Jen Monroe and Brian Sweeny, the curators of the Listen To This! album blog, have collaborated with Self-Titled Magazine on an eclectic mix of Japanese synth pop that will go perfectly with your personal end-of-Summer / Fall weather: OMG JAPAN (Track list and liner notes)
In 1986, a German teenager hit "record" on his cassette player to catch a New Wave song from the radio. But he missed the intro, and so had no idea what the song was called or who the artist was. Contacting music journalists in the 1990s proved unfruitful, so in 2002 he posted it online on his "Most Wanted" music page. For 11 years, the mystery song - known as Stay (The second time around) for its lyrics - was the source of intense speculation and detective work (including in AskMe), with dozens of potential matches eliminated. A YouTube post in 2007 broadened the search, but still yielded no answers. It wasn't until 2013, when a Swedish Radio host chanced upon a Reddit thread about the song and played it on air, that the mystery was finally solved by two listeners. [more inside]
In 1981 Vivabeat was a new wave pop rock band with a college station hit "Man From China." The rest of their story can be found in a wonderfully entertaining internet cul-de-sac: "Vivabeat's is the uncanny story of a band that helped define the sound of an era; a band that experienced remarkable strokes of good fortune and tragic twists of fate; got a taste of the best the record industry could offer, and also the very worst. They left behind a hit dance single, an album on Charisma records, an impossibly rare European EP, and a clutch of unreleased tracks."
Dazed by the recent Blondie retrospective at the (former) Chelsea Hotel? Celebrate Blondie at 40 with some music videos : = Dreaming Union City Blues Hanging on the Telephone Rip Her to Shreds Heart Of Glass (modern retake) Denis X Offender Atomic Rapture The Tide Is High One Way Or Another
Dave Holmes (yes that Dave Holmes) re-vists the hit songs and music videos of July 1983
"You live now, Adam Ant, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
New Wave Artists of the 1980s aging gracefully (and not so gracefully) Don't click the link if you want to remember them "as they were" but why not click, because some of our favorites are still stone cold foxes 30 years later!
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its innovative use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a smart and artsy Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. The magazine’s energetic creativity and flair for the absurd would remain a constant. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot, creating a quirky and prescient editorial sensibility that remains one of WET's most enduring legacies. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles (NSFW) later known as New Wave and Postmodern.
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience. - Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
In the mid 80s Honda produced a series of commercials for its popular scooter series by employing a motley collection of (mostly musical) celebrities. DEVO - Grace Jones (with Adam Ant) - Miles Davis - Loud Reed (or his music anyway) - Jim McMahon - Sandra Bernhardt
On the cusp of DEVO's first tour of Europe since 1990, it's become clear that, though largely cast aside after their 1980 hit "Whip It", DEVO's influence is finally being felt on modern audiences, around the world. DEVO has inspired tribute bands, some traditional, some not. They've also spawned new bands, domestic [MySpace link], and Foreign like Japan's POLYSICS [YouTube], and Germany's Mutate Now [YouTube]. With musical inspiration like this, can't we forgive such missteps as Devo 2.0?
Happy Birthday Ric Richard Otcasek turned 58 today. It's All Mixed Up, I had no idea he was so old. Well, no matter how old you are, you still need to let the Good Times Roll, so Let's Go wish him our very best, since it's pretty much Touch and Go for any rock star approaching age 60. Though many of the Cars hits where sung by the late, great Ben Orr, Ocasek was one of the more recognizable front men of the 1980s. So distinctive that, on April 18, 2006, he was ranked number 50 in The Boston Phoenix list of "The 100 unsexiest men in the world." Ocasek has had a low-key, but reasonably successful career as a solo artist, written a book of poetry and had a cameo role in the John Waters feature film Hairspray. He also appeared on the Colbert Report where he volunteered to lead a commando mission to "rescue" Stephen Jr., the baby eagle at the San Francisco Zoo. Ric also is notable as a producer, though he is probably best known (or infamous in indie circles) for producing Guided by Voices' much maligned Do the Collapse. As for my own personal connection, the first time I saw him was in 1984, when the Cars played a show with Wang Chung and the last time was when I stood next to Ric at Luna's Farewell show at the Bowery Ballroom, a well known Nightspot. Nice guy, he let me buy him a beer. It was, he said, Just what he Needed.
Boy George Nearly Killed by Glitter Ball There is just something so strangely ironic about this, that made me laugh and spew coffee all over my monitor this morning. Apparently witnesses at the scene said the ball missed landing directly on singer's head by just two inches. Darn!