sessions (in fact it was a Translator B-side from 1983.)

Translator continues to reunite on occasion, including the South By Southwest festival in Austin in 2006, and shows in Los Angeles and a sold out date at Slim's in San Francisco in September 2009. The band is still releasing music, including a planned record of previously unreleased fully produced songs from 1993. Barton works as a solo recording artist. His brand new 2011 album is titled "Projector". It was produced by Marvin Etzioni from Lone Justice and was recorded on 2" reel-to-reel tape. Steve plays all the instruments on this one. The album is made up of songs written in the aftermath of Steve's dad's passing in 2009. In 2010 he released a 20-song CD titled "Gallery" featuring tracks from his three solo albums, plus four brand new songs with his solo band, Steve Barton And The Oblivion Click (Steve Barton, Robbie Rist, Derrick Anderson). Scheff has continued drumming, most recently with the orchestra at Teatro ZinZanni, on a 2008 summer UK tour with Dead Kennedys and, with Larry Dekker, guitarist Peter Wiley and keyboardist and singer Cynthia Haagens in Bang Bang Men. Robert Darlington published a collection of his poetry titled "Ether". Larry Dekker continues to supply his powerful melodic bass playing for various bands.

Steve Barton: vocals / guitar
Bob Darlington: vocals / guitar
Larry Dekker: bass
Dave Scheff: drums


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