Monday, 28 March 2011

FAC Finder

Factory records collector Colin Gibbins (pic. left) his to hold an exhibition of his FAC collection in a Manchester pub. Colin, 44, has been collecting the legendary FActory Records artefacts for the past 30 years and now that his collection is complete he will be showing it all off at the Ducie Bridge pub on Corporation Street, Manchester, on May 7th and 8th 2011. "I expect Factory fans from all over the world may take the pilgrimage to see this one off exhibition. It is going to be a really special event," says our Colin.

For those who don't know Manchester's independent Factory label, founded in 1978 by by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, was home to the likes of local bands Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, and later Happy Mondays. The label distinguished itself from the other independents not only with its unique FAC + number catalogue system but also with a special eye for design usually through friend and loclal lad Peter Saville.
The serial numbers also referred not only to records recorded by their bands but also artefacts such as posters, badges, T Shirts and famously the Factory nughtclub The Haçienda (FAC 51) which opened in MAy 1982. Famous FAC records include OMITD's Electricity (FAC 6), Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures (FAC 10) and New Order's 12" only single Blue Monday (FAC 73).

Colin's exhibition (still to be FAC-ed?) will raise money for the Christie Hospital and is backed by Joy Division bassist Peter Hook and relatives of the band’s late singer Ian Curtis. Good on yer Colin.

Colin pic & source Oldham Advertiser

Deconstruction Time Again

Depeche Mode's official site has announced the release of a new re-mix compilaion for 6th June this year. Remixes 2: 81-11 is "An inspiring collection of new and classic mixes of material covering their entire career.." it says 'ere, and quite rightly every period from their 30-years seems to be covered. While the majoirty of remixes are from the year 2000s, a handful are are plucked from the 80s and 90s. Interestingly the massive 37 track collection also features remixes by former band members Vince Clarke and Alan Wilde, who have taken on Behind the Wheel and In Chains respectively. Will also be interesting to hear Röyksopp's remix of Speak and Spell's Puppets.
There will be a single disc edition or the full 3 disc bonanza, as well as , presumably digital downloads.
Pioneers of the genre - the Schizo Mix of Just Can't Get Enough was surely one of the first 12" remixes proper - Depeche Mode have always pushed forward the frontiers of the remix from the deconstructive techniques of the 80s to the kind of 're-makes' that compeletly revolutionised the original tracks in the 90s - witness Brian Eno's reworkings of 93's I Feel You as a fine example. They are also estimated to be about 156 billion fan remixes around, a few of which are actually quite good.
Here's one of the better more recent ones, even though you'll have to wait about a minute before it gets going.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Toyah - Four From Toyah

I Love 1981 pt. 7
Lest we forget....although I believe early 80s starlet Toyah (real name Toyah) has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years as fund-raiser, Tellytubbie voice and even as a musical performer.
Emerging from the Brummie drama-school-meets-punk-rock scene Ms. Wilcox was a kind of half-way between Siouxsie and Kate Bush with her aggressive, warbling voice and theatrical "dance" moves and OTT make up and stage costumes. Toyah was actually the name of the whole band in the early days although the monicker gradually became associated with herself only. Well, it was her name in the first place I suppose.

Although 1980's Sheep Farming in Barnet and The Blue Meaning (ehem..) were often mentioned in trendy musical despatches, it wasn't until the Four From Toyah EP, with lead track It's a Mystery, that the flame haired chanteuse and her mates got a taste of chart success getting as high as no. 4, suitably trumped out of the top 3 by "competition" blonde Kim Wilde. Published an EP, I have no recollection whatsoever of the other 'three' tracks, but fear not, I am informed that they can be found on the CD edition of the ensuing Anthem album.

Toyah maintained a decent chart run in 81 and 82, thanks above all to her Numan-esque type loyal fanbase, although quite what appealed to them to me remains a myth-te-wyy (sorry, had to get that in). Take it away Toyah band...

Toyah now lives with her husband Mr Robert Fripp in Evesham, Worcs. and apparently occasionally records and performs with a band called The Humans.

Toyah official site here

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Questions Time

Phew! Let's take a break form all this electro-jiggery pokery (Credo and Interplay on heavy rotation, as they say) and take you back in time for a nice bit of...80s soul?
Heard Isley Bros.' classic Harvest For the World on't wireless this morning and thought 'what a cracking song that is'. Looked it up on't Tube and then came across this pretty amazing version by a hitherto by-us-underheard of beat combo The Questions grooving along on some 80's telly programme with none other than Paul Weller's Ver Style Council (bongos n joanna) left of stage. Amazing!
Even more amazing is that they all look about 14, and isn't that future Style Council choriste Tracie booging along up front too?

