Archive for the '80s' Category

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Electric Avenue-Eddy Grant

Have we done this one before. I’m sorry to say that this song is super duper. I expect that when Blue Girl is not:

A) Motorin’


B) Not breaking her stride

she is taking it higher, etc.

Stay-Oingo Boingo

Maybe you have to grow up in this era to even find this song listenable. Of course the video tries way to hard to make the song unwatchable. I always felt Oingo Boingo were kind of crapped on by a lot of people. I think they were always a California thing. I am getting deja vu, perhaps I have already done this song. This song reminds me of driving around late at night in high school. I think blue girl might like it for some reason, although she’s probably never heard of Oingo Boingo.

North by North-The Bats

Moody antipodean indie new wave of the strummy guitar variety. We picture certain transplanted New Zealanders walking the fields moodily with certain transplanted PupHs while the video inevitably crossfades to our band playing their song and back again. Of course this is import only, but spit it out at me yesterday, and it was pretty good.

Everythings Gone Green (1981 Live)-New Order

This vid, leaving aside its remarkable quality, makes Kraftwerk, Devo, any other robot bands really look like undisciplined, emotional Klingons compared to the icy disaffected inability to play their instruments creepy wonder bread of this standout early New Order track. Kind of like punk anti-punk. Really good.

plover adds:

From the same concert: “Ceremony”, then “Truth”

Sharky’s Day – Laurie Anderson

Deep in the heart
Of darkest America
Home of the brave
Hah hAh Haaah
You’ve already paid for this Listen to my heart beat

One of those utterly necessary recordings (the original anyway, the video edit is rather truncated and feels somewhat choppy). All the details are pieced together, large and small, from the *pwhict* as the sun comes up over the grocery store to Adrian Belew’s landscape gone to seed. (In an interview, Anderson said something to the effect that Belew wasn’t playing a guitar, “I think it’s some sort of animal”.)

I don’t think I’m likely to say anything coherent here, this one is too much in my bloodstream.

Senses Working Overtime-XTC

This is one of those songs where I cannot wait for the chorus. I listen and think that maybe the song is not as good as I remembered in the beginning. But then the chorus etc. comes around and I realize how awesome it is. It is always hard to post about XTC because the XTC whackos come out of the woodwork ranting about Mel Schachter. They just cannot be rational about XTC. They get crazy and must be dealt with by horse tranquilizers.

Always Saturday-Guadalcanal Diary

Forgotten 80’s alternapop awesomeness. Reminds me of the radio when it could be a force for random smiles or angst, in a good way. Driving in a car, or being a passenger in a friends ’62 Dart. With the side vent windows. For resting your foot. Getting a slurpee. That sort of thing. Oh look! Zero comments. Who cares, a good tune. This song is from 1989, but has a wistful “must be older than that” feeling. Guadalcanal Diary were from Georgia, and the video below, for Watusi Rodeo (a much earlier song), could possibly be the only one every aired on MTV. It is worth it for the intro with Nina.


Watusi Rodeo-Guadalcanal Diary

Painted Moon-The Silencers

You might remember this from the Jon Cryer film Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home. Or not, heh. Scottish jangle poppers.

Yin and Yang and the Flowerpot Man-Love and Rockets

Thanks, server for eating my post on this.

80’s psychedelic retro strum-a-dum atmospheric neo Cowboy “goth.” And the never cool David J. on bass, with the secretly cool Daniel Ash on vocals. Take that Robert Smith!

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division / performed by June Tabor & Oysterband

Both June Tabor and Oysterband are mostly known for (British) folk music. However, they often seem to do things from other genres when they get together. There’s a cracking version of Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties” on the album they did together — said joint album actually being the only thing I knew by either of them until recently.

It looks like Oysterband is now putting on these “Big Session” concerts every year, with this video being taken from the 2006 one. A live album was released of the first of these concerts which also includes this song. Sadly, it’s never been released in the US — I’d love to hear this with better sound quality.

Destination Unknown-Missing Persons

By far my fave Missing Persons tune, yes it is 80’s New Wave, a touch of Blondie, ice barbie instead of ice princess, but also more than a shade of Gary Numan. In fact, an MP-Gary Numan duet would be awesome. The intro makes you feel like there’s a person there, warmer than the usual Gary Numan toaster sex tune, but then the slightly metallic tinged vocals say HUMAN-ROBOT hybrid and it is awesome.

Breaking the Law-Judas Priest

Lest anyone claim “in retrospect it is totally obvious about Rob Halford,” have your response ready- “awesome is awesome.” Also, “eat it.”

Every now and then you need a little fist to the sky “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!” and outro.

Out of Hand-Mighty Lemon Drops

I never heard their songs that made them sound like Echo and the Bunnymen. Is this one of them? I don’t think so. The video seems a lil’ creepy when I watched it just now with the sound off. I think I had this on a Sire Records “Just Say…” Sampler. Ah, memories. The tune is still good enough for the kids to make anime/world of warcraft mashups to go with it.

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)-Simple Minds

I always felt this song was kind of New Wavy, but restrained, kind of in a nether world before Simple Minds got all huge. Like you don’t really know what its all about, but maybe it would work in a John Hughes movie somewhere. I liked the tune a lot, but here in this live performance it kind of comes across as coked-out sleaze disco rock. I am actually pretty surprised that the synths weren’t looped or anything. The song comes out kind of messy, but still OK.

