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Combining the D.I.Y.-attitude of the early punk years with an affection for progressive rock acts such as Gong and Gentle Giant, the U.K. act the Cardiacs formed in late 1977 by Tim Smith, who quickly enlisted brother Jim Smith to join the fledgling outfit. The alleged fact that Jim couldn't play an instrument mattered little and the band took the moniker Cardiac Arrest. Their first actual release was a single, "A Bus for a Bus on the Bus," in 1979, which they followed with a full-length cassette release the next year, entitled The Obvious, under the truncated name the Cardiacs. They sporadically self-released material throughout the '80s, including Toy World in 1981. They landed a high-profile slot opening for Marillion in 1985 which, although they had been selected by Marillion lead singer Fish, proved to be a pairing that did not go down well with the headliner's fan base. In 1988, they released the LP A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window, which proved to be their biggest success, spawning the Top Ten indie chart track "Is This a Life." The success was short-lived and the band found itself embroiled in a brief stir when the factions of the media mistook the relationship between Tim Smith and saxophonist Sarah Smith to be as siblings instead of man and wife. Although their audience has never been widespread, self-proclaimed admirers of the Cardiacs include Mike Patton and Damon Albarn, who arranged for them to open shows for Blur during 1995. The Cardiacs have toured regularly since their inception, even if their recorded output has been a bit more erratic. ~ Tom Demalon

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Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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