Archive for the ‘80s’ Category

Johnny Marr & mates do an old Smiths classic & they do it well

Mai 16, 2013

embedding doesn’t work so it’s just a link

The Smiths rehearsal tape May 1983

März 18, 2013

Some great versions of „Reel around the Fountain“ (where Morrissey sings „mountain“), „Handsome Devil“ et al.. Altogether pretty mellow compared to the ones released on „Hatful of Hollow“. Morrissey’s voice is less histrionic than later on but his falsetto often mutes into a screaming – esp. on the last song „Miserable Lie“ – probably because the mike does not capture it well.

Two guitars having slow sex

Februar 27, 2013

A recent post on Plain Or Pan reminded me of The House of Love, a band from London which started just when The Smiths finished and finished (more or less) when Britpop began. They tried to make a career starting from the third Velvet Underground album and failed though they had a following of die-hard fans. The song which was featured in four different versions on Plain Or Pan was their 1988 single Destroy Your Heart and I am totally enchanted by the demo version which is quite different from the Peel, the live and the single versions. The two guitars, apparently Gibsons are soaked in reverb and sound like two church bells chiming in stereo. They have an unreal quality to them like aural fata morganas which seem to lead somewhere but don’t. There is also something about the slow playing which adds an effect of estrangement, in places the guitars seem to tremble as if the recording has been sped up and sped down. Guy Chadwick’s voice has been sent through a vocoder or something, it is unusually low here, he sounds like someone very old and wise. The lyrics add more weirdness as they are about a love gone wrong, something you wouldn’t expect happening to such an honorable person. This version is totally enthralling, the guitars intertwine in a way that you can’t tell which is which, like in good sex when you don’t know anymore if you are up or down or when you have forgotten if you are the man or the woman.

Honey B. & the T-Bones – Rocket to the Moon (live 1987)

Mai 3, 2011

Finnische Bands kannte ich bis jetzt erst zwei. Einmal natürlich die Leningrad Cowboys aus den Kaurismäkifilmen, dann die Indierocker 22 Pistepirkko (22 Marienkäfer). Auch die Gruppe hier ist schräg. Sie spielen in diesem älteren Stück einen ziemlich speedigen, schmutzigen, harten Bluesrock. Insbesondere dem psychedelischen Slidegitarrensound bin ich rettungslos verfallen. Eine Kollegin hat eine Best Of-Kompilation der Combo im Musikprogramm eines Finnairfluges nach China gehört(!). Außerhalb von Suomi scheint sie völlig unbekannt. Kein englischer oder deutscher Wikipediaeintrag, nix in I Love Music, aber eine hauptsächlich finnische Homepage mit ein paar mp3s. Konzerte meist in Helsinki, außerhalb von Skandinavien scheinen sie in den letzten Jahren nicht aufgetreten zu sein.

6:05 Maximum Joy – Let It Take You There (1982)

März 24, 2011
A forgotten band from Bristol – long before it became famous for trip-hop – with a funky and vibrant post-punk track. Is there a more adequate way to finish off a project which stayed an insider tip for more than a year from the beginning to the end? Thanks for the comments, especially from here, here and here. Next will be the book of course (Nick Hornby will be put to shame) and then the audio book consisting of four cd-roms with all songs in 192 bit+ mp3 quality plus my avid and erudite comments read by myself. I am still thinking about the film but it will definitely feature all musicians – if still alive – which have been performing the music. There is a lot of organisation involved which will keep me busy for the next twelve months. Merchandise will include cups with implanted chips and loudspeakers, a teddy bear reading the posts and a card game with 365 singing cards. Some more thanks go to Charles Babbage and Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the computer and the internet, the Fraunhofer institute for the mp3 compression algorithm, WordPress for the blogging software and the servers, Google also for its servers, Apple for the iPod, Bose for the ear plugs, all the musicians and composers, my readers and listeners, the evolution for my ears and fingers, my teachers for teaching me how to write in German and English and finally my parents for making me. Did I forget someone?

(The list of all 365 selections since 1st February 2010 is here).