Exhuming McCarthy-REM

Funny how certain songs aren’t appropriate anymore as critiques of society. They don’t go far enough. This has always been one of my faves, maybe it is the horns. There is a certain quaintness to Michael Stipe’s earnestness from this Document standout. Silly, Michael, we’re not in McCarthy territory anymore. He’s old hat, we have a balder playbook now. Anyway, the Imperial Wizard of the US o’ W is able to sing into his toothbrush tonight “enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the real politik.” And we are bade to eat.

You’re beautiful more beautiful than me
You’re honorable more honorable than me
Loyal to the Bank of America

It’s a sign of the times
It’s a sign of the times

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Vested interest united ties, landed gentry rationalize
Look who bought the myth, by jingo, buy America

It’s a sign of the times
It’s a sign of the times

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the realpolitik
Look who bought the myth, by jingo, buy America

“Let us not assassinate this man further Senator,
You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir?
At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.

Enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the realpolitik
You’ve seen start and you’ve seen quit
(I’m addressing the table of content)
I always thought of you as quick
Exhuming McCarthy
(Meet me at the book burning)
Exhuming McCarthy
(Meet me at the book burning)

Rattlesnakes-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

The video plays the ol’ tracking shot through dusty neighborhoods, dusty highways, and that might be the easy way out except this song was made for an actual mixtape in your Walkperson, your crappy headphones and soul-calming motion of some sort, not the plane taking off, more the bus getting on the highway, you are about to daydream about something, perhaps some romanticized, idyllic mess of a woman, a woman not anyone that could ever be your contemporary, someone much more sophisticated, older, literary in the actually in a book way, not real, like a still in a museum from an unproduced film. Also, Lloyd’s voice is much, much cooler than he looks in the video. And the strings that perfect 3:23 of romantic, wistful, distant pop. The key is the last line.

Jodie wears a hat although it hasnt rained for six days
She says a girl needs a gun these days
Hey on account of all the rattlesnakes
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
She reads simone de beauvoir in her american circumstance
Shes less than sure if her heart has come to stay in san jose
And her neverborn child still haunts her
As she speeds down the freeway
As she tries her luck with the traffic police
Out of boredom more than spite
She never finds no trouble, she tries too hard
Shes obvious despite herself
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
She says all she needs is therapy yeah
All you need is, love is all you need
Jodie never sleeps cause there are always needles in the hay
She says that a girl needs a gun these days
Hey on account of all the rattlesnakes
She looks like eve marie saint in on the waterfront
As she reads simone de beauvoir in her american circumstance
Her heart, hearts like crazy paving
Upside down and back to front
She says ooh, its so hard to love
When love was sure a great disappointment

Rattlesnakes-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Quiver (Arrows in My)/Do You Wanna Hold Me-Bow Wow Wow

Leaving aside for one small moment the cartoonish offensiveness of the subject matter (Malcolm McLaren casting teenaged Annabella Lwin yet again as the sex kitten, this time in a kitschy, sad coloring book of Native American imagery; the usual “knock” on BWW for “borrowing” African drumming), this song is somehow spellbinding. Outside of the lyrics, which could have easily cast Annabella in a castle, igloo, Mongolian steppe tent, Russian monestary, you name it, the retro, otherworldly guitar creeps up slowly followed by the frolicing beat and uber-surfy bass. Then the brassy yelps about finding a way to keep warm at night and to make some whoopee. Its more about the music than the words, it is a romp through the flowers.

Here is my second fave BWW song below, which is similar to Q(AiM) (all the parts are the same).

Do You Wanna Hold Me?-Bow Wow Wow

Primitive Painters-FELT

So what’shername (Liz Fraser, it just came to me) from Cocteau Twins sings on this classic from Felt, who are kind of sitting smack dab in a nexus of Chameleons, Television, The Smiths and other like-minded alt-chimery guitar studwagons. And this song is awesome. BUT what AOR staple does it recall in the deep down recesses of your brains? I won’t give you any hints. Save the year: 1987. Trust me, Felt oughta sue.

Primitive Painters-Felt

Twilight Zone-Golden Earring

For some reason I think Blue Girl would sing this in the car. First of all this song sounds much more new wave than I remember. Second of all, the video is awesome. Third of all, I had no idea what “uncensored” meant in relation to this video. This is a slab of 80s pop rock, cheesy because of its era, but relatively uncheesy when you compare it to its neighbors. Plus, you just kind of give in to it towards the end, because if it comes on the radio, odds are if the old school and today’s R and B station is playing the latter and can’t bail you out with the Daz Band or “Flashlight” or “Give it To Me, Baby” you’re gonna be listening to it. And then it is in your head.

Twilight Zone-Golden Earring

Tantalized-The Church

I don’t love Australia’s The Church, mostly because I just can’t get into the vocal stylings of Steve Kilbey. It either seems too arch, or not quite musical enough. The guitar is always tasteful and elegant, though, but their American breakthrough Starfish always used to kind of bug me, I think I felt it was boring. I liked the lead single (“Metropolis”) from their next album Gold Afternoon Fix, although I’d be hard-pressed to say why. Today’s song is earlier than either of those two albums, and one of the few Church songs I know where the bands just seems to let go and be completely committed to straight ahead directness. “Tantalized” still has all the Church-y stylings but is very up-tempo, and sounds more like a hybrid between The Church, Echo and the Bunnymen and early U2. The studio version layers horns onto the live stuff you can watch below and the song is a stunner. The sound is a little muddy on this You Tube version, but you can see the band just having a great time, and condering how it was probably recorded, it is a great version.

Tantalized (live)-The Church