Retro: 80s Outliers

Believe it or not, I haven’t listened to my beloved 80s college radio-era albums and mixes in quite some time.  I did that on purpose as I wanted to soak my brain in some of the new stuff that’s out there.  Different sounds thirty years on.  Some music reminiscent of the early years, such as the noisy shoegazeyness of Panda Riot versus My Bloody Valentine.  Other music reveling in its weirdness like Alt-J or its sparse loveliness like London Grammar.

So going back down the 80s rabbit hole one more time, I’m hitting the usual cast of characters such as The Smiths and the Cure and so on.  I procured those discographies quite some time ago.  I still listen to them every now and again when the mood strikes.

Lately however, I’ve been wanting to do a bit more research in the bands and sounds that I never quite got around to following other than a few singles.  I recently caught up with the Fall’s discography for the most part (I’m bypassing their 1,058,736 live albums that seem to have the same release frequency as a Guided By Voices record), and now I’m curious once more about some of the other outliers from that era.

Here’s some of the stuff I’m talking about:

 

A lot of Electronic Body Music (aka EBM) there to be sure.  It might sound much more lower-tech than the DJ boffins we have nowadays like BT and Skrillex, but not bad considering a lot of those synths were brand spanking new at the time and no one really knew much of how to work them.  And as long as they got people on the floor, so much the better.

But I’m also curious about other genres out there from that era, like the various punk scenes (such as Boston versus DC versus LA versus SF, and so on), or more of the Athens scene (Pylon, Love Tractor, etc), or anything else that’s out there that I may have missed.

So yeah…if any of you have any suggestions for old-school tunage for me to look into, please feel free to let me know!

Recent Purchases, May Edition

More tasty tunage from what’s turning out to be a really good year for music!

LCD Soundsystem, “Call the Police”/”American Dream” single, released 5 May. I’m not the biggest LCD fan…they’d have been a band I’d have taped off the radio but probably wouldn’t have actively looked for, back in the day. I do like this b-side, which has a very early-80s-synth feel to it.

The Afghan Whigs, In Spades, released 5 May. They’re a bit of an odd band that uses tension well in their music, which is one of the reasons I like them.

The Primitives, New Thrills EP, released 5 May. First of many blasts from the past this month! Always loved this band’s bubblegummy alt-pop.

Blondie, Pollinator, released 5 May. Second blast! A welcome return, sounding quite like their late-70s/early-80s dance-punk.

Slowdive, Slowdive, released 5 May. Third blast! And HOT DAMN is this a gorgeous album. I expect all you shoegaze fans have to already have this in your collection.

Day Wave, The Days We Had, released 5 May. As you can tell, the beginning of May had one hell of a great list of releases. Perky, twitchy, echoey alt-rock similar to Two Door Cinema Club and the like.

The Darling Buds, Evergreen EP, released 12 May. Fourth blast! One of my favorite ealry-Britpop bands from 1989, returning with a new EP that sounds as just as fresh as their previous catalog.

Overlake, Fall, released 12 May. One of those bands I’d never heard of but given a great review on one of the music blogs, I checked it out and deemed it quite excellent. It’s been part of my Lidwells playlist lately.

White Sea, Tropical Odds, released 12 May. Morgan Kibby, under her band name, popped up not only on recent M83 tracks but duetted with Big Data. Her second release is beautiful, moody and fascinating.

The Charlatans UK, Different Days, 26 May. It’s been how many years since Some Friendly…? And they’re still going strong. A mellower affair than previous albums, but still strong and fantastic.

The Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Deluxe Edition, released 26 May. Well, DUH. Of course I’m playing the hell out of this lately!!

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Stay tuned for the June releases, which should contain the following:

Saint Etienne, Home Counties
Ani DiFranco, Binary
Panda Riot, Infinity Maps
Alison Moyet, Other
Cheap Trick, We’re All Alright!
Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up
Ride, Weather Diaries (!!!!)
Prince & the Revolution, Purple Rain Deluxe Edition
Radiohead, OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997 2017

…and more that I haven’t been aware of! 😀

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow

I’m finally getting around to reading George Clinton’s autobiography Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? [BEST. TITLE. EVER.] and it occurs to me that I don’t own any Funkadelic (or Parliament, for that matter).

This really needs to be rectified.

I’ve known about them for years, of course.  I probably first heard of them in a few of those rock history books I used to take out from the library back when I was a preteen and already obsessing over music trivia.  I’m pretty sure I’d heard some of their jams in the background of some 70s movie or something.  I knew George Clinton had an extremely out-there stage persona.  They weren’t a band you’d find in the music bins at K-Mart or one of those mall stores, though, so they weren’t always on my radar.  It wasn’t until my freshman year roommate in college played me part of their 7th album Let’s Take It to the Stage that I got what they were about.  One listen to “Get Off Your Ass and Jam” and I knew what I was in for…  I liked it, but it didn’t quite gel with me at the time.

