Tag Archive for '1981'

“You sold the cottage” by Martha and the Muffins

martha.jpgBefore another month goes by, I have to make another post. I have many on deck, and a big project to procrastinate from, so I’m hoping to squeeze in a few posts this week before we go on vacation the first week of August. & on the cusp of something great is the perfect time to post about Martha & the Muffins (later M+M), one of the greatest Canadian bands of all time. & that’s saying a lot.

This track, from their 3rd LP, This is the Ice Age,  is one of my favorites, and demonstrates their keen attention to sound. Their albums are so amazingly mixed it gives me goosebumps to listen to them. Also, this album’s cover is just gorgeous in every detail, down to the tiny typography.

This is the Muffin’s first album produced my Daniel Lanois, the production genuis– he happened to be the brother of Jocylene, the band’s new bassist. Lanois, with Brian Eno, is responsible for blowing the world’s mind with the production on the Joshua Tree. The band eventually had 2 Marthas (!) and even featured Tim “not that Tim Gane” Gane and his brother Mark. Talented siblings.

Martha & The Muffins, “You sold the cottage” from the This is the Ice Age LP on Virgin (1981).

You should pick up a copy of the reissued Danceparc cd ASAP.

Here’s a video of the group performing “Echo Beach,” from their first album.

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 & a mix I recently made featuring their great track “Cheesies & Gum” about 1/3rd of the way in (track 6).

3 solo works by Pere Ubu’s David Thomas

Due to some irritating computer problems across three systems, I’ve been unable to post lately. Sorry for the delay. I hope, in the mean time, you’ve found that I’ve posted many great new music blogs to the Now Rock N Roll Now! section of the sidebar. Click through to find some great tracks.

vocal.jpgToday’s post brings together three tracks from Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas. The first two tracks are from the Vocal Performances 12″, and they suggest that Thomas may have been a bit reigned-in by the structure of Pere Ubu. The “Sloop John B” cover is just strange, and sounds like it was recorded secretly in a public place. The version of “Petrified” (which also appears, in a more fleshed out vein, on Songs of the Bailing Man) is a bit more engaging, but still feels like it was made for an empty audience. I think the sleeve for this disc is a masterpiece of graphic design.

David Thomas “Sloop John B,” from the Vocal Performances 12″ on Rough Trade Records, 1981

David Thomas “Petrified,” from the Vocal Performances 12″ on Rough Trade Records, 1981

moreplaces.jpgThe third track in this post is David Thomas amongst friends, including Pere’s Tony Maimone on Bass. It’s more of a groover in the off-kilter Pere Ubu style.

David Thomas & The Pedestrians “Enthusiastic,” from the More Places Forever LP on Rough Trade Records, 1985

Relately and belatedly, RIP Jim Jones.

“Gutter Press” by Richard Strange

strange.jpgNice sloppy upbeat number from Richard Strange‘s 1980 debut solo album. Amazing imagery on this album cover.

From his website:

His rumbustious and unpredictable life has led him to cross paths with characters as diverse as The Sex Pistols and Princess Diana, John Cleese, Grace Jones and Damien Hirst.

Who else can say that? Especially when you throw “rumbustious” “Grace Jones” in there.

Richard Strange, “Gutter Press” from the The Live Rise Of Richard Strange LP on ZE Records (1980)

“Decollage” and “Fonce a Mort” by the Honeymoon Killers

honey.jpgA couple of great tracks from Belgium’s The Honeymoon Killers. I couldn’t settle for a single one, so here are my two faves from this disc. Actually, now that I’m looking around, I realize you can purchase pristine versions of the entire album from other’s digital download site. Go for it. Also, there’s a 2007 remix of “Decollage” Prins Thomas’s 2007 release Cosmo Galactic Prism 2CD, which you can and should by at other music.

An uncited Wikipedia quote sez:

Live on stage The Honeymoon Killers often used pre-recorded drum machine loops which were played from cassette, over this they put guitar, bass, drums, trashy percussion, cheap-sounding organ, with Vromman and Vincent taking turns on singing. Some of their songs were extended to 20 minutes with their own brand of dub echo effects.

Sounds like fun, huh? I once posted that I purchased this album, and someone emailed me offering like $50 for it. Here’s a little for free. The CD/digital re-release of it are well worth tracking down.

