Digital Sex ‘Essence’

Posted 08 May 2020 in Albums of 1985, Albums of the 80s, Alt-Rock, Indie



Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#1050 in the Series) is Digital Sex, Essence 

Do you know this one? No you say? I somewhat expected that. No, not because the band wasn’t good enough or deserving enough because they indeed were. They were quite good but they were unfortunate to be another one of those talented acts that fell through the cracks. I don’t remember seeing them on MTV and that was the quickest and easiest way to get your name in front of people back in 1986. This was the indie rock of the time period. This was an Indie rock act back when you didn’t have the internet to help promote the little guy. It was a tough task to break out of the pack.

So how did I know about the band Digital Sex then? I learned about them the way that I learned about many bands at that time. A way that is completely 100% (or at least darn close to 100%) gone from this era of music and music discovery. That way was the record store and more specifically, the Mom and Pop record store.

By this time I had lived in a number of different places in the Midwest. Places such as Chicago, Steger, Appleton Wisconsin, Milwaukee Wisconsin and eventually Oak Lawn, Illinois.  At every stop I would find and then hang out whenever I could at the local store. Roseland Music Shop, Hegewisch Records, In Sound, The Exclusive Company all helped lead the way to Wind Records. Not only was this the store to be at, it really became a second home.  I would hang there for what seemed like hours. It was owned by a couple named Steve and Doreen Wind. They were quickly becoming friends of mine. Heck, I was there almost every day. (We had some great Christmas Eve parties at that place too!)  The subject was always the same. “Have you heard so-and-so’s new album?” or “Have you heard of these guys” as he’d gesture and I’d glance at the wall towards the “Now Playing” rack to see who was filling my ears. They or another cat that worked the store named Phil always had something to offer. Phil was a little younger so he would turn all of us on to sounds I might have otherwise missed.

I remember when Steve first played Digital Sex, a new band that called the music hotbed of Omaha, Nebraska home. It had many characteristics that I loved including some jangly guitar and layered harmonies. The first track which you can hear below reminded me as something that might have been influenced, as I had, by the REM EP Chronic Town. No, it didn’t sound like Chronic Town, but it sounded like a band that might have liked that release. I also think they may have listened to a little bit of The The or The Stranglers as well.

Stephen Sheehan, Dereck Higgins and John Tingle made up the band.  I’ve included three songs below for you to listen to. That’s all I could find. Be sure to give them a listen. Google the band as well but make sure you include the word “band” in the search or you might find some things that…. well, you know what you’d find.

I hope you give this a listen and pretend that you heard about it when you were hanging out at your local record store, just like you might have in 1986. If you missed that era, you missed a bunch of fun.

— Larry Carta, Chicago, Illinois USA

Track Listing

  1. Whisper Words
  2. Steps Toward Freedom
  3. In Her Smile
  4. Oceans of Space
  5. Second Wind
  6. Sex in the Spring
  7. Roses on Wednesday
  8. Within These Walls
  9. I Can’t Wait


  • Stephen Sheehan – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
  • Dereck Higgins – Guitar, Keyboards
  • John Tingle – Guitar, Keyboards
  • ————————————–
  • Maureen Evans-Hansen – Keyboards
  • Kevin Kennedy – Drums

Related Links

A live cut from a 1989 show.

Posted by Larry Carta

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