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Author Topic: The 1980's Appreciation Lounge  (Read 23012 times)
Bean Bag
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« Reply #75 on: February 25, 2015, 07:27:09 AM »

The Beach Boys really should have had a great 80s album.

The Beach Boys '85 is decent -- but only to a point.  Brian Wilson '88 is better and more original, but struggles just as much BB'85.  The common denominator could be "no Dennis."  Toss in Landy and/or Brian's bizarre mental state.  But the real issue is a sense of defeat that permeates both records.  They struggled through the 70s -- but their efforts pay off from time to time.  And when they didn't they're still interesting.  Because they were trying.

In the 80's there's the sense that we're "lucky" they even managed to show up for two projects.  Two and 1/2 if you count Still Cruisin'.  That to me is the difference.  They only showed up for class a few times, gave it a go -- to varying degrees of success -- and that's it.  There was no artistic pushing, struggling, searching and effort.  It was just -- "ok.  We're here.  Let's record a few songs.  And that's good enough."

The Beach Boys should have had a great 80s album.   Undecided

« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 07:28:57 AM by Bean Bag » Logged

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« Reply #76 on: February 26, 2015, 09:22:10 PM »

Porcupine, Echo & the Bunnymen


Perhaps emblematic of this entire thread, I had always written off Echo & the Bunnymen as a bit of 80s cheese with a silly band name. But, I have a friend who's a big fan, so I thought I would at least give an album a listen. And now that I have, I can most assuredly say I was completely wrong. I. Really. Like. This. Album. It's hard to say exactly what I like so much about this record, but I have been playing it non-stop for the past few days. I looked them up on YouTube, rejected "Lips Like Sugar", and found a song called "the Cutter" instead. What I found was an experimental band, a singer with a remarkable voice, and some clever lyrics, namely "conquering myself/until I see another hurdle approaching/say we can, say we will/not just another drop in the ocean". The way the song evolves is great: the middle eight is a departure from the rest of the song and brings it into a new emotional territory, and the ending is the middle eight repeated, but now modified and brings the song to a wonderful finish. So, I decided to listen to the album it came from, Porcupine (duh), and found that this sort of song craft was used throughout the entire album. I don't even really know song titles, as I just let the whole album play without checking. The whole album sounds unified, yet every song is still noticeably different, and it creates something that's bigger than the sum of its parts. The last song on the album is also one that I particularly love - damn, that chorus is just killer.

Really, if you're somehow who never game them a chance, try it. Unreleased backgrounds, seeing your picks - and noticing that E&tB isn't there - I would venture a guess that they would be something you might enjoy.
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« Reply #77 on: February 26, 2015, 11:00:17 PM »

I enjoyed The Beach Boys of the 80's.  Great records, great concerts.  Whatever the struggles, I love the music they produced.  That's enough for me.  It was fun to be there then, just like it's fun waiting for Brian's new album now.

I would suggest one, but I'm sure Bubbly has heard it all.  Cool group.
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« Reply #78 on: February 27, 2015, 04:57:31 AM »

Okay, so I'm going through some of these recommendations. Here are my thoughts thus far:


Dexys Midnight Runners

I picked out Searching for the Young Soul Rebels and I was actually pretty anxious to give it a listen. And then I did. It is a great album. The music itself is pretty interesting, like a mixture of New Wave and Soul that makes total sense when you hear it. I was actually surprised to hear brass being used so extensively on album from around this time, and I really liked that. The songwriting is solid, and it's just great fun to listen to. And, damn, that "Seven Days Too Long" - I just want to listen to that over and over again. I love the way the record finishes, too. I'll definitely have to look into their two other albums from the 80s.



This album kind of reminds me of listening to Reel Big Fish. I don't like that.  Not as good as Too-Rye-Ay.
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« Reply #79 on: February 27, 2015, 05:45:44 AM »

Porcupine, Echo & the Bunnymen



Really, if you're somehow who never game them a chance, try it. Unreleased backgrounds, seeing your picks - and noticing that E&tB isn't there - I would venture a guess that they would be something you might enjoy.

I just listened to it. I always really liked The Cutter - had it on a compilation - and I probably would have checked out this album long ago if free music streaming on the net had existed sooner.

Good album. Will need to hear it more to know how much I really go for it. Quibbles on first listen: The title track bored me a bit, and on My White Devil and Fuel the vocals are so imitative of Bowie it's unbelievable. If Bowie heard them he must have thought they were taking the piss.
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« Reply #80 on: February 27, 2015, 12:28:08 PM »

Porcupine, Echo & the Bunnymen



Really, if you're somehow who never game them a chance, try it. Unreleased backgrounds, seeing your picks - and noticing that E&tB isn't there - I would venture a guess that they would be something you might enjoy.

I just listened to it. I always really liked The Cutter - had it on a compilation - and I probably would have checked out this album long ago if free music streaming on the net had existed sooner.

Good album. Will need to hear it more to know how much I really go for it. Quibbles on first listen: The title track bored me a bit, and on My White Devil and Fuel the vocals are so imitative of Bowie it's unbelievable. If Bowie heard them he must have thought they were taking the piss.
Also check out Songs To Learn And Sing - great clutch of mustard cutters including Seven Seas ("swimming them so well") and The Killing Moon
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« Reply #81 on: February 28, 2015, 02:26:23 PM »

Got the day off, so let me see if I can catch up.

the captain,  I read your "looking back on adolescence" post again this afternoon and got a chuckle.  I was too old I guess to get into the "Hair Bands" - I liked a bit of Van Halen and Kiss.  "Jump" was good.  But not David's take on "California Girls" - Carl couldn't save it.  David Lee's solo material was a zero for me.  Bon Jovi and others that have vacated my memory cells, same deal.  'Fraid Twisted Sister was too, but better than Roth.  I'm not familiar with the other songs you mentioned, but not going to try it now either.  I thought "Hair Bands" and Rap were just comedy acts between the good songs on MTV (the only place I heard or saw any of it).  I did like a couple of things the Beastie Boys did later, but Rap music to this day can't hold my attention.  Todd tried it on a few of his tracks - thought that was comedy too (and he's a hero).  Just not for my ears.  Didn't care for "Bang on the Drum all Day" - but loved everything else about The Tortured Artist Effect.  Lots of stuff from the 80's was lost on me...I didn't like the "all powerful" Springsteen, in fact nothing after Born to Run is of much interest.  Someone mentioned earlier in the thread that maybe after all these years only the best of the 80's is remembered now.  No.  I remember plenty of very bad music from the decade.