6:01 Talk Talk – Tomorrow Started (1984)

März 20, 2011

I’ve said I’m wrong when I’ve been right
I’ve seen times when I’ve been sure but still I find
I’m just the first that you take

Not all of the synthesizer music in the eighties was rubbish. On this song there is a two note motif – which is played first after hundred seconds – so full of yearning and longing that it is impossible not to fall for it if you have a soft spot for romantic feelings. Like a cork-screw it drills deep into my heart. But this is just a tiny part of the gorgeous song. There is also Paul Webb’s cosy, bubbly electric bass and the omnipresent drumming and percussion. Not to forget the trumpet solo and last but not least Mark Hollis singing which is rather restrained and confident here. The marriage of pop music with other genres like jazz, world and classical music has hardly ever been as convincing as on this track.


A question for my English readers. Are you actually reading what I write here or does this not reach you at all? For the last couple of weeks I have alternated between German and English but I didn’t get any feedback of English-speaking readers so I wondered if there is a point in continuing the English exercise. Thanks for answering.

(The list of all 361 selections since 1st February 2010 is here).

5’55 The Cure – A Forest (1980)

März 14, 2011

Suddenly I stop
But I know it’s too late
I’m lost in a forest
All alone
The girl was never there

How do you say Schnapszahl in English? I don’t know of any song which defined a band better than this one. The Cure without A Forest would not have been The Cure for me. I wrote about A Forest before when I chose my fave 1980 album. There is not a lot to add here. Maybe one thing. The guitar sounds so snakelike on this one, I never really thought about it before but the guitar is extremely smooth – I wanted to write the French „souple“. And the later dance remix is great as well. I don’t remember any cover of this. I don’t think this song can be separated from Robert Smith and his group.

(The list of all 355 selections since 1st February 2010 is here).

5’50 Miles Davis – Don’t Lose Your Mind (1986)

März 9, 2011
Das war schon eine ziemlich gute Platte damals, Tutu. Sie hat mich während meines Studiums begleitet und vor allem dieses Stück hatte es mir angetan. Es ist so unglaublich reich, man hat das Gefühl in den knapp sechs Minuten stecken alle Musikstile drin, die man sich vorstellen kann. Neben Jazz und Rock, Zigeunermusik, Funk, Dub Reggae, Anklänge an Techno, moderne, avantgardistische Klassik etc. pp. Und wie das vor Lebensfreude groovt, dieser rumpelnde Bass, diese hallenden Keyboards, dieser kleine (das ist das Adjektiv, das ihn vielleicht am besten in einem Wort beschreibt) Trompetenklang. In diesem Teil steckt das komplette Universum drin. Von der Milchstraße über den Andromedanebel bis zum hintersten schwarzen Loch, da wo die Strahlen unserer Sonne noch nie hingekommen sind. Wer hier seinen Kopf nicht verliert, der hat keinen. Ich übertreibe, dabei hätte es dieses Meisterstück nun wirklich nicht nötig gehabt.

(Die Liste aller seit 1. Februar 2010 ausgewählten 350 Stücke ist hier.)

5’41 Captain Sensible – Wot (Maxi 1982)

März 1, 2011

It went bang – I said rap up.
Well I’m aware that the guy must do his work
But the piledriver man drove me berserk.

It’s strange but I am having all these flashbacks in the last couple of months. Mostly totally unimportant memories which suddenly come and go. Do I have an example? Yes, for instance the first time I drank alcohol. I must have been around 13 and there were all these blokes sitting at a long table at a friend’s house. We were maybe eight or nine altogether and IIRC everyone had two glasses of beer. I remember that I was disappointed as I hardly felt anything except a slight relaxation but nothing mind-bending. Why do I write this? Because if I had to choose one year, I would go for 1982. Not because of Captain Sensible’s one hit wonder, I heard it first a couple of years later. No, it was the end of school and I decided to make a cut. It was the best decision of my life. What an amazing Greek summer. Later on in November or something I came back to Germany. In retrospect it probably was the right thing to do but at the time I was in doubt. Now I can still dance to this song and it brings back myriads of memories. What more can you ask from pop music?

(The list of all 341 selections since 1st February 2010 is here.)

0:03 Electro Hippies – Mega Armaggedon Death (1987)

Februar 17, 2011
Today I have got a curiosity for you. A piece of music which is shorter than it takes to pronounce its name properly. I guess John Peel was a fan of this band as they performed live on his show. Here they just play a fanfare, actually there is a lot of silence here. The pause in the beginning is slowly mounting the tension towards the incredible end. Which is then followed by the total silence after the apocalypse. Quite realistic, like in real life. It’s rubbish but it’s short, so that’s fine with me.

(The list of all 332 selections since 1st February 2010 is here.)