Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Intermission

As you have no doubt noticed this blog is in the middle of a summer break. I’ve been finding it hard to find the time or inclination to blog since returning from Scotland way back in June. This lethargy coupled with having to deal with three kids on their summer holiday means thing are not likely to improve in the immediate future.

Normal service will be resumed…one day…probably.

Meanwhile, for your enjoyment here’s Bill Nelson playing ‘For Stuart’ at his recent ‘Legends’ show at Metropolis studios. The Stuart in question is Stuart Adamson of The Skids and Big Country.

Friday, 1 July 2011

To cut a long story short this reminds me of something…

Dave from Planet Mondo declared last Fridays offering “the most eighties sounding record I’ve ever heard.” This is another candidate from 1981. It occupies the same musical territory as the first two Spandau Ballet singles.

That’s considered a good thing around these parts.

To Kalon - Coming To Get You (Dance Mix) (4:49) (1981)
To Kalon - Coming To Get You (3:41) (1981)

I recommend the short version for a quick fix. The longer version is a classic early 80s extended mix with echo-y drums and vocals.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Pretend a stranger is my friend


This is a record I got from ebay for 99p a few weeks ago. It was advertised as rare English synthpop and I had never heard of it so I thought I would give it a go. It’s from 1985 so when she sings ‘Pretend a stranger is my friend’ she’s not referring to Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. but that’s what the title makes me think of. That and the love-in that’s developed under my Jeanette post.

Talking Drums - Pretend A Stranger (1985)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Jeanette


I promised you all something special and here it is. These lovely minimalist songs are by Jeanette, real name Jeanette Dwyer (possibly related to Gary Dwyer of Teardrop Explodes) also known simply as Jean on This Mortal Coil’s Filigree & Shadow album.

According to Discogs she recorded three singles and two albums between 1983 and 1988. This is the only one I’ve got but I love both sides so much I really must rectify that. Expect some more tunes when I do.

Side one features just vocals, synthesiser and percussion, side two just multilayered vocals and percussion. It’s close but I think I like the b-side best.

Jeanette - In The Morning (1983)
Jeanette - Sun Arises (1983)

There probably won’t be a tune next Friday because I’ll be in Scotland by then. There’s a record shop called Groucho’s always visit when I’m up there so I hope to come back with something interesting.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Raiding the proggy archive


It’s been a while since I pissed people off by indulging in my penchant for progressive rock (of the symphonic kind). All you conscientious objectors will have to be patient and you will be duly rewarded with something special on Friday.

The concept of this record is brilliant; a medley of The Dambusters March and Land of Hope & Glory on a blue vinyl record that resembles the RAF symbol. The actual execution of the medley doesn’t totally work for me but there are lots of things to enjoy: The proggy guitar overture at the start, the Dambusters March, the playful segue with its snippet of The Sailors Hornpipe and the final few chords are all great but the Land of Hope & Glory part is like a sample from Last Night of the Proms and all that flag waving shit, which is the point of course but I just hate that song.

I’ve actually always prefered the b-side which is a lovely version of The Skyeboat Song.

The Enid - Dambusters March/Land Of Hope & Glory (1979)

The Enid - The Skyeboat Song (1979)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mind Made

It’s been a while since I featured a more guitar based new wave record. This one’s from 1980 and has an XTC-ish quality without quite having their verve and panache. That’s not to say it’s a bad record. This single may require a couple of listens but trust me it’s a grower. My advice is to play it loud.

Google doesn’t throw much light on Thieves Like Us except the drummer on this record is John Parish who went on to play on several P J Harvey records.

Thieves Like Us - Mind Made (1980)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Another request (sort of)

This is for Paul who left a comment on my Bethnal post to the effect that a Friday disco workout would be welcome. I haven’t had one of those for a while but for reasons that will become apparent this one had to wait for a Saturday.

This is one of the five disco 12 inchers I got from a charity shop back in February. It’s my 2nd favourite but it’s also the one in least good condition. This was obvious at the time but with Norma Jean Wright from Chic singing and Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards producing there’s no way I was leaving it there.

Norma Jean - Saturday (Remix) (1978)

According to the label it’s 129 B.P.M. for those who care about such things.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Request (again)

I posted this last night but Blogger went offline for maintenance purposes and it disappeared. Fortunately I had a back-up.