Echo and the Bunnymen.  Zero.  I agree with unreleased backgrounds.  Bowie wanna-bes.  I don't remember them being all that popular.  McCulloch's attitude over-shadowed any good music they produced.  I played some of the videos and Porcupine to see if it would change my mind.  Didn't.  Got thru "The Cutter" (okay), but if I want to hear Bowie, I'll just put that on.  Bubbly, I can see how you like them.  When I mentioned that Nick Cave sometimes had a Bowie sound, it was this same period McCulloch is copying - 1976 thru 1979.  Have you listened to the Berlin Trilogy?  The work Bowie did with Eno?  Compare the Bunnymen to Station to Station (1976) and pay close attention to Lodgers (1979).  Tracks like "Fantastic Voyage" or "Red Sails" - Bowie had a lot more power/energy in his music.  Makes Porcupine sound like a dirge.  And listen to "Repetition" for a jolt of David doing Lou.  David was my favorite of all the acts influenced by Velvet Underground.  While listening to Lodger, I was also reminded of a direct influence on Andy.  Go listen to "African Night Flight" and "Yassassin" to see what I mean.

Bowie set a whole new course in the 80's.  He was always freshening up his act.  Scary Monsters/Super Creeps (1980) was a look back on his own career.  He followed up "DJ" and "Boy's Keep Swinging" with a heart-stopping "It's No Game" - one of my favorites of any he did.  Not quite as good, Let's Dance (1983) gave us "Cat People" and "Modern Love" to only name two.  The only time I ever saw him live was The Serious Moonlight Tour.  Itself designed as a look back on his whole career.  The Tubes probably got the biggest audience of their life (close to 60,000) as the opening act.  They let them do a full set.  It was the last stop on the American leg, 17 September 1983, Oakland Coliseum.  I didn't usually go to stadium shows, tho I'd just been there the month before (20 August) for Simon and Garfunkel.  That puts them in the 80's too.  It seems like we're focusing on UK music in the thread so far, but I'm going to pick out some American music soon.

Wait.  I'm not leaving til I cover Alan's Australian group.  This morning looked into The Go-Betweens - pretty damn good!  Watched videos for "Lee Remick" (cause I love her), "Was There Anything I Could Do?" (cooks), and even better "Streets of Your Town" - this one song sounds like Prefab Sprout.  Like always, influences bounce around the globe.  Oboes seemed to show up in the 80's groups I was listening to.  Dream Academy had Kate St. John, who like Amanda and Wendy (Prefab Sprout) added greatly to the vocal mix.  "Bye Bye Pride" "Cattle and Cane" - every song I picked clicked.  So went back to read again the posts for 16 Lovers Lane (1988), then played it all the way through - so some songs got a second listen.  Impressive album, this is my kind of 80's Pop.  Do hear the Velvet's influence on Foster's tracks - "I'm All Right" and "Dive For Your Memory" - his best here on this first listen.  Grant's material is the real winner.  He has (had) a great voice.  "Love Goes On" and the two I had found earlier are just beautiful.  I also looked up Amanda on Wiki to see if I could find a track she sang lead vocals on.  I see she came into the band in 1986 after they had been going for awhile.  Couldn't, got one you know about, Alan?  They ended the 80's on a high note for sure.  I played only a couple of the later group.  Missed Amanda's presence.  I'll try one of Grant's solo albums next.             

 
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« Reply #82 on: February 28, 2015, 03:12:31 PM »

Re: the Chameleons. They're new to me too, the thing that has impressed me most by them so far is their first single, "In Shreds". I started listening to them because a friend of mine has co-edited and published the singer's autobiography and got me to proof-read some of it and I found it really fascinating. So of course I had to listen to all these songs whose genesis and recording (amidst typical music industry twists and turns) had been described so vividly. I recommend the book most highly. http://mittenson.com/mark-burgess-view-from-a-hill/

Cool, I'll have to check the book out, thanks. Shame I can't get a signed copy shipped to me here in the US. I also found out that the band (Chameleon Vox) is coming near me sometime in September, so I'm hoping to go see the show. Unfortunately, it's a farewell tour, but I guess that's even more reason for me to go.

I just listened to it. I always really liked The Cutter - had it on a compilation - and I probably would have checked out this album long ago if free music streaming on the net had existed sooner.

Good album. Will need to hear it more to know how much I really go for it. Quibbles on first listen: The title track bored me a bit, and on My White Devil and Fuel the vocals are so imitative of Bowie it's unbelievable. If Bowie heard them he must have thought they were taking the piss.

I'm glad you liked it. Your other picks were close enough that I didn't think this album would be too much of a stretch for you anyway. I went back and listened to "My White Devil" ("Fuel" is a bonus track that I don't seem to have), and I can see the Bowie-ness in the singing. Although, while Bowie's probably an influence, they both already have similar accents and vocal ranges.

Some of the lyrics do come off as dated.  Ignore them - they're throwaway.  I don't care what he's singing when my toes are tapping to "Walls Come Tumbling Down" or "Shout to the Top"  - I'm dancing around the room.  Sounds like Gamble and Huff were brought in to produce - that's Philly Soul!  I love "Come to Milton Keynes" regardless of what he's singing about.  The only song you liked was "Down the Seine"?  You should give a second listen to "Boy Who Cried Wolf" "Luck" "Lodgers" or "With Everything to Lose" - even better, listen to the early singles from 1983 and my favorite record by them, Café Bleu (1984).  And I love all of Mick's instrumentals.  Those arrangements are not baffling - they are the instrumentation of 60's American Soul music.  

