Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Monday, September 9, 2019
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Steve Kilbey has been incredibly prolific over his career. He has more albums solo or with a collaborator than with main band, The Church. And unlike so many other artists who are prolific only because they don't seem to have a filter, Kilbey's work is incredibly consistent.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Zerra One was a short-lived band that just never found their audience. They seemed to be perfectly positioned alongside other bands like the Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen, early U2, etc, but failed to chart with either of their 2 albums and disappeared all-too-soon. Matter of fact, they never even had a CD release. It's a shame because there's some great, edgy Alt rock between their albums and singles.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Icehouse had a long run of hits in their native Australia, but only ever reached international success with "Crazy" and "Electric Blue" in 1987. Unfortunately, those 2 singles featured videos with Iva Davies' jeri-curled mullet and put them in the "bad 80s haircut" club, along with Flock Of Seagulls. In reality, Icehouse were more akin to late-period Roxy Music and I think all their albums are pretty solid.
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Belouis Some had 2 songs from their debut, "Imagination" and "Some People," that got heavy radio play. They eeked out another 2 albums before disappearing to the dust bin. "Imagination," in particular, still ends up on 80s compilations, probably due to it sounding very much like poppier side of The Cure.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Crazy House were poised for big things in 1987, with their major label debut coming after 2 LPs of quirky Alt Rock. Their song "Burning Rain" started getting some buzz on Alt and AOR stations... and then they just collapsed, reappearing in 1989 under a different name and a reworked version of "Burning Rain" called "Perfect Crime" before disappearing into the forgotten bin.
Monday, August 12, 2019
Growing up in Southern California, Oingo Boingo were a staple of Alternative radio. Sometimes bands are bigger regionally than nationally, much less internationally. That's a shame because Boingo was one of the most inventive, exciting acts of the 1980s. Lead singer Danny Elfman, of course, subsequently found fame and fortune as a film composer.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Saturday, August 3, 2019
I hope when I say it's a good night for Suicide, it isn't taken the wrong way. Alan Vega passed away this year, maybe lost among the larger celebrity names. Or perhaps he was never going to be lauded by the mainstream anyway. No matter. They started dark, minimal and gritty... and never really changed much. Why would they?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Sa Dingding is often described as the "Chinese Bjork" and that could be an apt description, not because she sounds like Bjork, but because her unique vocals are often otherworldly. And her music is also characterized by ever-shifting styles. Some of SD's music verges on techno-pop, while at other times it is more organic, utilizing acoustic instruments. But whether singing in Mandarin, Tibetan, or her own made up languages, it is definitely Chinese in sound and vision.
Monday, July 1, 2019
Juno Reactor is the long-running project from Ben Watkins, who kicked off his musical career collaborating with Youth. JR started as a pretty straight trance act but much like Banco de Gaia, elements of world musics infiltrated and changed the music into something totally different, although recent albums have seen a return to a more trance-heavy sound.
Monday, June 24, 2019
Xmal Deutschland were a post-punk band from Germany that sounded like a perfect hybrid of Siouxsie & The Banshees and Cocteau Twins. Sadly, they never garnered the attention they deserved and by their final album, 1989's "Devils" most of the original members had gone. They had a bit more rhythmic kick than most 4AD groups, but still fit pretty well with the stereotypical 4AD sound. Highly recommended.
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Television was an essential New York band from the late '70s. Originally formed by Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, Hell left before they recorded their now-classic debut, Marquee Moon. Verlaine and 2nd guitarist Richard Lloyd interwove their guitars in a who's playing lead/who's playing rhythm style that would influence many post-punk bands like The Church and The Chameleons.
Television lasted a brief 2 albums before breaking up, but Verlaine continued recording under his own name and didn't stray far from the formula. Television reformed for 1992's self-titled album and have occasionally played shows ever since.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
When I first heard the Cranberries, it was the song "Linger" and I kept getting it confused with that Sundays' song around the same time. I still think the first album sounds like Sinead O'Connor fronting the Smiths... but I don't think that's a bad thing.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Crime & The City Solution were an Australian band fronted by singer Simon Bonney, with members drawn from The Bad Seeds, Birthday Party, Einsturzende Neubauten, and more recently, WovenHand. They definitely have a similar vibe to early Nick Cave - a dark, cinematic vision full of ships and the wild sea that occasionally turns violent. Great stuff.
Friday, May 31, 2019
Going from 1981 to 2004, that makes up 36 singles, which is a heck of a lot of songs.
If you're wondering about the exact tracklisting, the record collector's resource is Discogs
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Thursday, May 9, 2019
16 Horsepower started David Eugene Edwards' musical career by playing a dark, gothic-tinged, old time country music. The band gradually morphed into something pretty unique, even while retaining the use of instruments like banjo, mandolin and dulcimer. DEE continued on with Wovenhand after ending the 16 HP name.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Danielle Dax... I got to see her live in... 1990, I think it was. She was excellent. Her cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" was getting good rotation on the MTV. Sire Records thought she could be the next Siouxsie Sioux. And then... silence. Apparently, she is a fairly successful interior decorator and gardener now.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Speaking of terminally un-hip artists... many people may be surprised to learn Corey Hart is one of the best-selling Canadian songwriters. Known internationally for his early '80s hits "Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender," a deeper look into his work does reveal many gems along the way.
Monday, May 6, 2019
Led by singer/songwriter Kevin Kinney, Atlanta's Drivin' N' Cryin' first found success on college radio in the mid-80s before finding themselves on heavy rotation with 1990's Fly Me Courageous. They were another casualty of the grunge era, their AOR roots rock deemed untrendy and were totally forgotten about by 1993's follow-up.
Saturday, May 4, 2019
The Dream Syndicate were an LA band in the 1980s. Despite critical accolades and getting the opening slot on tours for both U2 and REM, they never found commercial success. Too punk for country, too country for New Wave, too AOR for Alternative, too edgy for AOR.
In the '90s, Gutterball was a short-lived band featuring Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Bryan Harvey (House of Freaks) and Armistead Wellford (Love Tractor).
And now, surprisingly, The Dream Syndicate are back, touring and releasing albums again.
Friday, May 3, 2019
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Joey Ramone was a brilliant songwriter. Unfortunately, from the early '80s on, Johnny would veto or just refuse to play on any of Joey's songs he didn't like, which means a lot of the later albums were half-assed affairs with too many songs from Dee Dee, or even CJ.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Curve - essentially the duo of Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia - were one of my favorite bands of the 1990s. So many bands tried, and almost all failed, to merge a dark, cacophonous sound with pseudo-industrial rhythms with Ice Queen vocals. Curve not only succeeded but during the 5 years between their 2nd and 3rd albums, they saw Garbage hit mainstream hitdom with a very similar, though poppier and less edgy, sound.
Their discography gave me fits back in the day - oh, those Brits and their love of multi-release CD singles and the myriad of promotional-only material that I would sit on the back floors of record shops hunting for. I'm sure I missed a few, but I found a good lot...
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
RIP Keith Flint