The Honeymoon Killers, “Decollage” from the Les Tueres de la Lune de Miel” LP (1981)

The Honeymoon Killers, “Fonce a Mort” from the Les Tueres de la Lune de Miel” LP (1981)

Mutant Sounds has a super-rare album available (for free of course!) of the group that eventually released this disc in 1981, named, like this album, Les Tueures de la Lune de Miel. Go grab it and thank them!

Also, the always-terrific MissingToof.com featured them earlier this year on a New Wave Tuesday post; a couple tracks available there, including their full-blast version of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Laisse Tomber Les Filles”. 

Here’s a somewhat-tame live taste, from Dutch TV in 1983:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/HZrDJvXyKBY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Update: The Walrus Music Blog has what sounds like a higher-quality version of “Decollage” as well as the song performed above.

“Can You Feel It” by the Jacksons with Jane Fonda

jane.jpgWhy? No real reason, I guess.

I love this Jacksons song, and the reason I picked up this disc for a quarter or whatever was to have an additional copy to juggle with the actual song. I hope Jane’s counting off is as jarring to you as it was for me.

Get fit folks!

The Jacksons with Jane Fonda,”Can You Feel It” from the Jane Fonda’s Workout Record LP on Columbia (1981)

“Bint (Cornelis De Bondt 1979-1980)” by Hoketus

bint.jpgI bought this record on a trip to Amsterdam with my friend Jay, whom I was visiting while he lived in Germany in the late 90s. We were there for about a week, and managed a couple of great days for record shopping. I picked this up at a store called Record Palace which still seems to be going strong. I also picked up the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies, Over the Edge, which is one of only 2 LP covers I’ve ever put in a picture frame. This one is probably suitable for framing too.

Anyway, this mp3 is one whole side of the LP, about 30 minutes of the ensemble Hoketus playing Cornelis De Bondt‘s 1980 composition Bint. Click on it and find something to get lost in for about a half hour. It’s a rich bit of minimalist composition with a resolution that is worth the wait. From the sleeve:

Bint is a process: the proccess of making audible a structure based on a framework of two different pulsations. — Cornelis de Bondt

Indeed. Flip side is Diderik Wagenaar’s Tam Tam.

Hoektus, “Bint (Cornelius De Bondt 1979-1980)” from the Composers’ Voice 8101 LP (1981)

“Henry’s In Love,” by Henry Badowski

I recently ripped my LP of Henry Badowski’s Life is a Grand for our friends over at dualtrack, so it’s been turning up on my iPod all the time lately. While I like all of the dense and poppy tracks, I find myself repeating this one over and over again. The lyrics fit together really well, I think.
Henry Badowski, “Henry’s In Love” from the Life is a Grand LP (1981)

If you like this track, go get the whole album zip– James from dualtrack was kind enough to post it on rapid share.

& please, if anyone has any requests of things you’d like me to post, let me know. I know I’m likely to continue in my own directions until someone requests I try a new one.

Athens, GA-related megapost!

I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina for the next few days, running my first marathon dsc_0005.jpg(wish me luck!), so I won’t be posting frequently again until the end of next week. So, please enjoy this hastily assembled, under contextualized early-80s Athens, Georgia megapost… more to come next week when I’m back in NYC.

Two tracks from the all-hits Squares Blot Out The Sun compilation of odds and ends on DB records, the label that really drove the Athens scene.

Pylon, “Party Zone (live in 1983)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

Jack Heard, “Burnin’ Love (1982)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

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I played this Side Effects track out at a bar in Brooklyn in 2001, and someone came up to me afterwards dying to chat. We spoke for a while about the band and the great music that came from that scene, which he’d come up in. When he was heading out of the bar much later, he stopped by again, introduced his wife, shook my hand. It felt a little strange, and when I looked down at my hand as he turned away, I realized he’d pushed into my palm the damp remains of the joint he and his wife has covertly smoked in the bar. Gross! That was the day I started lobbying for an enclosed DJ booth.

Once again, I realized the Side Effects are also on Myspace, after years of radio silence. Grab versions of their tracks (which sound a little better than this file there).