Well, I wasn't all that crazy about the music either. A lot of it was a very smooth R&B thing that I didn't really care for, and I didn't think the others were very interesting. When I was referring to the baffling arrangement, I was talking about "Our Favorite Shop". Whatever that strange noise that begins the song is (synth?) makes absolutely no sense with the rest of the instruments and is so distracting.

I enjoyed The Beach Boys of the 80's.  Great records, great concerts.  Whatever the struggles, I love the music they produced.  That's enough for me.  It was fun to be there then, just like it's fun waiting for Brian's new album now.

I would suggest one, but I'm sure Bubbly has heard it all.  Cool group.


Actually, I have not heard it all. I haven't really heard anything that came after BB85. I'll get to it someday.

For me, like early xtc, The Jam was a singles band.  I liked Paul's ballads best on their records.  Paul was influenced by The Kinks and The Beatles in the 70's - much like one Andy Partridge was.  Andy took that and perfected it in the 80's.  

Speaking of XTC and the Jam, Paul apparently told Andy that Sound Affects was their attempt at being XTC-ish.

Prefab Sprout... Well, I liked the group all the years they had Wendy.  I hardly remember Steve McQueen except for the singles - "Appetite" and "When Love Breaks Down" are both solid.  The only record I bought was From Langley Park to Memphis - that has a lot of great tracks.  "The King of Rock'N'Roll" "Cars and Girls" "Hey Manhattan" and "The Golden Calf" - maybe you should give that one a listen before completely throwing them off the bus.  Paddy was a great pure pop writer and singer.  I can see what you say about them - plenty of folks do the same thing.  Dream Academy was similar.  I recently bought their 2 CD retrospective.  For me, MTV made video a big part of what music was in the 80's.  I still prefer to have a visual while listening to music if possible.  Stepping a bit outside the 80's, the next thing I bought by Prefab Sprout was their hits package, A Life of Surprises (1992). Yeah, try the hits package if you want to explore them again.

I might give the other albums a chance in the future. I'm just trying to go 1 album per band currently.
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« Reply #83 on: February 28, 2015, 03:22:47 PM »

Echo and the Bunnymen.  Zero.  I agree with unreleased backgrounds.  Bowie wanna-bes.  I don't remember them being all that popular.  McCulloch's attitude over-shadowed any good music they produced.  I played some of the videos and Porcupine to see if it would change my mind.  Didn't.  Got thru "The Cutter" (okay), but if I want to hear Bowie, I'll just put that on.  Bubbly, I can see how you like them.  When I mentioned that Nick Cave sometimes had a Bowie sound, it was this same period McCulloch is copying - 1976 thru 1979.  Have you listened to the Berlin Trilogy?  The work Bowie did with Eno?  Compare the Bunnymen to Station to Station (1976) and pay close attention to Lodgers (1979).

Well, I don't want to put words in unreleased background's mouth, but I don't think he was calling the band Bowie imitators. Actually, he seemed to like the album. I don't really see an overwhelming influence of Bowie on them like you seem to. I think they're quite different, and yes, I have heard bits of Bowie's Berlin trilogy - Low and "Heroes". So, I haven't heard Station to Station or Lodgers yet. I don't really notice much of Bowie in Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds either, so maybe I'm missing something.

Wait.  I'm not leaving til I cover Alan's Australian group.  This morning looked into The Go-Betweens - pretty damn good!  Watched videos for "Lee Remick" (cause I love her), "Was There Anything I Could Do?" (cooks), and even better "Streets of Your Town" - this one song sounds like Prefab Sprout.  Like always, influences bounce around the globe.  Oboes seemed to show up in the 80's groups I was listening to.  Dream Academy had Kate St. John, who like Amanda and Wendy (Prefab Sprout) added greatly to the vocal mix.  "Bye Bye Pride" "Cattle and Cane" - every song I picked clicked.  So went back to read again the posts for 16 Lovers Lane (1988), then played it all the way through - so some songs got a second listen.  Impressive album, this is my kind of 80's Pop.  Do hear the Velvet's influence on Foster's tracks - "I'm All Right" and "Dive For Your Memory" - his best here on this first listen.  Grant's material is the real winner.  He has (had) a great voice.  "Love Goes On" and the two I had found earlier are just beautiful.  I also looked up Amanda on Wiki to see if I could find a track she sang lead vocals on.  I see she came into the band in 1986 after they had been going for awhile.  Couldn't, got one you know about, Alan?  They ended the 80's on a high note for sure.  I played only a couple of the later group.  Missed Amanda's presence.  I'll try one of Grant's solo albums next.             

Yes, I agree. They made a really great album with 16 Lovers Lane. I haven't listened to their other albums yet, but most of their albums are supposed to good, so I look forward to listening to more of them. Funny that you say "Streets of Your Town" is Prefab Sprout-y, as that's my favorite song on the album and I don't really care for Prefab Sprout at all. Oh, well, whaddya gonna do?
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« Reply #84 on: February 28, 2015, 03:52:37 PM »

Give Prefab Sprout another listening session.  They are remembered fondly by many.  To many they were a great group.  Try the hits package:  A Life of Surprises.  Everybody has their own taste tho.  We're just discussin'.  I'm not offended when folks don't like what I like.  The music we love in our lifetime is somewhat from our own circumstances.  What we find along in the way.  It's all about discovery.  The where and the when of it.

Okay, unreleased backgrounds only said Bowie like vocals by McCulloch.  I stand by my claim then.  Vocals and music.  Give a listen to the albums I suggested, Station to Station and Lodger.  Sure unreleased backgrounds will be chiming in again soon.

