Smiths Complete - Available at Rhino.coma-ha "Hunting High & Low" and "Scoundrel Days" Deluxe Editions Rhino Handmade raids the vault!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lost Odds & Sods

Breaking out the USB turntable and encoding some odds & ends - thought I'd share!

• Boomtown Rats - "Drag Me Down (U.S. Version): The Rats were the focus of this blog's second-ever entry, so head over there to read about their convulted history when it comes to their American releases. "Drag Me Down" was a single from their ill-fated final LP, In The Long Grass, which had several songs remixed for American sensibilities. This version has different lyrics, a completely different, very Springsteen-esque bridge, even a different ending. This version did not make it onto the recent remaster, which is regrettable. I sorta prefer this one to the original...must be the American in me.

• Tina Turner - "One of the Living (Special Dance Mix)": This Holly Knight/Mike Chapman gem was the second single from the Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome soundtrack. It never shows up on any Tina compilations and its only CD appearance to date has been confined to the soundtrack only, which is puzzling for a song that won the 1985 Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance. This 12" version has never been issued on CD, as far as I know. Bonus: Conan the Barbarian on sax!

• Real Life - "Under the Hammer": An album track from Heartland, the Aussie band's debut that gave them the smash "Send Me An Angel". I always thought this would make a killer third single after "Catch Me I'm Falling", but alas, it was not meant to be. When David Steery sings I can't stannnnd iiiiiit!, you can hear his little heart shatter. Posted 'cuz I like it.

More vinyl treasures to come this week!

"Drag Me Down" did not chart.
"One of the Living" peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #6 on the Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1985.
"Under the Hammer" was not released as a single.

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posted by John, 2:44 PM | link |

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"and if you feel the groove, you better start to move"

Straight outta Austria, Falco (aka Johann "Hans" Hölzel) is best known on these shores for "Rock Me Amadeus", one of the more deranged hits in a decade filled with strange pop smashes. But certainly Lost in the 80s readers are knowledgeable enough to know Falco actually broke thru a few years prior with "Der Kommissar", a rap/new wave blend that eventually found Stateside success when remade in English by After the Fire.

After "Amadeus" and its follow-up "Vienna Calling" scored in America, Falco jumped labels over to Sire Records, who put some promotional muscle behind Falco's next album, Emotional, and its lead-off, "The Sound of Musik". Not messing with a winning formula, the single mines the same German/English rap/new wave vibe...unfortunately, lightning did not strike twice, although the extended version of the single got some club play. The video is fantastic, a campy romp with just about every musical genre represented by an appropriate stereotype:

After Emotional failed to generate any heat, Sire tried again with one more album, Wiener Blut, in 1988, to even less success. From that point, Falco became a singularly European flavor only, recording a few more singles (including a duet with Brigitte Nielsen!) and albums until his abrupt death at the age of 40, when he was involved in an auto collision while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. It may sound like a grand and goofy statement, but Falco was a bit of a musical pioneer, fusing rap, rock and pop early on, leaving his mark on pop music history, as strange and left-field as it may have been.

"The Sound of Musik" peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1986.

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posted by John, 3:57 PM | link |

Friday, June 08, 2007

My contribution... this...

Sometimes the easiest ones are the best.

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posted by John, 12:56 PM | link |

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"you said we could be lovers / i just had to say the word"

Chris & Cosey's single about two cheating lovers on the sly was a pleasant pop surprise/sellout considering their prior musical pedigree as members of the early industrial combo Throbbing Gristle. "October Love Song", from the duo's 1986 EP Take Five, was an underground dance hit, prompting many a goth chick (and dude) to hit the dancefloor and "air juggle" or "catch butterflies" (stand up at your desk and mime doing either of those and you'll see what I mean).

Here's the video (possibly NSFW - is that Chris or Cosey's boobs?):

A beautiful little single - what else is there to say? Chris & Cosey have continued recording for labels like Nettwerk and Wax Trax as recently as 2004.

"October Love Song" failed to chart.

