Archive for the 'New Wave' Category

The The – Uncertain Smile

For the longest time I would get this song in my head and not know who it was that sung it. This may have been in the primitive days of the internet, but I seem to finally remember getting this song in my head at work one day and doing a search on the lyrics and finding out it was a band I already liked. Pretty sure I owned ‘Dusk’ by that point, because I always loved Dogs of Lust, and I was pretty happy when I found out this was a The The song. I think I always thought it was Lloyd Cole for some reason, though in my defense, Matt Johnson’s vocal style isn’t all that different from Lloyd Cole.

Anyway, that day I picked up their singles collection, which is really good and recommended if you want to get into some classic The The. Unfortunately, the version of this song on that collection is not that version, and they have some flute parts in place of the staircase guitars following the chorus, which you’ll hear at about the 1:30 part. I can’t hear this song without hearing that guitar part in my head, and it always vexes me a bit when I hear the other version. A rare somewhat favorite band that I’ve never seen live.

Don’t You Want Me-The Human League

Beyond the inevitable or faux nostalgia, the first half of this video is several fold more complicated than many bottom of the barrel full length films these days. I realize that statement makes it seem like I listen to Elvis Costello and the Unattractives, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Remember I Was Vapour (Live)-Gary Numan

Android Elvis silicon cowboy peddling machine sex in Brighton, or possibly wistfully considering his machine defects or being human after all. For all the raves the Daft Punk get for their probably amazing live show, this particular model robot really just totally owns the stage and fully owned and realized the roboticity of it all. If I were only not 6 at the time of his ’79 tour. Dear Mum and Dad take me Gary Numan! It is my fervent desire that I wear Reynolds Wrap to the show. I must be shiny and metallic!

Bonus: Me, I Disconnect From You

AEIOU Sometimes Y – EBN-OZN

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

This is perhaps the last genre of music that anybody would guess me doing a SoftD in, but I heard it on my iPod, and I can’t get it out of my head. This short-lived New Age duo made something so quintessential ’80s and funny that it didn’t seem fair not to relish in its campiness. The story is kind of funny, especially featuring a Lola(!) and the synths are full-on, but the kicker is the chorus. It’s so rhythmically perfect. A. E. I. O. U. Some. Times. Y. I think the video cuts off part of the song, but you can email Pinko and he’ll give you the full version.

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.

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”

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!

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.

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.

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

Skin Deep/No More Heroes-The Stranglers

Double shot today from the Stranglers, an English band flitting between New Wave, Punk and a little Goth. The first number I find hypnotic for some reason. The simplicity of the keyboard along with the very specific sound they use, paired with the confident, matter of fact vocals somehow just grabs me. I really like the song. The second number is an earlier and bigger hit for them from the late 70s. You can hear the punkish sneer, but the vocals are too smart and too jokey for straight punk and the music points straight at New Wave.

Skin Deep-The Stranglers

No More Heroes-The Stranglers

Big Hollow Man-Danielle Dax

I have always loved this song that even when it came out sounded futuristic and retro at the same time. Now it is of course retro, but if you listen, there is quite a bit going on, but it only struck me yesterday what this song made me think of- Prince. If he were white and not purple, also, a crazed English sorceress. It has that glam/slam feel a little bit, overlayed with some sludgy electronics but also some proto-ambient touches in the middle. If Ms. Dax were more flexible and less Siouxsie-oriented, she could almost be the proto-Alison Goldfrapp (image is everything plus electro electro electro). If you listen to the words you can easily convince yourself it is about your favorite cobag. It wouldn’t be Bush, but Reagan would fit nicely. I have this on Dark Adapted Eye, which might be a compilation. UPDATE– I just did some research for you my hearties. DAE is the Sire-US release of her first album, expanded with bonus tracks etc.

Big Hollow Man-Danielle Dax

Reap the Wild Wind-Ultravox

An eighties New Romantic/New Wave confection. There is something about this song that I still really like. This version is more metallic and less warm than the compilation version. Definitely more 1983, but also more structured and bloodless in its way. The last 10 seconds or so are really the prefect ending for such a song. When songs know how to end I really respect that. Apparently Ultravox went way back to the mid-70s in another lineup not featuring Romantic poster-boy Midge Ure as this song does. You might also remember there ultra-dramatic yet quite minimalist “Vienna”.