I'll get back to you later on the Nick/Bowie connection, the party is about to begin.  You know...cause it's Saturday. LOL
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« Reply #85 on: February 28, 2015, 05:52:37 PM »


Wait.  I'm not leaving til I cover Alan's Australian group.  This morning looked into The Go-Betweens - pretty damn good!  Watched videos for "Lee Remick" (cause I love her), "Was There Anything I Could Do?" (cooks), and even better "Streets of Your Town" - this one song sounds like Prefab Sprout.  Like always, influences bounce around the globe.  Oboes seemed to show up in the 80's groups I was listening to.  Dream Academy had Kate St. John, who like Amanda and Wendy (Prefab Sprout) added greatly to the vocal mix.  "Bye Bye Pride" "Cattle and Cane" - every song I picked clicked.  So went back to read again the posts for 16 Lovers Lane (1988), then played it all the way through - so some songs got a second listen.  Impressive album, this is my kind of 80's Pop.  Do hear the Velvet's influence on Foster's tracks - "I'm All Right" and "Dive For Your Memory" - his best here on this first listen.  Grant's material is the real winner.  He has (had) a great voice.  "Love Goes On" and the two I had found earlier are just beautiful.  I also looked up Amanda on Wiki to see if I could find a track she sang lead vocals on.  I see she came into the band in 1986 after they had been going for awhile.  Couldn't, got one you know about, Alan?  They ended the 80's on a high note for sure.  I played only a couple of the later group.  Missed Amanda's presence.  I'll try one of Grant's solo albums next.            
  

Hey Will - so glad you like The Go-Betweens.  It's a bit daunting, putting one's (musical taste) c*ck on the block, when there are so many aficionados on this site with such broad, but exquisite, tastes.

Unless there is some b-side that's slipped my memory and credibility, Amanda didn't get up for a GB lead.  After the band split, Amanda and Lindy went on to form Cleopatra Wong, who pumped out a couple of albums (CDs), which were not too shabby. Sadly, me and such items were departed, like several articles in my collection, during the dismantling of yet another university share house arrangement (5 bedrooms, 6 to 7 tennants, $30 a week rent, ya dig).

Here's a rather poor quality clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sskl9Y7aBCE - of Cleopatra Wong's first single

When Robert and Grant got the band back together, Amanda and Lindy weren't invited (band and ex-lover politics) - a shame, as Amanda may have gotten her time to shine (even more).  

For some additional Amanda action displaying her violin skills, check out this one from another oz band, The Died Pretty - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07oZHDgPiqo

In terms of seeking out your next GB action, it will depend on the song writer you prefer - Robert's sound is a little more prominent on the earlier albums, despite Grant kicking ass with "Cattle and Cane". Grant certainly came to the fore from Tullulah.

Their last album, Here Comes A City from '05, is a great album to explore, with both writers delivering the musical and lyrical goods (espec Robert, imo).  It's now blended with the bittersweet legacy of both Grant's subsequent, much too early passing and  Robert's following decision to declare the Go-Betweens no more. (Warning tho, the '05 EMI CD is bricked to hell and breaks up like a mother if you crank it up).  There is even some Amanda-esque sax/clarinet sounds on "Lavender" (Track 7).

----------

Will, I really appreciated your thoughts on Paul Weller and the Style Council, a wonderfully delivered and though provoking perspective.  

Having said that, my own opinion is closer to Bubbly's; in that I couldn't believe the guy from the Jam was the main cheese in The Style Council. I knew about The Style Council before The Jam, having seen "Speak Like A Child" on the generic Saturday morning clip show (Speak Like A Child - a favourite, and for me a little more Jammy than the Beat Surrender, which I've never gotten my Jam head around).  

Anyway, on "discovering" Le Jam and obsessively delving into the back catalogue, wearing out the grooves on "SNAP", I found myself unable to "stand"/abide any adventures of The Style Council and shook my sorry head at Weller, now poncing/wanking away in his buttoned up Fred Perry's and slip-on Loafers, the only minor respite arriving with Walls Come Tumbling Down.  

Yes, Weller was doing a great job waving his R&B freak-flag along with his Red Wedge one, but some of the funk stylings produced at the height of the Yuppie era (ie, the Lodgers, It didn't matter) seemed to be more about immersion in the top ten rather than supporting the radical subversion he was calling for. And it seemed a shame he'd completely dropped The Beatles/The Who (except Eminence Front, which doesn't help me out here  Grin)/etc influences that bought a nice balance to his old band.

Having said that, over the years, and perhaps now removed from the Yuppie fad and anti-Thatcher politics of the 80s, I have come to further appreciate the Style Council and agree they had a great many songs up their tailored sleeve - perhaps over time, listeners like the esteemed Bubbly will come to appreciate these tunes at face value; but, feel the yhe Jam's legacy will always smear the achievements of the Style Council  Grin  

Thanks again, tho', and it did make me go off a dust off a few old but worthy LPs, gathering dust next to my wife's Communards and Fine Young Cannibals stash.

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« Reply #86 on: February 28, 2015, 10:11:00 PM »

4 pages of 80s discussion, and no mention of Duran Duran?!!! wtf

these guys were visionary, funky, catchy... great writers and musicians.
this one especially. iconic stuff


and barely a mention of this absolute classic


I can't stand anything they did after Pyro though...


others I quite enjoy





















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« Reply #87 on: March 01, 2015, 12:18:18 PM »

Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw

This was okay. Marshall clearly has a great love for 50s thing, particularly Buddy Holly - so much so that I'm pretty sure "Cynical Girl" is a rip-off of "Words of Love". "Mary Anne" also sounds really familiar, did someone else use that riff? I also got a really strong Everly Brothers (whom I love) vibe from "the Usual Thing", and I liked that song a great deal. My other favorite is probably the opening "There She Goes Again", and "Rockin' Around in NYC" is a fun song. In the end, I'm not a big fan but the music is perfectly fine. I think the 50s songwriting coupled with an 80s production does this album a disservice.


