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Information Society

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An agreeable dance outfit with ties to industrial music, techno, and funk plus an equally appreciable pop sense, Information Society hit the dance clubs and later the charts with their infectious breakout single, 1988's "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)." The group, a quartet formed in Minneapolis by James Cassidy, Paul Robb, Kurt Harland (aka Kurt Valaquen), and Amanda Kramer, signed to Tommy Boy Records a few years later and recorded a self-titled debut album. The single "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)," propelled by a Leonard Nimoy sample and Valaquen's smooth, assured vocals, became a club hit and eventually landed at number three in the pop charts. Later that year, "Walking Away" hit the Top Ten as well, and the album reached gold-certified status. Kramer left soon after, however, to record with the Golden Palominos, 10,000 Maniacs, and also on her own. Information Society's sophomore album, similar to not-so-famous follow-ups by dance-popsters EMF and Jesus Jones, was more than competent but mostly ignored by critics who had pegged them as one-hit wonders. Several singles managed shallow chart exposure, but after the third album (1994's Peace & Love, Inc.), both Robb and Cassidy exited. Harland continued on, signing with the Cleopatra label and releasing the industrial-tinged Don't Be Afraid in 1997 along with the remix album InSoc Recombinant in 1999. Harland then moved onto a career in video game music, working for publishers like Crystal Dynamics and Electronic Arts. Little Information Society activity happened until the group was featured on an episode of VH1's Bands Reunited in 2004, but Kurt was a holdout. Amanda Kramer moved on to join the Psychedelic Furs. A couple of shows with Harland, Cassidy, and Robb took place in 2005 before Harland left the band; although he remained a silent fourth member, he gave a 2006 lineup with vocalist Christopher Anton his blessing. This lineup was responsible for the 2007 album Synthesizer, but Anton was out by the end of 2009 and Harland returned soon after. The band released _Hello World in 2014 on Robb's Hakatak label and supported the album with a world tour. In 2016, the all-covers album Orders of Magnitude arrived with songs originally performed by Human League ("Don't You Want Me"), Devo ("Beautiful World"), and the Sisters of Mercy ("Dominion"). ~ John Bush

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