Reap the Wild Wind-Ultravox

Head Over Heals-Tears for Fears

We quote ourselves from another time, over at Three Bulls!:

We detailed a party gone horribly awry, but we now can give visual evidence.

fulsome, locked in the guest bedroom, bemoans his fate. Unable to slip out, his attempts at killing the party with Death Cab for Cutie and Pictionary are to no avail. The rabble will not be soothed, nay, they clamor for blood. Saddened by his plight, he breaks out his treasure. A duct-taped Sony Sports Walkman with Auto-reverse (natch) and a mix tape from her- you know, the one with slightly mainstream but great taste, she who knew what a B-side was- she knew that fulsome would appreciate this, the third single from Songs from The Big Chair, and appreciate it unironically. See, she knew he thought of the video, placing himself in the role of the shy library patron unable to get up his courage. Little did Fulsome know the librarian was really teh l4m3, but little did fulsome’s crush know he secretly thought of the monkey.

Everything above is true. I will add that even though the band hired some stiff on keyboards to make them seem more rugged, does he even seem like he is in the same band? The other guy, not the lead singer, is there some reason he’s done up like the woman from Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes” video? Oh yeah, it’s the awesome 80s. Sigh. I don’t want to go too overboard, but this song was Top 10 on the charts. Comparing it to the fractured and market researched, plastic pitch-shifted chunky farts that ooze over the airwaves today makes you think twice about a decently crafted toss-off third single from an arty pop English band.

Making Flippy Floppy-Talking Heads

I’m not one to throw around racial terms with music, because how could Talking Heads fit in any of those boxes? Almost irredeemably nerdburger, (look at them) yet absolutely effortlessly funky, never more so than on Speaking in Tongues, whence this gem comes. With this one sandwiched between “Burning Down the House” and “Girlfriend is Better”, side whatever of Speaking in Tongues played on vinyl sounds just warm enough to be live, and who knows maybe the tracks were recorded that way. Amidst that actual live sound, a sound that on the surface simplifies the music, an almost mathematical complexity bubbles underneath. It’s as if the genius kids at the ol’ School Of Rock were given a funk-by-numbers take home test and they warped it into this slab of genius. I picture three dudes in comically large yellow hazmat suits complete with 2001 helmets strutting in formation down that street in NYC where the Warriors met up with the Orphans (ed.- The chicks are packed! The chicks are packed! other ed.- no that was the Lizzies, the Orphans were the sad sacks). Of course these guys inevitably bust their helmets off revealing lollipop looking little heads and proceed to combine body rocking replete with alternating booty shaking and robot dancing, not the NSYNC style by the “we’re on Star Search cobags!” dance beat down. All the while, David, Tina, Chris and Jerry just shit out little funk squiggles, and Byrne’s only sweating for show- he could do it in his sleep. Oh, and those three lollipop funky hazmat kids? Fulsome, Chuckles and don’tEATnachos, from Well Rounded Nerds. This goes out to you.

Slang Teacher-Wide Boy Awake

So Gavin M. and myself are waging a war of attrition. The skirmishes have consisted of an interchange of 80’s obscurities. The goal: guess the band and/or song. The underdog, I rely on quick feints at the edge of Messr. Gavin’s fraying, genius mind. He, the overdog, relies on the massive blindspot known as my lack of musical knowledge. So far the battles have included:

Gavin M.: Bluebells‘ “Cath” (a friendly exhortation to eat it cobag because I didn’t know it)

Pinko: Freur “Devil and Darkness” (implied EAT IT COBAG since he should have known it)

Gavin M.: Orange Juice “Rip It Up” (completely awesome, but a definite EAT IT COBAG HOW MUCH DO YOU SUCK from the master, because how could it be possible that I didn’t know it)

Pinko: Thrashing Doves “Beautiful Imbalance” (oh, now who is the master of obscure and forgotten?)

Everything has been a skirmish up to including the recent exhchange:

Gavin M.: Wide Boy Awake-Slang Teacher

Holy crap. Of course I didn’t guess it as this band never even had an album. As an artifact people might be all, this sucks, it’s English White Boy Hip-Hop from 1983!!!!!! What I might point out to you cobags, is the first 10 seconds could easily be Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” or New Order’s “Perfect Kiss” and it probably predates them both. And it’s got spacey walled up behind the cheese casiotone and of course some slappy bass. These oddities are actually important to remember before Clear Channel completely erases all musical history.

What’s next? I’m gonna take a risk and try….

(pop renaissance- you have the raw material to feed my desire to crush G., please help me out)