Globe of Frogs (1988)

I like Robyn Hitchcock, but I wasn't very taken by this album. Perhaps it isn't the best entrance to his solo discography. "Balloon Man" was fun and shows off his love for Syd Barrett, and I can see how it was a hit. Although, I don't think it's the best song on the album, and I think I agree with the allmusic review that "'Sleeping With Your Devil Mask,' 'Chinese Bones,' and 'Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)' [...] are the reasons to own this record." I did like "Tropical Flesh Mandala", too. There were things I liked, but I found some of the songs just weren't all that great. Anyway, I like Robyn, so I'll listen to some of his other solo albums later on.


Wall Of Voodoo "Call Of The West"

Continuing this seeming trend of not-hating, not-loving... This was some pretty interesting new wave music. And, uh, well, yeah. The music and lyrics are darker than the usually happy genre, but the band also retain the musical and lyrical weirdness that you find with new wave. Actually, they do a pretty great job of matching the music to the lyrics and creating weird little vignettes. However, I don't really like the guy's voice much, so that's going to work against them. Maybe this is something I could appreciate more with each listen, but currently, it's not something I would revisit very often. "Lost Weekend" depresses me.


Josef K

And out of the indifference I climb. At this point, I was really hoping for an album I liked, considering it's been about 8 albums in a row I either didn't care for or didn't care much about. Bless it, The Only Fun in Town delivered. I actually really this sort of spiky-guitar-weirdness that showed up a lot in the post-punk times. They're similar to another band I've discovered but haven't had the chance to listen to yet, This Heat. Unreleased backgrounds, if you haven't listened to them before, give this a shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0eVTeQi06c. I just turn this album on, let it play, and I'm always disappointed when it's over. Lyrics, singing, guitars - it's all great. Too bad they had such a short career.


The Colour of Spring is the best place to start

And so that's what I did. But, I feel like it's way too early for me to pass judgement on this album. It's all extremely well-crafted, often gorgeous, but I think this an album that really takes some repeated listens to fully appreciate. So, that's what I'm going to do. With that said, I really enjoy "Life's What You Make It", "April 5th", "Chameleon Day", and I thought the ending to "Time It's Time" was lovely.
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« Reply #88 on: March 01, 2015, 08:56:37 PM »

 I take this thread as suggesting *any* 80s album, not just favorites. So,,, here is sth. I found today after reading on Chris Rainbow.

     Ton Scherpenzeel - Heart of the Universe (1984)




Features the guy from "Camel" where Chris played the keys.
Comments to the album posted on a local site say that this will appeal to fans of "Maria, Mirabela", Romanian kids' movie of 1981. [Those guys know every obscure bit, I'll tell ya.] Whatever that means, will give it a listen. Would like to see your mini-review on this one too, Mr. Waves.
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« Reply #89 on: March 06, 2015, 04:48:51 AM »

That Traveling Wilburys one is a good pick.

Just remembered this one:

Pete Shelley Homosapien
Punk singer goes synthpop shock!
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« Reply #90 on: March 07, 2015, 02:05:51 PM »

Give Prefab Sprout another listening session.  They are remembered fondly by many.  To many they were a great group.  Try the hits package:  A Life of Surprises.  Everybody has their own taste tho.  We're just discussin'.  I'm not offended when folks don't like what I like.  The music we love in our lifetime is somewhat from our own circumstances.  What we find along in the way.  It's all about discovery.  The where and the when of it.

Okay, unreleased backgrounds only said Bowie like vocals by McCulloch.  I stand by my claim then.  Vocals and music.  Give a listen to the albums I suggested, Station to Station and Lodger.  Sure unreleased backgrounds will be chiming in again soon.

I'll get back to you later on the Nick/Bowie connection, the party is about to begin.  You know...cause it's Saturday. LOL

Another Saturday and I'm still playing catch up.  unreleased backgrounds has now chimed in with no further info to back-up my statement about McCulloch.  I looked around and found back-up right away.  Wiki (not a great source, but is written by regular folks like us) tells a tale of how ego driven McCulloch was, saying that some song of his was the greatest song ever written, and lashing out about other, much more popular groups than his, were just crap.  I personally remember this time period.  One of them was U2, a group riding the crest of UK music at the time.  Did he think he was better than The Pretenders?  I didn't think so.  Saying you're better is not being better.  They had fans, no doubt about it, but it was his attitude and ego that turned me off.  I shouldn't have said zero.  They have some decent tracks.

Bubbly,  wanted to add some more to my Nick/Bowie connection.  Keep trying to get it clear, you know...

While we were doing Nick in the Listening Project thread I mentioned that on one of the songs from Let Love In sounded as if he had structured it to sound like Bowie.  I was only referring to just the one song, not meaning it to sound like Nick's whole career was being a copyist.   Also in that thread unreleased backgrounds made a post about how hard it is to judge music after just one or two listens.  He's right.  What I'm doing with most of my posts in these kinds of threads is making simple comparisons.  Not saying anybody's a straight rip-off.  There's always some part of the artist inside any track they write.  Me saying "sounds like" should be made more clear by just saying "influenced by" - that's usually the case.  I'm sure Nick listened to Bowie's Thin White Duke period, and probably his whole catalogue, but nothing can be absolute without Nick himself dropping by to give us the word.  Nick you here with us to answer some questions?  LOL  I really think everybody is influenced by someone.  It's the way music works to go forward.