Buy Chris & Cosey music at Amazon.

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posted by John, 3:11 PM | link |

Friday, June 01, 2007

Full-length Terror: Dale, Riot In English

There's a memorable quote from the famously awful movie Showgirls where choreographer (I think? The movie never explains what it is he does) Marty Jacobsen describes our heroine's dancing talent:

"She's no butterfly. Tony, she's all pelvic thrust! I mean, she prowls. SHE'S GOT IT!"

That pretty much sums up the appeal of Missing Persons' singer Dale Bozzio. While her singing ability is quite limited, she just had that something. Now whether that something appealed to you or not was completely subjective. Dale was/is very love her or hate her. Looking like cotton candy wrapped in aluminum foil, Dale fronted the band of Zappa-trained musos for three great albums, each admittedly a little weaker than the previous, but for many, Missing Persons embodied New Wave until their breakup in 1986.

Guitarist Warren Cuccurillo joined Duran Duran, drummer and Dale's ex-husband Terry Bozzio went back to his lucrative session work and Dale signed to, of all labels, Prince's Paisley Park Records. The fruit of this team-up became Riot In English.

It's groundbreakingly, epicly awful.

I mean, it's really bad. But Showgirls bad, in the effect that you can enjoy it for its sheer campy awfulness. Surrounded in an already-dated-at-its-time-of-release Prince-like production more suitable for Appolonia 6, Dale hiccups, growls, squeals and coos through nine songs of minimal melodic structure. She also occasionally sings. With titles like "Giddi Up Baby - Be Mine" and "Ouch That Feels Good", you don't have to actually listen to it to realize how atrocious it has to be.

But you must.

Dear lord, she raps (!!) "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on "Love Is Hard Work". If nothing else, please listen to "He's So Typical", where, instead of coming up with say, an actual chorus or anything, Dale uses the opportunity to squeak and squeal like a ferret in a blender instead. It's awesome and I truly mean that. The only thing more awesome may be the review of the album - I'm not sure if it's a joke or what, but it includes glowing praise such as:

Bozzio has grown up here, as "Simon Simon" rocks with authority, a good leadoff, as is the song which launches side two, the title track, "Riot In English".

Ah, yes, "grown up", as in singing a sub-nursery rhyme chorus in "Simon" or TALKING her way through the title track. But, wait! There's more! Like, how totally awesome her lyrics are:

Like Steven Tyler, she knows how to pull a chic cliché and envelope it; "Tiptoes through the tulips/Do you know what I mean" may give a nod to Tiny Tim and Lee Michaels, but in reality it's an Yma Sumac-style reinvention of Marianne Faithfull's "Broken English," and that's quite an amazing mixture of ideas.

That's right. Sit back for a second and soak it all in. Ahhhh. That's gold, right there, people. Um, shall we start by defining the word "reality" for our reviewer?

But hey, don't take my bitchy word for it. Here, in all its complete and wretched glory, is Riot In English. Standouts are the first single, the aforementioned "Simon Simon", the Prince-written "So Strong" (which could have been a hit for anyone else in his posse...seriously, what was he thinking?) and like I said, you MUST hear "He's So Typical".

"Simon Simon"
"Giddi Up Baby - Be Mine"
"So Strong"
"Love Is Hard Work"
"Riot In English"
"He's So Typical"
"Ouch That Feels Good"
"The Perfect Stranger"

And, oh my God, there's a video for "Simon Simon", complete with a mulleted bodybuilder and a half-nude Dale:

Seriously, I could write about that video for pages and pages. Sigh. LOVE. HER.

Thankfully, Dale came to her senses years later and began touring with a new Missing Persons line-up before reforming with her real bandmates a few years ago. They keep threatening to release new music, but nothing's come of it yet. Perhaps a remake of "He's So Typical"?

Riot In English is out of print, but you can buy used copies at Amazon...but please, do yourself a favor and buy some Missing Persons music instead.

"Simon Simon" did not chart. C'mon.

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posted by John, 9:54 AM | link |