The Side Effects, “Pyramids” from the Side Effects EP on DB Records (1981)
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Love Tractor was one of the most prolific bands from this scene, with lots of great mostly instrumental songs. This cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” makes the case that they could have easily had way more great vocal tracks. It comes from a Bigtime records compilation, but also appeared as the bside to one of their later singles. More on Myspace, of course (including a great loungey cover of “See Emily Play”). Pat Irwin, of the Raybeats, produced this track.

Love Tractor, “Got To Give It Up” from the Bigtime Syndrome compilation LP on Bigtime Records (1987)

method.jpgThe Method Actors made a lot of noise for just two guys. Like Pylon, they bring a bit of the UK sound you hear in the dancey songs of Gang of Four, the Pop Group, and the Au Pairs.

This album is particularly mind blowing because of the tiny little details and dynamic shifts that show up in many of the songs. Plus, I love the vocals and the near-droney reverb.

The Method Actors, “Bleeding” from the Little Figures LP on Press Records (1981)

shake.jpgAny B52′s fan should track down the Fred Schneider & the Shake Society album from 1984. Apart from a few uncomfortable guitar solos, it is pure party music. Fred is in the foreground all the time, and busts out some amazing lines. Those of you who know me will understand why I had to post this particular track. “Cut the Concrete” was what I was planning to post, but when I listened to “Boonga!” again, I knew what I had to do.  Maybe I’ll post the other one in the comments next week. Bernie Worrell produced this with Fred! Don’t skip the intro on his site either.

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Boonga! (the New Jersey Caveman)” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984).

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Cut the Concrete” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984). 

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Though Mitch Easter lived and recorded in North Carolina, there were few more influential folks as far as this music is concerned. He played in the Sneakers with fellow North Carolinian future dBs member Chris Stamey, recorded R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe,” and put out a bunch of albums in Let’s Active.

Mitch Easter, “Law of Averages,” from the Shake to Date compilation LP on Shake Records (1979)

Chris Stamey,”Get a Job” from the It’s A Wonderful Life LP on DB Records (1982)

While this isn’t Athens Music per se, the aesthetics of the music and the relationships involved have me placing them in this post. Most importantly, you will probably have the chance to see one or both of these guys perform live. The dBs are playing in NYC this weekend!

Things to buy: DFA’s re-release of Pylon’s Gyrate, B52s new album out on Astralwerks soon!, Let’s Active’s Cypress/Afoot double CD, dBs Stands for Decibles/Repercussions CD Mitch Easter’s newest album.

“Up in Daisy’s Penthouse,” by Jody Harris and Robert Quine

dsc_0009.jpgOn the heals of my Raybeats post is the Harris/Quine project I alluded to. Robert Quine, who I learned had died on at trip to Subterranean Records a couple years ago, was, like the Raybeats, a very influential musician. He did stints with Richard Hell & the Voidiods, in Lou Reed’s band, with Lydia Lunch, James White & the Blacks, They Might Be Giants, Material, and many more.

This is a nice landscapy track with a nice little lofi drum machine beat. Background music for some, I suppose.

Jody Harris and Robert Quine, “Up in Daisy’s Penthouse,” from the Escape LP on Lust/Unlust (1981)

Here Quine is onstage with Lou Reed, smoking and playing “Some Kinda Love” with Italian chatter overdub!

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“Get A Little,” by Patrick Cowley

This is from Buffalo Native, San Francisco electro pioneer Patrick Cowley’s 1981 album, Megatron Man. I first became a fan of Cowley when I picked up his second album, Mind Warp, based solely on the cover art. I eventually was able to track down this disc, which represents, in my opinion, his best work. Though it’s firmly rooted in the trappings of late 70s Hi-NRG/club music, there are traces of post-punk and kitsch that remind me of the Cramps and the Pop Group, as well as, (big surprise!) the Athens, GA bands from that time.

Patrick Cowley, “Get A Little”, from Megatron Man (1981)

More Patrick Cowley tracks are available for download on his posthumous MySpace, discography here. Looks like there was a 2007 re-release of his Donna Summer Remix that you can buy here in you are rich. Or you can buy this collection from Amazon, which has some awesome “Customers also bought…” suggestions.

“Menergy” on Youtube, with a slide show of Cowley Imagery.
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