Turns out that The Questions were in fact a product of the late 70s/early 80s Scottish scene togther with the likes of Aztec Camera, Orange Juice et al, although opted for Zoom Records (rather than the more trendy Postcard) to give them a contract as far back as 1978. The young Edinburghians won the accolade of Best Young Band from Southern Television and released two singles on Zoom .. and all this before leaving school! Paul Weller picked them to support The Jam in 1980 and also signed them to his label Respond Records a year later, where they then met Tracie Young (backing vocals on Beat Surrender and Speak Like a Child).
Tracie's first hit The House That Jack Built was actually written by Questions members Paul Barry and John Robinson, fact fans, who also wrote three more songettes for her debut album.

Amazingly The Questions didn't get round to releasing their own album until 1984. Sadly, Belief got nowhere and they packed it all in at the 100 Club later that year.
Hard to say whether they deserved better but I'm indebted to Kenneth in the 212 for his blog post on the band's history and the two tracks made available for download. Not really my cup of tea but on this sunny Wednesday, Tuesday Sunshine sounds quite lovely in a 1983 kind of way. they did try very hard, bless 'em.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011's one I made earlier..

Just a little vid I put together to go with one of Foxx n Maths new album tracks. All done quite by coincidence of course, but the two things (Soviet TV ads and Destination) just sort of forged together like a dream.
Apologies to Messrs. Foxx and Benge, the latter quite rightly commenting WTF when he came across it on my dailymotion video channel. (snigger) I'll probably get banned from something for doing this so watch it while you can ...if you will.
My destination (and fate) unknown.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Kate's cut

A rather cunning headline from The Quietus spotted on twitter had us trembling in our seats for about ten seconds last week. The "new" Kate Bush album will in fact be a re-working of two previous albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, which are incidentally two of four Bush albums which begin with 'The'.
The album entitled "Director's Cut" will be out in May while a re-worked "Deeper Understanding" from Red Shoes has been chosen as lead track, or single as it is sometimes known, in April.

A bit of a disappointment as Kate has oft said that she never wanted to go back on her past material, and lack of de-luxe re-issues or remasters with demos, live tracks etc. would testify that philosophy, save perhaps from the re-recording of Wuthering Heights for The Whole Story in 1986 (yes that's 25 years ago folks) and the box set anthology This Woman's Work in 1990, and quite frankly we were expecting brand new material this year...
But never mind, Director's Cut (crap title and crap cover btw) will give us a chance to get a, er, deeper understanding of two of her lesser known albums.

The question does arise though: is the enigmatic Kate working 'backwards' to cover all her back catalogue? Answers on a postcard...

Friday, 11 March 2011

Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime

I Love 1981 - pt. 6
The UK Top 20 may have seemed an unlikely place to find a relatively little known "alternative" post-punk art-rock band from New York. Yet that's exactly where Talking Heads found themselves in 1981 with their single "Once In a Lifetime", and so, to paraphrase the song itself, you may ask yourself: how did they get there?
Originally released on the Remain in Light album in 1980, the track was written by the band and Brian Eno who also produced. He was also responsible for introducing Talking Heads to the jerky start/stop rhthms championed by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti, which form the song's structure.

The existentialist lyrics, referring to some kind of mid-life crisis of a middle-American male - "beautiful house / beautiful wife / behind the wheel of a large automobile" etc., - somehow appealed to the upcoming British nouveaux riches, who clearly pined for such a lifestyle, as well as Radio 1 DJS who played the record across the board and allowed it to get to no. 14 in mid-March. The track is also fitted in nicely with the new art/dance ethic rife in London clubs and now moving up into the provinces, playing nicely between the fashionable dance songs of the moment.

Arty is very much the keyword for the accompanying video - one of the first of its kind - with leadman David Byrne doing some pretty funny 'dancing' super-imposed onto backdrops of 'ethnic' dancers and some early video "special" effects, while bringing the "water theme" of the chorus nicely into play.

Much as the arty nouveau-funk stance quickly became fashionable, Talking Heads failed to repeat the commerical success of Lifetime save for the singles "Road in Nowhere" and "And She Was" in 1985. They soon returned to 'cult' status although their ensuing albums did relatively well in Britain as in their native U.S. where they also did good with the mighty Burning Down the House in 1983, utterly and criminally ignored in the UK.