Reading his book, though, I finally figured out what they were about.  They weren’t merely a weird funk band from the 70s…they were much more than that.  Part soul, part psychedelic rock (I can definitely hear that now — the above track is reminiscent of those long-ass psych rock jams that early FM radio loved so much), part political, and part party.  There’s a lot going in this band’s music, and now I’m intrigued.

That said…given that their early work is available on eMusic, I’m going to download me some of this cosmic slop and do a bit of immersion.  Wish me luck!

Coming Soon: Blogging the Beatles: Sgt Pepper Reissue Edition

Come on, you knew it was coming. 🙂

I’ve been obsessing about this release since hearing about it some months ago, and since it’s such a landmark album — not to mention this release being the only time so far that a full Beatles album has been given a completely new stereo remix — I think it’s only fair that I give it the BtB treatment, now that I have it my grubby paws.  I’d like to go over what one can expect: the differences in sound between the original mono and stereo mixes, and the new 2017 stereo mix.

[Alas, I do not have a 5.1 sound system so I won’t be able to provide any input on that at this time, though it’s part of the big box set edition.]

Stay tuned!

Let’s hear some music

peanuts linus dancing

I’m worried that I’ve run out of things to listen to.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  It’s more that I’ve been listening to too much of the same thing lately, added to the fact that I haven’t been too entirely excited by the recent releases this month.  Sure, there are a few big names, but I’m not at the OMG I MUST DOWNLOAD THIS NOW UPON PAIN OF DEATH like I normally would with some albums.

Meh, it’s been an off-month, is all.

I mean, Sirius XM just started a new official Beatles channel and their playlist is quite brilliant (not just the canon discography, but solo works, covers by other groups, and songs that inspired the band).  They even sneaked in the 2017 stereo remix of “A Day in the Life” from the new Sgt Pepper deluxe release that’s coming out on Friday (yes, I ordered it as soon news about it dropped, and yes, I’ve been twitching all week to get it into my grubby paws).  From what I’m hearing, the new remix of the album is quite lovely indeed.

Still…I need a change.

NETIZENS!  Suggest some tunage for me!  Anything, any genre, any age.  My palate is wide and I want to check out stuff I haven’t heard before.

What are you listening to?  What albums are you freaking out about?  What’s your latest obsession that you want me to get in on?  Tell me in the comments! 😀

 

Meet the Lidwells: Musical Inspiration

I’m thrilled to report that in the span of one month, I’ve already hit over 13,000 words for the Meet the Lidwells project, averaging around 500 to 700 words day. I’m still on track for a fall release at this point, as I think I’m about a fifth of the way done already!

Meanwhile, here’s a few songs I’ve used for inspiration and reference so far. As you can see, there’s definitely a deep Britpop influence going on.

The Stone Roses, “I Am the Resurrection”: The four-to-the-floor beat of this track was part of the inspiration for the Lidwells’ first major hit, “Grapevine”.  Theirs is a catchy track that captures the interest of not just their younger teen fans but also the older ones, thanks to their ability to cleverly mix pop stylings and creative alternative rock. The Lidwells were known for stretching out “Grapevine” live, much like how The Stone Roses did with this song.

The Charlatans UK, “Opportunity”: Keyboardist Danny Lidwell wrote a groovy deep track called “Trust” for their debut album inspired by the keyboard-heavy Manchester bands like The Charlatans and Inspiral Carpets. He claims that “Trust” was when he deliberately decided to stop being self-conscious about his playing and just powered through it, revealing his own unique style in the process.

The Real People, “Window Pane”: I’m using this song as a sort of template as to what the early Lidwells sound like aurally: a lot of harmony, a positive and funky vibe, and definitely catchy and fun to dance to.

The House of Love, “You Don’t Understand”: This would be a good example of the type of song they would write, especially eldest member and band leader Jason. In fact, Jason will end up writing a song similar-sounding to this one by their third album.

Veruca Salt, “Volcano Girls”: This is definitely a great example of how I picture the two women in the band, Hannah and Amy, rocking out. Hannah is a badass drummer with no fear, and Amy is one hell of a shredder. They’re both solid songwriters with no filter at all.

The La’s, “Looking Glass”: If A Division of Souls had Failure’s “Daylight” as the soundtrack for the final scene, this is the one for MtL‘s finale. This would be Thomas, the youngest Lidwell, singing this as the final song on their final show on their last tour, going out on one hell of a high.

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More to come when I have more written! 🙂

Boston Rocks

citgo sign

Speaking of 90s music, I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff lately that came out while I was in Boston, college and post-college.  The city has a fascinating musical history, especially where rock and radio is concerned.  [I highly suggest looking for Carter Alan’s Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN and Brett Milano’s The Sound of Our Town for a great overview.]  There’s always been a scene of some kind in the city over the years, and it’s always been great.  A lot of it is due to its eclectic mix of blue-collar families and college students.

I was glad to be able to listen to, if not go see, a lot of the local bands while going to Emerson College in the early 90s. Here’s a few of my favorites from that era…hope you enjoy!