Thursday, 29 April 2010

Spring makeover

I've given LIM a bit of a spring 'makeover' (hate that word but I can't think of a better one ..).
It's buggered up the formatting on older posts but never mind..
Still not happy with the header pic..which means I like it but I'd prefer something a bit...longer.
Anyway, as with music for your tape-recorder, I hope you will enjoy it..

oh no, sorry that's make up..

OMD Dancing - Old Grey Whistle Test

Just a taste of what was to come...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

La Edad de Oro

La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age) was an Spanish TV popular arts programme which ran from 1983 to 1985, and is considered to be a cult TV show of the time..something like the Beeb's OGWT..but even more cult ...and pop....and continental.
The show, presented by one Paloma Chamorro (pic.), was an important milestone in Spanish pop culture in the post-Franco years and featured many trendy bands of the time, including such names as The Durutti Column, Cabaret Voltaire, Culture Club, Aztec Camera and many more. Bands would perform live sets of 5 or 6 songs usually accompanied by an interview with Ms Chamorro.
A John Foxx performance and interview from 83 recently cropped up on youtube and is now circulating as a bootleg DVD. As far as I can see only programmes featuring Spanish bands have appeared in official DVD form, although if anyone knows anything to the contrary please let me know.
I was pleased to come across an Edad de Oro performance by China Crisis dating from early 1984 on youtube (see this user's channel for more bands and info). It's a a tight set by the Chinas featuring tracks from their first two albums (just prior to recording and releasing Flaunt the Imperfection) including this rare performance of No Ordinary Lover (anyone know who the drummer is as it's not Kevin Wilkinson).

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Smash Hits is back!

I am indebted to my friend Martin Birdsong for helping me discover a wonderful new(ish) blog and its sister-flickr site featuring full editions of near-legendary pop/rock fornightly Smash Hits, appropriately from 30 years ago.
Brian McCloskey has taken on the mammoth task of adding a new issue of Smash Hits to his fab blog Like Punk Never Happened every fortnight, with all the pages on the flickr site, on the thirtieth anniversary of the original publication date. So that means I get to (re)read Smash Hits all over again as in 1980! Hurrah!
I was an avid reader until about end '83/84 (when music went a bit cr*p) taking in every single word, picture, review, advert in every issue. Oddly, or perhaps not, browsing through the pages on flickr I seem to have every single one of them imprinted on my brain somewhere. I was particularly glad to see the amount of favourable attention given to John Foxx with the launch of his solo career, and to Gary Numan from Tubeway Days onwards (before the backlash..)
Anyways I shall be updating some of my I Love 1980 posts with Smash Hits pages and thanks to Brian I shall be able to follow that magic year as chronologically as possible (is that English?).
The thoroughly modern Skids adorn the front cover of SH in late 1979. Sadly Big Country was just around the corner..

Friday, 16 April 2010

We Are Ash

The ashcloud spewed out by an erupting Icelandic vulcano which is engulfing Northern Europe is claiming its first victims in the whacky world of music.

Gary Numan has just announced on his myspace blog that he is momentarily unable to fly out to Los Angeles from London for the Coachella fest in LA this weekend. Says Gazza "we might just make it to the festival site in time for our slot but without a single second of rehearsal with Robin Finck, the American based guitar player for the US shows, who has never played with us before, and no real chance of collecting and checking the equipment that we have hired for those shows, which includes all the keyboards, guitars, drums etc etc"
Gazza is now "glued to the TV" for more news.

Bernard Sumner's Bad Lieutenant made a similar announcement yesterday stating that they were forced to cancel their opening date in San Francisco due to British airspace being closed cos of the ashcloud. Bad Loo ( (c) Recycle) are also scheduled to play the Coachella fest with further U.S. dates in Chicago and New York. The groups current whereabouts are unknown.

pic.: Gary Numan seeks alternative means of transport to LA for the Coachella fest. oh dear..

Forever Young? wish!

So much for The Human League being shut up in the studio working on new album / material. Dates for the Swedish Forever Young 2010 tour have been announced, another 80s nostalgia live tour thing with Alphaville, um..Reeperbahn, and . .you've guessed it The Human League.
Always good to see the boys and girls 'on the road' doing Don't You Want Me, Love Action, etc etc etc but the 80s nostalgia tour context does not bode well for the long awaited new stuff, does it?
Ah well.. du minns väl all den magiska musiken från 80-talet? add your voice!

The Human League announce catering plans for the summer tour of Sweden

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Ou est le news?

I'm struggling rather hard to find out "news about music and bands I like" (original description of this blog) as, well, there doesn't seem to be much of it about.
The Human League and OMD are - presumably - still in the studio, John Foxx seems to be concentrating on recycling the old stuff although respect to him for 30 (sporadic) years solo career, China Crisis continue to do the odd gig although new stuff doesn't seem to be emerging, Depeche Mode are, presumably, shagged out after the tour and nothing even to report on Dave Gahan's health.
Spans, Durans & Visages have all been busy re-issuing to varied levels of quality and success, and Ultra-ure-vox too are still flogging the old stuff for new (I''ll see how the gig goes tonight before deciding on getting the Return to Eden CD/DVD thing..)
New music from new bands is also slow in coming. Goldfrapp's album was a bit of a disappointment to be honest and Little Boots twitters a lot..about nothing. I fail to be impressed by all the various other bands featured on Electronically Yours etc . .sorry.
One song I do quite like from the end of last year is Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's 'Dance the Way I Feel' which has a very early electro-pop 80s feel to it .. think Vince Clarke's Depeche Mode meets The Slits meets Jonah Lewie (of Kitchen at Parties fame). No actually don't think .. listen!