I may not be the fastest blogger in the west but I get there in the end. These two are for Kaggsy who requested them way back in April when I posted another song from the same LP.

There’s not a lot of information on the web about Eddie Maelov & Sunshine Patterson. They were previously in Gloria Mundi and…that’s about it. Couldn’t find a decent picture either.

As with a lot of their contemporaries there seems to be a Velvet Underground influence at work on these songs.

Eddie Maelov & Sunshine - Patterson Man For Sale (1981)
Eddie Maelov & Sunshine - Patterson Echo (1981)

Both from Fools Rush In Where Angels Dare To Tread recorded live at Cabaret Futura in spring 1981.

At least before it vanished Kaggsy downloaded the songs and sent thanks.

Friday, 6 May 2011

This week I have been mostly listening to…Fashion

As I’ve mentioned before I was sure in the early 80s that Fashion were going to cross over and be huge. With hindsight I should have known it wasn’t going to happen by the time today’s tune was released. If the excellent Move On and Streetplayer couldn’t crack the singles chart there was little hope for this, the 3rd or 4th choice single from the Fabrique LP.

This is the 7.30min 12-inch version which possibly stretches things too far. You can hear the original on the re-issue of Fabrique (plus bonus tracks) called The Height Of Fashion available from the usual outlets. I’ve been grooving to it all week in my car.

Fashion - Something In Your Picture (Motor Drive) (1982)

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bonus Saturday post because I missed Friday

Belatedly got a copy of the Hicks From The Sticks sampler today (about 30 years too late as it happens) so you’re likely to see the odd song from that LP popping up here over the next few months.

For starters how about this lovely XTC sound-a-like from Airkraft. I believe they only ever released one single and I can’t find any pictures of them on the internet to illustrate this post.

Airkraft - Move In Rhythm (1980)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Depeche Mode with balls

There’s not a lot of information about Makaton Chat on the internet. The best place to look is this site written by a former member (and where I got the picture). The best description I’ve read of them is “Depeche Mode with balls.”

These three songs are from the same 12-inch single. Federal State Chance was the A-side but I’m not sure if that would have been my choice. There’s not a lot to choose between them.

Makaton Chat - Federal State Chance (1982)
Makaton Chat - It’s His Life Story (Hail The Wild!) (1982)
Makaton Chat - Communicate (1982)

Anthony Lindo – keyboards, lead vocal
John Hodgson – keyboards, backing vocal
Paul Fowler – drums
Richard Holmes – bass guitar

This band was from Teeside. Did you know I lived in Teeside from 1988 to 1990? I’ll tell you about it one day

Friday, 15 April 2011

Forgot I had this...

Found today’s song on the ‘Fools Rush In Where Angels Dare To Tread’ compilation LP which mostly consists of live performances of varying quality recorded at the Cabaret Futura club in spring 1981. The sort of thing you would expect to find on this blog in fact. The main reason I haven’t featured this LP before is I’ve hardly played it in the 30 years I’ve had it. I think when I bought it I was expecting more of a ‘Some Bizarre Album’ compilation. I know some of the songs weren’t ‘electronic’ enough for me at the time.

The only studio track is Don’t Hide In The Shadows by Kissing The Pink which was also their debut single. I’ve no idea if this differs from the single version but I suspect it’s the same mix as it’s produced my Martin Hannett.

Kissing The Pink - Don’t Hide In The Shadows (1981)

As always all comments are welcome.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Two from Bethnal

I get a fair few hits on this blog from people searching for Bethnal LPs Dangerous Times and Crash Landing. Google brings them here because I featured their fantastic Don’t Do It single back in 2007. Those LPs are on my shopping list but I still haven’t got them. Until then in a blatant attempt to increase my hit rate and court popularity I’ve decided to re-up that record and Nothing New.