Here's the official vid but be sure to have a look at the live version from the Stop Making Sense film here

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sylvian music is pants

At the risk of receiving another "notification" by those nice people at SamadhiSound, this here blog is daring to feature some David Sylvian music which has been used in the latest video advert for Armani pants, sorry underwear, and jeans.

With Sylvian's 'Trauma Therapy' music in the background, hunky tennis star Rafael Nadal moodily flops around in black and white showing off his posh Armani pants and jeans in the process.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ace of Trons*

Ladytron are one of those moody electronic bands you sort of think you should like, but then never get round to liking them that much, if thatnmakes any sense.
Anyway the band have a greatest hits compilation coming out soon. Aptly titled "Best of 00-10" it features (apparently) all thier best stuff from the past ten or so years plus new track Ace of Hz (geddit?). i-tunes is pushing a double deluxe-album thing and photo booklet to boot.

Here are Ladytron looking appropriately miserable, performing said new track, featuring vintage synthesisers in a post-war landscape. I'm sure it all makes sense to someone.

*post title may take some working out...

Bad Faith

Much as Lost In Music appreciates George Michael's contribution to popular music, we sort of got the shivers hearing that our George has for some reason gone and done a cover version of New Order's untouchable opus True Faith. According to a thing it's pretty damn awful too, which can only confirm what we thought it would be like...but worse.

Whatever next? Although we've already had Paul Young covering Love Will Tear Us Apart (not without its merits), will we soon be hearing Simon LeBon tackle Bizarre Love Triangle, or Limahl doing his rendition of Blue Monday? Heaven forbid.

So we're not even going to post Mr. Michael's auto-tuned effort here, but instead we'll take the opportunity to enjoy the New Order original, featuring the face-slapping high-jumping surrealist clown things... they make you feel so extraordinary...

Seagulls ahoy

For those who just couldn't wait any longer for the re-release of A Flock of Seagull's eponymous 1982 debut album on super-sized CD, then .. the waiting is finally over.
Cherry Pop records have announced that said opus will be re-released on 21st of this month. This will in fact the third (yes, third) Seagulls re-release all of which "have sold well to the sizeable following the band still enjoys." Mmmmm.
It hasn't even got Wishing (if I had a Photograph of You) on it!!!

If that wasn't enough, their fourth studio album Dream Come True is also re-released on the same day, for those of you who missed that all important 1986 LP first time around... Can you bear the wait?

full details here

Although much mocked in their homeland, the Liverpool four-piece fared better overseas, notably in Australia and the U.S. where they even won a Grammy Award in 1983 for Best Rock Instrumental with, er, DNA off the abovementioned debut album.

A Flock of Seagulls: often derided, never imitated

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Dreaming of Me Two

Just as a quick follow up to earlier post on Depeche Mode's seven-inch debut, here's a clip from all-important music mag Smash Hits of 30-years-ago-this-week, as ever thanks to Brian McCloskey's Smash Hits archive.

In what must have been one of the dizzy Dep's first press appearances, tucked away in the 'Independent bitz' section, here we see three quarters of the Basildon boys fresh from the hairdressers giving it their all on stage. Awww..bless! And quite a promising young band they are too, according to Red Starr. Pasadena Rose we come!

(click for the bigger picture)

Depeche Mode - Dreaming of Me

I Love 1981 - pt 5
Phew! Things are already getting pretty hot here at the I Love 1981 camp as yet another classic single celebrates it's 30 year anniversary. It's even got it's own website and 'fan-action' campaign to get it into the charts..unlike the first time around.

Basildon group Depeche Mode (né Composition of Sound) were initially featured on the Some Bizzarre label's showcase LP, albeit with a song called Photographic, but then duly signed to Daniel Miller's electro-based Mute label, fitting along nicely with Silicon Teens and Fad Gadget, with whom they recorded Dreaming of Me b/w Ice Machine. The 7" was released in Feb 1981, but didn't actually scrape into the top 100 at 75 until April.

(I know it's easy to say 'Oh I was listening to Depeche Mode before you were having hot dinners'..or something like that..but it's true! Although Depeche Mode's vinyl debut failed to set the charts alight, it was being played by DJ's like Kid Jensen and Richard Skinner and there was a bit of a buzz going around for this all synth outfit from some place called Basildon...and some of us were taking notice and taping their songs off the radio...end rant)

As for Dreaming.. itself, it's a catchy enough synth-choon but with totally meaningless lyrics in true Depeche-Clarke style: "so we left - understanding - clean-cut so we're sounding fast" (erm...)
Sure, the band were still a million miles away from playing to stadium audiences and worldwide fame and recognition, but you gotta start somewhere ... filming and dreamiiiing ...