Alan,  I was in a music shop yesterday and noticed The Go-Betweens had a nice four or five page article in MOJO's March 2015 issue.  Nice to see they are being remembered around the world.  Haven't had a chance to listen to any more tracks this week, but will do so soon enough.  I'm working at the xtc place!  But thanks for your words on Weller, The Jam and The Style Council.  I too loved all the Jam cover tracks and nods to Weller's favorite 60's groups.  I took a look at the number of songs Weller did while in both The Jam and The Style Council, counting up my favorites.  It was about equal!  The only Jam material I own on vinyl is what came out at the very end - The Gift, my favorite record by them, and Dig the New Breed, their fantastic live album.  The Jam showed their true strength live.  For the rest, like you, I have Snap and it's counterpart on CD, Gold - a 2 disc comp that covers them very well.  On VHS I have the one with stuff from the last Jam tour and all of the Style Councils' videos...wait nobody remembers VHS - scratch.  On DVD I have The Complete JAM (2002), which covers some of their concerts and TV appearances.  Also got Weller's hit parade (2006), which gives space to all three; Jam, Council and Weller's solo years (up to that point).  My comment on them doing the "Beat Surrender" 12" Single, was to point out that Weller intended, with or without his group mate's blessings, -> the way he intended to go.  He went without them.  Their replacements, to me, were better.  Especially Steve White on drums, who was the one that Paul took with him for much of his solo career.  Although I didn't follow Mick's travels after Style Council, I thought he was a real talent.  Note to Bubbly - we enjoy so much of the same music.  I just hate it that Style Council is circling your drain. Grin

On the Politics of The Style Council:  I'm not much into them, certainly not politics from another country.  I know little about the Red Wedge.  I mean I heard Weller going on about how horrible Thatcher and Her Council was, but paid it of little mind.  When anybody's lyrics are trying to get across a political message, it hardly gets thru.  I wanted to save this to post in a reply to Judd in the xtc place thread, but I'll put it here as an Example:  When I first heard "Making Plans for Nigel" I didn't know it was about a real British Council person.  The picture on the Single didn't give any clue to that.  I don't even remember anybody pointing out it was about that.  I actually thought it was just a "naughty boy" - maybe with a tip-o-the-hat to the Kinks' Schoolboys in Disgrace.  Nothing more.  I also don't hold it against anyone on how they dress.  Like Zappa said - we all have uniforms.  I thought they looked pretty sharp!  And didn't they dress about the same in The Jam?  Oh, and I hope nobody here thinks I'm a Yuppie cause I liked them.  For many years during the 80's I worked at Ma Bell (the phone company) - I'm a commoner like most of the rest of you.  I've never been what I would call rich.  The 80's were rough for a lot of us in America too.  In the late 80's I had to do a complete turn around and change careers after the Bell system broke apart.  I put myself through another round of college to become a professional gardener.  Working in the soil...very much a commoner trade.  I love flowers, trees and shrubs.

So many records are being tacked up on this thread, and I know Bubbly has another batch ready to go.  I have only heard two from his last post, so I'll try to get to those soon - need to find some listening time.  Some of the other records being posted are favorites of mine too, but I can not cover everyone of them today.  For sure have a bit more to say about Talk Talk.    From bossaroos list:  Neil's Old Ways, for me, was his strongest record of the 80's.  It was nice to see him going back to his roots, regardless of what Geffen thought.  I collected most of Neil's records of the 80's only on vinyl.  I thought he dropped off quite a bit towards the end of the decade especially, so CD comps work best for this period.  I saw him at The Bread and Roses Festival in 1980 at The Greek in Berkeley.  It was the only show he did that year, and I was right out in the sandbox (now unfortunately Gold Circle seating for top $).  Mimi had a way of talking artists into making appearances there, even when they were taking a break from the road.  Neil didn't have much of a record to promote at the time.  Hawks and Doves (1980) was 1/2 old tracks going back to 1974, and 1/2 thrown together in early 1980.  Against my better judgement (after hearing the record) I went to the Trans tour stop at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  Much better than I expected!  It was fun, like his Rust shows and he stripped down most of the Trans' tracks, making them sound more...hmm, normal I guess would be the word.  I found things to like on all Neil's 80's releases, and I must have been one of the only people who actually liked the Shocking Pinks record.  But. As I said, by the end of the decade he left behind a set of much weaker records than his earlier 60'/70's material.  Many of the tracks were written in his prolific 70's period (easily found on bootlegs in much better versions), not just the ones on Hawks and Doves.  You Neil fans already know this I'm sure, so won't make a list.  Fagen's first solo album and Joe Jackson's Night and Day are top choices, and in my collection, vinyl and CD - I have lots of stuff by both.  I have the Wilburys' stuff on vinyl and the wonderful little set they put out with 2CDs and a very neat DVD.  I've never heard the Merle record, but I like him as an artist.  I'll pass on the others, some Singles at best.  That wasn't a very strong Stevie record.  He did have his last great record in the 80's,  but it's not that one.

Okay, it's 5pm where I am, and I am out of time.  I have a party to get ready for.  Saturday...the best day of the week.

Edit:  Sparked by writing this, the first thing I played last night was hit parade DVD disc 1.  That includes many highlights from both The Jam and Style Council, about an hour's worth each.  First time to see it in about a year.  It was nice looking back at videos from the 70's/80's.  Some of it sure looked dated, but sounded fine - I still liked all the music.  As The Jam ended and The Style Council began I thought - wasn't it the same deal as The Beatles.  Looked that way to me.  Men growing up getting married and moving on.  Must have to Paul.  I know the other guys didn't want to break-up.  Paul had already brought an organ and horns into their sound, and they seemed to accept that.  But.  They look a little uncomfortable in the "Beat Surrender" video, the first one where Paul brought in a female singer.  By the time of Style Council's third album, Paul was another example of "bringing the wife into the band" (he married Dee C Lee).  I won't keep pushing my agenda, but I like Paul's "Motown" period.

Another thing that crossed my mind while watching, is being proved by the great selections we are discussing - there was a lot of great music in the 80's.  I think it would be much more difficult to find great music from the 90's.
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« Reply #91 on: March 08, 2015, 06:13:52 PM »

I think it would be much more difficult to find great music from the 90's.

Well, we'll find out in due time.  Wink



Another week, another 5 albums. Here we go...

Stevie Wonder: Hotter Than July

This is good, but not as good as his 70s stuff. Still good, though....
I guess I'm not really much in the mood for Stevie lately.


Van Dyke Parks: Jump!

