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21 days. 39 years. 8-ish genres. 6 one-hit wonders. 1 Russell. 1 Ron.

I only agreed to do it because I thought it wouldn't happen. Twenty-one albums in 21 nights? More than 270 songs? Are you nuts? Sure, let's do it.

In May and June 2008, Sparks celebrated what was nearly their 40th year as a band with an astonishing three-week concert series: every night, they performed one of their then-21 albums in its entirety, ending with the just-released Exotic Creatures of the Deep. Unlike most groups that formed in 1969, Sparks has kept themselves appealing and intriguing through a series of reinventions that saw them playing glam rock and disco, new wave and a couple varieties of synthpop. Unusually for a band in its third decade, 2002 saw a critically-acclaimed near-complete reinvention of their musical approach, one that emphasized minimalist layering, unusual (and hilarious) genre juxtapositions [note: kitties], and unusually clever and sinister approaches to lyricism. 21x21, then, was a virtuosic tribute to a virtuosic band, one whose appeal was far, far more than surface deep. Which is why, thank God, there is... [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 4, 2014 - 55 comments

The Art And Activism Of Jimmy Somerville

In June of 1984, the UK latched onto a single by three London mates which openly challenged Thatcherite-era attitudes toward homosexuals, and gave the ball of social change a huge push as the single climbed to #3 on the charts. The band was Bronski Beat, the song was Smalltown Boy, and as the song charted around the globe, the world was introduced to singer and gay rights activist Jimmy Somerville. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Apr 28, 2012 - 60 comments

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