Bethnal had been around since 1972 and by all accounts (e.g. BrotheRay’s) were a formidable and energetic live act. They were signed to Vertigo in the late 70s and promoted as a punk band, which they clearly weren’t. An otherwise excellent article here suggests they were more of a hard rock band who should have been promoted on the back of the NWOBHM scene but I can’t agree with that either. It seems to me they were caught in that nether region between new and old wave. This wasn’t necessarily terminal, Don’t Do It for example is in the same musical sphere as Dr Feelgood or The Pirates and they did alright, but they never found their audience. Nothing New is nowhere near as energetic as Don’t Do It but it does feature the violin playing of singer George Csapo, which separated them from the crowd or perhaps alienated people. I hold the former view, Csapo suspects the latter.

Bethnal - Dont Do It (1978) From Dangerous Times

Bethnal - Nothing New (1978) From Crash Landing

Any lurkers out there who enjoy this post please leave a comment. I love hearing from all the regulars but it would be nice hear some other voices. C’mon, don’t be shy.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Last Man In Europe

Another from my seemingly, and in fact almost literally, endless pile of early 80s New Wave/postpunk/synthpop/electronic records.

This is another Bill Nelson production I was saving for the Cocteau Records feature that never happened. This was Coq 2 (Coq 1 being the magnificent Do You Dream In Colour?).

The main influence here appears to be The Cure (or maybe it’s coincidence), especially A Certain Bridge which like many early Cure records gets into a groove and doesn’t really go anywhere, so if you don’t like the first minute you might want to hit the stop button. Complications reminds me more of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise and is worth sticking with for the synth wig out in the last minute.

Last Man In Europe - A Certain Bridge (1981)

Last Man In Europe - T.V. Addict (1981)

Last Man In Europe - Complications (1981)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Novelty island

OMG, as those pesky kids say, I must have liked this when I heard it way back in 1982 or I wouldn’t have bought it. Unfortunately, like all novelty records the joke where’s thin after a few listens. Having said that there are a few things going for it: the corny DJ at the start is spot on if you were unfortunate enough to hear those annoyingly mid-Atlantic Radio 1 presenters back in the 70s and 80s. I had the misfortune to hear Tony Blackburn on Radio 2 recently and he still talks like this!! Secondly, the chorus is kind of catchy and I’ve always been a sucker for “Wo-oh-oh-oh’s.” Really.

The Dots - Helen In Your Headphones (1982)

By the way, I’ve broken my scanner and had to find a picture of the record on Google, hence the poor resolution.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Stranger Than Fiction

Another from my seemingly, and in fact almost literally, endless pile of early 80s New Wave/postpunk/synthpop/electronic records.

Stranger Than Fiction - Losing You (1980)

Steve Kennett: vocals + guitars
Stewart Kennett: percussion
Norman Pearce: bass
Sean Mckernan: Moog + ARP strings

Produced by Bill Nelson

Might add the b-side later.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Raucous

I was just explaining to young Darkdance how the Vinyl Archive’s singles collection dried up around 1991 (in the comments on my last post) but there are one or two later ones. Last summer I bought seven relatively obscure mid 90’s singles from a charity shop. I’d never heard any of them but they were well looked after and apparently from the same collection so I thought they deserved a good home. I put them in a cupboard (the wife’s wardrobe actually) and forgot about them so they only got their first play last weekend.

By far the best of the bunch was This Is For Real by David Devant & His Spirit Wife – a brilliantly rowdy catchy pop-rock Britpop type of record.

David Devant & His Spirit Wife - This Is For Real (1997)

The other records, which may be featured sometime in the future, were by Jetpak, Ladies Who Lunch, Chopper, Blew, Idlewild, Cake and The Auteurs. OK the last three aren’t obscure but I’m not familiar with their recordings. The Auteurs record is a one sided single that I believe was given away with one of their LPs

Friday, 18 March 2011

Extended Sprout

I don’t know about you but after a miserable Friday where I’ve got caught in the rain and somehow got my feet soaking wet so that my toes still itch like mad I like to relax too the extended version of the opening song on Prefab Sprout’s best album*.

Part of me thinks this should be a bonus track on the ‘Jordan: The Comeback’ CD but 'Doo-Wop in Harlem' finishes the album so perfectly it would be vandalism to put anything after it. Guess that’s why they invented 2-disc sets.