I was surprised by this album. I usually think of Van Dyke albums as having two things: nice arrangements and slightly annoying vocals. This album delivered on one of those two - and, thankfully, it was the arrangements one. Actually, Van Dyke's vocals are doubled throughout the great majority of the album (other than when he's not singing, o'course) and it really helps out in that area. I also found that he just sang better in general than the album of his I've listened to before, Song Cycle. I enjoyed how he looked back to pre-rock music to inform his song construction and arrangements, it makes for a unique listen. I like it.


Human League

I thought this was good. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy something that was so heavily based on synths. But, hey, as it turns out, if it's good then it doesn't really matter. Also, it has "Don't You Want Me".


Psychedelic Furs- Talk Talk Talk

Y'know, this is probably good post-punk music, but I couldn't really get past the guy's voice, which I really dislike. Sorry.


Momus

This was an interesting album. It was often pretty, but also had some really odd subject matter. He has quite a fixation on sex, although he does sing most of the lyrics with an audible smile. It's fun and I enjoyed it.



Okay, well, it's probably obvious that I'm not feeling wordy today. I'm a little burned out on listening to a constant stream of new music. Since starting this thread, I've listened to 34 albums that were new to me. While most of them were from the 80s and I posted about here, some I didn't post about, and others weren't from the 80s at all. I feel like I need a break to come to terms with all these new bands and albums, so I'll be taking a week or two off from listening to five new albums at the week's end.

Feel free to continue on.
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« Reply #92 on: March 09, 2015, 03:57:13 PM »

I quite like Ark by The Animals. "The Night" is a great song from it.

If you don't mind metal or keen to check it out I'd recommend British Steel by Judas Priest, Heaven And Hell by Black Sabbath and The Number Of The Beast by Iron Maiden.
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« Reply #93 on: March 09, 2015, 11:41:52 PM »

How about bad suggestions? Never check Rod Stewart. That guy cannot do anything, talentless brat, as it were.
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« Reply #94 on: March 10, 2015, 12:14:40 AM »

How about bad suggestions? Never check Rod Stewart. That guy cannot do anything, talentless brat, as it were.

His solo career is pretty sh*t. But he was brilliant with The Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.
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« Reply #95 on: March 10, 2015, 03:49:28 AM »


Momus

This was an interesting album. It was often pretty, but also had some really odd subject matter. He has quite a fixation on sex,

Heh, so many of the songwriters I like do, (not to mention most people I know, and me) that it seems almost par for the course.



Okay, well, it's probably obvious that I'm not feeling wordy today. I'm a little burned out on listening to a constant stream of new music.

I'm not surprised

Feel free to continue on.

OK! I can't believe I forgot these:

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: JONATHAN SINGS

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: ROCKIN' AND ROMANCE

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: MODERN LOVERS '88

First two of those produced by Andy Paley who you might have heard of.

feelsflow, there was LOTSA great stuff in the nineties! (More JONATHAN RICHMAN for starters).
I didn't say any more about Echo and the Bunnymen because Bubbly Waves correctly interpreted my remarks. You might be interested to know that they were nicknamed Ego and the Backingmen but to me what's on the records is all that matters.
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« Reply #96 on: March 10, 2015, 08:18:33 PM »

How about bad suggestions? Never check Rod Stewart. That guy cannot do anything, talentless brat, as it were.

But he was brilliant with The Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.
What to check 1st? From either band, I mean.
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« Reply #97 on: March 10, 2015, 11:19:23 PM »

Okay, well, it's probably obvious that I'm not feeling wordy today. I'm a little burned out on listening to a constant stream of new music.

I'm not surprised

I'm not sure how other people approach discovering music, but it usually starts for me when I'm interested in a new band. When that happens, I slowly work my way the band's/artist's catalogue all the way through - or at least the seemingly good parts. Most often, towards the end of the process, I find a new band that I'm interested in, and things keep moving smoothly. So, the approach I've been taking for this thread - quickly listening to one album per artist - is basically the exact opposite of how I usually go about things. It has been fun, though, and I would like to thank everyone who offered up an album that I liked (for those of you who made suggestions that I disliked, you get nothing).

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: JONATHAN SINGS

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: ROCKIN' AND ROMANCE

JONATHAN RICHMAN AND THE MODERN LOVERS: MODERN LOVERS '88

First two of those produced by Andy Paley who you might have heard of.

Why, yes, I have heard of Andy Paley. I've also heard of Jonathon Richman, thanks to the one and only Modern Lovers album. I've been meaning to check out this solo albums, although I know they're nothing like the Modern Lovers album. Still, I'm at least hoping the same sort of songwriting personality will carry over into his solo stuff. Anyway, cool, I'll have to check these out. Which one's your favorite?

I didn't say any more about Echo and the Bunnymen because Bubbly Waves correctly interpreted my remarks. You might be interested to know that they were nicknamed Ego and the Backingmen but to me what's on the records is all that matters.

Feelsflow mention of the attitude problem was actually the first time I had read anything about it. Hearing about it hasn't changed the way I feel about them, though. Someone talking themselves up doesn't detract from the actual quality of the music, although I can see how it could put some people off. But, still, it's the music we're grading, not the human being.
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« Reply #98 on: March 11, 2015, 12:44:54 AM »

Unreleased backgrounds,  I haven't had a chance to listen to everything on your list yet, but did queue up some Buzzcocks.  Wanted to post the clips for "Orgasm Addict" and "I Can't Control Myself" after the description of the Momus album and your reply.  But, those are 70's tunes. Smiley

I played some Jonathan Richman.  I saw him several times, but his music didn't grab ahold of me too much.  I'm getting in trouble around here with my opinions, but I didn't really know who he was back then, so that makes it a bit foggy to remember.  He came across as too much of a comedian to me, I like to separate the two.  I love Arlo Guthrie but think his comedy too wrecks any album it's prominent on.  Jonathan has some nice light songs, though.  Maybe if I had seen him do longer sets.  I saw him once at a two set show.  He did several songs not included in the first set.  I saw him in a festival setting.  That was better suited to keeping everyone's eyes on the stage, audiences in Dinner Clubs tend to talk during opening acts, or have dinner.