Almost goes without saying that the new one These New Knights doesn't really live up to the debut... Better get back to The Oracle.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


A previously unreleased extended version of John Foxx's electro-classic Underpass will be featured on a new collection of Foxx's electronic music entitled Metatronic out on 3rd May.
Brand new mixes of the track by Mark Reeder are also included on the two CD + DVD compilation covering Foxx's thirty year solo career as well as live set recorded in Sydney in 2007.
The DVD features videos of the 1980 tracks Underpass, No One Driving and He's a Liquid as well as previously unreleased footage.

available from Townsend and Amazon

..end of plug, here's the music..and visuals re-purposed by Karborn:

I Love 1980 - 7

John Foxx - No-One Driving, double 7"

Can't remember quite what convinced me to decide to cycle some 15 miles to get this double 7" single from the nearest decent record shop (think I got it from Boots' in the end), but I did and never regretted it. Underpass had already scarred my memory (see I Love 1980 - 1) and although I'd still failed to get the Metamatic album even as a tape copy (was I the only
one in town that liked John Foxx?) I just had to get this single I'd probaly heard on the radio... with the three extra tracks to seen in NME.
And it must have been one of the first times that I loved the pic sleeve (still quite rare at the time) and artwork as much as the music. The monochrome images of an enigmatic man in a grey suit, which remain with Foxx to this day, were so incredibly stylish, part Bowie, part Gary Numan but just so unmistakeably and uniquely Foxx. And the music was no disappointment. Even though it only just scraped into the Top 40 No One Driving was a prototype for the catchy and danceable synth-pop which was just around the corner. It even had a sing along chorus, although the lyrics were still mysterious and tell some kind of story which was so open to interpretation (JG Ballard inspired, it turned out).

..but then to the 'B sides'. Glimmer, a memserising instrumental using synths only that takes you off into a dream only to return to (another) earth with This City which was strong enough to stand as a single itself, again with some kind of dystopian story being told ("All the kisses taste of dust here, but it's too late to change my mind..") and a great sing-along-a-Foxxy chorus (this city, this city oooohhh!), and then back again to another electro-instrumental Mr No with it's sci-fi clicks, whirrs and drones letting your imagination run wild and letting you make up your own film to this mini-electro soundtrack before coming to a grinding halt. Then start again...

Totally brilliant. Never beaten. I love the No One Driving double 7"

get the original version of No One Driving on Metamatic together with the other tracks, and the single version on Modern Art.

Friday, 9 April 2010

I Love 1980 - 6

The Jam - Going Underground

Ver Jam had always been one of those bands you might read about in the NME and sort of moving around the fringes of late 70s pop / rock music, but which I never really got to hear or listen to properly. Too 'laddish', too 'London' perhaps for this boy's tastes. But Going Underground really did seem to come out of nowhere .. and went straight to number 1. We took notice.
Not only to the music, the sound but also to Paul Weller's scathing social-comment lyrics. To an increasingly politically aware mind, lines like "I want nuffin this society wants" and "you'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns" as Thatcher's war and money-centred politics began to take hold really did hit home somehow.
Plus you could jump around to it. It was our punky moment. A short sharp shock to your system, as well as to the establishment and, why not, to our parents. Play loud. Did it get banned by Radio 1? Thankfully not and there was even a cool video on TOTP with Bruce Foxton sitting down tapping his foot (always associated more with hime than with Wellah). I love Going Underground.

Malcolm McLaren dies

I was just thinking about him the other day when I was walking down the King's Road, so just wanted to spare another thought for the late Malcolm McClaren.
Never cared much for his big headed attitude although without him we would probably never would have had the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow and, er, Buffalo Gals. "All that scratcin' is making me itch" still often comes to mind.
Anyway definitely a revolutionary in art, music and fashion plus a fellow Acquarian and a bit ginger so..respect!

Bow Wow Wow's "C30 C60 C90 Go" on youtube

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Anyone for China?

I am occasionally prompted by a good friend of mine to go back and find out what Liverpool combo China Crisis are up to these days. Never ones for a high profile (save for a few months in the mid-eighties) the Chinas still marvellously publish news of gigs and things via good old myspace (sooo 2000's). So judging by the events list on there, whether you're in Palma or Portsmouth, London or Liverpool then you should get a chance to check 'em out.

I was also pleased to see loads of footage of the Chinas from their golden era has cropped up on youtube including this little gem on the ORS in 82 (?). Just a tad too much dry ice, but they were so brilliantly young and innocent...

Their music always had that Spring into Summer kind of feel to it (first three albums
are def. pre-autumnal equinoxe stuff) so let's get the good times rolling. And to that end glad to see Saltyka and his friends' China Crisis page is still up (As featured on LIM yonks ago..).

watch / listen to my China Crisis video playlist