Prefab Sprout - Looking For Atlantis (Extended Version) (1990)
or if that doesn't work try:
Prefab Sprout - Looking For Atlantis (Extended Version) (1990)
Ripped from the 12-inch single

*A contentious statement I know but it’s my favourite and it’s my blog.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Two from 1981

Been meaning to post these since I started the blog but I’ve never been sure what to say about them. I know very little about Hambi & The Dance (except they’re from Liverpool) and I can’t claim either of these are lost classics but they are nice examples of early 80s slightly arty, slightly synthy music, though not electronic enough for me at the time which is why I never bought any more after these.

Too Late To Fly The Flag is the more obvious single (reminds me of Teardrop Explodes) but if you give it a few listens L'image CraquƩ is the better song.

Hambi & The Dance – Too Late To Fly The Flag (1981)
Hambi & The Dance - L'image CraquƩ (1981)

Guitar & Vocals: Hambi Haralambous
Drums: Les Hughes
Bass: Gary Johnson (later of China Crisis)
Guitar: Steve Lovell
Back-up vocal: Jaqui

Friday, 4 March 2011

and you're very welcome..

Last weeks disco record got a decidedly mixed reception so let’s see what you make of this offering – the 12-inch extended version of Chas Jankel’s ‘Glad To Know You’, co-written by Ian Dury. Is that a good enough pedigree for you?

As a bonus I’ve also included the b-side ‘Am I Honest With Myself Really?’and both sides of the ‘109’ single previously featured on this blog back in 2007 and described by one polite contributor as a genius song. These are all new vinyl rips but be warned 3,000,000 Synths is a bit crackly.

Chas Jankel - Glad To Know You (Extended Version) (1982)
Chas Jankel - Am I Honest With Myself Really? (1980)
Chas Jankel - 109 (1981)
Chas Jankel - 3,000,000 Synths (1981)

Friday, 25 February 2011

The weekend starts here

Picked up a handful of classic disco era 12-inch singles from a charity shop a couple of weeks ago. This is exactly the sort of thing I hope to find in these shops because I bought very little of it at the time but really enjoy this stuff now. The pick of the bunch by a mile was Weekend by Phreek (or Patrick Adams Presents Phreek as the label has it). Information on Phreek is pretty scarce on the internet but this record is rightly regarded as a disco classic.

Of course, if you’re going to sit at your computer and listen to it it’s far too long at 8 minutes so I suggest you get up and boogie.

Phreek - Weekend (1978)

Monday, 7 February 2011

+ve -ve

Here’s the other record I bought last Friday. It’s the 12-inch version of the third Positive Noise single Positive Negative. This is another one I missed at the time. I loved their debut single Ghosts/Give Me Passion but wasn’t sure about the follow up Charm/And Yet Again (which I must post here one day) and never really investigated further. That’s a shame because these songs are much more up my synthy post-punk alley.

Former vocalist Ross Middleton had left to form Leisure Process by now so the band line-up is:

Russell Blackstock – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Graham Middleton – Keyboards
Frazer Middleton – Bass Guitar
Les Gaff – Drums

Positive Noise - Positive Negative (12-inch version) (1981)
Positive Noise - Energy (1981)

I’ve also got some live Positive Noise which I will feature soon.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

New discovery

I recently discovered there is a record shop I didn’t know about just under 7.3 miles from my house (according to AA Route Planner) that’s been there for years. I took a trip over there yesterday afternoon and didn’t give myself anywhere near enough time for a good rummage before having to dash off and pick the kids up from school. I did, however, pick up a couple of 12-inch singles which will be featured here over the next few days.

The first is a collaboration between Vince Clarke (of Depeche Mode, Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure) and Paul Quinn (of Bourgie Bourgie and several other bands/collaborations. See here for more information).

Somehow I missed this record in 1985 so these songs are new to me but this is just the sort of thing I hope to discover when I go record shopping.

Vince Clarke Paul Quinn - One Day extension (1985)

Vince Clarke Paul Quinn - Song For extension (1985)

The other groovy 12-inch single to be featured soon.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Unfortunately this wasn’t a surprise

Mick Karn lost his battle with cancer on 4th January 2011. He was only 52.

The best tribute I can pay him is he changed the way I thought about bass playing. Probably yours to if you’re about my age.

Here’s some old favourites featured on this blog way back in 2007.

Mick Karn - Sensitive (1982)