I'm also playing some clips to check if I still like some of the old stuff.  Modern English, "I Melt With You"  Split Enz, "I Got You"  Human League, "Don't You Want Me" and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination"
Falco, "Der Kommisar" - some Wang Chung and Men Without Hats, all made me feel good.

Like Bubbly with his Soft Boys pick earlier, you picked one that I liked back then, but haven't played since the late 80's.  I was looking into Pete Shelley.  I thought Homosapien was his best work.  You're right, music is all that matters, and you picked a good one here.  This kind of music was new to me, my musical taste was changing.  I was listening to mostly American music in the 70's.  I didn't hear Buzzcocks or really any of the Punk groups, other than the Ramones, until late 1978.  If I heard it, it just went unnoticed.  California's club scene was very different from the places I had been going to in New Orleans where Disco was still very popular.  I was going to Lou Rawls concerts, Soul Music, singer/songwriters, Country Rock and some of the acts Punk was trying to eliminate.  I didn't mind Disco either, some of it is good.  It's good if Marvin is doing it, right?  I had liked acts like MC5, but I didn't see Garage Rock springing back to life.  Honestly, I didn't care for the Stooges or much Hard Rock.  If I saw someone like Alice Cooper at a festival it was okay, but it didn't shake my world.  I didn't hear Velvet Underground til much later, I was getting to that in 1979 too.  If Punk Clubs were anywhere in Louisiana, I didn't know about them.  San Francisco had changed some since I was last there in 1975.  The Haight was a safe place to go again and the Mission was now an even cooler place to explore.

Into the 80's, the UK groups were the ones most people I knew wanted to check out.  Bowie and Roxy Music were very cutting edge, and the UK was putting up some strong artists, some of which I named earlier.  I don't know what made Shelley decide to do this, but it's quite a style change.  I knew people who thought he was selling out, but I didn't.  Bryan Ferry and Roxy was going into a lush and more Disco sound around this time.  Four years earlier they were just a group I sometimes heard on the radio.  I didn't think it was too different from what Todd was doing with Utopia in 1980.  Adventures in Utopia had some Disco beats incorporated into Rock.  His vocals reminded me of Howard Werth more than anyone else.  It fit into what I was playing at home.  It wasn't because I was a big fan of Buzzcocks, a lot of the Punk music sounded similar to me, fast - music at a fever pitch.  Of course this is far from Punk.  I thought it a natural next step.  I was a Genesis fan, and Peter Gabriel was leading me to the Fairlight...

I recognized Martin Rushent's name from the early 70's.  He had done great work with Fleetwood Mac and with Danny Kirwan, producing Second Chapter in 1974.  He had been changing too.  I'm pretty sure I heard Dare first, but they came out at about the same time.  Him and Shelley hit on something with these "demo" sessions.

Homosapien opens very strong.  "Homosapien" - this was the first track I heard from the album, sure I didn't connect it to his previous group.  Just something new and interesting.  And this is my favorite Shelley song.  Sounded great on a club system!  The (4:36) album version is the best.  I didn't like any of the remixes or Dub versions of any of his tracks.

"Yesterday's Not Here" - in this new disguise his vocals sounded better.  Love this track.  I'm not going to compare this to Scary Monsters/Super Creeps, but would he have gone in this direction if not for Bowie's popularity?  Euro rhythms were catching on.  I think there are good decisions all over this record.

"Keats Song" - this doesn't sound too different than something the captain might come up with.  He would probably strip it down to just piano, but I think it fits his style.

"Guess I Must Have Been In Love With Myself" - if I was a producer I'd tap Ian Hunter to do this.

"Pusher Man" - hilarious.  Is he saying "He pulled out the snuff"?  Brilliant.  I love the lyrics on this.

"Witness the Change" - this reminded me of what Gabriel was doing.

"In Love With Somebody Else" - there's something about this that reminds me of mid-60's Beatles.  Might be the chord changes.

"Love In Vain" - Just beautiful.

It would be easier to list the only two I think are weak, "I Generate A Feeling" and "I Don't Know What Love Is".

A great album.

The follow-up album, XL1 was more than half good.  "Many a Time" is close to "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" in structure.  Other favs are "Telephone Operator"   "You Know Better Than I Know"  "You and I" and "Twilight" - the title track too.  Heaven & the Sea (1986) saw him moving away from the synth sound some, more Rock was creeping back in.  Again, a strong set of songs to open the album, "Waiting For Love" and "On Your Own."  "Never Again" and "My Dreams" stood out on a weak side 2.  By this point Shelley wasn't getting air time in the clubs.

As the 80's came to a close my tastes were turning back to American music again.  Groups were breaking up - Talk Talk, The Records, Style Council, Costello broke up the Atractions.  Glad xtc were holding up a light.  McCartney and Costello were still doing top music, but with different players.  Maybe that was part of it.  McCartney reinvented himself in the late 80's.  Some of my old favorites like Laura Nyro were coming back.  Brian seemed to be getting stronger.  Todd had a great album to close the decade, Nearly Human.  I began losing touch with Shelly.  For that matter, Robyn Hitchcock after Globe of Frogs.  For some reason many of the UK artists I only got around to seeing once.  You had to pick and choose which ones were the most important.  There was a lot to choose from in a place like San Francisco.

Before I sign off, just want to thank Bubbly for coming up with this idea of an 80's thread.  I hope while you're on the break I can come up with something more than just reacting to others picks.  I want to pick a random year and talk about everything that interested me about it.

          
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« Reply #99 on: March 11, 2015, 12:52:27 AM »

Well, Bubbly's already back!  He wrote and posted one while I was writing mine.  Shows me how long I worked at that last post.  How quick a couple of hours goes...
And why it's hard to get in a few words on all the picks so far.  Morning everybody.  I'm off to bed.
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...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
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